` Hot News!
Railpace Newsmagazine







Hot News!
Edited by Carl G. Perelman
NOVEMBER 21, 2014:


CSX CTO HIGHLIGHTS OPERATIONAL RESILIENCE AND WINTER RESOURCE PLANNING: CSX is positioning itself to continue delivering strong financial results by balancing stabilized service levels, improving efficiency and continued growth opportunities, Chief Transportation Officer Cindy Sanborn told an industry audience today at the annual RailTrends conference in New York City. "CSX is committed to delivering Service Excellence for its customers, which reinforces our strategy of driving the company's ability to grow faster than the economy, pricing above inflation and producing ever more efficient operations," Sanborn said. "CSX is working to put the right people and resources in the right places, combined with process improvements and increased communication with our peers, to serve the broad-based growth we continue to see across nearly all markets that we serve." As customer demand continues to rise, CSX network performance remains stable, with key indicators including on-time originations and arrivals holding steady in the fourth quarter as compared to the previous two quarters. "We are working around the clock to further improve operations at a steady pace into 2015 even as we handle the traditional fall peak and record grain harvest," Sanborn said. To facilitate that improvement, CSX is adding additional locomotives, hiring new train crew employees, accelerating capacity projects and adjusting operating processes. Fluidity in Chicago remains a top priority for CSX and its peer railroads. CSX is using infrastructure improvements to help ease congestion while also improving coordination with other railroads in Chicago. These resources and process adjustments will support fluidity and growth, preserving the flexibility to drive long-term asset utilization improvements. At the same time, CSX is making additional process changes to help reduce potential winter weather impacts. Increasing preparation in conjunction with customers, deployment of additional weather preparation and response equipment, and formal contingency plans for routing, capacity and inventory management are all complete or underway. On the strength of this multi-faceted plan to improve fluidity, serve growth opportunities and drive long-term asset utilization, the company continues to expect fourth quarter earnings per share growth at a similar level as it achieved in the third quarter. CSX remains confident in its ability to deliver double digit earnings growth and margin expansion in 2015 as it progresses toward a mid-60s operating ratio over the longer term. (CSX, Randy Kotuby - posted 11/21)

CANARAIL TO ACTIVELY TAKE PART IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF NORTHERN QUEBEC: CANARAIL's President and CEO, Mr. Miguel Valero, welcomes today's announcement by the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord, Mr. Pierre Arcand, to the effect that the Société ferroviaire du Nord Québécois has mandated the company to carry out a major feasibility study. CANARAIL was selected to realize the first phase of the feasibility study of a new 310 km long railway from Sept-Îles to the Labrador Trough. CANARAIL will act as the prime contractor for this study which will cover technical, economic and financial aspects. The final report is expected at the end of 2015. For this mandate, CANARAIL will be able to rely on credible and reputable partners, and will mobilize many resources from the local Innu communities. "CANARAIL performs this kind of study everywhere in the world, but this one has a special flavor to it since it will be here, in Quebec, where our team of experts will put all of its experience into a major economic development project. Although this is not our first important contract in Quebec, we feel that it marks a major milestone in the history of our company " said Mr. Valero. CANARAIL has unique expertise in the field of rail transport, particularly in the mining and transport of heavy goods sectors. For the past twenty-five years, its team of professionals has been involved in many projects at the international level, thus contributing to the achievement of some of the most important rail links in the world. In Canada, the study and design of a rail link as part of the Mary River mining project on Baffin Island, as well as the delivery, under an EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management) contract, of a section of 30 kilometers at the border of Quebec with Newfoundland and Labrador for the mining industry, are only two excellent examples amongst many others of CANARAIL ability to carry out studies of contemplated railway projects in the particularly rough conditions found in northern territories. "We are proud to bring our expertise as railway specialists to this unprecedented effort for the development of Quebec. CANARAIL has the necessary expertise to actively participate in the development of this vast territory rich in natural resources" concluded Mr. Valero. (CANAC - posted 11/20)

AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Nov. 15, 2014 with 296,655 total carloads, up 0.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 273,695 units, up 2.6 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 570,350 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, led by nonmetallic minerals with 37,297 carloads, up 9.6 percent. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2013 were led by grain with 23,313 carloads, down 3.9 percent. For the first 46 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,425,089 carloads, up 3.4 percent compared with the same point last year, and 12,003,887 intermodal units, up 5.3 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 46 weeks of 2014 was 25,428,976 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.3 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 82,869 carloads for the week, up 0.2 percent, and 56,282 intermodal units, down 0.6 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first 46 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,711,685 carloads, up 1.8 percent from the same point last year, and 2,636,537 intermodal units, up 6.3 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 26,429 carloads for the week, up 68.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 16,198 intermodal units, up 56.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 46 weeks of 2014 was 736,233 carloads, up 4.5 percent from the same point last year, and 497,647 intermodal units, up 6.4 percent from last year. Combined North American rail volume for the first 46 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 17,873,007 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 15,138,071 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.5 percent compared with last year. (AAR - posted 11/20)

GENESEE & WYOMING ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF SHORTLINE RAILROADS IN ARKANSAS: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) announced today that it has signed an agreement with Pinsly Railroad Company of Westfield, Mass., to acquire certain subsidiaries that constitute Pinsly’s Arkansas Division (“Pinsly Arkansas”) for $40 million in cash, subject to adjustment for final working capital. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration of the 30-day notice period required by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board for G&W to obtain authority to acquire the Pinsly Arkansas railroads. The transaction is expected to be completed in early January 2015. Headquartered in Jones Mills, Ark., Pinsly Arkansas includes (i) the Arkansas Midland Railroad (AKMD), which is comprised of seven non-contiguous branch lines; (ii) the Prescott & Northwestern Railroad (PNW); and (iii) the Warren & Saline River Railroad (WSR); as well as (iv) the two Arkansas transload operations of Pinsly’s Railroad Distribution Services subsidiary. Operations are composed of 137 miles of owned and leased track, 70 employees and 16 locomotives and serve the Hot Springs and Little Rock areas, as well as the southwestern and southeastern portions of the state. [See map link.] The railroads currently haul approximately 35,000 carloads per year and serve a diverse customer base in industries including aluminum, forest products, aggregates, energy and carton board. Pinsly Arkansas will be managed as part of G&W’s Central Region, which includes six existing short line railroads in the state of Arkansas, under the leadership of Regional Senior Vice President Dewayne Swindall. The acquisition will be funded from G&W’s revolving credit facility and is expected to be immediately accretive to G&W's earnings per share. In 2015, G&W estimates that Pinsly Arkansas will contribute approximately $5.4 million of EBITDA, including certain net cost savings. The entities being sold are subchapter S subsidiaries and as such the tax basis in the companies acquired will be stepped up to the purchase price. Jack Hellmann, president and chief executive officer of G&W, commented, "Over the past 22 years, the Pinsly team has built an impressive cluster of short line railroads in Arkansas, with a clear focus on safety and customer service. Following the acquisition, G&W will own nine short line railroads in Arkansas, and we are excited about the opportunity to support and drive further economic growth in the state." John Levine, president and CEO of Pinsly, commented, "Pinsly Railroad Company is very pleased to be transitioning ownership of its Arkansas Division to Genesee & Wyoming. G&W is a highly respected leader in our industry and our customers, employees and communities will be well positioned for continued growth and success in the coming years. I am very pleased and proud of the accomplishments of our talented and dedicated Arkansas team over the past 22 years. We look forward to working with G&W towards a successful closing and transition of the business in January 2015.” (G&W - posted 11/19)

AMTRAK BUFFALO AREA SERVICE RESTORATION BEGINS: Amtrak service through Buffalo, N.Y., will be restored starting Thursday, Nov. 20, with Trains 63 & 64, the Maple Leaf, between New York City and Toronto, Ont. Canada, via Albany-Rensselaer, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls. These trains will operate subject to delay following very heavy snowfall and resulting rail traffic congestion due to temporary railroad closures. Other Amtrak service between Albany-Rensselaer and Buffalo or Cleveland remains temporarily suspended through this Thursday afternoon. This includes Amtrak Empire Service and Lake Shore Limited trains scheduled through mid-day. Amtrak service north, east and south of Albany-Rensselaer continues to operate. Amtrak service between Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago will be maintained by Amtrak Capitol Limited trains. Amtrak thanks CSX railroad for its work to restore service (Amtrak - posted 11/19)

EXTREME LAKE EFFECT SNOW IN BUFFALO AREA HAMPERS NS OPERATIONS: Norfolk Southern operations have been impacted by extreme lake effect snow in the Buffalo, NY area.  Record setting snowfall, road conditions, and road closures have curtailed Norfolk Southern operations in and around the Buffalo area.  Customers with rail traffic destined to or originating in the Buffalo area will see a disruption of service over the next few days.  Shipments normally moving through western New York will be detoured over other routes, likely resulting in additional transit time with 24-48 hour delays. (NS - posted 11/19)

EXTREME LAKE EFFECT SNOW IN BUFFALO AREA HAMPERS NS OPERATIONS: Norfolk Southern operations have been impacted by extreme lake effect snow in the Buffalo, NY area.  Record setting snowfall, road conditions, and road closures have curtailed Norfolk Southern operations in and around the Buffalo area.  Customers with rail traffic destined to or originating in the Buffalo area will see a disruption of service over the next few days.  Shipments normally moving through western New York will be detoured over other routes, likely resulting in additional transit time with 24-48 hour delays. (NS - posted 11/19)

AMTRAK ASKS SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD TO INVESTIGATE NORFOLK SOUTHERN AND CSX RAILROADS: Amtrak is taking action to improve the on-time performance (OTP) of its trains that operate over tracks controlled by other railroads. In a complaint filed on Nov. 17, Amtrak is asking the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to investigate Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) and CSX Transportation (CSXT) for causing unacceptable delays for passengers traveling between Chicago and Washington, D.C., on the Capitol Limited service. Amtrak is taking this action under Section 213 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act which mandates that the STB initiate an investigation upon the filing of a complaint by Amtrak if the on-time performance of an intercity passenger train falls below 80 percent for two consecutive quarters. In addition, under federal law, Amtrak has a statutory right to preference in the dispatching of intercity passenger trains before freight trains. Due to persistent excessive delays caused by NS and CSXT freight train interference, the OTP of the Capitol Limited at its endpoint terminals was 2.7 percent for the quarter ending Sept. 30, down from an already substandard 33.6 percent the previous quarter. The delays are continuing as Amtrak had to provide bus transportation between Toledo and Chicago for six days in October to better accommodate passengers when Capitol Limited trains had often been eight to ten hours late. Poor on-time performance creates a major disruption for Amtrak customers due to delayed trains and missed connections. It also negatively impacts Amtrak and state-supported services through decreased ridership, lost revenues and higher operating costs. Amtrak has taken additional actions to help improve the OTP of passenger trains including filing an amended complaint with the STB seeking an investigation of Canadian National Railway for causing unacceptable delays for passengers on the Illini/Saluki service in Illinois; twice testifying before the STB about the poor OTP of Amtrak trains; and establishing a Blue Ribbon Panel of rail and transportation leaders to identify infrastructure and operational improvements to address rail traffic gridlock in Chicago. The Capitol Limited operates daily between Chicago and Washington, via Harpers Ferry, W. Va., Cumberland, Md., Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toledo, South Bend, Ind., and intermediate stops. (Amtrak - posted 11/18)

HEAVY SNOW EFFECTS CSX IN BUFFALO: Due to lake effect snow expected to total up to six feet, CSX is experiencing significant operational delays and customers in the Buffalo area should expect traffic delays up to 48 hours. (CSX - posted 11/18)

HEAVY SNOW EFFECTS CSX IN BUFFALO: Due to lake effect snow expected to total up to six feet, CSX is experiencing significant operational delays and customers in the Buffalo area should expect traffic delays up to 48 hours. (CSX - posted 11/18)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO ACQUIRE THE SOUTH END OF THE FORMER D&H RAILWAY: Norfolk Southern Corp. (NS) and the Delaware & Hudson Railway Co. (D&H), a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) today announced a proposed transaction under which NS would acquire 282.55 miles of D&H rail line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y. The $217 million sale, subject to approval by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, would benefit customers, competition, and jobs in the northeastern United States. "Acquiring this portion of the D&H provides for more efficient rail transportation system by consolidating freight operations with a single carrier," said NS CEO Wick Moorman. "Aligning the D&H track with Norfolk Southern's 22-state network allows us to connect businesses in central Pennsylvania, upstate New York and New England with domestic and international markets while enhancing the region's competitive rail and surface transportation market." The lines to be acquired connect with NS' network at Sunbury, Pa., and Binghamton, N.Y., and would give NS single-line routes from Chicago and the southeastern United States to Albany, N.Y., and NS' recently built Mechanicville, N.Y., intermodal terminal. NS also would gain an enhanced connection to its joint venture subsidiary Pan Am Southern, which services New England markets. Additionally, NS would acquire D&H's car shop in Binghamton along with other facilities along the corridor."As we have stated in recent months, we've been in the process of negotiating the final details for the potential sale of the southern portion of our D&H line," said CP CEO E. Hunter Harrison. "We are pleased to find a prospective buyer in Norfolk Southern." As part of the transaction, NS would retain and modify overhead trackage rights on the line between Schenectady, Crescent, and Mechanicville, N.Y., as well as Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The D&H would retain local access to serve customers in Schenectady and would maintain its access to shippers in Buffalo. NS intends to retain its current employees and offer employment to about 150 D&H employees currently working in this area. Any adversely affected employees will be entitled to standard labor protections. "This acquisition would preserve good-paying railroad jobs and set the stage for economic growth," said John Friedmann, NS vice president of strategic planning. "Absent this transaction and its efficiencies, we are concerned that rail service along much of New York's Southern Tier would be threatened with losing a crucial link to New England." NS has submitted an application for the transaction to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. The rail companies are proposing a schedule that would lead to approval during the second quarter of 2015. (CP, NS, Patrick Yough - posted 11/17)

OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE NEW SALEM INTERMODAL CENTER: The new Salem Intermodal Facility was officially opened today by MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott, Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll, Congressman John Tierney and other local officials. The new facility features a 700-car parking garage designed to alleviate capacity issues at the Commuter Rail system’s third busiest stop. It also features bus, bike and Zipcar facilities as well as a new pedestrian walkway to Bridge Street. The garage opened for customers on October 24th, in time for Salem’s Halloween festivities. Work will continue on the project through the winter and spring of 2015. Salem Station is the third busiest station on the Commuter Rail system with an average of 1,065 boardings per day. Station accessibility along with high commuter volume and need for increased commuter parking capacity were the major catalysts for MassDOT and the MBTA to undertake this project. The facility opened to the public on Friday October 24th to support the City of Salem Halloween festivities. Work is continuing on the structure with completion expected by the end of November. The second phase of the raised platform work started Monday October 27th and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The landscaping of the waterfront park will be completed in the spring. This project was designed to allow for future Transit Oriented Development, as the City of Salem owns a site along Bridge Street adjacent to the MBTA site that could be developed. The total cost of the project is expected to be approximately $44.5 million, through a combination of federal, state, city and MBTA funds. (Mass DOT - posted 11/17)

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS FOR AMTRAK SERVICE TO ROANOKE: Governor McAuliffe has announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia, Amtrak, Norfolk Southern and the City of Roanoke are beginning the first phase of construction for the platform that will serve intercity passenger rail service to the Star City. Amtrak service to the city will be an extension of the successful Northeast Regional train from Lynchburg and is anticipated to start in 2017. The service will provide a same-seat trip from Roanoke to Lynchburg, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and cities as far north as Boston. “Bringing passenger rail service back to Roanoke will be an enormous economic driver for the region and the entire Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I look forward to working with the parties involved to get this project completed so that Virginia families and our economy can benefit from this expanded service as soon as possible.” It has been 34 years since intercity passenger rail service has served Roanoke. “Construction is a major development in our efforts to bring Amtrak service to Roanoke,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. “This new service is an example of the significant expansion of the Commonwealth’s passenger rail service. I appreciate the commitment of Amtrak, Norfolk Southern and the City of Roanoke to make this new service a reality.” Virginia continues its ongoing commitment to congestion mitigation by offering the public alternate transportation choices to driving on congested highway corridors like I-81, Route 29, I-95, and Route 460 while expanding mobility and increasing connectivity for travel throughout the regions served by and along the Northeast Corridor. “There is high demand for passenger rail service in Virginia as demonstrated by considerable ridership growth throughout the Commonwealth,” said Jay McArthur, Amtrak Principal Officer, State Partnerships. “We have developed a strong partnership with the Commonwealth and look forward to Roanoke as another service expansion in Virginia’s successful rail program, providing passengers with a convenient and pleasant service to Washington and other Northeast Corridor destinations.” Roanoke is the latest step for Virginia to lead the way as one of the few states in the country to successfully negotiate the addition of new intercity passenger rail service in major rail corridors, balancing freight and economic development needs with additional intercity passenger rail options. “Norfolk Southern and DRPT have a track record of success in implementing passenger service in Virginia,” said James A. Hixon, Executive Vice President, Law and Corporate Relations, Norfolk Southern Corporation. “We have made investments in our network, here in Roanoke and across the state, to ensure that passenger service is done safely and efficiently.” “Given our history as a railroad town, the return of passenger rail is very exciting for the citizens of Roanoke,” said Roanoke Mayor David A. Bowers. “We are thrilled to see this initiative move forward, and anticipate the time when passenger service will once again be available to those who want to make connections, both inside and outside The Star City.” (Virginia Governor McAuliffe, Alex Mayes - posted 11/14)

NS THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY OPERATIONS: Norfolk Southern plans to operate scheduled train service and other rail operations over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Some unit train operations and local service may be reduced depending on customer operations. (NS - posted 11/14)

REPORT TRANSPORTATION SAFETY CONCERNS CONFIDENTIALLY THROUGH SECURITAS: The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is launching a campaign to raise awareness about its SECURITAS program. The Canadian public and transportation industry employees are encouraged to confidentially report unsafe transportation acts and conditions through SECURITAS. While employees are urged to use existing internal company-specific safety reporting systems, not all transportation companies have such systems and some employees may not feel comfortable using them. SECURITAS offers an additional way for people to share safety concerns in the aviation, marine, railway and pipeline industries which the employee or public believes are not being addressed or when they believe there is no other recourse (TSB, Randy Kotuby - posted 11/14)

AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Nov. 8, 2014 with 297,694 total carloads, up 0.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 271,113 units, up 2.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 568,807 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including and nonmetallic minerals with 38,304 carloads, up 13 percent, and petroleum and petroleum products with 16,186 carloads, up 12.4 percent. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2013 were led by motor vehicles and parts with 16,868 carloads, down 12.8 percent. For the first 45 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,128,434 carloads, up 3.5 percent compared with the same point last year, and 11,730,192 intermodal units, up 5.4 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 45 weeks of 2014 was 24,858,626 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.4 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 85,893 carloads for the week, up 0.4 percent, and 54,537 intermodal units, down 3.1 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first 45 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,628,816 carloads, up 1.9 percent from the same point last year, and 2,580,255 intermodal units, up 6.4 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 15,343 carloads for the week, up 0.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,095 intermodal units, up 14.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 45 weeks of 2014 was 709,804 carloads, up 3 percent from the same point last year, and 481,449 intermodal units, up 5.3 percent from last year. Combined North American rail volume for the first 45 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 17,467,054 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 14,791,896 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.6 percent compared with last year. . (AAR - posted 11/13)

READING & NORTHERN JOINS COUNCIL FOR MEETING WITH SENATOR TOOMEY: Last week Wayne Michel and Dan Gilchrist joined with representatives of the anthracite industry to discuss issues of concern to the industry with Senator Pat Toomey in his Allentown office. The anthracite producers explained to the Senator that Russia was now positioned to profit from its illegal invasion into eastern Ukraine by flooding the American market with cheap anthracite from the coal mines in eastern Ukraine. Eastern Ukraine is a major international source for anthracite and the coal from those mines competes directly with Pennsylvania anthracite for use by steel mills and other companies in the southeastern United States. The Pennsylvania anthracite producers wanted to make sure that Russia did not profit from its expansion into the eastern Ukraine. The group also discussed the ever-increasing regulatory burdens as the Obama administration proceeds with its "War on Coal". As the railroad that serves the Pennsylvania anthracite region, Reading & Northern stands with its customers in protecting this important Pennsylvania industry. (Reading & Northern - posted 11/12)

SOUTH HEART RAIL TERMINAL ANNOUNCED: Watco Terminal and Port Services and Great Northern Project Development, L. P. (“GNPD”) announce that ground breaking has commenced for the development of the South Heart Rail Terminal, “SHRT”. SHRT is a multi--?purpose rail transload terminal and railcar maintenance shop near South Heart, North Dakota, and will serve the energy industry and its service providers in the Bakken, Three Forks, Tyler and emerging oil and gas formations. "The start of construction on the South Heart Rail Terminal is the culmination of many months of hard work by our team of dedicated professionals who are all focused upon delivering a comprehensive and multi--?use transportation facility of world--?class quality and proportions. The support for this facility has been truly tremendous, including the local citizens of Stark County, the service companies who operate in the Bakken, and BNSF Railway. We look forward to a long relationship with all of these stakeholders as we anticipate opening up the facility for business this time next year,” stated Todd Joyner, President and CEO of Great Northern Project Development. SHRT is strategically located just south of Interstate 94, twelve miles west of Dickinson, North Dakota, with easy access to Interstate 94 and US Highway 85. The Terminal will offer rail, transload, railcar maintenance services, warehousing and materials storage, and will feature loop and manifest tracks to accommodate unit trains, manifest business, and long or short term railcar storage needs. SHRT will be served with national connectivity via BNSF Railway. South Heart Rail Terminal will receive and transload dry bulk commodities such as frac sand, ceramic proppants, and cement. Tubular pipe, oil field equipment, building products and other materials will also be handled at SHRT. In addition, the Terminal will provide off--?loading and storage for aggregates, asphalt, and road materials. A full service railcar maintenance facility will be located on--?site to provide services to tank car owners and lessees. The maintenance shop will provide services to assist Customers with tank car inspections, testing, qualifications, preventive maintenance, retrofits, paint and lining. In addition, Watco Compliance Services will provide fleet management solutions, engineering and regulatory guidance to ensure ongoing safety and mechanical integrity (WATCO - posted 11/12)

GOV. PATRICK REDEDICATES SOUTH STATION AS GOVERNOR MICHAEL S. DUKAKIS SOUTH STATION TRANSPORTATION CENTER: On November 10 Governor Deval Patrick rededicated South Station as “Governor Michael S. Dukakis South Station Transportation Center” in recognition of the former Governor’s devotion to public transportation and advocacy. Today’s ceremony at the newly-named South Station included the unveiling of a plaque on the corner of Atlantic and Summer Streets and an inscription outside of the bus terminal on Atlantic Street. “Governor Dukakis has been a tireless and effective advocate for public transportation for decades,” said Governor Patrick. “On behalf of the people of the Commonwealth, I am honored to rename South Station as ‘The Governor Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station’ to celebrate his lasting work to improve public transportation and through it the economy and quality of life in the Commonwealth.” During his time in office, Governor Dukakis was known to take the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) and received national attention for his public transit ridership, and he supported increased transportation funding to improve and extend subway and commuter rail service in order to promote economic growth and increase equitable opportunities across Commonwealth communities. A key measure within Governor Dukakis’ transportation initiatives was safety, helping to ensure that riders felt safe while riding transit. This focus resulted in the MBTA Police becoming the first department in Massachusetts and the first Transit Police Department in the country to be accredited by the National Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). “This is a fitting tribute to Governor Dukakis, who oversaw a renovation of South Station while in office and made transportation one of his top priorities,” said Congressman Michael E. Capuano. “Governor Dukakis is a vocal champion of improving and expanding public transit, recognizing its importance to our economy and quality of life. His advocacy resulted in an expanded MBTA transit map and increased transportation funding.” “Public transportation is designed to be efficient, dependable, and professional – just as Michael Dukakis was throughout his career,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “Michael was ahead of his time in his commitment to commuter rail service. He knew it wasn’t just about transportation, but about how communities grew and prospered because of this service and how Boston’s economy grew because of that link. Michael was behind most modern transportation advancements in the Commonwealth. It is only fitting that his name is officially linked to a great transportation hub.” “Safety is a core value for our entire transportation system, no matter the chosen mode,” said Acting Secretary Frank DePaola. “Governor Dukakis saw an opportunity to enhance the level of safety we adhere to throughout our transportation system to make sure that our rails, roads, and bridges are safe by bringing that level of trust back directly to our transit riders in their everyday rail experience. His work plays a large role in today’s successful subway and commuter rail ridership.” South Station opened in 1898 and underwent a complete overhaul in the 1980’s while Dukakis was in office, allowing for increased capacity and direct access to Red Line service. South Station is the busiest station within the entire MBTA system and currently serves over 25,000 riders on a typical weekday, not including Amtrak and private bus passengers. (Mass DOT - posted 11/11)

FULTON CENTER SUBWAY HUB: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today unveiled the Fulton Center, located at the crossroads of Lower Manhattan on Broadway between John and Fulton Streets. The fully digital transit and retail hub will serve as New York City’s next great public space and integrates architectural ingenuity that fuses history, art, and sustainable engineering. "The new Fulton Center complex is another example of how we are rebuilding Lower Manhattan which will spur a resurgence throughout the area," Governor Cuomo said. "This new station makes traveling easier for subway riders, and is a beautiful public space for visitors and commuters to enjoy. We now have a new cornerstone in Lower Manhattan, and I am proud to see this unique complex opened to the public." Danny Forster, architect, television host and producer, presided over the opening ceremony. He was joined by MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Prendergast, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Therese McMillan, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, Community Board 1 President Catherine McVay Hughes, Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin, as well as MTA Capital Construction President Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, and New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “The new Fulton Center facility sends a clear message that the United States is committed to building transportation infrastructure that will move our country’s economy forward,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We’re proud to celebrate this milestone – but we must do more. We are committed to working with Congress to find bipartisan solutions that will help New York continue to revitalize its infrastructure in the years ahead.” The $1.4 billion Fulton Center project was funded with $847 million from a special Congressional appropriation granted after September 11, 2001. Known as the Lower Manhattan Recovery Grants, those funds were intended for local transit agencies to repair, replace, and enhance transportation infrastructure in Lower Manhattan. The MTA provided $130 million in local funds. The project also received $423 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the largest single award for the Federal Transit Administration’s ARRA projects. Encased in a glass and steel shell, the bright and modern facility dramatically improves the commuter experience and will accommodate up to 300,000 daily riders using the 2,3,4,5,A,C,J and Z subway lines. and lines. Construction of the Fulton Center includes restoration of the 125-year-old Corbin Building, which will provide additional public access to the facility. The Fulton Center will house nearly 66,000-square-feet of revenue generating retail and commercial space and the MTA’s largest digital media program, both of which are being managed and operated by Westfield Corp., an international developer and operator of iconic retail properties and a leader in digital sales and sponsorship. “This building stands as a testament to the strength and resilience New York showed on 9/11 and every day since. And it stands as a testament to what smart investments in infrastructure can do to improve a city, a state, and even a nation,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “It shows what we can do for our customers and our region when we invest in transit, and it shows New York is still thinking big and building big. Great cities like New York need great public spaces, and I’m proud to see this new symbol of our city’s strength open its doors.” The Fulton Center integrates five subway stations serving the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, R and Z subway lines. Connecting subway lines that were borne out of the competing IRT, BMT, and IND companies resolve a century old conflict to better reflect traveling patterns and needs that are in the interest of today’s commuters. In-station transfers that were cumbersome and difficult to navigate between the numerous subway lines have been transformed into a brightly lit concourse with sweeping sightlines. “This new transit hub will go a long way toward enhancing the travel experience of hundreds of thousands of customers. They will finally benefit from a thoughtful design that vastly improves passenger flow throughout the station, minimizes congestion and makes transferring far easier than ever before,” said New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. Our customers will also benefit from the addition of another fully ADA-compliant station to the growing network of stations in our subway system and everyone will reap the benefits from the many technological features the station offers. It’s a hub built in the 21st century for the 21st century and beyond.” A new 350-foot-long pedestrian tunnel constructed under Dey Street between Broadway and Church Street will expand intermodal transit options by offering a connection to the R subway line, built outside of fare control, and ultimately to PATH trains at the World Trade Center complex. These transit options will expand to include transfers to the E subway line when the World Trade Center Transit Hub opens, and the 1 subway line once the Cortlandt Street Station is rebuilt. In order to ensure the new complex is accessible to all of our customers, ten escalators and fifteen American with Disabilities Act (ADA) elevators have been installed. The public restroom facilities include two ADA accessible bathrooms on the concourse and the street level. Westfield will be subletting the commercial space in the facility and leasing the digital advertising. The firm will manage the retail/commercial space plus some 60,000-square-feet of public circulation areas and 63,000-square-feet of mechanical and other “back-of-house” space. This includes the majority of the non-station areas of the Fulton Center complex, most prominently, the new glass and steel Fulton Building at the southeast corner of Broadway and Fulton Street; the historic Corbin Building at the northeast corner of Broadway and John Street; the Dey Street Head House at the southwest corner of Broadway and Dey Street; and the concourse under Dey Street that will connect to the future World Trade Center PATH Station. With limited exceptions, Westfield will be responsible for, operating and maintaining the space and making required repairs throughout the lease term. The Fulton Center will be the only all-digital signage transit hub in New York City, housing the MTA’s largest state-of-the-art digital signage media program with an extensive network of over 50 screens to host advertising campaigns that will also be managed and operated by Westfield. For the first time in the MTA system, a site-specific digital arts program will be employed at the complex, which is being managed by MTA Arts and Design. A series of screens will be dedicated to MTA customer information including service advisories and train arrival information. In the case of an emergency, the MTA has the ability to override all displays to provide relevant information. The Fulton Center’s state-of-the-art customer information system also includes 16 interactive On the Go! Kiosks. The sleek, stainless steel kiosks feature large screens offering customers information about their entire trip, from planning with Trip Planner+, real-time service status, escalator & elevator status and local neighborhood maps. As added features, the screens provide news and weather information. Seven additional kiosks, managed by Westfield, will display advertisements and tenant information. The centerpiece of Fulton Center includes a 53-foot-diameter glass oculus over a grand atrium. Suspended under tension within the atrium's conical form is the "Sky Reflector-Net”, an integrated artwork by James Carpenter Design Associates (JCDA), Grimshaw Architects and Arup. The artwork, commissioned by MTA Arts & Design, is composed of 112 tensioned cables, 224 high-strength rods and nearly 10,000 stainless steel components. Attached to the soaring cable-net are 952 aluminum panels optimized to distribute year-round daylight and reflect natural sunlight down into the lowest levels of the building. Fulfilling its civic purpose, the artwork combines beauty and function, reduces energy consumption and powerfully connects daily transit users with a tangible sense of daylight. The Fulton Center is in the process of qualifying for LEED certification. Fulton Center offers increased daylight and views along with reduced urban heat island effect through reflective roof surfaces. Environment-friendly features reduce potable water use by 30 percent and energy demand by 25 percent compared to a baseline building of a similar type. More than 20 percent of materials used in construction were sourced locally and made of recycled content. By minimizing energy and water use, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced and cleaner air provided for all New Yorkers. Fulton Center is equipped with the latest in electrical, HVAC and sprinkler systems, and houses four Con Edison transformers and network protectors. Construction of the Fulton Center also included the restoration of the Corbin Building. Built in 1889, the Corbin Building was originally designed by Francis Hatch Kimball, and was named for Austin Corbin, a former President of the Long Island Rail Road. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The Fulton Center project preserved the historical landmark with $59 million in renovations including major structural underpinning, and refurbishment of the interior and façade. The Corbin Building provides an additional street level entrance to the Fulton Center on John Street. At this entrance, escalators are available to bring commuters and shoppers down to the concourse level of the facility to access the Dey Street passageway, retail shops, and the A/C mezzanine. “Integrating an historic century-old office building with a modern, state-of-the-art transit and retail hub presented significant challenges for both our design and construction teams,” said Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction, whose organization is responsible for the MTA’s four megaprojects, including the Fulton Center. “From making sense of the former maze that confused even the most seasoned subway customers to shoring up the foundation of the Corbin Building, our project team came through in splendid fashion. The Fulton Center rivals the world’s most exquisite transportation facilities.” The project team was faced with many challenges unique to its location during project construction. The area around Fulton Center is extremely congested and there was limited availability of space to move equipment and workers around. Performing construction in such conditions required creative ways to stage work. Contractors used mini-piles to underpin the Corbin Building. The piles were installed by hand because large machines could not be used in such a confined space. The pits for the new foundation were also dug by hand with picks, shovels and buckets. The Corbin Building was rigged with motion sensors and other monitors to detect any building movement during work activities. Construction of the Fulton Center set the bar for working harmoniously in an intense urban environment. During construction of the complex, a pedestrian underpass was dug in the oldest section of the city without curtailing service to nine subway lines or interrupting electric, gas and communications utilities. Heavy equipment had to be moved into a neighborhood where traffic was already backed up by the ongoing reconstruction of the World Trade Center one block to the west. The work competed with other construction sites in the area, like a high-rise office building and a college dormitory to the south and east. Superstorm Sandy complicated matters further in 2012, rendering the entire site impassible for weeks. Fulton Center has received numerous accolades recognizing the multifaceted elements of the project, including the New York State Society of Professional Engineers Project of the Year Award in 2014; the Diamond Award in the environmental category from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York awarded in 2014; the New York Landmarks Conservancy Lucy G. Moses Stewardship Award in 2013; and a Commendation from the 2014 Brunel Awards, which recognizes excellence in architecture and design in railway–the only project in the U.S. to receive such recognition (MTA - posted 11/19)



BROOKVILLE EQUIPMENT TO REBUILD SAN FRANCISCO TROLLEY CARS:  Brookville Equipment Corporation (BROOKVILLE) and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) agreed to terms on Thursday, September 17, for the rebuild of 16 Presidents’ Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars, adding a minimum of 20 years of service life to the historic vehicles in a contract valued at nearly $34.5 million. The end of life rebuild order includes 13 single-end PCC streetcars originally manufactured in 1947 and initially restored in 1993 after being purchased by SFMTA from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in 1992. Additionally, the order includes rebuilds for three SFMTA-original double-ender streetcars manufactured in 1948 and restored in 1995. “BROOKVILLE is eager and excited to continue its longtime partnership with SFMTA through the restoration of these 16 PCC streetcars and to expand our portfolio in the United States streetcar market,” said Joel McNeil, BROOKVILLE Vice President, Business Development. “Muni’s legacy in public transit is one of the richest in the world, and BROOKVILLE is proud to be a longtime and future contributor to their fleet of PCC and heritage streetcars.” The order marks the second partnership between BROOKVILLE and SFMTA, after BROOKVILLE completely restored 16 PCC streetcars, including 12 single-end PCC streetcars and four double-enders, through a progressive refurbishment program from 2004 through 2012. That order also included a seventeenth car – Streetcar No. 1, which was the United States’ and SFMTA’s first publicly-owned streetcar, originally manufactured in 1912. A public unveiling and reintroduction of the streetcar was held in 2012 in celebration of SFMTA’s centennial anniversary. Slated to begin immediately at BROOKVILLE’s main facility in Brookville, Pa., the rebuild order will include structural repairs to the carbodies, exterior refinishing, interior repairs and restoration – including refurbishment of passenger seating, stanchions and flooring. The scope of work also includes the installation of new propulsion systems, with the exception of traction motors and foot pedal assemblies – which will be rebuilt. Additionally, the truck sets will be rebuilt and upgraded to include a new BROOKVILLE-designed disc brake system. The Buy America-compliant project will be completed by 2020. At the conclusion of the project, BROOKVILLE will have made contributions to each vehicle in SFMTA’s PCC fleet since 2004. SFMTA is the seventh largest public transit system in the United States, with a ridership of over 700,000 on an average weekday and maintains a fleet of over 1,000 vehicles. World renowned for their unique liveries, which serve as moving tributes to the historical streetcar systems of the United States and abroad, the symbolic PCC cars of the F-Line carry up to 20,000 passengers per day. (BROOKVILLE EQUIPMENT CORPORATION) (MTA - posted 11/19)

MTA ON THE GO NETWORK OFFERS CUSTOMERS UP-TO-DATE INFO: The colorful screens of MTA New York City Transit’s network of On the Go Travel Station kiosks are becoming more and more evident in subway stations. The growing customer information system is one of the largest transit-based digital signage networks in the United States, and currently provides transit information to more than 1.2 million subway customers daily. The six-foot tall, stainless steel kiosks featuring 47-inch interactive screens have been installed and activated in 30 stations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, with a total of 153 on tap by year end. The network is made possible through a unique public-private partnership among NYC Transit, Outfront Media (formerly CBS Outdoor Americas Inc.) and Control Group NYC. The On the Go Travel Station is an innovative electronic communications tool that provides subway customers with information about their complete trip, from planning and service status to information about nearby destinations. The kiosks place an unprecedented amount of transit information at customers’ fingertips while they are in the system. In addition to customers pulling information, NYC Transit can push granular Service Advisory messages to network screens. More than 140 screens are located in fare-control areas, mezzanines and on platforms. Each kiosk – whether hard wired to the NYC Transit network or part of a secure wireless network – is individually addressable. “The On the Go Travel Station network is one of the most ambitious in-system customer information initiatives we’ve undertaken since the introduction of our subway countdown clocks,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “Having a digital platform for customers to obtain travel information, while simultaneously giving us the ability to communicate with them is a huge step forward in our efforts to provide timely information to customers at the point of transit decision making,” added Prendergast. The network’s rollout comes three years after the initial introduction of the On the Go pilot program. As part of that pilot, five kiosks were installed at three subway stations and one each at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station. In this proof-of-concept phase, MTA NYC Transit is working with two private sector partners who covered kiosk fabrication, screen user interface design and programming costs. The partner firms will recoup their investment through the sale of digital advertising displayed on the screens. NYC Transit is covering installation and maintenance costs, and will share in advertising revenue with both Outfront Media and Control Group. “These kiosks are a beacon for customers in the system, “said NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco. “To see our customers interact with the machines, to use the map, check a service advisory or plan a trip shows me that this investment was well worth it, and is just what our customers want — accurate, up-to-date information and access to it. The development of the On the Go system is in line with the modernization of the subway system and just one component in our ongoing effort to offer our customers relevant and up to date information,” Bianco added. (MTA - posted 11/07)

AAR REPORTS INCREASED TRAFFIC FOR OCTOBER AND FOR THE WEEK: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for October 2014, with both carload and intermodal volume increasing compared with October 2013. U.S. Class I railroads originated 1,507,917 carloads in October 2014, up 4.4 percent, or 63,881 carloads, over October 2013. The average of 301,583 weekly carloads in October 2014 marked only the third time since 2008 that a month had a weekly carload overage of more than 300,000. Intermodal traffic in October totaled 1,381,749 containers and trailers, up 4.9 percent, or 64,071 units, over October 2013. October 2014 was the best month in history for U.S. rail intermodal traffic. The weekly average of 276,350 containers and trailers in October 2014 was the highest ever, and October was the 59th straight month of year-over-year intermodal increases. For the first 10 months of 2014, U.S. intermodal volume was a record 11,459,079 units, up 5.5 percent over 2013. Fifteen of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in October. Commodities with the biggest carload increases in October 2014 over October 2013 were coal up 21,010 carloads, or 3.9 percent; petroleum and petroleum products up 14,053 carloads, or 20.7 percent; crushed stone, sand, and gravel up 11,880 carloads, or 10.4 percent; and metallic ores up 4,161 carloads, or 11.4 percent. For the year, grain carloads are up 114,900 carloads, or 15 percent. Excluding coal, U.S. rail carloads were up 42,871 carloads, or 4.7 percent, in October 2014 over October 2013. Excluding coal and grain, U.S. rail carloads were up 43,237, or 5.4 percent, in October 2014. “America’s railroads are moving an enormous amount of freight today,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “In the first 10 months of 2014, total U.S. carload plus intermodal volume was 24.3 million units, which is over one million units more than in the first 10 months of 2013 and the highest year-to-date total since 2007.” AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending Nov. 1, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 305,389 carloads last week, up 4.3 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 279,819 units, up 5.9 percent compared with the same week last year and the highest ever. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 585,208 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products, with 16,447 carloads, up 20.4 percent; metallic ores and metals, with 28,303 carloads, up 20.1 percent; and grain with 23,847 carloads, up 14.5 percent. Commodities that posted a decrease were led by motor vehicles and parts, with 17,888 carloads, down 2.9 percent. For the first 44 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 12,830,740 carloads, up 3.6 percent from the same point last year, and 11,459,079 intermodal units, up 5.5 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 44 weeks of 2014 was 24,289,819 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.5 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 86,893 carloads for the week, up 4.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 60,312 intermodal units, up 10 percent compared with 2013. For the first 44 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,542,923 carloads, up 1.9 percent from the same point last year, and 2,525,718 intermodal units, up 6.7 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 14,247 carloads for the week, down 8.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,632 intermodal units, up 6.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 44 weeks of 2014 is 694,461 carloads, up 3.1 percent from the same point last year, and 470,354 intermodal units, up 5.1 percent. Combined North American rail volume for the first 44 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 17,068,124 carloads, up 3.2 percent compared with the same point last year, and 14,455,151 trailers and containers, up 5.7 percent compared with last year. (AAR - posted 11/07)

FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION STRENGTHENS TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR RAILROAD SAFETY EMPLOYEES: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued a final rule that strengthens training requirements for railroad employees and contractors who perform safety-related work. The rule, which was mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) of 2008, ensures safety-related employees are trained and qualified to comply with any relevant federal railroad safety laws, regulations, and orders. “Safety is our top priority and this is just the latest step in our mission to ensure the safety of railroad employees, the public and the communities these railroads pass through,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The GROW AMERICA Act will help advance safety by harnessing technology and research, as well as implementing Positive Train Control and updating federal hours of service regulations.” The rule improves training for all safety-related railroad employees, regardless of whether the person is employed by a railroad, a contractor or a subcontractor, by requiring:
  • Minimum training standards for each type of safety-related railroad employee;
  • FRA review and approval of each employer’s training program to ensure employees will be qualified to measurable standards;
  • Greater use of structured on-the-job and interactive training;
  • Methods for each employer to review and improve training programs annually with a focus on closing performance gaps;
  • A streamlined, nation-wide approach that bolsters training for operators of roadway maintenance machines equipped with a crane that work across multiple jurisdictions.
“Quality training is fundamental to the execution of safety sensitive railroad duties,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “This regulation ensures the heightened professionalism of the workforce that keeps our railroads running safety and efficiently every day.” Through the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), FRA is working to complete the actions mandated by RSIA, including developing a framework for the creation and implementation of performance-based programs that anticipate and reduce risk. An RSAC working group has developed recommendations for fatigue management provisions and the agency moving forward with rulemakings related to the transportation of crude oil and ethanol by rail – one focusing on the securement of equipment and the other on the appropriate crew size requirements when transporting highly flammable liquids. Additionally, FRA is preparing a final rule amending its regulations related to roadway workers and is developing other RSAC-supported actions that advance high-performing passenger rail, such as proposed rules on standards for alternative compliance with FRA’s Passenger Equipment Safety Standards. The Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) mission is to ensure the safe, reliable, and efficient rail transportation of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future. The GROW AMERICA Act supports this mission with predictable, dedicated investments that enhance safety and modernize our rail infrastructure to meet growing market demand. The Act also builds on current investments to vastly improve the system in areas ranging from Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation to enhancing flexibility in financing programs that will better enable the rehabilitation of aging infrastructure. (FRA - posted 11/07)

CSX CONCLUDES RACKETEERING AND FRAUD LITIGATION AGAINST ASBESTOS LAWYERS: CSX Transportation today announced that it has resolved the final stages of its racketeering and fraud lawsuit against asbestos attorneys Robert N. Peirce Jr. and Louis A. Raimond, and radiologist Dr. Ray Harron. As part of the settlement, the West Virginia jury's verdict stands and CSX will be paid $7.3 million to satisfy the trial court judgment entered against the lawyers and doctor on September 25, 2013, and in resolution of disputed motions for attorney fees and costs. CSX brought civil RICO and fraud claims against the defendants on July 5, 2007, alleging that they conspired to manufacture and litigate fraudulent asbestos claims against the company. In December 2012, a jury agreed and awarded CSX approximately $429,000 in damages – an amount later tripled to $1.3 million by the trial court judge as required by the federal racketeering statute. Those damages and legal fees totaled $7.3 million. Prior to this settlement, the judgment had been on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va. That appeal is to be dismissed, leaving the jury's findings and resulting judgment undisturbed. "We sincerely thank the jury and the judges. They acknowledged that fraud in injury claims degrades the U.S. system and makes it harder for truly injured persons to be treated fairly," said Ellen M. Fitzsimmons, executive vice president, law and public affairs, CSX. "These funds will be donated to the CSX Foundation, where they will be dedicated to philanthropic efforts serving CSX's communities." The CSX Foundation supports Beyond our Rails (beyondourrails.org), a shared effort between CSX and its employees to advance safety, wellness, environmental and community-based initiatives that seek to improve the well-being of the people and places CSX serves. (CSX, Randy Kotuby posted 11/06)

FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION APPROVES CONSTRUCTION ALTERNATIVE FOR CSX'S VIRGINIA AVENUE TUNNEL PROJECT: The Federal Highway Administration has approved a preferred construction alternative for CSX’s Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, enabling CSX to complete the tunnel’s design and initiate the construction permitting process. The decision marks the completion of an extensive environmental review of the project conducted jointly with the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, which incorporates three years of input from residents, businesses and government agencies in the southeast Washington, D.C., neighborhood around the tunnel.  The Federal government approved a proposal to modernize the 110-year old tunnel which will improve the flow of freight traffic through the District of Columbia and eliminate a rail-traffic bottleneck that also impacts commuter and passenger trains in the region. The new structure will accommodate trains that can carry enough freight to remove the equivalent of 280 trucks per train from the nation’s highways.  “The Virginia Avenue Tunnel is a critical piece of our national and regional transportation infrastructure,” said Louis E. Renjel, Jr., vice president of strategic infrastructure initiatives for CSX. “Reconstructing the aging tunnel will eliminate a long-standing rail bottleneck that impacts freight and commuter rail, and it will increase the network’s capacity ahead of anticipated growth in freight-rail traffic. Through CSX’s commitment to the community, neighbors will enjoy improved streetscapes, additional green spaces, a new bike trail and other improvements as part of the project. “While this decision is the end of the Federal environmental review process, it is just the beginning of a new phase of CSX’s relationship with the community,” Renjel said. “Input from residents shaped many features of this project and we are appreciative of their involvement.  We are committed to doing this project the right way; safely, respecting our neighbors and working closely with residents and businesses to minimize impacts and to ensure that they are informed about construction plans.” CSX plans to use a new website, social media, events, briefings and other tools to maintain the flow of information to area residents and businesses. The company has an established community office in the neighborhood that is staffed during regular hours to allow visitors to learn more about the project and ask specific questions of company representatives.  CSX and its design/build contractor, Clark/Parsons, will now finalize the tunnel design and begin applying for construction permits in compliance with D.C.’s established construction-permitting process.  Following the initial permitting process, utility relocations and other preliminary efforts will begin. Major construction is expected to begin in the next several months, following receipt of the required permits.  The CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel team has voluntarily committed to hire workers and select contractors consistent with the spirit of the District of Columbia’s First Source and Certified Business Enterprise programs. In response to feedback from nearby residents, the alternative selected through this process has the shortest construction timespan (30 to 42 months) of any of the construction alternatives considered and ensures that trains will always operate in enclosed tunnels in front of nearby residences. The plan includes significant measures to reduce the construction impacts on nearby residences and businesses, including dust, noise and vibration monitoring and control plans; limited construction hours; and maintenance-of-traffic plans that ensure continued pedestrian access and vehicle mobility for all essential services throughout the process.  The Virginia Avenue Tunnel is part of CSX’s National Gateway, an initiative to improve the flow of rail traffic throughout the nation by increasing the use of double-stacked intermodal trains and creating more efficient rail routes that link Mid-Atlantic ports with Midwestern markets for domestic and imported products. It is one of several infrastructure investments CSX is making to meet the growing demand to move more freight by rail across its network. The Virginia Avenue Tunnel, one of the largest components of the National Gateway program, is receiving no Federal funds. The record of decision is available for review and downloading at www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com/a> (CSX, Alex Mayes posted 11/05)

NEW AMTRAK THRUWAY BUS SERVICE BETWEEN RICHMOND AND CHARLOTTESVILLE: Amtrak and James River Transportation have launched a new Thruway bus service that connects passengers traveling to/from Richmond to two long-distance trains at Charlottesville. From Charlottesville, the Crescent continues south to Atlanta and New Orleans and the Cardinal operates west to Cincinnati and Chicago. The Thruway bus connection serves both the Staples Mill Road and Main Street stations in Richmond and the Charlottesville station. The busses are equipped with Wi-Fi, electrical outlets and comfortable seating, including tables. Both Amtrak trains offer passengers a wide, comfortable reserved coach seat or sleeping accommodations, hot meals in the dining car and the opportunity to mingle with fellow travelers in the lounge car. Checked baggage will be offered to/from the Staples Mill Road and Charlottesville stations. (Amtrak - posted 11/05)

72ND ANNUAL SANTA TRAIN ON THE FORMER CLINCHFIELD RAILROAD: The 72nd annual Santa Train will operate over 110 miles of the former Clinchfield Railroad on Saturday, November 22. The train originates in Shelby, Kentucky, operating through Virginia, and terminates in Kingsport, Tennessee. The train makes 14 scheduled stops (Shelby, Marrowbone and Elkhorn City in Kentucky; Clinchco, Haysi, Toms Bottom, Dante, Dungannon, Fremont, Fort Blackmore, Kermit and St. Paul in Virginia; and Waycross and Kingsport in Tennessee). Crowd sizes at each stop range from a few hundred to more than a thousand people. Santa ride the rear observation car of the train, tossing clothing, food, candy, toys and gifts to thos trackside. Upon arrival in Kingsport, Santa departs the train and mounts the top ladder of a sparkling red fire engine to anchor Kingsport’s own Yuletide Parade. The Santa Train, the annual 110-mile rail ‘Christmas Parade’ from Shelby, Ky., to Kingsport, Tenn., is an Appalachian tradition that ushers in the holiday season in the region. Supported by many contributors, Santa and friends toss more than 15 tons of clothing, food, candy, toys and gifts to generations of followers. On arrival in Kingsport, Santa departs the train and mounts the top ladder of a sparkling red fire engine to anchor Kingsport’s own Yuletide Parade. The train schedule will be as follows:
  • KENTUCKY
    • Shelby: 6:30 a.m. train departure
    • Marrowbone: 6:45 a.m. train arrival; 7 a.m. train departure
    • Elkhorn City: 7:25 a.m. train arrival; 7:45 a.m. train departure.
    VIRGINIA
    • Toms Bottom: 8:05 a.m. train arrival; 8:15 a.m. train departure
    • Haysi: 8:27 a.m. train arrival; 8:42 a.m. train departure
    • Clinchco: 9 a.m. train arrival; 9:15 a.m. train departure
    • Fremont: 9:28 a.m. train arrival; 9:53 a.m. train departure
    • Dante: 10:28 a.m. train arrival; 10:48 a.m. train departure
    • St. Paul: 11:08 a.m. train arrival; 11:28 a.m. train departure
    • Dungannon: 12:13 p.m. train arrival; 12:33 p.m. train departure
    • Fort Blackmore: 12:53 p.m. train arrival; 1:08 p.m. train departure
    • Kermit: 1:48 p.m. train arrival; 2:18 p.m. train departure
    • Waycross: 2:30 p.m. train arrival; 2:45 p.m. train departure.
    TENNESSEE
    • Kingsport: 3:08 p.m. train arrival.
    For more information, visit the Santa Train website at
    http://www.teamsantatrain.org ( posted 11/04)

    TORONTO SIGNAL MODERNIZATION: Metrolinx will upgrade and modernize the entire signalling system within the Toronto Union Station Rail Corridor (USRC) starting next year – a transformational improvement that will provide long-term benefits to both transit operations and customers. Replacing the signalling system within the USRC is part of Metrolinx's overall Signalling and Train Control Improvement Program, and the next phase of an overall revitalization of the USRC that will improve service reliability, eliminate track bottlenecks, increase train speeds and reduce operating costs. Most critically, the upgrades to the more than 80-year-old signalling system will ensure GO Transit can prepare for the anticipated doubling of ridership over the next 10-20 years. On a typical weekday, approximately 200,000 GO Transit passengers travel to and from Union Station. Metrolinx's USRC Signalling System Project is valued at $365.5 million. The Government of Canada is contributing up to $92 million through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund, the Province of Ontario and Metrolinx are contributing the remaining amount (Metrolinx - posted 11/03)

    FLORIDA EAST COAST ACQUIRES 24 NEW GE LOCOMOTIVES: Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) is about to take delivery of the first of 24 new Tier 3 locomotives, acquired from GE Transportation (GE).  The new locomotives will be used in thru-freight, heavy haul service on the railway's 351-mile mainline route between Jacksonville, and Miami, Florida.  The remainder of the locomotives will be placed in service by the end of 2014. The ES44C4 locomotive, part of GE's Evolution® Series, is designed to meet U.S. EPA Tier 3 emissions requirements using advanced engine technology that lowers fuel consumption and operating costs.  These locomotives provide many benefits and are vital towards controlling NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions. "GE is pleased that FEC Railway has chosen our ES44C4 locomotives for its through-haul fleet," said David Tucker, Vice President Global Sales.  "We look forward to continuing our partnership as they continue to push the envelope on advanced technologies." "These locomotives will provide the fuel-efficient power, we need to support current operations and the future growth of the railroad," said Fran Chinnici, Senior Vice President of Mechanical, Engineering and Purchasing at FECR. "It's fitting that these new GE locomotives are outfitted in the "Champion" paint scheme introduced by FECR many years ago," said James R. Hertwig, President & CEO.  "Similar to the early times of rapid expansion and growth along Florida's east coast, these locomotives will be utilized to champion FECR, providing the efficient horsepower needed to support the transportation of intermodal, carload, auto, and port business for the growing Florida economy." (FEC, Randy Kotuby - posted 10/31)

    VIA RAIL CELEBRATES THE COMPLETION OF WORK AT WINNIPEG'S UNION STATION : VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announced the completion of Winnipeg's Union Station upgrades. During an inauguration ceremony for the newly renovated station on October 20, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and CEO of VIA Rail, celebrated this event alongside members of Manitoba's political community and transportation industry stakeholders. The event provided an opportunity for all to discover the new look and upgrades done in the heritage building, which was awarded BOMA BESt environmental certification in 2011. This project was made possible thanks to an investment by the Government of Canada. The over $6 million renovation project to VIA Rail’s Winnipeg Union Station took approximately 14 months and created over 70 jobs. The restoration was completed according to schedule and within budget, has given the hundred-year-old station a renewed and modern feel. Significant upgrades were made to client facilities including the ticket counter, washrooms and waiting areas. Station accessibility was improved with the installation of a new elevator between the waiting room and the passenger boarding platform, among other accessible amenities. The central rotunda, one of the station's most distinctive features, was cleaned, repaired and repainted. The restoration of the rotunda emphasizes the station's heritage status, as its new look resembles that of the original rotunda. The funding for this project tops the $3.5 million already invested in many renovation projects carried out since 2007, including a full roof replacement and repairs to heating and cooling systems. The Winnipeg Union Station is the largest station owned by VIA Rail. "Thanks to this major work, we can now offer an improved work environment to our employees, a new experience to our passengers and a promising future to Winnipeg Station. We are very pleased with the station's new look and upgrades," said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano. (VIA Rail Canada - posted 10/30)

    AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 25, 2014 with 307,348 total carloads, up 3.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 278,767 units, up 6.7 percent compared with the same week last year. The week was the third highest intermodal week in history for U.S. railroads. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 586,115 carloads and intermodal units, up 5 percent compared with the same week last year. Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products with 16,953 carloads, up 20 percent, and nonmetallic minerals with 39,312 carloads, up 8.9 percent. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2013 were led by grain with 22,361 carloads, down 10.5 percent, though grain remains up by 15.1 percent year to date. For the first 43 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 12,525,351 carloads, up 3.6 percent compared with the same point last year, and 11,179,260 intermodal units, up 5.5 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 43 weeks of 2014 was 23,704,611 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.5 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 90,312 carloads for the week, up 16.1 percent, and 59,272 intermodal units, up 12.1 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first 43 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,456,030 carloads, up 1.8 percent from the same point last year, and 2,465,406 intermodal units, up 6.6 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 16,454 carloads for the week, up 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 12,135 intermodal units, up 8.5 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 43 weeks of 2014 was 680,214 carloads, up 3.3 percent from the same point last year, and 459,722 intermodal units, up 5 percent from last year. Combined North American rail volume for the first 43 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 16,661,595 carloads, up 3.2 percent compared with the same point last year, and 14,104,388 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.6 percent compared with last year. (AAR - posted 10/30)

    VIA RAIL GOES INTERNATIONAL: VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) goes international by establishing a partnership with the passenger rail carrier alliance company AccesRail. This partnership will extend VIA Rail's distribution reach to over 120,000 travel agencies around the world through AccesRail's airline connectivity to Global Distribution Systems, which enable the integration of rail services into travel agents' booking systems. AccesRail offers an easy way for passenger rail carriers to sell tickets through IATA certified travel agents, by using their established airline booking systems. The integration of rail suppliers in the Global Distribution Systems will improve VIA Rail's international sales by encouraging inter-modal transport. This partnership is aligned with VIA Rail's inter-modal strategy, initiated in 2010, for which it won the 2013 AirRail Concept of the Year at the Global AirRail Awards ceremony in Frankfurt. VIA Rail's inter-modal strategy makes transport more efficient by increasing interconnectivity with other passenger carriers and multiplying travel options for customers. (VIA Rail Canada - posted 10/29)

    AMTRAK ESTABLISHES BLUE RIBBON PANEL TO ADDRESS CHICAGO RAIL GRIDLOCK: Amtrak is establishing a blue ribbon panel of rail and transportation leaders to identify infrastructure and operational improvements to address the rail traffic gridlock in Chicago. The unprecedented level of rail congestion is causing major delays for Amtrak passengers and freight shipments which are damaging to the U.S. economy. Panel members on the Chicago Gateway Initiative include Jack Quinn, former U.S. Congressman and past chairman of the U.S. House Railroads Subcommittee, Linda Morgan, former chair of the Surface Transportation Board and Tom Carper, Amtrak board member and past chairman. The freight railroads which operate in Chicago and other stakeholders will be invited to participate in panel activities and are key to implementing recommended solutions. Because Chicago is the hub of the U.S. rail network, and the key gateway between East and West rail traffic, gridlock in the Chicago area is causing major delays throughout the United States. The congestion problem is caused by a combination of rising demand on the East Coast for more intermodal freight and crude oil shipments which originate west of Chicago, underinvestment in critical rail infrastructure that produces public benefits and short term capital projects that create additional temporary bottlenecks. The panel is charged with identifying and evaluating infrastructure investments and operational actions that will optimize Amtrak on-time performance and improve freight rail service. Its objectives are to minimize disruptions and delays, and accelerate the construction of infrastructure projects. A final report on recommendations is expected by the end of May 2015. “The rail gridlock in Chicago is causing unacceptable delays for Amtrak passengers while reducing revenues and driving up operating costs for Amtrak,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. Chicago is Amtrak’s most important hub and many of its trains that operate to and from the city are suffering from poor on-time performance, dispatching issues and high levels of freight train interference. For example, delays of four hours or more for Amtrak trains operating between Chicago and Cleveland have become a near daily occurrence. These and other major delays have ripple effects across the Amtrak national system. If Amtrak trains, which have statutory dispatching priority over freight trains, cannot be moved efficiently through the nation’s principal rail hub, then freight shipments will continue to be slowed by gridlock as well. The CREATE program has been a concerted effort by freight railroads, Amtrak and other stakeholders to address rail congestion issues in Chicago and it has achieved several successes. The Chicago Gateway Initiative will build on the CREATE program by re-energizing the conversation, stimulating new discussion about next steps for securing funding to implement CREATE projects, and seeking to improve cooperative efforts among the railroads. “Alleviating Chicago rail congestion will be of great benefit to Amtrak passengers and the fluidity of the national freight transportation network,” said Boardman. “We need solutions and predictable dedicated funding to make the needed infrastructure investments. Let’s get started.” (Amtrak - posted 10/28)

    AMTRAK RIDERSHIP AND REVENUES CONTINUE STRONG GROWTH IN FY 2014: Amtrak posted record ticket revenues for its Fiscal Year 2014 ending Sept. 30, and achieved an increase in ridership over the prior fiscal year, reflecting strong continued demand for passenger rail. However, meeting future growth in passenger demand requires investing in the infrastructure that supports intercity passenger rail and resolving unacceptable congestion delays caused by freight railroads that own the tracks. For Fiscal Year 2014, ticket revenues reached $2.189 billion, up 4.0 percent from the prior year. Ridership was more than 30.9 million, an increase of 0.2 percent over adjusted FY 2013 numbers. The slower growth in ridership than in recent years is due, in part, to a harsh winter season and on-time performance issues associated with freight train delays and infrastructure in need of replacement. With ridership of 11.6 million, the Northeast Corridor (NEC) had its highest ridership year ever in FY 2014, up 3.3 percent from the prior year. However, ridership on long-distance routes and state-supported services declined by 4.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. The Acela Express and the Northeast Regional services each set a new ridership record. In particular, Acela showed strong popularity, with 28 days where the number of trips topped 14,000 as compared to just five such days in the previous year. Eight other routes also set ridership records, including Adirondack, Auto Train, Albany-Niagara Falls-Toronto, Blue Water, Capitol Limited, Empire Service, Piedmont, and Washington-Lynchburg. “Amtrak is clearly selling a product that is very much in demand,” said Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia. “Achieving strong ridership and revenue despite the challenges with aging infrastructure and freight rail congestion demonstrates Amtrak’s commitment to improving its financial and operating performance, and is a credit to Amtrak’s management and staff. It is now time to leverage Amtrak’s successes in increasing ridership and improving performance by making much-needed investments in our nation’s passenger rail system.” “As more and more people choose Amtrak for their travel needs, investments must be made in the tracks, tunnels, bridges and other infrastructure used by intercity passenger trains particularly on the Northeast Corridor and in Chicago,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “Otherwise, we face a future with increased infrastructure-related service disruptions and delays that will hurt local and regional economies and drive passengers away.” Boardman explained that nowhere is the connection between passenger rail and economic growth stronger than in the NEC, but its infrastructure continues to age and suffers from a chronic case of long-term underfunding. He said a new federal policy and funding arrangement is needed to create a significant and reliable multi-year capital investment program to reverse the decay of NEC infrastructure and support other intercity passenger rail projects across the nation. Further, many long-distance and state-supported trains operate over tracks owned and dispatched by freight railroads that could benefit from infrastructure upgrades to improve the fluidity of the rail system. Not only are delays to passenger trains on these tracks increasing, but so, too, is the magnitude of those delays. On many of these routes, passenger rail has experienced a significant decline in on-time performance, lower ridership and revenue, and increased operating costs. “The freight railroads simply have to do a better job in moving Amtrak trains over their tracks,” Boardman stressed. “Amtrak is prepared to take all necessary steps with the freights to enforce our statutory, regulatory and contractual rights to meet the expectation of our passengers for improved on-time performance.” Amtrak is working with the freight railroads to address the congestion situation and is also pursuing remedies through the federal Surface Transportation Board. In addition, Amtrak is open to supporting public funding to supplement freight railroad track capacity, but only after the operational and maintenance improvements under their own control have been exhausted and prove to be insufficient. (Amtrak - posted 10/27)

    LIRR PORT WASHINGTON BRANCH IMPROVEMENTS: The Long Island Committee of the MTA Board today approved an initial $24.9 million contract for the extension of a pocket track east of the Long Island Rail Road’s Great Neck Station and the replacement of the 115-year- old Colonial Road Bridge, a three-year project and key component of the LIRR’s East Side Access Readiness Plan. The contract now goes to the full MTA Board which is scheduled to take up the matter at its meeting on Wednesday. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017 with the pocket track to cost an estimated $25.2 million and the new bridge $19.9 million for a total estimated cost of $45.1 million. The balance of the budget represents the cost of work that will be done by LIRR employees in the construction of the pocket track including utility relocation and power, signal, and switch installation. The LIRR is asking the MTA Board to award the contract to Railroad Construction Company, Inc. of Paterson, N.J., following a competitive process in which six firms submitted bids in response to a request for proposals issued in January. LIRR officials said Railroad Construction Company, a firm that has served rail industry since 1926, offered the best technical plan and the lowest price. “These infrastructure improvements will enable the LIRR to provide safe and reliable service on the Port Washington Branch for many years to come and give us the operational flexibility to provide better train service, especially when the East Side Access project is complete,” said LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski. The new pocket track will extend an existing storage track to accommodate an additional 12 car train. Once complete, it will enable the LIRR to increase the number of trains it can turn at Great Neck, provide better rush hour service as well as seat availability from Great Neck and stations west of Great Neck. The Colonial Road Bridge, built in 1897, crosses over the LIRR track a half mile east of Great Neck Station in the Village of Thomaston. Maintenance of the bridge is the sole responsibility of the LIRR, whose engineering staff determined the structure is at the end of its useful life. The new bridge will meet New York State Department of Transportation standards, which means wider travel vehicular travel lanes and improved pedestrian sidewalk. The project will also involve the construction of a new drainage system at track level that will eliminate a flooding problem that often hampers train service and include a retaining wall and landscaping which together will act as a sound barrier between the LIRR Right of Way and the local neighborhood. East Side Access, scheduled for completion in 2022, will enable Long Islanders to ride the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal and the East Side of Manhattan for the first time, saving customers who work on the East Side as much as 20 minutes commuting time in each direction. The Great Neck Pocket Track and new Colonial Road Bridge is part of the East Side Access Readiness Plan, five major infrastructure improvements the LIRR is planning in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk in support of future train service at Grand Central. The other projects are: Jamaica Capacity Improvements ($301 million), Mid-Suffolk Train Storage Yard ($76.6 million) Massapequa Pocket Track ($19.6 million) and Port Washington Yard Track Extension ($12.1 million.) (MTA - posted 10/27)

    MTA HIRE FIRST CHIEF SAFETY OFFICER: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that it has named David L. Mayer as the agency’s new Chief Safety Officer. The new position was created to reinforce safety as the top priority for all MTA agencies as they continue to improve work practices and invest in new technology and equipment. “Having someone to oversee and lead safety initiatives throughout the system can only enhance and improve our efforts,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “David’s experience with the National Transportation Safety Board, and exceptional work on safety projects in all modes of transportation, makes him the best person for the job.” Mayer will begin at the MTA on December 1.. He will report directly to the Chairman and CEO. He will work closely with Metro-North Railroad Chief Safety Officer Anne Kirsch, Long Island Rail Road Chief Safety Officer Loretta Ebbighausen, New York City Transit VP System Safety Cheryl Kennedy, VP Safety Programs and Initiatives at MTA Bridges and Tunnels James Foley, and MTA Capital Construction VP of Safety Peter Kohner. They will continue to monitor the condition of crews and equipment at their respective agencies, reporting to their agency’s president. “I’m excited to join a transportation network that is focused on promoting a safety culture while constantly looking for ways to improve its practices. I look forward to the challenge of proactively serving a population of over 15 million people,” said Mayer. Mayer began his career at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in 1991 in the Office of Research and Engineering. In 2001, he was named Assistant Managing Director and then promoted to Managing Director in 2009, the highest career-level position at the agency. During that time, Mayer personally reviewed and led more than 50 major investigations including the 2009 Metrorail train collision in Washington D.C. and the 2010 airplane crash near Aleknagik, Alaska, that killed Senator Ted Stevens along with four others. In addition to his strategic and technical expertise, Mayer also has extensive experience in employee relations, leading the NTSB’s labor relations activities. He was trained in experimental psychology as a human factors specialist and holds a doctorate from Rice University. He received a Bachelor degree with honors in Psychology from Centenary College. He also holds a private pilot’s license. (MTA - posted 10/27)

    MTA NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT CELEBRATES 110 YEARS OF SUBWAYS: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is celebrating the 110th anniversary of the New York City subway system with two days of opportunities for the public to take the train as generations of customers have done in the past. The first subway line, which connected City Hall with Harlem, opened on Oct. 27, 1904. That four-track line ran under Park Avenue South to Grand Central, across 42nd Street to Times Square, and up Broadway to 145th Street. “The subway system has come a long way since that fall day in 1904,” said New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “More than 100 years ago, you could only take the subway for that one stretch in Manhattan. Now we can get from the top of the Bronx to the beaches of Far Rockaway with just one swipe of a MetroCard. It’s remarkable how the system has evolved over the years, and we’re excited to show customers what the future will bring with the opening of Fulton Center and the 7 Line extension to the far west side on the horizon.” To give customers a trip to the past, NYCT will run two vintage trains express along the Broadway 123 Line between 96 St and Times Sq-42 St. One train will consist of four Low-Voltage subway cars that were in service until the late 1960s. Those cars feature rattan seats, ceiling fans and drop-sash windows. The other train, known as the “Train of Many Colors,” is made up of R33 and R36-type subway cars that were in service between the 1960s and 2001. An example of such cars, which were known as SMEE for their braking system, is the so-called “redbird” cars that many New Yorkers are familiar with. This particular “Train of Many Colors” has SMEE cars of various versions and appearances, including four painted the MTA silver mist and blue; one green coupled with a redbird; a pair of fire-engine red cars, and the last two redbirds removed from service. On Sunday, between noon and 5 p.m.:
    • The Low-Voltage train leaves Times Sq-42 St at noon; 1 p.m.; 2 p.m.; 3 p.m.; 4 p.m., and 5 p.m. It leaves 96 St at 12:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 2:30 p.m.; 3:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.
    • The “Train of Many Colors” leaves 96 St at noon; 1 p.m.; 2 p.m.; 3 p.m.; 4 p.m., and 5 p.m. It departs Times Square-42 St at 12:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 2:30 p.m.; 3:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.
    On Monday, October 27, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.:
    • The Low-Voltage train leaves Times Sq-42 St on the hour. It departs 96 St at half past the hour.
    Customers do not have to pay extra fare to take a ride on one of these Nostalgia Trains. For more information on the trains or to see more of them on display, visit the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights. (MTA - posted 10/24)

    CANADIAN PACIFIC HOLIDAY TRAIN 2014: The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train program is returning to the rails for a 16th year to raise money, food, and awareness for food banks and hunger issues across Canada and the United States. Since its launch in 1999, the Holiday Train program has raised close to C$9.5 million and 3.3 million pounds of food for North American food banks. "The Holiday Train is all about the community coming together over the holiday season and helping each other out with donations to local charities," says E. Hunter Harrison, CEO CP. "CP continues to be grateful that our train of lights and top musical talent are welcomed with open arms and that this has become a holiday tradition in our communities." Leaving the Montreal, Quebec, area on November 26 and 27 respectively, our U.S. and Canadian trains will make the three week journey reaching over 150 communities. The U.S. Holiday Train will travel across the U.S. Northeast and Midwest before its final show December 17 in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, while the Canadian train will travel west and wrap up its journey December 18 in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. A number of musicians will be joining the Holiday Train journey this year, including the pop rock band Odds and Jim Cuddy (of Blue Rodeo fame) on the Canadian tour and, up-and-comer country star Kira Isabella along with a cappella sensations Home Free in the U.S. Communities are encouraged to check the schedule online to see which performers will make a stop in their town. The full CP Holiday Train schedule is now available on www.cpr.ca. (CP, Randy Kotuby - posted 10/24)

    DERAILMENT AT SELKIRK YARD DELAYS FREIGHT TRAFFIC: On October 23, CSX experienced a derailment inside the limits of its Selkirk Yard near Albany. The derailment has been safely cleared; however, traffic scheduled to move through the Selkirk area may experience delays for up to 48 hours. (CSX - posted 10/24)

    ONE OF THE NATION'S LARGEST RAIL CHOKEPOINTS ELIMINATED: Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo today joined Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Senator Dick Durbin and other federal, state and local officials for the dedication of the Englewood Flyover project. The $133 million Flyover, which received $126 million from the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program, will eliminate one of the nation’s largest rail chokepoints. As a result, close to 80 Metra trains per weekday will now travel above the Norfolk Southern mainline avoiding roughly 60 freight and Amtrak trains that use the mainline. The flyover will provide some relief for rail congestion in Chicago, but much work remains to be done to eliminate the issue completely. In addition to the intercity passenger benefits, the Englewood Flyover will also reduce freight and commuter delays which will in turn keep more people and freight off Chicagoland’s congested highways. This congestion impacts all modes of transportation, forcing more trucks on to highways, limiting access to airports and reducing the capacity of railroads – limiting the regions effectiveness as a transportation hub. “The Englewood Flyover will improve safety, efficiency and reliability of the rail traffic passing through Chicago,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “When Congress provides predictable, dedicated funding for rail investments through the GROW AMERICA Act, we will be able to better address the long-term rail congestion issues that plague Chicago and the nation’s rail network.” About one-third of all rail traffic in the United States travels through the Chicago region and the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program, a partnership between the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, freight railroads, Metra and Amtrak, seeks to remove and reduce train congestion throughout Chicagoland. The Englewood Flyover project is one of 70 projects that make up the CREATE program. About a third of the projects within the program are completed and today funding only exists for half of the overall program. “Improving the fluidity of rail congestion in Chicago is critical to ensuring economic growth and developing a passenger rail network that will efficiently connect the 40 largest markets in the Midwest,” said Szabo. “The GROW AMERICA Act will provide the necessary resources to enhance rail service across the country.” The Englewood Flyover is a grade separation project south of Chicago’s Union Station that ease congestion one of the most delay-prone intersections in the entire Amtrak system. It separates Rock Island District Metra commuter trains from Amtrak passenger trains and freight trains traveling on the Norfolk Southern (NS) corridor and will relieve Metra riders of more than 7,500 annual passenger hours of delay. The Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) mission is to ensure the safe, reliable, and efficient rail transportation of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future. The GROW AMERICA Act supports this mission with predictable, dedicated investments that enhance safety and modernize our rail infrastructure to meet growing market demand. The Act will invest $19 billion over four years to improve rail safety and invest in a higher performing rail system. States and local communities need the certainty of predictable, dedicated funding to make transportation investments to improve our infrastructure and support our economic growth. The Act also builds on current investments to vastly improve the system in areas ranging from Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation to enhancing flexibility in financing programs that will better enable the rehabilitation of aging infrastructure. (FRA - posted 10/23)

    IT'S OFFICIAL: 'SEPTA KEY' IS FUTURE OF FARE PAYMENT: The speculation can end: SEPTA has unlocked the mystery surrounding a name for what has been generically referred to as the New Payment Technology initiative. The Authority today unveiled "SEPTA Key" as the official moniker for its fare modernization program. The announcement coincides with the launch of an updated section of the Authority's website regarding SEPTA Key at http://www.septa.org/key. SEPTA will begin transitioning to the new fare system in 2015. SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey said SEPTA Key was selected as the program name because of the transformative nature of the initiative. "SEPTA Key will play a fundamental role in moving the region forward," Casey said. "It will be the key to your commute, play and everywhere in between." SEPTA Key ushers in the overhaul of the Authority's outdated fare payment and collection system. Current fare instruments such as tokens, paper tickets and magnetic stripe passes will be replaced by contactless payment devices. SEPTA is currently testing the new technology and related equipment, including card readers, new fare gates and fare kiosks. Riders will notice additional equipment installations at transit stations to prepare for the start of pilot testing, which will begin in December and continue for several months. The timing of the SEPTA Key public launch will be dependent on successful results from these field tests. "This project will reach every SEPTA rider," Casey said. "It is important that we do everything possible to ensure its readiness before the launch." When the program is implemented, riders will be able to use a SEPTA Key branded card that can be purchased at station kiosks, SEPTA Sales Offices, from local retailers and online. Tokens - for many, the symbol of SEPTA's decades old fare system - will continue to be used during the initial SEPTA Key roll-out. SEPTA will give advanced public notice before tokens are phased out. SEPTA will conduct a wide-ranging public outreach effort before and throughout SEPTA Key implementation. The SEPTA Key website will also give customers tutorials on how to use the system, along with news, updates and other details on the program. (SEPTA - posted 10/23)

    AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 18, 2014 with 297,130 total carloads, up 2.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 272,554 units, up 3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 569,684 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.9 percent compared with the same week last year. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products with 16,015 carloads, up 17.4 percent, and nonmetallic minerals with 39,308 carloads, up 12.5 percent. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2013 were led by chemicals with 28,843 carloads, down 4.6 percent. For the first 42 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 12,218,003 carloads, up 3.6 percent compared with the same point last year, and 10,900,493 units, up 5.4 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 42 weeks of 2014 was 23,118,496 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.4 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 85,771 carloads for the week, up 4.6 percent, and 55,587 intermodal units, down 4 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first 42 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,365,718 carloads, up 1.5 percent from the same point last year, and 2,406,134 intermodal units, up 6.5 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 16,939 carloads for the week, up 14.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 12,174 intermodal units, up 0.4 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 42 weeks of 2014 was 663,760 carloads, up 3.3 percent from the same point last year, and 447,587 intermodal units, up 4.9 percent from last year. Combined North American rail volume for the first 42 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 16,247,481 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 13,754,214 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.6 percent compared with last year. . (AAR - posted 10/23)

    NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported third-quarter net income of $559 million, 16 percent higher than $482 million for the same period of 2013. Diluted earnings per share were $1.79, up 17 percent compared with $1.53 per diluted share in the same period last year. "Norfolk Southern reported another record-setting quarter during which we achieved our best third-quarter results in revenues, operating income, net income, earnings per share, and operating ratio," said CEO Wick Moorman. "Higher traffic volumes along with continued gains in productivity drove these excellent results. We remain focused on ensuring we can support continued demand for freight rail transportation by hiring additional employees, investing in new equipment, and completing capacity projects in order to provide our customers with the freight rail service they expect today and in the future." Third-Quarter Results Set Quarterly Records
    • Railway operating revenues increased 7 percent to $3.0 billion.
    • Income from railway operations improved 18 percent to $998 million.
    • Net income increased 16 percent to $559 million.
    • Diluted earnings per share rose 17 percent to $1.79.
    • The railway operating ratio improved 4 percent to 67.0 percent.
    Third-quarter railway operating revenues climbed 7 percent compared with the same period of 2013 to top $3.0 billion for a second consecutive quarter as growth in the merchandise and intermodal markets offset a weaker coal market. Third-Quarter Revenue by Commodity Group
    • Intermodal: $667 million, up 10 percent
    • Coal: $626 million, down 2 percent
    • Chemicals: $488 million, up 14 percent
    • Metals/Construction: $414 million, up 11 percent
    • Agriculture: $364 million, up 5 percent
    • Automotive: $254 million, up 12 percent
    • Paper/Forest: $210 million, up 3 percent
    General merchandise revenues reached $1.7 billion, a 10 percent increase compared with the third quarter of 2013, driven by volume gains in all markets, with particular strength in chemicals, automotive, metals and construction, and agriculture. Intermodal revenues increased to $667 million, 10 percent higher compared with third-quarter 2013. Volume rose 10 percent, fueled by robust growth in both international and domestic markets. Coal revenues declined 2 percent to $626 million in the third quarter compared with the same period of 2013. A weak global export market and mild weather and lower natural gas prices in the utility market combined to decrease volume by 2 percent. Railway operating expenses were $2.0 billion, 3 percent higher compared with third-quarter 2013, largely due to costs associated with higher business volumes. Income from railway operations was $998 million, 18 percent higher compared with third-quarter 2013. The railway operating ratio, or operating expenses as a percentage of revenue, was 67.0 percent, a 4 percent improvement compared with 69.9 percent during the same period of 2013. (NS, Randy Kotuby - posted 10/22)

    CANADIAN NATIONAL REPORTS THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS: CN today reported its financial and operating results for the third quarter and nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2014. Third-quarter and nine-month 2014 financial highlights
    • Net income was C$853 million, or C$1.04 per diluted share, compared with net income of C$705 million, or C$0.84 per diluted share, for the year-earlier quarter. The Q3-2013 results included a C$19-million (C$0.02 per diluted share) income tax expense resulting from the enactment of higher provincial corporate income tax rates.
    • Excluding the above Q3-2013 income tax expense, Q3-2014 diluted EPS of C$1.04 increased 21 per cent over last year's adjusted diluted EPS of C$0.86. (1
    • ) Operating income for the third quarter of 2014 increased 19 per cent to C$1,286 million.
    • Third-quarter 2014 revenues and carloadings set all-time quarterly records, with revenues rising 16 per cent to C$3,118 million and carloadings increasing 11 per cent to 1,475 thousand. Revenue ton-miles grew by 13 per cent.
    • CN's operating ratio for Q3-2014 improved by one point to 58.8 per cent from 59.8 per cent for the year-earlier quarter.
    •   Free cash flow for the first nine months of 2014 was C$2,045 million, up from C$1,307 million for the comparable period of 2013.
    Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer, said: "CN delivered outstanding third-quarter financial results while improving customer service levels and maintaining industry-leading operating efficiencies. Solid execution by our team of railroaders enabled us to accommodate the significantly higher freight volume generated by a record Canadian grain crop, strong energy markets, and new business, particularly in intermodal and automotive. "The results underscore CN's commitment to investing ahead of the curve in resources and rail infrastructure and playing our role as a true backbone of the economy." Foreign currency impact on results Although CN reports its earnings in Canadian dollars, a large portion of its revenues and expenses is denominated in U.S. dollars. As such, the Company's results are affected by exchange-rate fluctuations. On a constant currency basis that excludes the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, CN's third-quarter 2014 net income would have been lower by C$22 million, or C$0.03 per diluted share. (1) Third-quarter 2014 revenues, traffic volumes and expenses Revenues for the third quarter of 2014 increased by 16 per cent to an all-time quarterly high of C$3,118 million. Revenues increased for grain and fertilizers (29 per cent), petroleum and chemicals (21 per cent), metals and minerals (17 per cent), automotive (17 per cent), intermodal (14 per cent), and forest products (eight per cent). Coal revenues declined by three per cent.   The increase in revenues was mainly attributable to higher freight volumes due to a record Canadian grain crop, strong energy markets, particularly crude oil and frac sand, new intermodal business including temporary diversions from U.S. west coast ports, as well as new automotive business; the positive translation impact of the weaker Canadian dollar on U.S.-dollar-denominated revenues; and freight rate increases. Carloadings for the third quarter rose 11 per cent to 1,475 thousand, an all-time record quarterly performance. Revenue ton-miles, measuring the relative weight and distance of rail freight transported by CN, increased by 13 per cent over the year-earlier quarter. Rail freight revenue per revenue ton-mile, a measurement of yield defined as revenue earned on the movement of a ton of freight over one mile, increased by two per cent over the year-earlier period, driven by the positive translation impact of the weaker Canadian dollar and freight rate increases, partly offset by an increase in the average length of haul. Operating expenses for the quarter increased by 14 per cent to C$1,832 million. The increase was mainly attributable to increased purchased services and material expense, increased labor and fringe benefits expense, the negative translation impact of a weaker Canadian dollar on U.S.-dollar-denominated expenses and higher fuel costs. (CN, Randy Kotuby - posted 10/22)

    NEW LOCOMOTIVES HERALD NEW ERA FOR KEYSTONE SERVICE: Passengers on Monday’s Train 605 from Philadelphia to Harrisburg were aboard the first Keystone Service train in revenue operation to be powered by the modern and reliable Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) electric locomotive. Use of the high-tech locomotives is the latest step forward in the long-standing partnership between Amtrak and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which share the revenue as well as operating and equipment maintenance costs of the Keystone Service. Amtrak is acquiring 70 of the state-of-the-art locomotives that will operate on the electrified Northeast and Keystone Corridors. More than a dozen ACS-64 units are now in service with the remainder to be delivered through the end of 2015. The new locomotives replace older equipment that have seen between 25 and 35 years of service, and accumulated an average of more than 3.5 million miles each. “The Keystone Service provides transportation that is competitive with driving, and these locomotives will further improve customer service,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “Our new transportation plan will allow us to keep improving the service and the stations so the experience on and off the train is a great one.” “We commend and thank Amtrak for acquiring and using this new equipment for the Keystone Service. The passage of our new transportation plan, Act 89, stabilized our ability to fund passenger rail service and allows us to continue and accelerate our investment in intercity rail,” he added. Ridership on the Keystone Service has grown to more than one million riders annually, up 60 percent since more than $145 million worth of infrastructure improvements were made under the Keystone Corridor Improvement Program in 2006. The upgrades have enabled faster speeds and more frequent departures between Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia and New York. “The Keystone Service is an important link connecting Central and Eastern Pennsylvania with the rest of the Northeast Corridor,” explained Jay Commer, Amtrak General Manager of State-Supported Services. “We value our partnership and the new locomotives will help drive continued ridership, revenue and regional economic growth along the Keystone Corridor.” The new locomotives are designed for improved reliability and easier maintenance which leads to increased availability for service. A state-of-the-art microprocessor system performs self-diagnosis of technical issues, takes self-corrective action and notifies the locomotive engineer. In addition, there are redundant systems to ensure power is maintained to the passenger cars to keep heating and cooling systems working, the lights on and the doors operational. The locomotives also meet the latest federal rail safety regulations, including crash energy management components. Among the benefits of the ACS-64 is the ability to feed energy back into the power system for use by other trains through a process known as regenerative braking. When the entire ACS-64 fleet is deployed, this feature is estimated to save 3 billion kilowatt hours of energy. The locomotives are being built by Siemens and assembled at its facility in Sacramento, Calif., with parts from more than 60 suppliers representing more than 50 cities and 20 states. (Amtrak - posted 10/21)

    SAVAGE WINS CONTRACT FOR CSX LOCOMOTIVE MOBILE FUELING SERVICES: Savage today announced an agreement with CSX to provide locomotive fueling services at 30 sites across the CSX network in the eastern United States. CSX is a premier rail transportation supplier, with 21,000 route miles of track in 23 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. “We’re pleased that CSX selected us to handle their locomotive fueling services, building on our strong partnership and demonstrating confidence in our commitment to operational excellence and safety,” said Kirk Aubry, Savage president and chief operating officer. “Our goal is to deliver innovative solutions to our customers’ unique supply chain challenges. Our people, processes and technology will ensure that CSX locomotives keep moving and arriving at their destinations on schedule.” Prior to the new agreement, Savage had been providing locomotive fueling services at four CSX sites. Savage also provides transloading services—moving products between railcars and trucks—at 31 terminals across the company’s network. (Savage - posted 10/21)

    GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES MBTA'S RECOMMENDED COMPANY TO BUILD NEW SUBWAY CARS IN MASSACHUSETTS: Governor Deval Patrick today announced that the MBTA will present to the Board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) the recommended company to manufacture and deliver 284 new subway cars for the Red and Orange Lines, replacing decades-old vehicles. Joined by MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey and MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott, as well as state and local officials, Governor Patrick announced that the recommended company, CNR MA, will build a 150,000 square foot facility in Springfield to assemble the vehicles, creating over 250 new manufacturing and construction jobs in the region. The contract is pending approval by the MassDOT Board of Directors, which is schedule to meet on Wednesday to vote on the recommendation. The contract with CNR MA will include the purchase of 152 new Orange Line Vehicles and 132 new Red Line vehicles to replace the 44-year old Red Line cars and 32-year old Orange Line cars. The contract also includes the option to purchase an additional 58 Red Line cars. The new cars will provide improved reliability, accessibility and energy efficiency. New car features include increased capacity and additional seating, wider and electrically operated doors, four accessible areas per car, LED lighting, modern HVAC systems and advanced passenger information and announcement systems. “This is a critical investment in the future of public transportation in Greater Boston and in the economic wellbeing of Western Massachusetts," said Governor Patrick. "It will open up opportunities for the residents of the Pioneer Valley by creating quality construction and manufacturing jobs that will propel growth in the region for years to come." The design process will take approximately three years for the Orange Line cars and an additional 15 months for the Red Line. Pilot cars for the Orange Line are to be delivered in early 2018 and the Red Line pilot cars will be delivered about a year later. Delivery of production cars will occur at a rate of approximately four cars per month between winter 2018 and winter 2021 for the Orange Line and between fall 2019 and spring 2021 for the Red Line. CNR MA intends to build a new manufacturing facility for final assembly of the Red and Orange Line Vehicles at 655 Page Boulevard in Springfield. This facility will serve as CNR MA’s US Headquarters. CNR MA plans to build a facility that includes over 150,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space. The facility will also include a dynamic test track, which will enable testing prior to shipment of the vehicles to the MBTA. CNR MA plans to invest $60 million of its own resources into the facility. CNR MA estimates the new facility will create more than 150 new manufacturing jobs and 100 new construction jobs. Construction of the new plant is expected to begin in the fall of 2015. “The awarding of this contract is the culmination of years of work and development by teams at MassDOT and the MBTA,” said Secretary Davey. “By making this important investment, and ensuring that it provide for new jobs and increase economic opportunity in Massachusetts, we are making a commitment to the future of sustainable, accessible public transit that is more reliable, more frequent and better serves the needs of our Commonwealth.” The new Orange Line cars will replace the entire current fleet that has an average of 1.5 million miles on them. On a typical weekday, the Orange Line fleet carries over 200,000 people. The order will also increase the fleet size, allowing for increased passenger capacity and decreased passenger wait times by reducing headways from six minutes to four during rush hour. The Red Line order will replace the current fleet of “No. 1” cars and the additional contract option would allow for replacement of the 27-year old “No. 2” cars. The “No. 1” cars have an average of 2.3 million miles and the “No. 2” cars an average of 1.4 million miles; these cars currently run on the Red Line which serves an average of 272,000 customers on a typical weekday. “Today marks an important step in improving the daily commutes of hundreds of thousands of our MBTA customers,” said GM Scott. “By replacing the aging fleets of Red and Orange Line cars, we will be able to reduce travel and wait times, increase capacity and improve accessibility, security and the overall experience for our customers.” Both the new Red and Orange Line cars will allow for an average of 15 additional passengers per car; and accessibility upgrades such as wider doors will allow for ADA access even when one door is non-functioning. Other upgrades include bridge plates and advanced customer information systems such as automatic station announcements on state-of-the-art public address systems and LED information signs. The new cars are also being designed with sustainable features such as environmentally-friendly HVAC systems, LED lighting and regenerative braking. New safety and security features are also being built in such as video surveillance systems with “live look in” capability, higher windscreens on doors and even “black box” style event recorders. The total project budget is approximately $1.3 billion, and includes the funds necessary to expand and improve the MBTA’s rail car maintenance and storage facilities in Medford and Boston. Made possible by the passage of the Transportation Finance Law last year, the Orange and Red Line car procurement project is funded entirely by State Transportation Bond Funds. The Request for Proposals was released a year ago, and six companies submitted proposals. Of the six proposals, four of them met the minimum requirements and were rated on criteria ranging from technical and manufacturing experience, past performance, quality assurance, and price. CNR MA submitted the lowest bid at $556.6 million. This MBTA project builds on previous unprecedented investments made by the Patrick Administration in the Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure. MBTA investments include three new T stations opened along the Fairmount Line in Roxbury and Dorchester, work now underway to bring the Green Line Extension to Union Square and Washington Street in Somerville and the completion of the first new Orange Line T station in 25 years at the Assembly Row development in Somerville. Overall, MBTA “state-of-good-repair” investments are approaching nearly $600 million per year while introducing customer-focused improvements such as subway countdown clocks, smartphone apps for tracking the arrival of buses and trains, mobile ticketing for commuter rail and improved accessibility with new elevators and escalators. (MBTA - posted 10/21)

    CP CONFIRMS TERMINATION OF EXPLORATORY TALKS WITH CSX: Canadian Pacific Railway Limited announced today that exploratory conversations held with CSX Corp. about a possible business combination have ended. No further talks are planned. CP proposed an integrated coast-to-coast combination that would improve customer service, promote competition, alleviate congestion in North America – specifically the key Chicago gateway – and generate significant shareholder value. Such a business combination would offer creative alternatives for shippers, greater fluidity, increased capacity and improved efficiency industry-wide. While regulatory concerns appear to be a major deterrent for many railroads considering combinations, CP believes that given the right structure between the right players, and having thoughtful considerations and remedies to address shipper concerns, regulatory approvals are achievable. The North American rail industry is confronted today with the challenges of moving more freight than ever and the prospect of moving even more as oil production, crop yields and consumer demand grow alongside the economy. CP is convinced that the significant problems that beset the industry now will only worsen over time if solutions aren't put in place immediately. A pro-competition, customer-friendly, safety-focused railway combination is one such solution that could not be ignored on its merits by regulators. CP CEO E. Hunter Harrison will discuss the topic of railroad mergers and acquisitions and the need for a comprehensive North American transportation policy with the financial community, media and any other interested parties, in a conference call beginning at: 1:00 pm Eastern time, Tuesday Oct. 21. (CP, Randy Kotuby - posted 10/20)

    FLORIDA EAST COAST AND PORTMIAMI'S SUNSHINE GATEWAY SERVICE: Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) and PortMiami, through a strategic alliance, are offering the Sunshine Gateway service, which includes on-dock intermodal rail capabilities.  This seamless ship to rail transfer allows the port to handle additional volumes and ensures that shipments move more quickly and efficiently with the potential to reach 70 percent of the United States population in four days or less.  "Our goal has always been to facilitate the process of cargo shipments for fast and efficient delivery to our customers," said Juan M. Kuryla, PortMiami Director.  "Through our partnership with FECR, we are expanding access for shipments coming into and out of the port to reach their final destinations seamlessly and with greater reliability." Another proactive step has been the PortMiami -50 ft. deep dredge project enabling the port to handle larger TEU vessels.  Kuryla stated, "Our investments in infrastructure and collaboration with innovative providers like FECR, ensure that we are well positioned for the Panama Canal expansion." President and CEO James R. Hertwig noted, "In today's global marketplace, shippers often need solutions that go beyond the United States borders and involve multiple modes to move goods from the point of origin to the final destination.  In order to meet the needs of supply chain managers, it is important for various modes of transportation to work together seamlessly.  We are pleased with the positive impact we have seen as a result of our partnership with PortMiami and look forward to continuing to provide effective solutions for shippers." In January 2015, FECR and PortMiami will hold an event celebrating this new service (FEC, Randy Kotuby - posted 10/20)

    GOV. PATRICK ANNOUNCES FAIRMOUNT LINE SERVICE UPGRADES : Governor Deval Patrick today joined MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey, MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott and state and local officials to announce a package of service upgrades to the MBTA's Fairmount Commuter Rail Line to improve the Line’s reliability, frequency and to increase access to public transit options for area residents. Governor Patrick announced four improvements being made to the Line, including the implementation of hourly weekend service along the Fairmount line starting this fall, the permanent continuation of the successful pilot fare program introduced last year to align fares on the Line with fares on the MBTA’s rapid transit lines, the MBTA’s issuing of a Request for Proposals (RFP) in December to acquire 30 Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs), the majority of which will be used on the Fairmount line to improve trip frequency and reliability and that construction of Blue Hill Avenue station will resume, with 100 percent design expected in spring 2015. "We invest in infrastructure to revitalize urban neighborhoods and bolster growth and opportunity across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “With this project we are paving the way for future opportunities that will advance economic development in Boston and help build a brighter future for Massachusetts." The implementation of hourly Saturday and Sunday service will mark the first time weekend service has been offered on the Line. Service will begin November 29, in time for the holiday shopping season. Fares along the line will cost $2.10 one way, with the exception of Readville, making trips in and out of South Station on the Commuter Rail as affordable as a subway ride. “The addition of regular weekend service on the Fairmount Line is great news, improving access to public transportation for area residents,” said Congressman Michael Capuano. “The state’s commitment to purchasing DMUs and using most of them on the Fairmount Line will increase the frequency of service as well as reduce the environmental impact of the trains.” “MassDOT and the MBTA have worked closely with the Fairmount Line community to find the best ways to improve reliability, frequency and affordability,” said Richard A. Davey, MassDOT Secretary and CEO. “Today’s announcement delivers on those goals and will lead to broadened opportunity and increased economic growth along the Fairmount Line.” The procurement for the first 30 Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) will allow for greater train frequency without the expense or time of changing infrastructure. DMUs are self-propelled rail cars that operate along commuter rail tracks and can run either as single cars, or in consists of two and three cars. The MBTA will procure an initial DMU fleet of 30 cars at an estimated cost of $240 million. The RFP is scheduled for release in December 2014, with pilot car delivery in 2018, and complete delivery in 2020. DMUs are planned to operate first on the Fairmount Line. “The introduction of DMUs on the Fairmount line will reduce travel times and offer more options for travelling in and out of downtown Boston ,” said MBTA General Manager, Dr. Beverly Scott. “Combined with the now permanent reduced fare structure and weekend service, transportation options for residents living in the urban core are growing and improving all around.” "The MBTA's Fairmount Commuter Rail Line provides access to people in Dorchester and all connected neighborhoods, ensuring reliable transportation to employment opportunities and Boston's shopping centers and restaurants," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "Because of the hard work and dedication of Governor Patrick, Secretary Davey, and Dr. Scott, strong partnerships are unlocking a neighborhood’s full potential and envisioning the future of mobility in Boston." "The Blue Hill Avenue Station will connect our community with downtown and to the rest of the city, increasing greater access to jobs, services and opportunities," said Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. "I want to thank the community for their hard work throughout this process. This project will allow Mattapan residents to compete for quality jobs. I want to also thank Governor Patrick, Secretary Davey, General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott and my colleagues in government for their collaborative efforts to make this station a reality.” Construction of Blue Hill Avenue Station, close to Mattapan Square, will address a major gap along the Fairmont corridor. This station will provide intermodal links to four bus routes and is only a quarter-mile from Mattapan Square, a major retail hub and also the terminus of the Mattapan High Speed Line offering connections to Milton, Dorchester and the Red Line. The MBTA has worked closely with neighbors and abutters toward a design that will feature a center-island platform between the Fairmount Line tracks. The total project budget is expected to be $25.2 million, funded by an Intergovernmental Service Agreement as an obligation from the Central Artery Project. The project is expected to reach 100 percent design in May 2015 and go out to bid in September 2015. Construction is expected to begin in November 2015 and take approximately two years, with the station opening expected in December 2017. (MassDOT - posted 10/17)

    WILLIAM J. RONAN, MTA'S FIRST CHAIRMAN DIES AT 101: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is saddened by the death of William J. Ronan, the MTA’s first chairman, who died Wednesday at the age of 101. Ronan was appointed chairman of the agency – then known as the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority – in 1965 by New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. A well-known advocate of public transportation, Ronan was key to the expansion of transit options in the New York metropolitan area during his tenure at the MTA and his later work as head of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. “Bill Ronan was a legend in the field of public transportation and an inspiration for everyone who understands that mass transit is the engine that powers New York,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “His vision of how an integrated transportation system can improve the region, and his skill in turning that vision into reality, have made life better for millions of our customers every day. We at the MTA send our deepest condolences to his family, and remember his service fondly.” Ronan was born in Buffalo, N.Y., on Nov. 8, 1912, and attended schools in upstate New York, including Syracuse University, where he graduated in 1934. He received a doctorate from New York University in international law and diplomacy. He later became a professor and dean at NYU, where he established what is now NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He met Rockefeller two years before the latter became governor of New York, and became his private secretary in 1958. Under the Rockefeller administration, Ronan helped set up the Tri-State Regional Transportation Commission, which was created as a transportation group to serve the commuting needs of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. In 1965, Ronan had been the governor’s representative at negotiations to purchase the Long Island Rail Road from the Pennsylvania Railroad. Ronan served as the head of the MTA from March 1968 to April 1974, when he became chairman of the Port Authority. The MCTA became the MTA in 1967 after the governor gained voter approval on a bond issue and legislative support to form the agency. The MTA assumed control of public transport agencies and eventually took over privately run commuter lines as well. During Ronan’s tenure, the MTA created the Metro-North Railroad by acquiring separate commuter lines. With Ronan at the helm of the agency, the MTA embarked on a number of ambitious improvement and capital projects, such as new subway lines in Queens and the Second Avenue Subway. In one farsighted move, the agency built a two-level rail tunnel under the East River at 63rd Street – one level now carries an expansion of the F subway line, and the other is being used for the East Side Access project to bring LIRR trains into Grand Central Terminal. The elevated transit lines that ran along Manhattan’s East Side began closing in the 1930s, with the Third Avenue elevated line closing in 1955. Yet with the city’s economy booming after World War II and the elimination of the elevated lines, increased commercial and residential development in the area led to a need for more transit options. “You can’t go on building office buildings, apartment buildings, without planning for adequate transit,” Ronan said in proposing the Second Avenue Subway. When the Second Avenue elevated line shuttered in 1942, a subway replacement had been promised, and Ronan declared that it was time to start construction in 1972. He presided over its groundbreaking at 103rd Street and Second Avenue on Oct. 27, 1972. The project was halted five years later due to New York City’s fiscal crises, but resumed in 2007. Nearly 40 years later and thanks to Ronan’s forward thinking, his dream of a Second Avenue Subway is becoming reality. The MTA estimates the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway will open for service by the end of 2016. (MTA - posted 10/17)

    ENGLEWOOD FLYOVER NOW IN SERVICE: During the weekend of October 10 and 11, the $142-million Englewood Flyover, which carried Metra’s Rock Island District tracks above NS’ former CR Chicago Line tracks, was placed in service.  Located at 63rd St, in South Chicago, Englewood had been one of the most delay prone diamond crossings in the Chicago terminal area due to 78 Rock Island District commuter trains competing for space with nearly 100 NS and 14 Amtrak trains.  Now the commuter trains can run at a maximum speed of 79 MPH above the freights and Amtrak’s.  NS is removing the diamonds. . (Andy Kirk - posted 10/16)

    AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 11, 2014 with 298,376 total carloads, up 4.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 273,436 units, up 4.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 571,812 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.6 percent compared with the same week last year. Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products with 16,333 carloads, up 19.5 percent, and nonmetallic minerals with 38,860 carloads, up 12.2 percent. For the first 41 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,920,873 carloads, up 3.6 percent compared with the same point last year, and 10,627,448 units, up 5.5 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 41 weeks of 2014 was 22,548,321 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.5 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 89,822 carloads for the week, up 5.2 percent, and 60,183 intermodal units, up 3.3 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first 41 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,279,947 carloads, up 1.4 percent from the same point last year, and 2,350,547 intermodal units, up 6.7 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 19,745 carloads for the week, up 38.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 14,238 intermodal units, up 30.8 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 41 weeks of 2014 was 646,821 carloads, up 3.0 percent from the same point last year, and 435,413 intermodal units, up 5.1 percent from last year. Combined North American rail volume for the first 41 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 15,847,641 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 13,413,408 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.7 percent compared with last year. (AAR - posted 10/16)

    CSX CELEBRATES FUTURE OF INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION AT CENTRAL FLORIDA ILC GRAND OPENING: CSX. along with federal, state and local officials, today celebrated the grand opening of the new Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center (ILC) in Winter Haven. The facility, which began operations earlier this year, provides a centralized hub for transportation, logistics and distribution serving Orlando, Tampa and other regional Florida markets. "The Central Florida ILC is the result of strategic collaboration between the City of Winter Haven, numerous state and local partners and CSX to create jobs and further strengthen Florida's transportation system," said Michael Ward, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at CSX. "CSX is proud to invest in this important development in our home state that will help to drive Florida's economy and position the state for continued growth in the future."  More than 200 people attended today's event including U.S. Congressmen Daniel Webster and Tom Rooney and officials from the City of Winter Haven, Polk County Board of County Commissioners, the Florida Legislature, and others. "The Central Florida ILC is a game changer for Winter Haven not only because of the opening of the state-of-the-art terminal, but because of the economic development potential this project represents," said Winter Haven Mayor Nathaniel Birdsong.  "Winter Haven is now a partner in the freight distribution industry, and is in the position to serve as an inland port for the global entry of goods and merchandise in Florida.  We are proud to be the home of such an extensive project, which sets the stage for tremendous growth in the Polk County region." The 318-acre intermodal terminal has capacity to process up to 300,000 containers a year and is designed for scalable expansion as freight volumes continue to grow. The terminal incorporates advanced environmentally-friendly technology including three high-powered electric cranes, solar panels and high mast exterior lighting to maximize energy efficiency. "The value of Florida's transportation system is in the seamless connectivity between its many modes," said Clarence Gooden, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at CSX. "This terminal is a model for how Florida's transportation modes work together collectively for the good of customers and the communities we serve." The terminal is surrounded by 930 acres that are being developed in phases to build up to 7.9 million square feet of warehouse distribution centers and light industrial facilities. In July, Winter Haven Industrial Investors LLC purchased more than 500 acres of the adjoining property for phase one of this development, which is expected to bring thousands of jobs to the area and support the freight transportation needs of customers throughout the region. (CSX, Randy Kotuby - posted 10/16)

    SEPTA AWARDED $86.8 MILLION FTA GRANT TO STRENGTHEN SYSTEM AGAINST STORMS: SEPTA has received an $86.8 million federal grant for seven projects designed to improve the transit system's resilience to severe weather events. The resources come from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Emergency Relief Program, which was funded in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. These improvements will allow SEPTA to harden core elements of its infrastructure to protect against weather-related impacts. The Authority's needs were documented by the SEPTA Infrastructure Resilience Program, and the federal grant supporting the projects is the result of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. "SEPTA would like to thank the Southeastern Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation for their work to highlight the critical needs that will be addressed with this funding," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "This advocacy from our local elected officials was key in gaining the FTA's support." Casey added: "Through the Emergency Relief Program, the FTA is helping SEPTA take proactive measures to limit damage from severe weather events. This will help keep SEPTA - and the Philadelphia region - moving amid the challenging conditions major storms leave in their wake." Funded projects include: - Railroad Embankment and Slope Stabilization Project: $18.7 million to stabilize and harden soil and rock slopes along a series of vulnerable 19th century railroad cuts in Montgomery and Delaware Counties. Rail service through these cuts serving the Warminster, West Trenton, and Lansdale/Doylestown and Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Lines carry 48,870 weekday riders - or more than 16 million annual trips, which represents nearly half of SEPTA's entire Regional Rail ridership.
    • - Sharon Hill Line Flood Mitigation Project: $3.8 million to construct a pumped drainage system that will provide relief from flooding on the Route 102 Sharon Hill Trolley Line in Delaware County. A frequently flooded underpass along the line forces SEPTA to rely on a bus substitution program to detour service around the high-water area more than a dozen times each year. Bus substitution is employed at a significant cost and disruption to passengers.
    • - Railroad Signal Power Reinforcement Project: $32 million to reinforce signal power across the Regional Rail system. Non-insulated cable and aging power distribution systems have proven highly vulnerable to extreme weather. During extreme weather events, downed branches and trees often breach non-insulated cable, interfering with the distribution of signal power and causing significant delays that ripple throughout the entire Regional Rail network.
    • - Ancillary Control Center Project: $9 million to construct a back-up control center facility at a strategic location in the City of Philadelphia to allow for remote dispatching of transit service in the event of an emergency.
    • - Subway Pump Room Emergency Power Project: $3.7 million to install an integrated series of emergency power systems for pump rooms throughout SEPTA's subway tunnels in the City of Philadelphia. Pumps are active all-day, every day, pumping out groundwater from the subway tunnels. An integrated emergency power network will help to protect passengers and infrastructure from the risk of flooding that could result from widespread power outages.
    • - Jenkintown Area Flood Mitigation Project: $15 million to study and implement improvements to the hydrologic conditions at Jenkintown, a key hub in SEPTA's Regional Rail network in Montgomery County. During heavy rain events, the convergence of three contributory areas (the Tacony Creek, Baeder Run and Tookany Creek) often overrun SEPTA's railroad right of way, disrupting service. The study will identify opportunities to better manage water flow from extreme weather.
    • - Manayunk/Norristown Line Shoreline Stabilization Project: $4.5 million to stabilize 2.45 miles of railroad right of way adjacent to the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County. The Manayunk/Norristown Line is one of SEPTA's most flood-prone assets and was the focus of a comprehensive FTA-funded vulnerability and risk assessment undertaken in 2012. The Schuylkill River has experienced more than half of its highest crests in recorded history at Norristown since 2003..
    (SEPTA - posted 10/15)

    CN CELEBRATES OFFICIAL OPENING OF STATE-OF-THE-ART EMPLOYEE TRAINING FACILITY IN HOMEWOOD, ILL: CN today officially opened its new employee training center in suburban Chicago. The 55,000-square-foot facility will host up to 250 CN students from across the United States every week, with hands-on training for all key railway jobs. Claude Mongeau, CN president and chief executive officer, said: "The opening of this state-of-the-art training center is a cornerstone in CN's workforce renewal, which this year will see the hiring of more than 3,500 employees across our North American network. "Our training campus in Homewood, adjacent to CN's Woodcrest mechanical shop, will enhance our railroader training programs, help us instill a strong safety culture amongst our new hires, and reinforce it across all current employees who are learning new skills or upgrading existing ones. "The new U.S. training center is located in our busy Chicago Terminal and at the center of CN's U.S. operations. The Chicago area is the largest freight hub in North America and suburban Homewood is home to CN's U.S. headquarters." The new center will offer courses for jobs ranging from conductor to car mechanic, and from track supervisor to signal maintainer. Employees will receive hands-on training in learning laboratories with equipment such as locomotive simulators and dispatcher stations. Outdoor labs with dedicated rolling stock and other equipment for field training will also be a key focus. CN has invested $25 million in the Homewood training campus and it is the second of two modern employee training centers to open on CN's network this year. Last month CN marked the completion of its new training center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where up to 350 students from across Canada will train every week. (CN - posted 10/14)

    CSX ANNOUNCES RECORD THIRD-QUARTER RESULTS: CSX Corporation today announced record third quarter net earnings of $509 million, or $0.51 per share, up from net earnings of $455 million, or $0.45 per share, in the same period last year. This performance was supported by volume increases of 7 percent, with broad-based growth across nearly all markets CSX serves.  "As the economy continues to expand, the company's record third-quarter results are built on the foundation of CSX's network reach, sustainable growth opportunities, and the efforts of our 31,000 employees," said Michael J. Ward, president, chairman and chief executive officer. "At the same time, we are focused on the execution of our core strategy.  That means enhancing our ability to grow faster than the economy, price above inflation, make strategic investments and produce ever more efficient operations to continue delivering superior shareholder value." Revenue of $3.2 billion, an 8 percent increase over the same period last year, is evidence of CSX's ability to leverage the continued economic momentum that is driving strength across nearly all markets CSX serves, coupled with secular growth trends in the intermodal and energy markets.  With the high level of demand and operations that remained stable, the company produced operating income of $976 million and an operating ratio of 69.7 percent.  On the strength of this performance, CSX expects to sustain double-digit earnings growth and margin expansion in 2015, and continues to target a mid-60s operating ratio longer term. (CSX - posted 10/14)

    NJ TRANSIT SERVICE FOR FAR HILLS STEEPLECHASE ON SATURDAY NJ TRANSIT is offering extra rail service between Hoboken and Far Hills to carry thousands of spectators to and from the 94nd annual Far Hills Steeplechase at Moorland Farms on Saturday, October 18. NJ TRANSIT’s Far Hills Station on the Gladstone Branch of the Morris & Essex Lines is located directly across the street from Moorland Farms. Customers are advised that beverages will not be permitted on any train to and from Far Hills on October 18. Due to the anticipated high ridership and crowding expected along the Morris & Essex Lines on October 18, customers are also strongly encouraged to purchase roundtrip tickets in advance to avoid lines. Customers purchasing one-way, return trip tickets from Far Hills Station will pay $20 for travel between Far Hills to any NJ TRANSIT Rail station destination on October 18 only. To accommodate the additional trains, regular Saturday rail service will be adjusted and buses will replace trains for some trips. Detailed schedule information is available at njtransit.com. Customers are advised of the following:
    • Shuttle buses will replace all trains between Gladstone, Peapack and Far Hills stations from approximately 9 a.m. until approximately 7:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will operate in a continuous loop serving all three stations.
    • Buses will replace certain Gladstone Branch trains inbound from Gladstone and outbound from Summit. Substitute bus service will be provided. Visit njtransit.com for bus departure times and boarding locations.
    Service to the Races:
    • NJ TRANSIT will operate 8 additional trains from Hoboken to Far Hills, with departures at 8:31 a.m., 8:54 a.m., 9:08 a.m., 9:35 a.m., 10:05 a.m., 10:35 a.m., 11:20 a.m., and 12:30 p.m.
    • Customers traveling from New York should transfer to Gladstone Branch trains at Summit Station.
    Service from the Races: Trains will depart Far Hills Station every 20-45 minutes between 3:45 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. All post-event trains will make all local stops to Hoboken. Customers traveling to New York must change trains at Summit Station. (Midtown Direct service between Dover and New York will operate on a regular Saturday schedule.) NJ TRANSIT is offering extra rail service between Hoboken and Far Hills to carry thousands of spectators to and from the 94nd annual Far Hills Steeplechase at Moorland Farms on Saturday, October 18. NJ TRANSIT’s Far Hills Station on the Gladstone Branch of the Morris & Essex Lines is located directly across the street from Moorland Farms. Customers are advised that beverages will not be permitted on any train to and from Far Hills on October 18. Due to the anticipated high ridership and crowding expected along the Morris & Essex Lines on October 18, customers are also strongly encouraged to purchase roundtrip tickets in advance to avoid lines. Customers purchasing one-way, return trip tickets from Far Hills Station will pay $20 for travel between Far Hills to any NJ TRANSIT Rail station destination on October 18 only. To accommodate the additional trains, regular Saturday rail service will be adjusted and buses will replace trains for some trips. Detailed schedule information is available at njtransit.com. Customers are advised of the following:
    • Shuttle buses will replace all trains between Gladstone, Peapack and Far Hills stations from approximately 9 a.m. until approximately 7:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will operate in a continuous loop serving all three stations.
    • Buses will replace certain Gladstone Branch trains inbound from Gladstone and outbound from Summit. Substitute bus service will be provided. Visit njtransit.com for bus departure times and boarding locations.
    Service to the Races:
    • NJ TRANSIT will operate 8 additional trains from Hoboken to Far Hills, with departures at 8:31 a.m., 8:54 a.m., 9:08 a.m., 9:35 a.m., 10:05 a.m., 10:35 a.m., 11:20 a.m., and 12:30 p.m.
    • Customers traveling from New York should transfer to Gladstone Branch trains at Summit Station.
    Service from the Races:
    • Trains will depart Far Hills Station every 20-45 minutes between 3:45 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. All post-event trains will make all local stops to Hoboken. Customers traveling to New York must change trains at Summit Station. (Midtown Direct service between Dover and New York will operate on a regular Saturday schedule.)
    (NJ Transit - posted 10/14)

    CANADIAN PACIFIC SEEKING MERGER WITH CSX: "Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. has approached CSX Corp about a combination that would unite two of North America’s largest railroad operators, said people briefed on the matter, as the boom in North American energy reshapes the railroad industry. CSX rebuffed the overture, made in the past week, the people said, and it isn’t clear whether CP will persist." (Wall Street Journal- posted 10/13)

    NJ TRANSIT BOARD NAMES GARDNER C. TABON AS CHIEF, OFFICE OF SYSTEM SAFETY : NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors has appointed Gardner C. Tabon as the Chief of the recently established Office of System Safety, as part of an initiative to reinvigorate NJ TRANSIT’s corporate-wide safety culture. In May, NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim established the Office of System Safety to monitor, review and evaluate safety measures, programs and incidents across the system, as well as overall safety statistics and the development of safety programs pertaining to NJ TRANSIT’s operations and facilities. “Through the Office of System Safety, NJ TRANSIT aims to achieve the highest practicable level of safety for all transit modes,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jamie Fox. “Under Gardner’s leadership and reporting directly to the Executive Director, this office will be the guiding force to ensuring corporate-wide system safety for our State’s public transportation network.” “As a career professional with nearly 25 years in the transportation industry, Gardner’s broad experience in rail, bus and light rail system safety will serve NJ TRANSIT and our customers well,” said Executive Director Hakim. “His depth of knowledge pertaining to safety will be an asset to the agency as we focus on improving and emphasizing common safety principles and practices across our network.” Mr. Tabon’s focus throughout his career has been the development, implementation, management and maintenance of corporate and regional safety, security and emergency preparedness-related policies and programs. Prior to joining NJ TRANSIT, Mr. Tabon served for six years as the Chief of Safety and Security for Valley Metro in Phoenix, Arizona, where he established and managed the System Safety Program Plan. Previously, he served for five years as the System Safety Officer at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, where he established policies and procedures that enabled the operating departments to function safely and efficiently. Mr. Tabon is a Certified Safety Specialist with the World Safety Organization and holds numerous professional memberships, including the American Society of Safety Engineers, the American Railways Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association, ASIS International, and the National Fire Protection Association Rail Transportation Systems. (NJ Transit - posted 10/10)

    GREENBRIER URGES THE NEED FOR SAFER TANK CARS, NOW: The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. continued its call for prompt regulatory action to require safer tank cars, in response to recent freight train derailments involving flammable liquids. "Recent derailments, including the derailment in Saskatchewan on Tuesday, and the findings of the Quebec coroner related to the tragic death of 47 people in the Lac-Megantic accident underscore the urgency of taking concrete actions to improve tank car design for both newly-built tank cars and for tank cars currently in service," William A. Furman, Chairman and CEO of Greenbrier said. "The fact that the accident in Saskatchewan resulted in a fire and the evacuation of local homes, even though the derailed cars in the train were not carrying crude oil, also demonstrates why enhanced safety standards should apply to all tank cars containing flammable liquids - not just those carrying crude oil and ethanol. Ultimately the rail industry should transition all hazardous materials to a more robust tank car—regardless of the flash point at which these materials ignite."  "As recent derailment events have illustrated, the urgency of upgrading the safety of the North American tank car fleet is obvious. Suggestions that industry requires six, seven or even up to 10 years to fully enhance the puncture resistance of tank cars are simply wrong.  The rail supply industry can move faster than that and we will.  Greenbrier and others are already making necessary investments to address this need," Furman added. Greenbrier supports PHMSA's proposed "Option 2" design for new tank cars in flammable service built after October 1, 2015. Greenbrier was the first to announce plans to design a tank car with these specifications, which Greenbrier calls the "Tank Car of the Future," and plans to double its production capacity for new tank cars over the next 12 months to meet surging demand.  In addition, through GBW Railcar Services, LLC, a newly-launched 50/50 railcar repair joint venture with Watco Companies, LLC for retrofitting and repairing railcars, Greenbrier supports PHMSA's effort to retrofit the existing fleet of tank cars currently used in the transport of all flammable commodities.  GBW agrees with PHMSA that every packing group classification—PG I, II and III—within the Class 3 flammables category must be transported in a retrofitted tank car by 2020, an aggressive but achievable timeline. In recent comments filed with the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Greenbrier has also recommended the agency close a loophole that presents an unacceptable public safety risk by permitting the transportation of Class 3 flammable liquids in blocks of 19 or fewer legacy tank cars that PHMSA otherwise deems unsafe. Greenbrier has suggested that PHMSA focus on the commodities being transported in determining the car type to be utilized and not on the number of tank cars in a train set. "U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has stated his commitment to finalize new regulations related to flammable liquids transported by tank cars as soon as possible.  Transportation Canada has taken the lead by adopting new tank car standards earlier this year and moving forward to establish an even higher standard soon.  A similarly prompt decision in the U.S. will provide industry with the regulatory certainty it needs to continue investments already underway to produce more robust tank cars.  We urge the Secretary and Acting PHMSA Administrator Butters to act no later than the end of 2014 and then move quickly to harmonize the U.S. standards with new Canadian rules to create a unified North American tank car standard," Furman concluded. Greenbrier's Tank Car of the Future is designed for safer transportation of crude, ethanol and other flammables in North America as well as use with other hazardous materials traffic. The car has advanced safety features which include a 9/16"-thick steel tank shell, more robust top and bottom outlet protection and jacketed shells with thermal protection. These new design features combine to inhibit discharge of contents during a derailment, to reduce penetration of the tank shell and to slow "pool fires" that can result when hazardous contents of a tank car escape in a breach and are ignited. The new design will also be equal in capacity volume to the legacy DOT-111 tank car with a loading volume of 30,000 gallons. Conditional Probability of Release (CPR) measures the likelihood of tank car spills in the event of a derailment at different speeds and by different car types.  With the Tank Car of the Future design, at a derailment speed of 50 mph, CPR performance improves by up to 8 TIMES versus the majority of tank cars now operating in hazardous service in the North American fleet.  Also when measured by CPR, the Tank Car of the Future is twice as safe as the current state-of-the-art tank car for transporting hazardous materials—a fully jacketed and insulated CPC-1232. GBW will deliver on retrofit designs for the legacy DOT-111 tank cars that include optimally-sized pressure relief valves, head shields, top fittings protection, thermal protection and shell jackets with thicker metal for tank car exteriors.  Appropriate retrofit choices permit extended service for DOT-111 tank cars in flammable liquids service and for other hazardous materials transport as these cars are placed in lower risk service over time.  GBW also offers retrofit alternatives for the most recently built CPC-1232 tank cars, with features including enhancements to the bottom outlet valve and pressure relief valves that will reduce the likelihood of tank cars releasing contents in derailments.  Combined, these retrofits meaningfully improve the safety performance of all tank car types in continued service. . (Greenbrier - posted 10/10)

    AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 4, 2014 with 299,674 total carloads, up 7.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 276,682 units, up 3.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 576,356 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.6 percent compared with the same week last year. All 10 of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products with 16,037 carloads, up 26.9 percent; forest products with 11,622 carloads, up 10.9 percent; and coal with 107,884 carloads, up 8.9 percent. For the first 40 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,622,497 carloads, up 3.6 percent compared with the same point last year, and 10,354,012 intermodal units, up 5.5 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 40 weeks of 2014 was 21,976,509 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.5 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 87,873 carloads for the week, up 0.4 percent, and 57,996 intermodal units, down 2.6 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first 40 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,190,125 carloads, up 1.3 percent from the same point last year, and 2,290,364 intermodal units, up 6.8 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 17,955 carloads for the week, up 22.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 12,663 intermodal units, up 10.8 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 40 weeks of 2014 was 627,076 carloads, up 2.2 percent from the same point last year, and 421,175 intermodal units, up 4.4 percent from last year. Combined North American rail volume on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads for the first 40 weeks of 2014 totaled 15,439,698 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 13,065,551 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.7 percent compared with last year (AAR - posted 10/09)

    MBTA TO RESTORE WEEKEND SERVICE ON THREE COMMUTER RAIL LINES: MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey announced the restoration of weekend Commuter Rail service on three lines beginning this winter. The Kingston/Plymouth and Greenbush lines will see the return of Saturday and Sunday service and the Needham Line will resume Saturday service after a two year absence on December 27th. “Our customers have consistently asked for more transportation options, not fewer,” said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey. “Today, we are happy to announce that three Commuter Rail lines will once again offer service on the weekends, opening up more transportation options and opportunity for the communities they serve.” Today’s announcement signals a return to the services previously provided to these three lines: Saturday and Sunday service to the Kingston/Plymouth and Greenbush lines and Saturday service to the Needham line. The schedules serving the area will mirror those previously offered. “Increased access and availability of public transit can only mean greater opportunity for those we serve,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott. “While we often must make difficult decisions in balancing the system we want and the system we can afford, I’m pleased that today we can once again provide weekend service to these communities.” Facing a deficit for the FY13 budget, weekend service on these three lines was eliminated in 2012. MassDOT and the MBTA heard from many Commuter Rail customers, and their representatives in the legislature, requesting reinstatement of service to these areas. The restoration of service on these lines was made possible by the inclusion of funding in the FY15 state budget. “I am delighted that weekend service will be restored for the Kingston/Plymouth line,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “Local residents rely on public transportation to get in and out of Boston and tourists use the commuter rail to visit attractions on the South Shore. The discontinuation of weekend service negatively impacted our communities and it is critical that this service be permanently restored and better marketed to increase ridership levels.” The restored weekend Commuter Rail schedules will serve to once again connect communities on the South Shore to South Station by providing sustainable transportation options that will reduce both traffic congestion and pollution at an affordable price. “I want to commend my colleagues in joining with me to help reestablish the weekend MBTA commuter rail service to Needham and the surrounding communities,” said Senator Mike Rush (Norfolk & Suffolk District). “The restoring of commuter rail service on Saturday to the Needham Line will undoubtedly assist those in need of transportation to and from the city of Boston.” “I’m pleased to see the MBTA address the needs of South Shore commuters. This is something we have been arguing for a while now and something I have supported in both the budget and transportation bond bill. Many constituents have contacted me about the lack of commuter rail on the weekend. This is a great option for people who need or want to commute into the city on the weekend. While we may have missed the activity of the summer months, I hope ridership over time will support this decision,” said Senator Robert Hedlund. “The restoration of Saturday Commuter Rail service was a major priority for us this legislative session. With winter on the way, I am glad my constituents will have an easier time getting in and out of Boston,” said Senator Richard Ross. "Greenbush commuter rail riders in my district and across the coastal South Shore will be pleased to, once again, use rail service to and from Boston on weekends," said Rep. Garrett Bradley. "Many thanks to Governor Patrick, Secretary Davey and General Manager Scott for their support. Special thanks to my South Shore colleagues and legislators for their advocacy and hard work on behalf of our communities, resulting in the important restoration of weekend rail service." "Restoring weekend commuter rail service on both lines that run in our community was a significant priority this legislative session" said Representative James Murphy. "A lot of people work on the weekends, and use the MBTA to get to events around the South Shore and in Boston. It is critical that our residents and business owners have continued weekend commuter rail service." "Restoration of the Needham Commuter Rail Service on Saturday is vital to the needs of commuters from Needham, Dover and Medfield to work, shop and hopefully have fun in Boston as well as the many reverse commuters who work and shop and have fun in the communities along the route and in Needham,” said Representative Denise Garlick. “A hallmark of Needham is accessibility to Boston which is a great city. Needham's citizens and the many people who come here need and deserve safe, reliable, cost effective public transportation now and as we look to future needs." “I am excited to have worked with my colleagues in the South Shore delegation to bring about this restoration of weekend service,” said Representative Vinny deMacedo. “However, this is only a trial program and we want to make sure that our constituents utilize it to its full potential so that it becomes self-sustaining. I feel it is important to our region to have access to seven day a week train service.” "Although I am disappointed that weekend Commuter Rail service on the Kingston/Plymouth line has been interrupted for so long, I am happy that my colleagues and I were able to successfully advocate for weekend service to be restored for our constituents and the businesses who rely on it." said Rep. Tom Calter. “Getting the train engines running again on weekends will provide a real economic engine for our region and provide a much needed service for South Shore families and visitors. We welcome this news and thank our partners at the MBTA and the MassDOT for hearing our residents’ concerns and restoring this valued transportation service,” said Rep. Josh Cutler. ‘Weekend rail service to the South Shore will increase access to employment opportunities for our weekend commuters, grant day access to shopping, beaches, and historical sites, and promote economic activity for businesses from Boston through the South Shore,” said Representative James Cantwell. “Restoration of weekend service for Greenbush and the Kingston/Plymouth lines is a positive reflection of the hard work of a bi-partisan coalition of South Shore legislators, DOT officials, community leaders, and business representatives, who have all worked hard toward this announcement. We still have a great deal of hard work to do in the near future to ensure success of this service, however. I look forward to on-going working sessions with all interested parties to make sure that we have a quality transportation product with a revised schedule that meets the needs of consumers. I specifically want to thank Senate President Therese Murray and State Rep. Josh Cutler for being leaders in the Senate and the House respectively to make this important step possible today, as well as Ed Perry of WATD radio in Marshfield for his generous offer of $50,000 of free advertising to make sustained commuter service a possibility for the South Shore.” (Massachusetts Department of Transportation - posted 10/08)

    AMTRAK 2014 AUTUMN EXPRESS: Due to popular demand, the Autumn Express is back. Come along for a historic train ride, departing from and returning to Philadelphia 30th Street Station on Saturday and Sunday, November 8 and 9, 2014. Travel through small towns, historic tunnels, see key landmarks and experience rare mileage along a route that hasn't seen regular passenger service in decades. $129 per Adult. Many Benefits. See fall scenery on a rare trip beginning with the Philadelphia Highline above and across the Penn Coach Yards and mainline. Travel along the Schuykill River and through the countryside that only freight trains travel now. You'll pass through the Flat Rock Tunnel, constructed in 1836 - 1840 (one of the oldest in the country) and the Black Rock Tunnel, constructed in 1838, the third oldest tunnel still in use in this country. After a brief stop in Harrisburg, PA, the Autumn Express will take you back to Philadelphia via Hershey and Reading, PA, while travelling through scenic Montgomery, Chester, Berks, Lebanon and Dauphin Counties.
    • The train departs Philadelphia at 9:45 am and returns at 6:00 pm.
    • Tickets are $129 for adults and include a boxed lunch (turkey sandwich, chips, water and cookie) and souvenir tote bag.
    • Children 2 - 12 ride for half price and receive a boxed lunch and tote bag.
    • Wi-Fi will be available.
    • Seating is limited for this unique opportunity
    Amtrak will commence the sale of tickets on October 8 at www.amtrak.com From the 'Buy Tickets' tab:
    • Select One-Way.
    • Enter Philadelphia, PA (PHL) in the From box.
    • Enter Autumn Express Train, PA (AXP) in the To box.
    • Select November 8 or 9, 2014 as the Depart date.
    • Select the number passengers. Maximum of 8.
    (Amtrak - posted 10/07)

    ONTARIO NORTHLAND PRESIDENT RESIGNS: Effective this past Monday Ontario Northland President Paul Goulet resigned. In an email to employees he stated “The period since the government’s divestment announcement in 2012 has been challenging and difficult for all of us. We have also had to face the reality that our provincial subsidy was climbing to more than $100 million per year with no signs of levelling off. This is not sustainable in a time of fiscal restraint across government. Staying on as president during this period was important to me because I believe that we have a strong case for restructuring and transformation. To be able to work on an implementation plan for restructuring Ontario Northland has been the work of a lifetime. Many people including the commission, the management and employees of Ontario Northland, the ministry and regional stakeholders have spent enormous amounts of time and intellectual capital investing in this critically important decision to retain and restructure the agency." ONR Chief Operating Officer Corina Moore has been appointed as acting president until a permanent appointment is made. (Bryce Lee - posted 10/07)

    MONTREAL SUBWAY IMPROVEMENTS Between 2015 and 2020, the Société de transport de Montreal (STM) will invest $ 582.5 million in the replacement of fixed equipment in the metro as part of Phase IV of the Reno-Systems program. At its last meeting, the Board also approved a settlement of borrowing $ 570 million in this regard. Montreal, 1 October 2014 - Between 2015 and 2020, the Société de transport de Montreal (STM) will invest $ 582.5 million in the replacement of fixed equipment in the metro as part of Phase IV of the Reno-Systems program. At its last meeting, the Board also approved a settlement of borrowing $ 570 million in this regard. "The subway system has a host of fixed equipment that are critical to its operations and are an impressive heritage. The Reno-Systems program aims to replace, preventive and planned manner, of such equipment at the end of life in order to maintain their reliability and security, "said Chairman of the Board of Directors of the STM, Philippe Schnobb . The work conducted under Phase IV of the program are divided into the following categories:
    • ENERGY: Replace equipment used to supply, conversion and distribution of electricity to the subway, such as district stations, post recovery, etc., as well as acquiring sites for future projects;
    • ACCESIBILITY: Make it universally accessible certain subway stations, incorporating such lifts. Thus, 17 stations (including Bonaventure) will be equipped with elevators at the end of Phase IV of Reno-Systems program;
    • VENTILATION: Upgrade the ventilation system of the tunnel to generate and control the air flow in tunnels and underground stations (eg. Construction or repair jobs and ventilation shafts, etc.) acquire sites for future projects. Replace wells for natural ventilation as well as posts exhaustion tunnel;
    • COMMUNICATIONS: Replace and add systems and infrastructure needed to control operating processes and operational communication, such as video surveillance, radio, telephony support, etc.
    • FACILITIES : Replace track equipment such as rail supports, guide bars, etc.
    • TRAIN CONTROL: Replace train control equipment.
    Funding for this program is subject to approval by the City Council of Montreal, the Montreal Agglomeration and CMM. Work is eligible for a grant from the Ministry of Transportation of Quebec. A funding application will be filed once the approvals obtained. (STM - posted 10/06)

    MTA ISSUES UPDATE TO POPULAR NIGHT MAP FOR SUBWAY SERVICE: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has released the fourth and latest version of MTA New York City Transit’s night map, a popular guide for customers who use the subway system between midnight and 6 a.m. The night map outlines scheduled overnight service, which is different from regular daytime service, and includes airport bus lines that are in service between midnight and 6 a.m. During weeknights, some lines do not run, while others are truncated or changed to serve local stops. A shuttle train also operates only at nights to serve Lefferts Boulevard in Queens. “Our system is the only major subway system in the world that operates 24 hours a day, but the map that most customers are familiar with doesn’t show how our service operates during a crucial part of the day,” said NYCT President Carmen Bianco. “To the 250,000 customers who use our subways during the late and overnight hours to get to work, to get home or to enjoy this city that never sleeps – this map is for you.” The most notable change in this update is the early reopening of the Montague Subway Line Tubes, where N trains run overnight between Manhattan and Brooklyn, rather than over the Manhattan Bridge as it did from August 2013 to September 2014 so Fix&Fortify-related repairs from Sandy damage could be made inside the storm-ravaged tunnels. The night maps, which MTA first distributed in 2012, have become collector’s items thanks to its design and its reverse side featuring artwork commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Its design conveys a visual calm and quietness befitting a service guide for New York’s quieter hours, with muted colors that set it apart from its daytime counterpart. The artwork on the reverse side reflects the map’s night theme. For the first time, the MTA has featured poetry from its popular Poetry in Motion program to accompany artwork by William Low, a poster-size reproduction of his work, A Day in Parkchester. This version of the night map offers a sneak preview of upcoming Poetry in Motion placards, specifically “Awaking in New York,” a poem by Maya Angelou, who once lived in Harlem and was a member of the Harlem Writers Guild. “We selected this poem by Maya Angelou with our partners from the Poetry Society of America because we loved that it captured the spirit of the city awakening to a new day,” said Amy Hausmann, deputy director of MTA Arts & Design. “To celebrate the legacy of Dr. Angelou, this poem will be featured as part of our Poetry in Motion program and will be seen in subways and buses soon.” A Day in Parkchester by Low, who was raised in the Bronx, shows two familiar scenes of his childhood neighborhood: sunrise and moonrise. The moonrise piece, with a deepening blue sky and shades of yellow to depict lit buildings, was chosen for the night map. Both pieces, which consist of 40 colorful faceted-glass panels fabricated into 11 feet-high windows, can be viewed at two stairwells leading to the Parkchester 6 Subway Line station. "It is an honor to have this image from A Day in Parkchester accompany Maya Angelou’s poem,” said Low. “The poem and this scene feel like a memory -- I am reminded of my childhood in the Bronx, sitting by the front window of my father’s Chinese hand laundry, watching the trains rumble out of my station." Previously the maps were printed in small runs and available at specific locations. Owing to their growing popularity, 100,000 of the latest version are now available at stations throughout the subway system and Staten Island Railway in the largest distribution of the night maps so far. (MTA - posted 10/06)

    FIRST RESPONDERS COMPLETE CRUDE-BY-RAIL SAFETY TRAINING AT STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY IN COLORADO: CSX recently hosted crude-by-rail incident response training for 40 first responders representing 30 communities around the CSX network at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) in Pueblo, Colorado. The firefighters and police officers from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia completed three days of training with hazardous materials specialists and instructors from CSX and the Association of American Railroads. The training focused on preparation for and emergency response to railroad incidents involving crude oil, and included an overview of the history of crude oil extraction, chemical and physical properties of different types of crude oil currently being transported, incident site and damage assessment, and tank car design and construction. Participants also practiced specialized response techniques and incident command scenarios during mock derailments. Capt. Kathleen Thompson, a 19-year veteran with the Grand Rapids (MI) Fire Department, said, “I believe I will make my department and the city I serve safer by attending this program. Not only did we hear some pretty extensive lectures on the science of crude oil and case histories on incidents, but more importantly we participated in multiple hands-on, crude oil live-fire scenarios. And I now have met and made connections with experts I can rely on if I ever have the need.” Commander Tim Henderson of the Nashville Fire Department Special Operations Division said, “The training we have received at SERTC over the past few years and our continued relationship with CSX hazmat professionals have been a tremendous benefit to our personnel. The training regarding crude oil movements by rail is a great experience and the information we received from CSX employees is exceptional.” “As a rural county, our ability to fund training of this caliber is nonexistent, so we are very appreciative of CSX for the opportunity to participate in this training,” said Deputy Fire Coordinator Daniel Imfeld of the Chautauqua County, New York HAZMAT Team. “This training will not only help us in the event of a crude oil incident but gives us the fundamentals to respond to many hazardous materials situations.” The event marked the latest step in CSX’s ongoing commitment to provide a variety of training opportunities for first responders across its network. CSX’s training reaches more than 7,000 first responders each year through hands-on sessions like those operated at SERTC, classroom training at local fire stations, exercises and table-top drills, web-based and self-study training courses. The hands-on and classroom safety training helps strengthen CSX’s partnership with first responders and provide a higher level of emergency readiness. Earlier this year the CSX Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program visited many of these communities to train more than 1,300 local first responders in partnership with the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation. The Safety Train will make several stops in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest this fall. “This training demonstrates CSX’s commitment to helping the first responders throughout our network prepare both in the classroom and in the field for potential rail-related incidents,” said Skip Elliott, vice president, public health, safety and environment, CSX. “In addition to our CSX Operation Respond mobile application launched recently, the SERTC training brings the right information to the right people to help protect the communities we serve.” (CSX - posted 10/03)

    NEW ENGINEERING REPORT DETAILS NEEDED WORK TO FIX AMTRAK N.Y. TUNNELS: A new engineering report details damage to the Amtrak-owned Hudson River and East River tunnels following Superstorm Sandy and recommends a phased process to take individual tubes out of service for extended periods to perform the work required to maintain reliability of train movements in and out of New York City. The report underscores the urgency to advance the Gateway Program which includes building new, two-track tunnel capacity under the Hudson River that can help alleviate service impacts to the region as the needed work on the tunnels is underway. “Public awareness of the critical needs of the tunnels is important to build regional understanding of what must be done to provide current and future train service levels into New York,” said Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia. “The Northeast region needs to make the Gateway Program a priority and we must get about the business of moving it forward as fast as we can.” Superstorm Sandy created a storm surge that resulted in sea water inundating both tubes of the Hudson River tunnel and two of the four tubes of the East River tunnel. The report found no evidence that the tunnel linings themselves are unsound, but it did find that chlorides and sulfates caused, and are continuing to cause, significant damage to key tunnel components such as the bench walls and track systems as well as the signal, electrical and mechanical systems. The tunnels are safe for passenger train operations. Amtrak has a robust tunnel inspection program, conducts regular maintenance work and will be performing interim work as needed. However, a permanent fix is required soon so that the tunnels remain available for long-term use by the traveling public. Amtrak engineers are working with expert consultants on designs to rehabilitate the two damaged tubes of the East River tunnel and will coordinate with other agencies to minimize impacts to train service and other projects. The rehabilitation work for both damaged tubes of the Hudson River tunnel cannot reasonably begin until after the new Gateway tunnel is built and operating. This will allow rail traffic to shift to the new tunnel and avoid major service impacts. Amtrak is advancing the Gateway Program and seeking to begin as soon as possible the environmental review process. Through the design process and additional planning work, Amtrak will develop a schedule for performing the work recommended by this report. Amtrak will ensure the safety of all passengers and balance efforts to minimize service impacts while also advancing as soon as possible the permanent fix needed for the long-term reliability of the tunnels for train service to Penn Station, New York. (Amtrak - posted 10/02)

    AAR REPORTS INCREASED TRAFFIC FOR SEPTEMBER AND FOR THE WEEK: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for September 2014, with both carload and intermodal volume increasing compared with September 2013. U.S. Class I railroads originated 1,190,431 carloads in September 2014, up 2.7 percent, or 30,837 carloads, over September 2013. September marked the seventh straight month of year-over-year carload increases, something that hasn’t happened since early 2011. Intermodal traffic in September totaled 1,073,042 containers and trailers, up 4.5 percent, or 45,803 units, over September 2013. The second, third, and fourth weeks of September 2014 were the three highest-volume intermodal weeks in history for U.S. railroads. Fifteen of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in September. Commodities with carload increases in September 2014 over September 2013 were led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 14,375 carloads, or 28.1 percent. Carloads of crushed stone, gravel, and sand were up 11,423, or 12.6 percent, and carloads of primary metal products were up 2,931, or 7 percent. Carloads of grain rose 2,751, or 4.1 percent. Year- over-year U.S. grain carloads have risen for 12 months in a row. Commodities with carload declines in September 2014 from September 2013 were led by coal, down 8,109 carloads, or 1.7 percent. Excluding coal, U.S. rail carloads were up 38,946 carloads, or 5.6 percent, in September 2014 over September 2013. Excluding coal and grain, U.S. rail carloads were up 36,195, or 5.8 percent, in September 2014. “As has generally been the case in recent months, U.S. freight rail traffic in September was consistent with an economy that’s growing at a steady pace. We think that will probably continue for the foreseeable future,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 27, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 301,863 carloads last week, up 1.6 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 275,071 units, up 2 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 576,934 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, led by petroleum and petroleum products, with 16,759 carloads, up 24.9 percent. Commodities that posted a decrease were led by motor vehicles and parts, with 17,235, down 8 percent. For the first 39 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,322,823 carloads, up 3.5 percent from the same point last year, and 10,077,330 intermodal units, up 5.5 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 39 weeks of 2014 was 21,400,153 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.4 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 86,881 carloads for the week, down 0.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 62,532 intermodal units, up 7.5 percent compared with 2013. For the first 39 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,102,252 carloads, up 1.3 percent from the same point last year, and 2,232,368 intermodal units, up 7.1 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 15,680 carloads for the week, up 3.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 12,372 intermodal units, up 0.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 39 weeks of 2014 is 609,121 carloads, up 1.7 percent from the same point last year, and 408,512 intermodal units, up 4.2 percent. Combined North American rail volume for the first 39 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 15,034,196 carloads, up 3 percent compared with the same point last year, and 12,718,210 trailers and containers, up 5.8 percent compared with last year. (AAR - posted 10/02)

    AMTRAK HOOSIER STATE TRAINS NOW OFFER FREE WI-FI, REFRESHMENTS AND BUSINESS CLASS SEATING: Amtrak is improving service for Hoosier State passengers who travel between Indianapolis and Chicago with the addition of complimentary on-board Wi-Fi, light food and beverages and Business Class seating, Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman announced at a series of events on the route in Indiana today. The addition of the amenities is effective immediately. Amtrak is demonstrating its capabilities while it continues to operate this service under an Indiana Department of Transportation contract extension through Jan. 31, 2015. “Amtrak is Indiana’s best long-term choice for safe, reliable intercity passenger rail service that connects its people, communities and businesses to the Amtrak national network,” Boardman said. “Amtrak brings proven expertise in delivering passenger rail service, railroad operations, safety and security, equipment maintenance and repair.” Boardman’s comments came at Indianapolis Union Station before he boarded a special “whistle-stop” train to tour the route with state and local officials. Also attending were some of the 775 Amtrak employees who are Indiana residents and work aboard trains, at stations or maintain and overhaul rail equipment in Beech Grove, Ind. The four-days-weekly Hoosier State (Trains 850 & 851) -- together with the three-days-weekly Amtrak Cardinal (Trains 50 & 51) -- provides daily service between Indianapolis and Chicago and enables passengers to reach the national Amtrak network. AmtrakConnect® Wi-Fi service capitalizes on multiple cellular providers to provide the best mobile experience possible, taking advantage of 4G technologies where available “We are continually looking to improve customer satisfaction, and this service is yet one more way to do so, while also delivering the speeds and connectivity required to maintain a competitive position among transportation providers,” Boardman added. AmtrakConnect® Wi-Fi service capitalizes on multiple cellular providers to provide the best mobile experience possible, taking advantage of 4G technologies where available. “We are continually looking to improve customer satisfaction, and this service is yet one more way to do so, while also delivering the speeds and connectivity required to maintain a competitive position among transportation providers,” Boardman added. AmtrakConnect is provided at no cost to passengers. In order to ensure the best Wi-Fi experience for all passengers, there will be restrictions on high-volume data- activities, such as streaming video and music, and large file downloads. Amtrak also completed the addition of Wi-Fi service to other state-sponsored routes in the Amtrak Chicago Hub last December. Nationwide, approximately 85 percent of Amtrak passengers Enjoy the Journey® with free AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi. Business Class seating, available for a small surcharge, offers wider seats in a two-and-one configuration, with leg rests and foot rests, in a separate portion of the train adjacent to the refreshment area. (Amtrak - posted 10/01)

    BOMBARDIER WINS NEW OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE CONTRACT IN NEW JERSEY: Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation announced today that it signed a new contract with New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT) at the end of September to provide operations and maintenance services for NJ TRANSIT's River Line Light Rail system. The contract is valued at approximately $296 million US ($331 million CAD, 235 million euro) and covers a period of 15 years. The agreement includes an option for an additional five years. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary Southern New Jersey Rail Group, Bombardier has been operating and maintaining the River Line Light Rail system since its opening in March 2004. Bombardier's scope of work under the new contract, effective March 14, 2015, will include train operations, dispatching, vehicle maintenance as well as maintenance for all right of way, facilities and signalling infrastructure. "We are pleased to continue our partnership with NJ TRANSIT in providing reliable, safe, efficient and customer-friendly service to River Line Light Rail passengers," said Raymond Bachant, President, Americas Division, Bombardier Transportation. "The application of our World Class Operations and Maintenance Program, created through the integration of best practices drawn from Bombardier's services and manufacturing sites around the world, has brought measurable benefits to River Line Light Rail in the areas of fleet reliability, fleet availability, and asset maintenance. Through the continued implementation and expansion of this program, we look forward to achieving increasingly positive results." (Bombardier - posted 10/01)

    GOV. PATRICK ANNOUNCES NEW COMMUTER RAIL STATION IN ALLSTON : Governor Deval Patrick today joined MassDOT Secretary Richard Davey, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and state and local officials to announce that the I-90/Massachusetts Turnpike Allston Interchange Improvements project will include a new Commuter Rail stop, with pedestrian and bike access, that will allow for increased development and growth opportunities in the area. "We invest in infrastructure to revitalize urban neighborhoods and bolster growth and opportunity across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “With this project we are paving the way for future opportunities that will advance economic development in Allston and help build a brighter future for Massachusetts." MassDOT has reached an arrangement with Harvard University that will allow for the straightening of I-90, and construction of a new Commuter Rail station, currently known as West Station, on the Worcester Line. Harvard is the current owner of Beacon Park Yard, where the MBTA plans to develop to use part of the yard for a new MBTA Commuter Rail layover and maintenance facility, a key requirement for future expanded commuter rail service into and out of South Station. “Harvard is pleased to be part of a partnership that includes the Commonwealth, City of Boston, CSXT and the general public, in helping accommodate this visionary project that will serve the region for decades to come,” said Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President of Harvard University. The I-90 Massachusetts Turnpike Allston Toll Plaza sits immediately north of Beacon Park Yard, and south of Cambridge Street. The Patrick Administration’s plan to implement All Electronic Tolling (AET) on the Turnpike has made it possible to drastically reconfigure the highway alignment in this area by relocating I-90 into a much straighter alignment south of its current location. The relocation of the Turnpike will replace a nearly half mile long structurally-deficient viaduct , which consists of 29 bridge structures built in the mid-1960’s, and will straighten the highway’s alignment through the Allston-Brighton toll area, reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions while opening up approximately 50 acres of developable land with an additional 35 acres of air rights development expected over the new highway and rail infrastructure. The project will also bring reliable, long-term relief to commuters who travel the Pike. Beacon Park Yard is a 22-acre site bordered by the existing Mass Pike, the Worcester Commuter Rail Line and the I-90 Allston Toll Plaza. This site was formerly a CSX freight and intermodal rail terminal which is now owned by Harvard University. The ability to undertake this project was made possible in large part by CSX’s decision to relocate much of its freight traffic out of the InnerCore to the Worcester area, allowing this site to be available for development. Governor Patrick announced that design and permitting would begin immediately to rebuild and straighten I-90 in October 2013. “The I-90 Allston Interchange Improvement project is a true testament to the power that thinking about transportation holistically can have,” said Secretary Davey. “The development of this project has been a fully collaborative effort, engaging teams from across MassDOT to make the best use of this promising site.” MassDOT has engaged a 49-member task force comprising neighborhood representatives, transportation advocates, institutional stakeholders and the cities of Boston and Cambridge to garner input on the interchange project. Much of the dialogue has centered on the incredible growth and development opportunity presented by the project and the need for the project to have true multi-modal transportation options, including highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian access for the surrounding neighborhoods. "I'm pleased to support Governor Patrick, Secretary Davey, and our partners in higher education in their commitment to multi-modal transportation at this key site in Allston,” said Mayor Walsh. “This opportunity is much more than a highway project; it's about unlocking the full potential of this neighborhood, enhancing our connection with the Charles River, and envisioning the future of mobility in Boston. This promises to be an excellent opportunity for our entire region, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to see this come to fruition." "I'm thrilled that the Patrick Administration has found a way to move forward on this critical public transit improvement," said Senator Will Brownsberger. “I am excited about this project and thrilled Harvard University will be a strong partner in its development,” said Representative Michael Moran. “This investment will provide good and reliable transportation to the Allston-Brighton community.” MassDOT will initiate the detailed environmental review of the Interchange Project and West Station alternatives with the release of an Environmental Notification Form in early November which will be followed by the expected submission of Environmental Assessment next year and the design/build contract procurement process following in 2016. The full contract for the project is expected to be awarded in 2017. Preliminary conceptual designs indicate that the interstate will be routed south of its current alignment, through the existing northern portion of the rail yard. The submission of Environmental Assessment is expected next year with the design/build contract procurement process following in 2016. The full contract for the project is expected to be awarded in 2017. Preliminary conceptual designs indicate that the interstate will be routed south of its current alignment, through the existing northern portion of the rail yard. (MassDOT - posted 9/30)

    GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES UP TO THREE BRIDGES TO BE REPLACED OVER METRO-NORTH NEW HAVEN LINE: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Metro-North Railroad and the City of Mount Vernon have agreed to work together to replace up to three priority bridges that carry vehicular traffic over Metro-North’s New Haven Line tracks in downtown Mount Vernon. The bridges are located at Tenth Avenue, Sixth Avenue and North 14th Avenue. “Our administration has made it a top priority to rebuild our infrastructure, and by replacing these century-old bridges, we are taking an important step toward preserving and improving a vital part of our transportation system and providing peace of mind to the motorists who depend on it,” Governor Cuomo said. “I am proud that the State is joining with our local and federal partners to move these important projects forward.” The design and replacement project is estimated to cost $10 million with the bulk of the funding ($7 million) to be provided by the MTA Capital Program. Another $1.3 million has been secured by New York State Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow. The City of Mount Vernon anticipates receiving $1.8 million in federal funds obtained by Congressman Elliot Engel’s Office. Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti said, “We are pleased to be working together with the City of Mount Vernon to facilitate the renewal of these century-old structures that run over our tracks. We thank local, state and federal representatives for understanding the importance of funding these projects.” Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest D. Davis said, “We are proud to be partnering with Metro-North Railroad, our State and Federal colleagues for an initiative to rebuild up to three overhead bridges located in the City of Mount Vernon. We realize we are inextricably intertwined with our collaborating agencies, and it is with that in mind that we worked together to fund the replacement of these bridges. Bridges located at Sixth Avenue and Tenth Avenue are slated to be demolished and rebuilt. With the expertise of Metro-North and a $10 million budget, we are very optimistic the third bridge at Fourteenth Avenue will also be rebuilt. Replacement of these bridges at this time helps to connect structurally safe support systems to the ongoing efforts the City is making toward future redevelopment.” Congressman Engel said, “I am pleased that the MTA, state and federal governments were able to come together to fund this important transportation initiative. Investing in our infrastructure will create numerous jobs within the district in addition to improving our aging transportation system. Projects like this are an excellent investment in our community and it is my hope that upon completion of the design and cost estimates, we will be able to replace all three bridges on 10th Avenue, 6th Avenue, and North 14th Avenue.” Assemblyman Pretlow said, “I am pleased to be part of a cooperative effort involving the City and Congressman Engel to help the people of Mount Vernon and those who drive over these aging structures on a daily basis. Residents will certainly appreciate a safer road that gets them to work or school or the supermarket.” Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson said, “I am grateful that we were able to bring the state and federal officials together to make this happen. Hopefully, this will be just one step to upgrading Mt. Vernon's aging infrastructure. We have more to do.” Once funding is secured, Metro-North will solicit contractors for the design and construction work necessary for the project. Upon completing the design and finalizing cost estimates, the parties will determine whether three or two bridges will be replaced based on the available funding. Replacement of the Tenth Avenue and Sixth Avenue bridges would begin first. The 106-foot-long Tenth Avenue Bridge, which was built in 1898, is currently closed to traffic. The Sixth Avenue Bridge, built in 1894, which connects at Wilson Place, has a span of 65 feet and carries one lane of traffic in each direction. It was closed for two months in the summer of 2011 while Metro-North repaired it at a cost of $213,000. The North 14th Avenue Bridge, also built in 1894, spans 94 feet in length and also carries one lane of traffic in each direction. It was closed for two months in the summer of 2012 while Metro-North repaired it at a cost of $350,000. In Mount Vernon, the four Metro-North tracks are below street level in a “cut” that is spanned by 11 closely spaced bridges. Under agreements inherited from predecessor railroads, these bridges are the responsibility of Metro-North to maintain with the City also sharing responsibility for certain bridges. The bridges include the station pedestrian overpass, which was replaced in 2000, and the Park Avenue Bridge, which Metro-North rebuilt three years ago at a cost of $10.5 million. (MTA - posted 9/30)

    NORTHERN FRAC PROPPANTS II, LLC, THE LATEST FRAC-SAND PRODUCER TO OPEN NEW PLANT ON CN'S WISCONSIN RAIL NETWORK: CN and Northern Frac Proppants II, LLC, today celebrated the opening of Northern's new state-of-the-art frac- sand production plant at Alma Center, Wis. CN now serves 13 frac-sand mines with more than 10 million tons of annual production capacity. Northern's production facility, located on CN's rehabilitated Whitehall Subdivision, will have an annual production capacity of one million tons of high-grade sands. CN plans to complete a multi-year, US$36-million upgrade of the Whitehall Subdivision between Whitehall and Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., by December of this year as part of its plan to better serve the frac-sand market. In 2012, CN spent US$35 million to restore a 40-mile segment of the Barron subdivision between Ladysmith and Almena, Wis., for frac-sand producers. CN is seeing a substantial increase in frac sand production on its Wisconsin network because of the region's reserves of high-quality and in-demand sands. These industrial sands are used by the oil and gas industry in the hydraulic fracturing process to hold shale fractures open to let natural gas and oil flow out. Jeff Alston, president and chief executive officer of Houston-based Northern Frac Proppants II, LLC, said: "We are excited to work with CN on expanding our frac-sand markets. CN's network is a plus, giving us efficient access to the Bakken, Marcellus and Canadian oil and gas shale plays. Our new facility at Alma Center, which contains all activity to one site to eliminate over-the-road trucking, will be able to accommodate both manifest and unit train service options. I'm also pleased to say the new plant will create 35 new local jobs." Claude Mongeau, CN president and chief executive officer, said: "CN is well positioned to help its frac-sand customers compete in their end markets, with rail access to the largest North American frac-sand consumption regions, including Western Canada, Texas and Marcellus shales. "We offer our frac-sand customers merchandise and unit train services to reach markets efficiently in both Canada and the U.S. As part of supply chain collaboration focus to expedite transit times, CN recently launched unit train frac-sand service between Wisconsin production facilities and distribution centres in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. We are also investing C$45 million over a multi-year time frame to upgrade our rail lines in northern Alberta to handle frac-sand hopper cars of up to 286,000 pounds gross weight and continue to improve siding and yard capacity along our Whitehall and Barron Subs in Wisconsin. "Our unique frac-sand franchise and end-to-end service focus are paying off and should help us generate C$300 million of frac-sand revenues in 2014 – a full year ahead of CN's 2015 C$300 million target – on roughly 82,000 carloads of product. This would represent a strong increase over 2013 revenues of C$200 million on 55,000 carloads of frac sand." CN will continue to ramp up its frac sand business to meet growing demand in North America – aggregate consumption is expected to reach 78 million tons by 2016, representing a 22 per cent compounded annual growth rate between 2013 and 2016. (CN - posted 9/29)

    NORFOLK SOUTHERN ACHIEVES LEADERSHIP IN CARBON DISCLOSURE WITH BEST EVER SCORE: – Norfolk Southern Corp. earned recognition recently from environmental nonprofit CDP as a marketplace leader in carbon disclosure, reflecting the railroad’s broad integration of sustainable business practices into daily operations. For the first time, Norfolk Southern was named to the CDP’s 2014 S&P 500 Climate Disclosure Leadership Index. CDP cited the depth and quality of climate-change data the railroad disclosed to investors and to the marketplace through CDP, the world’s only global environmental disclosure system. Norfolk Southern’s carbon disclosure score was 98, based on a scale of 100, the company’s best-ever score in seven years of participating in the voluntary CDP survey and a 9 percent improvement over its 2013 score. “Norfolk Southern strives for performance-based results to demonstrate leadership in corporate environmental responsibility, and we are happy to announce this latest example of our commitment,” said Blair Wimbush, vice president real estate and corporate sustainability officer. “We choose to disclose the railroad’s carbon performance through CDP to be transparent and accountable to investors, customers, and communities in how we manage and attempt to mitigate environmental impacts of our operations. We are working hard to get even better.” Companies had to score at least 97 to make the leadership index. Norfolk Southern scored in the top 10 percent of Standard & Poor 500 Index companies that disclosed information about their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risks and opportunities. CDP disclosure scores are provided to investors and other decision makers through various channels, including Bloomberg terminals, to help them assess corporate preparedness for changing market demands and emissions regulations.  In addition to disclosure scores, the CDP awards performance grades to measure a company’s efforts to mitigate and reduce its carbon footprint. Norfolk Southern’s 2014 performance grade is B, based on a scale of A to E, matching its 2013 grade.  In its 2014 CDP disclosure, Norfolk Southern describes strategic investments in technologies, operations programs, and network improvements aimed at reducing the railroad’s carbon footprint while expanding freight capacity and providing fuel- and cost-efficient customer service. The company also reports it has achieved nearly 79 percent of a five-year goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 10 percent per revenue ton-mile, with one year remaining. To learn more, view the railroad’s CDP filing and 2014 sustainability report .(NS - posted 9/29)

    TEST SERVICE WILL COMMENCE THIS MONDAY ON THE NEW DC STREETCAR LINE: The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced the start of DC Streetcar’s Pre-Revenue Operations phase—a crucial milestone for DC Streetcar as it continues prepping the system to be certified safe to carry passengers. System Integration Testing (SIT) and Operator Training is wrapping up now, and Pre-Revenue Operations is anticipated to begin on Monday, September 29th. Pre-Revenue Operations is actual service simulated along the corridor without passengers. During this phase, all streetcar vehicles will run at their projected hours with projected headways (about every ten minutes). Proposed hours of operations for the streetcars are:
    • Monday-Thursday: 6:00 a.m. – midnight
    • Friday: 6:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
    • Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
    • Sundays and Holidays: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
    The H/Benning line will be the first segment of the new DC Streetcar system to offer passenger service . Regular service on this line expected to commence later this year. About the H/Benning Line, it is a 2.4-mile segment that will serve residents, businesses, commuters and visitors between Union Station on the west and the Anacostia River on the east. Ultimately, the H/Benning line segment will be just one piece of the overall One City Line that will traverse the city east to west from beyond the Anacostia to the Georgetown waterfront. When passenger service begins, Benning Road and Oklahoma Avenue will serve as the eastern turnaround point. A Car Barn Training Center (CBTC) has been proposed near this location at Benning Road and 26th Street NE. The CBTC will handle storage and light maintenance of the vehicles, and will also feature an educational/training component for local high school and community college students. The western turnaround is on top of the Hopscotch Bridge, where passengers can disembark and follow a pedestrian path into Union Station. A future phase for DC Streetcar will pick up at Union Station and travel to the Georgetown Waterfront, primarily along K Street. ( posted 9/25)



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