A renewed interest in expanding passenger service on rail in the US faces challenges and opportunities in that most of the railroads are privately owned. Up to this point railroad network capacity has kept up with demand relatively well. However, signs of strain are apparent looking into the future as freight volumes increase with globalization and conflicts with passenger trains increase with the addition of more intercity and commuter lines. Case studies were conducted to understand the relationship between passenger and freight operations in the US and to identify areas of conflict and opportunities for improvement. Common conflicts arise from differing objectives and include cost sharing, safety, liability and infrastructure needs. Currently, public agencies and railroad companies deal with these conflicts through an outdated regulatory framework that in many cases does not serve the interests of either party; improvements here are possible. Additionally, a greater use of hybrid agreements where government agencies fund capacity improvements for passenger and freight operations simultaneously may offer the best approach for dealing with these conflicts and adapting the rail network to meet demands into the future.

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