Railroad News

WMATA to enable automatic door-opening on Red Line

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/24/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image WMATA expects to implement the automatic door-opening system on its five other lines later this year.Photo – WMATA

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will resume on July 7 the automatic door-opening feature on Red Line trains.

The feature, which has been tested throughout the system since February, is part of Metrorail's original design. But it was discontinued years ago due to a decline in reliability, WMATA officials said in a press release. 

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TC&W promotes Ryberg to assistant VP

The Twin Cities & Western Railroad Co. (TC&W) has promoted Tina Ryberg to assistant vice president of administration and operations.

Based at TC&W's headquarters in Glencoe, Minnesota, Ryberg oversees the railroad's transportation operations, maintenance of way, mechanical, safety, accounting, human resources and administration departments.

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Richardson appointed BART's first inspector general

Rail News Home Railroading People 6/24/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image BART’s inspector general position was created with Bay Area voters approved Regional Measure 3 in 2018.Photo – BART Facebook

California Gov. Gavin Newsom last week announced the appointment of Harriet Richardson as the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) first inspector general. 

In her new role, Richardson will plan, direct and manage the independent oversight of BART operations to ensure the effective use of resources and compliance with federal and state laws. Richardson may also conduct independent audits and investigations, and provide reports of findings to BART’s board, the California State Legislature and the public.

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Ohio commission OKs CSX grade crossing projects

Rail News Home Communication and Signal 6/24/2019 Rail News: Communication and Signal
image The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) last week approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing CSX to consolidate rail crossings in the city of Tiffin by upgrading warning devices at five crossings and closing two others.CSX will upgrade grade crossings to four quadrant light-and-gate systems on Perry, Market, Nelson, Clinton and Wall streets. CSX will close grade crossings on Monroe and Holmes streets.CSX has until June 19, 2020, to complete the projects. Funding for the work will come from the federal government and CSX, PUCO officials said in a press release.To increase public safety during the project construction, local governments may seek funding from PUCO for the cost of safety improvements such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage or other enhancements at project locations. Funding comes from the State Grade Crossing Safety Fund and may not exceed $5,000 per project.

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Amtrak to introduce next-gen Acela trains in 2021

An Amtrak Acela power car being assembled at the Alstom manufacturing facility in Hornell, New York.Photo – Vesna Brajkovic

By Vesna Brajkovic, Associate Editor 

Amtrak
is on track to introduce new high-speed trains for revenue service on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) from Washington, D.C., to Boston as early as 2021. 

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BLET ratifies new contract with M&NA, reaches tentative pact with SEPTA

Rail News Home Labor 6/24/2019 Rail News: Labor
image Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen last week ratified a new contract with the Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad.The agreement runs through 2023 and provides for improved wages and benefits for about 70 operating employees working for the short line, BLET officials said in a press release.Members will receive a signing bonus, as well as a "significant" wage increase upfront through the life of the contract, they said.Negotiations between BLET and the short line lasted three years.Meanwhile, BLET announced it has reached a tentative agreement with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) on a contract for more than 200 locomotive engineers. Ballots were mailed to active members working for SEPTA last week and are due July 16. The agreement covers rates of pay and benefits.

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DART names future commuter-rail service the Silver Line

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/24/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Silver Line is a planned 26-mile line that will extend between the DFW Airport and Shiloh Road in Plano, Texas.Photo – DART

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit's (DART) board last week approved a new name — the Silver Line — for its future commuter-rail service running on the Cotton Belt.

The planned 26-mile line will extend between the Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport in Dallas and Shiloh Road in Plano, Texas, and traverse five other cities including Grapevine, Coppell, Carrollton, Addison and Richardson.

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Rail supplier news from Vossloh, Nomad Digital, MUL Railcars, SNC-Lavalin, Railway Equipment and EnviroServe (June 21)

Vossloh North America has expanded its Memphis, Tennessee, manufacturing plant. The project included installation of new machinery to increase manufacturing capabilities and improvements to office space, according to a Vossloh press release. The company also announced plans to hire new employees and management personnel over the next two years to support operational growth.

Nomad Digital was selected by the Capitol Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) to install, test, operate and maintain the WiFi network on Capitol Corridor trains, including those operated by CCJPA and Amtrak. Over the initial five-year contract, Nomad will create a technical roadmap for the wireless infrastructure that will evolve over the contract's term, according to a Nomad press release.

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Caltrain completes 22nd Street Station improvements

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/21/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The 22nd Street Station renovation was funded by the University of California, San Francisco.Photo – Caltrain Facebook

Caltrain last week reopened the refurbished 22nd Street Station in San Francisco. 

In February, the Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill Green Benefits District (GBD) began the project to resurface the station’s plaza and walkway, create seating, improve fencing, enhance landscaping and install new lighting, Caltrain officials said in a press release.

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California transit board names Padgette managing director of Capitol Corridor

Rail News Home Railroading People 6/21/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority Managing Director Rob Padgette.Photo – CCJPA

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) earlier this week named Rob Padgette its managing director of management and operations of the Capitol Corridor train route between San Jose and Auburn, California. 

On July 1, Padgette will succeed David Kutrosky, who is stepping down after nearly 10 years.

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UP recognizes 46 companies for safe hazmat practices

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 6/21/2019 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Railroad has recognized 46 companies with the Class I's Pinnacle Award for safely transporting chemical products by rail.The annual award honors UP customers that implement release prevention protocols, corrective action plans and have zero non-accident releases (NARs) of regulated hazardous materials shipments.UP's hazardous materials safety team supports its customers with joint rail safety training programs and rail-car inspections, UP officials said in a press release."Union Pacific is committed to delivering chemical shipments in the safest manner and applauds this year's Pinnacle Award recipients for their initiatives and measures eliminating rail car chemical releases,” said Kenny Rocker, executive vice president, marketing and sales.To read a list of this year's winners, click on this link.

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UP recognizes 46 companies for safe hazmat practices

Rail News Home Union Pacific Railroad 6/21/2019 Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
image Union Pacific Railroad has recognized 46 companies with the Class I's Pinnacle Award for safely transporting chemical products by rail.The annual award honors UP customers that implement release prevention protocols, corrective action plans and have zero non-accident releases (NARs) of regulated hazardous materials shipments.UP's hazardous materials safety team supports its customers with joint rail safety training programs and rail-car inspections, UP officials said in a press release."Union Pacific is committed to delivering chemical shipments in the safest manner and applauds this year's Pinnacle Award recipients for their initiatives and measures eliminating rail car chemical releases,” said Kenny Rocker, executive vice president, marketing and sales.To read a list of this year's winners, click on this link.

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AAPA names Connor to succeed Nagle as top exec

Rail News Home Railroading People 6/21/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Connor will begin his new role on Sept. 23.Photo – aapa-ports.org

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has named Christopher Connor as its next president and chief executive officer.

The former global CEO of Wallenius Wilhemsen Logistics (WWL), Connor will begin his new role on Sept. 23. He will succeed Kurt Nagle, who plans to retire this fall.

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Short-line tax credit advances in House, picks up 50th cosponsor in Senate

Legislation that would extend the 45G short-line maintenance tax credit was favorably voted out of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee yesterday, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association reported.

The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 (H.R. 3301) would provide certainty for a number of tax credits, including the short-line credit, through 2020.

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U.S. Class Is employed fewer workers in May

U.S. Class Is employed 142,950 workers as of mid-May, down 0.88 percent from mid-April and down 2.76 percent compared with May 2018, according to Surface Transportation Board data.

All but one employment category — maintenance of way and structures — reflected decreases in the workforce on a month-over-month basis. Maintenance of way and structures rose 0.15 percent to 32,117 workers last month compared with April's level.

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FTA allocates $300M to BART’s heavy-rail system

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/21/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image BART’s Transbay Corridor Core Capacity project will receive fiscal-year 2018 funding through FTA’s Capital Investment Grants program.Photo – BART Facebook

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday announced that it will allocate $300 million to improve capacity on the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) heavy-rail system between Oakland and San Francisco, California. 

Upon final FTA approval of a construction grant agreement, BART’s Transbay Corridor Core Capacity project will receive the fiscal-year 2018 funding through FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation press release.

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Sound Transit receives new light-rail vehicle

Sound Transit has received the first light-rail vehicle of the agency’s $642.5 million order for 152 vehicles from Siemens Industry Inc. 

The vehicle's arrival marks the start of regular delivery of one to three vehicles per month through 2024, Sound Transit officials said in a press release. 

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LA Metro report highlights on-demand service, congestion pricing study

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) Chief Executive Officer Phillip Washington yesterday delivered an annual State of the Agency report that highlights the agency's progress in areas such as adding first- and last-mile services.

In the report, Washington noted that the agency has successfully launched a pilot program to provide on-demand first- and last-mile service around three major transportation hubs at the Artesia, El Monte and North Hollywood stations in Los Angeles.

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U.S. rail traffic down again in Week 24

The trend of declining U.S. rail traffic in 2019 continued in Week 24. Railroads posted 527,989 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending June 15, a 5.4 percent decrease compared with the same week in 2018, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total U.S. carloads for the week were 257,385 units, down 4.6 percent, while intermodal volume was 270,604 containers and trailers, down 6.2 percent.

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Denver RTD light-rail derailment prompts safety action plan

Rail News Home Safety 6/20/2019 Rail News: Safety
image According to RTD’s internal investigation, the light-rail derailment in January was caused by the train being operated at too high of a speed.Photo – RTD Facebook

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has ordered the Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) to file a corrective action plan that outlines the safety measures the agency has taken since a light-rail train derailed in Aurora in January.

The PUC will begin a standard investigation into the R Line derailment that injured nine passengers. RTD’s internal investigation determined the derailment occurred because the train was speeding. The train's operator has been terminated, according to an RTD press release.

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