Other Countries Have High-Speed Trains. We Have Deadly Accidents and Crumbling Infrastructure

 Emegency crews work at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017 in DuPont, Washington. At least six people were killed when a passenger train car plunged from the bridge. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) Emegency crews work at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017, in DuPont, Washington. (Photo: Stephen Brashear / Getty Images)

Japan’s high-speed bullet train system carries 1 million riders every day and has a remarkable safety record, at least compared to passenger trains in the United States. Passengers have taken billions of rides on Japanese bullet trains since the system was established 50 years ago, but not one passenger has died due to a derailment or collision.

In the US commuters and travelers use trains less than the Japanese, but US passenger train lines have suffered five major wrecks that killed or injured passengers over the past decade, including the recent derailment of an Amtrak passenger train that killed three people and injured more than 50 others in DuPont, Washington on December 18. Among the dead were two active members of the Rail Passengers Association, a group that pushes for greater access to passenger rail services.

A “constellation of factors” contributed to this spate of deadly train accidents, including train companies’ habit of cutting corners to save money and a national failure to fund railroad and transportation infrastructure, according to Railroad Workers United, a national union representing railroad workers.

President Trump has used the DuPont crash to tout an infrastructure proposal due out later this month. However, critics say Trump’s plan would leave struggling state and local government on the hook for repairing crumbling roads, bridges and railroads as Congress looks for ways to pay for the GOP tax cut package that Trump signed into law last month.

US Railroads — Underfunded and Unsafe

Railroads around the world have made significant advances in safety, efficiency and infrastructure over the past century, and passengers in Japan, Europe and beyond enjoy affordable, high-speed transportation between many major cities. This is not the case in the US, where high-speed rail service is limited in most parts…

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