It's much too soon to panic, but I did send this inquiry to the US Federal Railroad Administration.
Dear FRA,Your 4/9 press release says: "WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced its intention to issue a proposed rule requiring two-person train crews on crude oil trains and establishing minimum crew size standards for most main line freight and passenger rail operations." The rest of the press release is about the safety risks of big oil trains, which gives the appearance that this reference to passenger rail was added at the last minute.The language creates a reasonable suspicion you are about to ban one-person crews on urban commuter rail services regulated by the FRA, which usually fall within FRA's use of the term "passenger rail". While the text is unclear about what "minimum crew size" standard it proposes for "passenger rail", it makes no sense that you would need to "establish minimum crew size standards" if the intended minimum were 1.Your release mentions later that the rule is expected to contain "appropriate exceptions." It would be wise to give the transit and urban development worlds some assurance that you don't plan to shut down the possibility of one-person-crew urban transit — using FRA-regulated rail corridors — through this rule. Such services — similar to existing commuter rail but with higher frequency and smaller vehicles — are one of the best hopes for cost-effective new rail transit in the US.