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December 2017
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AAR criticizes report that depicts bridges as unsafe

The Association of American Railroads lambasted a new "analysis" released today that relies on faulty assumptions and amateur evaluations to cast aspersions on the safety of rail bridges. The report was written by the Waterkeepers Alliance, an organization that is vehemently opposed to fossil fuels.  "Public safety is the freight rail industry's highest priority, which is why rail operators meticulously inspect all of the nation's rail bridges at least on an annual basis.  These bridge inspections are audited by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Evaluating rail bridges is a complicated exercise that requires specialized training.  By its own admission, the report relies solely on anecdotal visual observations by untrained Waterkeeper members rather than professional bridge safety experts to draw conclusions about rail bridges.  This is a highly misguided and misleading method of judging the structural integrity of a rail bridge.  As the FRA has noted, many bridges were built to handle loads that exceed what they carry today, regardless of their appearance or age. The only real conclusion to draw from this report is that it is an ideological document to advance its authors' goal of eradicating fossil fuels.