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Railroad Safety

Class One Rail Car Loadings Plummet The Last 17 Years

The number of carloads moved by U.S. Class One railroads has dropped dramatically over the course of the past 17 years. In 2006, the Class Ones moved 32.1 million carloads, while in 2023, they moved just 24.4 million, a 24% decline. Statistics are available through the American Association of Railroads (AAR) and Statista. Meantime, these railroads have made exorbitant profits and engaged in massive stock buybacks to boost the price of their shares, at the same time that the workforce has been decimated, customer service has suffered, Amtrak on-time performance has declined, and safety has been downgraded.

Corporate Cash Derails Train Safety Bill

The company that manufactured the toxic chemicals that were released and incinerated in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment this winter gave $2 million to the primary Senate GOP super PAC as bipartisan rail safety legislation stalled in Congress. The manufacturer, Occidental Petroleum, has been lobbying on rail and tank car safety, and its lobbying group, the American Chemistry Council — which also donated $250,000 to the main House GOP super PAC — had pushed for changes weakening the bill in committee. The railroad legislation, introduced in the immediate aftermath of the East Palestine disaster, was once seen as the first real shot at imposing new regulations on the railroad industry in years.
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