Durbin Introduces Bill to Allow Amtrak to Sue Railroads

A U.S. senator from Illinois has introduced legislation that would permit Amtrak to sue freight railroads to enforce its statutory preference.

Senator Richard Durbin said in news release that he introduced the bill because of chronic delays incurred by Amtrak’s trains operating on Canadian National-owned tracks between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois.

The news release did not provide details as to what standards would be used to justify a lawsuit by Amtrak against a host railroad.

“By empowering Amtrak to hold the freight railroads accountable when they don’t follow the law, we can improve Amtrak on-time performance and save taxpayer dollars,” Durbin said in a statement. “For too long, we’ve seen on-time performance decline as a result of freight interference. The people of Illinois — and Amtrak riders nationwide — deserve assurance that they can arrive at their destination in a safe and timely manner.”

Amtrak President Richard Anderson has recently increased his criticism of host railroads and is calling for a legally-binding enforcement mechanism.

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