Railroad News

CSX recognized for 'Responsible Care' protocols

Rail News Home CSX Transportation 7/9/2019 Rail News: CSX Transportation
image CSX has received the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care Management certification, the Class I announced last week.The certification was granted to recognize the railroad's health, safety, security and environmental policies and protocols, CSX officials said in a press release.To qualify for certification, independent auditors examine CSX's public safety, health and environment management system to ensure its effectiveness and compliance with the American Chemistry Council's responsible care standards.CSX first received the chemistry council's certification more than 20 years ago, said Raghu Chatrathi, senior director of public safety, health and environment for CSX."It is a testament to CSX’s longstanding commitment to health, safety, security, environmental sustainability and process excellence in the responsible management of company facilities and shipment of hazardous materials across our network," Chatrathi said.

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Feds solicit comments for Long Beach port's on-dock rail project

Rail News Home Intermodal 7/9/2019 Rail News: Intermodal
image The project is designed address current traffic and cargo distribution bottlenecks into, out of and within the port.Photo – polb.com

Tomorrow, the U.S. Maritime Administration will hold a public scoping meeting to discuss the environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed Pier B on-dock rail support facility project at the Port of Long Beach, California.

The administration is preparing an EIS on the project, which calls for reconfiguring, expanding and enhancing the existing Pier B on-dock rail support facility located along Anaheim Street and the 710 Freeway.

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Amtrak reports FY2018 sustainability actions

Rail News Home Amtrak 7/9/2019 Rail News: Amtrak
image Sustainability efforts have become a consistent component of Amtrak projects, operations and strategic plans.Photo – amtrak.com

Amtrak yesterday released its Sustainability Report for fiscal-year 2018, which states the railroad met its year-over-year targets for energy, fuel, recycling and emissions.

Sustainability efforts have become a consistent component of Amtrak projects, operations and strategic plans, said President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson in a press release.

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FTA seeks expedited delivery of Santa Clara VTA rail extension

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/9/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced yesterday it's pursuing an agreement with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to expedite delivery of the second phase of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley project. The project includes constructing a 5-mile subway tunnel through San Jose and extending the BART system to Santa Clara, California. The agreement is part of the FTA’s Expedited Project Delivery pilot program aimed at speeding up fixed guideway capital, small starts or core capacity improvement projects. All projects must use public-private partnerships, plan to be operated and maintained by an existing public transportation provider and have a federal share not exceeding 25 percent of the project cost, FTA officials said in a press release. In September 2018, the FTA announced it was accepting submissions from transit agencies to enter the program. Four agencies submitted seven projects for consideration, including VTA, which now has been selected to further define the steps required before a construction grant agreement is awarded. Up to eight grant agreements can be awarded, so the administration will continue to work with the other agencies as projects become ready for an agreement under the program, FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams said. Congress appropriated $125 million for the Expedited Project Delivery program through fiscal-year 2019.

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New Orleans RTA closes streetcar line for catenary work

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/8/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Fifteen overhead catenary system poles on the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority’s St. Charles streetcar line will be replaced due to corrosion.Photo – NORTA

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) next week will partially close the St. Charles streetcar line as crews begin replacing catenary poles. 

The poles must be replaced as a result of corrosion.

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MTA Metro-North restores New Haven main line service

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/8/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Connecticut Department of Transportation’s bridge project reduced the number of main line tracks available to Metro-North from five to two.Photo – Connecticut DOT

MTA Metro-North Railroad today restored regular service on the New Haven main line following the rebuilding of three of five main line tracks that had been out of service for nine days during replacement work on the Atlantic Street Bridge in Stamford, Connecticut. 

Connecticut Department of Transportation’s bridge project reduced the number of main line tracks available to Metro-North from five to two since the start of reconstruction on June 29, railroad officials said in a Metro-North press release.

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Caltrain, SamTrans partner with Miles on rewards program

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/8/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image During a one-year pilot program, Caltrain and SamTrans riders will be offered exclusive rewards through the Miles app.Photo – Caltrain Twitter

Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) in California have partnered with the Miles app to offer riders a rewards program to incentivize rail use.

Miles is an app-based platform that offers rewards — such as gift cars and tickets to local events — for choosing alternative and environmentally friendly modes of transportation. 

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Amtrak begins Philadelphia station's name change

Rail News Home Amtrak 7/8/2019 Rail News: Amtrak
image Gray represented Pennsylvania's Second District in Congress from 1979 to 1991. He later served as president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund.Photo – amtrak.com

Last week, Amtrak began taking steps to officially rename the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia in honor of the late William Gray III, a former U.S. congressman who died six years ago.

Legislation calling for the name change was passed in 2014. Gray represented Pennsylvania's Second District in Congress from 1979 to 1991. He later served as president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund.

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SFMTA resumes two-car train service after door redesign

Rail News Home Mechanical 7/8/2019 Rail News: Mechanical
image Siemens developed an updated door design that provides increased sensitivity to account for a broader range of obstructions.Photo – SFMTA

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will resume two-car train service on its Siemens S200 light-rail vehicles after retrofitting all single panel rear-doors with additional sensors.

Between November 2017 and April 2019, passengers were injured in three incidents involving the vehicles' rear doors. In the most recent incident, a passenger tried to hold open the rear door and fell into the trackway at Embarcadero Station in San Francisco.

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Short-line operator Regional Rail sold to 3i Group

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP), a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, announced today that it has completed the sale of short-line operator Regional Rail LLC to 3i Group plc.

Based in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Regional Rail operates short lines and rail-related businesses in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region with more than 155 miles of track. The company was formed in 2007.

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CN train derailed on Canada's side of international tunnel, TSB says

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 7/8/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will conduct the accident investigation into the June 28 CN train derailment that occurred in the St. Clair Tunnel between Sarnia, Ontario, and Port Huron, Michigan, the agency announced last week.Following initial assessments by the TSB and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, it was determined that the derailment began in Canada, TSB officials said in a press release.The train derailed inside the tunnel under the St. Clair River. About 40 cars derailed in the tunnel — which connects Michigan to Ontario — in various positions, CTVnews.ca reported, citing CN.A car containing about 52,000 liters of sulfuric acid leaked as a result of the derailment, the news station reported.

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DeFazio: GAO finds lack of safety data on longer trains

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 7/8/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image The study confirmed citizens' beliefs that trains are getting longer, DeFazio said.Photo – GAO study

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on train lengths showed that while the average train length has increased by 25 percent, there is little to no data being collected to measure the impact of longer trains on communities, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) announced last week.

DeFazio, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and others asked for the study in 2017 in response to an increase in constituent complaints about trains blocking grade crossings in their communities.

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SFRTA board elects Ryan chair, Valache vice chair

Rail News Home Railroading People 7/5/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Left to right: SFRTA Chair Tim Ryan and Vice Chair Hal Valache.Photo – SFRTA

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) board earlier this week unanimously elected Broward County Commissioner Tim Ryan as chair. 

He previously served as SFRTA chair from July 2016 to June 2017. Ryan was mayor of Broward County in 2014 and served in the Florida House of Representatives until 2006. 

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Amtrak, Wisconsin DOT launch bus service tied to Hiawatha line

Amtrak and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) on July 1 began offering a new Green Bay-Milwaukee bus service that provides connections to and from the Amtrak Hiawatha rail route between Milwaukee and Chicago.

An Amtrak Thruway bus now provides two daily round-trip services between Green Bay and Milwaukee, with stops in Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Appleton, Wisconsin. The service enables travelers to complete a same-day round trip between those cities and Chicago, as well access Amtrak stations in Milwaukee (Mitchell International Airport), Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and Glenview, Illinois.

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Valley Metro boards elect new officers

The Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority (RPTA) and Valley Metro Rail boards earlier this week elected new officers to serve a one-year term ending June 30, 2020. 

Kevin Hartke, mayor of Chandler, Arizona, was elected chair of the RPTA board, which governs multi-modal transit services in the greater Phoenix area. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego was elected vice chair and Peoria Councilmember Jon Edwards was elected treasurer. 

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Metro-North recognizes company safety initiatives

MTA Metro-North Railroad last month hosted its third annual Safety Excellence Awards to highlight company-wide initiatives and recognize groups and individuals for their safety efforts.

The railroad’s maintenance-of-way “housekeeping initiative” on the North White Plains section of the Harlem Line earned a safety excellence award in the company-wide initiatives category. As part of the program, employees found more than 200 ways to enhance the railroad’s safety and productivity. Due to the success of the initiative, similar endeavors are now being rolled out throughout the railroad, Metro-North officials said in a press release. 

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West Virginia authority seeks to lease NS-served inland port to private party

Rail News Home Intermodal 7/5/2019 Rail News: Intermodal
image The West Virginia Public Port Authority's board earlier this week passed a resolution to negotiate a short-term lease with a private company to manage the state-owned Heartland Intermodal Gateway (HIG) inland port in Prichard.After the short-term lease expires, the state plans to auction the facility, which is served by Norfolk Southern Railway. The HIG has been losing money for several years, according to state officials. In fiscal-year 2019, it generated only $17,370 in income but incurred $522,000 in expenses.The HIG is used for truck-to-rail freight transfers along the 530-mile Heartland Corridor, which runs from the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads through West Virginia to Chicago. The facility was funded by about $18 million from the state, a $12 million grant from the federal government and $1 million from NS.A lease needs to be approved by the port authority's board and NS. The resolution was necessary to start negotiations with private entities, state officials say.

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WMATA adds service to Red and Yellow lines

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/5/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image WMATA will run its Red Line trains end to end between the Glenmont and Shady Grove stations in Maryland.Photo – WMATA Facebook

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) earlier this week began adding more service at some Red and Yellow Line stations.

Red Line trains will now run end to end between the Glenmont and Shady Grove stations in Maryland instead of some trains turning back at Silver Spring Station. 

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Greater Cleveland RTA set to install Birdsong as next leader

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's (GCRTA) board on Wednesday approved a measure to enter negotiations with large transit system veteran India Birdsong to become the authority's next chief executive officer and general manager.

If appointed, she would succeed Joseph Calabrese, who stepped down as CEO in September 2018 after 18 years in the top post. Interim CEO Floun'say Caver then would return to his prior role as chief operating officer and deputy GM of operations.

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AAR: U.S. rail traffic tumbled for fifth-straight month in June

U.S. railroads remained in a rut last month. June was the fifth-straight month that their carloads and intermodal traffic declined on a year-over-year basis.

U.S. roads last month originated 1,023,394 carloads, down 5.3 percent, and 1,075,974 containers and trailers, down 7.2 percent compared with June 2018 figures, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

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