Here is a more detailed parsing of the press release:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced that its Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) voted unanimously to recommend that the Transportation Secretary work to implement new crashworthiness performance standards for next generation high-speed passenger rail equipment that will operate in the United States.
PARSE:The current standards are no longer suitable and are going to undergo a major revision.
The RSAC is FRA’s technical and policy stakeholder body that includes representatives from various rail industry perspectives, including major international rail builders.
PARSE:The new standards are going to make it easier for manufacturers to sell their products here and will eliminate the requirement to build a "special" American design.
“Today’s vote is another important step in advancing high-speed and intercity passenger rail in America,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
PARSE:(SECTRANS) I am directing the Department to make a major change to the regulations.
“This vote brings us closer to new jobs and manufacturing opportunities to make high-speed rail equipment for use here at home and abroad.”
PARSE:(SECTRANS) We/I hope some of this change could make it possible to rebuild the U.S. passenger equipment manufacturing base.
The standards, which FRA is developing now before they are published later this year in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM),
PARSE:The FRA has been told to publish these standards by the end of the year, aka "As Soon as Possible".
...will provide baseline safety requirements for next generation rail equipment that would travel up to speeds of 220 mph on high-speed rail tracks,
PARSE:...so that Amtrak and CAHSR can make a Request for Proposals.
while providing the flexibility to operate with existing freight and passenger systems up to speeds of 125 mph.
PARSE:Confirming that the U.S. mixed operations model will continue.
Once finalized through the FRA’s rulemaking process, the new standards would be employed along the Northeast Corridor and in California, regions both designated for high-speed rail service.
PARSE:We will be watching the FRA closely to ensure they publish this ASAP.
“Today’s action by RSAC is a continuation of FRA’s move away from prescriptive regulations towards more performance-based regulatory environment,” said Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.
PARSE:The buff strength standard is being deleted in favor of techniques that are proven to protect lives just as well. We consider this to be a world standard.
“I’d like to commend all members of RSAC for advancing these standards forward. They will better align our approach to passenger safety and the use of rail equipment with the rest of the world. ”
PARSE:Thank you to the members of RSAC who delivered for me/us. Glad to see that we are now recognizing that the use of performance based techniques work just as well.
The proposed standards are intended to provide an alternative approach to existing railcar crashworthiness requirements that have influenced the type of passenger equipment built and used in the U.S. market for nearly a century.
PARSE:Buff strength is out. Really.
The proposed standards would establish performance-based requirements for an interoperable rail network, permitting the use of “service proven” designs and advanced technologies, while ensuring a consistent, systematic approach to safety.
PARSE:Key phrase "advanced technologies". PTC will be used to protect trains operating at high speed. Possibly a form that is more advanced than what is being deployed right now.
Since 2009, members of the RSAC have undertaken a review of existing crashworthiness requirements in order to identify a new, technology-neutral, performance-based approach that employs modern and advanced design techniques, such as crash energy management.
PARSE:We waited on these standards for a while. Gave the committee plenty of time and now that the President got reelected we are making sure they complete their work.
Consensus on the proposed standards was reached by the RSAC Engineering Task Force, which is made up of a cross section of the domestic and international railcar supply industry, including 12 railcar manufacturers.
PARSE:Everybody went along with this and we used a lot of manufacturer representation on the committee. We made sure to structure the committee that way in the first place.
Takeaway: The U.S. passenger rail market is reopening for business in a way that it hasn't been in this era of world history (since about 1910).