Railroad News

STB solicits comments on proposed Uinta Basin Railway's environmental impact

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) yesterday began the federal environmental review process for the Uinta Basin Railway project in Utah.

The Uinta Basin Railway is a new freight-rail line proposed by the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition (SCIC) to connect industries in the Uinta Basin to regional and national markets. Last month, the SCIC selected Drexel Hamilton Infrastructure Partners LP for a public-private partnership to finance, develop and construct the railroad.

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MassDOT, MBTA OK $18.3 billion capital plan

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/20/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Massachusetts Department of Transportation's (MassDOT) board and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) fiscal management board earlier this week voted to approve a five-year $18.3 billion capital investment plan (CIP) for fiscal years 2020-2024. The CIP marks an increase of $1 billion compared with the previous five-year CIP, according to a MassDOT press release. “We are continuing to invest historic levels of funding into the MBTA and strengthen our roadway and bridge networks in order to provide a more reliable transportation system across Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in the press release. The plan calls for: $1.58 billion for Red and Orange line improvements, including $753.7 million to replace the 404-vehicle fleet, $591.5 million to upgrade maintenance facilities and infrastructure, and $253 million to upgrade to modern digital signal systems;  $875 million for additional capital investments in the Red Line. This includes $114.9 million for rehabilitating the Longfellow Approach viaduct; $118 million in new funding to modernize the bridges, stations, track on the Mattapan Line; and $640.6 million for other improvements to the Red Line, including bridges, track, signals, stations and accessibility improvements; $1.36 billion for the Green Line Extension Project, including $1.1 billion for tracks, railroad bridges, signals, stations, and other infrastructure work, $86.7 million to purchase 24 accessible vehicles, and $29.4 million for transportation mitigation options; $1 billion for the South Coast Rail Project; $913 million for the Green Line Transformation, including $296 million in track and signal improvements; $214 million to begin procuring light-rail vehicles; $83 million for the Green Line’s train protection system; $55 million for rehabilitation of the Lechmere Viaduct in order to accommodate the heavier vehicles; and $538.6 million for the Commuter Rail Safety and Resiliency Program. This includes $171.9 million to complete implementation of positive train control across all commuter rail lines and $313.8 million to upgrade signal systems to automatic train control on the north side commuter rail lines. The CIP includes all MassDOT road and bridge projects, public use airports, rail and transit, including the MBTA and regional transit authorities.The CIP is a rolling five-year plan that is updated annually.

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PANYNJ wraps up ExpressRail Port Jersey project

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) yesterday announced the completion of the ExpressRail Port Jersey facility, the final piece of the port's intermodal rail network spanning facilities in Elizabeth and Newark, New Jersey, and Staten Island, New York.

Opening the Express Rail Port Jersey intermodal facility allows the port to advance its five-year goal to handle more than 900,000 rail lifts a year — the equivalent of 1.5 million fewer truck trips traveling through local roads, PANYNJ officials said in a press release.

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Amtrak police force cuts prompt lawmakers' security concerns

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and dozens of other U.S. congressmen want to know why Amtrak is reportedly planning to reduce the size of its police force by 20 percent over the next several years.

In a letter sent yesterday to Amtrak President and Chief Executive Office Richard Anderson, DeFazio and 52 other House members expressed concern that the possible Amtrak Police Department (APD) cuts "could undermine the safety and security of the entire system."

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Amtrak police force cuts raise security concerns for U.S. lawmakers

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and dozens of other U.S. congressmen want to know why Amtrak is reportedly planning to reduce the size of its police force by 20 percent over the next several years.

In a letter sent yesterday to Amtrak President and Chief Executive Office Richard Anderson, DeFazio and 52 other House members expressed concern that the possible Amtrak Police Department (APD) cuts "could undermine the safety and security of the entire system."

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Rail supplier news from Thales, Wabtec, Cubic, HDR, Roadrunner, Wasatch and James Street (June 19)

Thales was awarded a contract by the East-West Connectors to provide its SelTrac communications-based train control system for the second phase of the O-Train Confederation Line extension project in Ottawa, Canada. Under the contract, Thales will integrate control units on each train and install guideway equipment, according to a company press release. Thales also provided its SelTrac system for the project's first phase, and will be responsible for integrating the two operations.

Wabtec Corp. ratified the first four-year contract agreement with members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Locals 506 and 618 who are employed at the Wabtec locomotive plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, that was acquired from GE Transportation in February. The contract covers terms of employment, pay, benefits, hours, leave and health and safety policies, according to a UE Local 506 press release.

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Amports to expand acreage at Jacksonville port

Rail News Home Intermodal 6/19/2019 Rail News: Intermodal
image Amports Inc. now leases more than 170 acres from the port authority.Photo – jaxport.com

The Jacksonville Port Authority's board yesterday approved two long-term agreements with automobile processor Amports Inc., which will expand its lease space at the Florida port.

One lease extends an existing leased property at the port's Blount Island Marine Terminal; the second agreement provides Amports with 22.4 acres of new space for auto processing and storage at the Dames Point Marine Terminal, port authority officials said in a press release.

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Metro Transit-St. Louis logs ridership record during Stanley Cup celebration

On June 15, the Metro Transit-St. Louis MetroLink light-rail system logged a record 100,000-plus boardings as passengers traveled to downtown St. Louis for a celebration honoring the St. Louis Blues' Stanley Cup Championship. 

In preparation of large crowds expected to take MetroLink to the championship parade and rally, the Metro Transit and MetroLink police scheduled extra security, dozens of additional transit operations personnel, customer service representatives and volunteer employee ambassadors to assist riders, Metro Transit officials said in a press release.

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NS honors Delaware-Lackawanna as 'short line of the year'

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals 6/19/2019 Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
image The Delaware-Lackawanna was recognized for its conscientious customer service and commitment to growth.Photo – gvtrail.com

Norfolk Southern Corp. has recognized the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad with the Class I's "Short Line of the Year" award.

A Genesee Valley Transportation (GVT Rail) subsidiary, the Delaware-Lackawanna was recognized by NS for its "conscientious customer service and commitment to growth," according to a GVT Rail press release.

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WMATA seeks improvements for Blue, Orange, Silver lines

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) earlier this week announced the launch of a two-year study of potential improvements to the Blue, Orange and Silver (BOS) lines. 

The BOS lines all share a single set of tracks between the Rosslyn Station tunnel and the Anacostia River, creating a bottleneck that limits the number of trains that can cross between Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, WMATA officials said in a press release.

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CP recognized for logistics excellence

Rail News Home Canadian Pacific 6/19/2019 Rail News: Canadian Pacific
image Canadian Pacific was named "Best Logistics Service Provider-Rail" at the Asian Freight Logistics and Supply Chain Awards ceremony held June 17 in Hong Kong.The award recognizes CP for service quality, innovation,customer-relationship management and reliability, according to a CP press release."The CP teams in Asia and North America are focused on driving sustainable, profitable growth and this award demonstrates our customers' confidence in CP's service offering," said President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel. "We are committed to providing our customers with superior and reliable freight rail options from the Port of Vancouver to the rest of North America."CP was the only North American railroad nominated for the award."Since opening our Shanghai office last year, we have focused on deepening our relationships in Asia, starting with gaining a better understanding of our customers' needs," said Corey Heinz, CP's managing director, Asia.

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CP recognized for logistics excellence

Rail News Home Canadian Pacific 6/19/2019 Rail News: Canadian Pacific
image Canadian Pacific was named "Best Logistics Service Provider-Rail" at the Asian Freight Logistics and Supply Chain Awards ceremony held June 17 in Hong Kong.The award recognizes CP for service quality, innovation,customer-relationship management and reliability, according to a CP press release."The CP teams in Asia and North America are focused on driving sustainable, profitable growth and this award demonstrates our customers' confidence in CP's service offering," said President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel. "We are committed to providing our customers with superior and reliable freight rail options from the Port of Vancouver to the rest of North America."CP was the only North American railroad nominated for the award."Since opening our Shanghai office last year, we have focused on deepening our relationships in Asia, starting with gaining a better understanding of our customers' needs," said Corey Heinz, CP's managing director, Asia.

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Connecticut DOT Hartford Line marks one-year anniversary

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Hartford Line between Hartford and Windsor, Connecticut, last week marked its first year of service. 

During its first year in business, the line logged 634,000 passenger boardings — about 51,000 more than originally projected for the first year, according to CTDOT report

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ASLRRA: House bill includes short-line tax credit

House Democrats yesterday unveiled a bill that would renew several expired and expiring tax incentives, including the short-line 45G maintenance tax credit.

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, introduced the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 (H.R. 3301), which would extend the short-line tax credit for three years through Dec. 31, 2020.

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APTA to host maintenance, operator skills competition

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/18/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image APTA’s International Rail Rodeo will have operators and maintenance teams from U.S., Canada and Japan transit agencies compete in timed skill-tests.Photo – Utah Transit Authority

The American Pubic Transportation Association (APTA) will host a skills competition for rail transit operators and maintenance personnel later this week in Toronto, Canada. 

APTA’s International Rail Rodeo will have operators and maintenance teams from U.S., Canada and Japan transit agencies compete in timed skill-tests in several categories. 

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Capitol Corridor increases train speeds

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/18/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image A new Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority timetable reduces by 5 minutes the time it takes trains to travel between Sacramento and San Jose.Photo – Capitol Corridor

A new Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) timetable took effect yesterday, reducing by five minutes the time it takes trains to travel  between Sacramento and San Jose, California. 

The change is a result of the Travel Time Savings Project, a $12 million rail infrastructure improvement project completed in December 2018 between the California Department of Transportation, the California State Transportation Agency and Union Pacific Railroad.

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LA Metro begins work on Blue Line northern segment

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/18/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The northern segment from Compton Station to 7th St/Metro Center is expected to reopen in fall.Photo – LA Metro Facebook

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) will close two Expo Line stations this week as crews begin construction on the Blue Line improvement project's northern segment. 

The 7th Street/Metro Center and Pico stations will close June 22 and reopen August 21 so that crews can replace shared track at the junction of the Expo and Blue lines at Washington Boulevard and Flower Street in the 7th Street/Metro Center tunnel in downtown Los Angeles, LA Metro officials said in a press release.

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NCDOT's Trogdon to chair AASHTO rail council

Rail News Home Railroading People 6/18/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image James Trogdon IIIPhoto – NCDOT

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Secretary James Trogdon III has been named chairman of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Council on Rail Transportation.

Appointed secretary of the NCDOT in January 2017, Trogdon is a registered professional engineer with more than 30 years of experience in transportation alongside three decades of military service with the North Carolina National Guard, AASHTO officials said in a website post.

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NTSB issues preliminary report on ethanol train derailment in Texas

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 6/18/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image The 6,122-foot, high-hazard flammable, key train was carrying denatured ethanol in 96 loaded rail tank cars when 25 cars derailed.Photo – NTSB's preliminary report

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday published a preliminary report for its investigation of an April 24 derailment of a Union Pacific Railroad train near Fort Worth, Texas.

The 6,122-foot, high-hazard flammable, key train was carrying denatured ethanol in 96 loaded rail tank cars when 25 cars derailed on UP's Midlothian Subdivision. At least three tank cars leaked about 74,000 gallons of denatured alcohol, which then ignited. Some of the product entered a nearby tributary of the Trinity River, NTSB officials said in a press release.

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Teamsters rail traffic controllers ratify new CN contract

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 6/18/2019 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN announced late last week that the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Rail Canada Traffic Controllers has ratified a new four-year agreement with the Class I.Retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019, the contract provides for wages and benefits improvements for 180 rail traffic controllers in Canada."We are pleased that, along with furthering long term labor stability, this agreement demonstrates once again that our team of skilled railroaders, whether management or union, are working together toward mutually satisfying solutions," said CN President and Chief Executive Officer JJ Ruest in a press release.CN and the union reached a tentative agreement in May.

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