Railroad News

WMATA suspends automatic door-opening rollout

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/15/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Unintended door-closings were reported during WMATA's rollout of an automatic door-opening feature on Red Line trains.Photo – WMATA

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) last week suspended an automatic door-opening feature two days after launching it on the Red Line trains.

Part of the Metrorail’s original design, the feature was launched July 7 to open doors more quickly and stop doors from opening on the wrong side of the platform as a result of operator error. During the rollout, operators remained responsible for manual door closings to ensure safe boardings.

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Chicago South Shore, other Anacostia affiliates recognized for rail safety

Rail News Home Safety 7/15/2019 Rail News: Safety
image Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad's (CSS) transportation department employees last week reached the safety milestone of achieving five straight years of injury-free performance.The achievement was the first in South Shore's history, reflecting a safety emphasis fostered across the company, CSS officials said in a press release."This success has created a strong sense of pride and ownership in our team. It’s how they work each and every day,” said Mike Shore, vice president of operations. “This happened over time with the support of every employee, every department and every manager.”An affiliate of Anacostia Rail Holdings, South Shore operates 127 miles of line providing rail freight service between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, and Chicago and Kingsbury, Indiana, with connections to all Chicago-area railroads as well as the Port of Chicago.Meanwhile, Anacostia announced last week that CSS and two other affiliates recently earned Jake Awards from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). The association presents the awards annually to short lines and regionals that have no reportable personal injuries as reported by the Federal Railroad Administration or an injury rate that is lower or equal to the average for their class.The other two Anacostia affiliates that received ASLRRA Jake Awards were Northern Lines Railway LLC, which was recognized with the Jake with Distinction Award for being injury-free in 2018; and the New York & Atlantic Railway Co., which also was recognized for its safety record in 2018.

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Metro Transit names Frizell police chief

Rail News Home Railroading People 7/15/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Metro Transit Police Chief Eddie Frizell.Photo – Minneapolis Police Department

Metro Transit in Minneapolis has selected veteran police officer Eddie Frizell as the agency's next police chief.

Frizell, who has served as the Minneapolis police inspector for the city’s First Precinct since 2017, will become chief Aug. 5, Metro Transit officials said in a press release. 

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Canada finalizes rail transport regs

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 7/15/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) announced last week that amendments to freight-rail transport regulations, including those related to interswitching, have been finalized.The regulations prescribe filing requirements for freight railway companies so that CTA can validate that they are carrying a minimum amount of third-party liability insurance coverage, CTA officials said in a press release.The amended regulations also designate rail-related provisions of the act, and CTA orders, as subject to penalties of up to CA$25,000 per violation, and amend Railway Switching Regulations to ensure consistency with recently amended interswitching provisions of the Canada Transportation Act.Amendments followed consultations with members of Canadian and U.S. freight and passenger railroads, rail tourism operators, industry associations, shipper associations and associations representing logistics and freight management, private companies that use rail and other industry experts.

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MTA releases reorganization recommendation report

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/15/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) last week released a preliminary report of recommendations for its first reorganization in 51 years.  The recommendations, made following an evaluation conducted by consultant AlixPartners, are as follows:  Focus exclusively on service delivery, safety, day-to-day operations and maintenance, rather than general support functions. The agencies should have reporting lines to a chief operating officer, and all other services will be merged and coordinated centrally. This would result in consolidation of more than 40 functional groups to six departments in the new MTA organization; Merge all capital-related functions across MTA into a central group accountable for planning, development and delivery of the capital program; Create a central engineering function reporting to a chief engineering officer to set standards, ensure quality and sustainability of infrastructure. This will provide consistent standards and specifications and eliminate unnecessary complexity and duplication; Create a central customer communication function to provide high quality and consistent customer engagement led by communications specialists; Centralize operating standards and service design. Currently, each MTA agency has its own internal operations standards and service design capabilities, which would be better managed under one integrated function serving all agencies; Create a centralized human resources department focused on attracting, developing and retaining the talent necessary to improve MTA performance and service; and Select new leadership roles and capabilities, including appointing a chief operating officer, chief transformation officer and an accessibility officer.  AlixPartners interviewed more than 100 MTA employees representing all agencies and functions, reviewed MTA historical performance, financial and operational records and analyzed peer data published by the Federal Transit Administration and other resources to develop the recommendations, MTA officials said in a press release. MTA leadership will brief the MTA's board on the report this week. Then, the board will vote on the final report by July 30, as mandated by the New York State Legislature.   

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Canada reaches agreement to sell Ridley Terminals

Rail News Home Intermodal 7/15/2019 Rail News: Intermodal
image The Riverstone-AMCI entity has agreed to pay Canada CA$350 million for its shares to acquire Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert, British Columbia.Photo – rti.ca

Canada has reached an agreement to sell 90 percent of its shares in federal Crown corporation Ridley Terminals Inc. (RTI) in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, to a company owned by Riverstone Holdings and AMCI Group, the Canada Development Investment Corp. (CDEV) announced last week.

The remaining 10 percent of Canada's shares in RTI will be transferred to a limited partnership owned by the Lax Kw'alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation at the close of sale, CDEV officials said in a press release.

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Rail supplier news from Miner, Parsons, Saft, Siemens, Alstom and Keolis (July 12)

Miner Enterprises Inc. will supply outlet gates and hatch covers for 3,800 new high-capacity grain hopper cars ordered by Canadian Pacific and CN. The new cars – 2,800 for CP and 1,000 for CN – are being built by National Steel Car Ltd., Miner officials said in a press release.

Sound Transit has selected Parsons to provide final design and construction engineering services for the $1.3 billion Federal Way Link Extension in Seattle, Parsons officials said in a press release. Parsons will work as part of a team led by Kiewit Corp. The contract includes 7.8 miles of dual-track, at-grade and elevated light-rail transit; three stations; rail systems; and associated ancillary facilities.

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Southern Rail Commission to host briefing on Gulf Coast train service

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/12/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Amtrak service to the Gulf Coast has not been restored since Hurricane Katrina damaged rail infrastructure there in 2005.Photo – amtrak.com

The Southern Rail Commission (SRC) will host a briefing today in Mobile, Alabama, to discuss the Gulf Coast regional passenger-rail service that's been proposed to operate between Mobile and New Orleans.

The meeting will include presentations from Amtrak, the Rail Passengers Association, Transportation for America and the commission.

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MBTA to begin next phase of Needham Line's PTC work

Rail News Home Positive Train Control 7/12/2019 Rail News: Positive Train Control
image Between Aug. 3 and Oct. 12, MBTA crews will install PTC infrastructure along the Needham commuter rail line.Photo – MBTA

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) crews on Aug. 3 will begin construction on the second phase of positive train control (PTC) infrastructure along the Needham commuter-rail line. 

Needham Line service will be suspended on Saturdays through Oct. 12 to accommodate the work.

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Cando Rail adds service to Pembina NGL facility

Rail News Home Logistics 7/12/2019 Rail News: Logistics
image Cando anticipates outbound revenue loads eventually will increase to the mid-200s of rail cars per day.Photo – candorail.com

Cando Rail Services Ltd., as a result of a new customer relationship with Pembina, is producing daily outbound revenue loads of over 200 rail cars per day at the energy company's natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation facility in Redwater, Alberta.

Cando anticipates outbound revenue loads eventually will increase to the mid-200s of rail cars per day, Cando officials said in a press release.

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MTA subway beats 80 percent on-time performance

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/12/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced an 81.5 percent on-time performance on the MTA New York City Transit’s (NYCT) subway system in June, marking the first time the measure has been above 80 percent since August 2013. Weekday major incidents decreased 27.4 percent compared to June 2018's level, dropping from 62 to 45. Furthermore, weekday train delays fell nearly 46 percent from last June, from 56,233 to 30,434, which was the lowest level of delays since September 2013, MTA officials said in a press release. Additional train time fell to 47 seconds, a drop of nearly 33 percent from last June, while customer journey time performance — the percent of customers whose waiting and travel time is completed within five minutes of their scheduled journey — improved to 84 percent, the highest since this metric has been measured. MTA officials cited fewer track debris fires as one factor in the reduction in delays. Such fires are down "significantly" since NYCT began using new equipment to address the problem in 2017, they said.

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Northern Plains Rail breaks ground on rail-car repair center

Rail News Home Mechanical 7/12/2019 Rail News: Mechanical
image NPRS officials expect the center to be operational next year.Photo – Julie Chalich, Northern Plains Rail Cos.

Northern Plains Rail Services (NPRS) yesterday held a ceremonial groundbreaking for its rail-car servicing and repair center now under construction in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The NPRS Grand Plains Rail Center will be located on 283 industrial-zoned acres near Interstate 29 and accessed by BNSF Railway Co., NPRS officials said in a press release.

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California agency kicks off construction on Redlands passenger-rail project

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/12/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image SBCTA will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on the Redlands Passenger Rail Project on July 19.Photo – Redland Rail Project

The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) has begun construction on the $355 million Redlands Passenger Rail Project, an effort to construct a 9-mile regional route that will operate between San Bernardino and Redlands, California. 

To mark the milestone, SBCTA will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on July 19 in Redlands. 

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Port of LA broke TEU records in FY2019

The Port of Los Angeles moved 9,688,252 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in fiscal-year 2019, a 5.7 percent increase from the previous year, port officials announced this week.

The fiscal year, which ended June 30, was the busiest 12-month period in port history, said Executive Director Gene Seroka.

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Railroads explore blockchain's potential

By Julie Sneider, Senior Associate Editor

In 2018, several Class Is and other rail companies announced they were joining the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) to develop new standards for using blockchain technology to enable a faster, more cost-efficient and transparent freight supply chain.

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NJ Transit taps Rubin for new employee court advocacy position

Rail News Home Railroading People 7/11/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image NJ Transit Employee Court Advocate Michael Rubin.Photo – NJ Transit Linkedin

New Jersey Transit has named attorney Michael Rubin as the agency's employee court advocate.

The newly created role is designed to help rail conductors and bus operators who are victims of on-the-job assaults navigate the criminal justice system. 

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Dallas, transit agency to establish streetcar roles

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit's (DART) board announced yesterday it will advance an agreement with the city of Dallas to consolidate existing contracts and establish responsibilities for maintaining and operating the Dallas Streetcar.

Under the agreement, the city’s responsibilities, as the streetcar owner, will include project scope, planning funding, grant management, design and construction funding, utility relocations, operations and maintenance and streetcar vehicle funding.

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Amtrak Northeast Regional service posts May ridership increase

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) yesterday announced that nearly 80,000 customers used the Virginia-sponsored Amtrak Northeast Regional intercity rail service in May, a 10 percent increase over May 2018. 

The ridership numbers also mark a year-to-date increase of more than 5 percent over the same travel period last year, DRPT officials said in a press release.

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PANYNJ unveils new 30-year master plan

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) on Tuesday unveiled its Port Master Plan 2050, which lays out a roadmap for the next generation of land-use and infrastructure development projects.

Among the plan's primary objectives: provide growth opportunities; improve the port's commercial value; continue to serve as a regional economic engine; and promote safe, environmentally sustainable operations.
 
Master Plan 2050 will build on previous planning in the 1990s that led to the deepening of port channels to 50 feet, the raising of the Bayonne Bridge, container terminal expansions, realignment of and capacity enhancements to port roadways and the completion of the port’s $600 million ExpressRail network, PANYNJ officials said in a press release.

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APTA recognizes Li as outstanding public transportation manager

Rail News Home Railroading People 7/11/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Sacramento Regional Transit District General Manager and CEO Henry Li.Photo – SacRT

The Sacramento Regional Transit District’s (SacRT) General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Henry Li received the 2019 Outstanding Public Transportation Manager Award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). 

APTA presents the award to a transit agency manager who has made outstanding contributions to advancing public transportation in North America.

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