` Hot News!
Railpace Newsmagazine

Hot News!
Edited by Carl G. Perelman
October 20, 2016:

2016 TOYS FOR TOTS ON THE SOUTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD:   On Saturday, November 19th 2016, railcar owners from the Northeastern United States will be riding on the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad from Mount Pleasant to Greensburg, Penn., stopping at: Cook’s Lumber in Mount Pleasant, the SWP Train Station office in Scottdale, the PA Rt 31 crossing in Tarrs, Supervalu Inc., Youngwood Railroad Museum, and Greengate Rd behind Walmart at the Railroad crossing, and then return.  The trip will collect toys and cash donations for the U.S. Marines’ annual Toys for Tots campaign.  This will be the first year that SWP has hosted NARCOA.  Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad employees have been collecting toys to prepare for this event. NARCOA is a national organization that restores railcars and charters railroads around the country for excursions. The railcars, also known as “speeders”, were used by the railroads for track inspection and maintenance.  Most railroads now use trucks equipped with rail wheels and so the older railcars were sold off to individuals. For more information on NARCOA, visit their website. The group will be leaving Mount Pleasant at the Savage Intermodal Terminal at 8:00 AM, arriving at Cook’s approx. 8:20 AM, Scottdale approx. 10:15 AM, Tarrs approx. 11:15 AM, Youngwood approx. 12:45 PM, Greensburg approx. 2:00 PM, and then return, stopping at the same locations for about 15 minutes each as time and daylight allow.  Times are approximate based on weather conditions. Please meet us along the tracks with your donations, safely flag us down and we will gladly stop.  (Please stay off of and away from the tracks.) A new, wrapped toy for either a boy or girl will make an underprivileged child very happy this holiday season.  All toys and donations collected on this trip will be used in Westmoreland County. In 2015, the group collected 2 pickup loads of toys which were desperately needed to fill requests. They also raised almost $3,000. There are many families in the area that are finding it difficult to provide toys for their children this year.  Your help will make many Christmas brighter this year with your thoughtful donations.  For questions, please email Event Coordinator John Gonder. If you are unable to meet the railcar riders along the tracks, please drop off a toy (or several) at any Toys for Tots drop-box. Thank you for your kindness and generosity (Carload Express - posted 10/20)

CSX CONTINUES RESTORATION IN THE CAROLINAS:   CSX continues recovery efforts from the extensive impact of Hurricane Matthew in North and South Carolina. Several areas remain without commercial power and continue to have flooding and downed trees. CSX engineering crews are working to restore routes into Wilmington, NC and Tarboro, NC. These routes are projected to be restored by the end of the week. As a result, more than 1,400 cars are delayed due to residual storm effects with at least 54 locations using portable generators to operate signals, crossing protection and defect detectors. (CSX - posted 10/19)

CANADIAN PACIFIC RELEASES THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS:   Canadian Pacific Railway Limited today announced third-quarter reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.34, adjusted diluted EPS of $2.73 and an operating ratio of 57.7 percent, the lowest-ever when compared to adjusted operating ratios in previous quarters.[1]   "Despite decreased revenues, tied to a delayed grain harvest and stiff economic headwinds, our business model continues to perform on the cost side," said E. Hunter Harrison , CP's Chief Executive Officer. "Our commitment to efficiency, asset optimization, and operational excellence has produced yet another record-low operating ratio." While third-quarter revenues decreased 9 percent to $1.55 billion from $1.71 billion, diluted earnings per share rose 15 percent to $2.34 from $2.04 and adjusted diluted earnings per share advanced 1 percent to $2.73 from $2.69. "Given the delayed grain harvest, lower crude volumes and persistent economic challenges compounded by a strengthening Canadian dollar, we are now expecting mid-single-digit EPS growth this year," Harrison said. "While disappointed that we will not meet our previous forecast, I am incredibly proud that despite these challenges, CP will deliver its lowest-ever annual operating ratio. Our industry-leading operating plan and continued focus on improving service to our customers means we are well-positioned to capitalize on increasing volumes leading into 2017." (CP, Randy Kotuby - posted 10/19)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 15, 2016:   The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending October 15, 2016. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 531,936 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending October 15 were 262,702 carloads, down 6.1 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 269,234 containers and trailers, down 2.2 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 8.7 percent to 10,034 carloads; and grain, up 7.5 percent to 27,300 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 23.9 percent to 10,492 carloads; forest products, down 16.1 percent to 8,744 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, down 12.2 percent to 18,849 carloads. For the first 41 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,264,083 carloads, down 10.3 percent from the same point last year; and 10,610,470 intermodal units, down 3.3 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 41 weeks of 2016 was 20,874,553 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 6.8 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending October 15, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 359,464 carloads, down 2.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 341,339 intermodal units, down 1.6 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 700,803 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.1 percent. North American rail volume for the first 41 weeks of 2016 was 27,326,329 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.4 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 81,573 carloads for the week, up 11.9 percent, and 58,700 intermodal units, down 0.1 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 41 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,345,651 carloads, containers and trailers, down 5.4 percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,189 carloads for the week, down 6.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 13,405 intermodal units, up 2.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 41 weeks of 2016 was 1,106,125 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.5 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 10/19)

AMTRAK ADDING TRAINS FOR MIDWEST THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY TRAVEL: In anticipation of the busiest travel week of the year, America’s Railroad® is prepared to accommodate the surge of holiday travelers with additional capacity on several routes in the Midwest. Extra trains will operate to and from downstate Illinois and Michigan and Amtrak will also operate every available passenger railcar in its fleet. Tickets sell out quickly so customers are encouraged to plan ahead and book tickets early for availability and pricing. Amtrak Lincoln Service and Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg trains are operated under a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation and all Amtrak services in Michigan are under a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation(Amtrak - posted 10/19)

SEPTA TRANSIT STRIKE LOOMING: On Sunday, October 16, 2016, the members of Local 234 met at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall to authorize the leadership of the Union to strike if SEPTA refuses to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract that provides for pension reforms, quality health care benefits, decent wage increases and improvements in working conditions for transportation and maintenance employees. Passage of the strike authorization vote gives the union's bargaining team the leverage it needs to move the negotiations forward as it gets closer to the expiration of the CTD contract on October 31, 2016 at 12:00 midnight. The negotiations for a new contract officially began on July 13, 2016. Many issues are being discussed, including pension benefits, health care, and non-economic reforms to improve conditions and the quality of work at SEPTA. If a strike does occur, SEPTA's heavy-rail commuter system would not be effected. (Union Local 234 - posted 10/18)

CSX EMPLOYEES & VOLUNTEERS HOST DAY OF SERVICE IN PHILADELPHIA: As a part of the company’s tour of volunteer service events across its network this fall, many CSX employees gave up their Saturday morning to volunteer at Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa. They were joined by the company’s national service partners City Year and Action for Healthy Kids, along with teachers, students and families from the school. Together, volunteers revitalized the basketball court, landscaped the outdoor area and added new benches, and gave the gym and cafeteria a new fresh painting. In addition, CSX partnered with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society and the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 45 riparian trees along Wissahickon Creek and 16 trees at Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School. "We are always excited when the community shows their support for our school," said Cook-Wissahickon Principal Michael Lowe. “Our children will come to school with a learning environment that is a little bit brighter because of Saturday's efforts!" CSX has strong ties in Philadelphia, with three major facilities and more than 200 employees currently based in the metro area. Last year, CSX hosted a service day at D. Newlin Fell Elementary School. “Being part of Team CSX means giving back,” said Steve Salyers, Terminal Manger, CSX. “We are proud to get the opportunity to serve our community – both at volunteer events like this where we join with our neighbors and nonprofit partners, and also all year long by moving the goods that are essential to our economy.” (CSX - posted 10/17)

EXPANSION OF COMMUTER RAIL SERVICE INTO HOBOKEN TERMINAL: Starting Monday, October 17, 2016, NJ TRANSIT will open additional tracks at Hoboken Terminal starting at 4.a.m., which will enable the full restoration of train service into the hub less than three weeks after the suspension of service. Also, the Ticket Office will resume operation in the Terminal on Saturday. Monday’s schedule will be available on line after 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 15. “We are pleased to be able to expedite additional service into Hoboken for our customers,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Steven Santoro. “In addition, and as an extra safety measure, trains entering Hoboken Terminal will decrease their approach speed from 10 mph to 5 mph. to complement the new safety measure of having the conductor ride in the cab car with the engineering remains. “The combination of additional track space as well as the added safety measure will demonstrate that we are working swiftly and purposefully toward providing our customers with an optimal commute,” he said. Beginning Monday, customers may access Tracks 1 through 4 through the external walkway near PATH and Tracks 7 and 8 via the Main Terminal. Customers should note that there also will be some reconfiguration of paths of travel to account for the change in access points. Tracks 5 and 6 will remain closed as NJ TRANSIT advances ongoing repair and recovery work. Customers may experience some delays as NJ TRANSIT personnel work with construction crews to clear the area. Congested conditions in certain locations may also be expected at the terminal with the loss of space around tracks 5 and 6. (NJ Transit - posted 10/14)

SECRETARY FOXX, SENS. SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, MENENDEZ & BOOKER, CHAIRMAN COSCIA ANNOUNCE MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS FOR URGENTLY-NEEDED GATEWAY PROGRAM: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with Amtrak Board Chairman Anthony R. Coscia and other federal partners in the Gateway Program today announced the achievement of a series of milestones and accomplishments in the vitally important infrastructure program. The federal leaders are announcing several major milestones involving the President’s Permitting Dashboard, the concrete casing portion of the Hudson Yards Right-of-Way Preservation Project, and eligibility for Federal grants and financing for Portal North Bridge and the Hudson Tunnel Project, critical components of the Gateway Program. These key milestones mean that the Gateway Program is moving along at record speed.
  • Environmental Review & President’s Permitting Dashboard: The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) added the Hudson Tunnel Project to the President’s Permitting Dashboard.  The Gateway Program partners previously announced a commitment of the necessary resources to expedite environmental reviews, but today’s announcement that the project will be listed on the Dashboard will ensure that the established schedule is delivered on time.  Adding the project to the President’s Dashboard – an online tool for federal agencies, project developers and interested members of the public to track the federal government’s permitting and review process for large or complex infrastructure projects – will make the Hudson Tunnel Project a top priority for the multitude of agencies involved in the review process. The Permitting Dashboard is one element of a larger, government-wide effort to streamline the federal permitting and review process while increasing transparency, in addition to improving environmental and community outcomes. More information available at: www.permits.performance.gov/about .
  • Hudson Yards Concrete Casing: Amtrak, working with the Long Island Rail Road, Related Companies and NJ TRANSIT has successfully preserved the right-of-way under a portion of the Hudson Yards development on the West Side of Manhattan by advancing construction of the underground concrete casing which can house future rail infrastructure.  Preserving the right-of-way maintains the option for a future tunnel to connect directly to Penn Station New York. The Department of Transportation, with strong support from Senator Schumer, provided $235 million in federal Sandy resiliency funds for the project – the first phase of actual construction of a new Hudson River Tunnel. The casing now extends from 10th Avenue through the western edge of the 11th Avenue viaduct.
  • Federal Pathways to Credit – Emerging Projects Agreement: The USDOT announced the release of a new credit planning tool, in conjunction with the establishment of the Build America Bureau, under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The FAST Act made key reforms to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program, a $35 billion federal loan program, and the Bureau has built on the reforms to create an Emerging Projects Agreement which eligible partners can now utilize.  The Emerging Projects Agreement allows the Department to offer technical assistance and focused USDOT credit resources for complex, large scale projects seeking low-cost federal credit.  Secretary Foxx is optimistic that this will enable big, ambitious projects to get a head start on plans while project sponsors continue to assemble the financing packages necessary to utilize federal credit programs.  A fact sheet is available at www.transportation.gov/bureau . .
  • Federal Capital Improvement Grants (New Starts and Core Capacity): The federal leaders also detailed significant progress in securing federal grant funding for the Hudson Tunnel Project and Portal North Bridge (Phase 1 of the Gateway Program).  In May, the Gateway partners applied for these projects to be included in the “Project Development” process for New Starts – a type of Capital Investment Grant available through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).  Project Development is the first phase that these projects are required to complete before a construction grant can be awarded.  In July, USDOT accepted both the Hudson Tunnel Project and Portal North Bridge – critical elements of the Gateway Program – into the New Starts Project Development process, making these projects eligible for FTA funds. The Hudson Tunnel Project and Portal North Bridge now move forward with identifying specific development plans and, in the case of the Hudson Tunnel Project, completion of the environmental review process.  The necessary environmental reviews have already been completed for the Portal North Bridge to receive FTA investment under New Starts.  The move also allows costs incurred by Amtrak, NJ TRANSIT and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) related to the environmental review and engineering and design activities to eventually be reimbursed under the FTA program. The federal leaders also announced that on September 2nd the Gateway partners submitted a Portal North Bridge Core Capacity rating package to the FTA for evaluation.  If the project scores well, it will be included in the Department of Transportation’s recommendation for the President’s FY18 Budget.  Inclusion of Portal North Bridge in the Budget, expected to be released next Spring, would represent a huge step toward securing significant federal grant funding. Simultaneously, the Gateway partners are advancing engineering and environmental work on the Hudson Tunnel Project with the goal of having that project included in the President’s Budget in the near future.
“The U.S. Department of Transportation is using every tool at our disposal to move the Gateway Program forward, and there has been major progress on the Federal side over the past year,” Secretary Foxx said. “The Department put $55 million into planning for the replacement of the Portal Bridge, and the Hudson Yard’s concrete casing project received $235 million in federal funds. We’ve made the project eligible for potentially billions in Federal grants and loans, accelerated the environmental permitting process, and we are accelerating the project by putting it on the President’s Permitting dashboard.” “Today’s news solidifies the federal government’s commitment to getting the Gateway Program fast-tracked and funded,” said Senator Schumer.  “Now, we must continue moving full speed ahead, ensuring the federal grant dollars are ready to use, and lengthy reviews sped up. There is simply no time to waste when it comes to the countless jobs that depend on a safe and functioning gateway tunnel. With the continued partnership between the federal government, New York, New Jersey and Amtrak, we will get this project done and we will preserve and protect the heart of our regional and national economy for the long haul.” “Access to New Starts brings with it the potential for billions of dollars of federal funding—and there’s no doubt in my mind that a project with the national significance of Gateway is deserving of that type of commitment,” added Senator Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate’s transit subcommittee with oversight of the New Starts program. “I’m pleased that language that I helped author was included in the final transportation bill, making joint transit-rail projects like Gateway eligible for New Starts funding.  I’m proud of the commitment this group has made to undertake a difficult effort, because it’s the right thing to do for our constituents, for our region, and for our nation as a whole.” “Each day thousands of New Jersey commuters utilize our state’s rail infrastructure, making it a critical lifeline for our region’s economy,” said Senator Booker, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate subcommittee which oversees America’s rail infrastructure.  “We must remain committed to providing commuters the transportation system they need and deserve by investing in the Gateway Program, which will help strengthen our economic growth and boost job creation. Our efforts over the past year have elevated Gateway as a national priority and I am pleased to see this continued progress by state and federal partners.  Today’s announcement moves us closer to securing federal funding for vital projects like Portal Bridge in New Jersey and streamlines the permitting process while being mindful of potential environmental impacts to our communities.” “The accomplishments and milestones achieved in the past year represent real, tangible progress in advancing the Gateway Program,” said Chairman Coscia. “New York City is the beating heart of the Northeast Corridor and the improvements envisioned under Gateway are part of the foundation for the economic future of this region.  We appreciate the leadership, collaboration and engagement of our partners in this effort and look forward to celebrating much success in advancing this Program in the future.” “The Gateway program’s early list of accomplishments illustrates the progress we’ve made, and the opportunities and initiatives that still lay ahead of us,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye.  “Just as importantly, it also symbolizes the level of support and cooperation among the key federal, state and local players who are essential to making Gateway a reality.” “I’m very pleased that the Gateway Program is moving forward,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Millions of Americans rely on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and our regional commuter rail networks.  It is vitally important that our rail infrastructure can safely and reliably handle this large and growing number of passengers. New York’s transportation infrastructure is one of my top priorities in the Senate, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that this important project has the necessary federal resources to be completed.” (Amtrak - posted 10/14)

R.J. CORMAN RAILROAD GROUP APPOINTS NEW PRESIDENT AND CEO: R. J. Corman Railroad Group, LLC announced the appointment of Edward Quinn III to serve as the company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective October 24, 2016. He will succeed Fred Mudge, Interim President and CEO. Mudge will continue to serve as the Chairman of the R. J. Corman Board of Directors. “Speaking on behalf of the R. J. Corman Board of Directors and Trustees, we are delighted to welcome Mr. Quinn to serve as our President and CEO,” said Sandra Adams, member of the Board of Trustees. “Having worked with Mr. Quinn previously, I am confident he is the right leader for our company moving forward. Ed has the intellect and integrity to lead our company as well as the passion for our employees and customers that is necessary for continued improvement.” Quinn will rejoin R. J. Corman after having spent 22 years in industries such as transportation and manufacturing where he has held various leadership roles. He has diverse experience in engineering, marketing and sales, and the management of geographically dispersed operations teams. In his previous tenure at R. J. Corman, Quinn served as General Manager of the Material Sales Company and Vice President of the Derailment Services Company. “I am honored to have the opportunity to continue Mr. Corman’s vision,” stated Quinn. “The R. J. Corman family of companies is known for its exceptional customer focus and the diversity of services it provides. I am committed to upholding the company’s core values and working with our employees to achieve our growth initiatives.” “Mr. Quinn’s leadership ability in conjunction with his innovative, customer-first mindset will allow our company to improve our synergistic relationships with our customers,” said Fred Mudge. “I look forward to working with Ed as we grow through our foundational principles of safe, efficient and reliable service to the railroad and related industries.” Altogether, R. J. Corman Railroad Group employs more than 1,600 people in 24 states. R. J. Corman companies provide a myriad of services to the railroad industry such as: short line railroad operations, industrial railcar switching, emergency response, track material distribution, track construction, signal design and construction, railroad worker training and building eco-friendly locomotives. (RJ Corman - posted 10/13)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 8, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending October 8, 2016. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 521,789 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending October 8 were 264,165 carloads, down 5.9 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 257,624 containers and trailers, down 6.4 percent compared to 2015. Two of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They were grain, up 8.2 percent to 26,845 carloads; and motor vehicles and parts, up 6.2 percent to 18,946 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 29.8 percent to 9,587 carloads; nonmetallic minerals, down 9.5 percent to 35,305 carloads; and coal, down 8.3 percent to 90,195 carloads. For the first 40 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,001,381 carloads, down 10.4 percent from the same point last year; and 10,341,236 intermodal units, down 3.3 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 40 weeks of 2016 was 20,342,617 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 6.9 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending October 8, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 359,824 carloads, down 3.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 332,580 intermodal units, down 5.3 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 692,404 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.2 percent. North American rail volume for the first 40 weeks of 2016 was 26,625,526 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.5 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 80,645 carloads for the week, up 6.7 percent, and 61,796 intermodal units, down 1.2 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 40 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,205,378 carloads, containers and trailers, down 5.7 percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,014 carloads for the week, down 4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 13,160 intermodal units, down 1.8 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 40 weeks of 2016 was 1,077,531 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.5 percent from the same point last year.(AAR - posted 10/13/16)

CSX ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS: CSX Corporation today announced third quarter 2016 net earnings of $455 million, or $0.48 per share, down from $507 million, or $0.52 per share, in the same period of last year. “CSX continues to drive strong cost performance and efficiency in this dynamic market environment while meeting or exceeding customer expectations,” said Michael J. Ward, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our financial results demonstrate CSX’s ability to deliver value for shareholders and customers in the current business climate as we position the company to maximize opportunities in 2017 and beyond.” Revenue for the quarter declined 8 percent, consistent with volume declines of 8 percent overall, including coal volume declines of 21 percent. At the same time, expenses improved 7 percent in the quarter, primarily driven by $112 million of efficiency gains and $53 million of volume-related cost reductions. As these cost savings partially offset the impact of lower volume and changing business mix, operating income declined 10 percent to $841 million and the operating ratio increased 70 basis points year-over-year to 69.0 percent. While the U.S. dollar strength and low global commodity prices persisted in the quarter, CSX is positioning itself to maximize shareholder value by leveraging network improvements, technology enhancements and superior service to capture growth opportunities and achieve a mid-60s operating ratio longer term. (CSX- posted 10/12/16)

MTA METRO-NORTH RAILROAD SEEKING IDEAS TO REVITALIZE PORTION OF THE BEACON LINE: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and MTA Metro-North Railroad are asking companies and organizations to step forward with ideas for how to revitalize a little-used rail line that runs east-west across Dutchess and Putnam Counties, N.Y. The line, known as the Beacon Line or the Maybrook Branch, connects with Metro-North’s Hudson Line at Beacon, proceeds east through Fishkill, Hopewell Junction, and Stomville, and connects with the Harlem Line north of Southeast. Although owned by Metro-North Railroad, the line is not currently used for passenger train service. “Perhaps there are ways that the line could be put to use for the benefit of the public that are outside of our mandate as a public transportation agency,” said Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti. “We want to find out how much interest there is in this real estate and what ideas folks may have that could lead to the revitalization of the line.” The MTA has issued a formal Request for Expressions of Interest, or RFEI, which is available at the MTA’s website under Doing Business With Us, then Real Estate, then Leasing/Sales & Current Requests for Proposals. The MTA is issuing the RFEI to seek ideas that would help preserve the line for current or future rail operation, limit Metro-North’s ongoing maintenance and upkeep costs of the line, support economic development and public use, and generate revenue for Metro-North. Although not part of this RFEI, the Beacon Line continues into Connecticut where it connects with Metro-North’s Danbury Branch and Waterbury Branch. Responses are due by November 18, 2016. To promote the opportunity, the MTA has taken out advertisements with the Poughkeepsie Journal, Journal News, New York Post, El Diario, Minority Commerce Weekly, Trains Magazine, Progressive Railroading, Railway Age, Association of Tourist Railroads and Railway Museums, and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.(MTA - posted 10/11/16)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SUPPORTS HURRICANE MATTHEW RECOVERY EFFOTS IN THE SOUTHEAST: Norfolk Southern is donating $50,000 to the American Red Cross to assist with Hurricane Matthew relief efforts across five Southeastern states. Hurricane Matthew brought heavy rains and flooding across NS’ service territory in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. More than 13,000 people in those states sought shelter in Red Cross and community evacuation shelters as the storm moved up the coast. “Many of our Norfolk Southern employees and facilities are located in these affected areas, and Red Cross recovery efforts are timely, effective, and vital,” said James A. Squires, NS chairman, president, and CEO. “We want our employees, customers, and community neighbors to know that Norfolk Southern is there to help where it’s needed most.” Norfolk Southern employs 9,500 railroaders in the five states and operates over 5,000 miles of railroad there. For the most part, NS train operations have returned to normal since the storm moved up the Southeast coast. (NS, Randy Kotuby - posted 10/11/16)

NEW PASSENGER INFORMATION DISPLAYS IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AT PENN STATION NEW YORK: Amtrak is making a major upgrade to the busiest transit hub in America with the launch of a new, state-of-the-art Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) at Penn Station New York.  The new PIDS communicates train status, origin and destination stations, boarding gate and other information and features bright, new LCD displays which are easier to read and synchronize audio and visual messaging in the station. Strategic placement of the new displays, along with modification and eventual removal of some existing monitors – including the large train status board in the center of the concourse – provides customers access to the same information in various locations, allowing more efficient use of space in the main hall. “The vast majority of our customers get train status information from the display boards and in-station monitors,” said Mike DeCataldo, Amtrak Senior Vice President and General Manager of Northeast Corridor Operations.  “The new PIDS, along with the concourse improvements under way as part of the Moynihan Station project will be a welcome upgrade to the customer experience at Penn Station.  The terminal complex presents a unique set of logistical and physical challenges – some of which we believe this new system will help to address.” At either end of the main train hall, large video walls featuring departure information, visual messaging and synchronized station announcements are intended to draw waiting customers away from the center of the room, easing congestion and improving pedestrian circulation.  The displays are also capable of broadcasting emergency communications and other customized messages.  An additional 38 monitor sets displaying boarding information and station announcements have been or will be installed above the boarding gates on the main concourse, in the Acela Lounge, Rotunda and Amtrak waiting areas. While Amtrak continues to work with a number of stakeholders to advance the Moynihan Station project, the upgraded PIDS is a near-term improvement that immediately enhances the customer experience.  Funding was made possible through Amtrak’s ADA stations initiative, but the improvements benefit all customers. “Amtrak is committed to providing timely and accurate customer communications across all channels – in stations, on board trains, via our mobile apps and our various web-based platforms,” said Lenetta McCampbell, Amtrak Senior Director, Passenger Experience.  “Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated, multi-departmental team this modern system will help drive improved customer satisfaction at our most important station.” The nation’s busiest transit hub, Penn Station is tremendously important to Amtrak and is the latest major Northeast Corridor station into which Amtrak is investing funds to improve the customer experience.  Some 650,000 commuter and intercity passengers pass through the station each day – twice as many people as all three New York metro area airports combined.(Amtrak - posted 10/11/16)

CSX HURRICANE MATTHEW AFTERMATH UPDATE CSX has fully restored lines of service in Florida. By Monday evening October 10th, CSX operations expects to restore service to the following areas:
  • Jacksonville to Savannah, GA
  • Augusta, GA to Savannah, GA
  • Rocky Mount, NC to Hamlet, NC
Commercial power for the main line from Savannah, GA to Pembroke, NC is not yet available. In response, engineering crews are deploying over 1,000 generators to power crossing gates, defect detectors and wayside signals. Additionally, crews are working through extensive washout conditions and flooded areas on our rail infrastructure across North and South Carolina (CSX - posted 10/10/16)

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES LIRR TO RESTORE FULL SERVICE IN TIME FOR MONDAY AFTERNOON RUSH HOUR: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Long Island Rail Road will resume full rush hour service this afternoon on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay Branches. Service on those branches was disrupted in the wake of a derailment east of New Hyde Park on Saturday night. “The full restoration of service for Monday’s evening rush hour was made possible by the continuous efforts of the MTA and LIRR crews,” Governor Cuomo said. “I thank all of the employees who worked around the clock to restore train service so commuters can get where they need to go as easily and as efficiently as possible.” Crews have been working non-stop since the derailment Saturday night, first using a crane to re-rail the derailed train and then moving it away from the site. They have also repaired damaged tracks and conducted the necessary inspections and tests to ensure that both tracks are safe for train travel. At approximately 4:15 a.m., workers restored one of the Main Line’s two tracks in time for Monday morning’s rush hour, which allowed a resumption of limited, peak-direction train service. Eastbound service resumed at 9:15 a.m. At 9:45 a.m. on Monday, the last of the cars from the derailed train were pulled away from the site. Workers have spent the hours since then inspecting the second track, making final repairs, and operating test trains to ensure the track is safe. Workers have focused their attention today on repairing an intricate and cumbersome 25-foot segment of track near a switch that was damaged in the derailment. In fact, after the rush hour has concluded, workers will return to the site to perform additional permanent repairs that will allow trains to eliminate speed restrictions and allow trains to run at the usual maximum speed through this area.(NS- posted 10/10) (MTA - posted 10/10/16)

TRACK WASHOUTS HAMPER NS SERVICE IN NORTH CAROLINA: Norfolk Southern is currently working to restore service east of Selma, NC to New Bern, NC after experiencing multiple washouts due to Hurricane Matthew. As a result, Norfolk Southern is invoking Force Majeure effective Friday October 7th, 2016 for traffic destined to the Chocowinity, Goldsboro and New Bern areas. Norfolk Southern will continue to provide updates on when this line can be expected to be returned to service. (NS- posted 10/10)

STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO ON THE LIRR DERAILMENT: Statement concerning LIRR's derailment on Saturday evening: “At approximately 9:10 p.m. this evening, a train on the Long Island Rail Road was heading eastbound on the mainline when the first three cars of a 12 car train derailed about one half mile east of the New Hyde Park Station. Approximately 600 passengers were on board at the time of tonight's incident. Thankfully, early reports indicate that injuries are minimal. At this time, 11 people have sustained injuries, none of which are considered to be serious. "Service is currently suspended on Ronkonkoma, Oyster and Port Jefferson branches, and customers should use Montauk, Babylon and Hempstead lines at this time. "Staff from the MTA and the LIRR are on the scene and will work around the clock to determine the cause of this derailment and restore service as quickly as possible. “We will continue to provide the public with additional information as it becomes available.” (MTA- posted 10/09)

CSX RESUMES FLORIDA OPERATIONS: As Hurricane Matthew passes the eastern coastline, CSX Transportation has begun restoration efforts. Recovery crews are working to fully restore service, making any necessary repairs, and making infrastructure or equipment repairs that may be necessary. UPDATE:
  • CSX operations reestablished service into Florida with the exception of crossing SunRail through the Orlando, FL area.
  • Service remains suspended from Savannah, GA through Pembroke, NC with an update expected as soon as the extent of any storm damage is fully assessed.
  • Switching operations remains closed in Savannah, GA; Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC.
CSX continues to monitor the storm as it continues to travel its forecasted path along the Eastern coastline from Charleston, SC past Wilmington, NC. Additional updates will be provided as CSX operations continues to re-evaluate the situation immediately on the ground and rail network. (CSX- posted 10/08)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RESTORES SERVICE TO JACKSONVILLE: Norfolk Southern's route to Jacksonville, FL has been restored to service. NS is still assessing the track conditions in the other areas impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Over 100 trees have already been cleared from the tracks as recovery efforts continue. Many Southeast coastal and Mid-Atlantic regions remain under flash flood warnings.  (NJ Transit - posted 10/07) (NS - posted 10/08)

PARTIAL RAIL SERVICE SCHEDULED TO RESUME MONDAY AT HOBOKEN TERMINAL: A section of the terminal suffered extensive damage following a train accident September 29. Due to the ongoing National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation, debris removal and safety concerns, the entire Hoboken Terminal was placed out of service. Beginning with the first train Monday morning, NJ TRANSIT will reopen Tracks 10-17 for rail service. Tracks 1-9 will remain out of service until further notice as repair work in that section of the terminal continues. When the partial reopening occurs, Main/Bergen County, Pascack Valley and Port Jervis Line trains will return to a weekday schedule, with some adjustments, to and from Hoboken. Select express trains will be eliminated and certain other trains will be combined. Customers are urged to go to njtransit.com for more specific information after 10 p.m. tonight. On the Montclair-Boonton Line, trains originating west of Montclair State University (MSU), including from Denville will operate into Hoboken, with additional stops east of MSU. Most Gladstone Branch trains to Hoboken will be restored. North Jersey Coast Line and Raritan Valley Line trains scheduled to terminate in Hoboken will continue to terminate at Newark Penn Station. Because rail service will be modified in and out of the terminal, other NJ TRANSIT bus, rail and light rail services may experience crowding conditions and delays. As repair work continues at the terminal, customers are advised to stay clear of all work areas. The Hoboken Terminal waiting room, Customer Service office and restrooms will be open. In addition, there will be limited Ticket Vending Machines located in the waiting room. Customers are urged to download the NJ TRANSIT App and sign up for MyTix to purchase their tickets. NJ TRANSIT bus, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, PATH and NY Waterway also continue to operate in and out of Hoboken on their regular routes and schedules.  (NJ Transit - posted 10/07)

MBTA SEEKS CONTRACTORS FOR GREEN LINE EXTENSION: MBTA is seeking letters of interest from firms that may want to provide services for the Green Line Extension project. This step initiates the process for engaging potential bidders in the design and construction industry in the next phase of the project. The MBTA will host a forum on November 16, in the state transportation building, to discuss the current scope of the GLX project, and anticipates inviting firms capable of leading Design Build teams to accomplish the work. The project includes the design and construction of two distinct branches that will serve as an extension to the Green Line: a "mainline" branch which will operate within the existing right-of-way of the Lowell Line, beginning just south of a relocated Lechmere Station in Cambridge and traveling north to Medford, and a branch line operating within the existing right-of-way of the Fitchburg Line to Union Square in Somerville. There will be seven new stations constructed as part of the project, including the relocated Lechmere Station, as well as associated electrical and signal systems. A vehicle storage and maintenance facility will also be constructed. To date, the GLX project has reached a number of important milestones. On August 8, the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board authorized the MBTA to proceed with the next phase of the Green Line Extension project: the development of procurement documents for the ultimate selection of a new construction team. A Memorandum of Understanding between MassDOT and the City of Cambridge for the city to contribute $25 million to fund elements of the Green Line Extension project within the city of Cambridge (particularly costs associated with the relocation and reconstruction of Lechmere Station). Both the FMCB and the MassDOT board voted today to accept the memorandum of understanding with the city of Cambridge, accepting the city's funds. The $25 million contribution will be transferred from the City of Cambridge to the Commonwealth, over the course of several years. MassDOT is working with the City of Somerville to advance a similar MOU to account for the pledged $50 million contribution from Somerville. A comprehensive review of the project to identify cost reductions and steps to streamline and improve the planning and construction process. Continued close-out of existing construction contracts. The project still hinges on the release of $1 billion in funds pledged by the federal government. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) earlier this year expressed support for the work performed to date by the Interim Project Management Team. In a letter to MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack, FTA Regional Administrator Mary Beth Mello wrote the "IPMT has made every effort to redesign the project in ways that preserve its most essential transportation benefits, consistent with your fiscal constraints." The FTA calls the MBTA's cost estimates "complete, well documented," the project scope "consistent with the scope of work set forth in the Full Funding Grant Agreement", and the project schedule "mechanically sound.  (MBTA - posted 10/07)

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS: VIA RAIL OTTAWA STATION MAJOR RENOVATION PROJECT AND NEW DEPARTURES: On September 29, at the VIA Rail Ottawa train station, David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport and Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) marked the station’s 50th anniversary, announcing a major renovation project and new departures between Toronto and Ottawa.
  • Greater flexibility for travellers between Ottawa and Toronto: Starting November 1, VIA Rail will run a new schedule between Ottawa and Toronto. Travellers will have a choice of two new afternoon departures (one departure each way), bringing the service offering up to nine daily departures in each direction during the week.
  • Improved customer experience and better accessibility: A major renovation project, valued at $20 million, will bring these facilities in line with international accessibility standards and will support VIA Rail’s commitment to sustainable mobility. The work, scheduled to run from September 2016 to the fall of 2017, will include the construction of an elevated and heated passenger platform, installation of elevators to provide access to the tunnel and boarding platforms, and a new electrical room, as well as the installation of an upgraded electrical system. An additional $1.7 million will also be invested in partial roof renovations and improvements to certain systems. This investment will come from the federal funding for infrastructure announced in Budget 2016. “Railways in this country have a long history of providing service to Canadians and the Ottawa Station helps to continue this tradition for the National Capital Region’’, said Member of Parliament David McGuinty. This work follows a series of renovations which began in 2007, an investment of $5.4 million, that included, among other projects, the installation of new escalators, additional work spaces, automatic door replacement, washroom upgrades, Business lounge renovations, ticket booth replacement, rotunda improvements, renovation of parking facilities, restoration of the steel structure inside the station, as well as improvements to the ventilation system and the boarding platform. “The Ottawa train station is truly an architectural gem,” declared Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail. “Its remarkable design has garnered designation as heritage train station. In one year we will be in a position to offer our clients a completely new experience. Once the renovations are complete, our facilities will be more accessible and mobility within the station as well as boarding and disembarking from our trains will be easier for everyone. The Ottawa train station is at the heart of our future dedicated tracks project, which will draw more passengers with increased train frequencies, shorter travel times, and more convenient and reliable schedules. Until then, we will increase the departures from our nation’s capital in order to serve a growing market.”
  • 50 years of history: The Ottawa train station was inaugurated on August 1, 1966. In 1967, the architecture firm behind the building design, John B. Parkin and Associates, received the Governor General’s Massey Medal for its outstanding work. The VIA Rail station was designated a heritage building in 1996 – 30 years after it was opened. In 2000, it was named one of the top 500 buildings produced in Canada during the last millennium and, in 2007, was presented the Ontario Association of Architects’ Landmark Award. Currently, the station serves more than 800,000 passengers every year, and the train represents a smarter choice for the many tourists, families and businesspeople travelling to and from Ottawa. 
(VIA Rail Canada - posted 10/07)

AMTRAK CANCELS SOUTHEAST SERVICE DUE TO HURRICANE MATTHEW: Amtrak is temporarily suspending train service in the south today through Saturday, Oct. 8, due to severe weather impacting the region from Florida to North Carolina. The Silver Star and Silver Meteor (New York City - Miami), and Auto Train (Lorton, Va. - Sanford, Fla.) are cancelled. No alternate transportation will be provided. The Palmetto (New York City - Savannah, Ga.) will operate between New York City and Washington, D.C.  (AMTRAK - posted 10/06)

FLORIDA TRI-RAIL CANCELS SERVICE: Due to Hurricane Matthew, Florida's Tri-Rail commuter train service will be suspended for Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 and Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.  (Tr-Rail - posted 10/06)

CSX PREPARES FOR HURRICANE MATTHEW: CSX operations is continuing to monitor the path of Hurricane Matthew and has made extensive preparations for the effects of the storm.  The extent of the potential impact this system will have on CSX operations is not known at this time.  Several division operating departments are making tactical plan changes and curtailments to proactively move as much freight as possible to minimize the impact of possible delays.   The Hurricane Action Plan includes, but is not limited to, the following precautions and actions:  
  • Operations on the main line from Auburndale, FL through Orlando, FL and Sanford, FL areas into Jacksonville, FL will be suspended by late Thursday afternoon.
  • The main line from Jacksonville, FL to Savannah, GA will be curtailed Friday morning.
  • The main line from Savannah, GA to Pembroke, NC has been reduced to passenger and time critical operations only.
  • Switching operations in Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC have been halted until after the storm passes.
During this process, the company’s priorities are the safety of employees, infrastructure and meeting the needs of customers.  The CSX Customer Service Center will remain open throughout the duration of the storm to answer calls regarding individual customer issues.  We are working with customers to best accommodate requests in anticipation of storm-related disruptions to the rail network.  More updates will be provided as CSX continues to closely monitor the path and intensity of Hurricane Matthew which is predicted to significantly impact the southeastern United States coastline late this week and the Mid-Atlantic into the weekend.  (CSX - posted 10/06)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PREPARES FOR HURRICANE MATTHEW: Norfolk Southern train operations are being curtailed due to mandatory evacuations in the Jacksonville, Savannah, and Brunswick areas. Rail equipment in the Southeast Coastal area has been moved inland to secured rail yards. Traffic in route is being held at various yards throughout the Norfolk Southern system in an effort to alleviate congestion in the affected regions. Hurricane force winds, heavy rain and coastal flooding is expected. Norfolk Southern continues to monitor the storm closely and is taking precautions to protect employees, track, and shipments in these areas. In preparation NS Engineering is staging resources, including ballast trains, equipment, and generators, and will be prepared to commence storm recovery efforts once it is safe to do so. Norfolk Southern will be working with customers in these areas to identify switching needs and service curtailment. Customers should expect delays to affected areas that could last several days. (NS - posted 10/06)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR SEPTEMBER AND THE WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 1, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for September 2016. Carload traffic in September totaled 1,068,644 carloads, down 5.4 percent or 61,455 carloads from September 2015. U.S. railroads also originated 1,040,934 containers and trailers in September 2016, down 4.2 percent or 45,192 units from the same month last year. For September 2016, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,109,578, down 4.8 percent or 106,647 carloads and intermodal units from September 2015. In September 2016, nine of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with September 2015. These included: grain, up 11.2 percent or 9,860 carloads; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 28.8 percent or 3,725 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, up 7.5 percent or 1,414 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in September 2016 from September 2015 included: coal, down 13.1 percent or 53,896 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 21.6 percent or 11,810 carloads; and primary metal products, down 9.5 percent or 3,459 carloads. Excluding coal, carloads were down 1.1 percent or 7,559 carloads in September 2016 from September 2015. Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 36 weeks of 2016 was 9,737,216 carloads, down 10.5 percent or 1,142,905 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 10,083,612 units, down 3.2 percent or 333,619 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2015. For the first nine months of 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 19,820,828 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.9 percent or 1,476,524 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year. "Rail traffic in September was more of what we have come to expect this year: big declines in energy related products, continued weakness in intermodal and most other export markets, but with some strength in grain," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "The fact is, in many of their markets, railroads are facing significant market uncertainties.  It isn't helping that rail regulators are seeking to put additional costly regulatory burdens on railroads too.  The inefficiencies and unnecessary costs railroads would incur if regulators succeed would make it that much harder for railroads to meet the needs of their customers and to allow the capital investment necessary to adapt their networks to a changing marketplace."     (AAR- 10/05)

MBTA REPORTS FISCAL 2016 RESULTS: MBTA made significant progress in improving its fiscal health and achieved several important financial milestones during its 2016 Fiscal Year, including significant savings in overtime spending and other operating costs, a reduction in the agency's structural deficit, and achieving the lowest operating expense growth rate in 15 years. Successfully lowering operating costs and realizing higher own-source revenues from sources like real estate and parking enabled the MBTA to reduce its forecast structural deficit by 50 percent, from an FY16 budgeted structural deficit of $169.6 million down to an actual FY16 structural deficit of $85.9 million. Revenue growth exceeded initial FY16 budget expectations, due to strong growth in advertising, parking and real estate revenues. At the same time, total expenses were $73 million less than first budgeted, reflecting a drop in overall operating expenses system-wide, and lower debt-service costs resulting from the implementation of a comprehensive debt strategy. Among the highlights:
  • Compared with FY15, the MBTA reduced operating expenses by 0.3 percent in FY16. This represented the lowest rate of MBTA operating expense growth in 15+ years.?FY16 operating expense growth: -0.3 percent compared to FY15
  • FY00 - FY16 average operating expense growth: 4.7 percent
  • The MBTA's FY16 structural deficit was down 28 percent, when compared to FY15.
  • Own-source revenue increased by $15.9 million; 37 percent compared to FY15?Advertising revenue increased $5 million or 30 percent
  • Parking revenue increased $6 million or 44 percent
  • Recurring real estate revenue increased $5.2 million or 38 percent
  • Total wage and benefit expense increased just 1 percent compared to FY15, driven by a 21 percent reduction in overtime spending?Wages increased from $437 million to $453 million
  • Overtime decreased from $53M to $42M
"We remain focused on our goal of putting the MBTA on track to financial sustainability through internal cost-controls and aggressive growth of advertising, parking and real estate revenues," said MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve. "We continue to work toward reducing the T's structural deficit and putting the organization on a sound fiscal footing that will enable us to serve our riders and increase capital investment in the system." The MBTA remains committed to increasing customer performance and service while still striving to achieve lower cost-growth (MBTA - 10/05)

CSX DERAILMENT AT OAK POINT YARD RESULTS IN DELAYS TO AMTRAK SERVICE: "At about 9:15 this morning a CSX freight train derailed approximately 8 rail cars in the Oak Point rail yard on Longwood Avenue in the Bronx, NY. There were no injuries as a result of the incident and no reports of any hazardous materials involved. Additional details are still being confirmed. CSX has crews on the scene assessing the situation and developing plans to re-rail the affected cars. CSX will share more information as soon as it becomes available."(NS- 10/04) The derailments blocked one of the two parallel Amtrak Northeast Corridor tracks, resulting in delays to Northeast Direct and Acela Express service. (CSX, Randy Kotuby - 10/05)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PREPARES FOR HURRICANE MATTHEW: Norfolk Southern is currently anticipating inclement weather affecting the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic coastal areas associated with Hurricane Matthew. Weather advisories have been issued based on Matthew’s forecasted track. Strong winds, heavy rainfall and potential flooding is expected in many coastal and low-lying areas. The state of South Carolina has ordered evacuations of coastal areas effective 3:00pm October 5th. Norfolk Southern is monitoring the storm closely and is taking precautions to protect employees, track, and shipments in these areas. In preparation Engineering is staging resources, including ballast trains, equipment, and generators, and will be prepared to commence storm recovery efforts once it is safe to do so. Norfolk Southern will be working with customers in these areas to identify switching needs and service curtailment. Customers should expect delays to affected areas that could last several days. Customers with questions regarding local service should contact their Operations and Service Support, Unit Train, Automotive, or Intermodal representative. (NS- 10/04)

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES NEW PAYMENT OPTIONS FOR MTA ETIX: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the addition of Apple Pay and Masterpass digital wallet technology to MTA eTix, the mobile ticketing app that enables Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road customers to purchase their tickets anywhere, anytime. Starting tomorrow morning, customers of these services will be able to use both services to purchase one way, round trip, ten trip, weekly, CityTickets -- as well and monthly passes —through MTA eTix. "We have worked tirelessly to rebuild and reimagine New York's transit system for the 21st century and a key part of those efforts is to incorporate the amenities that modern day riders demand," Governor Cuomo said. "By adding the use of cutting edge technology like Apple Pay and Masterpass, we are not only making mass transit easier to use, but are also improving the overall experience of riders." Earlier this summer, Governor Cuomo announced that MTA eTix, which had been scheduled for completion by the end of 2016, would be accelerated so the riders of both railroads would be able to use the app by the end of the summer. The roll out began on June 30 with the LIRR Port Washington Branch and Metro-North Hudson Line. It then became available on Metro-North's Harlem Line on July 25 and finally became available on the rest of the LIRR and Metro-North's New Haven Line on August 22. MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said, "We're pleased to welcome both Apple Pay and Masterpass to the eTix experience. We believe that the addition of these secure payment options will help us to do an even better job of meeting the needs of our customers, and we look forward to further building the user-base for the app in the weeks and months ahead."mtrak - 10/03) (MTA - 10/04)

THE NATION SPOTLIGHTS CULTURAL, VISUAL TRAVEL EXPERIENCES ON AMERCA'S RAILROAD®: Amtrak unveiled its first national on-board magazine, The National, to enhance the experience for the 30 million customers who travel annually on Amtrak. The free magazine is available in seatbacks throughout the Amtrak network, which connects customers to more than 500 destinations and 46 states across the country. In addition to the availability of the magazine in seatbacks, a new digital site is available to customers across digital, mobile, social and onboard platforms. “We are dedicated to enhancing our customers’ onboard experience, highlighting the unique elements that Amtrak offers and The National does just that – celebrating the country our customers see gliding past their train window and showcasing the personalities, culture and destinations along America’s Railroad®,” said Rob Friedman, Amtrak’s Vice President of Brand Management and Marketing. “Together with Ink – who brings a wealth of knowledge – we believe we will be providing customers with engaging editorial to enjoy during their journey.” The National is committed to offering original, inspirational and informative writing from respected local and international contributors. In the first issue, customers will find a wide array of features including travel essays, fiction, poetry, and fine-art photography to include lost early fiction from Jack Kerouac, an overview of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.; and a portrait of shrimpers on the Gulf Coast. A series of recurring editorial themes will include:
  • Rail Life – Vignettes featuring people, places and experiences across the country
  • Made in America – Profiles of American companies
  • The National Conversation – Pop culture Q&A
  • Next Stop – In-depth feature on an effort to preserve or highlight an important piece of American culture or history
  • Photography Highlight – fine art photographer documenting unique elements of Amtrak train travel
  • Train of Thought – A personal essay related to train travel
“The National is an inspired publication that celebrates American culture,” said Jordan Heller, The National Editor in Chief. “Railways are integral to shaping our national identity and America’s Railroad® is the perfect platform for a contemporary magazine.” The National will be produced by Ink and produced out of the publisher’s New York office. (Amtrak - 10/03)

SEPTA REGIONAL RAIL RETURNS TO REGULAR WEEKDAY SCHEDULES TODAY: SEPTA will resume regular weekday Regional Rail schedules on Monday, Oct. 3 -- marking a return to the normal service patterns and trip frequency that was in place for customers before the Silverliner V fleet was sidelined. "We are excited to bring Regional Rail service back to the level our loyal customers expect and deserve," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. "We are grateful to our customers for their patience, and we sincerely regret the inconvenience this situation has caused." SEPTA's fleet of 120 Silverliner Vs, which represent approximately one-third of the Regional Rail fleet, were taken out of service on July 1 following the discovery of cracks in equalizer beams on most of the vehicles. Equalizer beams are part of the rail car suspension system, and distribute the weight of the vehicle to its axles. Repairs are ongoing, and vehicles are being returned to SEPTA as they are fixed. By Monday, more than 50 repaired Silverliner Vs will be available for service. The combination of repaired Silverliner Vs and SEPTA's other Regional Rail vehicles, along with leased vehicles from Amtrak, NJ Transit and Maryland's MARC, will allow SEPTA to resume regular weekday schedules. With the start of Monday's service, customers should refer to schedules dated June 19, 2016 for timetables on all lines except the Media/Elwyn Line, which was adjusted due to summer construction and will have a new schedule with an Oct. 2 effective date. Also, due to the logistics of operating the leased trains, there will be modifications to four trains arriving or departing Center City. Details on those trip adjustments are posted at www.septa.org/service/rail-service-returns . Links to the regular weekday schedules can also be accessed by clicking the link above. Customers who use the official SEPTA App for iPhone or Android should also visit this web page for instructions on downloading and updating the Apps. With the transition back to regular weekday service, customers may experience some crowding on board trains. However, conditions should improve through the week as additional repaired Silverliner Vs become available for service. (SEPTA - 10/03)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SAFETY TRAIN VISITS GREENVILLE, SC: NNorfolk Southern Corporation's (NYSE: NSC) safety train rolled into Greenville, S.C., this week, hosting 213 area emergency responders who received advanced training in safely handling potential rail incidents involving hazardous materials. "The safety train is a mobile technical training center – a vocational school – for the continuing education of first responders and representatives of government agencies who support Norfolk Southern's commitment to incident-free handling of hazardous materials," said David Schoendorfer, Norfolk Southern's system manager hazardous materials. "It's a whistle-stop train that helps keep our communities safe." Staged this week at Norfolk Southern's Greenville rail yard, the safety training attracted representatives of 18 area agencies, including fire departments from Bradley County, Crosswell, Easley City, Gantt, Greenville City, Mauldin, Parker, Pickens, Piedmont Park, Poplar Springs, Silverstreet, South Greenville, Taylors, and Wade Hampton. Sheriff's offices from Greenville County and Spartanburg County and the Anderson County Hazmat Team also attended. Captain Mike Marlow, a 30-year veteran of the Greenville City Fire Department, brought 90 of his firefighters to attend the classes. "This is essential training for every community with train tracks going through its town," Marlow said. "We are now better prepared to respond in the event of a railroad emergency with the knowledge of how to stay safe around trains and rail equipment." The safety train is visiting 18 cities in 13 states during its inaugural tour this year. To date, 1,423 emergency responders have received professional instruction on the train. At every location, responders can choose to attend one of the free four-hour classes offered over a three-day period that include instructor-led and hands-on learning. The train includes two boxcars converted into classrooms, four types of railroad tank cars used in transporting all types of chemicals, and two specially equipped flat cars. "Norfolk Southern has a great safety record, but in the unlikely event of a train derailment involving hazmat, we want to make sure the communities we serve are prepared," Schoendorfer said. "We are focusing on areas where we have significant hazmat shipments. It's a best business practice to help with preparedness." The train's next stops will be Oct. 11-13 in Atlanta; Oct. 25-27 in Chattanooga; Nov. 8-10 in Slidell, La.; and Nov. 12-13 in Columbia, S.C., during the Southeastern HazMat School. (NS, Randy Kotuby - 10/03)

NJ TRANSIT ANNOUNCES HOBOKEN ALTERNATIVES FOR THIS AFTERNOON'S RUSH HOUR NJ TRANSIT has announced service plans for the afternoon of September 30th, 2016 following yesterday’s commuter train accident at Hoboken Terminal.  All rail service into and out of Hoboken Terminal remains suspended.  Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service has been restored into and out of Hoboken and will continue to operate on a full weekday schedule. Rail View temporary printable schedules for the Main Line and Pascack Valley Line HERE. Customers can expect to see a similar level of rail service as Thursday afternoon and Friday morning:
  • Main, Bergen, Pascack Valley and Port Jervis lines will continue to operate on a weekend schedule originating/terminating in Secaucus, with stops at Teterboro and Woodcliff Lake stations (weekdays ONLY).
  • All rail service to and from New York Penn Station will operate on a normal weekday schedule.  This includes Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line and MidTOWN DIRECT trains.
  • Raritan Valley and Atlantic City Rail Lines also will operate on normal weekday schedules.
  • Customers in New York City who need to access Secaucus are urged to take trains from New York Penn Station or use the Port Authority Bus Terminal for NJ TRANSIT and private carrier busing alternatives.
  • Customers in Hoboken and Jersey City who need to access Secaucus are urged to use Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to Liberty State Park, where shuttle buses will take them to Secaucus.
  • Morris & Essex Line, Gladstone Branch and Montclair-Boonton Line will have limited service running every two hours for points west of Montclair State University and west of Dover.
Please NOTE: MidTOWN DIRECT service will make additional stops east of Summit. (NJ Transit - 9/30)

SUTTER AVE- RUTLAND ROAD AND JULIUS ST. 3 LINE STATIONS TO CLOSED FOR FIVE MONTHS FOR RENEWAL WORK: Beginning 5:00 a.m. Monday, October 3, MTA New York City Transit will close the Sutter Av-Rutland Rd and Junius St stations as part of an ongoing $88 million capital project to rehabilitate seven elevated stations along the New Lots Av  line in Brooklyn’s Brownsville and East New York neighborhoods.  The project calls for station renewals at Sutter Av-Rutland Rd, Saratoga Av, Rockaway Av, Junius St, Pennsylvania Av and Van Siclen Av, as well as component repairs at New Lots Av.  Work at Saratoga Av, Rockaway Av, Pennsylvania Av and Van Siclen Av has already been completed. For these stations that originally opened in the early 1900’s, improvements include the installation of new lighting, platforms, enhanced safety features, and upgraded communications. This project will bring all of these stations to a state-of-good repair and will create significantly better conditions for customers.  Station improvements will also feature the repair or replacement of mezzanine to platform stairs, repairs to mezzanine floors, wood siding, doors, windows, interior and exterior walls, installation of new ADA tactile warning strips at the platform’s edge, repairs to column bases, upgraded drainage and repairs to water and sewer lines, steel and concrete repairs, new stairway guardrails and new lighting beyond the platform canopies.  Each station will be painted, and canopies, windscreen panels and railings will also be replaced as required.  Customers will also benefit from new lighting in the mezzanines, and the incorporation of new artwork on the platforms. “We must perform this vital work to reverse decades of wear and improve these stations to the standards our customers expect,” said Wynton Habersham, Senior Vice President, Department of Subways. “To perform this work safely and efficiently, the stations must be taken out of service. When these structural repairs and aesthetic upgrades are completed, we are confident our customers will appreciate the results of this work.” Travel Alternatives Beginning 5:00 a.m. Monday, October 3, until spring 2017,  trains will skip Sutter Av-Rutland Rd and Junius St in both directions.  Free shuttle buses will provide alternate service for customers who normally use these stations and will operate as follows:
  • For Service to/from Sutter Av-Rutland Rd, free shuttle buses operate between the Sutter Av-Rutland Rd station and the Crown Hts-Utica Av station at all times.
  • For Service to/from Junius St, free shuttle buses operate between the Junius St station and the Rockaway Av station at all times.
To ensure customers are well informed of these station closures and alternative service, notices will be posted in all stations along the New Lots Av branch prior to the commencement of work and announcements will be made on trains.  Brochures are also available at station booths.(MTA - posted 9/30)

ALL ABOARD THE AUTUMN EXPRESS: Back by popular demand, the Amtrak Autumn Express will operate this year on Oct. 29 and 30 through parts of New York, New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania. Once again, the train will operate through small towns, historic tunnels and past key landmarks including parts of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley not traversed by passenger trains since the 1960’s. This year’s Autumn Express departs New York Penn Station, passing under the Hudson River and stopping in Newark, N.J. to accept passengers and transition from electric to diesel power.  From Newark, the train heads west along the former Lehigh Valley Railroad, through the famous Musconetcong Tunnel, opened in 1875, and across the Delaware River en route to Allentown. Following the former route of the Queen of the Valley passenger train, which hasn’t seen regularly scheduled passenger service in decades, the train changes direction in Harrisburg and returns to Philadelphia along the route of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Blue Ribbon Fleet.  The train then rejoins the Northeast Corridor at Zoo Tower for a high speed run back to Newark and New York. Tickets can be purchased starting Monday, Oct. 3 at 10 a.m. on Amtrak.comm . or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. Seating is limited. Tickets are $149 for adults. Children aged 2-12 ride for half price with each adult ticket. Customers also receive a boxed lunch, souvenir tote and complimentary lapel pin with the purchase of their ticket. (Amtrak - posted 9/30)

NJ TRANSIT TRAIN CRASHES INTO HOBOKEN TERMINAL: At approximately 8:45 a.m. NJ Transit train 1614, originating at Spring Valley, N.Y., was arriving on Track No. 5 in Hoboken Terminal when it crashed through the bumper post, sliding across the concourse. The lead Comet V cab car stopped adjacent to the waiting room wall. This resulted in the partial collapse of the train shed. Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, of Hoboken, was killed on the platform. by falling debris. News sources report that 108 were injured, of which 50 were transported the Jersey City Medical Center. The train's engineer was reported as being injured. He was treated in a hospital, then released. Train 1614 was scheduled to arrive in the terminal at 8:38 a.m., but was running late. NJ Transit immediately closed Hoboken Terminal, with all Bergen, Main, Port Jervis, and Pascack Valley Line trains originating and terminating at Secaucus Junction while Morris & Essex and Gladstone Line trains originated out of Newark. The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a GO Team, lead by Jim Southworth, to investigate the crash. The NTSB team will include experts mechanics, signals, tracks, train operations, human performance, as well surivial. This was the second railroad crash in recent years at Hoboken. On May 8, 2011 at PATH train failed to stop on track 2, crashing into a train platform. Approxmimately 30 people were injured in that crash. (9/29)

AMTRAK AUTUMN EXPRESS 2016: All Aboard for Spectacular Fall Colors
  • Tickets go on sale Monday, October 3 at 10:00 am ET, and are sure to go fast. Reserve your seats quickly.
  • Due to popular demand, the Autumn Express excursion is back for another year. Come along for a historic train ride, departing from and returning to New York - Penn Station, NY and Newark - Penn Station, NJ, on Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30. Once again, we travel through small towns, historic tunnels, see key landmarks and experience rare mileage along a route that hasn't seen regular passenger service in decades.
  • $149 per Adult. Many Benefits.
Ride the Autumn Express excursion train and see parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania you can't see by car. This year's Autumn Express will start out in the Big Apple — New York City. After passing underneath the Hudson River we stop at Newark, NJ, for a transition from electric to diesel power. We then head west along the former Lehigh Valley Railroad including a trip thru the famous Musconetcong Tunnel opened in 1875. After crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania, we'll follow the Lehigh River to Allentown before we take you through the scenic farm country of Pennsylvania. We'll travel the former route of the Queen of the Valley passenger train as far as Harrisburg that hasn’t seen regularly scheduled passenger service since 1963. At Harrisburg, our train will change direction and head east over the Amtrak Keystone Corridor. After a photo stop at the Amtrak station in Lancaster, PA, we'll pass through scenic Lancaster County, home to the Pennsylvania Dutch on our way to Philadelphia. We'll follow the route of the PRR's Blue Ribbon Fleet through the New York and Pittsburgh Subway track at Zoo Tower where we'll rejoin the Amtrak Northeast Corridor for a high speed run back to Newark and New York. Don't miss out on this rare, exciting opportunity. The train departs New York - Penn Station, NY, at 8:00 am and Newark - Penn Station, NJ, at 8:30 am, returning to Newark at 6:10 pm and New York at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $149 for adults and include a boxed lunch with souvenir tote bag, as well as a commemorative lapel pin. Children 2 - 12 ride for half price and receive a boxed lunch/souvenir tote bag and pin also. Additional food selections will be available for purchase onboard. Seating is limited for this unique opportunity. Get the Autumn Express Commemorative Shirt Order your 2016 Autumn Express long sleeve thermal t-shirt today at http://amtrak.bnr.corpmerchandise.com/AutumnExpress2016. Shirt orders are being accepted now through 10/9/2016, and will not be available for purchase on the train. How to Book this Trip From the 'Buy Tickets' tab: Select One-Way. Enter New York - Penn Station, NY (NYP) or Newark, NJ (NWK) in the From box. Enter Autumn Express - Excursion Train, PA (AXP) in the To box. Select October 29 or 30, 2016 as the Depart date. Select the number of Adult or Child passengers. Maximum of 8. Passengers with disabilities should call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) to book this trip. Special Requests Vegetarian Meals are available on request. After your reservation has been made, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm EST and ask to be transferred to the Special Services Department (extension 345). When speaking with "Julie" the automated agent, ask to speak to a "live agent" to be transferred to extension 345. (Amtrak, John Kilbride - 9/28)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN MANAGEMENT CHANGES: Norfolk Southern Corporation announced today that James A. Hixon, executive vice president law and corporate relations and chief legal officer, will retire effective Dec. 1, 2016. “Jim has served Norfolk Southern in a wide variety of executive capacities for more than two decades,” said James A. Squires, chairman, president, and CEO. “His contributions to the success of our company and to the overall vitality of the American railroad industry are significant and long-lasting.” Hixon joined NS in 1985 as a tax attorney and first was elected an officer of the company in 1993 when he was named vice president taxation. He subsequently was promoted to a series of more senior executive positions with wide ranging responsibilities, including senior vice president administration, and executive vice president finance and public affairs, before being named to his current position in 2005. Having served as chief legal officer for NS for more than a decade, Hixon is recognized as an industry leader in legal and government relations matters and is currently chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Association of American Railroads. He played a key role in creation of the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust and establishment of the Trust’s investment policies, and has served multiple terms as trustee. Hixon’s legal and corporate communications responsibilities will be assumed by William A. Galanko, whom the board of directors of Norfolk Southern Corp. named senior vice president law and corporate communications, effective Dec. 1, 2016. Galanko joined NS in 1990 as a tax attorney and was named vice president taxation in 1999, vice president financial planning in 2005, and vice president law in 2006. Galanko holds an undergraduate degree from West Virginia University and law degrees from the College of William and Mary and Georgetown University. Also effective Dec. 1, 2016, the board of directors named John M. Scheib vice president law, to replace Galanko. Since joining NS in 2005, Scheib has held positions of increasing responsibility in the NS law department and currently is general counsel commerce. Previously, Scheib served as chief of staff and counsel to the chairman of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board and as counsel to the railroad subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Scheib holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Villanova University. In 2015, he completed the General Management Program at Harvard Business School. (Norfolk Southern, Randy Kotuby, Alex Mayes - 9/28)

GOVERNOR CUOMO UNVEILS NEW PENNSYLVANIA STATION-FARLEY COMPLEX INCLUDING MTA WILL FULLY REDESIGN BOTH LIRR-CONNECTED SUBWAY STATIONS - THE A,C,E AND 1,2,3, AT 34TH STREET: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled sweeping plans for the complete transformation of the historic James A. Farley Post Office into a world-class transportation hub. At the Association for a Better New York, the Governor announced the selection of a developer-builder team including three companies, Related Companies, Vornado Realty LP, and Skanska AB to redevelop the Farley Building, creating a new 255,000 square foot Train Hall to house passenger facilities for the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak. In addition to constructing the Farley Train Hall, the Governor announced the joint venture will create 112,000 square feet of retail and nearly 588,000 square feet of office space within the Farley Building. Preconstruction work will begin this fall, with the new Train Hall expected to be completed by December 2020. The Governor also announced that the MTA will at the same time initiate the comprehensive redesign of the LIRR’s existing 33rd Street concourse at Penn Station and an extensive renovation to the adjacent Seventh and Eighth Avenue subway stations. Construction on the LIRR concourse and the subway stations will conclude by or before completion of the work on the Farley Train Hall. The redesign will include nearly tripling the width of the existing corridor, which will significantly decrease congestion and result in notably higher ceilings – providing bright lighting, new way-finding, ticketing and informational systems. “New York’s tomorrow depends on what we do today, and the new Moynihan Train Hall will be a world-class 21st century transportation hub,” said Governor Cuomo. “With more than twice the passengers of all JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports combined, the current Penn Station is overcrowded, decrepit, and claustrophobic. The Moynihan Train Hall will have more space than Grand Central’s main concourse, housing both Amtrak and LIRR ticketing and waiting areas, along with state-of-the-art security features, a modern, digital passenger experience, and a host of dining and retail options. This is not a plan – this is what’s going to happen. People are going to walk through this station and recognize that this is New York.” View the Governor's presentation unveiling the new Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex at this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9WoNUiG0FSMUk8zQVpXSXFwdm8/view?usp=sharing. Moynihan Train Hall In January, Empire State Development, the MTA, LIRR and Amtrak issued an RFP soliciting proposals for the comprehensive redevelopment of the historic Farley Building, including a Train Hall and the surrounding office and retail space. RFP responses were received in April and reviewed by a panel of private and public experts from the real estate, construction, design and finance fields. Related, Vornado, and Skanska have all provided guarantees to complete the $1.595 billion project on time and, as part of the agreement, will pay the state a total of approximately $600 million in recognition to the value of the development opportunity within the Farley Building. The remainder of the project will be supported by $570 million from Empire State Development and $425 million from a combination of Amtrak, LIRR, Port Authority and federal government sources.
  • The Moynihan Train Hall will include shops and restaurants located under a new skylight on the building’s historic and architecturally dramatic steel trusses. The building will increase floor space 50 percent from Penn Station, and service riders on the LIRR, Amtrak and eventually accommodate passengers from Metro-North. A total of nine platforms and 17 tracks will be accessible from the Train Hall. In addition to the Train Hall, RVS will redevelop the entire Farley Post Office Building to include approximately 700,000 square feet of office and retail space which will result in the creation of thousands of new construction and permanent jobs. The project will use union labor and has committed to fully meet the Governor’s nation-leading goal of 30 percent of the work completed by Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises.
  • Penn Station: A dramatic redesign of the LIRR portions of Penn Station will significantly improve passenger experience and circulation. The plan will include nearly tripling the width of the 33rd Street Corridor, which is among the busiest sections of Penn Station and stretches along the station’s lower level from Seventh to Eighth Avenue. Other improvements will include upgraded lighting and wayfinding, and digital screens to convey information and create a modern passenger experience. It is anticipated that the majority of the corridor improvements will be completed simultaneous to the Train Hall’s opening, with other elements completed sooner. Construction of the new LIRR corridor will cost an estimated $170 million. The MTA will issue an RFP for the preliminary design of Penn Station improvements to pre-qualified consulting firms today. A contract is expected to be awarded by the end of 2016. The transformational redesign also includes upgrading the two subway stations at Penn Station. Many of these improvements to subway stations on Seventh and Eighth Avenues are expected as early as 2018 and will cost approximately $50 million. The first phase of construction, to create a concourse west of Eighth Avenue, is nearing completion. The concourse will provide direct access to LIRR and Amtrak tracks and will connect the future Moynihan Train Hall to Penn Station underground via 33rd Street. New plazas and street level entrances into the Farley Building on either side of the monumental staircase will provide access to this new, lower concourse as well as speed boarding and exiting for passengers. In January, Empire State Development, Amtrak, and the MTA issued a Request for Expressions of Interest for redeveloping Penn Station. As Amtrak relocates to the Moynihan Train Hall, the RFEI responses provided ideas for the future proposed redevelopment of the current Amtrak concourse that will be incorporated into concepts previously suggested by the railway operators. ESD will partner with Amtrak on the creation of an RFP for the concourse. Ultimately, all of these coordinated efforts will result in a bolder, fully modernized Penn-Farley Complex, with increased passenger capacity, inviting entrances and access points, and a state-of-the-art Train Hall at the Farley Building across Eighth Avenue. All work will be compatible with future plans to add platform and track capacity to Penn Station in conjunction with the completion of the Gateway Program. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State is rebuilding, replacing, and expanding vital infrastructure in exciting and fiscally responsible ways,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “The new Penn-Farley Complex will have office space, retail stores, and restaurants, and will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs.” “The new Farley Train Hall will streamline travel into and through the region for the 230,000 LIRR daily passengers and millions of subway riders through the vastly improved Seventh and Eighth Avenues stations,” said MTA Chairman & CEO Tom Prendergast. “Governor Cuomo has turned what for decades was merely rhetoric about investing in infrastructure into reality, and the improved MTA travel experience and resulting regional economy boost will be felt long into the future.” Amtrak Board Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “We applaud Governor Cuomo's leadership in transforming the Farley Post Office building into a state-of-the-art rail station. In addition to the new Moynihan Train Hall, which will serve as Amtrak’s future station in Manhattan, this project will allow for enhancements at Penn Station that will significantly improve the customer experience for its many users. Taken together with the infrastructure improvements being advanced under the Gateway Program, Amtrak is committed to working with New York State and other key stakeholders to advance the investments befitting America’s busiest train station.” Congressman José E. Serrano said, “This important effort will expand New Yorkers’ access to state of the art, safe, and reliable transportation. Renovating the Moynihan Train Hall, the LIRR Concourse, and the Amtrak Portion of Penn Station will modernize a key part of New York’s public transportation. The Moynihan Train Hall project had been on hold for many years and I am glad to see Governor Cuomo taking the necessary steps to move it forward,” said Congressman Serrano. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said, “I am thrilled that Governor Cuomo has come forward with a bold new plan to renovate and transform Penn Station and move ahead with Moynihan Train Hall in the Farley Building,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “Anyone who has spent time in the existing structure of Penn Station can see how woefully inadequate it is for the needs of the hundreds of thousands of commuters who pass through it every day, and the addition of the Farley Complex will make for a much more pleasant experience for passengers on Amtrak and LIRR, and a more pleasant transfer to local subways. After 20 years of waiting, we will now have a train station we can be proud of.” Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “Penn Station is the busiest transportation hub in the country, and this new complex will allow New York City to meet the demand with state-of-the-art facilities and a more modern infrastructure. When this project is finished, the Penn Station-Farley Complex renovation will significantly ease the commute for thousands of New Yorkers, and create hundreds of new jobs.” State Senate Co-Coalition Leader Jeff Klein said, "Penn Station needs a makeover and Governor Cuomo's plan will upgrade our infrastructure to finally bring our railways into modernity, enhancing passenger experience with shops, restaurants and upgraded technology. Today marks the first step in two decades with construction commencing this fall at the Moynihan Train Hall and with other exciting upgrades to come.” State Senator and Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Greater utilization of mass transportation options will help save commuter time and money and reduce vehicle congestion and pollution. Additionally, the renovations and new construction will lead to more jobs and increased tourism. I commend Governor Cuomo for this wise infrastructure investment to help transform the James Farley Post Office into a mass-transit hub and for his efforts to help renovate Moynihan Train Hall.” Senator Adriano Espaillat said, “A gateway to many of New York’s transportation arteries, Penn Station is integral to the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, and this project will dramatically improve their travel experiences. New York City is the greatest city in the world and we deserve a new Penn Station to showcase everything New York City has to offer. I applaud Governor Cuomo for this visionary announcement, and look forward to a new, transformed Penn-Farley complex.” Senator Brad Hoylman, "Penn Station is a New York landmark, but for years it has not lived up to the standards we value as New Yorkers. Across our state, Governor Cuomo’s visionary plan for 21st century infrastructure - from our upstate airports to the new Penn-Farley Complex - is taking shape and fortifying our transportation network. We are building for tomorrow, and Penn-Farley is a cornerstone in this tremendous plan. Now, New Yorkers can look forward to walking through the station's corridors, enjoying modern amenities and getting to and from their destinations with greater ease." Assemblymember Richard Gottfried said, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership and vision to transform New York’s infrastructure, we can look forward to a new travel experience for residents and travelers. This state-of-the-art transit center will make travel easier, more efficient and less crowded for everyone. I applaud the Governor for pushing this project forward and we look forward to the creation of construction jobs throughout development and permanent jobs at the new hub once completed.”
New York City Councilman Corey Johnson said, “With the redesign of the Penn-Farley complex, Governor Cuomo has taken a major step forward in making his vision for a better New York a reality. With new shopping opportunities, increased passenger capacity and state of the art facilities, the new Penn-Farley complex will not only enhance the experience of the every-day traveler, but invite visitors to a New York that is bigger, better and on the move.” (MTA- 9/27)

WASHINGTON UNION STATION CONCOURSE MODERNIZATION PROJECT: Amtrak will use a portion of its $2.45 billion investment package in next-generation high-speed Acela Express trainsets and Northeast Corridor (NEC) infrastructure improvements to fund construction for the modernization of Washington Union Station’s passenger rail concourse and the expansion of Amtrak’s D.C.-based fleet maintenance facility. “This is an enormous milestone for Washington Union Station, securing the next steps in modernizing this gateway to our Nation’s Capital,” said Stephen Gardner, Executive Vice President of Amtrak Infrastructure and Investment Development. “With 37 million people passing through the station each year, these investments are critical to regional connectivity and economic growth and will result in a premier travel experience for Union Station customers.” The investment will fund full-phase construction of Amtrak’s Concourse Modernization Project –announced in March– a near-term comprehensive renovation of Washington Union Station’s intercity and commuter concourse that will double the concourse’s current capacity and upgrade key customer amenities including new restrooms, boarding gates, seating, and ClubAcela lounge. Design for the project, previously funded with contributions from Amtrak and the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC), is already well underway. Early action construction will start in the fall of 2016 and include the relocation of heating and ventilation. Full-phased construction, funded by the new investment package, is anticipated to start in 2017 and will seek to minimize impacts to all station users. “The funds for railroad infrastructure improvements made available by our work on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are being put to premium use here at Union Station,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).  “Amtrak’s Concourse Modernization Project begins the transformation of Union Station into the 21st century multi-modal train station we have been working to achieve.” The Concourse Modernization project is the first set of improvements to come to life as part of Washington Union Station’s 2nd Century plan, a comprehensive improvement initiative comprised of multiple projects in coordination with USRC, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and private real estate developer Akridge. “We are elated that a District of Columbia landmark that is utilized by thousands of residents and visitors each and every day will receive a fresh start,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “This investment in Union Station by the Obama Administration and Amtrak is truly monumental.” In addition to concourse improvements, funding will be used to modify Amtrak’s fleet maintenance facility in Washington, D.C. The existing two-track high-speed maintenance building in Amtrak’s Ivy City Yard will be expanded to enclose a third track, which supports the creation of highly-technical jobs for the District of Columbia as well as improve the on board and station customer experience that will accommodate the high-speed rail service levels. Demand for Acela Express service is as popular as ever, with many trains selling out during peak travel periods. From 2.4 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2002 to 3.4 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2015, Acela Express has led a significant growth in revenue and market share in the Northeast. Late last month, Amtrak announced it’s 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. Amtrak is funding both the infrastructure improvements as well the new trainsets through the FRA’s Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program, which will be repaid through growth in NEC revenues. In addition to station improvements at Washington Union Station, customers will see improvements at Moynihan Station in New York City, and New Carrollton Station and Baltimore Penn Station in Maryland, 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- 9/26)

TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION'S HARVEY SHOP WILL BE OPEN THIS SATURDAY TO BENEFIT THE UNITED WAY: The TTC invites the public to take a peek behind the scenes at its Harvey Shop this Sat., Sept. 24, for the annual Open House benefitting the United Way. Guests of all ages can enjoy a variety of activities, including guided tours of Harvey Shop, a silent auction, BBQ, and a virtual subway simulator game. A new low-floor streetcar and the vintage Peter Witt will also be on display. Hours will be from1 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Hillcrest Complex,1138 Bathurst Street (south of Davenport Rd.) A shuttle between Bathurst Station and the Hillcrest complex will be available for those taking transit to the event. Established in the early 1920s, Harvey Shop is the major maintenance facility for the streetcar fleet, and component manufacturer for subway cars and buses. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children, with all proceeds supporting the United Way. (TTC- 9/23)

DARRYL WORLEY TO SERVE AS CSX SANTA TRAIN CELEBRITY GUEST: Country music star Darryl Worley will be the celebrity guest on the Santa Train when it makes its 74th journey, on Saturday, Nov. 19. He will accompany Santa and event sponsors CSX,  Dignity U Wear, Food City and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce on the 110-mile trek. “I’m honored to accompany the Santa Train as the celebrity guest this year,” Worley said. “The opportunity to give back and to be a part of a 74-year-old holiday tradition is one that I couldn’t pass up, and I look forward to being a part of it.” Worley, who has three No. 1 singles on the Billboard U.S. country chart during his career, has been on the country music scene since 2000. Worley has released six albums during his career and as well as 18 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. 2017 is a big year for Worley, as the singer is planning to release his first-ever gospel album. “We are thrilled to have Darryl Worley join us on this year’s Santa Train,” said Tori Kaplan, assistant vice president, corporate social responsibility, CSX. “The support we receive each year from celebrity guests is humbling, and we know Darryl will add to the holiday spirit of the Santa Train.” The Santa Train makes 14 stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee and delivers toys, food and winter clothing to hundreds of children and families along the way. Fans can use the hashtag #santatrain16 to follow the train online and engage in the Santa Train conversation on social media. Now in its 74th year, the Santa Train runs along a 110-mile route through Appalachia, making 14 stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee to distribute more than 15 tons of toys to Appalachian families. The Santa Train is sponsored by CSX, Dignity U Wear, Food City and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. (CSX - 9/24)

AMTRAK GREAT DOME CAR RETURNS TO THE ADIRONDACK THIS SEASON: Passengers aboard Amtrak’s world-famous Adirondack service can experience the splendor of Upstate New York’s fall foliage season in unique fashion when the historic “Great Dome” car returns for a six-week run September 29 through November 1, 2016. In partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the National Park Service Trails and Rails program, Amtrak brings its dome car back for this popular annual tradition along one of the most scenic train routes in the world. The car features an upper level with windows on all sides to provide panoramic views of the changing colors of the trees, sweeping vistas of Lake Champlain and breathtaking views of the Adirondack Mountains between Albany and Montreal. The dome car will operate northbound on the Adirondack Service (Train 69) from Albany to Montreal on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays and return south on Train 68 Fridays, Sundays, and Tuesdays. Dome car trips are not made on Wednesdays. Passengers are welcome to enter the car and enjoy the view at no extra cost.  Seats are unreserved and available on a first-come, first-served basis. When available, Trails and Rails volunteers will be aboard select dome car trips offering historical commentary between Saratoga Springs and Westport, N.Y. Passengers can also take advantage of the I Love NY 15 percent discount off the regular (full) adult rail fare, valid for sale through May 2017. Advance reservations are required. In addition, up to 2 children ages 2-12 may accompany each adult at half the discounted rail fare. Details at Amtrak.com or ILoveNY.com. (Amtrak- 9/22)

AMTRAK EXPANDS BICYCLE PROGRAM FOR TRAVEL ON NATIONAL ROUTES: Amtrak is offering customers the opportunity to travel with their bicycles on more routes to different regions throughout the U.S. Trainside checked bicycle service is a new amenity available on the Cardinal, Sunset Limited, California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, City of New Orleans, Lake Shore Limited and Texas Eagle. This service is also new for Northeast Regional trains with baggage service – trains 65, 66 and 67 – for travel between Boston and Newport News, Va. Customers will be able to hand their standard full-size bicycle to an Amtrak crew member, who will then hang the item on a rack in the baggage car. This enhanced service is available at staffed stations that offer checked baggage. “Expanding bike service to other Amtrak routes creates more opportunities for customers to explore the nation by combining cycling with train travel for their journey,” said Deborah Stone-Wulf, Amtrak Vice President of Sales Distribution and Customer Service. “We now offer customers a number of different services to travel with their bikes across our national network. America’s Railroad® launched trainside checked bicycle service in 2015 and is available on other Amtrak long-distance and regional routes. During June, July and August, Amtrak carried more than 15,000 bikes. Customers traveling with their bikes should arrive at the station 45 minutes before the train’s scheduled departure to allow time to check in with the customer service representative, obtain a baggage tag and prepare for boarding. If equipped with large seat/saddle bags or panniers the items must be removed from the bike, consolidated, and checked or carried on the train. Reservations are required and customers must have a travel document (ticket) for their bike. A bike service fee will be applied and the cost varies depending on the route. Customers may reserve their bikes by selecting “add bike” when they book their train travel on Amtrak.com, by calling 800-USA-RAIL, or by visiting any staffed ticket office. Amtrak stations with ticketing and baggage service that currently provide boxed bike service will continue to offer this amenity. Standard bike policy and charges apply on trains where applicable. “People traveling with bicycles will be thrilled to see the expansion of trainside checked service to these Amtrak lines, many of which go through major cities and scenic destinations,” said Virginia Sullivan, an Amtrak Bike Task Force member and Director of Travel Initiatives for the Adventure Cycling Association. “The service will give cyclists the ability to load or unload their bikes without having to box them and will make train travel easier with a bicycle.” (Amtrak- 9/21)

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES MAJOR INVESTMENTS TO IMPROVE CENTRAL HUBS OF LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced major capital investments to improve two key stations on the Long Island Rail Road’s 40-mile spine between Jamaica and Ronkonkoma. Work has begun on a $121 million initiative to rebuild, reimagine and modernize the Hicksville station, the busiest station on Long Island. In addition, the LIRR has awarded a $64.9 million contract to create a new platform and tracks at the Jamaica station, the LIRR’s central hub and main transfer point. Renderings of the Hicksville project are available here and of the Jamaica project here. "Revamping these two heavily trafficked transportation hubs will provide better, faster and more reliable train service for Long Island Rail Road riders," Governor Cuomo said. "Time and time again, transportation investment has a ripple effect of progress and economic growth on the surrounding community. These projects are part of this administration’s aggressive and comprehensive plan to revamp the state’s infrastructure and are two more reasons why New York is Built to Lead."
  • Jamaica Station Enhancements: The new platform and tracks at Jamaica station will allow the LIRR to more easily re-route trains, take tracks out of service and support supplemental train service to and from Atlantic Terminal for customers attending games and events at the Barclays Center. The new platform will also feature glass-enclosed, heated waiting areas, as well as Wi-Fi and USB charging stations allowing customers to stay connected and charge their phones while they wait for the train. In addition, New York-based artist James Little will create brightly colored art glass installations on the station’s westerly bridge, and also on the stairs leading from the new station platform to the AirTrain mezzanine. MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said, "More tracks and platforms mean fewer delays. This award for Phase I of the project, which is funded by the Capital Plan, is great news. It will help speed up what LIRR customers have come to call ‘the Jamaica Crawl,’ introduce new services such as Wi-Fi and USB charging stations, and build on our ongoing commitment to renew, enhance and expand every aspect of the MTA." The project is one element of the Jamaica Capacity Improvements Project which will modernize Jamaica Station infrastructure, which was built in 1913. The work will streamline track configurations, which have remained largely unchanged since the station was built, and speed service. The project began in 2010 and is being carried out in two phases with a projected investment of $442 million by the end of 2019. Funding for Phase I of the project comes from a combination of the MTA’s 2010-2014 capital plan and the 2015-2019 plan. The new platform at Jamaica, slated to open in 2019, is one in a series of the LIRR system-wide capacity improvement projects, which also include an uninterrupted second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, and a third track on the Main Line from Floral Park to Hicksville, as well as the East Side Access project to bring LIRR trains into Grand Central Terminal. Once East Side Access is complete, the new platform at Jamaica station will dramatically enhance service between Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Jamaica Station, enabling shuttle trains to depart every 7½ minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes during off-peak hours, which will provide a significantly higher level of service than that available under current timetables. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said, "We continue to invest in the upkeep and rehabilitation of critical transportation and infrastructure, guaranteeing a more efficient commute for thousands of New Yorkers. The Hicksville and Jamaica station hubs are two of the busiest locations in the state, and these updates will not only enable us to provide more frequent train service, but dramatically improve the travel experience for our riders, overall. I look forward to the progress of this project, and thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to this issue." Senator James Sanders Jr. said, "Transportation is key to ensuring access to jobs, education and more. The improvements at Hicksville and Jamaica stations are a positive step forward in helping commuters reach their destinations quickly and safely. I applaud the Governor’s commitment to these projects and look forward to celebrating their completion." Senator Leroy Comrie said, "The LIRR is a critical transportation artery and yet many of its facilities desperately need to be modernized. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, the state is undertaking a massive effort to completely transform two of the most important stations as part of his vision for transportation revitalization in New York. While I was able to allocate $300,000 for infrastructure improvements at LIRR stations, it is my hope that Governor Cuomo will continue to support my effort to see improvements at all of the stations in the 14th Senatorial District." Assemblywoman Vivian E. Cook said, “Thanks to the Governor’s continued support of the MTA, the renovation of the Jamaica LIRR station will revitalize our aging infrastructure and improve the passenger experience. This project will overhaul the station for an easier, more reliable commute for riders every day of the week. This is the next step in the continued revitalization and transformation of Jamaica and the project will have a ripple effect of positive impacts for the entire region.” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said, "These projects are yet another example of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to strengthening New York’s infrastructure. The Jamaica Station project in particular will help make traveling easier and more convenient for both Queens residents and for the many visitors who transfer to the Long Island Rail Road at Jamaica after they take the AirTrain from JFK Airport. Important transportation projects like these will help guarantee that Queens will enjoy prosperity and an increased quality of life for many decades to come.”
  • Hicksville Station Rehabilitation: Sixteen miles east of Jamaica, work has begun on another project – a $121 million modernization of the Long Island Rail Road’s aging Hicksville station, and the preparation of an adjacent site where the railroad will build a new connection to an existing siding west of the station. The upgrades to the 55 year old station include Wi-Fi and USB charging stations throughout the station; an enhanced interior waiting room; new platforms with glass-enclosed, heated waiting rooms; improved lighting; a translucent canopy roof; improved stairways, escalators, plaza elevators, a video security system, audio and digital communications systems and better signage. The renovated station will also include new laminated art glass installations by New York-based artist Roy Nicholson, who designed the mosaic tile art work in the station ticket office in 2001. With construction beginning this month, the station work is expected to be completed by the spring of 2018. At the direction of Governor Cuomo, the construction timeframe was reduced to 22 months, 13 months sooner than originally planned. The Hicksville project is one of a number of LIRR projects covered by an innovative 2013 Project Labor Agreement between the LIRR and the Buildings and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk that has helped reduce construction costs by 10%. The project is supported by the MTA Capital Program. Kevin S. Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Association said, “The modernization and expansion of the Long Island Rail Road is critical to the economic growth of our region and thus we commend Governor Cuomo's historic investments in infrastructure projects like the Third Track and Double Track, as well as the reconstruction of a brand new LIRR station at one of our busiest hubs in Hicksville." Senator Jack M. Martins said, "I am pleased to work with Governor Cuomo to rebuild and revitalize the Hicksville station. With better waiting areas, new platforms and more efficient service, these upgrades will transform the LIRR's most utilized station for the better. This project will make commuting easier for the thousands of residents who use the Hicksville Train Station each day." Assemblyman Michael Montesano said, "Hicksville is the busiest station on Long Island, so it is in need of a 21st century upgrade. The improvements to the Hicksville station will streamline the daily lives of thousands of commuters and provide for a better travel experience for everyone. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, these strategic transportation infrastructure investments support the economic growth and strength of our communities and Long Island as a whole."
  • 40-Mile Spine from Ronkonkoma to Jamaica Improvements: The efforts to improve Jamaica and Hicksville Stations are among a number of projects designed to improve LIRR service on the busy, central spine of the railroad, a 40-mile corridor from Ronkonkoma, through Hicksville, to Jamaica. These projects include infrastructure renewal, the purchase of new trains, the expansion of the train storage yard in Ronkonkoma, the addition of pocket tracks along the Port Washington and Babylon Branches, the addition of a second track in Suffolk County and a proposed project to add a third track in Nassau County.
(MTA- 9/21)

RESTORATION WORK AT MAYWOOD STATION MUSEUM NEARING COMPLETION: For much of 2016, the Maywood Station Museum, located along the NYS&W in Maywood, N.J., has been closed to the public to address preservation and maintenance items. During the week of September 19th, Maywood resident Justin Griffing and his team from Wow 1 Day Painting of Bergen County refinished the exterior wood and completely repainted the station for the first time since the original restoration of the historic station was completed between 2002 and 2004. Plans are for the museum to reopen later this fall after additional preservation and maintenance items are completed. For more information, please visit www.maywoodstation.com or the Maywood Station Museum Facebook page. (Maywood Station- 9/21)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 17, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending September 17, 2016. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 537,904 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending September 17 were 270,336 carloads, down 5.3 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 267,568 containers and trailers, down 4.9 percent compared to 2015. Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They were miscellaneous carloads, up 21.2 percent to 11,104 carloads; farm products excl. grain, and food, up 4.9 percent to 16,544 carloads; and chemicals, up 1 percent to 30,723 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 17.4 percent to 11,633 carloads; forest products, down 13 percent to 10,013 carloads; and coal, down 12.5 percent to 90,369 carloads. For the first 37 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,191,535 carloads, down 10.8 percent from the same point last year; and 9,540,513 intermodal units, down 3.2 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 37 weeks of 2016 was 18,732,048 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.1 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending September 17, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 361,991 carloads, down 3.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 339,537 intermodal units, down 3.3 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 701,528 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.4 percent. North American rail volume for the first 37 weeks of 2016 was 24,496,523 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.8 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 77,273 carloads for the week, up 3.7 percent, and 61,593 intermodal units, up 3.5 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 37 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,772,966 carloads, containers and trailers, down 6.4 percent. Mexican railroads reported 14,382 carloads for the week, down 2.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,376 intermodal units, down 0.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 37 weeks of 2016 was 991,509 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.4 percent from the same point last year (AAR- 9/21)

CSX RECEIVES AWARD OF EXCELLENCE FOR CSX RAIL RESPOND EMERGENCY TOOL: The National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation has granted an Award of Excellence in Public Safety to CSX for its “CSX Rail Respond” mobile-computing application, which provides firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders with easy mobile access to critical information about the commodities traveling on CSX rails in near-real time. CSX Rail Respond supports safe and effective response to rail-related incidents by allowing emergency first responders to determine the exact contents of any rail car on a CSX train, along with emergency response information and recommendations for protective action distances. The service is free to first responders, as are all the safety training and response tools CSX provides. The system is accessible from any Android, iOS or Windows mobile device, tablet or desktop computer, so responders can access the information while en route to an incident or once they arrive on scene. CSX Rail Respond is part of a comprehensive suite of electronic and traditional information-sharing and training tools that CSX makes available to first responders in the communities it serves, to help ensure that emergency planning officials, firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers have access to the information they need to respond safely and effectively to incidents on the railroad. CSX was nominated by David Hartman, former battalion chief of the Charlottesville (VA) Fire Department. According to Chief Hartman, the application "is a dream come true for incident commanders as it directly and immediately impacts the safety and effectiveness for our responders." Chief Rand Napoli, chairman of the NAPSG Foundation’s Board of Directors, said, “The NAPSG Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to recognize and showcase truly amazing leadership efforts in public safety GIS. The nomination we received for CSX highlighted how CSX Rail Respond has made a difference for the community and is helping advance the field of GIS in public safety.” Skip Elliott, CSX vice president of Public Safety, Health & Environment, said, “CSX’s Rail Respond mobile application is successful due to a collaborative effort between CSX and our emergency first response partners that incorporated their feedback and usage needs into the development of this tool. The future success of this and similar systems is founded on our ability to continue working with those partners and listening to their feedback. “We’re grateful for this recognition of Rail Respond and CSX’s commitment to transparent information-sharing, because timely and fact-based decision making can make the difference in supporting successful responses to rail-related incidents,” Elliott said. First responders interested in accessing CSX Rail Respond can visit www.csxrailrespond.com . to request a new account (CSX - 9/20)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN MARKS FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF D&H TRACK PURCHASE: Norfolk Southern Corporation today marked the first anniversary of its purchase of Delaware & Hudson Railway Co.’s (D&H) line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y., by highlighting improved customer service and infrastructure investments NS has made to the corridor. “We set out to improve our competitive transportation offerings between Pennsylvania, New York, and New England, and I’m proud to say Norfolk Southern is well on its way to achieving that goal,” said NS Chairman, President, and CEO James A. Squires. “Norfolk Southern takes great pride in incorporating this corridor into our safe, reliable, and efficient 22-state freight rail network.” On Sept. 18, 2015, NS completed its purchase of 282 miles of D&H track for $214.5 million from Canadian Pacific Railway. Delaware & Hudson is a subsidiary of CP. During the past year, NS has improved safety and service on the line by installing 90,000 new ties, resurfacing 84 miles of track, and making improvements to the Belden Tunnel in New York. Additionally, NS hired 166 new employees, including 140 former D&H employees with experience working the corridor. Improved service on the route, including an average of eight daily trains, has helped attract additional rail traffic, shifting long-haul trucks off public roadways. NS Intermodal terminals at Ayer, Mass., and Scranton, Pa., have seen double-digit volume growth during the past year. The line connects to Norfolk Southern’s network at Sunbury and Binghamton, N.Y., as well as to its joint venture subsidiary Pan Am Southern at Mechanicville, N.Y. Together, the Pan Am Southern network, which services New England markets, and the former D&H line provide NS with a single-line route linking Chicago and southeastern U. S. markets to the Capital Region of New York. Norfolk Southern’s partnership with New York to replace the Portageville Bridge in Letchworth State Park will further improve service to Binghamton, Scranton, Albany, and New England. The new bridge, expected to open in 2017, will replace the span, which operates under weight and speed restrictions. “Our operation of this corridor not only underscores our confidence in the economy of the region, but also preserves good-paying railroad jobs and revitalizes this important rail line,” said John H. Friedmann, NS vice president strategic planning. “We’re making these investments to provide our customers with freight rail service that helps them thrive, and we continuously look to improve safety for our employees, our customers, and the communities in which we operate.” (Norfolk Southern - 9/19)

NEW YORK GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES $27.9 MILLION FOR RAIL AND PORT INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS: New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $27.9 million in state funding is available to preserve and enhance rail and port services in major trade and passenger travel corridors across New York State. This funding was included in the new $21.1 billion five-year State Transportation Plan under the Governor’s Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program. The program provides support for rail and port projects that enhance safety, alleviate congestion, increase operating capacity, facilitate regional economic development and increase competitiveness. “This funding will improve rail safety and reduce transportation congestion on our roads, bolstering economic competitiveness and encouraging future growth,” Governor Cuomo said. "These investments in infrastructure will help make a stronger, greener New York that is built to lead." Projects funded through the Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program will be selected through a competitive solicitation process and rated based on established criteria that include a cost benefit analysis, adherence to regional economic development plans and compatibility with other private and public investments. Eligible project activities include: track and bridge rehabilitation, yard, terminal and siding construction, elimination of clearance obstructions, wharf, dock and bulkhead construction, dredging and other projects that enhance economic competitiveness. New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, “Projects that improve economic competitiveness, provide alternatives to truck transportation; and improve air quality are sound investments. This program will improve rail safety, increase freight capacity and support job creation.” The New York State Department of Transportation will be accepting applications for this funding opportunity through November 4, 2016. Program guidance and applications may be found at: https://www.dot.ny.gov/railgrants . . (New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo - - 9/16)

OVER 50,000 PASSENGER TRIPS ON CINCINNATI'S NEW LIGHT RAIL DURING THE OPENING WEEKEND. The Cincinnati Bell Connector’s grand-opening weekend was a major success with 50,646 passenger trips taken on the new streetcars as they traveled throughout The Banks, Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.
  • Friday, Sept. 9: 18,141 passenger trips
  • Saturday, Sept. 10: 17,160 passenger trips
  • Sunday, Sept. 11: 15,345 passenger trips
With more than 500,000 expected to turnout for Oktoberfest this weekend, customers are encouraged to download the free Cincy EZRide App to purchase streetcar passes on their smartphones to avoid lines at ticket vending machines. (Cincinnati Bell - 9/16)

SARATOGA AND PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE NO. 3 LINE STATIONS SET TO REOPEN MONDAY: As renewal projects at the Saratoga Av and Pennsylvania Av 3 line stations near completion, MTA New York City Transit will reopen the stations at 5:00 a.m. Monday, September 19. The two stations were closed for renewal work on April 11, 2016 as part of an $88 million capital project to rehabilitate seven elevated stations along the 3 line on the New Lots Av Branch. During the closures, customers were able to take advantage of free shuttle bus service. Improvements at both stations include the installation of brand new windscreens, platform lighting, benches, trash receptacles, guard rails and ADA tactile warning strips on the platforms. Both stations were painted and the fare control areas were reconfigured to enable better customer flow. Structural renovations include the installation of new columns, platform rubbing boards, and new mezzanine floors. While service at these stations will be restored, there is still work to be completed, including the installation of new windows, and a new exterior façade to the mezzanine. “Governor Cuomo’s leadership has helped provide funding for the MTA’s Capital Program, which helps fuel our station renewal program, in Brooklyn and throughout our system,” said NYC Transit President Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim. “The completion of work at Saratoga Av and Pennsylvania Av and planned work at the other stations will provide a welcoming atmosphere for our customers bringing seven stations that originally opened in the 1920’s to a state of good repair.” The construction contracts awarded to EE Cruz Company Inc. call for station renewals at Sutter Av-Rutland Rd, Saratoga Av, Rockaway Av, Junius St, Pennsylvania Av and Van Siclen Av, as well as component repairs at New Lots Av. Renewal work was previously completed at Rockaway Av and Van Siclen Av in March 2016. The next two stations scheduled to close for renewal along the New Lots Branch are Sutter Av-Rutland Rd and Junius St. Work is tentatively scheduled to begin at these two stations on October 3, 2016 for approximately five months, until Spring 2017. During this period, 3 trains and late night 4 trains will bypass Sutter Av-Rutland Rd and Junius St in both directions. Similar to the previous temporary station closures during this project, New York City Transit will operate free shuttles buses to and from the Sutter Av-Rutland Rd and Junius St stations. The shuttle bus for Sutter Av-Rutland Rd will operate to and from the Crown Heights-Utica Av 34 station and the bus for Junius St will operate to and from the Rockaway Av 3 station. Service notices will be posted in all stations prior to the commencement of work, and announcements will be made on trains. (MTA - 9/16)

TIERED WI-FI INTRODUCED ON NORTH CAROLINBA'S PIEDMONT PASSENGER TRAINS: Building on their multi-year relationship, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Rail Division and global broadband services and technology provider, ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), are bringing new Wi-Fi service plans to Piedmont railway passengers traveling between Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina. The new tiered service plans offer passengers faster speeds and more options when surfing the web, checking and responding to email, engaging in social media and staying connected while traveling on the 174 mile corridor. The new tiered Wi-Fi service offers three levels: a Bronze plan, which is included in the purchase of a ticket, to more robust premium service plans, which include a Silver and Gold plan, each of which provide higher speeds and additional streaming media options. "ViaSat has been a valued partner to NCDOT in launching our wireless internet services onboard the Piedmont Rail," said Paul Worley, Director, NCDOT Rail Division. "The program has been highly successful in delivering Wi-Fi service to the occasional leisure traveler, family and business commuter; however, we want to raise passenger satisfaction further by delivering a more consistent Wi-Fi experience with faster speeds. By introducing new tiered internet options, we can ensure better quality of service to each passenger, while off-setting operational costs to NCDOT." Ease of passenger use was critical to the development and deployment of the tiered Wi-Fi system approach, which leverages a Wi-Fi portal welcome page that simply highlights the passenger's onboard internet options. Once a passenger registers on the portal, they will have the opportunity to create a user account and password. Passengers can then select from the Gold, Silver or Bronze service plans. "Since the beginning of our relationship, the NCDOT has been focused on modernizing the Piedmont railway system and making train travel more connected," said Cody Catalena, vice president and general manager, Wireless Services, ViaSat. "In working with NCDOT, we found being connected was not a 'one size fits all' approach, and we created the tiered Wi-Fi service plans to meet passengers' needs. By deploying the multi-plan system, NCDOT is establishing itself as an innovator in the rail industry, providing Piedmont passengers complete wireless internet services that meet individual needs when traveling." ViaSat worked extensively on the network design to engineer complete coverage of the Piedmont rail corridor, ensuring uninterrupted Wi-Fi services to passengers and easy management of train configurations by NCDOT. ViaSat managed Wi-Fi services include end-to-end management of Wi-Fi networks from network design, installation and reporting to monitoring and end-user support via the system's cloud-based TRACKOS software. The NCDOT's tiered Wi-Fi service plan is scheduled to launch on September 22, 2016. The existing Bronze plan is a 30-minute plan and is included in the train ticket purchase The new premium Silver plan subscriptions range from $1 (hourly) to $30 (monthly) and the new Gold plan subscriptions range from $2 (hourly) to $40 (monthly). The Piedmont Rail service currently consists of two daily round-trips between Raleigh and Charlotte, with seven intermediate stops along the route. In 2017, NCDOT expects to have three daily Piedmont round-trips between Raleigh and Charlotte. Travel time between Raleigh and Charlotte is approximately three hours in each direction. (NCDOT, Randy Kotuby - 9/15)

DEMOLITION TO BEGIN ON LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD'S LITTLE NECK STATION OVERPASS: Demolition of the MTA Long Island Rail Road’s Little Neck Station pedestrian overpass, along the Port Washington Branch, will take place this weekend, starting 6 p.m. Friday night, September 16, and continuing through 12 noon on Saturday, September 17. The 54-foot steel truss overpass bridge, which links the eastbound and westbound platforms, was installed back in 1989 and is being replaced. Installation of a new prefabricated pedestrian bridge is tentatively scheduled for late October. In order to accommodate the crane and other equipment required to accomplish the demolition work, complete closure of the Little Neck parking lot is required. All cars must be removed from the lot by 6 p.m. on Friday. Any remaining vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. Demolition will be completed Saturday morning, and the parking lot will be restored for customer use by Saturday afternoon. (MTA LIRR - 9/15)

SEPTA RECEIVES FEDERAL GRANTS TO ADVANCE TO KEY IMPROVEMENT PRJECTS: SEPTA has been awarded a total of $5.61 million in two federal grants, members of the southeastern Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation have announced. The grants will be made through the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Railroad Safety Infrastructure Improvement Grant Program and the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program. The awards will help fund a pedestrian railroad crossing safety project at Lawndale Station along the Fox Chase Regional Rail Line and capacity and operational improvements at Wissahickon Transportation Center. "We are pleased that the FRA and FTA see the value of these projects," said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. "SEPTA looks forward to utilizing these grants to provide service improvements and enhance safety for our customers." "The grants will allow SEPTA to advance two critical capital improvement projects," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. "At Lawndale Station, we will greatly enhance safety and access for passengers with a new, open-air pedestrian underpass. The project at Wissahickon Transportation Center will allow one of our busiest transit hubs to meet current and future ridership demands." With the FRA grant funding, SEPTA will install a spacious passageway, which will improve and enhance access to the station. The 20 foot-wide passageway will also accommodate maintenance and emergency vehicles, when necessary. Currently, customers must cross SEPTA Regional Rail and CSX freight tracks at a signalized at-grade pedestrian crossing, and, at times, wait for stopped freight trains that can block access to and from the station. This project will also provide SEPTA the opportunity to improve security and passenger amenities at the station. Wissahickon Transportation Center is a one of the Authority's busiest transportation facilities, with 11 bus routes serving approximately 7,000 riders each weekday. Located within walking distance of the Wissahickon Regional Rail Station, the Transportation Center is bordered by some of the region's most heavily traveled roadways and is an anchor for Manayunk's Main Street business corridor. In addition to expanding the Wissahickon Transportation Center to alleviate congestion and allow pedestrians and vehicles to more safety navigate the area, SEPTA's project will also include the construction of a dynamic new passenger waiting facility. The Transportation Center sits at the convergence of the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Trails, and will support the City of Philadelphia's efforts to close the only remaining gap in the City of the Schuylkill River Trail, which runs from Pottsville to Center City. Funding for the grants came from the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the multi-year surface transportation authorization bill, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which were passed by Congress last December. "These projects are the types of investments we aimed to leverage with increased funding made available in the FAST Act," U. S. Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.) said. "SEPTA service is an important part of living and working in southeastern Pennsylvania, and I appreciate that SEPTA is investing in its safety and efficiency in ways that will also enhance the quality of life in the communities I represent." "These are important projects for my constituents living in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties," said U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.). "The safety of SEPTA riders and residents in the surrounding communities is paramount. I am pleased that with the Lawndale Station project, SEPTA continues to focus on implementing meaningful safety enhancements." U.S. Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (Pa.-13), in whose district Lawndale Station is located, noted the importance of safety improvements for pedestrians at the station. "This important grant funding will vastly improve pedestrian and passenger safety for SEPTA customers and nearby residents," Boyle said. "My constituents have voiced concern about the configuration of this station due to the frequent interaction between pedestrians and the train tracks, and I was proud to fight for this grant. I applaud SEPTA and the FRA for their commitment to safety, and I look forward to the completion of this important project." (SEPTA - 9/14)

!-- BEGINNING A NEWS BLOCK --> AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 10, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending September 10, 2016. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 482,894 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending September 10 were 252,627 carloads, down 6 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 230,267 containers and trailers, down 4.8 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 26.3 percent to 22,599 carloads; miscellaneous carloads, up 16.1 percent to 8,593 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, up 2 percent to 35,407 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 26.5 percent to 10,452 carloads; coal, down 15.7 percent to 87,058 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, down 4.5 percent to 19,644 carloads. For the first 36 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,921,199 carloads, down 11 percent from the same point last year; and 9,272,945 intermodal units, down 3.1 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 36 weeks of 2016 was 18,194,144 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.1 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending September 10, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 339,343 carloads, down 5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 298,511 intermodal units, down 3.9 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 637,854 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.5 percent. North American rail volume for the first 36 weeks of 2016 was 23,794,995 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.9 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 72,012 carloads for the week, down 0.8 percent, and 56,374 intermodal units, up 1.1 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 36 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,634,100 carloads, containers and trailers, down 6.7 percent. Mexican railroads reported 14,704 carloads for the week, down 7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,870 intermodal units, down 8.6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 36 weeks of 2016 was 966,751 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.4 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - 9/14)

GOVERNOR MALLOY ANNOUNCES DECISION TO PURCHASE 60 ADDITIONAL RAIL CARS FOR EXPANDED CAPACITY ON NEW HAVEN LINE: Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that as the New Haven Line continues to experience all-time high record ridership numbers, the State of Connecticut will soon purchase an additional 60 M-8 rail cars to add to its recently launched, state-of-the-art fleet servicing the line, which remains the busiest commuter rail line in the nation. With each car carrying 105 seats, adding the new cars will accommodate more than 6,000 additional commuters. "More and more, Connecticut residents are choosing public transportation to go about their daily commutes. If we want to remain competitive in the 21st Century, modernized economy in a way that attracts new businesses and creates high-skilled jobs, we must update our infrastructure and give our commuters a best-in-class transportation system," Governor Malloy. "We have witnessed what decades of underinvestment has resulted in, and we can no longer afford to sit back and let the status quo remain. This is just one of many bold steps we are implementing statewide toward making a modernized transportation system reality - because our economic future depends on it." The New Haven Line is owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and operated by Metro-North Railroad under contract with the CTDOT. In 2015, it carried more than 40.3 million passengers, up two percent from the prior year and setting an all-time record. Ridership overall is up about 12 percent over the last five years, with peak-hour ridership up 27 percent. CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker noted that the New Haven Line is now carrying as many passengers today as had been predicted for 2021. He added that CTDOT is testing the M-8 rail cars for possible use on Shore Line East - the commuter railroad between New Haven and New London, where trains need to be propelled by locomotives. The M-8s are powered by overhead catenary lines and do not need locomotives. An allocation of $200 million is anticipated to be considered later this month at the next meeting of the State Bond Commission to approve the purchase of the new M-8 rail cars. Under current plans, 10 of the 60 new rail cars will be converted into café cars - popularly known as bar cars. The last New Haven Line café cars were retired in 2014. Connecticut has already purchased 405 of the M-8 rail cars, which began going into service in 2011 and are now standard on the New Haven Line. Most of the older M-2 rail cars have been retired, but a small fleet remain as back-ups. Since their implementation, the new M-8 cars have been very well received by customers, who have praised the roomier, high-back, contoured seats with individual headrests and curved arm rests anchored at both ends in the upholstery. The cars have larger windows and better lighting, especially in the vestibules for improved safety. Each pair of cars have been equipped with bike racks, and they also have intercom systems that customers can use to contact the crew in case of emergency. Other features include LED displays that show the next stop and automated audio announcements, electrical outlets to charge personal devices, coat hooks, and curved luggage racks. Outside, customers see prominent electronic destination signs and external public address speakers. Single leaf doors provide high reliability and lessen the susceptibility to snow intrusion. (Connecticut Governor, Alex Mayes - 9/13)

NJ TRANSIT ISSUES SAFETY ADVISORY ON SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE7: Following safety concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note7, NJ TRANSIT is strongly urging all customers not to use or charge the mobile device on board trains, buses, light rail vehicles or in stations and facilities. “We are asking our customers who have the Galaxy Note7, to simply turn it off before entering an NJ TRANSIT facility or boarding a vehicle.” said interim Executive Director Dennis Martin. “Because of the uncertainties surrounding this device, we are issuing this precautionary advisory to ensure the safety of all of our customers.” The Samsung Galaxy Note7 has been the subject of numerous accounts of the batteries bursting into flames. Both Samsung and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission are urging owners to power down these devices and stop charging or using them. “NJ TRANSIT is urging our customers to do the responsible thing and heed the manufacturer’s advice to power down the Galaxy Note7” said Gardner Tabon, Chief of NJ TRANSIT’s Office of System Safety. “This is especially critical when riding a transit system along with hundreds of thousands of others.” NJ TRANSIT has not had any reported cases of a Samsung Galaxy Note7 becoming a fire hazard. In February 2016, NJ TRANSIT restricted customers and employees from using, charging, storing or transporting hoverboards following similar fire safety concerns. (NJ Transit - 9/13)

SEPTA SILVERLINER V REPAIR STATUS UPDATE: SEPTA has temporarily sidelined 18 Silverliner V rail cars that had been repaired by manufacturer Hyundai Rotem and were recently returned to service, or had been readied for service. A minor design modification will be made to the foot that supports the new equalizer beam at both ends. A joint inspection of a Silverliner V rail car that had recently been returned to service was conducted early Saturday morning by Hyundai Rotem and SEPTA, as part of the ongoing effort to evaluate the performance of the new system. A clearance issue was detected that resulted in minimal, occasional contact between old and new components. Hyundai Rotem quickly made a design change, and cars with this modification will be available for service later this week. Hyundai Rotem is still expected to return enough rail cars to allow for normal weekday Regional Rail schedules by SEPTA's preferred date of Oct. 3, or Oct. 10 at the latest. The use of leased locomotives and rail cars makes it possible for SEPTA to resume regular weekday schedules by this date before repairs are completed on all Silverliner V rail cars. The overall time-frame for completing repairs and returning all Silverliner Vs to service remains early-to-mid November. The decision on Saturday to pull the cars from service was made jointly by SEPTA and Hyundai Rotem. It reflected concerns over causing damage that would require increased inspection and maintenance efforts. "SEPTA is committed to making sure the repair process is done correctly to ensure a long-lasting life," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. "This is why we are conducting thorough tests and inspections, such as the one on Saturday that revealed this problem." "All parties involved are working around the clock to restore the Silverliner V fleet to service in a timely fashion," Knueppel added. "We sincerely regret the continued inconvenience to our customers." (SEPTA - 9/12)

FRA AWARDS $25 MILLION IN GRANTS TO UPGRADE SAFETY AT RAILROAD CROSSINGS, STATIONS: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today awarded $25 million in grants to increase safety at railroad crossings, train stations and tracks across the country. A total of 23 projects in 14 states and the District of Columbia received funding. FRA received 40 eligible applications requesting $67.5 million, nearly three times the $25 million that Congress provided in the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act that funds DOT. “It is vitally important that we invest in safety as rail continues to play an increasingly larger role in this country, transporting tons of freight and millions of passengers each day,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These grants will help address some of the improvements that are crucial to ensuring safe, reliable, and efficient railroad networks.” The Railroad Safety Infrastructure Improvement Grants fund safety improvements to railroad infrastructure, including the acquisition, improvement or rehabilitation of intermodal facilities; improvements to track, bridges, rail yards, and tunnels; upgrades to railroad crossings; and the separation of railroad crossings and roads. “A safe railroad network requires continuous investment and upgrades,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “These grants will improve safety at hundreds of railroad crossings and make important safety upgrades at stations across the country. This is an investment that is desperately needed—and I urge state DOTs to join the FRA in investing more in improving safety at crossings.” FRA requested $520 million for competitive local rail facility and safety project grants as part of President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal (FRA- 9/12)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CELEBRATES CINCINNATI STREETCAR GRAND OPENING: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers today joined Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and other local officials to celebrate the opening of the Cincinnati Streetcar. The new line is the cornerstone of Cincinnati’s efforts to expand transportation options and revitalize the heart of the city by improving access to jobs, the developing riverfront, and rejuvenated neighborhoods. “Today Cincinnati joins a growing list of cities across the country that have chosen streetcars to revitalize their downtown and improve mobility for citizens,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Cincinnati’s streetcar will attract new businesses and investment along the route and transform the neighborhoods surrounding the project – as other streetcars have in cities all over the United States.” The streetcar, named the Cincinnati Bell Connector following a naming rights agreement with Cincinnati Bell Inc., is 3.6 miles long with 18 stations connecting popular employment and cultural destinations in the city’s downtown, riverfront area, and Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) helped fund the project with $16 million from a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant and approximately $29 million in other DOT funds. Since 2009, DOT has awarded more than $550 million to streetcar projects across the country, including starter lines in Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte and Tucson, as well as extensions to systems in Portland and New Orleans. “We are proud to partner with Cincinnati on its streetcar and usher in a new era for getting around in this vibrant city,” said FTA Acting Administrator Flowers. “The streetcar will expand transportation options for residents and visitors, spur economic development and connect workers to jobs, helping to build ladders of opportunity throughout the city.” In Cincinnati, the streetcar has spurred millions of dollars in redevelopment, with new employment, retail and housing all along the line. At the northern end of the line in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood – the site of today’s opening celebration – the streetcar has attracted restaurants and other retail and residential projects, creating a thriving neighborhood and improving access to other destinations throughout the city. (USDOT - posted 9/09)

MBTA WINTER RESILIENCY UPGRADES: Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack today visited the MBTA’s Caddigan Yard near the Braintree MBTA stop as work commences this weekend on the second phase of Red Line winter resiliency upgrades and as the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) continues to make improvement reforms to service, accountability and reliability for taxpayers and riders. “The MBTA continues to improve its infrastructure and strengthen its ability to perform for riders during severe weather by investing in the core system,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This resiliency work and the Fiscal and Management Control Board’s efforts to deliver meaningful reforms, transparency and cost-effectiveness, will ultimately mean a more accountable and reliable transit system for the Commonwealth’s commuters and taxpayers.” The $18.5 million resiliency contract was awarded in July by the FMCB to Barletta Heavy Division, Inc., and will implement upgrades along 9.9 miles of the Red Line’s Braintree and Ashmont Lines, including the replacement of all third rail and heating systems, track and tie renewals, signals, track structure and conduit installations. “These investments in preparation for another New England winter are important to the riders who depend on the system every day to get to and from their jobs and school,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Since historic snowfall and temperatures hampered the MBTA last year, leaders at the T have focused on the reforms and investments in the core system to ensure greater reliability.” The Governor, Lt. Governor and Secretary were joined by MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve, Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Gonneville and Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan, who was appointed to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) new Board of Directors when it was expanded as a result of reform legislation filed and signed by Governor Baker last year. “The MBTA’s goals continue to be the safety of our passengers and the ability to provide reliable service to those customers, especially during severe weather,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The next phase of winter resiliency work reflects the type of investments we are making, and that need to be made, in order to improve the system in the short and long term.” The $83 million 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. The first phase, implemented last year, included third rail and rail heater improvements along 13.6 miles of the Red Line from the Andrew Station portal to Quincy Adams, while the second phase which began this summer and will continue through December completes the improvements along the entire length of the Red Line. “This work is key to keeping the system operating no matter what challenges Mother Nature throws at us,” said MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve. “In addition, investments have already been made to secure specialized snow removal equipment to increase our snow removal capacity and ensure passenger vehicles operate on schedule.” “These Red Line improvements underline the importance of reliability for our public transit system,” said Braintree Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan, member of the Mass DOT Board. “When people have confidence in the dependability of our system, ridership will grow. That’s a good thing.” To accommodate the winter resiliency work, buses will replace train service two weekends this month on the Braintree Branch:
  • Sept. 10-11 between Braintree and JFK/UMass Stations, from start to end of service.
  • Sept. 24-25 between Braintree and North Quincy Stations, from start to end of service.
More dates will be announced for weekend dates from October through November. Governor Baker appointed the FMCB in 2015 to oversee the system’s operations and finances and increased the Commonwealth's additional assistance payments to the MBTA's operating and capital budgets to $187 million, a 50% increase over Fiscal Year 2015. The FMCB, MassDOT and MBTA reduced the Fiscal Year 2016 budget deficit from $170 million to $86 million and have cut the projected Fiscal Year 2017 budget deficit by 50%. Also in Fiscal Year 2016, MBTA recorded its lowest level of operating expense growth in more than 15 years through cost control, increased own-source revenues by more than $10 million, and reduced operator absenteeism by nearly 20% and weekday dropped bus trips by over 30%. The MBTA is the fifth-largest transit agency in the U.S., serving over 1 million riders a day. (MBTA - posted 9/09)

METRO-NORTH AND LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD MAKE IT EASY TO CATCH THE JETS AND GIANTS AT METLIFE STADIUM Calling all football fans! The MTA wants to make it easy for you to get to New York Jets and New York Giants home games at MetLife Stadium all season long, and all other stadium events including college games. Whether you’re coming from Long Island, the Hudson Valley or Connecticut, take the train to the game to avoid traffic and parking hassles, and pay with just one ticket to make the trip. Wherever you’re starting from, all rail travel to the Meadowlands Sports Complex is covered by just a single ticket that is accepted on either the Long Island Rail Road or Metro-North Railroad, as well as NJ TRANSIT for the New Jersey portion of the trip. Customers can purchase tickets to the Meadowlands Sports Complex through at any Metro-North or Long Island Rail Road ticket office, ticket machine. When buying your ticket at a machine, select “M” and then Meadowlands as your destination. Customers should hold on to these special joint tickets to use on NJ Transit for connecting service to and from the Meadowlands. For more information on purchasing train tickets, train schedules and a game schedule, please visit: here. Below are service details for each area served by the MTA’s railroad network.
  • New Haven Line Direct Service for Sunday 1 p.m. Games: For games on Sunday at 1 p.m., Metro-North and NJ TRANSIT have teamed up to operate a special New Haven Line train departing from New Haven’s Union Station at 8:40 a.m., with additional stops at West Haven, Fairfield Metro, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Westport, South Norwalk, Darien, Stamford, Greenwich, Rye and Larchmont. The train provides direct through-service (a one seat ride!) via Penn Station-NY to NJ TRANSIT’s Secaucus Junction. At Secaucus, customers can change trains for a ten minute shuttle train to the Meadowlands Sports Complex, where it arrives at 11:36 a.m. After the game, customers can take the 5:10 p.m. departure from the Meadowlands Sports Complex to Secaucus Junction. At Secaucus Junction, customers can connect with the 5:38 p.m. train to Penn Station-NY for direct service back to those New Haven Line stations. For more details: available here.
  • Non-Direct Harlem Line, Hudson Line & New Haven Line Service for All Games: Customers can ride any train to Grand Central Terminal then ride the subway, walk or catch a cab to Penn Station-NY. To take the subway, board the 42nd Street S Shuttle for a 90-second trip to Times Square, then transfer to the downtown 123 for a one-stop ride to 34th Street-Penn Station. At Penn Station-NY customers can transfer to NJ Transit service to the Meadowlands Sports Complex. After the game, there are many NJ TRANSIT trains returning to Penn Station-NY. For more details, visit: http://web.mta.info/mnr/html/meadowlands/footballtrain.php
  • Long Island Rail Road: Customers can board any regularly scheduled Long Island Rail Road train to Penn Station to connect with NJ TRANSIT service to the Meadowlands. Trains are not scheduled as direct connections, so customers are encouraged to plan accordingly. Those who are traveling to Penn Station using LIRR monthly or weekly ticket should purchase NJ TRANSIT tickets to the Meadowlands before boarding NJ TRANSIT trains (tip: use ticket machines in NJT waiting area). Meadowlands tickets are not sold on-board or from Penn Station and or stations in Brooklyn. For additional information on LIRR’s “One-Ticket Ride” to the Meadowlands, please see: http://web.mta.info/lirr/getaways/TrainToTheGame/MeadowlandsService.htm.
  • Pascack Valley Line and Port Jervis Line Service: Rockland County and Orange County customers can take any Pascack Valley Line or Port Jervis Line train to Secaucus Junction for a connecting NJ TRANSIT train to the Meadowlands. Customers from east of the Hudson River can consider this option as well. Stations on the Pascack Valley Line and Port Jervis Line can be reached via Hudson River crossings such as the Tappan Zee Bridge, Bear Mountain Bridge and Newburgh Beacon Bridge, and parking at all New York State stations on these lines is free of charge on the weekend. Timetables for the Port Jervis Line and Pascack Valley Line are available here are available here.
(MTA - posted 9/08)

ALABAMA & TENNESSEE RIVER RAILWAY INCREASES TRACK SPEED: Alabama & Tennessee River Railway, LLC (ATN), an affiliate of OmniTRAX, Inc., one of the largest privately held transportation service companies in North America and an affiliate of The Broe Group, is increasing the speed limit on the line between Gadsden and Birmingham, Ala. effective immediately. The increase is the result of a significant investment on about 90-miles of track, related signals, communications systems and crossings during the last year in order to prepare ATN for expected growth. “We have a rapidly growing business with metals, cement, agriculture, paper and other commodities on the ATN and want to ensure our shipping customers that we can efficiently and safely deliver their products to market. This move, combined with additional days of service each month, will help us do just that,” said Peter Touesnard, Chief Commercial Officer of OmniTRAX. ATN successfully conducted test runs at the new speed last week after working with local government and law enforcement bodies. (OmniTRAX, Inc. - posted 9/08)

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN ANNOUNCES 16TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY EXPRESS: Kansas City Southern (KCS) (KSU) announced today its schedule for the 16th annual Holiday Express train, which will stop in 22 communities in seven states on 26 dates. At each stop, visitors can board the train, visit with Santa and his elves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train. Each event is free and open to the public. In addition to free, public events, KCS’ Holiday Express has a charitable component. Over 16 years, the project has raised well over $1 million to purchase gift cards, which are donated to The Salvation Army at each scheduled stop. These gift cards are used to purchase warm clothing and other necessities for children in the local community. “KCS is pleased to continue its long-standing Holiday Express tradition,” said president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “As a company, we value family and being responsible corporate citizens. It’s a pleasure to give back and bring the holiday spirit to communities where we operate and where our employees live and work.” Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the 2016 KCS Holiday Express fundraising campaign may do so by visiting clicking here. The campaign will close October 31. The KCS Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997. In 2000, a group of warm-hearted KCS employees noticed that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids had, and that some kids did not have essential items like coats, hats and gloves, so they committed to elevating the project. In 2001, volunteers transformed a retired freight train to the experience that communities throughout KCS' U.S. service territory enjoy today. Led by KCS’ Southern Belle business train, the Holiday Express train includes a smiling tank car “Rudy”; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a ginger bread boxcar; a newly remodeled elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable; and a little red caboose. Each car is dressed in lights. (KCS - posted 9/08)

CP APPOINTS NEW DIRECTORS TO BOARD; ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION OF BILL ACKMAN: Canadian Pacific Railway Limited today announced changes to its Board of Directors, including the appointment of Jill Denham and William R. Fatt, and the resignation of Bill Ackman, effective immediately. "Bill has been instrumental in CP's turnaround and his leadership will be missed at the board level," said Andrew F. Reardon, Chairman of the Board. "His experience, energy, commitment and knowledge served the board well over the last four years and positions CP well for the future. With our focus on the future, we have added two new individuals who will bring a great deal of knowledge and passion to their roles." Mr. Ackman, who was a member of the Finance and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committees, joined the board in 2012. "I have enjoyed working with Bill from day one," said E. Hunter Harrison, CP Chief Executive Officer. "He saw an opportunity at CP, worked hard to bring me in to the fold, and delivered for shareholders and the board. Over the last four years we have built a better CP and that model remains in place to continue to deliver not just for shareholders, but for customers and employees. We thank Bill for everything he has done and wish him well in the future." Mr. Ackman led the successful effort to install new board members and new management at CP in 2012 when the company was the worst-performing Class 1 railroad in North America. Since that time, CP has generated more than $14 billion in shareholder value and its share price has outperformed the S&P/TSX Composite by 120 percent through the end of 2015. During Mr. Ackman's tenure on the board, CP transformed from railroading's biggest laggard to one of the industry's very best. "I am proud to have served alongside so many passionate and diligent board members, and to have worked with management and the entire CP team on one of the most successful turnarounds in North American corporate history," Mr. Ackman said. "I am confident that with CP's superb management and strong governance, it will extend its remarkable track record into the future." Ms. Denham joins the CP board after a career spent in senior roles in the financial services industry. She was the Vice Chair Retail Markets at CIBC from 2001 through 2005 and the Managing Director Head of Commercial Banking and E-Commerce at the bank from 1999 to 2001. Prior to that, Ms. Denham served CIBC overseas in London, UK as the Managing Director Head from 1995. She entered the financial services industry in 1983. Ms. Denham currently serves as Chair of the Board at Morneau Sheppell and at Munich Reinsurance Canada. She is also a board member at National Bank of Canada and Kinaxis Inc. Mr. Fatt joins the CP board after serving as the Chairman and CEO of FRHI Hotels & Resorts from 1998 through July 2016. Prior to becoming CEO at FRHI, which was created from the merger of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Raffles Hotels & Resorts in 2006, Mr. Fatt was the CFO at Canadian Pacific Ltd. - the parent company of Fairmont's predecessor, Canadian Pacific Hotels as well as CP's operating company, Canadian Pacific Railway Co. Mr. Fatt currently sits on the board of the Jim Pattison Group and the Bank of Nova Scotia. Previously, he had served on the boards of Cadillac Fairview Corp., EnCana Corp., SunLife Financial Inc. and Enbridge Inc. "The diverse experience and expertise these individuals bring to the CP board will have an immediate constructive impact," Mr. Reardon said. "They are committed to building on the successes and hard work of the past five years, which have positioned CP as an industry leader now and in the years to come." (CP, Randy Kotuby - posted 9/07)

LAST TWO PLATFORMS TO OPEN AT WORLD TRADE CENTER PATH STATION The final two platforms in the World Trade Center PATH station will open at 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, completing the mezzanine level of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and improving circulation to and from the platforms for PATH customers. There will be no changes to the current service provided to the station, and the additional tracks will improve the efficiency of train movements in and out of the station and lessen crowding on PATH platforms. Agents from PATH will be present on the mezzanine level to direct passengers to the correct platforms. In addition, restrooms will open on Thursday on the south side of the mezzanine for use by customers. The PATH restrooms will be open during the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight. (PANYNJ - posted 9/07)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR AUBUST AND WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 3, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for August 2016. Carload traffic in August totaled 1,347,989 carloads, down 6.6 percent or 95,341 carloads from August 2015. U.S. railroads also originated 1,327,274 containers and trailers in August 2016, down 4.8 percent or 66,889 units from the same month last year. For August 2016, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,675,263 down 5.7 percent or 162,230 carloads and intermodal units from August 2015. In August 2016, eight of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with August 2015. These included: grain, up 24.7 percent or 23,857 carloads; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 25.4 percent or 4,182 carloads; and chemicals, up 1.1 percent or 1,699 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in August 2016 from August 2015 included: coal, down 16.1 percent or 86,638 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 25.1 percent or 17,650 carloads; and crushed stone, gravel and sand, down 6.9 percent or 8,913 carloads. Excluding coal, carloads were down 1 percent or 8,703 carloads in August 2016 from August 2015. Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 8,668,572 carloads, down 11.1 percent or 1,081,450 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 9,042,678 units, down 3.1 percent or 288,427 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2015. For the first eight months of 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 17,711,250 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.2 percent or 1,369,877 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year. "While August showed improvements in some categories, the big story in terms of rail traffic last month was the continuing surge in carloads of grain," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "Railroads, along with barges and trucks, are a critical part of the grain logistical chain. The fact that this chain generally functions smoothly is a testament to the tremendous efforts that transportation providers, including railroads, put forth in support of their grain-related customers." Week Ending September 3, 2016 Total U.S weekly rail traffic for the week ending September 3, 2016 was 538,826 carloads and intermodal units, down 5 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending September 3 were 273,117 carloads, down 4.9 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 265,709 containers and trailers, down 5 percent compared to 2015. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They included grain, up 30.2 percent to 24,455 carloads; miscellaneous carloads, up 24.1 percent to 11,425 carloads; and motor vehicles and parts, up 5.5 percent to 19,557 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 24.4 percent to 10,770 carloads; coal, down 16.2 percent to 90,575 carloads; and forest products, down 6.8 percent to 10,631 carloads. North American rail volume for the week ending September 3, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 362,389 carloads, down 4.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 341,332 intermodal units, down 3.9 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 703,721 carloads and intermodal units, down 4 percent. North American rail volume for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 23,157,141 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.9 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 75,431 carloads for the week, up 0.4 percent, and 63,715 intermodal units, down 0.4 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 35 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,505,714 carloads, containers and trailers, down 6.9 percent. Mexican railroads reported 13,841 carloads for the week, down 10.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,908 intermodal units, up 5.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 940,177 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.2 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 9/07)

READING AND NORTHERN RAILROAD PROUDLY ANNOUNCES A NEW ADDITION TO ITS PASSENGER CAR FLEET: Alstom has been selected by Rideau Transit Maintenance General Partnership (RTM)[1] to maintain the city of Ottawa’s light rail transit system, called the O-Train Confederation Line. The contract - which is worth approximately €125 million (CAD$180 million) - follows a contract signed in 2013 to supply 34 Citadis Spirit light rail vehicles to the city of Ottawa[2]. Alstom will maintain the entire line, which involves the maintenance of the tracks, the operating control system, the power substation, as well as the signalling and communications systems, for a period of 30 years. The line - which will be 12.5 km long and include 13 stations - is expected to begin full revenue service in 2018. Alstom is currently assembling the Citadis Spirit vehicles at the Belfast Yard facility in Ottawa, the site of the operator OC Transpo. The Ottawa project marks the entry of Alstom’s Citadis Spirit into the North American market. Designed for high capacity, Citadis Spirit will be able to operate in extreme cold weather and circulate at speeds of up to 100 km/hour, reducing travel time between suburban areas and the city centre. Once all Citadis Spirit vehicles have been delivered, the assembly area at Belfast Yard will be converted into a maintenance centre, where Alstom will maintain the vehicles for a period of 30 years. (Alstom - posted 9/06)

ALSTOM TO MAINTAIN OTTAWA'S LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT SYSTEM: Just out of the RBMN’s shop - Reading and Northern Railroad is proud to introduce their New First Class Pullman, Parlor car No. 3. This luxurious Parlor car has been painstakingly refurbished by skillful craftsmen, with special attention to every detail. From the embossed copper ceiling to the comfortable, plush, armchair, swivel rockers, to the colorful rug floor, riding in this Victorian vintage railcar will be a most memorable event. Just in time for RBMN’s October “Autumn Leaf” excursions from Port Clinton, Pa. to “Amazing” Jim Thorpe, PA and this parlor car will be available to the public on certain days. Seating only 13 passengers, one can ride this Parlor Car in elegance while enjoying scenic views all along the way including beautiful rivers, nature’s fall foliage, wildlife, bridges, tunnels and OH YES - we don’t want to forget—Food service, which is included in the price of $250.00 per person. Don’t miss out. Call now for reservations - 610-562-2102. (Reading & Northern - posted 9/06)

OMNITRAX AFFILIATE ACQUIRES GERDAU MILL SITE IN SAND SPRINGS, OKLAHOMA: Sand Springs Railway Company (SS), 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, is acquiring the Gerdau (GGB) mill site in Sand Springs, Okla. Sand Springs Railway Company provides freight service between Sand Springs and Tulsa. Financial terms were not disclosed. Sand Springs Holdings, LLC, an OmniTRAX affiliate, purchased SS from Gerdau in 2014 and has since been leasing portions of the 146-acre site. Part of the steelmaking operations on the site will be demolished and the property will be developed for mixed use, including industrial, retail, office and transportation/logistics. “The mill site is a great location to attract tenants that require solid infrastructure, access to major transportation lanes and support from our top-rated development team. It will also give us the opportunity to expand the local operation of OmniTRAX Logistics Services, our transloading, terminal and logistics solutions affiliate,” said Kevin Shuba, CEO of OmniTRAX, Inc. “We appreciate the solid working relationship we’ve had with Gerdau over the past two years and their professionalism during the sale and transition period.” (OmniTRAX, Inc. - posted 9/06)

SEPTEMBER 11TH CEREMONY AT THE RR MUSEUM OF LONG ISLAND: The Board of Trustees of the Railroad Museum of Long Island (RMLI) is pleased to announce a special photo and ceremony on September 11, 2016. On this the solemn occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the attack on the New York World Trade Center, Sunday, September 11, 2016, the Railroad Museum of Long Island will partner with the not-for-profit organization, “Memories Everyday, Inc.” to memorialize this historic event from 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at the Museum, 416 Griffing Avenue, Riverhead, NY. Nationally and Internationally renowned street artists will create a commemorative mural on the side of two of the Museum railcars to honor and remember the souls that were lost that day. Moments of silence will be held at 8:45 AM, the time the first plane hit the South Tower, and again at 9:03 AM, the time the second plane hit the North Tower. At 10:05 AM, the time of the South Tower collapse, American Legion Post 269 will provide a 21 gun salute and AMVETS Post 111 will provide the ceremonial playing of taps. This memorial observation will be held rain or shine and is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring a folding chair to this open-air ceremony. (CSX - posted 9/01)

CSX PREPARES FOR TROPICAL STORM HERMINE: CSX is taking precautions to protect employees, rail traffic and infrastructure as forecasters predict Tropical Storm Hermine making landfall on Thursday afternoon. At this time it is not known the level of impact the storm will have on CSX operations, but its path and intensity are being closely monitored as we take steps to prepare for any potential effects on our network. Based on the current weather forecasts, we anticipate suspending operations in the following areas:
  • Jacksonville, FL to Pensacola, FL from 12:00 PM Thursday, September 1st to mid-day Friday, September 2nd
  • Waycross, GA to Thomasville, GA beginning at 12:00 PM Thursday, September 1st to mid-day Friday, September 2nd
Also, as the storm continues to be closely monitored, we anticipate suspending operations from Waycross, GA and Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL from early morning Friday, September 2nd until the storm passes and the railroad network in these areas are restored. CSX crews are ready to address any situations as they arise. Further updates will be provided as the situation develops. (CSX - posted 9/01)

CRUM CREEK VIADUCT REPLACEMENT PROJECT ENTERS FINAL WEEKEND OF CONSTRUCTION: Shuttle buses will replace all train service at Elwyn, Media, Moylan-Rose Valley, Wallingford, Swarthmore and Morton Stations along SEPTA's Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4. This is to accommodate crews preparing for the return of Regional Rail service to all of SEPTA's Media/Elwyn Line stations on Monday, September 5, following the completion of the Crum Creek Viaduct Replacement Project. (SEPTA - posted 8/31)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING AUGUST 27, 2016: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending August 27, 2016. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 539,657 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending August 27 were 269,645 carloads, down 7.3 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 270,012 containers and trailers, down 5.1 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 18.8 percent to 21,727 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 6 percent to 19,392 carloads; and farm products excl. grain, and food, up 2.1 percent to 16,465 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 27.5 percent to 10,076 carloads; coal, down 15.9 percent to 91,469 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, down 7.9 percent to 21,493 carloads. For the first 34 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,395,455 carloads, down 11.3 percent from the same point last year; and 8,776,969 intermodal units, down 3 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 34 weeks of 2016 was 17,172,424 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.2 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending August 27, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 357,044 carloads, down 7.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 345,673 intermodal units, down 4.2 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 702,717 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.7 percent. North American rail volume for the first 34 weeks of 2016 was 22,453,420 carloads and intermodal units, down 7 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 71,515 carloads for the week, down 5.3 percent, and 64,312 intermodal units, up 0.8 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 34 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,366,568 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.1 percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,884 carloads for the week, down 10.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,349 intermodal units, down 8.4 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 34 weeks of 2016 was 914,428 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.2 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 8/31)

GE ACQUIRES TOP SUPPLY CHAIN SOFTWARE PROVIDER SHIPXPRESS: GE Transportation (GE), the world’s leading producer of rail and transportation-related products and offerings, announced its acquisition of ShipXpress, a top provider of cloud-based software solutions that enable transportation, industrial, and commodities businesses to efficiently operate with supply chain partners. The deal extends GE Transportation’s portfolio of solutions into the logistics value chain, giving it new offerings for shippers, and expanding its ability to deliver information and transaction services for railroad customers around the world. This acquisition also deepens GE Transportation’s domain expertise, enriching the division with a talent pool of nearly 200 industry, technical, and software development experts. “By combining ShipXpress’ innovative software products with GE’s sensing technology and industrial-strength platform Predix, we’ll deliver the industry’s most advanced, scalable cloud-based solution to accelerate the movement of goods and information, and enhance supply chain performance and customer service,” said Jamie Miller, GE Transportation President and CEO. “Our combined capabilities will help short-line railroads better analyze their rail operations, car accounting and supply chain information, and deliver a data-rich path to ongoing performance improvement, asset and operations optimization.” "We are thrilled to become part of GE Transportation’s Digital Solutions team and transform the role of rail, truck and other modes of transport in global supply chain management," said Raghu Misra, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of ShipXpress. Added Seth Maerowitz, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of ShipXpress, "Through this integration, we will help our customers achieve the promise of real-time collaboration among trading partners, the industrial internet; greater control, lower costs and increased operational efficiencies." ( GE Transportation - posted 8/30)

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)

[ Home Page I Subscribe! I Photo Gallery I Interlocking I Railpace Store I Magazine Info I Contributions I Contact Us ]

Questions regarding this page can be directed to the
Webmaster, Paul Tupaczewski, at paultup@comcast.net.

Copyright 2000-2015, 2016 Railpace Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.