SNCF runs exclusively on French government-owned rail network. Only been to France a few times, but my recollection is that there are very few grade crossings, and where they exist, they are protected with solid gates that extend completely from one end of the roadway to the other, so there is no way to drive around them. The gate comes down about 1-2 min before the train, unlike 20-30 seconds in the US. I am not blaming Amtrak for their safety record. In fact, I think they do a great job given what they are handed. What I would like to see is a dedicated passenger rail network, built more or less from scratch, much like the Eisenhower Freeway System was built in the 50s. This would considerably improve safety, speed, reliability and service quality. Right now, most LD trains run at a *scheduled* average speed of 45 MPH, despite being able to reach a max of 79 MPH. (The realized average speed is below 40 MPH due to delays.) On my recent trip on TxEg I understood why: frequent stops and slow-downs due to freight traffic. Also, in the NE corridor, Acela takes 3.5 hours from NYP to BOS, travelling an an average speed of 70 MPH despite it being able to reach over 140 MPH. One reason for this is that it takes forever to get out of NYC. With a dedicated passenger rail system built from scratch, you could average over 120 MPH in a high-speed coridor and about 60-70 MPH on a regular track, and this would make rail much more competitive.