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Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors (2010)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Getting Started and Negotiations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2010. Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14376.
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2.1 Introduction 2.1.1 Content of Section This chapter addresses the process of negotiating with an existing owner and operator (or oper- ators) of a railroad corridor over which new or expanded passenger rail service is under consid- eration. Processes for both Amtrak intercity services and commuter operations are included. The following sections provide step-by-step guidance for getting started on this process, working through all stages to reach a successful conclusion. The specific areas addressed are: • Section 2.2, Planning and Preparation, covers the essential homework that an agency planning a new or expanded passenger rail service needs to complete before approaching a prospective host railroad. • Section 2.3, Initial Discussions with the Host Railroad, covers consideration of when to con- tact the prospective host, the nature of initial meetings, carrying out a credible feasibility study for the proposed service, and what is needed to be able to enter substantive negotiations. • Section 2.4, Substantive Negotiations, provides general guidance of how best to conduct the negotiations to maximize the chance of a successful outcome and the typical factors that must be addressed. After the general guidance, specific key issues such as rail line capacity and per- formance requirements are discussed. • Section 2.5, The Liability Issue, discusses the issue that is often the most challenging for agen- cies seeking to implement passenger rail service, the issue of host railroad requirements for protection against the liabilities associated with passenger operations, and how these require- ments can be met. Negotiating for access to a rail corridor for a proposed service is only one part of the effort that a state or local agency must make to establish the proposed service. The agency must also build public support for the project, develop ridership and revenue estimates, estimate costs and obtain capital and operating funds, complete permitting as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other applicable state and federal legislation, secure necessary legislative actions at all levels of government, and attend to other related issues. Access negotiations must be coordinated with these activities, as indicated in the following subsections. One factor that pervades all passenger rail planning and negotiations for shared corridor oper- ations is the distinction between Amtrak intercity and commuter service. Amtrak’s right of access to the railroad system at incremental cost and its existing operating agreements with major rail- roads mean that Amtrak must be involved in any intercity passenger rail development. The issues to be addressed in intercity passenger service negotiations differ substantially from those for a commuter rail initiative. The practical effect of these differences on negotiations at each stage in the process is summarized in Section 2.2 and addressed in each subsequent section as required. 9 C H A P T E R 2 Getting Started and Negotiations

2.1.2 Passenger Rail Development Timeline Agencies embarking on development of a passenger rail service often want an estimate of the timeline for working through all the steps of planning and implementing a new passenger rail service. Unfortunately there is no single answer to this question. Almost every recent development has followed a different path, depending on the extent of prior studies and planning, how the proj- ect is funded, the complexity of negotiations with the host railroads, the extent of physical improvement needed, whether the agency has to purchase rolling stock, etc. The following list provides a few examples of recent developments with some comments on specific factors that affected timelines: • Los Angeles Metrolink Commuter Service on the Antelope Valley Line. The record for the rapid implementation of rail service came immediately after the Northridge earthquake in southern California on January 1, 1994. Over a period of 6 days commuter service was extended from Santa Clarita to Lancaster, California, with a new intermediate station at Palmdale, a dis- tance of about 50 miles. In the following few months, 10 miles of second track were added and other improvements completed to reduce trip time from an initial 2 hours 25 minutes to 1 hour 35 minutes for the 78-mile trip to downtown Los Angeles. This emergency service was discon- tinued when highway repairs were completed, but later reinstated permanently. Obviously, numerous shortcuts were taken to achieve the rapid implementation, but it is an interesting example of what is physically possible. • The New Mexico RailRunner Commuter Service through Albuquerque to Santa Fe. This proj- ect was initiated in August 2003 after planning studies had concluded that commuter rail was a desirable approach to alleviating some of the present and expected highway congestion in the service region. The following month, the state legislature approved a transportation funding package that included the proposed commuter service. The service was to be initiated in two phases: Phase I, a route through Albuquerque from Belen in the south to Bernalillo in the north, and Phase II, an extension from Bernalillo to Santa Fe to the north. State and local agencies immediately started working on all aspects of implementing Phase I in parallel: negotiations with the host railroad (BNSF), locating and building stations, acquisition of passenger cars and loco- motives, etc. BNSF agreed to sell the line, which was already in good condition for passenger service, to the state. Cars and locomotives were obtained quickly through add-ons to existing orders by other agencies, and local communities were very supportive of the rail developments. The first phase opened for service in July 2006, under 3 years from initiation. The extension to Santa Fe, which required construction of a new alignment for part of the route and a detailed alternatives study, opened in December 2008. This project does not appear to have encountered any significant barriers, and probably was accomplished in near minimum time. The host rail- road was cooperative; the rail line was in good condition; there was strong community support; and only state and local funding was used. • The Downeaster Corridor from Boston, Massachusetts, to Portland, Maine. A full descrip- tion and timeline for this project is provided in Appendix D. In contrast to the New Mexico RailRunner, this project is an illustration of a lengthy implementation process. It took 13 years from an initial concept proposal to initiation of service and another 3 years to resolve linger- ing issues with the host railroad. The Downeaster is unusual because there was no signifi- cant interest in passenger rail on the route before advocates took up the cause in 1989. Most other intercity rail corridors have a history of proposals and studies prior to the successful implementation effort and often have limited existing Amtrak service. The 13-year timeline includes 2 years that were needed for passenger rail advocates to gain a commitment from the Maine state legislature. Almost all other passenger rail developments start with required polit- ical commitments in place. Another major factor in the lengthy implementation effort was opposition from the host railroad, which resulted in 2 to 3 years of negotiations and a rela- tively slow construction process. 10 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

In summary, the examples suggest that a passenger rail service can be implemented in 3 to 5 years, from starting a feasibility study to operation, provided there are no significant problems. Of this 3 to 5 years, the feasibility study should take 9 to 18 months, depending on the complexity of the project, the level of information available from prior studies, and the extent to which a fea- sibility study becomes integrated with other implementation activities. If there are problems in any important area, such as resolving community objections, NEPA issues, difficulties in negotiating acceptable agreements with host railroads, or purchasing custom rather than off-the-shelf trains, then the implementation process can take much longer. 2.2 Planning and Preparation 2.2.1 Introduction This section covers agency activities that normally precede the initial approach to a prospective host railroad. The discussion assumes that the Guidebook user is not familiar with the railroad industry and is starting from a point where little substantive planning and analysis has been car- ried out. Guidebook users who are more familiar with railroads or are further along in the process may disregard this material as appropriate. Also, it is important to remember that developing a pas- senger rail service rarely follows a neat sequential plan. Rather, it is a messy process in which dif- ferent activities move at different rates, sometimes experiencing delays because a slow-moving process fails to yield timely information to enable another process to move forward. Whatever the sequence of individual activities, the planning and preparation stage precedes initial contacts with a prospective host railroad and typically will include the following activities: • Become informed about the railroad industry, both in the proposed service region and nationally. • Define the vision and purpose of the proposed service and how it fits with long-term state or regional transportation plans. • Determine whether the proposed service will be a commuter or Amtrak intercity operation. • Educate public officials and legislators regarding the passenger rail service plans and the rail- road industry in general. 2.2.2 Understanding the Railroad Industry The railroad industry can be very confusing for state and local officials unfamiliar with rail- roads. It is governed by its own administration within the U.S.DOT—the FRA—and a unique body of laws, regulations, practices, and institutional arrangements. The process of implement- ing a passenger rail project will encounter many of the requirements contained in these laws, regulations, and practices and will involve the responsible government offices and industry asso- ciations. A basic understanding of the railroad industry is essential for officials to plan and imple- ment a passenger rail project. Absent this understanding, time and effort can be wasted pursuing unrealistic plans, making relationships with host railroads more difficult than necessary and caus- ing failure to recognize and take advantage of opportunities. The principal areas where under- standing is helpful are: • The rail freight business. Freight railroads are private businesses that compete for their share of the national freight market and are important elements in the supply chains of U.S. industries (including power generation, agriculture, automobile manufacturing, etc.). Railroads also link U.S. ports with American shippers and recipients of internationally traded goods. Passenger rail is not a primary interest of freight railroad managers, who are mainly concerned that legal and contractual obligations to accommodate passenger service do not interfere with their freight business. Getting Started and Negotiations 11

• The various government agencies and industry associations that support and regulate the U.S. railroad system. Almost all of these organizations—and the regulations, standards, and practices they are responsible for—may affect passenger service. • The differences between Amtrak intercity and commuter services and Amtrak’s right of access to the rail network at incremental cost. All intercity passenger rail services over existing rail corridors are operated by Amtrak; thus understanding what Amtrak does and can do is essential to planning and implementing new intercity service. Appendices A, B, and C comprise a primer on the railroad industry and its institutions, and the Bibliography provides further sources for deeper investigation. 2.2.3 Vision for the Service and Long-Term Planning Any state or local agency considering new or expanded passenger rail service has to manage multiple interlocking processes, of which negotiation with the freight railroad is only one. In all cases, the starting point is a vision for the service—what kind of service is desired, what commu- nities will be served, and what kinds of benefit (improved mobility, congestion relief, etc.) are expected. A common starting point is the recognition that additional transportation capacity is needed in a travel corridor, leading to a planning effort to consider alternatives. Another starting point can be the efforts of an individual legislator or group of legislators to build public support and ini- tiate a study of a proposed service. Some long-range transportation plans for a state or region may propose intercity or commuter rail as a desirable solution to mobility needs (although most State Transportation Improvement Programs focus primarily on highway projects and are a require- ment to access federal highway funding). Yet another source of the vision can be a citizen initia- tive or a passenger rail advocacy organization (as with the Downeaster service in New England). Many passenger rail initiatives now receiving serious attention have been the subject of past studies that failed to develop further, usually because of funding barriers, a change in state gov- ernment policy, or a lack of consistent support at responsible government agencies. Once the vision is defined, the next stage is to build public and political support for implementing a new service. Once support is established, the process can begin. Developing a State Rail Plan for freight and passenger rail services that includes the proposed service can be a key factor in the success of a passenger rail initiative. For this reason, PRIIA has made completing an approved state rail plan a requirement for approval of federal grants for inter- city passenger rail service. This requirement is waived for ARRA funding in the interests of time- liness. However, this does not detract from the usefulness of planning for both passenger and freight rail requirements, intermodal connections, and interstate and international connections. The next section discusses rail plans and provides a case study of where good planning supported successful passenger rail development. 2.2.4 Role of Long-Term Planning Some states have found that having a well-thought-out long-term rail plan helps sustain a pas- senger rail program, while reassuring freight railroads that their interests are receiving full con- sideration. The primary rationale for developing such a plan is that building a high-quality network of passenger rail services in a state or region is rarely a one-time effort and is far more likely to be accomplished through a series of incremental steps over time. A plan helps ensure that each increment constitutes not only a viable project on its own but also moves toward complet- ing the planned network. Because almost all passenger rail developments involve sharing track and rail corridors with freight rail services, a comprehensive plan must include freight rail devel- opments as well as passenger rail. An excellent example of a long-term plan is the plan prepared 12 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

and maintained by Washington State DOT (WSDOT), summarized in the case study below and discussed further in Appendix D. CASE STUDIES 1 Washington State Long-Term Rail Planning In 1993, following completion of a detailed feasibility report, the Washington state legislature directed WSDOT to develop a plan for incremental development of high-speed ground transportation in the state. The primary motivation was to relieve growing congestion on the Interstate 5 north–south corridor between Portland (Oregon) and Seattle. Shortly afterwards, an agreement was reached with BNSF to work cooperatively on railroad improvements to benefit both pas- senger and freight services. Although the main focus of the WSDOT plan was for passenger rail, complementary work elements were incorporated that add up to a comprehensive process for developing the railroad network in western Washington State. These include: • Cooperative modeling and analysis of railroad capacity to establish requirements for each increment of passenger and freight service. One of the key conclusions from this modeling is that a dedicated third track will be needed south of Tacoma for passenger service if the long-term goals for trip time and ridership are to be attained. • Development of the FAST freight rail assistance program to improve freight flows in the Puget Sound region, including to and from ports and the main lines through the Cascades to the east. • Development of the Sounder north–south commuter rail service between Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett. Note that the plan does not commit WSDOT to specific expenditures in each plan year. Instead, it lays out a sequence of projects to be implemented as funding and travel demand permit. Development of a long-term rail plan begins by collecting and building on all pertinent prior surface transportation studies, including rail, highways, ports, and border crossings. The plan should articulate a long-term vision for the roles of passenger and freight rail in the state and then describe practical incremental steps to realize the vision. Given the typical time frames involved in implementing transportation projects, the plan should look forward 25 years or more. It is important to secure the cooperation of the private freight railroads in the planning effort, to make sure their interests are represented and that the completed plan meets both passenger and freight service needs. Plans should be regularly updated to reflect changing conditions and projects com- pleted since the previous update. 2.2.5 Is the Proposed Service Amtrak Intercity or Commuter? Negotiations over access to a freight railroad corridor and access fees for an Amtrak intercity (corridor) service are very different from those for commuter service. If it is an intercity passen- ger service, then Amtrak must be involved and will have a major role in the negotiations. At the same time, the state or local agency planning passenger service must negotiate with Amtrak on its costs, equipment availability, and related matters. Getting Started and Negotiations 13

Commuter rail agencies are in a very different negotiating position. Amtrak is not involved, and its access rights cannot be exercised for a commuter rail agency. The state or local agency has to negotiate access and fees on its own, with little assistance from other parties. The FTA will pro- vide capital grants for new starts or service expansions under the FTA’s New Starts program to qualified applicants but provides no support during negotiations. The FRA has no role in com- muter rail developments other than ensuring compliance with applicable safety regulations. However, the STB can now assist with non-binding mediation should the parties fail to agree on terms of access, thanks to a provision in Section 401 of PRIIA. Further discussion of the STB’s assistance is provided in the following paragraphs and in Section B.8 of Appendix B. However, the STB is still developing procedures for commuter rail mediation, and the practical impact of this assistance has yet to be determined. The following subsections provide an overview of the differences between Amtrak intercity and commuter rail regarding access to the railroad network and access pricing. Separate sections are provided elsewhere in this Guidebook where these differences affect the relationships between rail- road operations sharing the same corridor. Note that here and elsewhere in this Guidebook, com- muter service refers to short-haul passenger service that does not qualify for Amtrak access rights under the applicable statutes. This definition is different from that applied by the FTA and other federal agencies in determining eligibility for grants under various programs. Shorter-distance Amtrak intercity services have received grants from the FTA, such as the Downeaster service between Boston, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine, and the service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. These services are sometimes described as commuter services but do not fit the definition of commuter service in the Amtrak statutes and related STB and court decisions. Amtrak Intercity Service Any passenger service intending to secure access to the railroad network under Amtrak’s rights must involve Amtrak in planning from an early stage. Amtrak must be the operator and the for- mal requester to the freight railroad for access under its rights. Amtrak officials responsible for state-sponsored services are available to discuss proposals and provide help in carrying out fea- sibility studies. Such feasibility studies should involve purely Amtrak issues, such as realistic ridership and revenue estimates, the provision and maintenance of passenger cars and loco- motives, provision of train crews and choice of on-board services, and the costs associated with these functions. Issues that are of interest to the host railroad as well as Amtrak include capacity estimates, infrastructure upgrades to increase speeds and capacity, and infrastructure-related capital and operating costs. Amtrak staff members are available to guide the state agency through this process and will usu- ally have existing relationships with host railroad officials. They will be familiar with the railroad’s likely concerns over added passenger service. However, their time is limited, and the state is likely to need additional support from consultants. Amtrak’s right of access and dispatching priority, although essential for securing access to the railroad network at favorable cost, does not guarantee high-quality service. Recent experience on Amtrak’s core routes (those lacking state support) shows that maintaining adequate service qual- ity on a busy freight corridor can be difficult. As freight traffic has increased, Amtrak has experi- enced declining service quality and increasing costs on some of these services. Amtrak’s preferred approach to addressing these problems is to first identify the route segments where traffic conges- tion and slow orders are disrupting service and then work with the railroad to develop a program of improvements to address the causes of delay. The FRA has also assisted Amtrak with investi- gating delay causes on some routes. Often, the difficulties that disrupt passenger operations also disrupt freight operations, so there is a mutual interest in taking corrective action. Improved man- agement focus and a structured program of problem identification and correction have generally yielded measurable improvement. 14 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

Recent developments have provided Amtrak with more capabilities to address service quality issues: • PRIIA gave the STB the explicit task of investigating poor OTP, defined as below 80 percent on time, and making recommendations for reasonable actions to improve OTP. If the investigation finds the host carrier at fault, the STB may impose damages or other relief on the part of Amtrak. Prior to this legislation, Amtrak was limited to the performance incentives and penalties in its contracts with host railroads. Poorly performing railroads often “maxed out” penalties for train delays under Amtrak operating agreements and incurred no additional penalty for a further service degradation. Amtrak may also ask the Department of Justice to bring a lawsuit to enforce Amtrak’s dispatching priority over freight trains, although this power has been rarely, if ever used. • Starting with the modest program in Fiscal Year 2008, and with ongoing authorization in PRIIA and funding from ARRA, funds are becoming available for intercity passenger rail developments, a portion of which are explicitly designated for relieving congestion problems. For the first time, Amtrak and state agencies have capital funds with which to address congestion and delay prob- lems that cannot be corrected by a focus on operations and maintenance issues. Commuter Rail Service Until recently, commuter rail service operators (defined in this Guidebook as services that do not qualify for Amtrak’s access rights) had to negotiate with the freight railroads alone. They had no support from Amtrak, and there was no institutional support for them elsewhere. Before its demise in 1995, the ICC did have passenger rail responsibilities and could provide technical assis- tance and limited help with obtaining a fair agreement. These responsibilities were eliminated when the STB replaced the ICC, and the relevant federal agencies (i.e., the FRA, the FTA, and the STB) had, until recently, no role in negotiations for commuter rail access. This situation placed the prospective host railroad in a strong position to either refuse to negotiate or to demand a high price for accommodating passenger service. However, PRIIA gave the STB new powers to assist agencies seeking to implement commuter rail service on freight railroad track. If the parties are unable to reach a mutually acceptable agree- ment on their own, the STB can conduct non-binding mediation to help resolve the situation. In spite of the non-binding nature of this mediation, it would likely be difficult for a freight railroad to reject a reasonable agreement that meets both parties’ stated requirements. Another potential barrier is that many commuter projects depend on funding from the FTA’s New Starts program. Not only is the grant application process costly and time consuming, but the program also requires an agency to have a railroad access agreement in place before a grant can be approved, which places a commuter rail agency in a difficult position. The freight railroad may be reluctant to negotiate without the funding, but the passenger operator cannot assure fund- ing before negotiations. This situation is especially difficult for new agencies lacking a record of successful grant applications. Agencies seeking to grow an existing service are in a better position to provide credible assurances that their project is eligible for FTA funding. In spite of this situa- tion, however, passenger agencies have been able to navigate the process with flexibility from all parties. Further details of the FTA New Starts process and possible constraints on the access nego- tiations are provided in Appendix B, Section B.10. Although the process of starting a commuter rail service may be frustrating and time consum- ing, the hurdles can and have been overcome. Several new commuter rail services operating in part over busy freight railroad–owned corridors have been initiated over the last 20 years—the Metrolink system in Los Angeles, the Sounder (Seattle to Tacoma area) services in Washington State, and the Virginia Railway Express services in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Others—such as the West Side Express in Portland, Oregon; the Music City Star in Nashville, Getting Started and Negotiations 15

Tennessee; and the North County Transit District service between San Diego and Oceanside, California—operate over short-line or publicly owned tracks. When funding is available, a way can be found. 2.2.6 Educating Public Officials Uninformed comments by state and local government officials and legislators concerning access to a railroad corridor can damage relations with the freight railroad even before discus- sions begin. The railroad’s response can be similar to that of a family learning through the press that the highway department intends to take its front yard to widen a highway. It is therefore important that public officials have a basic understanding of the freight rail business, the chal- lenges railroads face in their operations, and problems in their current business environment that have special bearing on passenger service. Early in the process, the passenger rail agency should establish an educational outreach effort to interested agencies, legislative committees, individual legislators, and other interested parties. The focus should be on general issues of estab- lishing a shared-corridor passenger service rather than the specifics of the proposed service. Some particular issues that should be addressed include: • Understanding that active railroad property cannot normally be taken by eminent domain, so an agreement acceptable to both parties is essential. Amtrak does have a limited right of emi- nent domain, but this has only been invoked once, where a host railroad allowed severe track degradation and persistently refused to take steps to correct the problem. • A realistic understanding of likely railroad expectations for liability protection and the approaches other passenger agencies have taken to reach agreement on this issue. • The need for confidential negotiations and careful public communications planning during the negotiation process. • Understanding the differences between implementing Amtrak intercity and commuter service on a freight railroad ROW. • A realistic understanding of likely capital and operating costs. Under present U.S.DOT grant policies, grants can be applied to only capital expenses. Operating funds for both intercity and commuter services must be provided from local and state sources. Beyond these points, however, the officials or staff directly responsible for moving the process forward must acquire more in-depth knowledge. The education process needs to start early; agency staff members new to passenger service are unlikely to be fully aware of what they need to know. Education should include review of both written materials (as referenced in this Guidebook) and one or more briefings from knowledgeable people. Amtrak, a state DOT, or another passenger rail agency can be the source of the necessary expertise. The education process will not only prepare officials for negotiation but also help them develop realistic service proposals, which can lead to mutually acceptable agreements with railroads. Passenger rail agency staff needs a clear understanding of not only the basics of the railroad busi- ness, but also the current issues that affect railroads’ attitudes towards passenger service. Clearly the negotiating environment has become more challenging in recent years, and this trend could continue. Access to freight railroad track and rights-of-way for passenger service is becoming harder and more costly to secure. The sources of this increasing difficulty include: • The freight railroads have increased concern over their exposure to passenger-related liability. This concern is not directly caused by a specific passenger train accident or related court ruling, but rather the general increase in liability costs related to railroad accidents. Recent examples are the Graniteville, South Carolina, hazardous materials accident on the Norfolk Southern Railway system, and the passenger accidents at Glendale and Chatsworth, California, on the Metrolink commuter system around the Los Angeles area. This concern leads to demands for very high indemnification levels, as discussed later in this section. 16 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

• Rail freight traffic is continuing to increase and investment in freight capacity is needed to handle this traffic. The surge in freight traffic since the mid-1990s took some railroads by sur- prise, leading to congestion problems and costly investments to increase capacity. This situa- tion makes railroads either very reluctant to commit capacity for passenger service on any line that might be required in the foreseeable future or likely to demand a high price for that capac- ity. The most common position taken by the railroads is that the passenger rail agency should provide capacity investments to replace capacity consumed by the proposed passenger oper- ation. The railroad may make the argument that failing to provide adequate freight capacity may displace freight onto the highways. • The prosperity of the railroad industry is increasing the return on rail investment and, at the same time, attracting investors that place pressure on railroad management to maximize return on their assets. This situation is likely to increase railroad reluctance to commit capacity to passenger service. • Railroads have a generalized concern that allowing public investment in their infrastructure may compromise their future ability to respond to business opportunities and earn good profits. This fear has been heightened by public statements and publication of reports calling for extensive passenger-related investment in the existing freight network, more extensive public funding in the railroad network in general, and possible re-regulation of freight rates. However, freight railroad attitudes and concerns are likely to evolve over time. The sharp freight traffic reductions during the economic downturn of 2008–2009, the availability of real fed- eral government funding for intercity passenger rail, and continuing debate on both rail freight regulations and the shape of future surface transportation legislation all have the potential to change these attitudes. Although not strictly related to shared railroad operations, research for this Guidebook has shown that relationships with intercity bus service operations and transit services in larger met- ropolitan areas can be important elements in developing a well-patronized passenger rail service and should receive serious consideration in planning passenger rail services. These relationships can take several forms: dedicated bus services extending the reach of the rail service to communi- ties where direct rail service would be impractical, joint scheduling and ticketing arrangements with parallel and connecting commercial bus operators, and joint ticketing and connecting arrangements with regional commuter and transit agencies. Some examples are given in Case Studies 2, primarily taken from California, which has been a leader in this area. CASE STUDIES 2 Bus Service Connections and Cooperation Caltrans has set up connecting bus services from several points on state-sponsored Amtrak corridor services, most notably for the San Joaquin and Capitol corridors. The Amtrak-branded buses provide connections to communities off the rail line and are only available to rail passengers. In the case of the San Joaquin corridor, the bus service also provides a connection between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, where direct rail service would be very slow. Another bus service on this route runs between Stockton and Sacramento, supplementing a limited direct rail service. The bus services have been very successful in increasing ridership and the general usefulness of passenger rail service. The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA), which oversees the Downeaster service, has agreements with two commercial bus operators. Both operate services generally parallel to the Downeaster route, and one has a route network that goes beyond Portland, Maine, to communities farther north and Getting Started and Negotiations 17

east. Both operators were initially hostile to the passenger rail service, viewing it as unfair subsidized competition. But they were persuaded to enter into these cooperative agreements that provide for selective interchangeability of tickets and showing each others’ services in their schedules. Experience has shown that the availability of more travel options has increased ridership for all parties. 2.3 Initial Discussions with the Host Railroad 2.3.1 Introduction There are two major stages in the freight railroad discussions. First, initial discussions in the planning stage seek railroad inputs to planning and feasibility studies, and, second, the passenger rail interests come to the table with a substantive proposal. Throughout, it is essential to have a knowledgeable railroad person involved on the passenger side to counter unreasonable objections and to enable the freight railroad to feel that its concerns are understood. Indeed, the early stages of negotiations are as much a confidence-building process as it is a discussion of the specific ser- vice details. Both parties need to understand the other sides’ goals for their services and develop a shared commitment to reaching those goals. The next step is to agree that technical issues affect- ing shared operations—such as rail line capacity, track quality and signal system requirements, capital and maintenance costs, and similar matters—should be resolved by suitable, objective, mutually acceptable analyses. The first contacts with the freight railroad are vital. It is easy to start off on the wrong foot and then have to spend time and effort to get back on track. In addition, different freight railroads have very different preferences on when they want to become involved in a passenger rail initia- tive on one of their corridors. Some prefer to be involved from the earliest stages, and others do not want to devote resources to discussions before a detailed proposal is on the table. To add con- fusion, preferences may change over time, from region to region, or be situational, depending on the characteristics of the corridor under consideration. The key parameters for decisions about this initial approach are: • Is the service Amtrak intercity or commuter, as discussed previously? • Does the host railroad prefer or require early engagement, when plans are being formed, or later engagement, after a more detailed plan has been developed? • Does the passenger agency or other state agency have an existing relationship with the prospective host railroad? The sequence of communication activities with the railroad are illustrated in Figure 2-1. The question of when to first approach the host railroad has the potential to cause difficulty for passenger rail agencies. A majority of passenger rail agencies state that they prefer early engage- ment on the grounds that the railroad will learn plan details directly from the agency rather than from press reports and railroad concerns and possible deal breakers will be identified early in the planning process. Proponents of later engagement feel that early engagement puts the railroad in a strong negotiating position against an unprepared agency team, and they advise waiting until a thorough feasibility plan is available and funding has been secured. However, late engagement also has risks and disadvantages; in particular, the feasibility study may not fully take into account railroad concerns and objections in the absence of railroad inputs. This Guidebook strongly advises early contact with the host railroad, in cooperation with Amtrak if the service is Amtrak intercity. The passenger agency should emphasize that this is an informational contact to acquaint the host railroad with the agency’s initial plans, request cooper- ation with a feasibility study, and identify major concerns. The agency should resist any attempt to 18 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

be drawn into negotiations or agree to specific conditions for the proposed service at this stage. The response should be that specific needs for the service will be analyzed in the feasibility study and the railroad will be invited to participate in the analysis. If, after this initial contact, the railroad states that it prefers later engagement in this project after a detailed plan is available, then so be it. It is unlikely that a railroad will feel unable to par- ticipate even in a limited fashion, such as providing route data for the feasibility study, and the passenger agency can keep the railroad updated on progress and developments. Getting Started and Negotiations 19 Figure 2-1. Sequence for communicating with the freight railroads. Commuter Do More Homework: • Contact other passenger rail agencies that have or are in the process of implementing passenger rail service with the same host railroad, and get their inputs on what was and was not successful. • Contact other state agencies that may have relationships with the prospective host railroad, such as providing grants under a state freight mobility program, industrial development, or similar activity, and become informed about these programs and their contacts in the host railroad. • Prepare an outlined plan for the overall process—initial planning, feasibility studies, NEPA analyses (where applicable), railroad negotiations, grant applications, etc. (if not already available). Amtrak Intercity • Meet with Amtrak officials responsible for state-supported services in the region • Present initial plans for the proposed service – number of daily trains, trip time targets, etc. • Follow Amtrak’s lead regarding the best approach to the host railroad. • Note that Amtrak has operating agreements in place with all Class 1 freight railroads and many others, and may have infrastructure and operations information for the corridor in which you are interested. • Establish scope of feasibility study for the proposed service and who will complete each component. Because Amtrak has limited resources, the passenger rail agency will have to use its own staff and consultants to perform the study. • With Amtrak support and participation, approach railroad with initial plans, and request cooperation in a feasibility study. • If necessary, retain an experienced consultant to assist with approach to railroad. • Arrange informational meeting with the railroad’s passenger service liaison (all the big Class 1’s have such an official) or a senior official of a regional or short line railroad. Emphasize informational nature of meeting. The passenger agency is not entering into negotiations at this stage. The initial meeting is a prelude to proper study and analysis of the proposed service. • Acquaint the railroad with the initial plans for passenger service and outline the program moving forward. • Ask for cooperation in a feasibility study, at least as far as providing infrastructure and operations data for the proposed corridor and key issues that must be considered from the host railroad point-of-view. • Ask what ongoing involvement the railroad wants in the planning and negotiation process (early and often, wait until plans are mature, or something in between). Implement Feasibility Study

Another factor in facilitating agreements may be the state’s freight rail transportation programs. Many states have a freight rail program aimed at enhancing rail access for the region’s industry and commerce and preserving lower-volume rail service where it is important to the local economy. In addition, state and local government agencies interact with freight railroads in many areas other than direct support for rail facilities and may have a number of discussions in progress at any one time. In some cases, it may be possible to incorporate both passenger and freight elements into a combined transportation initiative involving the freight railroad. In other areas, it may be possible to leverage a positive relationship with a freight railroad to enhance the chance of reaching agree- ment on a passenger rail project. 2.3.2 The Feasibility Study After the initial contacts with the railroad, the next step in developing a new passenger rail ser- vice is to perform a feasibility study or build on existing studies to include detailed analysis of the proposed route, service, and operations. The feasibility study is a vital step in moving from plan- ning and informational contacts with the host railroad to substantive negotiations. This discus- sion concentrates on aspects of a feasibility study relevant to negotiations with the host railroad and Amtrak. The inputs for the feasibility study include any prior studies for passenger rail in the region served by the proposed service, the State Rail Plan (where available), the vision for the proposed service, any other previous studies, and railroad inputs. The scope and objectives for the study would have been discussed between the passenger rail agency, the host railroad, and Amtrak where applicable, at initial meetings. They are likely to include the following elements: • A staged plan for the introduction and growth of the proposed service. This plan includes target journey times, planned station locations, daily trips with target departure times in each direction, and anticipated freight service on the corridor at each stage. It is assumed that passen- ger ridership and revenue estimates are available, indicating that the planned level of service at each would be adequately patronized, but this is not specifically part of an operational feasibil- ity study. There does not have to be a schedule for implementing each stage, only a logical pro- gression toward a final goal. • Plans for infrastructure investments that would enable each stage of service growth to be implemented while providing adequate facilities to meet the host railroad’s goals for freight service. The investments will include track quality upgrades, signal system upgrades, grade crossing warning system improvements, crossing consolidations and grade separations, the addition of passing sidings and/or a second track where required, and similar matters. Signal system requirements for positive train control (PTC) and for speeds over 79 mph must be included. • Plans for station locations and facilities. These plans will include what buildings and facilities (such as parking lots) are planned, access to the station for vehicles or pedestrians (especially where access routes cross active tracks), safety of passengers while at the station and boarding trains, and whether the passenger rail agency plans to acquire railroad property for station buildings and facilities. • An initial capital cost estimate for the first stage in developing the proposed service and an outline of cost estimates for later stages. The capital cost estimates should include costs to be borne by the passenger agency and the host railroad, where applicable. • Initial estimates for operations and maintenance costs at each level of service. As for capital costs, estimates should be detailed for the first stage and may be preliminary for later stages. • Plans for funding capital and operating expenses, including from federal grant programs, where applicable, as well as from state and local sources. 20 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

• Requirements for passenger cars and locomotives or self-propelled passenger cars to support the proposed services, including number of vehicles, performance requirements (e.g., top speed, power/weight ratios), whether or not electrification is planned at some stage, and whether the passenger rail agency or Amtrak will provide equipment. The approach for a typical feasibility study is illustrated in Figure 2-2. Some observations about the feasibility study follow: • If at all possible, the host railroad should be closely involved in the feasibility study to facilitate buy-in with the results. This involvement will help speed up the substantive negotiations and Getting Started and Negotiations 21 Figure 2-2. Steps for completing a passenger rail service feasibility study. Getting Started Finalize scope and objectives in consultation with host railroad and Amtrak. Select consultant (if required) and define participation by railroad and/or Amtrak, including participation in oversight or review group, provision of data, and involvement in analysis. Prepare detailed work plan for study. Gather Data Gather existing route information—number of tracks, location of passing sidings and industry connections, signal systems, grades and curvature, posted speeds, etc. Gather existing freight and passenger traffic information (if any)—schedules and types of trains (through or local freight, intercity or commuter). Perform Operations Analyses Perform preliminary capacity analyses and operations simulations, as discussed in Section 3.2. Perform train operations analysis to estimate car and locomotive needs. Perform capital cost analysis, as discussed in Section 3.3, including for passenger stations and maintenance facilities. Perform operations and maintenance cost analysis, as discussed in Section 3.4. Define Service Goals Target journey times and station locations. Identify desired number of daily trips. Set expected accommodations on train. Identify needs for each stage of service development. Service quality—on-time performance, maximum delays Document Results Gather results for each service development stage, which include: Proposed physical infrastructure investments (track upgrades, sidings and double track, signal systems, etc.). Investment cost. Expected service performance. Operations and maintenance costs. Passenger car and locomotive requirements.

reduce the chance that further analyses will be required to address points raised by the railroad that were not fully covered in the feasibility study. • The operations analysis is likely to be the critical step in the analysis, as it will define what is and is not possible on the corridor and the capital cost of achieving service goals. Capacity and operations analyses generally use models that simulate train operations (see Section 3.2) to determine what infrastructure improvements are needed to accommodate defined passenger and freight service. The process usually starts with a professional estimate of what is needed for the initial service, then progressively adds investments to increase speeds in slow areas and elim- inate bottlenecks. The process ends when desired journey times are achieved and total delays are at acceptable levels for both passenger and freight operations. The analysis is repeated for each stage in proposed service development. Although capacity analysis can be costly and time con- suming on a busy and complex corridor, this need not be the case on simpler corridors. For example, the analyses for the Downeaster service were accomplished with simple train perform- ance calculations (for journey time and scheduling) and manual string chart analysis (for capac- ity). The string charts were used to determine the placement of additional passing sidings. • It is essential to consider rolling stock needs in the feasibility study. The host railroad will want to know what is proposed in case there are operations and safety issues, and train power-to- weight ratio and traction characteristics affect performance. If an operation exceeding 79 mph or the use of non-FRA-compliant equipment is under consideration, both the FRA Office of Safety and the host railroad will need to agree to the proposed operation, including the required PTC capabilities. Also, unless Amtrak can confirm the availability of equipment for when initial service starts, the passenger agency may have to acquire new or second-hand equipment, which can be a lengthy process. • Under RSIA of 2008, and currently proposed FRA regulations for its implementation, most intercity and commuter passenger corridors must be equipped with PTC or its equivalent. If the corridor is not already in the host railroad’s PTC program, it will have to be added in most cases, and the railroad’s installation plans modified accordingly. These plans and presumably any subsequent modifications must be approved by the FRA. The FRA is still finalizing PTC requirements and procedures, and those involved with a passenger rail initiative must track developments and be ready to incorporate the requirements into investment plans, cost esti- mates, and implementation schedules. The FRA may impose additional train control, opera- tions, and safety requirements (for example, at grade crossings) if the use of non-compliant equipment is proposed or speeds are in excess of 79 mph. 2.4 Substantive Negotiations Substantive negotiations regarding shared corridor access, operations, and costs can begin when the feasibility study is complete, preferably with buy-in from the host railroad, or at least an indi- cation that proposed infrastructure upgrades will be sufficient to allow the planned initial service as well as to meet legitimate freight railroad service requirements. As always, negotiations for intercity service that makes use of Amtrak’s access rights must involve Amtrak. Because several of the issues that have to be negotiated are likely to be already covered by existing Amtrak–host railroad agreements, and others can follow established Amtrak practice, negotiations for a new intercity service are usually much simpler than for commuter service. With commuter service, the passenger rail agency, with its professional advisors, must conduct negoti- ations directly with the host railroad. Before individual technical issues that are likely to be factors in the negotiations are discussed, the following general points about the approach to negotiations should be considered: • Keep negotiations focused on thorough analyses of capacity, operations, and costs to find prac- tical solutions that meet all parties’ needs. As far as possible, avoid being drawn into arguments 22 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

based on anecdote and preconceived attitudes; rather, insist on addressing issues using mutually acceptable analysis methods to resolve questions and problems. A listing of spe- cific, technically described benchmarks for acceptable standards of service and infrastruc- ture should be developed and endorsed by each of the stakeholders in advance of the technical analysis. • It is important to keep the discussions with the railroad confidential and mutually respect- ful until an agreement is reached. Many interviewees reported that confidentiality is criti- cal to successful negotiations. Neither party will want disagreements exposed and debated in the press, nor will they want to expose confidential information concerning the rail- road’s business that may be discussed during negotiations. This confidentiality may be counter to the instincts of public officials who are used to working in the public eye and need to keep parent government departments, legislators, and the public adequately informed. In some states, “sunshine” laws may require disclosure but will allow exceptions where they can be justified. The best plan is for the negotiating parties to agree at the outset on how and when information will be communicated to the public and to address any “sunshine law” requirements up front. The specific technical issues that are typically addressed in negotiations are: • Passenger service parameters—such as number of trips, journey time, and reliability—and the planned service evolution. • Specific services to be provided by host railroad and other entities. • Access agreements and cost of access, separate from infrastructure improvements. This issue primarily affects commuter service. Amtrak intercity access is usually covered by existing agreements. • Infrastructure investments needed to provide adequate capacity to meet capacity and journey time requirements. • Station requirements—locations, facilities required, interface with shared railroad tracks and operations. • Contracting arrangements for executing infrastructure projects as associated costs. • O&M costs (primarily for commuter service). • Liability. The following section addresses the technical issues and suggests approaches the passenger agency can follow to secure a satisfactory agreement. It does not detail typical provisions of the final agreement between the passenger agency and host railroad—those are provided in Chapter 4—but rather discusses the process of getting from service plans detailed in the feasibility study to an agree- ment to operate the planned service on the host railroad. 2.4.1 Defining What the Passenger Agency Needs The passenger agency needs the following items going into the substantive negotiations with the railroad: • A reasonably long-term plan—20 to 25 years into the future—for the proposed service, prefer- ably based on a state or regional long-term rail plan for both passenger and freight service. For example, if the ultimate goal is eight round trips per day to be reached over several years in var- ious stages, as funding and ridership growth permit, then this goal should be clearly stated in the plan, even if only two round trips will be operated at first. Only negotiating for the two trips and returning to develop new agreements for added trips is cumbersome, time consuming, and costly and could lead to failure. • Ideally, a thorough feasibility study, appropriate to the scale of the proposed service, that estab- lishes reasonable expectations for service, expected ridership and revenue, the associated track Getting Started and Negotiations 23

improvements, and capital and operating costs. The feasibility study should also include expected growth in freight traffic to ensure that freight operations will not be impacted by the passenger service. • Regardless of the level of detail in the feasibility study, a clear description of service expecta- tions at each stage in its development, to include the following: – Number of daily round trips and approximate departure times in each direction. For exam- ple, with an intercity corridor, departures may be spread throughout the day, but commuter trips would be concentrated in morning and evening rush hours. – Station stop locations and facilities and planned journey times. – Service quality parameters, such as acceptable percentages of host-responsible delayed or cancelled trains, or average host-responsible delay per train. • For an intercity service to be operated by Amtrak using Amtrak’s access, Amtrak partici- pation in negotiations. The access agreement will be with Amtrak, which will operate the trains, usually with financial support from the state passenger rail agency. Therefore, an initial agreement with Amtrak to participate in negotiations is required. No such agree- ment is needed for commuter service, even if the passenger agency is considering Amtrak as a contract operator. • Assured funding or at least a politically feasible plan to assemble capital and operating funds for the proposed service. A host railroad may be reluctant to negotiate unless it can see that funding is secured, or at least that the funding process is well advanced and the proposed ser- vice plans are credible given the funding status. • A preliminary specification of the services desired from the host railroad. Dispatching and infrastructure inspection and maintenance are almost always provided by the host railroad. The passenger agency may be interested in other support, for example with train operations. Some railroads actively prefer to be responsible for operations, so that they do not have to work with a third-party contract operator. Some passenger rail agencies, for their own reasons, may be interested in operating a demon- stration service prior to implementing full-scale service. The service trial is intended to demon- strate feasibility to stakeholders and build support for the full service. The following services are examples where this approach was taken: • The “Try-Rail” demonstration service on the Seattle to Tacoma route in Washington State, which preceded full implementation of the Sounder services. • The initial service of the Altamont Commuter Express in northern California. • The first route of the Music City Star commuter service in Nashville, Tennessee, implemented on a state-owned short line rather than a Class 1 freight railroad to reduce cost and speed up implementation. The advantages of the demonstration service approach are that the service can be imple- mented quickly and at modest cost; manageable with only local funding; provide all stake- holders with evidence of success that can be leveraged to increase funding from local, state, and federal sources; demonstrate feasibility and competence in freight railroad negotiations, etc. The downside is that the demonstration could fail and damage future prospects for pas- senger rail in the area. Also, note that demonstration service projects are far more easily arranged on light-density or short-line properties where disruption to the normal flow of freight traffic is at a minimum. Some Class 1 carriers will categorically deny “trial” operations out of fear that downstream politics surrounding a service proposal will become ever more difficult to keep in balance with the need for freight service capacity. In this case, it is proba- bly better to present the service as the first stage in a multi-stage development and work out an access agreement that accommodates all stages, even when timing and funding for future stages is uncertain. 24 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

2.4.2 The Access Agreement and Infrastructure Improvements The Access Arrangement The first issue to negotiate with the host railroad is the basic access arrangement for the cor- ridor of interest. There are sharp differences between access for Amtrak intercity service and access for a commuter service. Amtrak. Amtrak intercity service has the right of access. A host railroad cannot simply refuse to accommodate a new intercity service but can seek mitigation in the event that passenger ser- vice requirements would unreasonably impair freight operations. The likely scenario would be that the freight railroad would indicate that it is unable to provide the desired service performance on a busy corridor, even with passenger train dispatching priority, leading to a negotiation on what infrastructure and operations management improvements would be required. A freight rail- road corridor that does not support an existing passenger service is unlikely to have both suffi- cient capacity and physical capability to support a high-quality passenger operation. This means in most cases that the passenger agency must fund infrastructure improvements. In most cases, Amtrak intercity service operate over corridors owned by freight railroads, plus a few segments owned by commuter rail agencies. The principal exceptions are the NEC, major passenger terminals, and a segment of the Chicago to Detroit corridor. New Amtrak intercity ser- vices are likely to also be operated over infrastructure owned by other parties. In a few instances, where freight traffic is low and extensive infrastructure improvements are required, it may be more attractive for the passenger rail agency to acquire the corridor or adopt one of the other alter- native approaches, as discussed in the commuter rail section below. Commuter Rail. Commuter rail has no right of access and must negotiate at arm’s length with the host railroad. Access will be provided at a cost to the commuter rail agency separate from shar- ing operating and maintenance costs. Without Amtrak’s access rights, access costs can be high, prompting passenger rail agencies to seek alternative approaches. Several access models exist, depending on local circumstances, up to and including acquisition of the rail corridor from the prospective host. Because grants are available for capital costs, commuter agencies almost always prefer the access payment to be in the form of a one-time capital investment rather than ongoing payments for train- miles operated. Approaches for securing access include the following options: • Access Existing Track. The passenger rail agency can negotiate access to existing freight tracks, which on already busy routes may require added capacity and track and signal system upgrades. This approach makes the most sense where the corridor is a key link in a freight network and the owner will not consider a sale. It is also the approach commonly taken for intercity services, because the desired routes are less likely to be realistic purchase candidates and often carry sub- stantial freight traffic. Within this general category, there are three approaches to ensuring that passenger service requirements can be met: – Pay a lump sum for a perpetual easement on a freight railroad corridor to operate a speci- fied passenger rail service. The agreement specifies the number of trips, journey time, and schedules, but the railroad takes responsibility for selecting the infrastructure improvements needed to deliver the service. The Sounder service north from Seattle to Everett, Washington, took this approach. – Fund agreed-upon infrastructure improvements in the corridor to meet passenger service requirements. This approach is probably the most common where purchase of the line from the host freight railroad is not a realistic option. – Pay for access as an ongoing usage payment, based on train-miles operated. An example of this approach is the Sounder service from Seattle southward to Tacoma, Washington. This approach means that access must be paid for as an ongoing operating expense. Getting Started and Negotiations 25

• Expand Existing Arrangements. If the project is for further development of an existing ser- vice, the usual approach is to expand on existing arrangements with the freight railroad and make whatever infrastructure investments necessary to provide the required capacity and facil- ities. However, intervening developments in both passenger and freight traffic may be such that the parties decide to negotiate a new agreement on a different basis. An example of this is the commuter rail service between Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. When first established, this service operated over CSX Corporation (formerly Conrail) track between Framingham and Worcester. More recently, changing conditions, including service quality problems on CSX ter- ritory, the likelihood that a CSX intermodal terminal in Boston will be relocated, and a desire to increase passenger train frequencies, have led to proposals for MBTA, the operating agency, to acquire the right-of-way (ROW) with CSX continuing to provide freight service. • Purchase the Rail Corridor. Provided the passenger volume is adequate (probably a minimum of eight to ten round trips per day for all services in the medium term) and it is not a key freight corridor, then it can make sense for the passenger agency to purchase the corridor. The freight railroad would continue to have access to the line for freight service. The advantage for the pas- senger operator is that access is guaranteed, and the advantages for the freight railroad are that it receives a substantial up-front payment for the corridor that can be invested elsewhere on its system. The availability of a corridor for purchase depends on how the freight railroad views the future use of the line. The Class 1 railroads are still active in mergers and spin-offs, purchasing regional railroads to extend their service territory and selling lines to concentrate their efforts on high-volume corridors. This approach has been widely used in the past, for example by Los Angeles Metrolink, and has generally been successful. An issue that has arisen is that the freight railroad may later want to operate more trains on the passenger-owned corridor than was expected at the time of the original agreement. It is important to be explicit regarding future freight access in the purchase negotiations. The agreement should spell out any limits on freight use (number of trains, time- of-day restrictions, etc.) and how a request to expand freight use beyond the agreed-upon lim- its should be managed and financed. A very recent example of a line purchase is a proposed agreement by Florida DOT in conjunction with the Central Florida Commuter Rail agency to purchase 61.5 miles of CSX’s A-Line from De Land through Orlando to Kissimmee, Florida, for a proposed commuter service. The purchase agreement was accompanied by a related agree- ment to help CSX upgrade the parallel S-Line for diverted trains and establish a new intermodal terminal at Winter Haven between Orlando and Tampa. • Acquire Space on Existing Freight Railroad Rights-of-Way and Build Parallel Track. Another approach is to purchase or lease space in the freight railroads ROW for an exclusive passenger track or tracks. This option is available where the ROW is wide enough and the freight railroad does not expect to need the space for additional sidings or running tracks. In the past, this option has been used most often for heavy rail transit service (such as in Atlanta, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; and more recently for commuter service in the Salt Lake City and Denver areas). Freight railroad concerns about accident liability have sometimes led to purchase conditions requiring high minimum lateral separation between passenger rail operations and active freight lines, or restrictions on the kinds of equipment that the passenger operation can use. These conditions sometimes make the parallel track option infeasible, especially if the agency is considering the use of non-FRA-compliant passenger equipment. Some corridors originally planned as a light rail transit service have been converted to conventional commuter rail using FRA-compliant vehicles to meet freight railroad purchase conditions. An example is the proposed Gold Line commuter service in Denver. Although the parallel track approach has mostly been applied to commuter rail or rail tran- sit developments, it has also been proposed as a way of providing a higher-speed passenger track in a freight railroad corridor. Examples include the long-range plans for a third passenger- exclusive track over portions of the Cascade corridor in Washington State. The track would be 26 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

built and maintained to passenger rail standards and practices, for example, FRA Track Class 6 or higher, higher maximum superelevation on curves, and an FRA-acceptable PTC system for the planned speeds. With freight use limited to emergencies and maintenance activities, over- all costs are expected to be much lower than for a mixed-traffic high-speed line. A similar approach has been suggested for portions of the planned Midwest high-speed network. Unfortunately, commuter rail agencies do not have much leverage in access negotiations. A host freight railroad may take the position that existing freight capacity must be maintained, even during passenger service peak operations periods. As well as insisting on thorough analysis of capacity issues, as described in the following paragraphs and in Chapter 3, a commuter (and inter- city) passenger rail agency can identify other agencies in its state that have dealings with the rail- road to leverage existing relationships or develop a joint program, where appropriate. If all else fails, the agency could make use of non-binding mediation by the STB. Infrastructure Improvements Except where a passenger rail agency proposes to purchase an easement from the host railroad and will not be involved in infrastructure improvement details, the passenger rail agency, host railroad, and Amtrak (if intercity service) must reach agreement on infrastructure improvements needed to support each passenger service development stage. Every effort should be made to ensure the discussions focus on practical solutions to operating problems, supported by thorough and credible analysis. Objections by the host railroad are best countered by analysis to quantify the problem and identify solutions. In the case of Amtrak intercity service where there are dis- putes over the necessity of specific projects, if these issues cannot be resolved in negotiation, they can be taken to the National Arbitration Panel (NAP) or the STB for resolution. Chapter 3 pro- vides details of capacity and train performance analyses that are used to support infrastructure improvement decisions. Some other points on infrastructure improvements are: • The staged infrastructure investment plan must be designed to accommodate expected growth for the planned passenger service development. It may also be helpful to include expected freight growth in the analysis, if any, so that the parties are aware of potential freight-related investment needs and plans that coordinate shared investments to benefit both host and tenant. • Beyond the initial investment for the first stage in passenger service development, there must be a process for regular reevaluation of the infrastructure investment plan to adjust as external circumstances change. • While infrastructure investments will be required on most corridors in order to obtain desired service quality for a new passenger rail service, this may not always be the case. Much depends on the current use of the corridor. If the corridor already accommodates passenger service, then it may be possible to add further trips without investments. An example is the portion of the Boston, Massachusetts, to Portland, Maine, Downeaster service operated over MBTA com- muter lines in Massachusetts. The five daily round trips were added to existing commuter and limited freight operations on these lines with no investments, although with some time-of-day limitations. • The infrastructure investments must be tied explicitly to a specific passenger service frequency (planned number of trips) and performance level (scheduled trip time, average delay minutes, etc.). A staged program, where specific projects and the associated funding are tied to each fre- quency increment and/or journey time reduction in the master agreement, has worked well in the past. Absent this specificity, the passenger agency may fail to realize the expected benefits from its investments. On at least one occasion, a railroad accepted infrastructure funds that the funding agency expected would be used to support a specific service frequency without mak- ing an explicit agreement. The railroad then limited frequency at a lower level than the agency expected and required further investment to meet the original passenger service goal. Getting Started and Negotiations 27

• Passenger station requirements raise a number of unique issues for infrastructure investments and train operations. The passenger agency will likely need to purchase or lease land from the host railroad for station buildings and parking areas. Stations will need vehicular and pedes- trian access, which may involve crossing active tracks. For safety reasons, pedestrian crossings at grade are considered very hazardous and may not be permitted in some situations. Grade- separated pedestrian crossings are costly and raise Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility issues. Another primary issue for shared operations is providing adequate phys- ical clearance for freight operations, at the same time as meeting ADA requirements for boarding trains. Some aspects of safety are likely to arise that can affect proposed passenger operations. Liability fears may cause a freight railroad host to restrict the use of non-FRA-compliant passenger equip- ment, even on parallel tracks and independent of FRA approvals. Operation of freight trains through passenger stations while passenger trains are loading may be restricted, depending on sta- tion layout, which can affect capacity. The FRA may impose conditions on some operations, espe- cially those over 79 mph, relating to PTC capabilities, track-to-track separation, and roadway worker activities, etc. All these matters must be resolved and factored into operations analyses and infrastructure improvement plans. 2.4.3 Capital and Operations and Maintenance Costs Most of the technical issues relating to estimating capital and operating costs and how they should be shared between the host railroad and the passenger service are discussed in Chapter 3. This section discusses how and where these estimates play into negotiations with the host railroad. Capital Costs Capital costs are for infrastructure improvements to add capacity to a rail corridor and to upgrade track and signal systems to support the desired passenger service performance. Earlier stages in the negotiation will have provided a list of projects needed for each passenger service development stage and to accommodate forecast freight traffic. Estimates of the cost of each proj- ect will likely be developed by the host railroad, because it will be the contractor for the work (see Sections 4.3.5 and 4.4.4 for Amtrak intercity and commuter service, respectively). The negotiations will center on the share of project costs, if any, to be contributed by the host railroad. Generally, the host railroad will be more willing to consider contributing a share of the investment cost if the proposed project provides tangible benefits to freight operations and is aligned with the host rail- road’s business and investment plans. It is harder to convince a host freight railroad to contribute if the benefits are limited and/or if the corridor is not a key link in its network. It may take the posi- tion that other investments have a higher priority. In most cases, the passenger rail agency must contract directly with the host railroad for capital improvements to track signals and structures. Many railroads have labor agreements that restrict the use of non-railroad contractors for specific kinds of work, independent of the funding source. Also, on an active railroad, railroad managers must coordinate construction work with train oper- ations. Even on projects for an intercity corridor, Amtrak is not normally involved with capital improvement projects unless it is the owner of the corridor. Operations and Maintenance Costs In the case of Amtrak intercity service, Amtrak has existing operating agreements with most railroads, which can be extended or adapted for a new corridor, depending on the circumstances at that time and place. The passenger rail agency is an interested party, as it will be compensating Amtrak for costs not covered by fare box receipts, but Amtrak and the host railroad are the prin- cipals in the negotiation. If Amtrak and the host railroad cannot agree, they can ask the NAP or 28 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

the STB to resolve the dispute. The host railroad is required to accommodate Amtrak intercity service at avoidable cost. In the case of commuter service, the passenger agency will be expected to contribute its share of total O&M costs. Technical aspects of estimating total O&M costs and sharing these costs between multiple rail corridor users are discussed in Chapter 3. Generally the share of total costs is higher than the incremental increase of O&M costs when passenger service is added. This share is higher because a railroad incurs a number of costs as soon as it is put into service and before any trains run. Examples are basic inspection costs and the cost of vegetation control, which are unre- lated to traffic level and traffic mix. These “fixed” costs are allocated between users on the basis of a corridor-use parameter such as train-miles or ton-miles, depending on which can be most closely linked to the cost. 2.5 The Liability Issue Liability concerns can be a major barrier to the introduction of passenger rail services and one of the most difficult issues to resolve in negotiations. It is also a highly complex subject, where the nature and cost of liability coverage depends on the operator (Amtrak or another operator), state and federal laws that cap liability in different circumstances, and the type of host railroad. A short-line or regional railroad may have very different requirements than a Class 1 freight railroad with “deep pockets.” The following is an outline discussion of liability issues. For a more in-depth analysis, the reader is referred to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (Commuter Rail: Many Factors Influence Liability and Indemnity Provisions and Options Exist to Facilitate Negotiations. GAO-09-282, February 2009). Most of the discussion in the following sec- tions and in the GAO report is related to commuter rail operations. Amtrak has long-standing lia- bility and indemnification arrangements with its host freight railroads and is also able to appeal to the STB to resolve disputes. Amtrak intercity services, therefore, face far fewer liability problems than a commuter operation. Note that this Guidebook cannot offer legal advice or advocate policy changes to help com- muter rail agencies with the liability issue. Agencies are strongly advised to retain knowledge- able legal support on this issue and to read the GAO report, which does contain some policy suggestions. 2.5.1 The National Liability Situation and Amtrak Liability limitations for passenger rail operators under current law were enacted as part of the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act (ARAA) of 1997. The ARAA limits the liability for personal injury to, or death of, a passenger or damage to a passenger’s property. This provision, codified at 49 United States Code (U.S.C.) §28103, applies to any passenger rail operation, including all com- muter operators and Amtrak, and is independent of corridor ownership. The statute limits the aggregate allowable awards to all passengers against all defendants for all claims arising from a single accident or incident up to $200 million. It also authorizes passenger rail service providers to enter into contracts to allocate financial responsibility for claims, and it mandates that Amtrak maintain minimum liability insurance coverage of $200 million. Finally, the statute contains lim- itations on punitive damages (clear and convincing evidence of gross negligence is required) and provides that any such damages shall be included within the $200 million maximum. Note that the $200 million limit only applies to passengers and their property, not to railroad employees (to whom Federal Employers Liability Act provisions apply) or to injuries to third parties and other property losses arising from the accident. Getting Started and Negotiations 29

However, this law is relatively new and has yet to be tested in the courts. Questions remain over the extent to which indemnification agreements can protect a freight railroad in a case of gross negligence and whether the $200 million limit would be upheld in such cases. For this rea- son, freight railroads are asking for liability insurance levels up to $500 million for some com- muter rail operations. Almost all Amtrak liability and insurance arrangements with host railroads are “no fault.” In nearly all of these arrangements, Amtrak is responsible for damage to its property (such as pas- senger cars and locomotives) and injury or death of its employees, contractors, and passengers (including “meeters and greeters”), as well as grade crossing accidents involving its trains. The host railroad is responsible for harm to trespassers and its own employees and for any liability not expressly assumed by Amtrak. Generally, Amtrak compensates host railroads for this residual lia- bility at a given rate per train-mile. Residual liability was one of the subjects that had to be resolved with Guilford Rail System prior to starting the Downeaster Boston, Massachusetts, to Portland, Maine, service. In the Guilford case, the STB pointed out that the rate offered by Amtrak was not deemed compensatory. However, most arrangements require the host railroad to assume this risk and accept the rate per train-mile offered by Amtrak. 2.5.2 Non-Amtrak Passenger Rail Service Operators and Agencies Commuter rail services, whether operated under contract by Amtrak or not, have to make their own liability and insurance agreements with the host railroads, although they are covered by the 1997 ARAA liability limit. These agreements vary widely, depending on the type of host railroad, whether the operator is a state agency or contractor, and state law regarding liability limits. The GAO in Commuter Rail (GAO-09-282) provides a list of the basic provisions for com- muter rail liability arrangements. In addition, many existing agreements were signed many years ago and may not be representative of what could be negotiated today. Given the huge variabil- ity, common themes are difficult to extract, but an overview is provided below. The overview divides the liability question into two areas: (1) the liability coverage required or typically pro- vided and (2) how the coverage is secured and which entity takes on the financial responsibility for different types of loss. Required Liability Coverage The following points summarize what liability coverage is currently required or requested in negotiations for passenger service on freight railroad tracks, including variations where parties other than just a host and a single tenant are involved: • Major freight railroads are asking for protection against any liability that would not be present “but for” the presence of passenger trains, even events where the freight railroad or its employ- ees are shown to be grossly negligent. This means, for example, the freight railroad requires indemnification or insurance to cover all costs associated with a collision with a passenger train where the freight carrier was at fault, on the grounds that the collision would not have occurred “but for” the presence of the passenger train. • Major freight railroads are also asking for up to $500 million in liability coverage per incident. This amount would cover the maximum $200 million for passenger injuries and losses required under ARAA, plus provide coverage for all other liabilities, such as property damage, environ- mental damage, service disruption, legal costs, injuries to railroad employees, contractors, and bystanders, etc. The additional coverage also protects against the possibility that the $200 mil- lion limit in ARAA is successfully challenged in court. Some passenger operators have been able to negotiate a lower liability limit with a freight railroad than the initially required $500 million per incident. However, many operators have a lower limit in current agreements and may be faced with higher demands when the agreements are renegotiated. 30 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

• Aside from the requirements of a freight railroad hosting a passenger service, liability and insur- ance questions have to be resolved among all the other parties involved in providing passenger rail service on a given rail corridor. Depending on local circumstances, interested parties can include a state DOT that sponsors a service, a commuter rail agency, and a contract operator (Amtrak, a freight railroad, or a private firm). Amtrak is frequently involved where Amtrak is either the infrastructure owner (as in the NEC), or the intercity service operator in the same corridor. • Liability arrangements are required between two passenger rail agencies operating on the same corridor, as well as between the host railroad and each passenger operator. Where Amtrak hosts a commuter rail service, it typically requires the same “but for” liability protection as a freight railroad host. Amtrak’s position is that under applicable law it cannot accept any additional lia- bility due to the presence of another operator on its tracks, as it cannot incur any expenses that are not for qualifying intercity passenger rail service. Arrangements Made to Obtain Coverage and Who Bears the Cost As well as the $200 million limits for passenger injuries and property loss, the ARAA also gives passenger rail operators and agencies the power to enter into contracts that assign financial responsibility for liability costs. This provision was needed because of court decisions arising out of the serious collision in Chase, Maryland, in 1987. In this case, a court held that Amtrak’s indem- nification of the freight railroad against passenger-related losses (which were very large) could be set aside, on the grounds that the collision was caused by gross negligence of a freight railroad employee. This decision created great concern among freight railroads that they could not rely on indemnification agreements for passenger service. The 1997 law is intended to ensure that liability- related contractual agreements are enforceable. Liability agreements between a passenger rail agency and a host freight railroad typically con- tain the following elements or consider the following issues: • The passenger rail agency self insures for lower-consequence events, with a cap between $1 mil- lion and $20 million. The most common self-insured amounts range from $5 to $10 million per event. • Each operator is responsible for events that involve only that operator’s property and employ- ees. For example, a collision involving only freight trains on freight railroad tracks would be wholly the freight railroad’s responsibility. • In many agreements, each operator is responsible for damage to its own equipment and injuries to its employees. However, in a number of cases, the passenger rail agency agrees either to com- pensate the host railroad for such losses in an accident involving a passenger train or to obtain insurance to cover such losses. • Commercial insurance is purchased in layers from the self-insured limit up to between $100 and $200 million. The maximum is usually the liability limit agreed to with the host railroad in the access contract. Some passenger rail agencies have existing agreements where the freight railroad takes responsibility for a layer of the $200 million, for example between $10 and $85 million, regardless of fault. Such arrangements are not likely to sur- vive renegotiation. • In agreements that call for liability coverage exceeding $200 million, such as up to $500 mil- lion, insurance has to be obtained on the international market, for example from Lloyds of London. • It is important to avoid, as much as possible, agreements where liability depends on establish- ing the degree of fault to be borne by each party in individual accidents, which can lead to lengthy legal proceedings. In practice, almost all agreements are “no fault.” • The passenger rail agency must protect the passenger service contract operator from liability, whether the operator is Amtrak or a private firm. Getting Started and Negotiations 31

• It is important to ensure that insurance arrangements fully cover “passenger-on-passenger” events where two passenger operators share a corridor, whether the infrastructure is owned by a passenger operator or a freight railroad. • Many states have provisions in their constitutions or laws that prohibit state agencies from accepting liability for punitive damages and/or accepting liability for incidents where the host railroad is grossly negligent. Such provisions can be a major barrier to successful access negoti- ations when the host railroad requires exactly this coverage. Even where there are no legal or constitutional barriers, state governments and legislators often feel that accepting liability is highly inappropriate in cases of gross negligence by the host railroad. The following approaches can prevent liability issues from becoming deal breakers: – Set up an independent authority to manage the rail service that is structured so that consti- tutional or legal barriers do not apply. An example of this approach is the NNEPRA, an inde- pendent agency in Maine that oversees the Downeaster service. See Case Studies 3. – Where there are no constitutional or legal barriers, focus on getting the deal done, even if it requires agreeing with some unappealing provisions. The railroad’s insistence on “but for” protection is not unreasonable from its point of view, and a calm explanation may help defuse objections by elected and appointed officials. – Retain experienced legal counsel that can advise on these complex and specialized issues. Even when all legal issues have been successfully resolved, the insurance cost can be a major bar- rier to implementing a new commuter rail service. This situation is especially true for a small-scale new start by a passenger rail agency that has no previous record of safe operations. The GAO report cited previously says that insurance costs can comprise more than 20 percent of operating costs for such an agency. There is no easy solution to this problem at present, and the agency is advised to retain experienced legal counsel, contact other agencies for their insurance experience, establish a robust safety program for the operation, and engage a very experienced contract operator with a good safety record. CASE STUDIES 3 The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority When the development of plans for Boston, Massachusetts, to Portland, Maine, passenger rail service reached the point of starting negotiations with host rail- roads and Amtrak to implement the service, officials in the Maine government realized it would be difficult or impossible for Maine DOT to enter into the agree- ments required, most notably for liability coverage and for contracting for ROW improvements with the host railroad. NNEPRA was created as an independent agency with a separate chair, board of directors (mostly business people but with Maine DOT representation), and an executive director. It holds the contract for train operations with Amtrak, contracts with the host railroad for capital improve- ment projects, and contracts with other providers of goods and services (for exam- ple, on-board food service). NNEPRA is also able to apply for grants and loans to fund the service and service improvements, as well as receive appropriations from Maine DOT. 32 Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors

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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 657: Guidebook for Implementing Passenger Rail Service on Shared Passenger and Freight Corridors is designed to aid states in developing public–private partnerships with private freight railroads to permit operation of passenger services over shared-use rail corridors.

The guidebook explores improved principles, processes, and methods to support agreements on access, allocation of operation and maintenance costs, capacity allocation, operational issues, future responsibilities for infrastructure improvements, and other fundamental issues.

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