Effective March 15, 2012, Norfolk Southern lowered the railroad operating speed limits on certain sections of the Michigan Line between Dearborn and Kalamazoo that handle both Amtrak’s passenger service and Norfolk Southern’s freight service. These lower speed limits have been imposed to reflect the maximum safe operating speeds for the line, given the line’s condition. Safety is of paramount importance in both passenger and freight rail operations.
The reduction in railroad operating speed limits both has been anticipated over time and is in conformance with existing agreements between Norfolk Southern and Amtrak. Other portions of the Michigan mainline experienced similar reductions in railroad operating speed limits in 2011. Some of those 2011 speed reductions were later eliminated as the result of work funded by Michigan DOT.
The Michigan Line is currently the subject of an existing agreement that anticipates the acquisition of the rail line by Michigan, and the subsequent rehabilitation of the line to handle maximum authorized speeds of up to 110 mph for passenger trains. That transaction is expected to be completed later this year, pending federal regulatory review.
“Until ownership of the Michigan Line is transferred, Norfolk Southern is willing to perform work on the line on behalf of Amtrak or Michigan DOT to address any passenger operating concerns,” said John V. Edwards, Norfolk Southern’s general director passenger policy. “This work is not necessary to provide freight service, but if the passenger service providers want to provide the necessary funding, we will do it."
Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.
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