Growing length of U.S. freight trains in federal crosshairs after crashes: GAO

By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) – The investigative arm of the U.S. Congress is launching a probe into the safety of increasingly long freight trains being operated by CSX Corp <CSX.O>, Union Pacific Corp <UNP.N> and other major U.S. railroads to boost profitability, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said.

Train length is currently unregulated. Any push to add rules would likely face stiff industry opposition because railroads use longer trains to boost margins through the better use of fuel, locomotive power, and rail cars without having to add extra crew.

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