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Amtrak Crash Raises Questions about High-Speed Rail Safety

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Questions are being raised about the safety of the prospective high-speed rail train in California, after a fatal accident on Tuesday morning near Davis in Yolo County where an Amtrak train killed a female pedestrian on the tracks.

Union Pacific, which owns the tracks, said the victim was trespassing.

Despite the assurance from high-speed proponents that all railroad crossings along the expected 520-mile route between San Francisco and Los Angeles will be replaced with bridges, underpasses, and tunnels, planners admitted at this week’s high-speed rail board meeting that not all of those structures would be ready by the time trains start running in 2022, according to KCRA3 Sacramento.

Due to the costs of the bullet train and logistical issues, the crossings at the northern and southern ends of the line will be left in place. Bullet trains will initially share tracks with local commuter trains and freight trains in those areas.

There were 112 accidents in California at railroad crossings last year.

KCRA noted that federal law will force the trains, which are expected to hit 220 mph, to slow down to 125 mph in areas with road crossings.


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