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STB: U.S. Class Is employed fewer workers in July

Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends 8/20/2019 Rail News: Rail Industry Trends
image U.S. Class Is as of mid-July employed 140,703 workers, down 0.46 percent since mid-June and down 4.56 percent since July 2018's count, according to U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) data.Only one category — transportation (other than train and engine) — posted a gain over the four-week period. That category ticked up 0.16 percent to 5,566 people since mid-June. Executives, officials and staff assistants — at 7,756 employees — was the only category to post no change since mid-June.Month-over-month decreases in the other employment categories were as follows: professional and administrative, down 0.20 percent to 11,430 employees; maintenance of way and structures, down 0.44 percent to 31,724; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 1.7 percent to 24,936; and transportation (train and engine), down 0.12 percent to 59,291.All six employment categories posted year-over-year decreases: Executives, officials and staff assistants, down 7.91 percent; professional and administrative, down 4.78 percent; maintenance of way and structures, down 2.74 percent; maintenance of equipment and stores, down 6.96 percent; transportation (other than train and engine), down 2.2 percent; and transportation (train and engine), down 4.2 percent.

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Rhode Island Amtrak station to receive renovation funding

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 8/20/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (right) was joined by RIDOT and Amtrak officials in Providence, Rhode Island, to announce a $25 million funding package to renovate Providence Station.Photo – Office of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) yesterday announced a $25 million funding package to begin renovation of Amtrak’s train station in Providence, Rhode Island.

The project will be financed with a $12.5 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration, and will be matched by $7.25 million from Amtrak and $5.25 million from Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), according to a press release from Reed's office.

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USDOT should consider small railroads when making new rules, ASLRRA says

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) should consider the small business perspective when proposing new regulations, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) Senior Vice President Jo Strang told the Small Business Administration's Office in preparation for a hearing on national regulatory fairness.

Strang, who oversees safety and regulatory policy for ASLRRA, commented on behalf of the nation's 603 short lines. She urged the department to consider small business needs as required under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act when considering rulemakings.

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Rail car and locomotive statistics: Fleet Stats 2019

Rail News Home Mechanical August 2019 Rail News: Mechanical

image Photo – Kristopher Kettner / Shutterstock.com

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Rising Stars 2019: Scott Schiemann

Rail News Home People August 2019 Rail News: People

image Scott Schiemann
Scott Schiemann, 35
Chief engineer
Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad
 
Nominator’s quote: “Throughout his tenure, Mr. Schiemann has reduced injuries and derailments, improved infrastructure, used technology to comply with federal regulations and completed projects on time and under budget. When issues arise, he is able to come up with a corrective action plan to prevent reoccurrence.”
— Joseph Spano, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad
 
Why did you pursue a career in the rail industry?
While studying to become a civil engineer, I admired the adversity it took to build a railroad across the USA. Railroading and civil engineering in my opinion are synonymous. Railroads developed standards that are still used today across civil engineering. I pursued a career with the railroad because I wanted to be part of this deep rooted industry.
 
Describe your education after high school.
I have a Bachelor’s of Science in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s degree in infrastructure and management from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
 
How are you making a difference in the rail industry?
Over the past few years we have added capacity to our system by building mainline and yard tracks. These tracks have increased our capacity and increased the fluidity of cars across our system.
 
What is an interesting, unusual or little known fact about you?
I play rugby. 
 
What was your very first job?
I worked at a carwash detailing cars in high school.
 
What is your philosophy toward life and/or your career?
Pay it forward. We are all where we are today because someone has helped us along the way.  
 
What is your advice to new railroaders who want to advance their careers?
Hone your leadership skills. People are what run the railroad. The better you know your people the better results you can expect.
 
What do you think will be the biggest trend to affect railroading over the next decade?
The use of modern technology like drones to inspect bridges and smart phones to house rule books and eliminate paper copies.

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TriMet resumes regular light-rail service following track work

Rail News Home Maintenance Of Way 8/19/2019 Rail News: Maintenance Of Way
image TriMet crews working near the Rose Quarter Transit Center in Portland replaced track, upgraded switches and installed a new switch machine.Photo – TriMet

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) yesterday resumed regular service on the MAX light-rail’s Blue, Green and Red lines following the completion of track work near the Rose Quarter Transit Center in Portland. 

The work included curved track replacement, two switches and track upgrades, and installation of a new machine for a third switch, TriMet officials said in a press release. 

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Valley Metro installs downtown Tempe streetcar track

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 8/19/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Valley Metro crews will return next summer to install streetcar stops along the 3-mile route.Photo – Valley Metro

Valley Metro last week completed streetcar track installation on Mill Avenue between University Drive and Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe, Arizona, marking the installation of nearly half of the streetcar’s track in the city. 

The Tempe Streetcar is scheduled to open in 2021 with 3 miles of track, 14 stops and two connections to Valley Metro’s rail service, agency officials said in a press release. 

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Alaska Railroad reports outage near Denali Park

Rail News Home Maintenance Of Way 8/19/2019 Rail News: Maintenance Of Way
image Repairs will include driving pilings and sheet pile to fortify the structure and prevent further erosion.Photo – Alaska Railroad Corp.

A section of the Alaska Railroad shut down north of Denali Park late last week after a retaining wall eroded.

Located in Healy Canyon, the wall failed because the lower slope slipped due to saturated soil from recent heavy rains. Passenger and freight service will remain suspended at least through today, railroad officials said in a press release.

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LA Metro to reopen Expo Line stations

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 8/19/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image LA Metro’s Blue Line is undergoing a modernization, which included improvements to track shared by the Expo Line.Photo – LA Metro Facebook

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) today announced that on Aug. 24 it will reopen the Pico and 7th Street/Metro Center Expo Line stations, which have been closed since mid-June to accommodate Blue Line construction.

LA Metro’s Blue Line is undergoing a $350 million modernization that began in January to improve reliability, safety and the rider experience. 

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LRW extends 'Woman of the Year' nomination deadline

Rail News Home Railroading People 8/19/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Corina Moore, president and chief executive officer of Ontario Northland, was the 2018 Railway Woman of the Year.Photo – League of Railway Women

The League of Railway Women (LRW) has extended by a week the nomination deadline for the Railway Woman of the Year Award.

Nominations for the award — which recognizes a woman who has made significant contributions to the rail industry — will now be accepted until Aug. 23.

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NCTD partners with NASA, FRA on safety reporting program

Rail News Home Safety 8/19/2019 Rail News: Safety
image The purpose of the C3RS program is to improve railroad safety by collecting and analyzing safety reports of “close call” events.Photo – NCTD

The North County Transit District (NCTD) earlier this month entered into a partnership with NASA and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to report unsafe rail conditions as part of the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) program.

The purpose of the C3RS program is to improve railroad safety by collecting and analyzing voluntary and confidential safety reports of “close call” events from rail staff and contractors. A close call is defined as an unsafe event which may have had the potential for more serious safety consequences, NCTD officials said in a press release. 

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Canada to help fund rail improvements at Pointe-Noire terminal

Rail News Home Intermodal 8/19/2019 Rail News: Intermodal
image Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway serves the port.Photo – Port of Sept-Iles

The Canadian government will invest CA$50 million to improve infrastructure at the Pointe-Noire terminal in Sept-Iles, Quebec, to support the mining industry.

The funds will go toward a project that includes building a conveyor to connect the storage yard to the wharf, which will increase vessel loading speed, Transport Canada officials said in a press release.

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US, Canada expand pre-clearance agreement to include cargo

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 8/19/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image A preclearance agreement to expedite the flow of travel and trade between Canada and the United States is now in force, Canadian and U.S. government officials announced last week. The "Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance" went into effect last week. It enables Canada and the United States to expand preclearance for travelers at land, rail and marine facilities in both nations, as well as at additional airports, according to a press release issued by Public Safety Canada.The agreement also opens the door for the preclearance of cargo, agency officials said.Preclearance is the process by which border officers in Canada or the United States carry out immigration, customs and agriculture inspections and other requirements in the other country before allowing the movement of goods or people across the border.The agreement is reciprocal across all modes of transportation, enabling Canadian pre-clearance officers to conduct preclearance in the United States and U.S. officers to conduct pre-clearance in Canada. The authorities granted in the agreement will apply equally to Canadian pre-clearance officers working in the United States and U.S. pre-clearance officers working in Canada.“Preclearance strengthens economic competitiveness and mutual security, and benefits travelers by expediting their clearance into the U.S. before they ever leave Canada,” said U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan.

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U.S. Rep. Craig tours Minnesota rail businesses

Rail News Home Railroading Supplier Spotlight 8/16/2019 Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
image Craig (shown left) speaks with Mike McGee, VP of regional operations for RailWorks Track Services; Craig (shown right) discusses lumber transload at Progressive Rail.Photo – REMSA/ASLRRA

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minnesota) this week visited a rail supplier and short-line holding company in Lakeville, Minnesota, to tour their facilities and discuss infrastructure and short-line tax credit legislation.

Craig, who was first elected to Congress in 2018, serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its subcommittee on railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials.

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Rail supplier news from Duos Technologies, BiTA, Garlock, Vacations By Rail, Argus Consulting, Alliance Shippers and Hanson (Aug. 16)

Duos Technologies Inc. has been awarded a $2.3 million contract from a Class I to replace and update an earlier version of its rip® rail-car inspection portal. The Class I was not revealed. The five-year contract includes technical support, development and maintenance of a library of artificial intelligence algorithms with the objective of automating parts of the client’s rail-car inspections, Duos officials said in a press release.

The Blockchain In Transport Alliance (BiTA) elected Bob Hitt and Richard Greening to serve as chair and co-chair, respectively, of its Bill Of Lading (BOL) working group. The BOL group’s purpose is to create a modern definition of “bill of lading” and an associated data structure specification that can be leveraged across all transport modes for supply chain stakeholders, BiTA officials said in a press release. Hitt is a market manager at Salesforce and Greening is global director of technology of at The DDC Group and its freight-focused division. 

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Ontario’s GO Transit to add midday train service

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 8/16/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Metrolinx will add 84 new train trips, and extend 65 existing ones, across its Ontario rail network.Photo – GO Transit Twitter

Ontario government officials yesterday announced that as of Aug. 31, Metrolinx will add and extend 148 train trips across the GO Transit rail network to accommodate rush-hour, midday and evening service. 

Metrolinx will add 84 new trips across the Kitchener, Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West GO train lines and extend 65 existing trips across the Lakeshore West and Kitchener lines. 

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Chicago's RTA adds Andalcio to its board

Rail News Home Railroading People 8/16/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Chicago's Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) announced yesterday the appointment of David Andalcio to the board. He will represent DuPage County, Illinois.Andalcio is chief executive officer of Wynndalco Enterprises LLC. As an RTA board member, he succeeds Patrick Durante, who served on the board with distinction for 20 years, RTA officials said in a press release.“Director Andalcio’s experience in business and government and his entrepreneurial leadership will add a vital and diverse voice to the RTA board,” said RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard.  “He is an outspoken advocate for minority, disadvantaged, and women-owned business enterprises. His appointment is a great addition to the region’s transit leadership.”RTA is responsible for the financial oversight, funding and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority, commuter railroad Metra and the Pace bus system.

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NJ Transit renews focus on transit-oriented development

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 8/16/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image NJ Transit officials say the agency is committed to TOD, which combines housing, shopping and dining with easy access to rail.Photo – NJ Transit

New Jersey Transit earlier this week announced it identified additional opportunities for transit-oriented development (TOD) projects and is encouraging community partners to explore them. 

To promote TOD opportunities on and near NJ Transit property, the agency in May launched a website to host project documents for interested bidders to access.  

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BART awarded FEMA grant to expand police patrols

Rail News Home Safety 8/16/2019 Rail News: Safety
image BART's $1.7 million grant will fund another year of deployment of its critical asset patrol team.Photo – BART Twitter

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) earlier this week was awarded a $1.7 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund police patrols on trains traveling through San Francisco. 

The grant will enable BART to fund another year of deployment of its critical asset patrol (CAP) team, and continue to hire new officers to fill 19 additional positions, BART officials said in a press release.

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Hemphill to lead Uinta Basin Railway project

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals 8/16/2019 Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
image Mark HemphillPhoto – Rio Grande Pacific Corp.

Railroad operator Rio Grande Pacific Corp. has hired Mark Hemphill to lead the development and construction of the Uinta Basin Railway project in Utah, company officials announced yesterday.

The $1.5 billion new-build railway will serve northeastern Utah's energy, mineral and agricultural industries when completed in late 2022 to early 2023, Rio Grande officials said in a press release.

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