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DART recognized for commitment to conservation

Rail News Home Sustainability 10/30/2020 Rail News: Sustainability
image DART was honored for its history of sustainable planning and project development.Photo – DART

Texan by Nature named Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) an honoree of the second annual TxN 20, a ranking of Texas companies that have demonstrated a commitment to conservation.

The second annual TxN 20 recognizes 20 Texas-based businesses and operations across 12 industries that are forging new, beneficial paths in conservation, DART officials said in a press release.

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Edwards to succeed Reinhart as Virginia port CEO

Rail News Home Railroading People 10/30/2020 Rail News: Railroading People
image Stephen EdwardsPhoto – Port of Virginia

The Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners this week introduced Stephen Edwards as the next leader of the Port of Virginia.

Edwards succeeds John Reinhart as chief executive officer and executive director on Jan. 19, 2021. In May, Reinhart announced plans to retire.

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PANYNJ logs cargo volume increase, PATH ridership decrease in Q3

Rail News Home Intermodal 10/30/2020 Rail News: Intermodal
image The port recovered to 2019 levels and surpassed its all-time September volume record in Q3.Photo – PANYNJ

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) moved 2,016,797 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the third quarter, a 2.5% increase from the same period last year.

In September, the port logged 720,969 TEUs, a 15.4% year over year increase.

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NYCT launches WhatsApp rider communication initiative

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/30/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image WhatsApp will expand the number of customer service channels available to the system's riders.Photo – MTA Flickr

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) yesterday formally launched a new initiative that will allow subway riders to communicate with New York City Transit (NYCT) representatives in real time using the messaging platform WhatsApp. 

WhatsApp will expand the number of customer service channels available to the system's riders, and is expected to improve NYCT’s communication with riders who don't speak English, MTA officials said in a press release.

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OmniTRAX to offer rail-ready development sites along Illinois Railway

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals 10/30/2020 Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
image OmniTRAX Inc. is working with the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and the city of Peru, Illinois, to bring its Rail-Ready Sites program to the Illinois Railway LLC (IR). The program aims to connect companies looking to augment supply-chain performance with rail-served properties. OmniTRAX and the council initially will market four rail-served sites on the short line, ranging from 24 to 1,058 acres. Owned by OmniTRAX, IR interchanges with BNSF Railway Co., Canadian Pacific, CN, CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway. Rockford and Peru are attractive locations for advanced and heavy industries, including automotive assembly and parts manufacturing, aerospace component manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, value-added agriculture and logistics/warehousing, OmniTRAX officials said in a press release. "With great infrastructure connecting Rockford and Peru to Chicago and points east, Minneapolis and points west and St. Louis to the south, companies locating here can get their products to market more effectively than most areas of the country," said Ean Johnson, OmniTRAX's vice president of industrial development.  

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/30/2020


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Rail supplier news from Wabtec, Astronics, dFuzion, Alstom, Salco and Huber+Suhner (Oct. 30)

Rail News Home Railroading Supplier Spotlight 10/30/2020 Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
image Wabtec Corp. released its 2020 Sustainability Report, which highlights recent efforts to develop the FLXdrive™ battery electric locomotive.Photo – Wabtec

Wabtec Corp. appointed Nicole Theophilus as executive vice president and chief human resources officer. She will be responsible for leading Wabtec’s global human resources organization. Theophilus succeeds Scott Wahlstrom, who will retire after nearly 30 years at Wabtec. Meanwhile, the company released its 2020 Sustainability Report, which highlights recent efforts to develop the FLXdrive™ battery electric locomotive. The locomotive includes 20,000 battery cells that can reduce train fuel usage and emissions by 10% to 30%. The report also cites the installation of the Trip Optimizer™ cruise control system on 11,000 locomotives that helped save 400 million gallons of fuel.

Stadler US Inc. awarded Astronics Test Systems (ATS) an approximately $30 million contract to develop and supply consolidated test systems to Stadler US Inc. ATS will work collaboratively with Stadler and its major systems suppliers to design and deploy automatic testers and diagnostics that ensure passenger safety by verifying that critical rail-car systems remain in a state of good repair. ATS will supply post-delivery maintenance support equipment for metro cars being delivered by Stadler to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). The cars are scheduled to be delivered to MARTA starting in 2024. 

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NJ Transit Police expands community outreach

Rail News Home Security 10/29/2020 Rail News: Security
image The community outreach unit is a community-based policing approach that helps bridge the gap between law enforcement and social services.Photo – NJ Transit Facebook

The New Jersey Transit Police Department yesterday announced it will expand its community outreach unit from two to five officers.

The community outreach unit is a community-based policing approach that helps bridge the gap between law enforcement and social services to improve the health and well-being of those in need who frequent mass transit facilities, NJ Transit officials said in a press release.

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California completes first high-speed rail structure in Kern County segment

Rail News Home High-Speed Rail 10/29/2020 Rail News: High-Speed Rail
image The viaduct will allow high-speed trains to cross over Post Creek in Kern County, California.Photo – CHRSA

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) yesterday announced it has completed construction of the Poso Creek Viaduct in Kern County, the first completed structure in the 22-mile segment of high-speed rail from the Tulare-Kern county line to Poplar Avenue in Kern County. 

The more than 240-foot-long viaduct, which will allow high-speed trains to cross over Poso Creek, is the fourth high-speed rail structure completed in California’s Central Valley since August.

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FCC approves Southern California Rail Authority PTC operations

Rail News Home Positive Train Control 10/29/2020 Rail News: Positive Train Control
image SCRRA was granted permanent authority to operate 17 PTC wireless radio base stations and 546 PTC wireless radio wayside stations.Photo – Metrolink

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau last week authorized the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) to deploy an interoperable positive train control (PTC) system on its rail lines serving California’s Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

Under a license modification, the FCC granted SCRRA permanent authority to operate 17 PTC wireless radio base stations, 546 PTC wireless radio wayside stations, and related mobile locomotive stations.

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FTA, Indiana officials sign grant agreement to expand South Shore rail line

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/29/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The project calls for a new 8-mile line extending from Hammond on the north to Dyer on the south, as well as four new stations.Photo – mysouthshoreline.com

Indiana officials yesterday signed a full funding grant agreement between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Northern Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) that finalizes federal funding for a project to expand the South Shore Line commuter-rail service from the West Lake Corridor to Chicago.

The $354.6 million grant, provided through the FTA Capital Investment Grant program, will help fund a project that will "better connect northern Indiana residents to jobs, education and critical services," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a press release issued by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's office.

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Intermodal volume gain drives U.S. rail traffic increase in Week 43

As has been the case in recent weeks, intermodal volume gains helped lift traffic totals for U.S. freight railroads during the week ending Oct. 24 compared with the same week a year ago, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

U.S. railroads logged 522,653 carloads and intermodal units, a 1.9% percent increase compared with the same week in 2019. Total carloads for the week were 227,543 units, down 6.5%, while intermodal volume was 295,110 containers and trailers, up 9.4%.

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Rail supplier news from InnoTrans, FSI, Alstom, RailPlan, TIA and STV (Oct. 23)

InnoTrans has postponed its conference until Sept. 20-23, 2022, due to the “constantly changing situation” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, InnoTrans 2020 was rescheduled to be held in April 2021 in Berlin. Ultimately, the factors in postponing again were a lack of planning certainty and the forecast for the pandemic in the months to come, officials said in a press release. “In the current situation no one can predict with sufficient certainty whether the overall conditions will permit the use of our rail track display in April 2021, and the holding of a leading international trade fair such as InnoTrans," officials said.

Focused Technology Solutions (FSI) developed its first ever battery-operated spike driver. Dubbed the SpikeForce, the spike driver eliminates the need for the claw bar, hydraulic fluid, hoses and generators. The SpikeForce operates using a standard Milwaukee Tool drill, and has the capability to dock two batteries on the tool at once, allowing for increased production, FTS officials said in a press release.

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DCTA creates COVID-19 safety plan

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/23/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The plan outlines the precautions and safety efforts DCTA is taking during the pandemic.Photo – DCTA

The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) in Texas has created an 11-step plan to welcome returning commuter-rail riders during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The plan is designed to outline the precautions and safety efforts DCTA is taking during the pandemic to increase rider confidence in the system, DCTA officials said in a press release.

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VIA Rail to resume some service in western Canada

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/23/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image In December, VIA Rail plans to offer one weekly round-trip between Winnipeg and Vancouver.Photo – VIA Rail Canada Inc.

VIA Rail Canada Inc. earlier this week announced it will resume service between Winnipeg and Vancouver on Dec. 11.

After evaluation of health and safety protocols, including social distancing measures and enhanced air ventilation systems, VIA Rail plans to offer one weekly round-trip between those cities on the Canadian route, VIA Rail officials said in a press release.

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Intersand opens OmniTRAX-served HQ in Colorado

Rail News Home Shippers 10/23/2020 Rail News: Shippers
image OmniTRAX Inc.'s Great Western Railway of Colorado serves Intersand's new facility.Photo – Golden Triangle Construction, gtc1.net/industrial

Intersand America Corp., a cat litter producer, has opened its new U.S. headquarters in Windsor, Colorado.

Located in the Great Western Industrial Park, the plant is served by OmniTRAX Inc.'s Great Western Railway of Colorado LLC. The 46,000-square-foot, packaging distribution facility already shipped by rail its first orders to begin operations, Intersand officials said in a press release.

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Ohio rail panel approves grade crossing upgrades

Rail News Home Communication and Signal 10/23/2020 Rail News: Communication and Signal
image CSX will install and upgrade lights and gates at the East Franklin Street and Park Road/County Road 19 crossings.Photo – CSX

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) this month approved the installation of lights and gates at three grade crossings in the state.

PUCO approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing CSX to install flashing lights and gates at the East Franklin Street crossing in Miami County by July 7, 2021. 

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CP honors U.S., Canadian 'Elevators of the Year'

Rail News Home Canadian Pacific 10/23/2020 Rail News: Canadian Pacific
image For the 2019-2020 crop year, CP recognized elevators on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.Photo – cpr.ca

Canadian Pacific yesterday announced two winners of its Elevator of the Year award: Viterra Gull Lake (Canada) and CHS Northland Grain Hazel (U.S.).

The Class I presents the award annually to grain elevators that achieve high volumes from a single loading point while consistently demonstrating efficient rail-car loading and a strong commitment to safety, CP officials said in a press release.

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Amtrak ended FY20 with half of previous year's revenue, Flynn says

Amtrak's latest projections are that the railroad ended fiscal-year 2020 on Sept. 30 with $1.24 billion in annual ticket-sales revenue, just 53 percent of what it had been in the previous fiscal year, President and Chief Executive Officer William Flynn told a U.S. Senate committee this week.

Flynn on Oct. 21 provided members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation an update on the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on Amtrak's finances and operations, as well as the railroad's measures to address the drastic loss in ridership and revenue over the past several months.

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UP's Vena to become senior adviser, Gehringer named EVP operations

Rail News Home Railroading People 10/23/2020 Rail News: Railroading People
image Jim Vena (left) and Eric GehringerPhoto – up.com

Union Pacific Railroad this week announced that Jim Vena, chief operating officer, will transition to a new role by year's end. He will be succeeded by Eric Gehringer as executive vice president of operations, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Vena will remain employed at the company as senior adviser through June 2021. After a long railroad career, he joined UP in January 2019 to lead all aspects of the Class I's operations, including the Unified Plan 2020 implementation.

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Study: One in four NYCT workers report having had COVID-19

Rail News Home Security 10/22/2020 Rail News: Security
image In addition to nearly one in four reporting they've had COVID-19, 90 percent of respondents said they are concerned about getting sick at work and more than 70 percent are fearful for their safety at work, according to the NYU study.Photo – TWU Local 100

Nearly a quarter of MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) subway and bus workers have contracted COVID-19, according to a new study conducted by the New York University (NYU) School of Global Health.

The pilot study, conducted by NYU researchers in coordination with the Transport Workers Union Local 100 (TWU), illustrates the toll the pandemic is having on the physical and mental health of transit and other front-line workers, NYU officials said in a press release.

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