In the past three years, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued two significant new regulations covering the qualification and operation of passenger railroad equipment. The 1998 Track Safety Standards and 1999 Passenger Equipment Safety Standards provide comprehensive requirements for the qualification and operation of passenger equipment. Among many safety issues, these standards address the response of rolling stock at speed to track deviations, and the potential for derailment and/or injury to passengers. The principles contained in the Safety Standards are also used by FRA to evaluate safety performance of vehicles for operation at high cant deficiency for speeds less than 90 mph as part of FRA’s waiver process. This paper describes the types of static and dynamic tests and equipment that are required with respect to vehicle-track interaction to demonstrate compliance of new equipment with the Standards, and the technical fundamentals behind the requirements. Examples include the National Railroad Passenger Corporation’s (Amtrak’s) experiences in applying for waivers and qualifying new equipment under these regulations, particularly the high cant deficiency testing of the Talgo train in the Pacific Northwest, and the high-speed and high cant deficiency testing of Maryland Rail Commuter’s (MARC’s) MARC-III bi-level cars, Acela Express trainsets and Amtrak’s high-horsepower electric locomotives in the Northeast Corridor. In addition, technical data and procedures necessary to have existing equipment approved for operation at higher speed or cant deficiency are also described. This paper highlights nuances of the new regulations and common misinterpretations.

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