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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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