Railroad News

LA Metro to share update on Union Station modernization plans

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 9/24/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Rendering of the renovated Union StationPhoto – LA Metro/MBI Media

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) on Wednesday will hold an open house for its project to modernize Union Station.

Known as Link Union Station, the project calls for transforming the station from a "dead-end" stop into  "run-through" one by extending tracks south over the US-101 highway.

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OmniTRAX: Savannah Gateway Hub's road construction begins

Rail News Home Intermodal 9/24/2018 Rail News: Intermodal
image The improved access will help open up the 2,700-acre park for development.Photo – savannahgatewayindustrialhub.com

Construction is underway to improve access to the Savannah Gateway Industrial Hub near the Port of Savannah, Georgia.

McCall Road, which provides access to the eastern portion of the industrial park, will be widened from Highway 21 toward the park. Completion is expected by March 2019, said Mike Martin, vice president of development at OmniTRAX Inc., the park's developer.

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TriMet names Blagg head of safety and security

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) has appointed Marla Blagg executive director of safety and security effective Oct. 22.

Blagg will succeed Harry Saporta, who plans to retire in early 2018 after eight years leading the agency's safety and security efforts.

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New Orleans port, railroad advance Avondale Shipyard project

Rail News Home Intermodal 9/24/2018 Rail News: Intermodal
image The agreements outline collaborative opportunities geared toward Avondale's development as a "vibrant maritime and logistics hub," port officials said.Photo – portnola.com

The boards of the Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Corp. last week approved separate resolutions that authorize nonbinding cooperative endeavor agreements between the port, the short line, Jefferson Parish and Avondale Marine LLC to facilitate the proposed redevelopment of the former Avondale Shipyard.

The port will issue a jurisdictional permit to Avondale Marine for use and development of a port and intermodal facility. When the rail extension is completed — at Avondale Marine's expense — New Orleans Public Belt Railroad will connect and provide service that will ensure the site has neutral access to Class Is operating in the New Orleans gateway, port and railroad officials said in a press release.

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STB: Class Is posted slight increase in August employment

As of mid-August, Class Is in the United States employed 148,136 workers, up 0.48 percent since mid-July's employment figure and up 0.55 percent compared with mid-August 2017, according to the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

Four of six employment categories reflected workforce increases compared with mid-July. Those categories were executives, officials and staff assistants, up 0.45 percent to 8,460 employees; maintenance of equipment and stores, up 0.54 percent to 26,946; transportation (other than train and engine), up 0.16 percent to 5,700 workers; and transportation (train and engine), up 0.89 percent to 62,442 employees.

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OLI launches Rail Safety Week in U.S., Canada

Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) yesterday kicked off the first joint Rail Safety Week in the United States and Canada.

OLI is running a campaigned called #StopTrackTragedies, which features seven videos that tell the personal stories of people affected by rail crossing or trespassing incidents. The videos will feature victims, their friends and family members, as well as locomotive engineers and first responders, OLI officials said in a news release.

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Iowa Interstate names Parsons president, CEO

Rail News Home Railroading People 9/24/2018 Rail News: Railroading People
image Joe ParsonsPhoto – iaisrr.com

Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. has promoted Joe Parsons to president and chief executive officer.

Parsons joined the railroad in September 2013 as chief operating officer; he was promoted to general manager — his most recent position — in 2017.

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Pennsylvania DOT to study passenger rail between Altoona, Pittsburgh

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 9/24/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The department will review several past studies on passenger-rail along the Keystone West Corridor, Gov. Tom Wolf announced.Photo – Gov. Wolf's office

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will examine the feasibility of providing passenger-rail service between Altoona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced late last week.

PennDOT will review several past studies on the Keystone West Corridor, and gather information about the existing right of way, as well as current and projected freight-rail activity on the line. The department also will develop estimated costs of the proposed project, according to a press release issued by Wolf's office.

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Rail supplier news from CRRC, GE, Timken, Loram, American Refining Group and NRC (Sept. 21)

At InnoTrans 2018 in Berlin, Germany, China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. (CRRC) unveiled its Cetrovo train, a carbon-fiber unit that's 13 percent lighter than traditional steel or aluminum subway trains. The units feature car windows that can be transformed into touch-screen displays and other "advanced technical features," including internet-enabled touch-screen mirrors and self-cleaning seats, company officials said in a press release.

GE Transportation has announced a new high-speed diesel engine program that will serve the locomotive, marine and power generation segments. The engine platform will be designed to provide improved fuel efficiency and reliability, along with lower lifecycle costs, company officials said in a press release. GE is designing the high-speed diesel engine in 12- and 16-cylinder configurations with a maximum-rated horsepower of 2,500 and 3,3300, respectively.

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Ontario to boost GO Transit's Lakeshore rail service

GO Transit on Sept. 24 will add 220 new weekly trips along its Lakeshore East and West commuter-rail lines.

The added trips mark a nearly 18 percent increase in service along the corridors, according to a press release issued by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

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Northern Lines Railway recognized for safety practices

Northern Lines Railway (NLR) has received a 2018 Jake with Distinction Award from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) to recognize the railroad's safety standards.

The honor is the railroad's fifth consecutive award for operating with a personal injury, NLR officials said in a press release.

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NJ Transit to discount fares while on-board PTC installation wraps up

Rail News Home Positive Train Control 9/21/2018 Rail News: Positive Train Control
image The agency is preparing to temporarily discontinue trains and modify service times to accommodate installation on locomotives and cab control cars.Photo – NJ Transit's Twitter account

New Jersey Transit yesterday announced that it will offer 10 percent discounts on rail tickets and passes for travel in November, December and January as positive train control (PTC) installation is completed.

The news comes as the agency prepares for temporarily discontinued trains and modified times to accommodate the installation on locomotives and cab control cars. Starting Oct. 14, some trains will be discontinued or have changes in their origin or destination points, NJ Transit officials said in a news release.

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Port of Long Beach obtains $4.2 million grant to beef up security

Rail News Home Security 9/21/2018 Rail News: Security
image The funds will be used for security system maintenance and expanding and enhancing physical and cyber security capabilities.Photo – Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach in California has been awarded a $4.2 million federal grant to help pay for physical and cyber security improvements.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the funds from the Port Security Grant Program. The funds will be used for security system maintenance, along with expanding and enhancing physical and cyber security capabilities, Port of Long Beach officials said in a press release.

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Denver's RTD sued by commuter-rail developer

The Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) has been sued by Denver Transit Partners (DTP), the consortium of private companies that built and operate the agency's troubled University of Colorado A-Line.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in Denver District Court, DTP is seeking more money from the transit district, according to an RTD press release.

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SMART's board OKs $24 million for Windsor extension

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 9/21/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The extension will run 3.2 miles from a terminal at the Sonoma County Airport to Windsor, California.Photo – Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit's (SMART) board this week approved $24 million for four contracts to advance a 3.2-mile extension from Sonoma County Airport to Windsor, California.

The contracts include a $15.7 million agreement with Modern Railway Systems Inc. to design and construct the train control, communications system and platform communication elements for the project. The company has been a key contractor in the implementation of the system, SMART officials said in an emailed newsletter.

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STB wants regular updates from UP as it phases in scheduled railroading

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has asked Union Pacific Railroad senior management to hold weekly phone calls with the board's Rail Customer and Public Assistance Office as the Class I implements its new precision scheduled railroading plan.

STB Chairwoman Ann Begeman and Vice Chairwoman Deb Miller wrote yesterday to UP Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz after UP informed the board of the railroad's new operations plan. In seeking to maintain weekly communications with UP management, the board is trying to help prevent freight-rail service problems that arose when UP competitor CSX implemented precision scheduled railroading last year.

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STB wants regular updates from UP as it phases in scheduled railroading

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has asked Union Pacific Railroad senior management to hold weekly phone calls with the board's Rail Customer and Public Assistance Office as the Class I implements its new precision scheduled railroading plan.

STB Chairwoman Ann Begeman and Vice Chairwoman Deb Miller wrote yesterday to UP Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz after UP informed the board of the railroad's new operations plan. In seeking to maintain weekly communications with UP management, the board is trying to help prevent freight-rail service problems that arose when UP competitor CSX implemented precision scheduled railroading last year.

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KC Streetcar marks 5 millionth ride

The Kansas City Streetcar this month provided its 5 millionth ride.

The streetcar service, which opened in May 2016, logs a daily ridership average of 5,806 passengers. Since the line opened, its vehicles have traveled 305,128 total miles, Kansas City Streetcar Authority (KCSA) officials said in a press release.

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Denver RTD to hike fares

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 9/20/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The fare hikes will take effect early next year.Photo – Denver RTD's Twitter account

The Denver Regional Transportation District's (RTD) board on Wednesday approved a series of fare hikes that will take effect early next year.

The cost of local bus and light-rail fares will increase to $3 from $2.60, while regional bus and commuter-rail fares will increase to $5.25 from $4.50. In addition, the price of a train trip from Denver International Airport will jump to $10.50 from $9.

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Illinois commission holds first rail supplier diversity session

Rail News Home Railroading Supplier Spotlight 9/20/2018 Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
imageThe Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) held its first annual rail supplier diversity policy session to hear from the Illinois Railroad Association and Class Is about their supplier diversity programs.The session was prompted by a new law that says Class Is may submit an annual report on supplier diversity to the ICC. The law requires the commission to hold an annual workshop to hear from railroads about ways to improve supplier diversity, according to an ICC press release.The railroad association voluntarily submitted an annual railroad supplier diversity report to the ICC on April 17 on behalf of the seven Class Is operating in Illinois.On Sept. 5, the ICC held its annual supplier diversity policy session for Illinois regulated utilities, which focused on barriers facing minority-, women- and veteran-owned suppliers. Commissioners raised such topics with the railroads as well, ICC officials said."Embracing and encouraging diversity in the supply chain is an effort the commission is dedicated to and is proud to lead," said ICC Chairman Brien Sheahan.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/20/2018


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