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AASHTO Praises First Rail Car Specs Approved for High-Speed Rail Initiative

By Tony Dorsey on 08/31/2010 – 9:54 am PDTLeave a Comment

The approval of the first specifications for new high-speed rail cars is an historic milestone in America’s quest for better and faster intercity passenger rail service, according to officials of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Responding to today’s actions by the Next Generation Equipment Committee to approve specs for bi-level coach, baggage, dining, and business class rail cars, Eugene A. Conti, Jr., chairman of AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Rail Transportation and secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said, “This will take the country forward in our efforts to build a world-class rail system to move passengers within our states, within regional corridors, and across the country.”

Frank Busalacchi, chairman of AASHTO’s High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Leadership Group and secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, called the approval “historic” and praised the group for their actions. “This is an important first step for all of us who are working to get high-speed rail up and running in our states,” Busalacchi said. “Ultimately, this will mean new jobs to come - for people to build, operate, and maintain our systems.”

Conti added, “Having standardized conventional equipment and high-speed train sets will ensure that the build-out of our system will be seamless, and that the U.S. rail car manufacturing industry will have a level playing field with all competitors.”

AASHTO serves as the secretariat on behalf of the states for the Next Generation Equipment Committee, which was created by Congress to design, develop specifications for, and procure standardized next-generation corridor rail equipment. The Committee includes the states, the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak, rail equipment manufacturers, and others in the rail industry.

The approval of the specifications for the bi-level cars, which carry passengers on two levels, is the first of several actions by the Committee. Specifications for single-level cars and a diesel-electric locomotive are expected later this year.

For more information on AASHTO’s high-speed rail initiatives, go to


The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is the Voice of Transportation representing State Departments of Transportation in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico - including those DOTs working to ensure the successful implementation of high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects in America. AASHTO has 100 years of experience in developing technical and engineering standards for highways and is already applying that expertise to develop high-speed rail through its committee structure, staffing, and communications tools such as its website, AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving as a catalyst for excellence in transportation. Follow us on Twitter at

Tags: federal railroad administration, high speed train, intercity passenger rail

Related Articles:

  1. First Rail Car Specs Approved for High-Speed Rail Initiative
  2. FRA to Award Up To $25M to R&D Projects Supporting the Development of High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Service
  3. Federal Railroad Administration Seeks Applications for $2.3B in High-Speed Rail Grants
  4. AASHTO Pleased by Release of Funds for Passenger Rail
  5. Top Rail Officials Meeting to Discuss Next Gen. Equipment and Jobs

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