Railroad News

AAR: U.S. freight-rail traffic recovery accelerated in June

Freight-rail traffic trends in June reflected an accelerated recovery process that began in May, Association of American Railroads (AAR) officials said yesterday.

U.S. railroads originated 1,799,189 carloads and intermodal units last month, a 14.3 percent decrease compared with June 2019, according to AAR data. Carload traffic fell 22.4 percent to 794,256, while intermodal volume dipped 6.6 percent to 1,004,933 units.

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BART, VRE unveil new resources to aid passengers

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/1/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Virginia Railway Express is exploring ways to notify passengers when trains are near or at capacity.Photo – VRE

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco yesterday launched weekly train car loading charts to provide a snapshot of what riders can expect on trains during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The schedule-based passenger load data outlines the average number of riders on each car of a specific train as it departs a station. The charts will be shared weekly at www.bart.gov/crowding.

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RTD-Denver’s latest financial projections better than predicted

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/1/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The June forecast predicts revenue for 2020 could be $38.2 million more than previously projected.Photo – RTD Facebook

The Regional Transportation District of Denver's (RTD) finances could recover to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels by 2023, two years sooner than previously predicted, according to the latest forecast by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.

The June forecast — presented to RTD's board yesterday — predicts revenue for 2020 could be $38.2 million more than previously projected, and revenue for 2021 could be $104.7 million more than previously projected, RTD officials said in a press release.

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Capitol Corridor kicks off environmental review of South Bay rail project

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 7/1/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image CCJPA has issued a notice of preparation of an environmental impact report and online public scoping meeting for the South Bay Connect project.Photo – CCJPA Facebook

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) earlier this week began the environmental review process for South Bay Connect, a proposed project to relocate the Capitol Corridor passenger-rail service from Union Pacific Railroad’s Niles Subdivision to the Coast Subdivision in Northern California.

The proposed relocation is expected to improve separation of passenger- and freight-rail operations in southern Alameda County and create new transbay connections for travelers between the East Bay and destinations on the peninsula, CCJPA officials said in a press release. Improvements to the rail infrastructure also may be included in the project to accommodate the shift of rail services.

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Ontario Northland names Duquette VP of transportation

Rail News Home Railroading People 7/1/2020 Rail News: Railroading People
image Duquette will be responsible for strategic leadership at Ontario Northland.Photo – LinkedIn.com

Ontario Northland has tapped Drew Duquette to serve as vice president of transportation effective July 6, the railroad announced late last week.

Most recently, Duquette worked for Canadian Pacific, where he served in a number of senior roles, including as superintendent of southwestern Ontario. At Ontario Northland, he will succeed Grant Bailey, who is retiring.

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Kansas DOT awards grants to improve rail service

The Kansas Department of Transportation this week (KDOT) announced nine rail improvement projects will receive a combined $11.5 million in State Rail Service Improvement Fund grants.

The program is intended to help improve rail access for businesses and preserve the condition of the state's rail network. This year, the total cost of the nine projects is $21.8 million. Construction is slated to begin in the third quarter, KDOT officials said in a press release.

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AAR: Freight railroads welcome new era of North American trade

Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends 7/1/2020 Rail News: Rail Industry Trends
image AAR President and CEO Ian JefferiesPhoto – aar.org

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which goes into effect today, will provide certainty as the economy begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Jefferies said today in a press release.

"As economies reopen, the certainty provided by the USMCA will prove vital to charting a path back to prosperity," Jefferies said.

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NJ Transit enters PTC into extended revenue service

Rail News Home Positive Train Control 7/1/2020 Rail News: Positive Train Control
image “Entering the extended revenue service demonstration phase is the most significant achievement since we met the ... interim milestone for PTC equipment installation,” said NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett.Photo – NJ Transit Facebook

New Jersey Transit yesterday announced it has advanced its positive train control (PTC) system into the extended revenue service demonstration (ERSD) phase. 

The milestone follows completion of the Federal Railroad Administration’s requirement to perform 384 error-free test runs in the 17-mile demonstration area between Denville and Summit, NJ Transit officials said in a press release. The agency will now expand its revenue service demonstration to the entire Morristown Line from Hackettstown to Newark Broad Street, as well as the Gladstone Branch and Montclair-Boonton Line.

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KCS de Mexico's top exec Zozaya to retire Aug. 1, Del Cueto named successor

Kansas City Southern announced today that Jose Guillermo Zozaya Delano will retire Aug. 1 as president, general manager and executive representative of KCS de Mexico S.A. de C.V. He will be succeeded by KCSM Vice President and General Director Oscar Augusto Del Cueto Cuevas.

Zozaya joined the company in 2006 and served as senior officer of KCSM for 14 years. His career spanned nearly 50 years in government relations, legal affairs and international affairs, as well as in mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining the KCSM management team, he was legal and government relations director for ExxonMobil Mexico for nine years.

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STM receives first AZUR train of 17-train order

Rail News Home Mechanical 6/30/2020 Rail News: Mechanical
image The remaining 16 AZUR trains will be delivered by 2021 at a rate of one train per month.Photo – STM

The Societe de transport de Montreal (STM) last week received the first of 17 new AZUR trains intended for the Green Line, which will be put into service within a few days. 

The remaining 16 trains will be delivered by 2021 at a rate of one train per month, STM officials said in a press release.

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Rail supplier news from RSI, MULR, Alstom and Stadler (June 30)

Rail News Home Railroading Supplier Spotlight 6/30/2020 Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
image The Railway Supply Institute canceled the 2020 RSI Expo & Education Conference.Photo – rsiconference.org

The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) has canceled the 2020 RSI Expo & Education Conference due to the ongoing public health risks surrounding in person events and the safety of travel as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. The event was scheduled to take place Sept. 9-11 in Chicago. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker banned large scale gatherings until a vaccine or highly effective treatment for the virus becomes widely available, or that no new cases are recorded over a sustained period, a situation that appears highly unlikely to occur by this September, RSI officials said in a press release. In lieu of the event, RSI is exploring the possibility of holding a limited number of education sessions through a virtual platform and will provide additional information in the coming weeks, RSI officials said.

MUL Railcars Inc. (MULR) appointed Anders Vestergaard chief executive officer as of July 1. Vestergaard will succeed Jim Sharp, the company's founding CEO, who has completed his service with the company in a “preplanned management transition,” MULR officials said in a press release. “We have a great team, a diverse fleet and an excellent set of customer relationships,” Vestergaard said. “I’m excited to lead MULR through these challenging market conditions.  A final thank you to Jim for establishing and leading MULR to this point, the team and I intend to carry on his good work."

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CN outlines CA$1.3 billion in 2020 capital expenditures

CN announced this week it will invest nearly CA$1.3 billion this year in capital expenditures on infrastructure in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec.

In British Columbia, the CA$445 million investment will include expansion projects that will add track in yards and new sidings. CN also will continue spending on multiyear initiatives to increase capacity at the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert in collaboration with the Canadian government, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

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CN outlines CA$1.3 billion in 2020 capital expenditures

CN announced this week it will invest nearly CA$1.3 billion this year in capital expenditures on infrastructure in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec.

In British Columbia, the CA$445 million investment will include expansion projects that will add track in yards and new sidings. CN also will continue spending on multiyear initiatives to increase capacity at the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert in collaboration with the Canadian government, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

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VIA Rail pledges to improve rail accessibility

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/29/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image VIA Rail launched a universal accessibility policy to guide the railroads’ actions and decisions.Photo – VIA Rail Canada Inc.

VIA Rail Canada Inc. last week announced additional steps toward ensuring universal accessibility in order to meet requirements set out by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

To increase accessibility, VIA Rail is proposing:

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STM receives first AZUR train in 17-train order

Rail News Home Mechanical 6/29/2020 Rail News: Mechanical
image The remaining 16 AZUR trains will be delivered by 2021 at a rate of one train per month.Photo – STM

The Societe de transport de Montreal (STM) last week received the first of 17 new AZUR trains intended for the Green Line, which will be put into service within a few days. 

The remaining 16 trains will be delivered by 2021 at a rate of one train per month, STM officials said in a press release.

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LIRR replaces Carle Park rail bridge

Rail News Home Maintenance Of Way 6/29/2020 Rail News: Maintenance Of Way
image The newly installed bridge at Glen Cove Road has a third bay to allow for the new third track.Photo – MTA LIRR

MTA Long Island Rail Road crews this weekend completed a project to replace a 78-year-old rail bridge over Glen Cove Road in Carle Place, New York.

The new bridge is the sixth to be replaced or improved through the LIRR Expansion Project, which is bringing a third track to the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville to improve capacity and enable reverse commuting. 

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Berger elected chair of New Orleans port, Public Belt Railroad

Rail News Home Railroading People 6/29/2020 Rail News: Railroading People
image Darryl BergerPhoto – Port of New Orleans

The Port of New Orleans Board of Commissioners last week elected Darryl Berger chairman.

The commissioners also serve as directors of the New Orleans Public Belt Corp. (NOPB), a port subsidiary and operator of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.

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Iron Horse rail terminal connects to BNSF, UP service

Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends 6/29/2020 Rail News: Rail Industry Trends
image Located in the heart of the southeast Texas petrochemical industry, the rail terminal has more than 1,300 car storage spots.Photo – ironhorseterminals.com

Iron Horse Terminals LLC's (IHT) rail terminal in Beaumont, Texas, earlier this month became fully operational when it was connected to the Houston Rail Line served by BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad.

Located on 500 acres in the heart of the southeast Texas petrochemical industry, the rail terminal has more than 1,300 rail-car storage spots, a 30-car maintenance facility, a 10-car loading facility and a soon-to-be operational car washing facility.

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STB withdraws proposal to change cost-of-equity calculation

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 6/29/2020 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on June 23 withdrew a notice of proposed rulemaking that would have incorporated a third model in its methodology for calculating the cost-of-equity component of the railroad industry's cost of capital. Each year, the STB determines the railroad industry's cost of capital, then uses the figure in a variety of regulatory proceedings. In fall 2019, the board issued a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking public comment on its proposal to change its existing methodology for determining that figure. Specifically, the board proposed incorporating an additional model, referred to as the Step Multi-Stage Discounted Cash Flow Model, to complement its use of Morningstar/Ibbotson Multi-Stage Discounted Cash Flow Model and the Capital Asset Pricing Model in determining the cost-of-equity component of the cost of capital.  Based on the comments and replies it received in response to its proposal, the board decided to drop it, according to the STB decision.  

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/29/2020


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BART OKs 2021 budget, awards new HQ design-build contract

Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) board last week approved a $2.42 billion capital and operating budget for fiscal-year 2021, which begins July 1.

The budget focuses on increased investment in passenger and employee safety and provides the ability to adapt train service levels to match changes in ridership, BART officials said in a press release.

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