Railroad News

Report: Brightline finalizes construction bids for Miami-Orlando segment

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/9/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Brightline's service on the Miami-to-Orlando route is expected to begin in 2021.Photo – gobrightline.com

Brightline is a step closer to constructing a new rail line between Miami and Orlando, Florida.

The intercity passenger-rail company finalized bids last week from three contractors to lay rail lines between Orlando International Airport to existing Brightline track in Cocoa, according to a report by thenextmiami.com.

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Ohio panel to solicit input on rail crossing exemptions

Rail News Home Safety 10/9/2018 Rail News: Safety
imageThe Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) will hold two public hearings this month to solicit input on a request to exempt school buses and motor vehicles transporting certain hazardous materials from the requirement to stop at certain grade crossings.A hearing will be held Oct. 19 in Newton Falls to hear opinions on exempting the requirement at crossings in Mahoning County at Diehl Road, Bailey Road and Ellsworth Road; and State Route 14, State Route 534 and the U.S. Route 224.The second hearing, also to be held Oct. 19, will address crossings in Trumbull County at State Route 82 and State Route 534; and County Highway 114D/Braceville Robinson Road.Ohio law requires bus, school or motor vehicle transporting certain hazardous materials to stop, look and listen for oncoming trains at every public rail crossing before safely crossing the tracks, according to a PUCO press release. Local highway authorities may petition the PUCO to waive this requirement.

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BART tests upgraded earthquake alert system

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/9/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (at podium) speaks at Monday's press conference on the new warning system.Photo – BART's Twitter account

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) yesterday rolled out a new earthquake early warning alert system.

Known as ShakeAlert 2.0, the system is designed to provide up to tens of seconds of advance warning that the ground will begin shaking. The alerts enable BART to slow or stop trains ahead of major seismic activity.

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NCDOT seeks input on Norfolk Southern rail crossing project

Rail News Home Safety 10/9/2018 Rail News: Safety
imageNorth Carolina transportation officials will host a public meeting on Thursday for a proposed grade separation at Norfolk Southern Railway's crossing at Hilltop Road near U.S. 421 in Guilford County.Project team members will be available to answer questions and receive feedback, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) officials said in a press release."The project is part of a statewide effort to reduce the number of unsafe rail-highway at-grade crossings," said NCDOT Board Chairman Michael Fox.The project is included in the Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan and is part of the Piedmont Improvement Program (PIP).The PIP is an initiative between NCDOT, the North Carolina Railroad Co. (NCRR) and NS to improve passenger and freight operations along the Piedmont Corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte.

 The Piedmont Corridor consists of the Greensboro-to-Charlotte portion of NS, the Washington D.C.-to-Atlanta mainline and the NCRR H-line that runs from Greensboro to Raleigh.

Thursday's hearing will be held in Greensboro. NCDOT will accept written comments via email or mail no later than Oct. 25.

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SunRail tests PTC system

Rail News Home Positive Train Control 10/9/2018 Rail News: Positive Train Control
image The railroad aims to implement PTC along its entire 61.5-mile corridor by late 2019.Photo – SunRail

SunRail over the weekend conducted positive train control (PTC) testing along a 17-mile segment between Sanford and Winter Park, Florida.

The testing included uphill and downhill brake tests at defined speeds and grades to verify braking performance, SunRail officials said in a press release. The PTC test train consisted of two locomotives, four coaches and one cab car to simulate a fully-weighted SunRail train.

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Batory: FRA to complete Hudson tunnel project's EIS by early 2019

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is in the "final chapters" of completing a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed replacement of Amtrak's Hudson River tunnels, FRA Administrator Ronald Batory told a U.S. Senate panel last week.

Batory spoke to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which held a hearing to receive a status report on railroads' plans to implement positive train control (PTC).

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From the editor: Jefferies to succeed Hamberger at AAR

By Pat Foran, Editor

Last month, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) named Ian Jefferies to serve as the organization’s next president and chief executive officer. Currently AAR’s senior vice president of government affairs, he will take the reins Jan. 1, following the retirement of current President and CEO Ed Hamberger.

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Metrolink honored for Tier 4 locomotive purchase

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/8/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The railroad's staff accepted the award at the 30th Annual Clean Air Awards in downtown Los Angeles.Photo – Metrolink's Twitter account

California's South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has presented its model community achievement award to Metrolink for its purchase of 40 locomotives that comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Tier 4 emissions standard.

The new units reduce emissions by 85 percent and provide 57 percent more horsepower compared to older locomotives, Metrolink officials said in a press release.

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Caltrain forecasts 300 percent surge in ridership demand by 2040

By 2040, Caltrain could serve as many as 250,000 daily passengers, representing a 300 percent increase over the system's current ridership.

The announcement comes as the railroad develops its latest business plan. Caltrain staff found that "significantly increased" service could attract about 243,000 daily riders, up from 65,000 daily riders today, agency officials said in a press release.

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Rail advocates to be inducted into Michigan's Hall of Honor

Rail News Home Railroading People 10/8/2018 Rail News: Railroading People
image Robert Chaprnka and Philip Kazmierski will be inducted into the Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor.Photo – MDOT's Facebook page

Two men who helped make a difference in Michigan's rail industry will be inducted into the Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor later this month.

Robert Chaprnka and Philip Kazmierski will be among five people to be inducted at an Oct. 18 event, according to a press release issued by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

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California High-Speed Rail Authority issues EIR for Fresno-Bakersfield segment

Rail News Home High-Speed Rail 10/8/2018 Rail News: High-Speed Rail
image A rendering of the high-speed-rail train that will serve California.Photo – California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority's board will host a meeting later this month to accept public comment on the final supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the Fresno-to-Bakersfield section of the state's high-speed rail system.

The authority announced late last week that the final supplemental EIR is now available. It represents a "comprehensive project-level review of the southern part of the section that runs between Poplar Avenue in Shafter and a station location in downtown Bakersfield," authority officials said in a press release.

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ASLRRA signs Rockwell Collins to help short lines prep PTC documents

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has chosen Rockwell Collins to assist tenant short lines in creating safety documentation for positive train control (PTC).

The selection of Rockwell Collins is the next step in ASLRRA's plan to provide services to short lines equipping for PTC. Rockwell Collins will help smaller railroads create the documentation required to obtain permission to operate over a host's PTC territory, ASLRRA officials said in a press release.

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MARTA's board OKs $2.7 billion transit expansion plan

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/8/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The program will fund construction of a new 22-mile light-rail system, upgrades to existing heavy-rail stations and other major transit projects in the Atlanta region.Photo – MARTA's October board presentation on the plan

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's (MARTA) has approved a $2.7 billion transit expansion plan, marking the agency's largest transit investment in more than 40 years.

The "More MARTA Atlanta" program will fund 17 major transit projects in the Atlanta region, including construction of a new 22-mile light-rail system, two new transit centers, upgrades to existing rail stations and the introduction of bus-rapid transit service.

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New York City Transit continues CBTC installation

Rail News Home Communication and Signal 10/8/2018 Rail News: Communication and Signal
image The system will enable the agency to provide more frequent and reliable service along the 7 Line, NYCT officials said.Photo – MTA

Each weekend this month, MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) will perform "critical work" to install communications-based train control (CBTC) signaling along the 7 rail Line.

Once installed by year's end, the CBTC system will enable the agency to provide more frequent and reliable service on the 7 Line, which currently serves about 500,000 riders each weekday between Queens and Manhattan.

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CSX Chair Kelly to retire; Zillmer elected successor

CSX Corp. announced late last week that Chairman Edward Kelly III will retire in January after the company releases its fourth-quarter 2018 earnings.

The board elected John Zillmer chairman, effective upon Kelly's retirement.

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CSX Chair Kelly to retire; Zillmer elected successor

CSX Corp. announced late last week that Chairman Edward Kelly III will retire in January after the company releases its fourth-quarter 2018 earnings.

The board elected John Zillmer chairman, effective upon Kelly's retirement.

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Rail supplier news from GE, CIT Michael Baker and WAGO (Oct. 5)

Rail News Home Railroading Supplier Spotlight 10/5/2018 Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
image GE delivered two pink ES44ACi locomotives to Australian iron-ore company Roy Hill to promote breast cancer awareness.Photo – GE Transportation

GE Transportation and Australian iron-ore company Roy Hill yesterday commemorated two new pink ES44ACi locomotives in support of breast cancer patients and research. The units arrived at Roy Hill's rail terminal in Port Hedland, Western Australia, as countries around the world mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The new locomotives will join Roy Hill's existing fleet of 21 GE trains. They'll also be connected with 130 pink ore cars manufactured by China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. This is the first time GE has painted a locomotive pink, company officials said in a press release.

CIT Group Inc. has completed the sale of its European rail leasing business NACCO for net proceeds of $1.1 billion. The company's Paris-based operations and assets, including 11,000 rail cars, were sold to VTG Aktiengesellschaft in Germany, while its operations and assets in Germany and Luxembourg were sold to a consortium of buyers consisting of WASCOSA AG and a subsidiary of Aves One AG. A portion of the proceeds will be used to "optimize CIT's funding profile," including redeeming rail-car securitization in the United States, terminating the total return swap facility and repaying outstanding unsecured debt, company officials said in a press release.

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Baltimore transit agency to redevelop MARC Camden Station

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/5/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The project includes expanding the station's waiting area and installing new ticket vending machines.Photo – MDOT MTA

The Maryland Department of Transportation's Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) today will begin redeveloping the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) Camden Station in Baltimore.

The project calls for expanding the station's waiting area and installing new ticket vending machines, service and information displays and an MDOT MTA police force substation.

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TriMet taps Sewell to head labor relations, human resources

Rail News Home Railroading People 10/5/2018 Rail News: Railroading People
image Sewell previously served as director of TriMet's legal services.Photo – TriMet

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) has promoted Kimberly Sewell to executive director of its labor relations and human resources division.

For the past seven years, Sewell served as director of TriMet's legal services. Before that, she was TriMet's deputy general counsel.

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APTA, UITP sign pact on joint programs, training

Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends 10/5/2018 Rail News: Rail Industry Trends
image APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas (left) and UITP Secretary General Mohamed Mezghani signed the MOU in Nashville, where APTA recently held its annual meeting.Photo – UITP

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and Union International des Transports Public (UITP) last week signed an agreement to work together on mutual areas of interest, the organizations announced today.

UITP is an international network of 1,500 members, which include public transportation authorities, policy makers, research institutes and the transit supply and service industry.

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