Railroad News

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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NCTD board approves Siemens locomotive order

Rail News Home Mechanical 6/18/2019 Rail News: Mechanical
image The North County Transit District authorized the purchase of two additional Siemens SC-44 Charger diesel-electric locomotives, pending receipt of funding.Photo – NCTD

The North County Transit District (NCTD) of San Diego announced that earlier this year the board authorized the purchase of two additional Siemens SC-44 Charger diesel-electric locomotives, pending receipt of funding from a source that has yet to be announced.

The procurement would be part of NCTD’s plan to increase Coaster commuter-rail service frequency. 

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NYC Transit: Pact adds 500 officers to improve safety, combat fare evasion

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) yesterday announced an agreement to add 500 additional uniformed officers to the New York City Transit (NYCT) system to address transit-worker assaults and combat fare evasion.

Assaults on NYCT workers increased 15.2 percent between 2013 and 2017. Lost revenue from fare evasion rose to $225 million in 2018 from $105 million in 2015, according to a press release issued by Cuomo's office.

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NJ Transit to highlight accessibility options in video campaign

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/17/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image NJ Transit’s $78,000 video campaign is targeted at passengers who are older, low-income, have disabilities or are veterans.Photo – NJ Transit

New Jersey Transit will create a video campaign to make passengers with mobility challenges aware of the accessibility accommodations available on its commuter- and light-rail services. 

NJ Transit was awarded a $60,600 Access and Mobility Partnership Grant from the Federal Transit Administration to complete the campaign. The agency will add $17,400 for a total project cost of $78,000, according to a NJ Transit press release.

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TransLink completes Joyce Collingwood Station project

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/17/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image TransLink’s Joyce Collingwood SkyTrain station upgrades are part of the CA$59 million Rapid Transit Solution and Facilities Project.Photo – Translink

TransLink last week completed upgrades at the western end of Joyce Collingwood SkyTrain Station in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The station now offers increased capacity and greater accessibility options, including a new elevator and escalator; exterior real-time service information signs; improved lighting, an extended roof; improved integration of pedestrian, bicycle, bus, and SkyTrain transportation modes; glass partitions to support crime prevention; and universally accessible fare gates.

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DART forges pact with Anland North to develop Victory Plaza

Dallas Area Rapid Transit's (DART) board last week approved a Victory Plaza development agreement with Anland North Commercial LP.

The pact covers the financing, design, engineering and construction of DART's planned 1-acre plaza in the Victory Park neighborhood in downtown Dallas. Following the project's completion, Anland North will maintain Victory Plaza for 10 years through the Victory Owners Association, DART officials said in a press release.

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Amtrak wraps up Acela interior 'refresh'

Rail News Home Amtrak 6/17/2019 Rail News: Amtrak
image The project, which took 15 months to complete, is one of Amtrak's initiatives to improve Acela service along the Northeast Corridor.Photo – amtrak.com

Amtrak has completed a project to refresh the interiors of its 20-trainset Acela fleet, the passenger railroad announced last week.

The project, which took 15 months to complete, is one of Amtrak's initiatives to improve Acela service along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak officials said in a press release.

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United Rail enlists Peakstone to raise capital for short-line acquisitions

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals 6/17/2019 Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
image United Rail Inc. has selected investment banking firm Peakstone to help the company raise capital to fund future acquisitions of short lines.United Rail, a short-line consolidator and owner of the SmartRail brand for electronic precision railroading and brand licensor, has said that it has an active pipeline and plans to acquire seven short lines over the next 12 months."Over the past year we have identified several railroads that we have determined to be undervalued in the market," said United Rail Chief Executive Officer Michael Barron in a press release. "We have a very specific set of parameters and a strict evaluation process in terms of revenues, net income and operating margins. If the targets do not meet our criteria, we exclude those from consideration."After acquiring a short line, United Rail employs its SmartRail precision railroading system to improve efficiency and increase operating margins, Barron said.In February, United Rail announced it acquired New England Southern Railroad in Concord, New Hampshire.

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Howard Energy expands rail-served bulk terminal facilities in Texas

Howard Energy Partners (HEP) announced last week that it has completed expansions of its bulk terminal facilities in Port Arthur and Corpus Christi, Texas.

The projects were designed to increase HEP's Gulf Coast terminal storage capacity to 2.6 million barrels with three ship docks, three barge docks, unit train loading capacity for up to two trains per day and direct pipeline connections through wholly owned pipelines, company officials said in a press release.

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Bombardier to move BART rail-car assembly to California

Rail News Home Mechanical 6/17/2019 Rail News: Mechanical
image Bombardier will transfer assembly work for BART’s 775-rail car order from a New York site to Pittsburg, California, later this year.Photo – BART

Bombardier Transportation last week announced it will open a rail-car assembly site in Pittsburg, California. 

The first equipment off the assembly line will be for Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) 775-car contract with Bombardier.

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FRA issues proposed rule for passenger rail safety, risk-reduction systems

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 6/17/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image The proposed changes were posted June 12 in the Federal Register.Photo – FRA's Twitter

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) last week published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in response to petitions seeking reconsideration of a final rule regarding intercity- and commuter-rail systems' Safety System Program (SSP) and Risk Reduction Program (RRP).

The NPRM addresses state and labor petitions filed on the SSP final rule.

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Ballast Management Equipment Update 2019

The Ballast Blaster Undercutter sports improved features, DymaxRail says.Photo – DymaxRail

Compiled by Walter Weart

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Rail supplier news from NRC, Tramont, Alstom, ABB Turbocharging, TekTracking, CRRC and HNTB (June 14)

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) has hired TGA Association Management Solutions LLC (TGA AMS) for government affairs and association management services. TGA AMS President Matt Ginsberg previously worked with the association in roles including operations, conference planning, and regulatory and government affairs.

Tramont Manufacturing has acquired Compo Steel Products, increasing its production capacity and expanding its reach into the railroad market. Compo will continue operations as a division of Tramont Manufacturing under the name Motive Energy. Motive Energy is known for creating precision components for passenger and freight locomotives, according to a Tramont press release. As part of the acquisition, Tramont will begin transferring production to the Compo manufacturing plant, which is less than a mile from Tramont’s current facility in Milwaukee.

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PATH to open eastbound Harrison Station

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/14/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image PATH’s eastbound Harrison Station redevelopment is part of the agency’s $256 million modernization of the 76-year-old station.Photo – PATH

Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) commuter-rail system officials announced it will open the eastbound Harrison Station tomorrow in Harrison, New Jersey.

The eastbound redevelopment is part of PATH’s $256 million modernization of the 76-year-old Harrison Station. It is glass-enclosed, with weather-protected entrances, elevators, widened stairs and escalator access to the platform. 

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LA Metro tunnel boring machine breaks through to Wilshire/Western Terminus

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/14/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Since LA Metro’s tunnel boring machine was lowered into the ground at the La Brea site in October 2018, the machine has burrowed about 60 feet per day.Photo – LA Metro

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) earlier this week announced that its first tunnel boring machine has broken through from the Wilshire/La Brea Station site to the Wilshire/Western Terminus in Los Angeles. 

The boring machine is one of two being used to mine parallel subway tunnels to extend LA Metro’s Purple Line from the current Wilshire/Western Terminus to the Wilshire/La Brea Station site. 

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Palmetto Railways to serve new plastics transload facility

Rail News Home Intermodal 6/14/2019 Rail News: Intermodal
image The 550,000-square-foot facility will be built on 26 acres of the former U.S. Navy base in North Charleston, South Carolina.Photo – South Carolina Ports Authority

Frontier Logistics broke ground yesterday on a new warehouse facility that will support the handling of plastics and resin exports from the Port of Charleston in South Carolina.

The 550,000-square-foot facility will be built on 26 acres of the former U.S. Navy base in North Charleston, South Carolina. It will be served by Palmetto Railways, which will connect it to Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX routes, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) officials said in a press release.

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DART names Schulze chief of staff

Rail News Home Railroading People 6/14/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Dallas Area Rapid Transit Chief of Staff David SchulzePhoto – DART

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) yesterday announced the appointment of David Schulze as the chief of staff.

Schulze becomes DART’s first executive-level chief of staff, serving as senior adviser to DART's president and executive director, according to a DART press release. 

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North Dakota lawmakers seek Chao's help to fight Washington state's crude-by-rail law

North Dakota's congressional delegation is making its case to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao that Washington state's new crude-by-rail law violates the nation's Interstate Commerce Clause and interferes with the U.S. Department of Transportation's authority over the shipment of crude oil over state lines.

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) this week asked Chao's assistance in North Dakota's concerns about Washington's new law.

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USDOT seeks applicants for new port infrastructure grant program

Rail News Home Intermodal 6/14/2019 Rail News: Intermodal
image “This major investment in the Port Infrastructure Development Program will help strengthen, modernize, and improve our country’s maritime systems and gateway ports,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.Photo – dot.gov

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) this week announced a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) to apply for $292.7 million in discretionary grant funding through the new Port Infrastructure Development Program.

The program aims to support public coastal ports by improving the safety, efficiency or reliability of goods moved into, out of or within a port, USDOT officials said in a press release.

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MARTA OKs timeline for major transit expansion

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's (MARTA) board yesterday approved the timeline for $2.7 billion in expansion projects that will result in the largest investment in public transit since the agency was founded 40 years ago.

Under the More MARTA Atlanta program, the projects call for 14 miles of bus rapid transit, 22 miles of arterial rapid transit and 29 new miles of light-rail service. Included is nearly $1.3 billion in projects directly connecting to and around the Atlanta BeltLine, MARTA officials said in a press release.

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