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John Oliver’s Devastating Class Is Takedown

December 11, 2023

By Jim Mathews / President & CEO

Comedian John Oliver took on the travesty of Precision Scheduled Railroading with astonishing clarity in last night's segment of his long-running hit program on HBO, Last Week Tonight. By turns hilarious, smart, and enraging, it’s worth your time to stop what you’re doing and go watch this segment right now.

Like us, John likes trains. Like us, he extols how important a vibrant freight rail network is for all of our lives. But he also makes an informed case to his nine million followers that it's not safe enough, responsible enough, or customer-focused enough, and is too busy putting profits over people.

At the end he makes points we've been making for years and which I’ve continued to advance in every FRA Rail Safety Advisory Committee meeting I attend. Train lengths need to be regulated. Crews need more time to inspect their trains and shouldn’t feel rushed and miss important faults. Crew sizes should not be cut to just one engineer. Hazardous materials trains need a closer look. And the Federal Railroad Administration needs more staff, more tools, and more resources to keep our Nation's rail network safe for all of us who depend on it.

Now, we’ve gotta make John Oliver a member...