` Hot News!
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Hot News!
Edited by Carl G. Perelman
August 29, 2016:


GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF CROTON-HARMON STATION UPGRADES: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that MTA Metro-North Railroad has completed renovation of the Croton-Harmon station’s customer waiting area. The $3.6 million project involves both station structural renovations and aesthetic improvements. The work was done in phases to allow for continual use by Metro-North customers with minimal disruption during the work. “The Croton-Harmon station is an important hub along the Metro North Rail Road and these upgrades will improve the commuting experience for the thousands of riders who depend on it every day,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project is building on our efforts to rebuild and modernize the MTA and I am proud to see it completed.” New wall panels, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, finishes, fixtures and air conditioning have been installed throughout the space, including the waiting area, bathrooms and coffee and newsstand concessions. Modifications to stair portals identify the tracks with sleek, illuminated overhead signage; this upgrade makes tracks more visible and reduces commuter congestion. A more energy efficient LED lighting system gives the station an open, bright and modern appearance. Photos of the station upgrades are available here and here. The station layout is more efficient and streamlined. Ticket vending machines have been relocated to the nearby the ticket window, creating a self-contained ticket purchasing area. The ticket window has been completely rebuilt with improved lighting, new mill work and finishes and an ADA accessible counter. The station’s entrance marquee has new ceiling slats, lights, a freshly painted enamel exterior and accented fascia panels in the front of the station building at the street level. MTA Arts & Design commissioned artist Corinne Ulmann to create site specific artwork at the station. Entitled Croton Harmon Station, Ulmann expanded upon the art installation she created for the Station’s South Overpass in 2013. The new artwork is composed of printed vinyl for the windows portraying views of local landscapes as they progress through four seasons, and a floor-to-ceiling glass mosaic, fabricated by Miotto Mosaic Art Studios of Carmel, New York, depicting the iconic Croton Dam, a distinctive landmark for the station and the city. Ullman’s work pays tribute to the Hudson River School painters and the inspiration they found in the romantic landscape of the Hudson Valley. The station renovation was completed with funding from the MTA Capital Program, with a contribution of $300,000 of MTA capital reserve funds from Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. Senator Terrence Murphy said, "Riders of the Hudson Line are getting the long anticipated improvements they deserve. The improved aesthetics and streamlined ticket purchasing will further enhance the riding experience for our local commuters and out of town tourists." Assemblywoman Sandy Galef said, “Many of my constituents use the Metro-North trains on a regular basis, for both employment and enjoyment. It is wonderful to see improvements in our infrastructure that makes public transportation more attractive and more pleasant for commuters and travelers alike.” Village of Croton-on-Hudson Mayor Dr. Greg Schmidt said, "The Croton-Harmon station is vital to the countless residents in our community who rely on its convenience and service to NYC and all points in between. I applaud the Governor for pushing for this station renovation and for his continued commitment to improving infrastructure across the state." Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda D. Puglisi said, “Thousands of New Yorkers rely on Metro-North and the Croton Harmon station on a daily basis, and these upgrades and improvements will make a real and positive difference in their quality of life.” The work to rehabilitate the station waiting area was performed by Kapris, Inc., a small, minority-owned firm that received the contract after participating in the MTA’s Small Business Development Program. This award-winning, innovative and model program offers emerging firms – especially those owned by women, minorities and military veterans – the unique opportunity to get access to capital, bonding, technical assistance, mentoring and the in-the-field training necessary to help their businesses learn, earn and grow. (MTA - posted 8/29)

GOVERNOR BAKER, MASSDOT/MBTA LEADERS MARK MILEOSTONE IN SPRINGFIELD RAIL CAR FACTORY CONSTRUCTION: G - Governor Charlie Baker today joined local elected officials and state transportation leaders to recognize a major milestone in CRRC MA's construction of its $95 million factory in Springfield by signing the last beam to be hoisted atop the factory as part of a "Topping Off" ceremony. Once completed, the factory will manufacture 284 subway cars for the MBTA: 132 for the Red Line, and 152 for the Orange Line. "Replacing cars nearly four decades old will help deliver a more reliable and comfortable rider experience," said Governor Baker. "We remain focused on investing in the core infrastructure at the T to improve our transit system that so many people rely on and we are pleased to celebrate this that also creates local jobs and supports Springfield's economy." "This facility will have multiple benefits to all sectors of Massachusetts' economy, from new manufacturing jobs in Springfield to service improvements for the riders who rely on the MBTA to get to and from where they need to be every day," said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito "The T has needed these cars for decades now," MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said of the MBTA's aging fleet of Orange Line and Red Line vehicles. "Relying on old equipment makes it harder to bounce back from incidents of severe weather." "It is a great pleasure to be here today for the opening of this state-of-the-art factory, which will be assembling state-of-the-art vehicles for the MBTA's Red Line and Orange Line," said MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve. "Replacing old rail cars is part of a comprehensive plan to improve the Red and Orange Lines that include improvements to aging tracks, signals, and other infrastructure, with the goal of providing a first-class transit system that meets the needs of our customers." "Topping Off" is the term used by ironworkers to indicate that the final piece of steel is being hoisted into place on a building, bridge, or other large structure, and in this case the factory has now reached its maximum height. As part of the ceremony, Governor Baker will lead officials in the signing of the last beam to be hoisted atop the facility, signifying the completion of a significant portion of its construction. Construction of the factory is running ahead of schedule, with other projects including a 2,240-foot dynamic test track, and staging/storage area. The project is projected to be completed in the fall of 2017. "We are very appreciative of the largest railway car manufacturing company in the world, CRRC, building their North American base right here in Springfield," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. "The creation of hundreds of good paying jobs, the spin-off benefits to our vendors, the linkage to our students at Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, Western New England University and the use of our labor unions' workforce spreads the wealth. Also, I'm very thankful to Governor Baker, state and city officials for their continued belief and investment in our Springfield." Once completed, the 204,000-square-foot factory will employ 150 workers. The first cars are scheduled to be delivered in 2018. Alan Sparn, Project Executive for Plaza Construction stated, "Plaza Construction is proud to partner with CRRC to construct this state of the art facility. Working with CRRC, Plaza's Design-Build approach expedited project permitting, design and the award of key construction activities, allowing us to mobilize construction two months early. Our estimating team also worked closely with CRRC, the design team, and subcontractors to ensure that costs were held within CRRC's budget. This Design-Build expertise will allow us to deliver a high quality project within budget and ahead of schedule. (MBTA - posted 8/29)

AMTRAK INVESTS $2.4 BILLION FOR NEXT-GEN HIGH-SPEED TRAINSETS AND INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES: Amtrak is contracting with Alstom to produce 28 next-generation high-speed trainsets that will replace the equipment used to provide Amtrak’s premium Acela Express service. The contract is part of $2.45 billion that will be invested on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor (NEC) as part of a multifaceted modernization program to renew and expand the Acela Express service. “Amtrak is taking the necessary actions to keep our customers, the Northeast region and the American economy moving forward,” said Amtrak President & CEO Joe Boardman. “These trainsets and the modernization and improvement of infrastructure will provide our customers with the mobility and experience of the future.” The new trainsets will have one-third more passenger seats, while preserving the spacious, high-end comfort of current Acela Express service. Each trainset will have modern amenities that can be upgraded as customer preferences evolve such as improved Wi-Fi access, personal outlets, USB ports and adjustable reading lights at every seat, enhanced food service and a smoother, more reliable ride. This procurement comes as demand for Acela Express service is as popular as ever, with many trains selling out during peak travel periods. The new trainsets will allow for increased service including half-hourly Acela Express service between Washington D.C. and New York City during peak hours, and hourly service between New York City and Boston. “As more people rely on Amtrak, we need modernized equipment and infrastructure to keep the region moving,” said Chairman of the Amtrak Board of Directors Anthony Coscia. “These trainsets will build on the popularity and demand of the current Acela Express and move this company into the future as a leader in providing world-class transportation.” The new trainsets will operate along the Washington – New York – Boston Northeast Corridor initially at speeds up to 160 mph and will be capable of speeds up to 186 mph and thus will be able to take advantage of future NEC infrastructure improvements. Additionally, the trainsets use the base design of one of the safest high-speed trainsets. Concentrated power cars, located at each end of the trainset, provide an extra buffer of protection. The trainsets will also meet the latest Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) guidelines including a Crash Energy Management system. “The next generation of Acela service will mean safer, faster and modern trains for customers throughout the Northeast,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “This investment will pay immediate dividends for businesses and travelers from Washington D.C. to Boston, and the fact that these new trains will be built in Upstate New York makes this project a win-win. These New York-made Acela trains will soon be zipping along the Northeast Corridor and – as a regular customer – I can’t wait for my first ride.” “The Northeast Corridor is a national economic engine that carries a workforce contributing $50 billion annually to the national GDP,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Amtrak’s continued investment in modernizing its fleet will only serve to enhance this vital rail link between Boston and Washington D.C. while allowing for safer and faster travel at a time when passenger demand is expected to rise. Strengthening our nation’s infrastructure is essential to the economic growth of our region and the nation and this investment by Amtrak will help ensure the reliable service travelers expect.” Amtrak is funding the trainsets and infrastructure improvements through the FRA’s Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program that will be repaid through growth in NEC revenues. “Amtrak is grateful for all of the support we have received from Congress, especially from Sen. Schumer and Rep. Reed who represents Hornell, New York – home of the Alstom facility,” said Boardman. “We would also like to thank Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson and House Transportation Committee Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio for their leadership on the FAST Act. Additionally, we appreciate the efforts of Senators Booker and Wicker for their support on the inclusion of the rail title, the first time Amtrak reauthorization has been included in surface transportation legislation.” In addition to the trainsets, Amtrak is also investing in infrastructure needed to improve the on-board and station customer experience that will accommodate the increased high-speed rail service levels. Amtrak will invest in significant station improvements at Washington Union Station, Moynihan Station New York, as well as track capacity and ride quality improvements to the NEC that will benefit both Acela Express riders and other Amtrak and commuter passengers. Amtrak will also modify fleet maintenance facilities to accommodate the new trains. The trainsets will be manufactured at Alstom’s Hornell and Rochester, N.Y., facilities, creating 400 local jobs. Additionally, parts for the new trainsets will come from more than 350 suppliers in more than 30 states, generating an additional 1,000 jobs across the country. The first prototype of the new trainsets will be ready in 2019, with the first trainset entering revenue service in 2021. All of the trainsets are expected to be in service, and the current fleet retired, by the end of 2022. High-resolution photos, a video, fact sheet and other materials are available here. (Amtrak® - posted 8/26)

AMTRAK “WINTER PARK EXPRESS” RETURNS: The round-trips will run on Saturdays and Sundays, with an additional round-trip on Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day. Winter Park Express trains will enable customers to skip the congestion and stop-and-go ski traffic on I-70 and U.S. 40 while enjoying a comfortable and scenic two hour ride on the historic route through Moffat Tunnel. Adult tickets are as low as $39 each way and go on sale on at 8:00 a.m. Mountain Time on Tuesday, Aug. 30 exclusively through the Amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress website . The 500+ passenger Winter Park Express trains will depart Union Station at 7:00 a.m. and arrive at the resort at approximately 9:00 a.m., where customers can quickly collect their ski and snowboard equipment and be on the slopes in minutes. Winter Park Express trains will depart the resort at 4:30 p.m., enabling customers to enjoy the après ski experience with family and friends on their return trip, arriving in Denver at 6:40 p.m. All times Mountain. Customers will have the flexibility for a day-trip, a weekend stay, or even a full week of enjoying the mountains. Reservations must be made and tickets purchased by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time the day before departure. Two children ages 2-12 can ride for half-fare with each ticketed adult. Only passengers with disabilities may book by calling 800-USA-RAIL. Group travel can be arranged by calling 800-USA-1GRP. Operation of the Winter Park Express is possible thanks to the addition of a permanent, fully ADA-compliant train platform at the resort. Construction of this platform has already begun and it is expected to be completed in early December. The project, which has a total budget of $3.5 million and includes other infrastructure improvements at the Union Pacific siding in Fraser, is an example of the collaborative efforts of public and private entities for the benefit of Colorado. The heated platform is being partially funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), a $100,000 grant from the City of Denver, a $100,000 grant from the Town of Winter Park, $1,000 from the Colorado Rail Passengers Association, and the remainder from Winter Park Resort. “Amtrak and the resort worked together with Union Pacific to test this service in 2015, successfully demonstrating interest when tickets for both days operated sold out in minutes,” said Matt Hardison, Amtrak Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “We are excited to be part of the team to bring comfort, reliability and accessibility to the trip to Winter Park – and give thousands of our customers an opportunity to experience one of the many exceptionally scenic routes on the Amtrak national network.” “This is the culmination of a long but rewarding process and we couldn’t be more excited to have passenger rail service return to the doorstep of Winter Park Resort,” said Gary DeFrange, Winter Park Resort President. “We know there’s incredible demand for a viable transportation alternative to I-70 and we’re deeply appreciative to Amtrak, Union Pacific, CDOT, City of Denver, and the Town of Winter Park for helping to make this long-standing dream a reality.” Questions about Winter Park Resort and its many features can be answered directly by calling the resort at 888-923-7275. For information on resort sponsorship opportunities, contact Ryan Blanchard, Intrawest Director of Sales & Business Development at 303-749-8299 or email RBlanchard@intrawest.com. “Union Pacific is pleased to partner with Winter Park and Amtrak to make the 2017 ski train service a reality,” said Donna Kush, Vice President of Public Affairs for Union Pacific. “Our No. 1 focus is safety for employees, passengers and communities, and we look forward to working with all involved parties to ensure the ski train is a safe and comfortable operation.” A new commuter rail line from Denver International Airport to Union Station enables visitors from throughout the country and across the globe to travel from their flight to Winter Park. Seamless rail connectivity will be available from the airport, to the Winter Park Express and on to Winter Park Resort, without having to rent a car, secure a shuttle or navigate mountain roads. Separate ticketing for the RTD University of Colorado A-Line from the airport is required from Denver RTD. The seasonal Amtrak Winter Park Express will share this route with the daily Amtrak California Zephyr service, which stops in nearby Fraser, Colo., and will continue to operate during this period over its full schedule between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay, via Denver. (Amtrak® - posted 8/25)

AGARE DU PALAIS: VIA RAIL CELEBRATES 100 YEARS: The centennial of the Gare du Palais was marked today by the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, along with François Blais, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region, Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume and Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail). Also on hand for the event were VIA Rail employees and distinguished guests from the Quebec City area. The official inauguration of the Gare du Palais was held on August 10, 1916. Currently, the station serves several hundred thousand passengers every year, and the train represents a smarter choice for the many tourists, families and business people travelling to and from Quebec City. e past 100 years, countless passengers have come to this magnificent building to take the train to visit family and friends, or for business travel. While the Gare du Palais has seen some changes over time, it has always been ready to serve travellers,” said the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport. “This station will benefit directly from a portion of the $34.4 million in funding recently announced by the federal government, which will be used to replace some of the Gare du Palais’ equipment and facilities, to ensure they remain safe, secure and accessible to both travellers and employees.” “The Gare du Palais has been an inseparable part of the landscape of Quebec City for 100 years,” added the Mayor of Quebec City, Régis Labeaume. “I am delighted that this building is, and has been for all these years, the entry point of choice for thousands of visitors and tourists to Quebec City. We can be proud, especially since its remarkable architecture and historic character mirror that of our beautiful city.” “The Gare du Palais is an iconic building that calls to mind the imposing presence of the grand architectural creations of yesteryear,” said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail. “It underwent major renovations in 1984-1985, so this beautiful century-old building is an eloquent demonstration of how our historic institutions can also make a sustainable future a reality. VIA Rail would like to see the Gare du Palais continue to play a pivotal role in sustainable mobility in Quebec’s capital. It is a key part of our dedicated track project – a three-pronged initiative comprised of increased frequencies, shorter travel times and properly adapted, reliable schedules that will bring more travellers to Quebec City. We can all help reduce greenhouse gases by choosing to take the train.” As a major stop in VIA Rail’s popular Québec City-Windsor corridor, passenger traffic at the Gare du Palais reached 235,000 in 2015 – a 17% increase over 2005. In the past decade, more than $1.2 million was invested in washroom renovations, heating system and environmental upgrades – the latter including the replacement of underground storage tanks – and improvements to the ticket office, water supply system and other components. In 2016 and 2017, a further $1.5 million will be invested in making renovations to the entrance doors, the skylight in the arrivals area and the air conditioning systems, as well as in automation of other building systems. 100 years of history This prestigious structure – built by Canadian Pacific during World War I, from plans by American architect Harry Edward Prindle – is now a designated heritage building with a rich history. The company sought to provide Quebec City with a rail terminal that would rival the grand stations of North America. Quebec City has long been considered a hub of Canada’s rail network. A hiatus in passenger rail service in the downtown area began in 1976, since the trains interfered with the free movement of automobile traffic. The station was re-opened in 1985. (VIA Rail Canada - posted 8/24)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEKEND ENDING AUGUST 20, 2016: For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 531,484 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending August 20 were 270,464 carloads, down 6.4 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 261,020 containers and trailers, down 6.4 percent compared to 2015. Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They included grain, up 36.5 percent to 24,944 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 4.9 percent to 18,974 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, up 4.8 percent to 10,558 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 24.2 percent to 10,933 carloads; coal, down 16.6 percent to 89,599 carloads; and forest products, down 14.3 percent to 9,869 carloads. For the first 33 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,126,642 carloads, down 11.4 percent from the same point last year; and 8,506,957 intermodal units, down 3 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 33 weeks of 2016 was 16,633,599 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.3 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending August 20, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 356,785 carloads, down 6.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 335,584 intermodal units, down 5.5 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 692,369 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.9 percent. North American rail volume for the first 33 weeks of 2016 was 21,751,535 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.1 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 70,786 carloads for the week, down 5.8 percent, and 62,881 intermodal units, down 1.5 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 33 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,230,741 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.2 percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,535 carloads for the week, down 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,683 intermodal units, down 4.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 33 weeks of 2016 was 887,195 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 1.9 percent from the same point last year. Crude Oil Carload Update The AAR also reported U.S. Class I railroads originated 56,454 carloads of crude oil in the second quarter of 2016, down 6,807 carloads or 10.8 percent from the first quarter of 2016 and down 54,614 carloads or 49.2 percent from the second quarter of 2015. (AAR - posted 8/24)

SOUTH COAST RAIL PUBLIC MEETING SCHEDULE: The MassDOT and the MBTA will host a series of public meetings beginning next month on the proposed restoration of passenger rail service between the South Coast and Boston. Designers are considering a new connection making use of the existing MBTA Stoughton Commuter Rail Line. The design for this route is currently 15 percent complete. In addition, MassDOT and the MBTA are also considering an alternative rail route between Boston and the South Coast that could potentially be designed and constructed more quickly than the Stoughton route. The meetings will be held to inform the public on the status of the project, discuss next steps, and seek public comment. Public meetings all begin at 6:30 p.m. and are scheduled as follows:
  • Wednesday, September 7th, New Bedford; Greater New Bedford Vocational High School Auditorium; 1121 Ashley Boulevard
  • Monday, September 12th, Taunton; Bristol Community College - 2 Galleria Mall Drive;
  • Wednesday, September 14th, Fall River; Bristol Community College - 777 Elsbree Street; Building G, Commonwealth College Center, Faculty Lounge
  • Thursday, September 15th, Easton; Middle School Auditorium - 98 Columbus Avenue
  • Monday, September 19th, Canton; Canton High School Auditorium - 900 Washington Street
  • Thursday, September 22nd, Middleborough High School Auditorium - 71 East Grove Street
If unable to attend a meeting, a copy of the presentation will be available at www.massdot.state.ma.us/southcoastrail Public comments and questions may also be submitted by email to SouthCoastRail@dot.state.ma.us. (MASS DOT - posted 8/24)

MAHONING VALLEY RAILWAY BEGINS SERVICE TO PILOT/FLYING J DIESEL EXHAUST FLUID TERMINAL IN OHIO: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) today announced that its subsidiary, The Mahoning Valley Railway Company (MVRY), will serve Pilot/Flying J’s new diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) terminal in Struthers, Ohio. MVRY will deliver the urea needed to produce DEF at the terminal. Following production, Pilot/Flying J will transload the DEF to truck for delivery to its area retail travel centers. “Pilot/Flying J is proud to have MVRY as a rail partner for our Eastern Ohio DEF market,” Wes Mailhos, Pilot/Flying J’s manager of rail operations and business development, said. “The railroad made every effort to learn our business and offer a transportation strategy that helps our DEF production process, and we now have an excellent rail solution as part of our supply chain.” Engines in diesel-powered vehicles rely on DEF to lower nitrogen oxide emissions, in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 heavy-duty engine and vehicle emissions standards. “MVRY is happy to participate in the emerging DEF market by offering Pilot/Flying J a safe and cost-effective option for receiving raw material,” Dave Ebbrecht, president of MVRY, said. “We are also well-positioned to support other industries in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania and help companies within those markets develop transload or direct rail solutions.” MVRY is a six-mile short line railroad in eastern Ohio. It interchanges with Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation, primarily carrying steel and energy products. MVRY was acquired by G&W in 2008. (G&W- posted 8/23)

CN, ADM, AND MIDWEST INLAND PORT DRIVE INCREASED CONTAINER SHIPS AT DECATUR, ILL. INTERMODAL RAMP: CN (CNI), Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and the Midwest Inland Port (MIP) said today their collaborative logistics and marketing efforts are driving increased container shipments over ADM's privately owned intermodal ramp located in Decatur, Ill. CN is transporting an increasing number of import containers from the Port of Montreal and the Port of Prince Rupert, B.C. , to the Decatur facility in thrice-weekly train service to deliver to customers across the Midwest. ADM then reloads the empty 40-foot import containers in Decatur with export loads of grain and processed products destined for global markets via CN's rail network and its Canadian port gateways. CN and ADM have a strong history of partnering together on other rail freight opportunities including shipments to Mexico. JJ Ruest, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, said: "CN is a supply chain enabler and its collaborative efforts with ADM and MIP through the Midwest Inland Port Strategic Development Coalition is forging new logistics chain and growth opportunities for ADM and other enterprises in Decatur and the surrounding region. "CN brings to the table an unparalleled three-coast network reach, extensive contacts in Asian markets, sophisticated freight-forwarding knowledge, and expert U.S. customs and marketing support." Dennis Whalen , vice-president – transportation, intermodal freight for ADM, said: "We are pleased to see rising volumes of imported containers arriving at our intermodal ramp via CN for area distribution in Illinois . The resulting empty container capacity is essential to our efforts to grow exports of our products to global markets, especially in Asia ." Ryan McCrady , president of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County , which oversees MIP, said: "CN and ADM are helping to grow our area economy, which benefits from CN's connectivity to Atlantic and Pacific ports, our region's uncongested rail network, a good supply of land for development located on the Decatur Central Railroad served by CN, and a skilled, motivated workforce (CN- posted 8/23)

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF NEW TRACK LAYING BETWEEN CENTRAL ISLIP AND RONKONKIMA FOR LIRR DOUBLE TRACK: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of new track laying between Central Islip and Ronkonkoma for the LIRR Double Track project, and work on the final phase between Farmingdale and Central Islip is already underway and on schedule to be completed in 2018. The Double Track, extending from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma, will dramatically reduce delays on the LIRR and enable more off peak service in both directions by adding 13 miles of parallel track. Together with the full MTA eTix rollout, the LIRR Third Track proposal on the Main Line, East Side Access, and four new Metro-North Stations in the Bronx, the milestone reached today moves the MTA's commuter rail priorities forward in the Governor's $100 billion Infrastructure and Development Plan for New York. "New York State is moving aggressively to bring our mass transit systems into the 21st century -- not just to meet the needs of our current population, but to foster smart, sensible and sustainable growth," Governor Cuomo said. "Adding a second track to the Ronkonkoma Branch is a project has been talked about for decades, but was never set into motion. By pairing innovative equipment with our strategy of design-build construction, we are accelerating the pace of these types of critical infrastructure projects to improve Long Island commutes and strengthen the region's economy. Put simply, we are building today for a better tomorrow." Governor Cuomo today toured the Double Track site in Central Islip with MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast, where the New Track Construction machine was laying the final stretch of Phase I track. The New Track Construction machine lays track more than ten times faster than the MTA has ever done before, saving $2.4 million in construction costs. Photos of the Governor at the construction site will be available on the Governor's Flikr page. Video of the tour and the machine, as well as this afternoon's Double Track press conference will follow. MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said: "The Governor has challenged us to move more quickly and efficiently in all we do and to use new, innovative ideas to advance projects. With the use of this new track-laying technology, MTA will save $2.4 million in the first phase of Double Track alone and bring us a big step forward in reducing delays and providing better service on the Ronkonkoma Branch in both directions."
  • Completion of New Track Laying for Phase I Ridership on the LIRR's Ronkonkoma Branch is more than 48,000 each weekday. With just one track along most of the 18-mile route between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, the LIRR can operate only a limited number of trains and lacks operational flexibility in the event of a disruption. If one train becomes disabled, all other trains – coming from both east and west – have no way around the problem. The Double Track project will enable the LIRR to provide more frequent off-peak service to the Ronkonkoma Branch in both directions, with off-peak service going from one train every hour, to one train every 30 minutes in both directions. The project will reduce delays associated with service disruptions by giving the railroad flexibility to go around obstacles that it cannot currently in single track territory. Work for the Double Track project is being done in two phases using design-build contracting; funding for the project of $387.2 million has been secured in its entirety by Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature. Phase I adds 3.5 miles of track between Central Islip and Ronkonkoma, and new track construction of this segment will be complete as early as today. Phase II work is already underway, which primarily focuses on building the remaining track between Farmingdale and Central Islip, as well as signal installation the entire Farmingdale to Ronkonkema distance. The MTA awarded design-build contracts for these components in June. In large part because design-build contracting holds private construction management firms accountable for achieving deadlines set by the MTA, the Double Track is on schedule to open as initially announced in 2018.
  • Using Specialized Machinery Laying Track 10x Faster The Double Track project marks the MTA's first-ever use of the New Track Construction machine, which is capable of laying one mile of track per day – more than ten times faster than the 500 feet of track per day that the MTA manually laid previously. By speeding up this process, the MTA is significantly improving productivity, increasing safety and reducing the potential of construction disruption to local communities. Use of the machine reduces the cost of laying Phase I's 3.5 miles of track from more than $3.6 million to $1.2 million, saving approximately $2.4 million. The machine is pulled from the front end by a bulldozer along the route of the new track. It automatically handles the flow of materials, negating the use of overhead cranes for track construction. The machine's ability to bring in supplies by rail negates the need for trucking supplies in. The MTA plans to use the machine in future projects in response to the Governor's challenge to increase efficiency in its projects. In concert with the proposed Main Line Expansion Project, which would add a third track to the heavily utilized segment between Floral Park and Hicksville, the construction of the Double Track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma will support Long Island-wide resiliency by enabling the LIRR to provide better Main Line Service options in conditions where either the Montauk Branch or Port Jefferson Branch is compromised because of severe weather. In addition to the Double Track and the proposed LIRR Expansion Project, the railroad is also moving forward with other projects that will help improve railroad operations, including the Jamaica Capacity Improvement Project which streamlines the Jamaica track layout and modernizes the switch and signal system; the expansion of the train storage yard in Ronkonkoma and the addition of pocket tracks along the Port Washington and Babylon Branches.
  • Launching MTA eTix Mobile Ticketing Across Entire System Governor Cuomo also announced today's full, system-wide implementation of MTA eTix, the new mobile ticketing app that allows Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road customers to use their smartphone as a boarding ticket. MTA eTix empowers LIRR and Metro-North customers to board using their smartphone instead of a paper ticket, as well as check schedules and see train service status, which interconnects with the popular Train Time apps for Metro-North and the LIRR. The app also offers account management tools, giving railroad customers the ability to secure refunds for unused mobile tickets, request duplicate receipts, and manage profile info such as password and linked credit card numbers. And for customers who use pre-tax commuter benefit programs, the app allows users to split their purchases between a pre-tax benefit card and another card. More information about the app is available at http://www.mta.info/mta-eTix-
(MTA - posted 8/22)

SEPTA PROGRESSES WITH THE INSTALLATION OF PTC: SEPTA reached another milestone in our Positive Train Control (PTC) rollout with Regional Rail Line number 5 -- the Manayunk/Norristown Line - going into operation on Monday, August 15. That number will almost immediately grow to 6 when the Chestnut Hill West Line begins service with this important safety system on Monday, August 22. While SEPTA continues to coordinate closely with Amtrak on testing and preparations to operate our vehicles, under their PTC system, on the Paoli/Thorndale, Trenton, and Wilmington/Newark Regional Rail Lines SEPTA Engineering and Operations staffs are working to develop the sequencing for the launch of the remaining Lines. (SEPTA - posted 8/22)

RAILROAD PERMITTED TO SUE JOINT RAILROAD AUTHORITY: On August 12, Northumberland County President Judge Charles Saylor ruled that Reading & Northern's lawsuit against the SEDA COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) could go forward. Overruling objections from the JRA, North Shore Railroad and Carload Express, Judge Saylor found that the Reading & Northern could proceed with its lawsuit to establish that JRA did not follow proper competitive bid procedures as set forth in Commonwealth law. "Reading & Northern Railroad is extremely pleased that Judge Saylor ruled that we can proceed with our lawsuit against the Joint Rail Authority. We intend to vigorously pursue this legal action in order to prove that corruption and cronyism is at the heart of how JRA has operated for over twenty years. Reading & Northern is delighted that we now have the opportunity to pull back the curtain on this rogue operation.” said Wayne Michel, President of Reading & Northern Railroad Co. Reading & Northern intends to prove that JRA acted illegally in the design and implementation of the competitive bid process and that it went out of its way to keep Reading & Northern out of the process because of Reading’s well-known support of privatization. Andy Muller, Jr., CEO and owner of Reading & Northern said, "The sad thing about this situation is that at the end of the day the operators became millionaires, the customers on the Board got great deals, consultants and lawyers got rich, but NOT ONE PENNY went to the taxpayers.” (Reading & Northern Railroad - posted 8/22)

AMTRAK NAMES INDUSTRY VETERAN WICK MOORMAN PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Amtrak announced that it has named Charles W. “Wick” Moorman as its next president and chief executive officer. Moorman, retired chairman, CEO, and president of Norfolk Southern Corp. (NS), will lead the company, effective September 1, 2016, in the next fiscal year. Anthony Coscia, chairman of the Board of Directors of Amtrak said, “We are very pleased that someone with Wick’s experience and vision will lead Amtrak during this critical period as the company charts a course for future growth and improvement. Under CEO Joe Boardman, and with the support of the Administration and Congress, Amtrak has achieved record levels of performance and investment. The Board believes Wick can build upon this success in the coming year by launching initiatives to further enhance safety and customer service, modernize our operations, and guide our implementation of the FAST Act.” “It is an honor and privilege to take on the role of CEO at Amtrak and I look forward to working with its dedicated employees to find ways to provide even better service to our passengers and the nation,” said Moorman. “At Norfolk Southern, our team fostered change by placing a solid emphasis on performance across all aspects of our business which helped develop a stronger safety and service culture throughout the company. I look forward to advancing those same goals at Amtrak and helping to build a plan for future growth.” Moorman, a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., comes to Amtrak after more than 40 years at NS where he rose from management trainee to CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors. Having worked with NS from the ground up, Moorman gained an appreciation for the many facets of railroad operations and used this knowledge to modernize the way NS conducted business, served customers and worked with communities. A graduate of Georgia Tech and Harvard Business School, Moorman serves on the boards of Duke Energy Corporation, Chevron Corporation, the Virginia chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and the Georgia Tech Foundation. “Wick’s deep operational background and track record of building teams and driving innovation is exactly what we need to provide unparalleled service to the more than 500 communities we serve,” said Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors Jeffrey Moreland. “We are confident that, working together with the Board, Wick can formulate a strong plan to take Amtrak to the next level and assemble the management team and expertise to carry it forward.” Moorman succeeds current CEO Joe Boardman, who announced his intention to retire last fall. “I have been humbled to lead this extraordinary organization over the past eight years,” said Boardman. “I look forward to spending time with my family and wish Wick all the best as he brings his excellent experience to Amtrak.” “The Board and I thank Joe for his dedicated service to Amtrak and its customers and for his long career in public service. Under his leadership, Amtrak delivered record ridership, introduced a series of safety initiatives and modernized its fleet. For this, he should be proud,” Coscia said. Moorman currently holds securities of a rail carrier. Amtrak will ensure that any conflict will be avoided as is required by federal law. (Amtrak - posted 8/21)

ALSTOM AND AMTRAK DEAL FOR ACELA REPLACEMENT: A new deal between Amtrak and Alstom in Hornell, Steuben County, to manufacture high-speed trains was finalized Tuesday. The deal has been in the works for months and caps heavy lobbying among state and federal officials. “We’ve reached the final destination on this long, successful journey and will soon unload billions of dollars of investment and hundreds of good-paying jobs in upstate New York,” Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement confirming the deal. The agreement is estimated to create 750 jobs in the state, including 400 at Alstom’s rail-car plant, Schumer estimated in July. There was no immediate comment from Amtrak or Alstom. (Press & Sun-Bulletin via Corridor Capital LLC, Alex Mayes - posted 8/17)

NEW STATUS UPDATE UNDERSCORES NEED FOR CONTINUED POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL IMPLEMENTATION AND FUNDING: A status update released today by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) underscores the need for railroads to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) as quickly and safely as possible. The update also highlights the Administration’s repeated calls for Congress to provide more significant funding to assist commuter railroads in implementing PTC. “Positive Train Control should be installed as quickly as possible,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This is lifesaving technology available now, and railroads should continue to aggressively work to beat the deadlines Congress has put in place.” PTC prevents certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits and trains going to the wrong tracks because a switch was left in the wrong position. Today’s status update includes railroad-by-railroad quarterly data as of June 30, 2016, on track segments completed, employees trained, radio towers installed, route miles in PTC operation and other key implementation data. Some of this information is also displayed in infographics below. In March, FRA announced that it intended to require railroads to submit quarterly reports to FRA on their progress toward completing PTC implementation. In 2008, Congress mandated PTC implementation on certain railroad main lines where railroads transport poisonous-by-inhalation hazardous or toxic-by-inhalation hazardous materials or any line where a railroad provides regularly scheduled passenger service. Last October, Congress extended the original deadline from December 31, 2015 to at least December 31, 2018. “The official deadline for Positive Train Control may be years away, but the urgency for railroads to activate it is now. Every day that passes without PTC, we risk adding another preventable accident to a list that is already too long,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “FRA will continue to push railroads to stay focused on implementation and urge Congress to fund this life-saving technology.” Earlier this week, FRA awarded nearly $25 million in grants to help railroads complete full PTC implementation. Many of the awards will help railroads achieve interoperability among the different PTC systems that railroads are deploying. This follows DOT’s announcement in July that commuter railroads and states can apply for approximately $199 million in PTC grants. President Obama has consistently made funding and assistance for commuter railroads to implement PTC a priority. In his Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget request, the President requested $1.25 billion. This follows requests of $825 million in both FY 2015 and FY 2016. Since 2008, FRA has provided significant assistance to support railroads’ PTC implementation. Those efforts include:
  • Approving more than $650 million in grants to passenger railroads, including nearly $400 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding;
  • Issuing a nearly $1 billion loan to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to implement PTC on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad;
  • Building a PTC testbed at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado;
  • Working directly with the Federal Communications Commission and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to resolve issues related to spectrum use and improve the approval process for PTC communication towers; and
  • Dedicating staff to work on PTC implementation, including establishing a PTC task force.
Read the status update: http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L18325 (MassDOT - posted 8/17)

CAPEFLYER ANNOUNCES $15 ROUND-TRIP SUNDAY SAVINGS FARES: The CapeFLYER is announcing Super Summer Sunday Savings Fares of $15 for the last three weeks of the 2016 season. The tickets, which are good for Round-trip same day travel on Sunday, August 21, August 28 and September 4 only, will be available for purchase exclusively at the MBTA Commuter Rail ticket office at South Station. (These special tickets are not available on board the train or through the mTicket app.) "Late summer is one of the best times to visit the Cape and Islands and we want to provide a way to encourage as many people as possible to come down from the Greater Boston area to enjoy our beaches, museums, bike trails, shops, restaurants, tours, golf and everything else that makes the region so special," said Thomas S. Cahir, Administrator of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority. "Our Super Summer Sunday Savings fare is designed to make a day-trip to the Cape as easy, convenient and affordable as possible, while at the same time providing a beautiful ride over one of the most scenic railroads in the country. With fall fast approaching, we want to make sure everyone can squeeze as much fun out of summer as possible." About the CapeFLYER: For the season, the CapeFLYER operates as its own dedicated train on Friday nights leaving South Station at 5:50 PM and making stops in Braintree, Brockton, Middleboro, Wareham, Buzzards Bay and Hyannis. Trains also operate on Saturdays and Sundays and holiday Mondays through Labor Day weekend. The complete schedule is available at www.capeflyer.com. In addition to a convenient trip to Cape Cod, the CapeFLYER works closely with the ferry operators to provide convenient connections to and from Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Cape Cod RTA buses are available at Buzzards Bay and Hyannis to bring passengers to the Cape communities. Finally, the CapeFLYER operates a café car that sells excellent food and drinks, including beer and wine, provided by Blonde on the Run Catering. The CapeFLYER is a unique partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. For additional information, including a complete schedule, fares and information about connections, please visit: www.CapeFLYER.com (MassDOT - posted 8/17)

AAR ??REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING AUGUST 13, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending August 13, 2016. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 534,533 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending August 13 were 267,589 carloads, down 7.1 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 266,944 containers and trailers, down 3.4 percent compared to 2015. Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They were grain, up 27.6 percent to 25,232 carloads; chemicals, up 4.3 percent to 30,447 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, up 0.5 percent to 9,999 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 25.2 percent to 10,484 carloads; coal, down 16.4 percent to 88,905 carloads; and forest products, down 7.5 percent to 10,281 carloads. For the first 32 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 7,856,178 carloads, down 11.6 percent from the same point last year; and 8,245,937 intermodal units, down 2.8 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 32 weeks of 2016 was 16,102,115 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.3 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending August 13, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 352,145 carloads, down 6.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 339,846 intermodal units, down 3.6 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 691,991 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.3 percent. North American rail volume for the first 32 weeks of 2016 was 21,059,166 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.1 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 69,369 carloads for the week, down 5.7 percent, and 61,971 intermodal units, down 3.6 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 32 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,097,074 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.3 percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,187 carloads for the week, down 10.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,931 intermodal units, down 7.3 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 32 weeks of 2016 was 859,977 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 1.8 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 8/17)

FRA AWARDS $25 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL IMPLEMENTATION: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today awarded $25 million in grants for 11 projects in six states and the District of Columbia to assist in implementing Positive Train Control (PTC). FRA received 30 eligible applications requesting $90.6 million, nearly four times the $25 million Congress provided in the appropriations bill that funds FRA for Fiscal Year 2016. The list of awards is below. Many awards will help railroads achieve interoperability among the different PTC systems that railroads are deploying. “These grants get us a bit closer to implementing Positive Train Control – a long overdue technology that prevents accidents and saves lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We will continue to do everything in our power to help railroads install this technology. We encourage Congress to fully fund the President’s request for significant funds to help more railroads activate PTC.” PTC systems are designed to prevent certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and trains going to the wrong tracks due to improper switching. Learn more about the different types of PTC systems in the United States. “Every dollar we invest in implementing Positive Train Control as quickly as possible is money well spent because ultimately it means fewer accidents and fewer fatalities,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “Today’s grants inch us closer to a safer rail network with PTC.” In 2008, Congress mandated PTC implementation on the main lines of Class I railroads and entities providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation over which any poisonous or toxic by inhalation hazardous materials are transported, or over which intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation is regularly provided. Last October, Congress extended the original PTC implementation deadline from December 31, 2015 to at least December 31, 2018. FRA awarded grants in the approximate amounts below to the following entities: · Metrolink – Calif.
  • o $2.4 million to develop, test, and deploy a full-feature service desk management suite of software applications that will allow each railroad to create, track, manage and share PTC system and asset trouble tickets internally within the organization and with interoperable railroad partners. · Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) District – Calif.
  • o $3 million to install PTC and integrated new grade crossing warning systems on the 2.1-mile passenger rail extension between downtown San Rafael and Larkspur, Calif. · Caltrain – Calif.
  • o $2.88 million to conduct two test procedures for the field integration and functional testing of Caltrain’s Interoperable-Incremental Train Control System (I-ITCS) that will allow Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS) equipped tenants to seamlessly operate on Caltrain’s tracks. · Amtrak – D.C.
  • o $2.64 million to put in place authentication technology to fully secure the PTC wireless communication and data transmittal between a train’s point of origin and targeted receivers on the Northeast Corridor. · American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association – D.C.
  • o $2.5 million to create a Crew Initialization Back Office Server System (CI-BOS) hosted service to assist small railroads tasked with implementing PTC, particularly systems that interoperate with Class I railroads. · Providence and Worcester Railroad Company (P&W) – Mass.
  • o $965,832 to acquire and install eight Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) PTC onboard units for P&W’s locomotives utilized on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. · Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company – Minn.
  • o $1.1 million to implement and test PTC systems, including a contract with a back office service and interoperability message software provider, initial activation and licensing fees of hosted back office systems, and two PTC equipped locomotives. · Missouri Department of Transportation – Mo.
  • o $3 million to jointly partner with the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) for an Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS) implementation project on the Missouri side of TRRA’s territory. · North Carolina Department of Transportation – N.C.
  • o $771,070 to equip five converted Cab Control Units with Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS) and conduct testing on the Piedmont corridor or within any adjacent rail territory of NCDOT’s rail partners (Norfolk Southern Corporation and Amtrak). · Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Texas
  • o $3 million to implement Enhanced Automatic Train Control (E-ATC) that will overlay the existing wayside signal system and enhance onboard, wayside, and control office equipment and software to create a functional PTC system in the Austin area. · Fort Worth & Western Railroad – Texas
  • o $2.56 million to install PTC on-board equipment and 220 MHz radios on nine locomotives in a phased installation, develop a crew initialization back office server, and train necessary personnel to operate and maintain the PTC system.
Since 2008, FRA has provided significant assistance to support PTC implementation. Those efforts include:
  • · Providing more than $650 million in grants to passenger railroads, including nearly $400 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding;
  • · Issuing a nearly $1 billion loan to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to implement PTC on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad;
  • · Building a PTC system testbed at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado;
  • · Working directly with the Federal Communications Commission and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to resolve issues related to spectrum use and improve the approval process for PTC communication towers;
  • · Dedicating staff to work on PTC implementation, including establishing a PTC task force.
View a list of when railroads predict they will complete full PTC implementation: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0628 (FRA - posted 8/16)

ALL ABOARD FOR THE NEW YORK STATE FAIR: Amtrak will once again provide service directly to the New York State Fair this year, making it more convenient, cost-effective and comfortable for attendees to travel to the Empire State’s largest annual event. Select Empire Service trains will stop at Gate 11 adjacent to the Fairgrounds every day between Aug. 25 and Sept. 5. Westbound trains originating in New York City stop at the Fair at 12:50 p.m. (Train 63), 3:56 p.m. (Train 281) and 6:51 p.m. (Train 283). Eastbound trains from Niagara Falls and points west stop at 9:13 a.m. (Train 284), 2:55 p.m. (Train 64) and 5:33 p.m. (Train 288 – Sunday only) en route to Albany and New York City. “Amtrak is pleased to offer special service to the New York State Fair again this year,” said Kevin Chittenden, Deputy General Manager for Amtrak’s Empire Service. “Riding the train is a fun and relaxing way to make getting there part of your family’s Fair experience and demonstrates why Amtrak is simply the smarter way to travel.” Tickets are available now at Amtrak.com, via the Amtrak mobile app, at station ticket counters or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. Amtrak is also offering a “kids ride free” promotion for travel to/from the Fair, which must be booked online. “Amtrak is a great way to see New York State and the Great New York State Fair is the best way to celebrate it,” said Troy Waffner, Acting Fair Director. “A comfortable Amtrak train will drop you off and pick you up again right at our door. I encourage everyone to consider coming the easy way to the nation’s oldest state fair and one of the very best.” New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, “The New York State Department of Transportation is proud to partner once again with Amtrak and the Great New York State Fair to provide comfortable, convenient rail service directly to the fair. Governor Andrew Cuomo has made transportation a priority and this train is one more way New Yorkers and their guests can enjoy all the State has to offer this summer.” (Amtrak - posted 8/16)

!-- BEGINNING A NEWS BLOCK --> FIRST REFURBISHED ONR COACH UNVEILED: Premier Kathleen Wynne was in North Bay on August 12 to unveil the first of 16 refurbished passenger coaches as part of the renewal of the Polar Bear Express train. Ontario's $17-million investment in the Polar Bear Express will upgrade and modernize a rail service that provides an essential link for people and businesses in the North -- the only year-round ground transportation connecting Cochrane to Moosonee and the James Bay Coast. The refurbished rail cars will improve the travel experience for passengers, offering them new seats with electrical and USB charging, accessible washrooms, modern flooring, enhanced luggage space, comfortable dining cars and a family car. This is one of a series of announcements the Premier made during her week-long trip to Northern Ontario to help deliver on the government's commitments to support job creation, economic growth and quality of life across the North. Other highlights of the trip include: Investing in Northern Ontario is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario's history and is investing in a low carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement. (Province of Ontario, Alex Mayes - posted 8/16)

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER EQUIPMENT TO BE REFURBISHED BY THE ONARIO NORTHLAND: Ontario Northland is pleased to announce it has been awarded a contract from CANARAIL to refurbish Rocky Mountaineer luxury passenger rail cars. This work will result in approximately 50 new jobs in the Remanufacturing and Repair Centre (RRC) in the immediate term and up to 80 new positions over the course of the four-year contract. The contract will also provide a significant economic boost to North Bay and surrounding areas. Since 2014, CANARAIL has delivered five refurbished cars to Rocky Mountaineer. The new contract with Ontario Northland will allow CANARAIL to deliver an additional eleven cars over the next four years. “We are excited to be working with Ontario Northland to revitalize these luxury bi-level dome cars for Rocky Mountaineer,” stated Miguel Valero, CANARAIL’s President and CEO. “Our collective rail expertise will produce quality refurbishment work. We aim to meet and exceed our customer’s requirements.” “Ontario Northland has a reputation for quality work, and we are pleased to be working with their team here in Canada” said Gord Miller, Vice President of Rail Operations and Asset Development at Rocky Mountaineer. “As the world’s largest privately owned passenger rail company, our rail cars set the stage for many unforgettable journeys, and we are committed to ensuring we have world class equipment, engineered and built with our guests in mind.” “Winning this contract is a result of our reputation in the rail industry for quality work and the combined efforts of our remanufacturing and repair team who have enhanced our competitiveness,” stated Corina Moore, President and CEO of Ontario Northland. “It also marks an important step forward to reaching the organization’s transformation goals.” This contract will result in an extra shift being added in RRC. Since Ontario Northland expanded its capabilities, RRC has been busy with diverse remanufacturing and repair work. In less than two years, the division has expanded from focusing solely on passenger car refurbishment to securing freight car, locomotive, and wheel repair contracts. The company’s diverse skill set continues to attract work. Ontario Northland is a leader in transportation and rail remanufacturing. RRC currently employs over 150 skilled and professional rail workers who extend the life of rail assets and provide solutions to transportation companies throughout North America. (Ontario Northland - posted 8/16)

PROVIDENCE & WORCESTER RAILROAD COMPANY ANNOUNCES PROPOSED ACQUISITION BY GENESEE & WYOMING INC: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) announced today that it has agreed to acquire Providence and Worcester Railroad Company (P&W)(NASDAQ: PWX) for $25.00 per share, or approximately $126 million. Subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close following the receipt of P&W shareholder approval in the fourth quarter of 2016.(P&W - posted 8/15) Headquartered in Worcester, Mass., and operating in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York, P&W is contiguous with G&W’s New England Central Railroad (NECR) and Connecticut Southern Railroad (CSO). Rail service is provided by approximately 140 P&W employees with 32 locomotives across 163 miles of owned track and over approximately 350 miles under track access agreements, including exclusive freight access over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between New Haven, Conn., and Providence, R.I., and trackage rights over Metro-North Commuter Railroad, Amtrak and CSX Corp. (NASDAQ: CSX) between New Haven, Conn., and Queens, N.Y. P&W interchanges with G&W’s NECR and CSO railroads, as well as with CSX, Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC), Pan Am Railways, Pan Am Southern, the Housatonic Railroad and the New York and Atlantic Railroad, and also connects to Canadian National (NYSE: CNI) and Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP) via NECR. P&W serves a diverse mix of aggregates, auto, chemicals, metals and lumber customers in southeastern New England, handling approximately 43,000 carloads and intermodal units annually. In addition, P&W provides rail service to three ports (Providence, Davisville and New Haven) and to a U.S. Customs bonded intermodal terminal in Worcester, Mass., that receives inbound intermodal containers for distribution in New England. P&W also owns approximately 45 acres of undeveloped waterfront land in East Providence, R.I., that was initially created as a deep water, rail served port through a $12 million investment. G&W expects to sell this undeveloped land Upon approval by the Surface Transportation Board (STB), P&W would be managed as part of G&W’s Northeast Region, led by Senior Vice President Dave Ebbrecht. The addition of P&W to G&W’s existing presence in the region substantially enhances G&W’s ability to serve customers and Class I partners in New England, which is a highly competitive rail market with a premium placed on timely, efficient and safe rail service. The acquisition is anticipated to unlock significant cost savings through overhead, operational and long-term network efficiencies as well as to generate significant new commercial opportunities. Jack Hellmann, President and Chief Executive Officer of G&W, commented: “The acquisition of P&W is an excellent strategic fit with G&W’s contiguous railroads, the New England Central and the Connecticut Southern. Following anticipated STB approval of the acquisition, our connectivity with the P&W enables us to realize substantial immediate cost savings, to share and optimize the utilization of equipment and other assets, and to unlock significant new customer opportunities across sister G&W railroads as well as connecting partners at two Canadian Class I Railroads, two U.S. Class I Railroads and two regional railroads. Our acquisition of the P&W will ultimately enhance the efficiency and customer service of rail in New England.” “We are excited to welcome P&W’s employees to G&W as we work together to provide safe, reliable and efficient rail service to our customers for the long term. We also look forward to working with our Class I partners, Amtrak and Metro-North Commuter Railroad to ensure a smooth transition of services and build upon the success of P&W’s current operations.“
  • Financial Impact and Financing: In the first year of operation, G&W anticipates P&W will generate approximately $35 million of revenue and $12 million of EBITDA, including realization of $8 million of immediate overhead and operational cost savings. In the medium term, G&W anticipates additional operational efficiencies and commercial opportunities will generate a further $5 million of EBITDA that will be realized over the following two to three years. G&W expects P&W will require approximately $3 million of annual capital expenditures and have depreciation and amortization expense of approximately $3 million. G&W expects annual diluted EPS accretion from the acquisition of approximately 2%, subject to finalization of acquisition accounting under U.S. GAAP. G&W expects to fund the approximately $126 million acquisition through its revolving credit facility under which it had available capacity of $542 million as of June 30, 2016. As previously noted, G&W expects to sell the land in East Providence, R.I., which was developed through a $12 million investment.
  • Closing Conditions: The closing of the transaction is subject to the approval of the Surface Transportation Board (STB). G&W will seek confirmation from the staff of the STB that, if the STB has not yet approved the transaction, G&W may close the transaction into a proposed form of voting trust, which will be managed by an independent voting trustee until G&W is granted approval from the STB to control P&W. The closing of the transaction is also subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including without limitation the approval by the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding shares of P&W’s common stock and preferred stock entitled to vote. (G&W, Randy Kotuby - posted 8/15)


PROVIDENCE & WORCESTER RAILROAD COMPANY ANNOUNCES PROPOSED ACQUISITION BY GENESEE & WYOMING INC: Providence and Worcester Railroad Company announced today that on Friday, August 12, 2016, upon completion of a process to assess strategic alternatives, its Board of Directors approved, and the Company entered into, a definitive merger agreement whereby Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (NYSE:GWR) will acquire the Company for $25.00 per share of common stock, or approximately $126 million, in cash. Under the terms of the merger agreement, immediately prior to the closing all outstanding shares of preferred stock of the Company will be deemed converted into common stock of the Company in accordance with their terms. In connection with entry into the merger agreement, the Robert H. Eder Trust and the Linda Eder Trust, which own a majority of the preferred stock of the Company and approximately 17.3 percent of the common stock of the Company, have entered into a Voting Agreement with Genesee & Wyoming and the Company to vote all of the shares of the preferred stock and common stock owned by the Trusts in favor of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2016 and is subject to approval by the Company’s common and preferred shareholders, satisfaction of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Robert H. Eder, longtime chairman and CEO of the Company, said: “Becoming part of the Genesee & Wyoming family with its record of emphasis on safety and investment in its rail infrastructure ensures that our Company will continue to provide the quality of service which our customers and the communities we serve have enjoyed over the 40+ years since we re-commenced independent operations while at the same time continuing and improving on our programs to promote employee and community safety.” (P&W, Randy Kotuby - posted 8/15)

INCREASE IN NUMBER, LENGTH AND SPEED OF TRAINS ON THE LIRC: On or soon after September 1, 2016, at 12:01 a.m., there will be increases in train traffic on the Louisville and Indiana Railroad (LIRC) between Louisville, Ky., and Seymour, Ind. CSX Transportation (CSXT) and LIRC train speeds will increase incrementally over a period of several weeks from the current speed limit of 25 mph to a maximum of 49 mph at many locations. Track and signal improvements have been made to allow for the safe increase in train speeds in accordance with federal regulations. The number and average length of CSXT trains will also increase. CSXT currently operates three to four trains per day on the LIRC rail line. This number will initially increase to an estimated 10 CSXT trains per day between Louisville, Ky., and Seymour, Ind., and may increase in the future. Train length may be up to 14,000 feet long. The number and length of CSXT trains will vary and continue to adjust depending on rail freight volumes. Motorists and pedestrians are reminded to always obey railroad crossing signals and warnings and to use caution when approaching all highway-rail grade crossings. A train can come at any time, so “stop, look and listen” before proceeding through an open crossing. Operation Lifesaver, a nationwide public education program to promote awareness of safe behavior at highway-rail crossings, is available for safety presentations to community groups, school children, bus and truck drivers and others who live or travel near train tracks. To schedule a presentation, contact your local Operation Lifesaver state coordinator: in Indiana at www.inol.org and in Kentucky at www.kyol.org. These operational changes on LIRC are part of an agreement between LIRC and CSXT which was approved in April 2015 by the federal Surface Transportation Board. Through that agreement, CSXT is funding approximately $100 million in infrastructure improvements to support increased train traffic from both railroads over the LIRC line. These changes will provide enhanced rail access for the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville, increase capacity and efficiency along this corridor and improve connectivity for manufacturers, farmers, marine ports and other contributors to the area’s economic growth. Since last summer when the agreement was approved, representatives from the railroads have held meetings with community leaders to provide project status updates and to address concerns related to public safety, anticipated increases in freight volume and construction plans. CSXT and LIRC will continue to share information with community leaders and residents as the project progresses, in addition to completing construction projects and making operational improvements that are designed to reduce the impacts on the local environment and communities. (LIRC - posted 8/12)

SEPTA ANNOUNCES MODIFIED TROLLEY TUNNEL BLITZ: SEPTA's annual Trolley Tunnel Blitz, originally scheduled for nine consecutive days in July, will take place on weekends and weekday nights starting Friday, August 12. With power, track and station improvement projects to be advanced this summer, SEPTA Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate in the Center City tunnel on the following weekends:
  • 8 p.m. Friday, August 12 - 4:30 a.m. Monday, August 15
  • 8 p.m. Friday, August 19 - 4:30 a.m. Monday, August 22
  • 8 p.m. Friday, August 26 - 4:30 a.m. Monday, August 29
Trolleys will not operate in the tunnel on weeknights from 8 p.m.-4:30 a.m. August 15-19 and 22-26. Trolleys will use the tunnel from 4:30 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays to serve our customers during peak rush hours and throughout the day. During the closures, trolley service will begin and end at 40th and Market Streets; trolleys will use their alternate diversion service routing to connect to SEPTA's Market-Frankford Line at 40th and Market Streets. Trolley passengers can board the Market-Frankford Line at 40th Street Station for travel to and from Center City, as the work efforts will not affect that service. "The Trolley Tunnel Blitz was postponed due to our current Regional Rail car shortage," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel. "However, based on the type of work SEPTA planned for this year, we developed a modified schedule that will allow us to advance several infrastructure improvements, and enhance safety and reliability through the tunnel while minimizing the service impact on our riders." This is the fourth consecutive summer SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz. During this year's closure, more than 400 members of SEPTA's in-house Engineering, Maintenance & Construction Division crews will build on last year's accomplishments and work on key maintenance and construction tasks. "Since the first Trolley Tunnel Blitz in 2013, our crews have replaced switches and thousands of feet of rail and overhead contact wire, and undertaken an aggressive improvement and cleaning program at the trolley stations," said Knueppel.? "However, we still have work to do to bring the tunnel into a state of good repair." There are more than 1,300 daily trolley trips through the five-mile single loop Center City tunnel. Because the tunnel is used 24 hours a day, it is difficult for SEPTA crews to get productive work windows to complete necessary repairs and improvements. "The Trolley Tunnel Blitz allows SEPTA to maximize productivity during improvements projects while minimizing the period of inconvenience to passengers and communities because it is held during the summer when ridership is lower," said Knueppel. During the modified Trolley Tunnel Blitz, SEPTA's Track Department will replace the existing track on the westbound side of the tunnel between 19th and 22nd Street Stations. This track has been in use for 30 years. Other work that will be completed during the tunnel closure includes:
  • - Completing signal and wire reliability work throughout the tunnel
  • - Performing critical maintenance and improvements to overhead wires
  • - Performing maintenance tasks including graffiti removal, tile repair, painting, drain clearing, heavy cleaning and? tunnel lighting replacement
  • - Testing emergency generators throughout the tunnel
"We thank our customers for their continued support and understanding during these closures," said Knueppel. "We will work to make this year's blitz as productive and successful as in previous years." SEPTA's Trolley Tunnel Blitz is part of the Authority's "Rebuilding the SEPTA System" capital program and funded through Pennsylvania Act 89. (SEPTA - posted 8/12)

AMTRAK GREAT DOME ON THE MAINE DOWNEASTER SERVICE: Passengers who ride on the Amtrak Downeaster between August 13 and September 18, 2016 will be able to see Northern New England like never before! Amtrak’s Great Dome rail car is making its first ever trip to Maine and will travel along with the Amtrak Downeaster on four trips each day. The vintage Dome was built in 1955 and features an upper level with windows on all sides (including the roof) that will offer passengers panoramic views of the scenic villages, coastline, marshes, streams and landscapes located all along the Downeaster route. The seats in the upper level of the dome car are available at no extra cost, but they are unreserved and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Passengers are encouraged to rotate in and out of the Dome car to allow all passengers the ability to enjoy this unique experience. The Great Dome Car is available on the following Downeaster trains*:
  • Weekday Train #682, #683, #686, #687
  • Weekend Train #690, #691, #698, #699
(Amtrak - posted 8/10)

NEW STOPS ON ACELA MEAN MORE FREEDOM TO RIDE: Amtrak Northeast Corridor customers can soon take advantage of additional opportunities to ride Acela Express as Amtrak’s high-speed service adds station stops in Iselin (Metropark) and Trenton, New Jersey. Effective Aug. 22, 2016, Amtrak Train 2173, departing New York Penn Station at 8:13 p.m. will stop at MetroPark at 8:41pm en route to Washington, D.C. Effective on the same date, Amtrak Train 2175, departing New York Penn Station at 9:05 p.m. will stop at Trenton at 9:51 p.m. en route to Washington, D.C. “These modifications better align our Acela Express schedule with the needs and desires of our premium customers in New Jersey,” said Michael J. DeCataldo, Amtrak Senior Vice President and General Manager of Northeast Corridor Operations. “Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor services remain focused on our goal of providing safe, reliable rail service with a commitment to financial excellence and superior customer service.” (Amtrak - posted 8/10)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING AUGUST 6, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending August 6, 2016. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 531,595 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending August 6 were 268,006 carloads, down 7 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 263,589 containers and trailers, down 3.9 percent compared to 2015. Two of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They were miscellaneous carloads, up 15.7 percent to 10,555 carloads; and grain, up 12.1 percent to 24,120 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 24 percent to 10,508 carloads; coal, down 15.7 percent to 89,310 carloads; and forest products, down 7.2 percent to 10,008 carloads. For the first 31 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 7,588,589 carloads, down 11.7 percent from the same point last year; and 7,978,993 intermodal units, down 2.8 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 31 weeks of 2016 was 15,567,582 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.4 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending August 6, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 352,987 carloads, down 6.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 333,906 intermodal units, down 3.6 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 686,893 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.1 percent. North American rail volume for the first 31 weeks of 2016 was 20,367,175 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.2 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 70,538 carloads for the week, down 2.8 percent, and 59,933 intermodal units, down 1 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 31 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 3,965,734 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.4 percent. Mexican railroads reported 14,443 carloads for the week, down 14.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,384 intermodal units, down 7.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 31 weeks of 2016 was 833,859 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 1.6 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 8/09)

MTA STATEMENT ON DEATH OF ROBERT R. KILEY: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is saddened by the death of Robert R. Kiley, the fifth chairman of the MTA, who died Tuesday at the age of 80. Kiley was appointed chairman of the MTA by then-New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo in 1983. He was the longest serving MTA chairman, serving for more than seven years from November 1983 to January 1991, and was a principle catalyst of the system’s remarkable transformation — from a symbol of urban decay to today’s modern, safe and vital economic engine. “Bob’s leadership helped the MTA focus on dramatically improving the safety and reliability of the network, led directly to the record ridership levels we see today and was central to the State’s increased growth and prosperity,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “He assembled a team and created a vision that brought the transit system back from the brink of disaster and under Gov. Mario M. Cuomo helped rebuild our region’s economy. We remember his service with fondness and gratitude and send our deepest condolences to his family in this difficult time.” One of Kiley’s most enduring legacies was the removal of graffiti — a potent symbol of disorder — throughout New York City’s subway system. Kiley was also instrumental is advancing New York City Transit’s fare collection system from tokens to the MetroCard. Kiley implemented the first and second MTA Capital Programs, overseeing more than $16 billion worth of investments in New York’s transit network and focused these investments on our network’s core “invisible” infrastructure such as trains, buses, track, signals, and thousands of components most customers never even see. (MTA - posted 8/09)

STEAM LOCOMOTIVE 470 MOVED:G On August 8 Maine Central steam locomotive 470, which has been on display in Waterville, Maine for the past 60 years, was dismantled and placed on two trucks for movement over the highway to a new home in Elsworth, Maine. Today, the tender was to have been moved from Waterville to Elsworth. The New England Steam Corporation plans to restored the locomotive to service. For more information visit http://www.newenglandsteam.org/home (Randy Kotuby - posted 8/09)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OUTLINES "WHAT EFFICIENCY LOOKS LIKE"" Cleaner-running locomotives. Greater energy efficiency. Support for safer communities. Fewer workplace injuries. A more diverse workforce. Those are among key achievements highlighted in Norfolk Southern's new online sustainability report, "What Efficiency Looks Like." The report details NS' progress toward achieving a healthy balance between its business imperatives as a publicly traded company and its environmental and social commitments as a responsible corporate citizen. "Efficiently moving freight trains across our 22-state network is a cornerstone of sustainability at Norfolk Southern," said CEO Jim Squires. "It's about turning challenges into daily opportunities – keeping our people and communities safe, providing unequalled customer service, and being a good steward of the resources that contribute to our success." "Corporate sustainability at Norfolk Southern means acting responsibly in the conduct of our business, which enhances our ability to grow business," said Bruno Maestri, vice president government relations and corporate sustainability officer. "We are part of the fabric of the communities where we operate, and we want to add value by what Norfolk Southern brings to our communities." Among report highlights, NS in 2015: Environmental Performance
  • Rolled out a new class of low-emission Eco locomotives at rail yards in Atlanta and Chicago.
  • Introduced a custom plug-in engine-heating system at rail yards that reduces unnecessary locomotive idling in cold weather.
  • Adopted a five-year goal to improve locomotive fuel efficiency, which will contribute to the company's goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Economic Performance
  • Returned more than $700 million in dividends to shareholders, representing a 6 percent increase in dividends per share for the year.
  • Supported the location of 61 new industries and 32 industry expansions along NS rail lines, representing $4.2 billion in customer investment and more than 6,100 new customer jobs.
  • Contributed more than $13.7 million in combined Norfolk Southern Foundation, corporate, and business giving in communities served by the railroad to support human service needs, arts and culture, environment, and education.
Social Performance
  • Recorded a 13 percent decline in employee reportable injuries.
  • Hired a record number of female employees: 28 percent of management trainees and 7 percent of conductor trainees were women.
  • Formed local employee diversity and inclusion councils in each of the railroad's 10 operating divisions.
  • Helped train more than 4,800 local emergency responders in safe response to potential incidents involving transport of product regulated as hazardous material.
The online report can found at www.nssustainability.com . (NS, Randy Kotuby - posted 8/09)

OMNITRAX'S DECATUR CENTRAL RAILROAD: A managed affiliate of OmniTRAX, Inc., one of the largest privately held transportation service companies in North America and an affiliate of The Broe Group, and Topflight Grain Cooperative, Inc. are entering into a joint venture to operate, drive business to and rehabilitate the rail line currently owned by Topflight Grain. OmniTRAX will manage the newly renamed Decatur Central Railroad, LLC, which links Cisco and Decatur, IL, commencing in late 2016. Terms were not disclosed. “The Decatur Central Railroad is a great opportunity for OmniTRAX due to strong existing commodity flows, real-estate driven expansion prospects and the potential to add new diversified business. We’re also very excited to work with the Topflight and Midwest Inland Port teams, and to be a part of the Decatur business community,” said Kevin Shuba, CEO of OmniTRAX. “We see a lot of opportunity on the rail line for improved performance and expansion. OmniTRAX has had great success with their other railroads and industrial parks, and we look forward to working with them to grow the business here for years to come,” said Scott Docherty, CEO/General Manager of Topflight Grain Cooperative. The Decatur Central Railroad will transport grain from Topflight Coop members to the plants of ADM, Tate & Lyle and other processing companies in and around Macon County. The line, which interchanges with CN just north of Decatur, is integral to the growth plans of the Midwest Inland Port. A division by the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County, the Midwest Inland Port is a multi-modal hub in Decatur that delivers domestic and international logistics flexibility through a well-positioned transportation corridor connecting the Midwest with the East, West and Gulf Coasts. “OmniTRAX has a great track record of developing businesses that grow regional economies and create new jobs, and Topflight is a key agriculture player in Central Illinois. We look forward to working with them to help the Midwest Inland Port reach its full potential,” said EDC President Ryan McCrady. (OmniTrax - posted 8/08)

FINAL SPRINTER ENTERS REVENUE SERVICE: Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) locomotive #670 entered revenue service this week, marking delivery of the 70th ACS-64 locomotive to serve passengers along the highly-traveled Northeast Corridor and Keystone corridors for years to come. The Siemens-built equipment provides more reliable and efficient service for passengers. “Delivery of the final ACS-64 locomotive marks a major milestone for Amtrak as this new fleet, a multimillion dollar investment, was delivered ahead of schedule and is improving service for millions of customers in the northeast,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “The locomotives have ushered in a new era of improved performance, efficiency and reliability that is integral to keeping the people and businesses in the northeast moving.” The advanced technology vehicles are designed for improved reliability and easier maintenance leading to faster turn-around times and increased availability of service. In fact, the equipment has already provided enhanced transportation benefits for passengers by improving on-time performance– reducing delay incidents by nearly 25 percent and reducing delay times by 30 percent. In addition, the locomotives meet the latest federal rail safety regulations, including crash energy management components, and come equipped with safety technology such as positive train control and inward-facing cameras. “These locomotives promised a new era of mobility on the Northeast Corridor and we’re extremely proud that they are living up to that promise by improving service for riders, all while being delivered ahead of schedule and on-budget,” said Siemens Rolling Stock President Michael Cahill. “On behalf of the hundreds of Siemens employees who helped design, build, and service these advanced technology locomotives, in addition to our host of rail suppliers across the U.S., we congratulate Amtrak on this milestone and look forward to the future.” The partnership illustrates the value industry partners can derive from working with Amtrak. The locomotives were built at Siemens’ rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, Calif. – a facility that employs more than 900 people – and the equipment includes parts from more than 60 U.S. suppliers, in 50 cities and 20 states. The partnership with Amtrak was also instrumental in assisting Siemens to successfully market the locomotives and generate business in North America. The electric locomotives were first unveiled at the Siemens manufacturing plant in 2013, following a rigorous testing program at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Technology Center (TTC) facility in Pueblo, Colo. The advanced technology locomotive first entered Amtrak Northeast Corridor operations in 2014, powering all Northeast Regional and long-distance trains between Washington D.C., New York and Boston, and matching existing trip-times at speeds up to 125 mph. They also operate on the Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa. at speeds of up to 125 mph. (Amtrak - posted 8/05)

AMTRAK CEO INSPECTS SOUTHWEST CHIEF ROUTE IMPROVEMENTS IN THREE STATES: Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman today completed a three-state trip on the Southwest Chief route in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico, thanking local, state and federal leaders for their partnership with Amtrak and BNSF Railway to preserve and improve the route for Amtrak and BNSF customers. Also aboard segments of the inspection train tour were BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose, Interim Kansas Transportation Secretary Richard Carlson, and other state, local and federal officials. Amtrak and BNSF began a public conversation in 2012 regarding deteriorating rail conditions that would have slowed BNSF freight traffic and led Amtrak to permanently detour or discontinue the Southwest Chief service. Since then, successful grant applications led by Garden City, Kan., and La Junta, Colo., have resulted in $27.6 million in federal TIGER funding in the past two years. When matching state and community support and contributions from Amtrak ($8 million), BNSF ($4 million) and other communities are combined with the TIGER grants, a total of $46.2 million will result in 127 miles of replacement of rails and ties nearing the end of their service between Hutchinson, Kan., and Waldo, New Mexico. Additionally, BNSF has agreed to maintain the track at a maximum speed of 79 mph for Amtrak and 60 mph for freight trains where the jointed rail has been replaced. The replacement rail has come from a plant in Pueblo, Colo., and has been installed by BNSF crews. “Since my service has Amtrak CEO began in 2008, Amtrak and BNSF have worked together to match federal grants with investments from both of our railroads, states and towns. On the Amtrak Empire Builder route in North Dakota and here on the Amtrak Southwest Chief route in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico, we seen leadership that brings everyone to the table and finds solutions. “Together, we have improved the railroad for Amtrak and BNSF customers, strengthening critical links across states and connecting communities with little or no other intercity public transportation options,” Boardman said. In coming years, more grants and more investments in matching funds will be needed to continue to make needed improvements over the Raton Pass on this route in New Mexico, the steepest and highest BNSF crossing of the Rocky Mountains, and on to Lamy, near Santa Fe. The full Amtrak Southwest Chief (Trains 3 & 4) route is operated daily between Chicago and Los Angeles, via Kansas City and Albuquerque. Amtrak has also conducted research for a state commission in Colorado that shows the benefits of an Amtrak service that would connect Pueblo with the Southwest Chief at La Junta, Colo. (Amtrak - posted 8/05)

MTA ANNOUNCES NEW OPERATION TRACK SWEEP INITIATIVES: The MTA today announced Operation Track Sweep (view video here), a multi-pronged plan to dramatically reduce the amount of trash on subway tracks, and in the process improve the station environment, and reduce track fires and train delays. “Operation Track Sweep is a critically important part of our overall effort to create a transit system that’s faster, more efficient, and more customer-friendly,” commented MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “There’s no question that a concerted and sustained effort to limit trash on subway tracks will have a significant impact on the efficiency of subway service – getting rid of trash on the tracks helps us decrease the number of track fires, and that means fewer delays. Just as importantly, this initiative will also have a positive effect on how people feel about their daily commute – when there’s less debris, the entire station looks and feels cleaner, and the ride is more enjoyable.” “Operation Track Sweep represents an entirely new way of thinking about how we can improve service, and provide an enhanced customer experience,” said Veronique (Ronnie) Hakim, President of NYC Transit. “We’re approaching this as a sustained effort to get the tracks clean, and keep them as clean as possible over the long haul. Even as we redouble our efforts, it’s important for everyone to realize that riders have a critically important role to play as well – keeping the tracks clean means that everyone has to pitch in by disposing of trash properly.” Operation Track Sweep Program will be rolled out in four complementary phases:
  • Phase 1 : The MTA has implemented a new cleaning schedule that re-prioritizes stations based on the amounts of trash usually removed, and increases the frequency of station track cleaning from 34 station tracks every two weeks, to 94 station tracks every two weeks. This new, more aggressive, cleaning schedule commenced in June.
  • Phase 2: Starting on Monday, September 12th, the MTA will launch an intensive two-week, system-wide cleaning during which more than 500 workers will remove trash and debris from the tracks at all of the system’s 469 stations – more than 10 miles of subway station track. The clean-up work on underground stations will be done at night, when ridership is at its lightest. During the day workers will clean tracks at outdoor and elevated stations. During this phase of Operation Track Sweep, signs will be posted at each station noting the date and time that the tracks were cleaned.
  • Phase 3: The MTA is also working with two manufacturers on the development of a powerful – but portable -- track vacuum system that can be quickly deployed, operated from platforms, and moved easily from one station to the next. Prototypes of the new vacuums are slated to arrive in the November/December time frame.
  • Phase 4: In addition, the MTA has ordered a trio of powerful new track vacuum trains, with the first two trains arriving in 2017, and a third in 2018. Vacuum trains can remove up to 14 cubic yards of trash every day. The MTA is also purchasing 27 new refuse cars to move debris out of the system more quickly and support the new expanded cleaning effort. The cars are equipped with special railings to secure and transport wheeled garbage containers that are collected at subway stations.
(MTA - posted 8/05)

HOOSIER STATE TRAIN IMPROVEMENTS CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARY, INCREASED RIDERSHIP AND REVENUE: The Indiana Department of Transportation and on-line communities today celebrate one year of improvements to the Hoosier State® passenger train, which operates four days per week between Indianapolis and Chicago. During May and June of 2016, both ridership and revenue have increased as compared with the same months in 2015. Notably, ticket revenue has increased 62 percent or more. The Hoosier State is among the highest-rated trains on the Amtrak system, with about 90 percent of riders surveyed in recent months being very satisfied. In the months since October 2015, on-time performance has averaged 82 percent.
  • New amenities: New amenities on board make the Hoosier State very competitive with driving or taking the bus. Passengers can stay productive or relax and enjoy the journey with free power outlets and Wi-Fi service that uses mobile data along the tracks. The Hoosier State’s business-class service offers table seating, alcoholic beverages and a hot meal served on a white tablecloth. Business-class passengers may access a unique dome lounge with large windows that provide improved views of the Indiana landscape. Coach passengers may also purchase fresh food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages, on board the refurbished heritage train cars.
  • Purchase tickets: The four-days-weekly Hoosier State combines with Amtrak’s three-days-weekly Cardinal to provide daily passenger-rail service between Indianapolis and Chicago. Two promotions have been extended for travel through the end of the year. Students may take 30 percent off the coach fares with the code V808 and all passengers may take 15 percent off coach fares with the code V431. Upgrades to business class are available for an additional charge. Both discounts require tickets to be purchased at least three days in advance. For full terms and conditions and to purchase tickets, visit HoosierStateTrain.com, call 800-USA-RAIL or use other Amtrak sales channels, including mobile apps. Hoosier State adult coach fares range from $24 to $48 each way and are subject to discounts and two rewards programs, the Rail Baron Club and Amtrak Guest Rewards.
  • New contracts: After Congress voted to phase out financial support, the Indiana Department of Transportation and communities that benefit from the Hoosier State agreed to jointly fund the service. The joint funding ensured that local officials had a stake in improving performance and ensuring accountability for the tax dollars invested. At the end of July 2015, INDOT signed new contracts with Amtrak, on-line communities and a new contractor, Iowa Pacific Holdings. Amtrak serves as the train operator, working with host railroads, providing train and engine crews, and managing ticketing and reservations. Iowa Pacific provides the train equipment, train maintenance, marketing, and on-board amenities. The first train under the new service arrangement departed Indianapolis Union Station on Sunday, Aug. 2.
(INDOT, Alex Mayes - posted 8/04)

SEPTA ANNOUNCES TIMELINE FOR RETURN OF SILVERLINER V RAIL CARS: SEPTA expects to begin returning Silverliner V rail cars to service on a regular basis starting in late August, following repairs to address a structural defect, the transit authority announced today. Approximately 10 cars will be put back into service each week, starting the week of Aug. 21. All 120 Silverliner Vs are expected to be back in service by the week of Nov. 6. The Silverliner Vs represent approximately one-third of SEPTA's Regional Rail fleet. Silverliner V manufacturer Hyundai Rotem, working with SEPTA, will replace all equalizer beams on the rail cars. Fatigue and related tests will be completed before vehicles are cleared for service. "We sincerely regret the inconvenience to customers resulting from the recent rail car shortage," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. "A fast, but exhaustive, investigation has produced valuable information on how to create a new and improved design for these equalizer beams. SEPTA can now look forward to restoring full service starting later this summer." "For our riders, September will be a transitional month ," Knueppel added. "We expect it will be tougher at the start, but we see it becoming smoother toward the end of the month as more Silverliner Vs come back into service." Fatigue cracks, most hairline-sized, were found in the equalizer beams on 115 of 120 Sliverliner Vs during inspections last month. Equalizer beams are part of the rail car suspension system, and distribute the weight of the vehicle to its axles. All vehicles were taken out of service on July 1 after SEPTA maintenance personnel discovered a cracked equalizer beam on one rail car. An exhaustive investigation has been conducted to determine the causes of the cracks, including computer modeling and metallurgical testing. In addition, a Silverliner V was field tested using an intricate system of sensors to better understand the stress placed on equalizer beams. Materials for beams are being delivered, and the decision on the final design of the replacement equalizer beam will be made by Friday, Aug. 5. In addition to advancing the fix for the Silverliner Vs as soon as possible, SEPTA will continue looking for ways to maximize its available rail fleet, along with the addition of coach cars leased from Amtrak, NJ Transit and MARC. SEPTA will make adjustments to schedules that will go into effect after Labor Day, and will soon announce plans for express bus service along several Regional Rail lines. (SEPTA - posted 8/03)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR JULY AND WEEK ENDING JULY 30, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for July 2016. Carload traffic in July totaled 1,025,367 carloads, down 8.8 percent or 99,530 carloads from July 2015. U.S. railroads also originated 1,002,401 containers and trailers in July 2016, down 6.9 percent or 74,482 units from the same month last year. For July 2016, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,027,768, down 7.9 percent or 174,012 carloads and intermodal units from July 2015. In July 2016, four of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with July 2015. These included: grain, up 15.3 percent or 12,641 carloads; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 25.9 percent or 3,400 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, up 12.9 percent or 2,880 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in July 2016 from July 2015 included: coal, down 17.5 percent or 70,479 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 22 percent or 11,926 carloads; and crushed stone, gravel and sand, down 11.6 percent or 11,765 carloads. Excluding coal, carloads were down 4 percent or 29,051 carloads in July 2016 from July 2015. Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 30 weeks of 2016 was 7,320,583 carloads, down 11.9 percent or 986,109 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 7,715,404 units, down 2.8 percent or 221,538 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2015. For the first seven months of 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 15,035,987 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.4 percent or 1,207,647 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year. "Rail traffic continues to reflect the uncertainty rail customers face in a challenging economic environment," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray, who noted rail intermodal remained off from 2015's record traffic level while carloads showed a small improvement in coal and a bit of an improvement in grain. "For the present, railroads are focused on providing safe and efficient service to their customers, while watching to see if the increase in consumer spending in the second quarter will lead to additional Gross Domestic Product growth in the second half of the year." Week Ending July 30, 2016 Total U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 30, 2016 was 536,916 carloads and intermodal units, down 4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending July 30 were 274,355 carloads, down 5.3 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 262,561 containers and trailers, down 2.6 percent compared to 2015. Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They included miscellaneous carloads, up 16.7 percent to 10,839 carloads; grain, up 14.9 percent to 24,677 carloads; and chemicals, up 3.1 percent to 31,025 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 25 percent to 10,383 carloads; coal, down 12.2 percent to 90,330 carloads; and forest products, down 8.1 percent to 10,329 carloads. North American rail volume for the week ending July 30, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 361,377 carloads, down 5.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 330,964 intermodal units, down 3 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 692,341 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.5 percent. North American rail volume for the first 30 weeks of 2016 was 19,680,282 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.2 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 71,718 carloads for the week, down 6.7 percent, and 62,043 intermodal units, up 2.5 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 30 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 3,835,263 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.6 percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,304 carloads for the week, down 12.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 6,360 intermodal units, down 42.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 30 weeks of 2016 was 809,032 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 1.2 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 8/03)

CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY LIMITED ANNOUNCES SALE OF ITS COMMON SHARES BY PERSHING SQUARE: Canadian Pacific Railway Limited ("Canadian Pacific" or "CP") (CP)(CP) and Pershing Square Capital Management L.P. ("Pershing Square") today announced the commencement of a public offering of 9,840,890 of Canadian Pacific's common shares by certain funds managed by Pershing Square. Canadian Pacific is not selling any common shares in the offering and will not receive any of the proceeds from the offering of common shares by the funds managed by Pershing Square. Upon the closing of today's sale of 9,840,890 common shares, funds managed by Pershing Square will not own any common shares of Canadian Pacific. J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, BofA Merrill Lynch will act as underwriters for the offering (CP, Randy Kotuby - posted 8/03)

BOMBARDIER AWARDED CONTRACT FOR THE SUPPLY OF 125 BILEVEL CARS TO METROLINX: Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation announced today that Metrolinx, the Province of Ontario's regional transportation agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), has exercised options for the purchase of an additional 125 next-generation BOMBARDIER BiLevel commuter rail cars for service with GO Transit in Toronto. This order is valued at $428 million CAD ($328 million US, 294 million euro). Production is scheduled to start in Thunder Bay in Q2, 2018 and final delivery is expected in Q1, 2020. "Bombardier is Thunder Bay's largest private sector employer. This investment, the latest in a long series of investments by our government in mass transit will help ensure that a significant workforce remains at Bombardier contributing greatly to the economy of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario," said Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan. "This is exciting news for Bombardier and our region," said Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North. "Investments like this, will create jobs and keep people right here in Thunder Bay working and our community strong for years to come." The BiLevel coach is the most popular double-deck commuter rail car in North America with over 1,300 currently in operation, or on order with, transit authorities in 14 metropolitan regions across Canada and the United States. These newest generation cars feature upgrades to door and air conditioning systems, increases in energy efficiency, and enhancements to amenities that make the passenger experience even better. This order for additional BiLevel cars will support GO Transit's overall service expansion plan to meet ridership growth. Every day, close to 1.5 million Ontarians rely on Bombardier rail vehicles to make their daily commute on the Toronto subway, streetcar systems or GO Transit commuter trains. To help rail transit agencies maximize the utilization of their assets, Bombardier provides a full range of products and services for the entire lifecycle of train operations and ensures substantial investments in advanced engineering, research and development and technology testing. In GTHA, Bombardier maintains and operates GO Transit's commuter train fleet, the largest commuter rail system in Canada. "We are proud of our long-standing partnership with Ontario", said Benoît Brossoit, President, Bombardier Transportation, Americas Region. "By providing industry-leading performance with our rail vehicles and services, Bombardier has been an ally in the development of public transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for over 20 years. Today, with our manufacturing sites and thousands of local employees, our commitment to Ontario remains as strong as ever." Bombardier Transportation is the only global rail manufacturer with an important presence in Canada. In Ontario, Bombardier relies on a workforce of close to 6,000 highly qualified employees and three manufacturing sites, Thunder Bay, Kingston and Downsview. (Bombardier - posted 8/02)

GOVERNOR CUOMO DIRECTS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MTA TO TAKE AGGRESSIVE ACTION TO PREVENT ZIKA VIRUS IN NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY SYSTEM: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a series of new aggressive initiatives to combat the Zika virus in New York State. At the Governor’s direction, the state Department of Health, in partnership with the MTA, is deploying larvicide tablets to standing water within the subway system to decrease the prevalence of potential breeding grounds for the albopictus mosquito. In addition, the Department of Health will coordinate with all state agencies, including the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation, to ensure all measures possible are being taken to proactively address the situation. The state is also redoubling its efforts to protect New Yorkers from the virus – ramping up distribution of larvicide tablets to homeowners and providing more Zika protection kits to pregnant women at health and family planning centers and WIC programs across the state. The new initiatives build on the Governor’s previously announced comprehensive six-step plan to combat the Zika virus, including the launch of a statewide public awareness campaign, establishing a new rapid response team and requiring that county health departments submit Zika action plans to the state. New York City and the 57 other counties in New York have all received approval from the Department of Health on local Zika action plans. Additionally, more than 267 traps are monitored throughout New York State and 110,000 mosquitoes have been tested this year – all showing negative results for the virus. “The Zika virus remains a dangerous public health threat, and New York State continues to pursue every possible measure to combat it,” Governor Cuomo said. “By enlisting the cooperation of state agencies and New Yorkers, we are taking aggressive action to help reduce the prevalence of mosquito breeding grounds across the state and stop this disease at its source. As the Zika situation continues to evolve, we will remain vigilant and strengthen our prevention efforts to safeguard the public health and safety of all New Yorkers.” As mosquitoes lay eggs in or near water, and their offspring “grow up” in water before emerging as adults that fly and bite, stagnant water serves as potential breeding ground for mosquitoes capable of transmitting the Zika virus. The state is taking aggressive action to apply larvicide tablets to standing water and reduce the risk of potential transmission of the virus. As part of the new effort, the state Department of Health, in partnership with the MTA, will target 36 priority locations to eliminate sources of standing water. The primary focus will be to increase drainage within the stations, while also deploying larvicide tablets as needed. Working with the MTA, the Department of Health will also put place new traps to monitor the mosquito population and ensure rigorous testing and reporting of the presence of the albopictus mosquito across the system. Additionally, the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will continue to coordinate with both the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation to aggressively identify and eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds in parks and recreational areas across the state. The Zika virus is transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito in South and Central America. The virus can also be sexually transmitted. Although Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are not present in New York, a related species named Aedes albopictus is active in the downstate region. Scientists have not yet determined if Aedes albopictus – the type in New York – transmits Zika. There are 70 different species of mosquito in New York State and Aedes albopictus make up just three to five percent of the total population. The greatest danger facing those who contract Zika is a birth defect known as microcephaly. To date, one infant has been born with microcephaly in New York. This disease occurs in babies of mothers who are infected with the Zika virus while pregnant. Zika may also cause a rare disorder called Guillain Barré Syndrome, which can cause temporary paralysis. The World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency of international concern in February. The CDC issued travel advisory on Monday reminding pregnant women to avoid travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission. This now includes the Wynwood section of Miami, Florida, where the number of confirmed cases of local Zika transmission recently rose to 14. There have been no cases of local transmission in New York. To date, there have been 537 confirmed cases of Zika statewide – 532 of which were travel-related and five of which were sexually transmitted. Out of the 537 confirmed cases, 414 have been found in New York City. “With six million daily subway customers, the MTA takes public health concerns just as seriously as our operational safety,” Tom Prendergast, MTA Chairman and CEO said. “Some 13 million gallons of water enters the subway system every day, from precipitation, intrusion of ground water and even the water we use to power clean platforms. But the serious threat of virus carrying mosquitos makes it even more important to we have clean, functioning drains, and adequate pump equipment, aggressive inspection and pumping schedules to remove standing water. At Governor Cuomo’s direction, we are stepping up our efforts to clear standing water which could breed virus-carrying mosquitos, and to treat areas that might allow breeding so that our passengers can travel the subway system confident that we taking all necessary preventive steps to protect them.” "We all play a role in preventing the Zika virus,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “This latest initiative to proactively address standing water in mass transit locations throughout the city is another example of Governor Cuomo’s Zika prevention plan in action. The State’s aggressive approach, combined with residents’ vigilance in removing standing water from their own properties and protecting themselves from mosquito bites if they travel to places with active Zika transmission, will help us protect New Yorkers, especially pregnant women, from Zika." (MTA - posted 8/02)

SPRING CITY DERAILMENT UPDATE: Norfolk Southern is experiencing service interruptions due to a mainline derailment that occurred on July 28th, 2016 approximately 40 miles north of Chattanooga, TN in Spring City, TN. The track was returned to service the night of Saturday, July 30th and both northbound and southbound trains are being metered through the site. Efforts are still underway to make repairs, requiring intermittent outages. NS continues to monitor and reroute traffic in order to minimize impact, however customers with shipments moving over this route should continue to expect delays until normal operations resume. (NS - posted 8/01)

FRA ISSUES NEW RULE REQUIRING PASSENGER RAILROADS TO PROACTIVELY IDENTIFY AND REDUCE SAFETY RISK: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued a new final rule which requires passenger railroads to proactively identify potential safety hazards across their operations and work to reduce and mitigate them. The rule will help prevent potential safety problems from escalating and resulting in incidents, injuries, or deaths. “Operating a railroad safely requires more than simply not having an incident – it demands looking for problems before they cause an injury or a fatality,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This new rule is a huge step in the right direction to make passenger rail service even safer.” The new rule, the System Safety Program (SSP), requires passenger railroads to implement, among other items, a defined and measurable safety culture; identify potential safety hazards in their operations and work to reduce or eliminate those hazards; and to document and demonstrate how they will achieve compliance with FRA regulations. “Safety has to be a consistent priority, and that means identifying problems before they escalate and turn into an incident,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “This new rule will help passenger railroads achieve the next generation of rail safety.” “The System Safety Program rule includes proactive hazard analysis as a standard approach to identifying and addressing significant safety issues,” said FRA’s Chief Safety Officer Robert C. Lauby. “I believe that this approach will be key for the railroad industry to reach the next level of safety.” The next-generation, goal-oriented safety regulation aims to build on the foundational framework FRA currently has in place for safety rules by directing industry to pivot from a reactive to a more proactive approach at achieving safety. Because of the comprehensive requirements the SSP entails, FRA will provide technical assistance on ways to set, achieve, and measure safety culture and other important elements of the regulation. “The System Safety Program rule has been a long time in the making, but it’s been worth the wait,” said FRA Passenger Rail Safety Director Dan Knote. “The Passenger Rail Division at FRA will provide guidance to all passenger railroads as they embark in this exciting and life-saving initiative.” The rule will go into effect 60 days from the date of its publication. Within eight months of publishing the rule, all passenger railroads are required to have a meeting with employees who are directly affected by the rule to discuss their plan on the consultation process when developing a SSP. (FRA- posted 7/29)

WEEKDAY PM FARE COLLECTION CENTER CITY REGIONAL RAIL STATIONS BEGINS MONDAY AUG 1: Starting Monday, Aug. 1, from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., as part of SEPTA's ongoing effort to improve operational efficiency during the current rail car shortage, Regional Rail fares will be collected and validated before customers enter the platform area at Center City stations. Customers entering Temple, Jefferson, Suburban, 30th Street and University City Stations will be able to have their passes, tickets or transit identification, such as Pennsylvania Senior Cards and Reduced Fare Cards, validated by SEPTA personnel at the top of each stairwell. Once fares are validated, customers can proceed to the platform to board trains. This will eliminate the need for customers to pay for their trip on-board trains. Customers who do not have one of these pre-purchased fares can purchase tickets at the station ticket office before going to the stairway fare lines. Tickets cannot be purchased from the fare validation personnel or from train conductors during the evening rush hour. "This change will better enable conductors to focus on maintaining safe and efficient train operations by eliminating the need for them to validate and collect fares," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. "We expect this to help improve the efficiency of our Regional Rail operations, and make travel more convenient for our customers." "This is also an issue of equity," Knueppel added. "Crowded conditions can make it difficult for conductors to collect and validate fares. By moving this to the stations, we help ensure fair treatment for all customers." This temporary new fare procedure only applies to the weekday PM rush. There will be no change to fare collection and validation procedures for all other hours of the day and on weekends. (SEPTA - posted 7/29)

GP40Ps BEING CONVERTED TO WORK TRAIN LOCOMOTIVES: NJ Transit has begun a program to convert its former CNJ GP40P locomotives (4100-4112) from passenger to work train units. The conversion includes the removal of the CAT-powered head-end auxiliary motor (HEP) and replacement of the rear steps with recessed switcher-type steps. Although the HEP units has been removed, the locomotives retain their 480V cable feeds so that they can be used as a cab car or to have the 480V fed thru train if used as a multiple unit consist.(Andy Kirk - 7/29)

READING & NORTHERN RAILROAD CELEBRATES TAKEOVER OF RAIL SERVICE TO HUMBOLDT INDUSTRIAL PARK: Reading & Northern Railroad (R&N) welcomed over sixty guests on a passenger train trip through the Humboldt Industrial Park on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Reading & Northern acquired the rights to provide rail service to Humboldt from CAN DO, the region's premier economic development organization, on January 1st, 2016. On that day RBMN took over the rail freight service from Norfolk Southern Railroad. Tuesday’s train trip was to celebrate the successful start up of Reading and Northern service in the park. R&N welcomed representatives from the Humboldt freight customers, CAN DO, Congressman Barletta's office, and other local and regional groups. R&N's Passenger Department arranged for two ninety-minute trips through the Park complete with lunch that included salmon, corn on the cob, and roast pork and cheeseburger sliders. The passenger cars included one of the famous Open Air cars that are so popular on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad, the passenger arm of the R&N, as well as private cars owned by Andy Muller, Jr. One of the private cars, The Black Diamond, is more than 100 years old and was built by Jay Gould for his daughter, Helen in 1889. Mr. Muller, who was the host for the day, welcomed all the visitors and repeatedly thanked the customers for their business and CAN DO for its confidence in the R&N's abilities. Both trains left on schedule; a hallmark of R&N and LGSR service. In fact, R&N is one of the only freight railroads in the nation, if not the only one, that offers all customers a guaranteed two- hour service window. The weather cooperated and all the guests had a wonderful time. Reading & Northern Railroad, with its corporate headquarters in Port Clinton, is a privately held railroad company serving over 60 customers in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties (Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Wyoming). It has expanded its operations over the last 20+ years and has grown into one of the premier railroads in Pennsylvania. Reading and Northern operates both freight services and steam and diesel powered excursion passenger services through its Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, owns over 1,000 freight cars, and employs over 200 dedicated employees. (R&N - 7/28)

WATCO TO OPERATE SANDUSKY, OHIO TERMINAL: As of July 1, 2016 Watco Transloading, LLC has established a definitive licensed agreement with Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS) to operate the newly established Norfolk Southern TBT Terminal (Thoroughbred Bulk Terminal) located in Sandusky, Ohio. The Ohio terminal is situated between Toledo and Cleveland along the banks of Lake Erie. The NS is leveraging the existing infrastructure of the former Triple Crown Services facility to allow Watco and NS to drive new incremental transload business, and further establish the Watco/NS TBT Terminal presence in the Ohio Region. The newly acquired operations at the Sandusky Terminal will add to the growing list of Watco operated TBT Terminals in the Ohio Region. Watco currently operates three other existing TBT Terminals in the greater Ohio Region: Columbus, Ohio; Euclid, Ohio; and Willis, Michigan. Thirty fully paved railcar spots have been allocated for Watco’s use at the terminal with laydown space available for ongoing storage of customer related products. There is ample room for expansion at the site should business levels warrant the need to increase operations. Watco will begin transload operations at Sandusky in July 2016. “We are very excited to begin operations in Sandusky, and are extremely grateful for having been given the opportunity to expand our presence in the NS TBT Network” said Watco Vice President Marketing & Sales Marc Massoglia. Watco will be focused on transloading a number of different commodities, including but not limited to the following: chemicals, plastics, forest products, steel products, and various agricultural related products. The ongoing operations will include both origin and destination transloading, as well as the ability to provide outside storage for various break-bulk products. “Our growing presence in the Ohio Region enables Watco the ability to expand on our existing customer relationships, as well as establish new lasting relationships with the surrounding communities,” said Watco Marketing Manager Ryan Krull. With the commencement of operations at Sandusky, Watco will embark on its 58th terminal location within Watco’s Terminal & Port Services network. “The team will ensure that we not only meet the needs of our customers, but that we do so in accordance with Watco’s Foundation Principles, by valuing our customers, valuing our people and safely improving each and every day,” said Vice President of Operations Clint Woods. (WATCO - 7/28)

DOT ANNOUNCES $188 MILLION AVAILABLE FOR POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL IMPLEMENTATION ON COMMUTER RAILROADS: The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that it will accept applications for $199 million in competitive grant funding for Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation. The grants, which will be selected by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and awarded and administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), will help commuter railroads implement PTC, which prevents accidents and saves lives. “With more passengers depending on rail for transportation, Positive Train Control is needed more than ever,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “I encourage all commuter railroads to take full advantage of this opportunity to invest in the most important rail safety technology in more than a century.” Congress authorized the funding in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, and the funding is available for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. PTC technology can prevent certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zones, and trains routed to the wrong tracks because a switch was left in the wrong position. FRA will accept applications until 5 p.m. EDT on Sept. 28, 2016. Projects eligible for grants must develop information that assists in implementing PTC systems, such as costs of installing PTC systems; back office systems; PTC interoperability; technologies that will lower costs, accelerate implementation, enhance interoperability between host and tenant operations, and improve reliability of PTC systems; and support PTC system certification. Eligible applicants include any entity that is eligible to receive grants from the FTA, such as commuter railroads, operators, and state and local governments. “This funding will get us a bit closer to activating Positive Train Control on some of the most important railroads in the country that transport millions of passengers to their jobs each morning and to their families each night,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “We urge railroads to submit strong applications that make these dollars go as far as possible, and we remain hopeful that Congress will act on the President’s request for more funding to make PTC a reality as quickly as possible.” In 2008, Congress mandated PTC implementation on certain railroad main lines where railroads transport poisonous-by-inhalation (PIH), or toxic-by-inhalation (TIH), hazardous materials, or any line where a railroad provides regularly scheduled passenger service. Last October, Congress extended the original deadline from December 31, 2015, to at least December 31, 2018. The President has consistently made funding and assistance for commuter railroads to implement PTC a priority. In his FY 2017 budget request, the President requested $1.25 billion. This follows requests of $825 million in both FY 2015 and FY 2016. Since 2008, FRA has provided significant assistance to support railroads’ PTC implementation. Those efforts include:
  • Offering $25 million in new FY 2016 grant funding to railroads, suppliers and state and local governments;
  • Providing more than $650 million in grant funds to passenger railroads, including nearly $400 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding;
  • Issuing a nearly $1 billion loan to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to implement PTC on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad;
  • Building a PTC testbed at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado;
  • Working directly with the Federal Communications Commission and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to resolve issues related to spectrum use and improve the approval process for PTC communication towers;
  • Dedicating staff to work on PTC implementation, including establishing a PTC task force.
To view a list of when railroads predict that they will achieve full PTC implementation, visit Railroad by Railroad Positive Train Control (PTC) Status (USDOT - 7/28)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING JULY 23, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending July 23, 2016. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 528,070 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending July 23 were 261,748 carloads, down 8.7 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 266,322 containers and trailers, down 1.7 percent compared to 2015. Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They included miscellaneous carloads, up 28.3 percent to 10,916 carloads; grain, up 9.2 percent to 24,038 carloads; and chemicals, up 2.5 percent to 30,432 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 27.5 percent to 10,260 carloads; coal, down 19.4 percent to 83,677 carloads; and motor vehicles and parts, down 13.8 percent to 14,615 carloads. For the first 29 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 7,046,228 carloads, down 12.1 percent from the same point last year; and 7,452,843 intermodal units, down 2.8 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 29 weeks of 2016 was 14,499,071 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.6 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending July 23, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 347,840 carloads, down 9.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 337,939 intermodal units, down 1.9 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 685,779 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.7 percent. North American rail volume for the first 29 weeks of 2016 was 18,987,941 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.3 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 70,111 carloads for the week, down 10.5 percent, and 61,724 intermodal units, down 1.3 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 29 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 3,701,502 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.7 percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,981 carloads for the week, down 8.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 9,893 intermodal units, down 9.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 29 weeks of 2016 was 787,368 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 0.4 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - 7/28)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SECOND QUARTER RESULTS: Norfolk Southern Corporation today reported financial results for second-quarter 2016. Net income was $405 million, compared with $433 million during the same period of 2015. Diluted earnings per share were $1.36, 4 percent lower compared with $1.41 per diluted share earned in the second quarter last year. “Our second-quarter results reflect our unwavering focus on cost-control, steadfast commitment to customer service, and significant improvements in network performance,” said Chairman, President, and CEO James A. Squires. “We are on track to achieve productivity savings of at least $200 million for 2016, and our record first half operating ratio of 69.4 percent gives us confidence we’ll achieve a full-year operating ratio below 70 percent. Through the continued execution of our strategic plan, we remain confident in our ability to drive superior shareholder value through excellent customer service that positions us for future revenue growth, combined with network efficiency and asset utilization.” Second-quarter summary
  • Railway operating revenues were $2.5 billion, down 10 percent compared with second-quarter 2015, due to reduced volumes and lower fuel surcharge revenues. Overall volume declined 7 percent to 1.8 million units for the quarter.
  • Merchandise revenues were $1.6 billion, 3 percent lower than the same period last year. Volume declined 3 percent, largely due to fewer chemicals shipments resulting from continued low oil prices. The five merchandise commodity groups reported the following year-over-year revenue results:
  • Chemicals: $426 million, down 6 percent
  • Agriculture: $383 million, up 1 percent
  • Metals/Construction: $334 million, down 3 percent
  • Automotive: $248 million, down 2 percent
  • Paper/Forest: $186 million, down 5 percent
  • Intermodal revenues were $538 million, 15 percent lower compared with second-quarter 2015. Volume declined 5 percent primarily due to the restructuring of the company’s Triple Crown Services subsidiary.
  • Coal revenues were $339 million, 25 percent lower compared with second-quarter 2015. High stockpiles, limited coal burn due to mild winter weather, and sustained low natural gas prices combined to decrease volume by 24 percent.
  • Railway operating expenses declined 11 percent to $1.7 billion, primarily due to cost reduction initiatives as well as lower fuel costs, compared with the same period of 2015.
  • Income from railway operations was $770 million, 5 percent lower compared with second-quarter 2015.
  • The composite service metric improved 13 percent in the quarter and 18 percent for the first six months of 2016, compared with the same periods last year.
  • The operating ratio, or operating expenses as a percentage of revenue, was 68.6 percent, a 140 basis point improvement compared with 70.0 percent in the second quarter of last year.
(NS, Randy Kotuby - 7/27)

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR NEW, REIMAGINED SUBWAY CARS RELEASED: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has issued a Request for Proposals for 1,025 new and redesigned subway cars. The RFP sets in motion the process to order and deliver the cars in the most cost-effective and innovative way possible. As part of the RFP process, proposers will be required to submit a U.S. Employment Plan outlining the number and description of U.S. jobs that would be created and/or retained, as well as access to available jobs in connection with certain requirements of the contract. Last week, Governor Cuomo unveiled designs of the new subway cars which include innovative enhancements to the exteriors and interiors, wider doors, and the addition of up to 750 “Open Car End” designed-cars. The new designs will reduce wait times and increase capacity. These vital investments are part of the record $27 billion, five-year MTA Capital Program secured by Governor Cuomo to renew and expand the MTA network. “The MTA is the one of the busiest transportation networks in the country and we’re taking the next step toward rebuilding and modernizing New York’s subway system,” Governor Cuomo said. “This action will increase capacity, reduce overcrowding, and enhance the customer experience while creating jobs and building for the future.” “The MTA’s $27 billion, five-year capital program has the capacity to create tens of thousands of construction, manufacturing, engineering and other jobs,” said MTA Chairman and Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast. “We also recognize that applying the US Employment Plan to this new subway car RFP—supported by the capital program – is a great way to ensure that jobs are also retained by the these contractors and that they are constantly focused on achieving these goals throughout the multiple years of the contract term.” The proposer must describe in the USEP the quality and range of U.S. employment opportunities expected to be created and retained in connection with the production, delivery, acceptance, testing, and warranty coverage requirements of the contract. The proposer must also describe the direct dollar value and the fringe benefit costs for those jobs, and the commitment the proposer will make to achieve that level of job creation/retention. The proposer will also be required to submit a workforce impact analysis. The analysis identifies the workforce skills needed to complete the contract and the minimum requirements for each job/skill category, including the percentage of jobs by each job category and the proposer’s plans to develop skills of new hires necessary to meet the basic job qualifications. The analysis will also identify the proposer’s plans to provide career pathways, connecting training completion, on-the-job performance, and advancement through the organizational structure, and the extent to which such skills would be transferrable to other manufacturing positions after the end of production of the railcars. John Samuelsen, Transit Workers Union Local 100 President, said “Taxpayer dollars that are used to buy equipment like subway cars should create good quality manufacturing jobs here, not overseas. Other agencies will likely follow the MTA’s lead. It is the largest transit agency in the country and often sets the standard for others.” Madeline Janis, Executive Director, Jobs to Move America said, “By adopting the U.S. Employment Plan, the MTA has included a jobs disclosure and evaluation tool for the purchase of these trains that will improve New York's transit system, create good jobs and revive manufacturing in our communities that need it the most. We commend Governor Cuomo on his leadership and commitment to maximizing taxpayer dollars and improving the economic outcomes of our communities.” Reimagined and Enhanced Subway Cars The MTA last week issued the RFP for the construction of 1,025 new subway cars, which will highlight that the timeline of design and production, as well as cost-effectiveness, will be central factors in awarding the contract. The RFP will also emphasize the need to align with MTA design guidelines, which were established after a review of best practices in a number of major metropolitan areas from around the world, and identified several key elements for use in the New York system, including:
  • • Open Car End Design: The MTA anticipates that out of 1,025 new cars, up to 750 will feature an Open Car End designed. The Open Car End design replaces the door between cars with an accordion-like connector in order to create longer, open spaces, allowing for greater passenger flow movement and increasing capacity in the process. These cars have become an international standard: in London 31 percent of cars will be Open Car End by the end of the year; in Paris the figure climbs to 37 percent; and in Toronto to 56 percent.
  • • Wider Doors: The door width of the new cars will be expanded from the current MTA standard of 50 inches to 58 inches. Wider subway doors can reduce delays by allowing customers to enter and exit more quickly, and have become an international standard. According to a computer simulation of passenger flow conducted on behalf of the MTA, in crowded scenarios wider doors can reduce a train’s ‘dwell time’ in the station by 32 percent.
  • • Customer Amenities & Security: The interior of new cars will also feature a host of new amenities, including WiFi, USB chargers, full color digital customer information displays, digital advertisements, illuminated door opening alerts and security cameras to promote passenger safety.
• Exterior Features: Design elements for the exterior of the new subway cars include a new blue front with large windows, LED headlights, and a blue stripe with gold accents along the sides (MTA - 7/27 )

MTA RELEASES PRELIMINARY 2017 BUDGET AND FOUR YEAR FINANCIAL PLAN: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today released its preliminary 2017 budget and four-year financial plan, continuing to raise targets for administrative and managerial cost savings across all agencies and making a number of investments to improve service quality and customer experience. The agency now expects to identify additional annual recurring savings of $50 million per year starting in 2017, pushing total annual recurring savings to nearly $2 billion by 2020. The MTA’s 2017 budget and four-year financial plan also proposes more than $1 billion over four years for initiatives to improve customer experience, increase service and service support, increase support for the MTA Capital Program, enhance safety and security, and invest in necessary maintenance and operations. The four-year financial plan provides $195 million from 2017 to 2020 to support capital projects that will improve the customer experience. This year alone, the MTA will equip 200 buses and 200 subway cars with Wi-Fi, USB charging ports, and digital screens. Next year, an additional 400 subway cars will have these amenities. MTA New York City Transit will also:
  • Renovate 31 subway stations throughout NYC
  • Introduce Wi-Fi to all 278 underground stations by December 2016
  • Introduce a new “contactless” fare payment technology to subways and buses by 2018
The MTA will also invest $36 million in new service, including new Select Bus Service routes in Queens: the Q52/Q53 and Q70. The Long Island Rail Road is restoring its weekend North Fork service to a year-round operation is adding summer trains to connect with Fire Island ferries, relieving congestion on Hamptons-bound trains. New York City Transit and the MTA Bus Company will also make up to $21 million in additional enhancements to the base level of service on subways and buses. Investments in service support of $21 million will allow NYC Transit to enhance and expand its Lexington Avenue Line platform controller program. MTA Bridges and Tunnels will increase funding to meet increased demand on E-Z Pass New York Customer Service Center operations. Consistent with the MTA’s long-standing practice of applying debt service savings towards capital funding, some $566 million of debt service savings from lower interest rates (both realized and projected) and from the Hudson Yards lease securitization have been found. The MTA is proposing to invest an additional $46 million in safety and security initiatives over from 2017 to 2020 to augment existing measures designed to ensure the safety of pedestrians, customers and employees. These investments include upgrading railroad crossings, adding onboard vehicle cameras, “Help Point” intercoms, and security operations throughout the MTA. The MTA continues to take steps to improve the reliability, efficiency and performance of its infrastructure, facilities and fleet, investing $145 million over the plan period. While these investments may not be as obvious to our customers as some of our other projects, they are essential to the operation of our system. Investments are being made that will improve the performance of certain buses, subway cars and commuter railroad cars. Additional investments are being made to structures and track, including expediting the LIRR’s West Side Yard expansion. As a result of the cost savings found, the MTA expects to be able to limit the previously announced 2017 and 2019 fare and toll increases to no more than 4%. The increase is projected to provide the MTA with an additional $308 million in annual operating revenue, allowing for projected balanced budgets through 2019; however, a $371 million deficit is projected for 2020. The MTA’s preliminary budget will be available for public review and comment until it is adopted by the MTA Board; the final proposed budget will be presented to the MTA Board in November and adopted by the MTA Board in December. In the fall, the MTA will present specific proposals for the 2017 all-agency fare and toll increases and will hold a series of public hearings to seek public reactions to the proposals. (MTA - 7/27 )

CN REPORTS SECOND QUARTER 2016 NET INCOME: CN today reported its financial and operating results for the second quarter and six-month period ended June 30, 2016. Second-quarter 2016 financial highlights
  • Net income was C$858 million, compared with net income of C$886 million for second-quarter 2015. Q2-2016 diluted EPS remained flat at C$1.10. The decrease in net income was mainly due to lower operating income and other income, and higher interest expense; net of related income taxes.
  • Adjusted diluted EPS (1) of C$1.11 declined three per cent from year-earlier adjusted diluted EPS of C$1.15. The adjusted figures exclude the impact of deferred income tax adjustments resulting from higher provincial corporate income tax rates in both years.
  • Operating income declined five per cent to C$1,293 million.
  • Revenues decreased by nine per cent to C$2,842 million. Carloadings declined 12 per cent and revenue ton-miles declined 11 per cent.
  • Operating expenses declined 12 per cent to C$1,549 million.
  • Operating ratio of 54.5 per cent was a second-quarter record and an improvement of 1.9-points over the prior-year quarter.
  • Free cash flow (1) for the first six months of 2016 was C$1,169 million, compared with C$1,051 million for the year-earlier period.
Luc Jobin, president and chief executive officer, said: "CN continued to face a very challenging volume environment in the second quarter and maintained strong discipline in realigning resources to keep them in line with reduced freight demand. Service remained solid, key operating metrics advanced, and we continued to improve our safety record. An important product of our cost-management and productivity focus was a record second-quarter operating ratio of 54.5 per cent. "We expect the second quarter to be the volume trough for the year. For the balance of 2016, we continue to expect some markets to remain strong, including lumber and panels, automotive, and refined petroleum products, and we anticipate a bumper grain crop in Canada. At the same time, international intermodal volumes are expected to remain challenging while shipments of commodities related to oil and gas development, such as crude oil, frac sand and drilling pipe, are expected to decrease relative to last year. "Given these expectations, we reiterate our April 25, 2016, financial outlook of aiming to deliver 2016 EPS in line with last year's adjusted diluted EPS (1) of C$4.44." (2) 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. The fluctuation of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar affects the conversion of the Company's U.S.-dollar-denominated revenues and expenses. On a constant currency basis, (1) CN's net income for the second quarter of 2016 would have been lower by C$23 million, or C$0.03 per diluted share. Second-quarter 2016 revenues, traffic volumes and expenses Revenues for the second quarter of 2016 were C$2,842 million, a decrease of nine per cent, when compared to the same period in 2015. Revenues increased for forest products (four per cent), but were more than offset by revenue declines for coal (36 per cent), metals and minerals (17 per cent), petroleum and chemicals (16 per cent), grain and fertilizers (12 per cent), intermodal (four per cent), and automotive (one per cent). The revenue decline was mainly attributable to decreased shipments of energy-related commodities including crude oil, frac sand, drilling pipe and semi-finished steel products as a result of declining energy markets; reduced shipments of coal due to weaker North American and global demand; lower volumes of Canadian grain to North American and export markets due to lower available supply; and lower applicable fuel surcharge rates. These factors were partly offset by the positive translation impact of the weaker Canadian dollar on U.S.-dollar-denominated revenues; freight rate increases; as well as increased shipments of lumber and panels to U.S. markets, and increased domestic retail intermodal shipments. Carloadings for the quarter declined by 12 per cent to 1,249 thousand. Revenue ton-miles (RTMs), measuring the relative weight and distance of rail freight transported by CN, declined by 11 per cent from the year-earlier quarter. Rail freight revenue per RTM, a measurement of yield defined as revenue earned on the movement of a ton of freight over one mile, increased by one 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 a significant increase in the average length of haul and lower applicable fuel surcharge rates. Operating expenses for the second quarter decreased by 12 per cent to C$1,549 million, mainly due to lower costs resulting from decreased volumes of traffic, lower fuel prices, lower pension expense and cost-management initiatives, partly offset by the negative translation impact of a weaker Canadian dollar on U.S.-dollar-denominated expenses. (CN, Randy Kotuby - 7/26)

PATH PLANNING JULY 27 FACEBOOK LIVE PRESENTATION ON UPCOMING SUSPENSION OF WEEKEND 33RD STREET LINE SERVICE: PATH will be Facebook livestreaming interviews with key officials as part of an ongoing effort to provide the public with the most up-to-date information on the PATH capital plan and the suspension of weekend service on the 33rd Street line for federally mandated service and safety improvements, starting Aug. 6. The live feed is scheduled to begin at 12 noon on Wednesday, July 27 and will run about 45 minutes. Viewers can access it through http://www.facebook.com/panynj The session is the latest in the PATH Education Series and will feature insights from PATH Director/General Manager Mike Marino and Assistant Superintendent Kevin Lejda. They will provide background on the weekend service suspension plan, outline alternative travel options for affected passengers, and discuss the installation of federally mandated communications equipment to upgrade service and safety. There also will be a Q&A period for viewers to ask questions. Weekend service suspensions on the 33rd Street line are expected to run through mid-December. PATH has held four public meetings in New Jersey on the upcoming closures and a fifth is scheduled for Tuesday, July 26, from 6-8 p.m. at the Hotel Pennsylvania, 401 7th Avenue (at West 33rd Street) in New York. At the center of the project is installation of Positive Train Control (PTC), an updated safety-enhanced system that the federal government has mandated be completed by the end of 2018. Allotting this weekend work time is essential to improving current and future service. In addition to safety enhancements, this work will provide PATH riders increased reliability in the future, as well as lay the groundwork for increased passenger capacity. As part of the Port Authority’s 10-Year capital plan, PATH also will upgrade the signal system with Communication Based Train Control (CBTC), which continuously calculates and communicates a train’s exact position, speed, travel direction and safe braking distance. Trains then will be capable of running more frequently and closer together, leading to a projected increase in rush hour service on PATH lines. Additionally, the CBTC system also will allow for further enhancements such as real-time information in PATH stations. A video explaining PATH’s PTC/CBTC system is available at http://www.panynj.gov/path/cbtc-ptc-video.html . Further updates, bus maps and details related to the service suspensions will be provided as available through the Port Authority’s website, www.panynj.gov/PATH. (PANYNJ - 7/26)

FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATOR: WE ALL MUST DO MORE TO PREVENT FATALITIES AT RAILROAD GRADE CROSSINGS: In a statement to the railroad industry, states, tech companies and Congress, the Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg today called for greater action to prevent fatalities at the nation’s more than 200,000 railroad crossings. During the last six weeks, there have been three significant incidents, in addition to others, that have killed parents and their children when struck by a train at crossings. “Over the last six weeks, there have been three significant, tragic railroad crossing incidents. Each took the lives of parents and young children. In San Leandro, California, a mother and her 3-year-old child were killed. In Colorado, a mother, a father and three of their four young children were killed on the way to church. And just this weekend in Arkansas, a mother, her son and two other children were killed. “These heartbreaking events are in addition to the other 87 people killed and 236 people injured this year at railroad crossings. “While many of these incidents are still under investigation, we know that they are almost always preventable. And yet, they still happen. Simply put: We must all do more to protect drivers and their passengers, who are frequently children. The responsibility to improve safety at railroad crossings rests on all of us – safety regulators, state and local officials, railroads, law enforcement and even private companies that conduct business in the transportation sector. “To our state partners: We know you continue to struggle for the necessary funding to close or improve the most dangerous crossings in your state. While the federal government contributes funding to these projects each year through Federal Highways’ Section 130 Program, and in fact has contributed more this year than in years past, states should continue to leverage their funds to prioritize improving safety at the worst railroad crossings, and should apply for federal funds wherever possible. “To our tech partners: We are grateful for your partnership and for your enthusiasm and willingness to improve safety. But we urge you to integrate our railroad crossing data into your mapping applications and other pertinent technologies as soon as possible. While the full and ultimate safety impact of integrating crossing data into applications remains unknown, we must try everything we can to address this challenge. “To the Congress: We applaud the additional funding added to Federal Highways’ Section 130 program this year, as well as new funding for a much-needed public media campaign so more people are aware of the dangers of railroad crossings. However, more needs to be done and we encourage you to continue to work with safety regulators, state and local officials, railroads, law enforcement, and private companies. “To railroads: Along with your continued support for advocacy and awareness campaigns, I hope you will redouble your efforts to integrate new technologies to avoid railroad crossing incidents, and take more aggressive steps to report problematic or dangerous crossings to state and local officials. “Improving safety and saving lives at railroad crossings has been and continues to be one of the FRA’s highest priorities. We have put more focus and attention on this problem than ever before – through funding, a brighter public spotlight, new attention from FRA safety specialists, new research, new partnerships with tech companies and law enforcement and more aggressive and frequent investigations. We will continue to do all that we can to have a greater impact on this solvable challenge – and we urge our partners and friends to join us.” (USDOT - 7/26)

L LINE'S CANARSIE TUNNEL TO CLOSE IN 2019 FOR 18 MONTHS TO UNDERGO MASSIVE RECONSTRUCTION: MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) today announced that the massive reconstruction work needed to the Canarsie Tunnel, which carries the L train under the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan, will require a full closure of the tunnel for 18 months starting no sooner than 2019. The decision to do the work under a full 18-month tunnel closure instead of a one-track, three-year closure, was made based on a detailed operational review, and only after significant community engagement in order to consider all adverse impacts. Serious consideration was also given to consequences of unplanned outages that would occur if one track was closed for three years. “While the MTA always looks to avoid service disruptions, there is no question that repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel are critical and cannot be avoided or delayed. Throughout this process we have committed to engaging the community and listening to all concerns so that we can address them as we prepare for this necessary work,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said. “We are committed to working with the community just as closely as we develop ways to add service to help minimize the impacts of the closure.” Since May, the MTA has held four large-scale, interactive community meetings in communities affected by the upcoming closure including Williamsburg, Bushwick, Canarsie and in Manhattan along the 14th Street corridor; hundreds of riders attended. The meetings were led by MTA Chairman Prendergast, NYCT President Veronique ‘Ronnie’ Hakim, Chief of Operations Planning Peter Cafiero and Senior Vice Presdient for Capital Program Management John O’Grady. MTA officials also visited all 11 Community Boards along the L Line, which were overwhelmingly in favor of the full, shorter-duration closure. Of the comments MTA received directly through email, social media and at meetings 77 percent were in favor of the full, shorter closure. “Approximately 80 percent of riders will have the same disruptions with either option. Throughout our extensive outreach process and review, it became clear that the 18-month closure was the best construction option and offered the least amount of pain to customers for the shortest period of time,” President Hakim said. “The 18-month option is also the most efficient way to allow MTA to do the required work. It gives us more control over the work site and allows us to offer contractor incentives to finish the work as fast as possible.” “We think it is better to have a shorter duration of pain than a longer more unstable process – and risk unplanned closures – by leaving one track open during construction,” Hakim added. The Canarsie Tunnel was one of nine underwater tunnels that flooded during Superstorm Sandy, all of which required major rehabilitation and repair. Some of that work was accomplished during night and weekend closures, while the R line’s Montague Tunnel under the East River was closed for 13 months and the G line tunnel under Newtown Creek was closed for two months, both for complete renovations. The Canarsie Tunnel suffered extensive damage to tracks, signals, switches, power cables, signal cables, communication cables, lighting, cable ducts and bench walls throughout a seven-mile long flooded section of both tubes. Bench walls throughout those sections must be replaced to protect the structural integrity of the two tubes that carry trains through the tunnel. During this rehabilitation process, the MTA will also make significant improvements to stations and tunnel segments closest to the under-river section. New stairs and elevators will be installed at the Bedford Av station in Brooklyn and the 1 Av station in Manhattan, and three new electric substations will be installed, providing more power to operate additional trains during rush hours. Procurement of design and construction services for the project must begin to move forward this year in order to ensure that hundreds of millions of federal dollars are not lost. MTA is now starting the process of fully developing alternative service plans and will continue to work with the community, City and State agencies, and all stakeholders to minimize impacts of the closure with added service including additional capacity on the M, J, and G trains. MTA plans to work closely with the City and State to develop routes and determine service levels needed to accommodate projected ridership. MTA New York City Transit continues to closely inspect the Canarsie Tunnel and takes steps daily to ensure that it remains reliable until permanent repairs can be performed. Specifically, the agency has stepped up its inspection of the tunnel walls and has installed redundant power cables to ensure the pumping system will operate without interruption, but these are temporary measures and the tunnel must undergo extensive repairs. Prior to the closure of the Canarsie Tunnel, the agency is preparing to rebuild two crucial sections of the M line in Brooklyn and Queens in order to ensure that two decades-old deteriorating overpasses remain safe for travel. (MTA - 7/25)

MTA LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD RESUME YEAR-ROUND WEEKEND SERVICE TO GREENPORT: MTA Long Island Rail Road President Patrick A. Nowakowski today announced that the LIRR plans to provide weekend service to Greenport on a year-round basis. Weekend service to Greenport, the seaside village and popular summer and fall destination on Suffolk County's North Fork, was scheduled to end after the Thanksgiving Weekend. "This is a noteworthy improvement in our service to the East End of Long Island," Nowakowski said. In 2010, the LIRR discontinued weekend service to Greenport during the winter months as part of system-wide cost cutting ordered by the MTA, which was facing a large budget deficit at the time. The belt tightening measures helped the MTA regain its financial footing as the region slowly recovered from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. As the Long Island economy has shown continued improvement, the LIRR has experienced a resurgence in ridership, reaching 87.6 million in 2015, a modern record. Nowakowski also noted today that ridership on the LIRR in June was up for the 17th consecutive month - fueled in part by the growth of travel to the East End of Long Island, including Greenport and to Montauk on the South Fork. He said the LIRR has heard loud and clear the calls for better train service on the East End from local government officials as well as business and civic groups. He said the Railroad is working with government planers from Suffolk County and from the five East End towns on ideas for both short and long term service improvements. "One improvement we can make immediately for the North Fork is to extend weekend service from Ronkonkoma to Greenport to year-round," said Nowakowski. "We have in fact included that extra service in the Railroad's July financial plan." Nowakowski added that the LIRR was "looking forward to continuing the discussion with our East End partners and we are optimistic that we can come up with additional enhancements to improve our service " (MTA - 7/25)

MBTA BOARD APPROVES $18.5 MILLION FOR RED LINE WINTER RESILIENCY AND INFRASTRUCTURE: The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) today unanimously approved the awarding of a $18.5 million construction contract for the next phase of Red Line Winter Resiliency improvements announced by the Baker-Polito Administration last year, amounting to $30.4 million total for infrastructure upgrades in preparation for the upcoming winter. "These critical investments in the resiliency of the MBTA’s core infrastructure and preparation for severe winter weather allow for upgrades that ensure more reliable service for the over one million daily riders who depend on the system each day," said Governor Charlie Baker. "The Fiscal and Management Control Board continues to make significant progress on reforming the system, delivering transparency, cost-effectiveness and accountability for both taxpayers and commuters." The $18.5 million contract awarded to Barletta Heavy Division, Inc., will deliver a series of significant upgrades along 9.9 miles of the Red Line Braintree and Ashmont Lines, including the replacement of all third rail and heating systems, track and tie renewals, signals, track structure and conduit installations. Total winter resiliency expenses for phase two of efforts announced last year include the contract work awarded to Barletta along with MBTA staff work and costs for materials, engineering, and procurement. "We look forward to building on the success of phase one during which miles and miles of new third rail was installed along outer portions of the Red Line," said Acting MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve. "Working in tandem with Barletta, MBTA forces will continue to make the upgrades necessary to keep the subway operating no matter what Mother Nature throws at us." The project beginning this summer through December will include the following work:
  • •Replacement of all 3rd rail and associated rail heating systems along 9.9 miles of the Red Line South
  • •Track and tie renewal between Savin Hill and Fields Corner Stations
  • •Signal trough and conduit installation between North Quincy and Braintree Stations
  • •Track structure replacement at Quincy Center, Quincy Adams and Braintree Stations
The first phase of Winter Resiliency Plan improvements completed in 2015 included new 3rd rail and Rail Heater improvements along 13.6 miles of the Red Line from the Andrew Station portal to Quincy Adams. The next phase of work starting now will complete the 3rd rail and rail heater improvements along the entire length of the Red Line South. To accommodate the winter resiliency work this fall, buses will replace train service on the following weekends: Braintree Branch: Sept. 10-12, Sept. 24-26, Oct. 1-3, Oct. 8-10, Oct. 15-17, Dec. 3-5, Ashmont Branch: Oct. 22-24, Dec. 10-12, Dec 17-19 As is customary, the MBTA will keep customers informed of service changes on mbta.com, through T Alerts, and on Twitter @mbta. The MBTA Winter Resiliency Plan announced by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2015 focused on Infrastructure, Equipment, and Operations improvements on the Red Line and Orange Line to more effectively mitigate the frequency, length and magnitude of system disruptions to public transit during severe weather. (MBTA - 7/25)

FRA APPROVES PASSENGER RAIL BLUEPRINT TO CONNECT BOSTON AND NEW HAVEN TO MONTREAL, ADD SERVICE TO CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced a Finding of No Significant Impact on the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative (Initiative). The finding clears the way for states and the federal government to invest in future passenger rail service in New England. The Initiative proposes to restore service between Boston and New Haven through Springfield and Hartford and add new service between Boston and Montreal. “Existing passenger rail service through New England is limited and already at capacity for a region that is growing,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “With an approved blueprint in hand, New England can now move forward to connect people to key job centers and allow students to easily travel to and from New England’s numerous colleges.” FRA awarded $942,775 to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) through FRA’s Next Generation High-Speed Rail Program to study potential service options and complete the Tier 1 Environmental Assessment, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. FRA found that no significant environmental impacts would result from adding more frequent and higher speed intercity passenger rail service, in large part due to the use of existing operating rail lines within existing rights-of-way. The proposed infrastructure improvements also would be located within existing right-of-way along areas that were in the past double or triple tracked. “More than two million people live within three miles of a station along this corridor,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “For everyone to move safely and efficiently, the region needs a robust rail system, and this blueprint will help achieve that goal.” MassDOT and VTrans will coordinate the Initiative with other projects, including NEC FUTURE, FRA’s ongoing comprehensive planning effort to define, evaluate, and prioritize future investments in the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The NEC runs from Washington, DC to Boston. Together, this Initiative and NEC FUTURE would provide greater connectivity to central Connecticut, Massachusetts, northern New England, and Montreal. (FRA - 7/22)

NJT BROAD STREET EXTENSION OF NEWARK LIGHT RAIL CELEBRATES 10 YEARS: It’s been 10 years since the NJ TRANSIT introduced the Broad Street Extension of the Newark Light Rail system, connecting two of the agency’s busiest train stations to the downtown district in the state’s largest city. The one-mile-long Broad Street Extension, which links Newark Penn Station with Newark Broad Street, began operating on July 17, 2006. On an average weekday, the Newark Light Rail system accommodates more than 19,000 passenger trips, representing more than 12.2 million annual passenger miles. “The opening of the Broad Street Extension was a milestone moment for public transportation options for NJ TRANSIT, and this service is thriving today,’’ said interim Executive Director Dennis Martin. “The Extension provides a faster, more convenient commuting option for the thousands who are going to downtown Newark or points beyond. We are proud to offer this convenient option that takes our customers to entertainment venues, work locations and more.’’ The Broad Street Extension allows for increased travel flexibility for customers using NJ TRANSIT’s Morris & Essex and Montclair Boonton rail lines. Those customers can simply depart at Newark Broad Street and easily transfer for service to Newark Penn Station via the Broad Street Extension. Customers may use the Extension to access an increasingly vibrant business and entertainment district and attend events at NJPAC using the NJPAC/Center Street Station. Construction on the Broad Street Extension cost $207.7 million and was completed on time. The Federal Transit Administration provided $166 million for the project under a full-funding grant agreement. (NJ Transit - 7/22)

ARKANSAS MIDLAND RAILROAD WILL OPERATE UNIT ETHANOL TRAINS: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) (GWR) announced that beginning this fall, its Arkansas Midland Railroad Company, Inc. (AKMD) subsidiary will offer the first ethanol unit train solution for the North Little Rock and surrounding gasoline-blending markets, serving the JP Energy terminal, which is the largest terminal at North Little Rock’s tank farm complex. Unit trains, which are able to handle up to 108 railcars, will be unloaded directly to JP Energy’s ethanol storage tanks on premises for onsite blending or direct outbound truck loading. Prior to this, the local ethanol market was served only by truck deliveries and single-car rail shipments. “AKMD is proud to bring this unique and efficient delivery solution to JP Energy and its customers,” Dewayne Swindall, president of AKMD, said. “It demonstrates the railroad’s ability to be a major transportation partner to surrounding industry and create logistics options that can lower costs for both area businesses and their customers.” “Partnering with AKMD has enabled us to provide our customers with the most cost effective ethanol supply possible in Central Arkansas and beyond,” Cory Willis, senior vice president of terminals and distribution at JP Energy Partners, said. “By locating the unit train offload facilities directly adjacent to our terminal, we’re able to reduce unnecessary truck traffic and product transfers, further enhancing the efficiency and safety of our terminal operations.” With the EPA’s mandate to increase the amount of biofuel mixed into the fuel supply, demand for ethanol blending is expected to increase, making a strong market for ethanol use in North Little Rock. (AKMD - 7/22)

VIA RAIL AND UNIFOR MEMBERS RATIFY A NEW HISTORIC 4 YEAR DEAL: VIA Rail Canada announced that members of UNIFOR, the union that represents the 1,800 of 2,500 of VIA Rail employees who work in stations, customer service centres, maintenance centres and administrative offices voted on Wednesday to ratify a 4-year labour agreement. The agreement was accepted by a strong majority of 80%. "We are pleased to have reached this historical 4-year agreement that benefits all parties and allows us to continue to focus on the customer. It also demonstrates the commitment and optimism UNIFOR members have towards VIA Rail’s future,” said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and CEO of VIA Rail. "The increase in revenue and ridership we’ve seen in that last two years is the direct result of the positive collaboration and dedication of our employees to superior customer service." “Once more, we thank the local UNIFOR leadership team and its national president Jerry Dias as well as our respective negotiating teams for their hard work and commitment throughout the process. The professionalism and support that Labour Canada's mediation team demonstrated under the experienced leadership of Guy Baron, Director General, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services was of great help. This agreement allows us to move forward with our many different projects and initiatives aimed at making VIA Rail service the greener, more human and smarter way to move people in Canada," concluded Yves Desjardins-Siciliano. (VIA Rail Canada - posted 7/16)

SPECIAL EXCURSION OVER THROUGH MASSACHUSETTS AND CONNECTICUT P&W ANNOUNCED: The Mass Bay RRE has announced a special excursion train, operating on Saturday, October 29, 2016, from Worcester, Putnam, CT, Groton, Old Saybrook, Essex, CT., and Goodspeeds & return. The TWO RIVERS STEAM SPECIAL, operating over three railroads with diesel and STEAM power. Depart Worcester 8:30 AM over Providence & Worcester Norwich Branch. Additional passenger stop at Putnam, CT, continuing through Plainfield and Norwich, alongside the Thames River to Groton, then over Amtrak's Northeast Corridor to Old Saybrook, turning north on the Valley Railroad. From there, Valley's 2-8-2 steam locomotive New Haven 3025 will ake our train through Essex and along the Connecticut River to the end of the operable track at Goodspeeds, CT. The 3025 will run around before returning to Old Saybrook. Change locomotives, then return thru Groton and Norwich to Worcester. More info at at www.massbayrre.org Call us at 978-470-2066, or send email to trips@massbayrre.org or by postal mail at Mass Bay RRE, Box 4245, Andover, MA 01810. (Mass Bay RRE - posted 7/15)

SEPTA REGIONAL RAIL SCHEDULE ENHANCEMENTS EFFECTIVE THIS MONDAY: Starting Monday, July 18, SEPTA will adjust Regional Rail schedules to address crowding and maximize the use of leased trains already in service, as well as the addition of new cars arriving this weekend. An additional five cars, which are being leased from the Maryland Area Commuter Service (MARC), will be put into service on SEPTA's Regional Rail system Monday, and another five are expected by mid-next week. This adds to the 18 leased passenger cars that were put into use this week, including five from Amtrak, eight from NJ Transit and the first five from MARC. When the last of the MARC vehicles arrive mid-next week, SEPTA will have 28 leased passenger rail cars in service. The schedule changes, combined with the deployment of leased cars, will allow SEPTA to better alleviate problems for customers due to the Silverliner V fleet being taken out of service following the discovery of a structural defect. SEPTA will continue making Regional Rail schedule changes to accommodate riders during this rail-car shortage. "This is an evolving process, and we will continue to make changes to optimize service for our customers," said General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. "We are extremely grateful for the use of this additional rail equipment. MARC, Amtrak and NJ Transit have been great partners in what is a very challenging time for our customers." The Regional Rail Interim Weekday Schedule changes effective Monday, July 18 will include enhancements on some of SEPTA's most heavily traveled lines, including the Glenside Combined, Lansdale/Doylestown, Manayunk/Norristown, Paoli/Thorndale and Warminster Lines. Timetables for this latest schedule change will be posted online by Saturday, July 16 at http://www.septa.org/service/contingency.htm . Customers are urged to continue checking SEPTA's website for future schedule updates, particularly before the start of the work week. For information on alternate modes of transit, including bolstered service on the Market-Frankford, Broad Street and Norristown High Speed Lines and Route 101/102 Trolleys. (SEPTA - posted 7/15)



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