Railpace Newsmagazine

Hot News!
Edited by Carl G. Perelman
UPDATED September 17, 2014:

NRHS REVEALS DETAILS OF PROPOSED NEW BUSINESS MODEL: In June, a special committee was charged by the NRHS Board of Directors to create a new business model that would a) stabilize the society’s financial situation and b) transform NRHS into a modern society with a vital purpose. After working through the summer, the final results of the New Business Model Committee can now be publicly viewed and downloaded by visiting https://admin.nrhs.com/public
  • - New Business Model Proposal
  • - Mission/Vision Statement
  • - Proposed Bylaws
  • - Draft Budget
  • - Operations Manager Job Description.
“Our proposed new business model addresses the issues that threaten NRHS: the need to replace an outdated membership model, the lack of a shared purpose among our members, and poor communications between the national organization and its chapters,” explains Steve Barry, global NRHS director and a member of the new business model committee. “As editor of Railfan & Railroad magazine since 1997, I’ve seen how technology has completely changed the way rail enthusiasts socialize and share interests. This new model is long overdue and will give NRHS a clear purpose and a focus that looks ahead for the first time in decades.” The new model is subject to the National NRHS Board of Directors’ approval at its September 20 meeting. If approved, a transition plan would immediately be used and members will be notified of the next steps; for example, the new bylaws would need to be approved by the membership. If rejected, the society will continue through the current financial crisis. Below are highlights of the proposed changes:
  • Clear focus: For the first time in 80 years, NRHS would become a donor-based organization that takes the lead on educating and raising public awareness of rail preservation, as well as create funding sources and be a resource for historical societies, museums and tourist railroads. NRHS will focus entirely on connecting people who love railroad history with organizations that need funding for preservation-related projects and educational programs.
  • Chapter model retired: Chapters are invited to become affiliate groups that partner with NRHS and receive benefits and greater visibility. Affiliation costs will be a flat rate, not based on the number of members. Affiliates will operate independently and partnerships will be renewed periodically. Individuals can join the national NRHS or an affiliate group – they would no longer need to choose both.
  • Successful programs will continue: The society’s annual Railway Heritage Grant program would continue giving to preservation projects. Since 1991 the program has awarded $650,000 to organizations across the U.S. The equally successful RailCamp program will continue to host high school students on the west and east coasts. Finally, the Most At-Risk list will continue to spotlight rail landmarks before they’re lost forever.
  • Conventions: The 2015 Convention program will continue as planned with no alterations. Conventions are designed for members to gather and experience a unique railroad operation, learn about rail operations and history, and share rail heritage with the public.
  • Publications: The NRHS News will continue in a digital format, while the quarterly NRHS Bulletin will be available to supporters who make annual donations or by separate subscription (to members and non-members) at $29 per year.
  • Who needs this: Current NRHS members and donors, active and armchair preservationists, younger railfans, rail organizations, educational institutions, historians of all ages, and anyone with a dream to see their favorite railroad landmark saved.
  • Who developed it: The new business model committee includes experts in business management, railroading, marketing and finance:.
  • - Steve Barry, editor of Railfan & Railroad magazine, who’s been active in NRHS for over 30 years and has extensive experience in publishing, the rail industry and accounting.
  • - Bob Ernst, global director, Telegraph editor, and national secretary of NRHS, with over 30 years of expertise in business management and operations.
  • - Gary Reinbolt, a not-for-profit management and fundraising consultant with 20 years of experience in revenue generation and nonprofit restructuring.
  • - Jeff Smith, an information technology and marketing consultant who also serves as editor of the NRHS Bulletin and has been active in helping NRHS fit into the national preservation landscape.
  • - Wesley Weis, president and CEO of the Morristown & Erie Railway, one of four investors who purchased the bankrupt M&E in 1981 and revitalized the company. .
“The argument has been made from two different railroad CEOs at recent NRHS convention banquets that there’s a real need for more cooperation and cohesion in the rail preservation community,” said Barry. “NRHS could be the organization that serves as the unifying group – if it can get its act together. Getting its act together does not mean maintaining the status quo. This new model is something that not only rail preservation can get behind, but moves toward a plan that the professional railroad world can also endorse.” (NRHS - 9/17)

GREENBRIER ANNOUNCES ORDERS FOR 15,000 RAILCARS: The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. announced today that it received new orders in its fourth quarter ended August 31, 2014 and through the date of this release for 15,000 railcar units valued at $1.37 billion. Orders announced today comprise a broad range of railcar types including tank cars, small cube covered hopper cars for sand and cement service, medium cube covered hopper cars for grain service, automotive carrying cars, and a recent award for 3,100 double-stack intermodal units.  In addition, Greenbrier received a recent deck cargo barge order which brings total marine backlog to $112 million and extends Greenbrier's marine backlog to 2016. (The orders announced today include orders received in June 2014 for 2,700 railcar units valued at approximately $320 million, which Greenbrier previously disclosed on July 2, 2014.) Since September 1, 2013 through the date of this release, Greenbrier has received orders for almost 39,000 railcars in North America and Europe valued at $3.72 billion.  The average sales price of $95,000 reflects the diversity of railcar types ordered.  (Greenbrier, Randy Kotuby - 9/17)

CSX LAUNCHES INDUSTRY'S FIRST ON-DEMAND MOBILE APPLICATION TO ENHANCE RAILROAD INCIDENT RESPONSE: As part of its ongoing focus on community emergency preparedness and training, CSX is introducing a new mobile information system which will enhance first responders' ability to access train and cargo information in real time via their mobile devices. The new program, CSX Operation Respond, will provide firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders with easy mobile access to critical information that supports safe and accurate response to emergencies, helping to protect both communities and responders themselves. The new program is a collaborative product of the Operation Respond Institute, an industry leader in providing real-time rail information, and CSX's public safety and technology teams. "CSX Operation Respond, the first program of its kind among Class I railroads, is an important new component of our continuing efforts to advance the company's first priority: the safety of communities, employees and customers' freight," said Skip Elliott, vice president, public safety, health and environment. "The CSX team is consistently focused on working with partners like the Operation Respond Institute to provide timely access to critical information, and this tool was developed in response to feedback from our partners across our network." CSX Operation Respond allows first responders to securely access information about hazardous materials being transported by any individual CSX train using their wireless devices, laptops or desktop computers. In addition to a graphically displayed train list that allows emergency responders to quickly locate and identify the contents of rail cars carrying hazardous materials, CSX Operation Respond provides emergency responders with a portfolio of other useful information designed to assist when responding to a rail-related transportation emergency. The availability of CSX Operation Respond builds on CSX's longstanding commitment to communicate with, collaborate with and train first responder organizations, including local fire, police and emergency services units. The company also leverages the power of technology for timely information-sharing through its SecureNOW program, which gives key federal, state and local security partner agencies access to near real-time information about CSX trains. In addition, in 2014 CSX has already trained more than 1,300 first responders from more than 250 agencies through its Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program , which focuses on providing specialized hands-on training for rail-related hazardous materials incidents. The Safety Train builds on a comprehensive CSX first responder training program that includes hands-on sessions at the company's hazmat training center in Atlanta, Ga. and the Association of American Railroads emergency response training center in Pueblo, Colo. CSX also provides classroom training at local fire stations, conducts exercises and table-top drills, and offers web-based and self-study courses. (CSX, Randy Kotuby - 9/16)

METRO-NORTH WINS AWARD FOR ENERGY CONSERVATION AT GRAND CENTRAL: MTA Metro-North Railroad is being recognized today for its comprehensive upgrade and replacement of utility systems with energy-saving components throughout Grand Central Terminal, a century-old national landmark building. Metro-North, a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has replaced or upgraded chillers, cooling towers, fans, compressors, air handlers, and an extensive steam distribution system. The most complex component entailed the cooling system replacement. This required transporting equipment by rail out of and into, the underbelly of GCT, and placement of four cooling towers on the roof. The towers were swung by crane from 42nd street over the iconic statue of Mercury and a priceless Tiffany clock. The $23.4 million Grand Central Terminal energy project was selected as an award winner for the 2014 BuildSmart NY Awards, which were created by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to recognize a commitment to investment and innovation in technology that New York State needs. The energy cost saving of the project, estimated at $3.3 million and5.5 million kilowatts of electricity annually, will be used to repay Metro-North’s partner, the New York State Power Authority over 11 years. “The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s four-year energy efficiency project is going to reap benefits for Grand Central for decades to come,” said MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast. “We are saving energy and reducing carbon emissions on both electric and steam usage with new, efficient, low-maintenance equipment throughout the Terminal. All this utility infrastructure - light fixtures, pumps, chillers, cooling towers, compressors, air handlers, smart meters, thousands of feet of high-pressure steam pipes, and the like - was installed at no upfront cost to Metro-North.” The award was presented Tuesday at a ceremony during the 1st annual “BuildSmart NY Innovators Summit” in Albany (MTA- 9/16)

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA SELECTS SIEMENS AS TRAIN MANUFACTURER: Siemens has been selected to build the locomotives and passenger coaches for the All Aboard Florida passenger rail project that will connect South and Central Florida. All Aboard Florida and Siemens have been working together extensively on the development and design of the passenger rail cars that will transport millions of tourists, leisure and business travelers along Florida’s east coast. This will be the first privately-owned, operated and maintained passenger rail system in the United States. When completed, it will also be one of the highest speed train routes running in the country today, operating at maximum speeds up to 125 mph. Importantly these trains, both the locomotives and the passenger coaches, will be “Made in America” at Siemens’ solar-powered rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento. “This is an exciting time for rail in America. Intercity rail is an important lever to improve existing infrastructure challenges and bolster city and state economies, clearly something that All Aboard Florida will succeed at doing,” said Michael Cahill, President of Siemens’ Rail Systems Division in the U.S. “Everyone is watching the development of this progressive operation with great interest, and we are extremely proud to be part of this effort.” “Our partnership with Siemens is another tremendous step forward for All Aboard Florida. We carefully chose Siemens technology knowing it will set a new industry standard, while providing the world class amenities our customers will expect from our passenger service,” said Don Robinson, All Aboard Florida President and Chief Operating Officer. The initial five trainset purchase to serve the Miami to West Palm Beach segment will consist of two diesel-electric locomotives, one on each end of four passenger coaches. These diesel-electric locomotives will meet the highest emissions standards set by the federal government. All Aboard Florida and Siemens plan to expand the initial trainsets to seven coaches, and purchase an additional five trainsets, concurrent with environmental approvals and additional financing for the segment from West Palm Beach to the Orlando International Airport. The stainless steel passenger coaches, the first to be manufactured by Siemens in the United States, will be state-of-the-art, ADA compliant and designed for comfort, featuring special ergonomic seating and Wi-Fi. The trainsets will also be level boarding, which allows for the ease of boarding without steps and provides easier access for bikes, walkers, strollers and wheelchairs. The locomotives will meet the latest federal rail safety regulations, including enhanced carbody structure safety with crash energy management components. These trains are fully Buy America-compliant. They will be built in Sacramento with main components of the trains coming from Siemens plants throughout the United States – including traction motors and gearboxes from Norwood, Ohio, and propulsion containers from Alpharetta, Georgia. The diesel engines will be manufactured by Cummins in its Seymour, Indiana, plant. Siemens has established a robust and diverse base of U.S. suppliers across the country that currently provides components and parts for all of Siemens’ U.S. passenger-rail vehicle production. Siemens’ Sacramento plant, which has been in operation for almost 30 years, is up to 80 percent powered by two megawatts of solar energy and currently employs more than 800 people. The trains will be maintained and serviced in West Palm Beach and the Orlando International Airport ensuring full-time employment for more than 120 people. (Siemens - 9/15)

UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD URGES PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS TO STAY SAFE, STAY AWAY FROM TRAIN TRACKS: Last year, more than 900 people were injured or killed while trespassing on railroad property in the U.S., according to Federal Railroad Administration statistics. Union Pacific is committed to public safety through various channels such as community events, media outreach, law enforcement partnerships, employee resource groups and Operation Lifesaver. The UP CARES (Union Pacific Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety) public safety initiative brings together communities in a collaborative and caring effort to promote railroad grade crossing and pedestrian safety. "As part of our UP CARES initiative, we want to remind photographers that walking on or near railroad tracks is extremely dangerous because you never know when a train will come along," said Lawrence Wenko, Union Pacific director – Public Safety. "We urge professional and amateur photographers alike to set the right example for others by adhering to the safety guidelines." Recently a Nebraska high school volleyball team thought it would be unique to have their team photo taken on nearby railroad tracks. The double track main line they chose for their photograph sees more than 50 trains a day. As they were beginning to get in position for their photograph on the railroad tracks, a railroad employee saw the team and contacted the train dispatcher in time to avoid disaster – the crew of an approaching train applied the emergency brakes to avoid hitting the students. There were no injuries. In 2012, a teacher who taught art and photography, was struck and killed by a train while taking photos on the tracks. In response to tragic and preventable incidents like this, Union Pacific is working with Professional Photographers of America on rail safety education outreach to the professional photography community (UP - 9/15)

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES EARLY COMPLETION OF SUPERSTORM SANDY RECOVERY WORK IN MONTAGUE SUBWAY TUNNEL: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today joined Metropolitan Transportation Authority leaders and elected officials from New York City to mark the restoration of normal R subway service between Brooklyn and Manhattan. This announcement follows the successful rebuilding of the Montague Tube subway tunnel that was inundated with salt water during Superstorm Sandy. Regular R service will resume at 6 a.m. Monday. The $250 million project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, during an unprecedented full shutdown of the Montague Tube subway tunnel under the East River. An estimated 27 million gallons of water poured into a 4,000-foot stretch of the tunnel during Sandy, which corroded every element of subway infrastructure from electronic signal equipment to tunnel lighting to the steel rails themselves. “Superstorm Sandy brought incredible destruction down on the New York City subway system – but today we’re taking another huge step forward to repair the damage and strengthen the system to withstand the next major storm,” Governor Cuomo said. “This tunnel is safer, stronger and more resilient than ever before, and everything on this section of the R train is new – new rails, new signals, new pumps and new power supplies. We’ve made it a top priority to reimagine our state to withstand the new reality of extreme weather, and today is another example of how that approach is making this a safer state for all.” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said, “New York’s transit network suffered more damage during Sandy than anyone at the MTA has ever seen in our lifetimes. The effort required to rebuild the Montague Tube was nothing short of heroic. It took more than a year of round-the-clock reconstruction in difficult conditions, but we have restored the R train with a smoother and more reliable ride in a tunnel built to handle future climate risks. We are grateful to the Federal Transit Administration for funding this project as well as to the workers whose efforts made it happen. And of course, I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in making the MTA and New York stronger, and our customers for their patience while we rebuilt this tunnel from the ground up.” The R train ran in two sections during most of the work. One train section operated in Brooklyn, from 95 St in Bay Ridge to Court St in downtown Brooklyn. The other operated from Whitehall St in lower Manhattan to 71 Av in Forest Hills, Queens. On weekends, the R train operated in one section over the Manhattan Bridge but skipped six stops in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. The Montague Tube was shut down Aug. 3, 2013 to allow workers unfettered access to remove damaged equipment from the two tunnels and demolish concrete and terra cotta duct banks in both tubes that had collapsed. Construction crews had to enter the 4,000-foot section under the East River from entry points in Manhattan and Brooklyn, removing all debris and bringing in all equipment and tools through the tunnels themselves. Crews replaced 11,000 feet of track, 30,000 feet of concrete and terra cotta duct banks, 75,000 feet of power cable and 200,000 feet of communications cable. Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Therese McMillan said, “I want to thank all the hard-working men and women of the New York MTA for their steadfast support as we aid in New York’s full recovery from one of the worst storm’s in the region’s history. The funds we awarded MTA after Superstorm Sandy have gone a long way to repair and rebuild their infrastructure. We are proud to be able to tell New Yorkers that today, we’re giving them back a vital piece of their system – and it’s stronger than before.” MTA Fix & Fortify engineers designed the tunnel repairs with a variety of new strategies to limit the impact of any flooding from future storms, including:
  • A critical signal relay room was relocated from track level to a higher floor in the Whitehall St. station complex,
  • A circuit breaker room in the tunnel providing power to the tracks was sealed with heavy-duty waterproofing and a submarine-quality door,
  • Emergency lights were installed with battery backups,
  • New power and antenna cables were selected for their ability to withstand water inundation,
  • New pumping equipment with additional capacity was installed within the tunnel.
The successful reopening of the Montague Tube is the second accomplishment in recent weeks of the MTA’s Fix & Fortify program, which is rebuilding an infrastructure network that suffered billions of dollars’ worth of damage from Sandy while also making it more resilient against future storms. The Greenpoint Tube, which carries the G train under the Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens, reopened after a first-ever five-week shutdown to recover from flood damage as well. Nine MTA subway tunnels were flooded during Sandy, the South Ferry subway station was completely inundated, the A train tracks over Jamaica Bay in Queens were destroyed. Two vehicular tunnels under the East River were also flooded, the Long Island Rail Road’s Long Beach Branch suffered heavy flooding damage and long sections of Metro-North Railroad tracks were underwater as well. (Governor NY - 9/14)

MAJOR UPGRADE AT METRO-NORTH'S ONLY MOVEABLE BRIDGE IN NEW YORK STATE WILL CLOSE BRIDGE TO MARINE VESSELS: Starting September 15, the Harlem River Lift Bridge will not open for boats for six months while workers replace 60-year-old cables that lift the bridge and install all new electrical components designed to increase their resiliency to potential storm surge flooding. The railroad bridge, located about 4 ˝ miles north of Grand Central Terminal, connects the island of Manhattan to the Bronx mainland. “This vital bridge is used by more than 280,000 Metro-North customers on 700 trains each weekday,” said Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti. “This project will improve the reliability, efficiency, and safety of the bridge and allow us to meet our obligation to keep the bridge’s moving parts moving.” Although there are only 6 to 10 openings per year as commercial shipping on the Harlem River has steadily declined, Metro-North is obligated by Coast Guard regulations to keep the bridge operational. It is the railroad’s only moveable bridge in New York State. (The State of Connecticut owns five movable bridges on the New Haven Line.) In addition to replacement of all the original cables that lift the two, 340-foot-long, three million pound spans, the project includes a new electrical control system and wiring and a new third rail power supply system. The new Facility House electrical components, damaged during Superstorm Sandy, will be installed to increase their resiliency to potential storm surge flooding, thanks to a $5 million federal Sandy Emergency Relief grant. Outdated electro-mechanical controls will be replaced and computerized with the installation of a dual-redundant, programmable logic control system. The elevators from the track level up to the operator’s rooms at the counterweight level also will be rehabilitated. New multi-conductor, copper and fiber optic cables will be pulled through a micro-tunnel under the Harlem River that was bored under a prior Capital Program. The entire $47 million project is being paid for by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2010-2014 Capital Program with help from federal grants of $24 million (including the $5 million Sandy grant). The two-year project has been scheduled to take full advantage of the six-month Coast Guard outage and minimize impacts to Metro-North customers. Most boats, including the Circle Line tours, can navigate underneath the unopened bridge, which provides vertical clearance of 25 feet at high tide. When opened, the bridge provides 135-foot clearance. The bridge was built in the 1950’s by the New York Central Railroad and completed in 1954 to replace an earlier swing-style span. The bridge has parallel lift spans, each with two tracks. The spans operate independently. At either end of the bridge are steel towers that contain the machinery to hoist the spans. In all, 128 main cables, each 2? inches in diameter and 185 feet long, connect the ends of the bridge spans to their balancing counterweights high above in the lift towers. Spools of replacement cables, each weighing more than a ton, will be brought to the bridge on barges, lifted to the platform by crane, and hoisted into place by electric winch. (MTA - 9/12)

U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY FOXX ANNOUNCES $20 MILLION IN TIGER FUNDS FOR MBTA RUGGLES STATION: . Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was in Boston today to announce that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has been selected to receive $20 million in TIGER funds towards a $30 million project to modernize the Ruggles Station. The project is one of 72 transportation projects selected to receive a total of $600 million in 46 states and the District of Columbia from the Department of Transportation’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2014 program. “As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Secretary Foxx. “We're building bridges from Maine to Mississippi. We're creating ladders of opportunity for the middle-class and those seeking to enter the middle-class by investing in transit, road and rail projects from Los Angeles to Detroit to New York City, increasing access to jobs and quality of life. For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away – projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support.” Ruggles Station is an urban intermodal facility that serves MBTA commuter rail, bus, the Orange Line subway, and private bus shuttles, as well as pedestrian and bicycle access. The project will add a second platform at the station, eliminating the need for passengers to transfer at Back Bay Station, resulting in a shorter and more efficient commute for thousands of riders, including residents of Roxbury, a disadvantaged area where Ruggles Station is located. The project also brings the station into full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, brings rail tracks into a state of good repair, and improves the connection between the station and employment, education and cultural centers, including Northeastern University’s Columbus Avenue parking garage. “We congratulate the citizens of Boston and the Roxbury neighborhood, who are the true winners in obtaining these highly competitive TIGER grant funds,” said Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “This project will improve access to efficient, reliable public transportation for thousands of area residents and students who depend on the T to reach jobs, schools, medical care, and other important destinations.” (MBTA - 9/12)

“GREAT DOME” CAR RETURNS TO ADIRONDACK SERVICE: Passengers aboard Amtrak’s 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 25 through November 4, 2014. In partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the National Park Service Trails and Rails program, Amtrak brings its one remaining 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 ‘Great Dome’ car is one of the best and most unique ways to experience the magnificent scenery along the route of the Adirondack,” said Kevin Chittenden, Amtrak Superintendent of the Empire District. “The car is a passenger favorite every year and helps contribute to the ridership and revenue growth that make this service so successful.” New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “New York State’s scenery is unparalleled and the “Great Dome” car is a great way to experience the beauty of the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain from the warmth and comfort of a historic passenger train. Through our partnership with Amtrak and the National Park Service, this dome car promotes New York State and the important link that Amtrak’s Adirondack service provides daily between Manhattan and Montreal.” The dome car will operate northbound from Albany to Montreal on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays and returns south from Montreal on 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 2015. 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 - 9/11)

NJ TRANSIT NAMES NEW DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and LEADERS OF RAIL AND BUS OPERATIONS: The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today appointed Neil S. Yellin as the agency’s new Deputy Executive Director and Robert M. Lavell and Dennis J. Martin, as Vice President and General Manager of NJ TRANSIT Rail Operations and NJ TRANSIT Bus Operations, respectively. The candidates were presented to the board following a nationwide candidate search conducted by Krauthamer & Associates, an executive search firm. “Neil Yellin is a transportation veteran whose distinguished career includes executive experience in both rail and bus management, in his most recent position as Senior Vice President of Long Island Railroad, and previously having served as President for MTA Long Island Bus. Both Robert Lavell and Dennis Martin, who have been acting in their current positions for several months, combined have more than 70 years of experience in the transportation industry. All three are committed to helping us achieve great success as we continue to provide quality public transportation for our customers and the communities we serve,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim.
  • Neil S. Yellin has nearly 35 years of public sector leadership experience, 27 of those years in the public transit industry. Mr. Yellin is a leader in policy administration and administrative functions, including human resources, training, contracts, and procurement. Since 2008, Mr. Yellin has served as a Senior Vice President for Administration/Chief Safety Officer at the Long Island Rail Road where he developed a system of merged procurement and contracting initiatives that resulted in significant cost savings, facilitated the Agency’s migration of all human resources and procurement systems from a legacy system to a leading-edge technology platform and also developed an inventory management program that reduced inventory platforms. These initiatives produced significant savings and efficiencies for the Agency. During Mr. Yellin’s distinguished career, he has served as the President of MTA Long Island Bus and Vice President of Policy and Planning for MTA Long Island Bus and held several key positions in New York City’s Human Resources Administration.
  • Robert M. Lavell has over 40 years of industry experience and served as Acting Vice President and General Manager of NJ TRANSIT Rail Operations since March 2014. Mr. Lavell is a career railroad professional with broad experience in operations, equipment, infrastructure and safety. Mr. Lavell’s focus throughout his career has been to provide safe, secure and reliable service to customers, leveraging equipment technologies that improve the customer experience. For the past six years, he has served as Deputy General Manager of Equipment for NJ TRANSIT where he has provided leadership for all aspects of maintenance of equipment, including safety, budget and planning of rail facilities and equipment modifications. Mr. Lavell previously served 30 years with Amtrak, including as Regional Vice President of Equipment Maintenance. As NJ TRANSIT’s Deputy General Manager of Equipment from 2008 to 2013, Mr. Lavell established the agency’s first E-Learning program which has enhanced the formal training programs for over 1,400 employees. Mr. Lavell also implemented a component-based maintenance program which has increased reliability of NJ TRANSIT’s rolling stock by approximately ten percent which is reflected in increased on-time performance. This program reduced material costs by over $1 million and increased the availability of reliable equipment for customers.
  • Dennis J. Martin has 30 years of transit industry experience, specifically with NJ TRANSIT, and has served as Acting Vice President and General Manager of NJ TRANSIT Bus Operations since June 2014. Mr. Martin has a customer-focused approach and proven business leadership ability that will allow him to seamlessly take over as Vice President and General Manager of NJ TRANSIT Bus Operations, General Manager, NJ TRANSIT Mercer, Inc. and General Manager, NJ TRANSIT Morris, Inc. Mr. Martin is a highly experienced business professional with the demonstrated ability to lead diverse teams of employees to new levels of success across various disciplines and to introduce change in a large organization. He has strong technical and business qualifications with an impressive track record of more than 30 years of hands-on experience in transportation, customer service, call center management, operations planning, scheduling, supervision, terminal operations, revenue security, project management, and emergency response. As Senior Director of NJ TRANSIT Customer Resources from 2003 to 2011, Mr. Martin directed the development and implementation of corporate-wide customer service strategies including customer relationship management, provision of transit information, training, reward and recognition programs, data collection, issue identification, analysis and reporting. Mr. Martin successfully implemented a cloud-based customer relationship management system utilizing Salesforce.com. The system has transformed all customer information input channels and provides NJ TRANSIT operations and executive management with a 360° view of the customer experience. From 1998 to 2003, Mr. Martin served as Director of Terminal Operations for NJ TRANSIT Bus Operations, where he directed bus operations within the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the nation’s busiest transportation terminal, and was accountable for bus operations, on-time performance, lease agreements, ticket sales and revenue collection and security. During his tenure as Director of Terminal Operations, Mr. Martin led the evacuation coordination of New York City during the August 2003 regional blackout and established temporary operations at the Meadowlands Sports Complex and directed on-street boarding of customers during the Port Authority Bus Terminal shutdown.
(NJ Transit - 9/11)

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RELEASES 14TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY EXPRESS SCHEDULE, KICKS-OFF FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN: Kansas City Southern (KCS) announced today its schedule for the 2014 Holiday Express train. In its 14th annual run, Kansas City Southern’s Holiday Express will stop in 21 communities in seven states on 24 dates. At each scheduled 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 13 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. Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the 2014 Holiday Express fundraising campaign may do so online from the Holiday Express section of www.kcsouthern.com or by clicking here . Sponsorship benefits are available for contributions of $500 or more. The 2014 campaign will close on October 31. The 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 even 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 - 9/11)

AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 6, 2014 with 286,002 total carloads, up 2.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 239,142 units, up 4.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 525,144 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Nine of 10 of the carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products with 15,657 carloads, up 31.1 percent; nonmetallic minerals with 37,500 carloads, up 13.1 percent; and metallic ores and metals with 25,541 carloads, up 8.5 percent. The commodity that posted a decrease was coal with 111,406 carloads, down 5.4 percent. For the first 36 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,418,394 carloads, up 3.6 percent compared with the same point last year, and 9,243,430 intermodal units, up 5.6 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 36 weeks of 2014 was 19,661,824 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.5 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 80,312 carloads for the week, up 3.4 percent, and 55,804 intermodal units, up 5.7 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first 36 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,847,984 carloads, up 1.6 percent from the same point last year, and 2,046,688 intermodal units, up 7.1 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 14,531 carloads for the week, down 0.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,617 intermodal units, up 26.3 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 36 weeks of 2014 was 563,328 carloads, up 1.4 percent from the same point last year, and 373,340 intermodal units, up 4.5 percent from last year. Combined North American rail volume for the first 36 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 13,829,706 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 11,663,458 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.9 percent compared with last year. (AAR - 9/11)

SEPTA LAUNCES DUDE ITS RUDE PASSENGER EITQUETTE CAMPAIGN: SEPTA today announced the launch of its new 'Dude It's Rude' passenger etiquette campaign. The new initiative takes a direct approach in an effort to get riders thinking about their own personal travel habits. Prior to the Dude It's Rude campaign, SEPTA tackled the issue of passenger etiquette through campaigns that either addressed general behaviors or specific areas of concern using a lighter approach with cartoon-like characters. Soon after, a cellphone use campaign was developed, customers positively responded to the cellphone use program materials which combined humor with direct messaging. Based on that experience, SEPTA decided to take a more direct approach in its revised passenger etiquette campaign thus creating the Dude It's Rude Program. The new program attempts to reform customer travel habits that have continuously been reported as big problems for specific service modes including taking your trash with you, watching your language and blocking the front aisle. Using strong visuals and minimal words, the new campaign purposely takes an edgier tone. SEPTA intentionally did not include its name or logo on decals and posters to get customers thinking more about the messages instead of who is delivering it. "Initial comments from our Customer Service Channels have been positive," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey. "Customers appreciate our efforts to tackle the issues that bug them such as seat hogging. We will continue to monitor customer and employee comments for feedback." Dude It's Rude ads have been appearing at the bottom of SEPTA's public timetables for the past 12+ months. The launch commemorates expansion of the program to decals, posters and digital messaging on SEPTA vehicles. For more information about SEPTA's Dude It's Rude program, visit http://www.septa.org/service/dudeitsrude/index.html (SEPTA - 9/10)

NATIONAL RAILWAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT CHANGES COMING... IN ORDER TO SURVIVE: In order to survive, the National Railway Historical Society has announced future signficant changes within its organization. Quoting a recent press release: "Nearly 80 years after its founding, the NRHS stands at a crossroads. Just as the railroad industry transformed itself to adapt to changing times, so too must the NRHS form a new identity to survive. The society can no longer sustain itself with the same financial and membership model that has been used since 1935. Cost-cutting alone is not enough. As a result, we have formed a New Business Model Committee that will design a concrete vision for our future, including a new financial model that provides long-term stability while strengthening our core mission of rail preservation. In September, this new model will be presented to the NRHS Board of Directors. The board will then make their final decision to approve or reject the new business model. If successful, the new model that emerges will radically transform our organization. Substantial changes will come to our governing structure, our membership model, our financial model and our chapter relationships. What will not change is the society’s primary mission: to preserve and promote America’s railroad heritage so it can be enjoyed by future generations. We’re also fully committed to our 2015 convention to be held next June in Rutland, Vermont. At this time we can’t say which programs will be appropriate or affordable in the new business model, but we intend to continue the following:
  • Our annual Railway Heritage Grants program, which has awarded nearly $650,000 to restore and preserve historic equipment, structures, and collections.
  • Our successful RailCamp summer program, which filled to capacity in 2014, and provides hands-on railroading experience to young people.
  • Our national advocacy of railroad preservation, including our Most At-Risk list of endangered railroad landmarks.
  • The NRHS News and Bulletin, although the frequency and format may change during the transition period.
The new business model committee is made up of experts in finance, the preservation field, the railroad industry, marketing, and management. We’ll be introducing them to you in the next update. They are devoting their summer to transform an 80-year old society into a focused, stable and successful organization that’s driven by passionate supporters of railroad history and preservation. We realize that swift changes and uncertainty are a great concern for our membership; however, this is a crucial time for NRHS that will shape our survival and future success. The committee’s September deadline was chosen so we can share future plans with our members prior to the 2015 dues renewal period. We pledge to keep you informed of our progress between now and September, as we work to remake the NRHS for the 21s century and beyond. If you have any questions, please email info@nrhs.org. Thank you for your support of rail preservation!" (NRHS- 9/09)

CN CELEBRATES OFFICIAL OPENING OF STATE-OF-THE-ART TRAINING FACILITY IN WINNIPEG: CN today officially opened its new employee training centre in Winnipeg. The 100,000-square-foot facility is currently hosting 350-plus CN students from across Canada every week, with hands-on training for all key railway jobs. Claude Mongeau, CN president and chief executive officer, said: "The opening of this state-of-the-art training centre is a cornerstone in CN's workforce renewal, which this year will see the hiring of more than 3,500 employees across our North American network. "Our training campus in Winnipeg's Transcona neighbourhood - home to a major CN mechanical shop for more than a century -- will enhance our railroader training programs, and help us instill a strong safety culture in our new hires and reinforce it among current employees who are learning new skills or upgrading existing ones. "The new Winnipeg training centre is also a symbol of the key role that Winnipeg and Manitoba play in CN's network. Winnipeg is the hub of our transcontinental network. All of CN's east-west, transcontinental traffic and our north-south cross border traffic are funneled through the city." The new centre will offer courses for jobs ranging from conductor to car mechanic, and from track supervisor to signal maintainer. Employees will receive hands-on training in indoor learning laboratories with equipment such as locomotive simulators and dispatcher stations. Outdoor labs with dedicated rolling stock and other equipment for field training will also be a key focus. CN has invested C$35 million in the Winnipeg training campus and continues to invest ahead of the curve in its Western Canada network to improve network resilience to meet customer demand. As part of that program, CN last year undertook a major program to upgrade to its Edmonton-Winnipeg corridor. At a cost of C$70 million, CN increased capacity on its principal main line between Edmonton and Winnipeg by extending sidings, double-tracking certain segments, and improving yards at Saskatoon and Winnipeg. In addition, CN spent C$30 million to improve its Prairie North Line, a secondary line that runs parallel to and north of the company's main corridor between Edmonton and Winnipeg. The second line acts as a detour route for the main corridor, providing flexibility and resilience to the network. CN plans additional investments in its principal Edmonton-Winnipeg main line to expand capacity this year, as well as on expanding capacity on its Winnipeg-Chicago main line corridor. CN has a continuing focus on employee training - it will formally open a second centralized training facility next month for United States employees adjacent to its Woodcrest Mechanical Shop in the Chicago suburb of Homewood, Ill. (CN, Rnady Kotuby - 9/09)

GE TRANSPORTATION HIRING 50 MACHINISTS AT GROVE CITY DIESEL ENGINE PLANT: GE Transportation is seeking 50 skilled machinists to support an increase in production volume at its diesel engine plant in Grove City, Pennsylvania. In March 2014, GE Transportation announced a deal worth $700 million to supply 233 Evolution Series locomotives to Transnet, a large South African rail, port and pipeline company for delivery next year. Also in 2015, the business is preparing to introduce a new Tier 4 engine that meets stringent EPA emissions requirements. The new hires will support not only these projects, but also production for marine and stationery power. “We’re excited to start the pursuit and interviews of qualified machinists to join the GE team and fill these critical roles across our new and remanufactured engine plants,” said Andy Newpher, Grove City plant executive. “Our customers ultimately determine our success, and as the demand and our production volume increases, we’re focused on finding, attracting and developing skilled employees who will mesh with our culture rooted in compliance, quality and safety. I’m eager to meet with candidates for these roles who possess the foundational characteristics to excel, including positive attitude, strong work ethic, customer-focused dedication and team player mindset.” Interested and qualified applicants should apply at www.getransportationjobs.com . Current GE employees are also eligible to receive up to $1,000 for referring new team members. Since 2000, GE Transportation has invested about $100 million in its engine operations in Grove City to meet the increasing demand for engines in the U.S. and across the globe. More than two years ago, GE invested $40 million to establish its 240,000 square-foot engine remanufacturing plant. The demand for remanufacturing operations has grown significantly in recent years, driven by routine locomotive overhaul cycles and stringent, new EPA emissions standards. Located six miles east of its legacy 40-year-old diesel engine plant, the new plant prompted the hiring of more than 260 new employees. By the end of 2014, the business plans to employ up to 1,200 employees across both plants. In addition to meeting the remanufacturing needs of customers, the plants in Grove City continue to build new engines as well. Between the two plants, more than 2,000 engines are produced each year, making it one of the largest locomotive diesel engine manufacturing sites in the world. (GE Transportation - 9/09)

PATRIOT RAIL TERMINATES LEASE, NCDOT SEEKS NEW OPERATOR FOR PIEDMONT & NORTHERN RAILWAY: The N.C. Department of Transportation is seeking a new partner to operate the 13-mile Piedmont & Northern Railway line from Gastonia to Mount Holly in Gaston County following Patriot Rail’s announcement that it will terminate its lease of the shortline railroad. The company has leased the track since 2012. The railroad currently serves two businesses, averaging 12 carloads per month. The line presently connects with CSX Transportation at Mount Holly and Norfolk Southern at Gastonia. “Our department believes that this rail line has the opportunity to be an economic driver, and we will collaborate with Gaston County to select the best railroad operator to accomplish that goal while providing seamless service to existing and prospective shippers,” said NCDOT Rail Division Director Paul Worley. “The Gaston County Commission looks forward to being a partner with the NCDOT Rail Division. We believe the rail line is a catalyst to economic growth and look forward to selecting a new operator that will provide service to businesses in need of a rail line,” said Gaston County Commission Chairman Tracy Philbeck. NCDOT originally purchased the out-of-use corridor in 1991 as part of its program to preserve rail corridors across the state from abandonment. With the support of the North Carolina General Assembly, NCDOT has invested $5 million over the last three years to upgrade the state-owned Mt. Holly to Gastonia rail corridor, with a $500,000 local funding match from Gaston County. The joint investment is aimed at attracting new business to the rail corridor with the goal of creating new jobs and boosting the local economy. NCDOT will undergo a public procurement for a freight operator, with the goal of having a new operator in place on the line at the beginning of 2015. In the meantime, the two existing freight customers will continue to be serviced and the Rail Division continues to pursue additional business for the line in partnership with Gaston County. (NCDOT - 9/08)

GLORY DAYS FESTIVAL IN WHITE RIVER JCT., VT.: The 22nd Annual Glory Days Festival will be held in White River Junction, Vermont on Saturday, September 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This year it will feature a tremendous show of railroad equipment planned for display and operations, including:
  • Vermont Rail System 50th Anniversary GP40-2W locomotive
  • Vermont Rail System’s Green Mountain RR Alco RS-1 locomotive
  • Vermont Rail System excursions between White River Junction and Norwich, VT
  • Genesee & Wyoming-painted New England Central locomotive(s)
  • Pan Am Railways Boston & Maine Heritage GP9 locomotive. Including the Pan Am Office Car Train, FP9As PAR-1/PAR-2.
  • Amtrak Exhibit Train with Amtrak Veterans P42 and heritage F40PH locomotives
  • Claremont & Concord GP9R locomotive
In addition to the static and operating displays, a night photo session will be held for photographers on Friday, September 12, beginning at 8 p.m. Details and cost for this event will be posted in the coming weeks. Along with all the railroad equipment the Glory Days Festival will showcase children's and family entertainment, the Carz Carclub car show, train ride excursions and antique tractor show. A variety of food and novelty vendors will be selling goods too. Downtown WRJ shops and restaurants will be open for your eating and shopping pleasure. This years Glory Days Festival is Free to enter. Excursions and other rides and activities will have a nominal fee. For more information, visit www.vtglorydaysfestival.com (9/08)

METRO-NORTH REBUILDS COS COB SWITCHING COMPLEX FOUR MONTHS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE: Metro-North Railroad employees have successfully rebuilt a switching control house in Cos Cob, Connecticut. The restoration, completed four months ahead of an initial, already expedited schedule, means that a nine-mile section of the New Haven Line’s tracks between Port Chester, N.Y., and Stamford, Conn., is fully operational for the first time since May 10, when a fire destroyed the previous control house. The restored control house allows train dispatchers to switch trains from one track to another by moving small segments of rail in a complex of switches. Metro-North was able to dramatically speed up the control house restoration by taking equipment that had already been built and was ready for installation at another complex that had a switch layout that was virtually identical. The equipment that was repurposed uses the most modern technology, reducing the amount of complicated wiring that had been damaged in the May 10 fire. Rebuilding a new control house would normally take 18 months of design, fabrication, installation and testing. Initially, Metro-North had expected to expedite that by using a retired switching complex. The railroad ultimately expedited it further by repurposing the modern complex. The final component of the restoration – shifting control from a temporary emergency wayside control house back to Metro-North’s Operations Control Center in New York City – took place this past weekend, Sept. 6 & 7. “I commend all of the employees who have been involved in the effort to work around the loss of our control house and rebuilt it using an innovative approach,” said Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti. “From the employees stationed by the wayside operating switches manually, to those who worked tirelessly throughout the weekend to restore OCC control of the switches, to those who conceived of and implemented this thoughtful and expedited approach, restoring full control took a safe, coordinated team effort with the involvement of many divisions of the railroad.” Connecticut DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker said: “This is great news for New Haven Line commuters. Metro-North is to be commended on a very creative solution to a complex problem. In addition, getting the job done ahead of time gives us more operating flexibility and improves reliability on the busiest train line in the country.” As a result of the May 10 fire and the resulting loss of the ability to switch trains from one track to the next, Metro-North forces initially had to lock switches into place through a procedure known as blocking and spiking. Two tracks were locked into hosting westbound trains only and two were locked into eastbound service. Because trains normally use three of the New Haven Line’s four tracks to travel in the peak direction during rush hours, a two-track bottleneck had created the potential for congestion-related rush hour delays. In late May, Metro-North workers installed an emergency manual panel at Cos Cob that allowed limited switching capability by a signal maintainer who had to be stationed at the site at all times and in continuous communication with the Operations Control Center. This enabled Metro-North to make three of the four tracks available in each rush hour’s peak direction, easing congestion. However, the ability to switch trains from one track to another remained limited. In the event of any operational problems that could have arisen in the area, train workers would have had manually switch trains from one track to another, a cumbersome process taking up to 20 minutes to perform. (MTA - 9/08)

LEHIGH GORGE SCENIC RAILWAY SELECTED AS THE BEST SCENIC RALROAD: The travel web site Hopper.com recently published their list of the Seven Best Scenic Railroads in the United States. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe PA which is owned and operated by the Reading & Northern Railroad has been selected as their #1 choice! See the entire article on their web site here. (R&N - 9/05)

VIA RAIL CANADA RELEASES SECOND QUARTER RESULTS: Following its quarterly board meeting in Québec City on August 27, 2014, the Board of Directors of VIA Rail Canada released the Corporation’s financial statements for the second quarter of 2014. The quarterly report shows a total revenue growth of 3.9% over the same quarter last year. Despite a 2.7% reduction in the number of total passengers from 937,000 to 912,000, its passenger load factor increased by 6 percentage points, from 54% in the second quarter of 2013 to 60% in thesecond quarter of 2014. The operating loss decreased by 6.9%, which represents a reduction of $5.5 million. This decrease is mostly explained by a reduction in contributions to the various pension plans. Government funding decreased by 12.6% (or $13.1 million) compared to the second quarter in 2013, due to reduced operating loss and lower investments in capital investment projects. “This quarter’s financial results are encouraging. In particular, working with our railway partners, we improved our on-time performance (OTP) by 8.7 percentage points from 70.6% in the previous quarter to 79.3% in this quarter. We can be cautiously optimistic that we are on the right track, although a lot of work needs to be done in order to meet last year’s OTP quarterly results,” stated Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, VIA Rail’s President and CEO. “We have a team of dedicated and customer-focused employees; our passengers believe in our services and appreciate their value; and the Government of Canada has provided financial support to initiate some of the changes that will benefit everyone.” The quarterly report is available at viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/our-company/quarterly-reports. (Via Rail Canada, Alex Mayes - 9/05)

GOVERNOR PATRICK CELEBRATES OPENING OF NEW ASSEMBLY MBTA STATION: On Tuesday Governor Deval Patrick joined state and local officials and Somerville business owners at the opening ceremony of the new Assembly Orange Line MBTA station. Assembly is the first new MBTA station in 27 years and is a key element in the creation of a transit-oriented development at Assembly Row, providing a vital transit link between Assembly Row and Boston. “We invest in infrastructure to increase private development, revitalize urban neighborhoods and bolster growth and opportunity across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “The new Assembly Orange Line station is a concrete reminder of what can be achieved through public-private partnership and investment in our communities.” Assembly is the first new MBTA subway station to be opened since the southern portion of the Orange Line was moved from the Washington Street Elevated Line to the Southwest Corridor in 1987 (Tufts, Back Bay, Massachusetts Avenue, Ruggles, Roxbury Crossing, Jackson Square, Stony Brook, Green Street and Forest Hills all opened on May 4, 1987). The Assembly station design includes a glass two-story entrance building at the corner of Foley and G Streets, with stairs, escalators and elevators leading to a glazed glass bridge crossing G Street and the inbound track. The bridge connects to another glass 2-story building between the inbound and outbound tracks, where transit riders will pass through the fare array and travel down to platform level on another stair, escalator or elevators. The new station has integrated intuitive design and is fully accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The daily projected ridership at the Assembly station is expected to be between 4,800 and 5,400 passengers by 2030. “A demand for enhanced access to transit, for smart development centered on transportation access and for livable, workable communities has been heard loud and clear by this Administration,” said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey. “The opening of the new Assembly station today is a direct response to that demand that will provide easy, affordable access to rapid transit in this new neighborhood of Somerville.” “The first new MBTA station in 27 years is a testament to the key role that access to transportation plays in the growth and redevelopment of our cities and towns,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott. “Assembly is a modern, fully accessible, environmentally-friendly Orange Line station that will serve this blossoming new neighborhood and the City of Somerville well for years to come.” The station’s design also includes sustainable and environmentally-friendly elements such as extensive daylighting, storm water retention, and energy-conserving electrical power controls and lighting fixtures. The station features passive solar power design; which allows the building windows, walls, and floors to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer, without using electricity. “Assembly Row is an excellent example of a well-rounded development project that aligns our jobs, housing and transportation needs to better serve our residents,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “Through these types of collaborative efforts we are making our communities great places to live, work and play.” The development will include more than 2.8 million square feet of office space, 635,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment uses, and 1,813 homes. It will feature public benefits like a waterfront park, open space, and new bike and pedestrian paths connecting existing neighborhoods with the new development. The Assembly Square site was initially developed as a Ford Motor assembly plant. After the plant closed in 1958, and other industrial uses there and nearby failed over the next 20 years, the area became an urban renewal site where a traditional retail mall was built. The City of Somerville then transformed the vision for the area into what eventually evolved into what is now “Assembly Row” with Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) as the master developer. The new Orange Line station and other state infrastructure investments have been critical in triggering over $1.4 billion in private investment, and in making this a walkable, transit-oriented development. “The opening of the Orange Line Assembly Station is a win not only for Somerville but for the Commonwealth, and I want to especially thank Gov. Patrick for his deep commitment to this project and to forward-looking transportation policy overall,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “The smart, transit-oriented development taking place around this T-stop that our community outlined in our SomerVision plan will not only connect more workers and residents to sustainable and healthy transit. It represents tens of thousands of construction and permanent jobs, more than a billion dollars in private investment into our local economy, and a commitment to the infrastructure we need to thrive in a 21st century economy. As we get projects like this moving forward, we get the entire state moving forward.” "It's gratifying that our long-held community vision of Assembly Square is becoming reality. The new Orange Line station will now connect our vibrant new neighborhood and beautiful river with Greater Boston. I'm grateful for the role that MassDOT and MBTA have played in making this progress happen." “The development of an Assembly Row T station has been a true public and private partnership as Federal Realty, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Somerville have come together to improve a city’s economic future and connect a region through public transit investments,” said Don Briggs, President of Federal Realty Boston. “Assembly Row is a neighborhood unfolding that is now more accessible to all of Boston and beyond. From nationally known outlet retail to locally loved dining, interstate access to corporate campus amenities, Assembly Row is quickly becoming one of the region’s top destinations for the next-generation of work, live, shop, eat and play. ” The new Assembly station is a true public-private partnership, funded through a combination of federal, state and private investment. The total cost of the station is $56 million with the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development contributing $25 million through a MassWorks grant, $16 million in federal funds and a $15 million investment from Federal Realty Investment Trust, the developers of the Assembly Row project (MBTA - 9/04)

ADA ACCESSIBILITY PLANNED FOR LIRR'S METS-WILLETS POINT STATION: The MTA Long Island Rail Road’s Mets-Willets Point Station, the destination for U.S. Open tennis and New York Mets baseball, will be fully accessible to the disabled for the first time in 2016 as part of a $9.7 million station renovation. The renovation plan calls for the installation of an elevator that will lift those with mobility impairments from the LIRR platform up to the New York City Parks Department passarelle that leads to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the Billie Jean King Tennis Center and Citi Field, home of the Mets and, on occasion, other events. Other ADA enhancements include the installation of tactile warning strips at the edges of the platform and the construction of new staircases with fully compliant guardrails and handrails. “The MTA and the Long Island Rail Road are committed to doing our part so LIRR customers with disabilities can attend the U.S. Open, Mets games and other special events that come to Flushing Meadows Park,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “A design firm with expertise in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is drawing up the plans right now and construction is scheduled to begin next year.” Current plans call for the station will be fully renovated by 2016 with the LIRR continuing its service uninterrupted to Mets-Willets Point during construction. Other improvements to be made at the station include station the extension of the platform to accommodate 12 car trains, a new canopy fully covering the platform and new lighting and communication systems. ADA accessibility has been a priority at the LIRR, which has focused first – as required by the law when it was passed in 1990 - on providing access at its busiest stations. Although Mets-Willets Point Station, located on the Railroad’s Port Washington Branch, is strictly a special events station, open only when the Mets are playing or the U.S. Open is underway, ADA accessibility has long been an issue raised by customers and local elected officials. The station was opened in 1964 for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, but it was built without special accommodations for people with mobility impairments. For Now, Flushing Meadows Accessible Via LIRR & Subway Flushing Meadows has always been accessible to the disabled via LIRR and subway. The LIRR advises customers who are mobility impaired that they can reach the venues at Flushing Meadows by taking the LIRR to Woodside Station where an elevator is available to connect to the No. 7 Flushing Line subway train for the trip east to the Mets-Willets Point subway station. From the subway station an ADA ramp connects to the park. To return to Woodside after the game, customers with mobility impairments should board the No. 7 subway and travel one stop east to its end point, the Flushing-Main Street Station, the change for a westbound train. The LIRR has 124 stations. Today, 105 stations are wheelchair accessible in compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990. The LIRR is currently working to make five additional stations (including Mets-Willets Point) wheelchair accessible. All five projects are under design. Under ADA, the LIRR was required to establish an ADA Key Stations Plan. This was finalized in June 1992. It established 18 LIRR stations throughout the system which are transfer points, major activity centers, key connection points for bus service, etc. The idea was the 18 key stations would have all ADA features (elevator/ramp, tactile, accessible restrooms, etc.) and could serve as a hub for accessibility. All 18 key stations were made fully compliant in 1999. (MTA - 9/04)

NEXT STOP, JEFFERSON STATION: Beginning today, that's what SEPTA Regional Rail riders will hear as their trains pull into the former Market East Station, when it officially becomes Jefferson Station. The change is the result of a naming rights contract between Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals and Titan, which sells advertising at SEPTA stations, on vehicles and other Authority properties. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University and numerous Jefferson physicians' offices are located in Center City Philadelphia, just blocks away from Jefferson Station. "Jefferson Station is a major transportation hub for Philadelphia area residents who are patients, employees and students of nearby Jefferson Health System facilities and Thomas Jefferson University," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "Because so many people use SEPTA to get to their Jefferson destination, renaming the station is a natural fit." As a result of the renaming contract, SEPTA commuters will see new signage designating Jefferson Station beginning today. Conductors on all trains and electronic announcements on SEPTA's Silverliner V trains will also call out Jefferson Station. When considering the partnership with SEPTA, Jefferson selected Market East so their patients, referring physicians and future healthcare leaders would find it easier to travel to their Center City campus. "We're transforming ourselves and we're creating bold new partnerships that deliver a very exciting and different future for Jefferson, for our patients and students," said Stephen Klasko, President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System "We want everyone to know it and see it every day when they pass through this station." The Jefferson Station renaming is consistent with SEPTA's mandate to seek alternative sources to help pay for operating expenses. State lawmakers, in passing recent legislation for transportation funding in Pennsylvania, have called on SEPTA and other transit agencies to bolster efforts to generate non-fare box revenues. "This agreement will deliver major benefits to our customers and other taxpayers who help fund the Authority's operations," said Casey. "The advertising income this generates will go directly toward the everyday costs of running the transit system." SEPTA has worked closely with Titan, the leading transit advertising agency in the country, on an innovative campaign to bring in additional advertising dollars. "This is a fantastic deal for both SEPTA and Jefferson," said Jon Roche, Titan's General Manager and Vice President for the Philadelphia Region. "Naming the station will give exceptional and indelible branding for Jefferson in the heart of Center City Philadelphia." Approximately 26,000 customers riding SEPTA's Regional Rail lines use the station every weekday. The station is also accessible via SEPTA's Market-Frankford Line at the 8th and 11th Street stations; Broad-Ridge Spur at the 8th Street Station; and bus routes 17, 23, 33, 38, 44, 47, 47M, 48, 61 and 62. (SEPTA - 9/04)

AAR REPORTS INCREASED RAIL TRAFFIC FOR AUGUST 2014 AND FOR TH E WEEK: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for August 2014, with both carload and intermodal volume increasing compared with August 2013. U.S. railroads originated 1,212,287 carloads in August 2014, up 2.9 percent or 33,838 carloads compared with August 2013. Total carloads averaged 303,072 per week in August 2014, which is the highest weekly average for any month since October 2011 and the highest for August since 2008. U.S. railroads also originated 1,075,688 containers and trailers in August 2014, up 4.3 percent or 44,520 carloads, compared with August 2013.The weekly average of 268,922 intermodal units in August 2014 was the second-highest weekly average ever, slightly behind June 2014. In August 2014, combined U.S. carload and intermodal volume was 2,287,975 units, up 3.5 percent or 78,358 units compared with August 2013. Average weekly volume was 571,994 carloads, containers, and trailers. “The rail industry has played and is continuing to play a critical role in the U.S. economy’s resurgence. In fact, average weekly U.S. rail volume, in terms of carloads plus intermodal containers and trailers, was higher in August 2014 than in any month since October 2007,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “The broad range of commodities that are seeing higher rail volumes is a welcome sign for the economy.” The AAR also reported U.S. Class I railroads originated 119,634 carloads of crude oil in the second quarter of 2014, 8.6 percent more than the first quarter of 2014 and the most ever in any quarter. In the first half of 2014, crude oil accounted for 1.6 percent of total originated carloads for U.S. Class I railroads. Fifteen of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in August. Commodities with the biggest carload increases included petroleum and petroleum products, up 13,127 carloads, or 25.2 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 12,873 carloads, or 14.4 percent; and grain, up 10,655 carloads, or 16 percent. August was the tenth-straight double-digit year-over-year increase for grain. Weekly average grain carloads of 19,326 in August 2014 were the highest for August since 2010; year-to-date, grain originations were up 19.2 percent over last year. Commodity categories with carload declines last month were led by coal, down 20,447 carloads or 4.2 percent. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 43,630 carloads, or 6.9 percent in August. AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending August 30, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 305,751 carloads last week, up 1.3 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 273,458 units, up 5.3 percent compared with the same week last year and the highest for any week in history. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 579,209 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum products, with 16,404 carloads originated, up 21.2 percent; metallic ores and metals, with 30,222 carloads originated, up 15.7 percent; and, grain, with 19,474 carloads originated, up 12.8 percent. For the first 35 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,132,392 carloads, up 3.6 percent from the same point last year, and 9,004,288 intermodal units, up 5.7 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 35 weeks of 2014 was 19,136,680 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.6 percent from last year. Canadian railroads indicated 84,974 carloads for the week, up 4.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 63,880 intermodal units, up 13.1 percent compared with 2013 and the highest for any week in history. For the first 35 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,767,672 carloads, up 1.6 percent from the same point last year, and 1,990,884 intermodal units, up 7.2 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 15,659 carloads for the week, down 6.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 12,926 intermodal units, up 14.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 35 weeks of 2014 is 548,797 carloads, up 1.5 percent from the same point last year, and 361,723 intermodal units, up 4 percent. Combined North American rail volume for the first 35 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 13,448,861 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 11,356,895 trailers and containers, up 5.9 percent compared with last year. (AAR - 9/04)

GREENBRIER EXPRESS PASSENGER CARS UP FOR AUCTION: Blackmon Auctioneers will host an auction for thirteen passenger cars . from the cancelled Greenbrier Express on Saturday, September 18. The auction will take place in Pottstown, Pa. Most of these cars have had their interiors removed and are basically a "tunnel" inside. Heritage of the equipment includes Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Chesapeake & Ohio. In addition, wheel sets, generators, and other parts will be placed for auction. The Greenbrier Express project was cancelled in 2011. They had proposed the operation of luxury passenger trains between Washington, D.C. and Greenbrier, West Virginia. (Blackmon Auctioneers - 9/03)

LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD SERVICE TO BELMONT PARK RESUMES ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5: The thoroughbreds are back from Saratoga and the MTA Long Island Rail Road's 'Belmont Special' is at the starting gate and ready for the fall racing season at beautiful Belmont Park. The LIRR is partnering with The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) again this year to provide regular train service for racing fans for the start of the Fall Meet Friday, September 5, and continuing through October 26. Through the partnership, NYRA is subsidizing the cost of operating the LIRR Belmont service for racing fans. Belmont Park is only a half-hour train ride from midtown Manhattan and the LIRR's "Belmont Special" ticket package entitles LIRR customers to a $1 discount off the regular $3 grandstand admission. First race post time at Belmont will be 1:05 PM from September 5 through September 21 and 12:50 PM from September 24 through October 26. There is no racing on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the exception of Columbus Day, Monday, October 13 when a full racing program is scheduled. There is also no racing on Wednesday, October 15 nor on Wednesday, October 15. (LIRR - 9/03)

AMTRAK CALLS ON SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD TO INVESTIGATE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY: In support of passengers, state partners and its own business operations, Amtrak is taking action to improve the on-time performance (OTP) of its trains that operate over tracks controlled by other railroads. Under federal law, Amtrak has a statutory right to preference in the dispatching of intercity passenger trains before freight trains. In an Amended Complaint filed with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) on Aug. 29, Amtrak is seeking an investigation of Canadian National Railway (CN) for causing unacceptable train delays on the Illini/Saluki service that uses the CN line from Chicago to Carbondale, Ill.   Specifically, the OTP of the Illini/Saluki service was 49 percent for the quarter ending June 30 and just 42 percent for the prior quarter. In fact, the OTP for this state-supported service has been below 80 percent for three solid years and below 60 percent for most of that time. Amtrak is taking this action under Section 213 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) which mandates that the STB initiate an investigation upon the filing of a complaint by Amtrak if the OTP of an intercity passenger train falls below 80 percent for two consecutive quarters. The Amended Complaint is part of the same case that Amtrak filed with the STB regarding CN's performance in January 2012. The proceedings were stayed while Amtrak and CN attempted to address the issue of delays informally, but OTP has remained poor on the Illini/Saluki service.  Therefore, Amtrak is now asking the STB to investigate the causes of delay on that service, and to award damages and other relief if violations of Amtrak's right to preference are found. Poor on-time performance creates a major disruption for Amtrak customers due to delayed trains and missed connections. It also negatively impacts Amtrak and state-supported services through decreased ridership, lost revenues and higher operating costs. . (Amtrak, Randy Kotuby - 9/02)

RAILFAN & RAILROAD AND RMC ACQUIRED BY WHITE RIVER PRODUCTIONS: White River Productions has acquired Railroad Model Craftsman and Railfan & Railroad magazines, effective September 1, 2014. The asset purchase agreement between Carstens Publications and White River Productions was completed Thursday, August 28, 2014. Carstens Publications’ final issues of the two titles are the June issues, and future issues will be produced by White River Productions. Staff assignments for the two publications have not yet been determined. Included in the agreement is the Books Division of Carstens Publications, which will continue under White River Productions. Not included is Flying Models magazine. (White River Productions - 9/02)

NO STEAM POWER... AND NOW THE TURNTABLE IS OUT OF SERVICE: Turntables were primarily used by railroads during the steam era. Locomotives awaiting light-duty maintenance and repairs were moved from yard tracks onto the turntable by a hostler. The turntable operator would then use controls to operate the electric motors that powered the turntable to rotate, aligning the turntable tracks with those for an available maintenance bay in the roundhouse. When servicing and minor repairs of that locomotive were complete, it would be backed onto the aligned turntable again, and rotated again to align with yard tracks that allowed the locomotive to return to revenue service or await a new assignment. After years of faithful service at Steamtown NHS, the 90-foot turntable is in need of major rehab and repairs. Spalling of the interior turntable concrete has occurred from many years of rain and snow-melt leaking into the wall, causing it to expand outward toward the turntable. This concrete needs to be removed and replaced. Additionally, the wheels operating beneath the turntable need to be raised to provide clearance for the carriage on the bottom. The return-to-service completion date for the turntable has not been determined. Steamtown is working proactively with structural and design engineers to provide the most effective and cost-efficient repairs necessary to return the turntable to service. (Steamtown National Historic Site - posted 8/29)

RIDERSHIP CLIMBS DESPITE FARE INCREASE : Despite a fare increase that took effect July 1st, the MBTA posted a sixth onsecutive month of increased ridership. With average weekday passenger trips of 1.219 million, July’s ridership was nearly 3% above figures for July of last year. In the same month that fares rose by 5%, ridership on buses, subway trains, Commuter Boats, and Commuter Rail also increased. In fact, MBTA Commuter Boats had their busiest month in two years with an average of 6,800 ferry riders each weekday. “We also experienced robust ridership levels on weekends in July,” said MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott. Saturday ridership was 3.6% higher than July 2013, and Sunday ridership increased by 1.4%. “Thanks to increased ridership in the second half of Fiscal Year 2014, fare revenue collections finished 2.1% above FY 2013,” said Dr. Scott, who reported nearly $624.4 million in revenue from fares in the fiscal year that ended June 30th. “Combined with our cost-cutting initiatives, the increased fare collections resulted in overall revenues exceeding total expenses by $14.2 million in Fiscal Year 2014,” said Dr. Scott. “That money goes directly into our Capital Maintenance Fund to help pay for much-needed repairs and upgrades to our aging infrastructure.” Boston’s subway, America’s first, turns 117 years old on Monday, September 1st. (Massachusetts Department of Transportation - posted 8/29)

REGULAR SERVICE RESTORED ON MONTCLAIR-BOONTON LINE STARTING TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 : NJ TRANSIT today announced that regular rail service will be restored on the Montclair-Boonton Line starting with the first scheduled trains on Tuesday, September 2, approximately a week earlier than anticipated, following emergency track repairs and single tracking between Bay Street and Montclair State University stations. Montclair-Boonton Line service was disrupted on Tuesday, August 19, due to a slow-speed derailment between Bay Street and Walnut Street stations in Montclair that caused damage to the track. To accommodate the repairs, all Montclair-Boonton Line trains have operated on a single track on a portion of the line. During this time, service has operated on a special weekday schedule, subject to delays of up to 20 minutes and some train cancellations. (NJ Transit - posted 8/29)

AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending August 23, 2014 with 300,505 total carloads, up 3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 265,761 units, up 3.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 566,266 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Eight of 10 of the carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products with 16,396 carloads, up 28.4 percent; grain with 18,721 carloads, up 17.6 percent; and nonmetallic minerals with 40,279 carloads, up 10.5 percent. The commodities that posted a decrease were coal with 115,050 carloads, down 3.9 percent; and chemicals with 30,003 carloads, down 0.1 percent. For the first 34 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,826,641 carloads, up 3.7 percent compared with the same point last year, and 8,730,830 intermodal units, up 5.7 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 34 weeks of 2014 was 18,557,471 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.6 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 78,883 carloads for the week, down 0.4 percent, and 61,303 intermodal units, up 8.7 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first 34 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,682,698 carloads, up 1.5 percent from the same point last year, and 1,927,004 intermodal units, up 7 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 15,544 carloads for the week, down 4.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,549 intermodal units, up 1.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 34 weeks of 2014 was 533,138 carloads, up 1.7 percent from the same point last year, and 348,797 intermodal units, up 3.6 percent from last year. Combined North American rail volume for the first 34 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 13,042,477 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 11,006,631 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.8 percent compared with last year. (AAR - posted 8/28)

SUBURBAN TRANSIT BEGINS 'PAY AS YOU ENTER' AT 69TH STREET TRANSPORTATION CENTER ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 : Starting with the annual fall schedule change on Monday, September 1, 2014, SEPTA will implement the "Pay As You Enter" fare policy on Suburban Transit Routes departing 69th Street Transportation Center. This policy change is designed to shrink dwell time at passenger stops, reduce fare evasion and streamline travel for riders who will now be able to exit via the rear doors of buses without going back to the fare box upon departure. "Pay As You Enter" is the way that fares are currently paid for travel towards 69th Street Transportation Center and is how passengers currently pay fares when using City Transit Routes. Now with every trip, passengers will use the same fare payment procedure now used on all other SEPTA routes. Leaflets and signs notifying riders about the new payment procedures are posted at 69th Street Transportation Center and on www.septa.org. Additional SEPTA staff will be available to ease passengers through the transition during the first week of September. Riders with additional questions can visit the Customer Service Office at the Transportation Center or contact the Travel Information Center at 215-580-7800. (SEPTA - posted 8/28)

TVRM'S HISTORIC STEAM LOCOMOTIVE 4501 IS READY FOR TENNESSEE VALLEY RAILFEST: The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) today announces the return of their iconic Steam Locomotive 4501 to operation. TVRM has been restoring Locomotive 4501 over the past three years and she will make her public debut at Tennessee Valley Railfest on September 6 & 7. The locomotive last ran in 1998 and has patiently waited for a complete overhaul. The locomotive restoration specialists at TVRM began the project in 2011 and it has continued nonstop since then. The 4501 has now rolled out of Soule Shops in East Chattanooga looking better than ever. After testing and various final adjustments, the locomotive will make its public debut at the Railfest celebration. "This is a dream come true," said TVRM spokesperson Steve Freer. "Many of us at TVRM grew up riding behind 4501 (often simply referred to as "the 01") and loved every minute of it. With the diminishing demand for main line rail excursions in the 1990's, large locomotives were relegated to storage or display. However, 4501 is returning to active operation. It is a great day for TVRM and we are thrilled to make this example of living history available to the public." Railfest is an annual celebration of railroading at TVRM, which includes train rides, special exhibits, interesting displays, model railroads, children's activities, live entertainment, and more. The public debut of Locomotive 4501 will feature a public dedication at at Railfest. Tickets for Railfest on September 6 & 7 are only $20 adults and $15 children (per day) and are available online at www.tvrail.com. Locomotive 4501 has an interesting history: She was built for Southern Railway in 1911 and worked for 37 years before being forced out of service by a wave of modern diesel locomotives. Instead of being scrapped as so many other steamers were, 4501 was sold in 1948 to the Kentucky & Tennessee Railway in Stearns, Kentucky, to haul coal from mines served by the K&T. After 16 years serving the K&T, 4501 was sold to Chattanooga railroad enthusiast Paul Merriman in 1964. Merriman was a TVRM founder and president at the time, and brought Locomotive 4501 to Chattanooga for display and possible operation. This is just what the fledgling museum needed, as 4501 was a highly visible symbol of steam railroading. Shortly thereafter, Southern Railway leased the engine from TVRM to be used throughout their system as a roving ambassador and to pull public rail excursions, which continued until 1994. Back in home in Chattanooga, TVRM was able to operate the locomotive until its boiler certification ran out in 1998. Since other steam locomotives were operating at TVRM at the time, 4501 rested in semi-retirement until 2011 when Norfolk Southern inaugurated their "21st Century Steam" program. 21st Century Steam is a program of excursions for Norfolk Southern employees and the general public, utilizing steam locomotives on a limited number of trips on Norfolk Southern rail lines. TVRM's Locomotive 630 has been participating in the programs since 2011, and now with the help of many contributors, including Norfolk Southern, 4501 will join the program in 2015. (Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - posted 8/27)

BLUE RIBBON PANEL RECOMMENDS STEPS TO IMPROVE MTA RAIL SAFETY: Blue Ribbon Panel of transportation experts studying safety and maintenance practices at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) three railroad operations – Metro-North Railroad, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and New York City Transit – has released its final recommendations for improvement, including creating better data systems to monitor track conditions, adjusting schedules to provide more time for track work, and bolstering the safety culture at Metro-North. The Blue Ribbon Panel made 29 specific recommendations after more than a year of studying the MTA network, interviewing employees from front-line workers to executives, attending safety training, visiting work sites, and comparing their findings against practices at other railroad operations. The Blue Ribbon Panel believes that safety is fundamental to a high-quality transit operation, and identified many areas where the MTA’s railroad agencies need to improve their management and operations, but the Panel also found the agencies are committed to change and are taking concrete steps to improve their operations and their safety culture,” said Mortimer L. Downey, Chair Person of the Blue Ribbon Panel, who is a former Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of the MTA. “We hope our report provides a framework for improvement, and we expect our recommendations will lead to better and safer rail operations throughout the MTA.” “The Panel’s work is an important step as the MTA addresses not just the particular problems we have experienced since last year, but the general safety culture as well,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “The Panel found the MTA has already taken significant steps to address these challenges, though we have a lot of work ahead of us. I am heartened that the distinguished experts on the Panel believe MTA is committed to improvement and capable of making the necessary changes. I want to thank them for the important work they have done for the MTA and its more than 6 million daily rail customers.” The Blue Ribbon Panel was created almost a year ago after a series of safety-related incidents at all three rail agencies, in order to bring an outside perspective on operational rail issues as well as managerial and cultural factors affecting safety in railroad operations. During the course of the Panel’s work, the MTA made substantial changes to address these issues in response to the Panel’s interim findings, as well as to findings by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Railroad Administration, and a Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) review of Metro-North operations. The Panel identified the safety culture within Metro-North as an area of particular concern, and found the railroad’s emphasis on on-time performance did not leave employees with enough time to perform necessary inspection and maintenance work on the tracks. The Panel encouraged Metro-North to automate its process for assessing track conditions and use that data to inform maintenance planning. The Panel noted Metro-North has made significant improvements in those areas by changing schedules to allow more time for track maintenance and procuring more automated track inspection equipment. At all three agencies, the Panel noted the existence of persistent rail conditions that require sustained management attention and found a need to implement data systems which monitor all track elements through their lifecycle and integrate inspection data to provide all employees with the best possible understanding of track asset conditions. The Panel also concluded that a confidential close-call reporting system would provide Metro-North and the LIRR a better opportunity to understand safety risks before they lead to incidents. It recommended that all three agencies do more to share information and practices with each other, specifically acknowledging the robust safety culture within New York City Transit, which should be a model to Metro-North and the LIRR. The Panel noted that the MTA has taken many steps to improve safety since it began its work. Chairman Prendergast created the position of Chief Safety Officer, ordered all operating agencies to designate a top official who is solely responsible for safety and reports directly to the agency president, and created a Safety Committee of the MTA Board. Metro-North is also studying the findings of a series of technical reports from TTCI, which recommended changes to how the railroad inspects and maintains its tracks, as well as to how it manages all areas of track maintenance. Metro-North has either begun implementation or fully implemented many of TTCI’s recommendations as the railroad continues to improve its management of track maintenance. Metro-North has embarked on major safety improvements over the past year, including enhancing track inspection and maintenance, beefing up the safety and training departments, expanding employee testing programs to ensure understanding of safety rules and creating a computer-based track worker safety program. Metro-North and the LIRR are pursuing a confidential close-call reporting system, are in the process of installing alerters and video cameras in engineers’ cabs, and are accelerating the installation of a Positive Train Control system, which is regarded as the best signal system available for train control. (MTA - posted 8/27)

AMTRAK EXTENDS MICHIGAN SUMMER SCHEDULE THROUGH SEPTEMBER: Amtrak will continue to operate trains on a modified schedule for the Wolverine Service and Blue Water routes through the end of September as it completes infrastructure improvements in West Michigan. The track and signal work will result in improved reliability, a smoother ride and the future extension of 110 mph Amtrak service between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. The modified schedules first announced in the spring primarily affect the westbound schedule of Train 365, the Blue Water, from Port Huron to Chicago, via East Lansing. Wolverine Service customers between West Michigan and Chicago will continue to benefit from an additional eastbound trip on Sundays and an additional westbound trip on Mondays during the period ending Sept. 30. Please see the attached Amtrak Passenger Service Notice for details and other significant schedule modifications. These temporary schedules also allow Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) a greater opportunity to continue their work to reduce freight train congestion that has been interfering with Amtrak trains in Northern Indiana. Both Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation have asked NS to take action to improve the daily dispatching of ten state-sponsored Amtrak trains -- and four more Amtrak national network services -- on NS tracks between Chicago and Porter, Ind. Normal Wolverine Service and Blue Water schedules in Michigan are effective on Oct. 1. The Amtrak Pere Marquette train schedules to and from Grand Rapids are unchanged (Amtrak - posted 8/26)

MBTA'S FIRST NEW RAPID TRANSIT STATION IN 26 YEARS SET TO OPEN SOON: The MBTA’s first new rapid transit station in 26 years, at Somerville's Assembly Square, is set to open before the end of the summer, a T spokesman said Friday. One of six new stations slated for Somerville, Massachusetts in the next decade, the city is trying to take advantage of that development opportunity in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the community's economic diversity (MBTA - posted 8/26)

STATE OF PA. AWARD RAIL FREIGHT IMPROVEMENT GRANTS: Governor Tom Corbett announced today that 39 rail freight improvement projects that will help sustain nearly 34,000 jobs across Pennsylvania were approved for funding from two PennDOT-managed programs. "Transportation is a proven economic driver and these investments will help these companies maintain and create more jobs,'' Corbett said. "Ensuring that these facilities and assets are ready to meet consumer demands is vital to keeping our state competitive." The State Transportation Commission (STC) voted Thursday to approve nearly  $35.9 million for 13 projects through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and 26 projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP). RTAP is a capital budget grant program funded with bonds and RFAP is underwritten through the new Multimodal Fund, created by Act 89. "We have continued investments in Pennsylvania's rail network because it helps keep our transportation assets strong as a whole," Corbett said. "Since January 2011 we've invested over $167 million in rail and Act 89 will help us continue those efforts." Last November, Corbett signed Act 89, a far-reaching transportation program that clears the way for significant investments in all transportation modes.
    RTAP Projects:
    • Allegheny County Allegheny Valley Railroad Co. -- $1.9 million to rehabilitate the railroad's 36th Street bridge, increasing its weight capacity and reducing a curve on the bridge.; Pittsburgh Ohio Central Railroad -- $713,020 to realign track, construct 4,460 feet of new track, construct a new turnout to connect track and create a second long track in the Scully Yard in Crafton Borough. ; Union Railroad -- $701,960 to repair the approaches on the north and south portals to the railroad's North Bessemer Tunnel ; U.S. Steel Corporation -- $1.9 million to construct a rail siding at the Clairton Yard, install track panels and four new turnouts in Clairton Works, install track panels and three new turnouts at the Edgar Thomson Works, and install cross ties, track panels and two new prefabricated turnouts at the Irvin Works ; and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, Co. -- $3.2 million to install 14.5 miles of continuous welded rail on the Pittsburgh Subdivision.
    • Armstrong, Butler and Lawrence counties: Buffalo Pittsburgh Railroad, Inc.-- $2 million of work between Kittanning and New Castle for restoration of the Chewton siding , providing 9,000 feet of additional siding capacity, to restore the Mosgrove West siding, providing 2,400 feet of additional siding capacity and to complete other rail and switch work.
    • Bucks County Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminal -- $1.2 million to construct 6,600 feet of track and drainage facilities as well as install 120 feet of track for a public grade crossing and associated utility work. and SMS Rail Service, Inc. -- $613,682 to construct an 800-foot siding, install a new switch, replace seven switches and other track work.
    • Cambria, Clearfield, Clinton and Indiana counties: RJ Corman Railroad Group PA Lines -- $4.3 million to install cross ties and switch ties, renew several  crossings, install  bridge ties and other track work.
    • Carbon County: Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad -- $5 million to construct a new bridge across the Lehigh River and 1,200 feet of new connecting track.
    • Chester County: Arcelor Mittal Plate, LLC -- $2.8 million to rehabilitate a bridge and replace track in the City of Coatesville and Modena Borough.
    • Mercer County: Duferco Farrell Corporation/NLMK Pennsylvania -- $551,177 to rehabilitate track, turnouts and a grade crossing, as well as install turnouts, replace crossties and surface track.
    • Westmoreland County: Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation -- $1.5 million for the second of three phases for an improvement project, replacing 3.2 miles of rail and associated work.
      RFAP Projects:
      • Adams County: Gettysburg & Northern Railroad Co. -- $199,528 to install 1,600 ties on 4 miles of track with related hardware.
      • Allegheny County
      • Pittsburgh and Ohio Central Railroad -- $489,636 to replace a turnout, crossties, 8,960 feet of rail and make other track improvements;. Tube City IMS, IIC -- $472,500 to replace 12 turnouts, 2,673 feet of mainline track and repair a rail scale; and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, Co. -- $700,000 to install 60,800 feet of continuous welded rail as well as install 10,000 new cross ties and four turnouts. Berks County: Dyer Quarry, Inc. -- $165,515 to replace a turnout, approach rail and cross ties, as well as track surfacing work.
      • Blair County: Hollidaysburg & Roaring Spring Railroad -- $295,942 to repair two bridges and improve  public grade crossings.
      • Bradford County: Northeast Freight Transfer, Inc. -- $697,417 to install 1,800 feet of track, a new switch, two conveyors and a track scale.
      • Bradford and Wyoming counties: Lehigh Railway LLC -- $353,500 to rehabilitate, raise, line and surface rail sidings at the Wyalusing Terminal.
      • Carbon County: Horsehead Corporation -- $700,000 complete bridge repairs including pier support, tie replacement and approach rail work.
      • Centre County: SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority -- $250,000 to complete improvements including track and turnout construction, upgrading rail and installing drainage.
      • Chester County: Chester County Economic Development Council -- $171,990 to construct a new 200-foot rail siding into the Mogreena Industrial Complex to serve Waste Oil Recyclers, Inc.
      • Columbia County: Autoneum North America, Inc. -- $250,000 to relocate and replace a turnout, construct 1,600 feet of track and install a grade crossing.
      • Dauphin County: Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad -- $203,000 to upgrade 300 feet of track, install a turnout and a track greaser to decrease friction on a curve.
      • Franklin County: Franklin County General Authority-- $656,320 to improve track in the Cumberland Valley Business Park and the Letterkenny Army Depot.
      • Lawrence County: Hill Railroad Car Company -- $189,000 to construct two turnouts and 1,200 feet of track.
      • Luzerne County: Redevelopment Authority of Luzerne County -- $497,000 to replace five switches and install 3,000 ties.
      • Lycoming County: Jersey Shore Steel. -- $224,000 to construct 800 feet of track providing new rail service at the Montoursville facility.
      • McKean County: Western New York PA Railroad Company, LLC -- $448,078 to repair a railroad bridge including timber repairs and replacements, and track approach repairs.
      • Mercer County: Ellwood Crankshaft and Machine Company -- $262,500 to construct 500 feet of new track and a turnout.
      • Montgomery County: Lansdale Warehouse Co., Inc. -- $32,900 to install a new drainage system, upgrade 400 feet of siding, install new ties and other rail improvements.
      • Philadelphia County: Consolidated Rail Corporation (CONRAIL) -- $634,106 to install ties and timbers as well as surface 27,081 feet of track in three locations in the Philadelphia area and Philadelphia Regional Port Authority -- $278,705 to replace and upgrade rail, ties, switch timbers and more as well as upgrade asphalt.
      • Schuylkill County Reading Anthracite Company -- $493,850 to upgrade a retaining wall, relocate tracks pave loading dock floors, and complete other work at two locations in the Butler and Norwegian townships site and Waste Management & Processors, Inc. – $534,100 to rehabilitate 700 feet of track, repair a retaining wall, repair paved areas and install other improvements. Union County: Heller's Gas Inc. -- $250,000 to construct a turnout, 500 feet of track as well as improvements for offloading rail cars.
      • Westmoreland County: Lehigh Specialty Melting, Inc. -- $229,026 to reconstruct 850 feet of outside track and 200 feet of track inside the forge shop and associated engineering.
      (State of Pa., Randy Kotuby - posted 8/25)

      AMTRAK EXHIBIT TRAIN TO VISIT ESSEX STEAM TRAIN : Showcasing the past, present and future of America’s Railroad®, the Amtrak Exhibit Train will visit the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat (1 Railroad Ave, Essex, CT) August 23-24. Visitors are welcome aboard for free tours from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. both days. The Exhibit Train features displays that include workable signals, virtual sleeping accommodation tours, a locomotive control stand and horns. It also includes photos, uniforms, vintage advertising and memorabilia from the beginning of Amtrak in 1971 to today’s modern sleeping cars and high-speed rail service. The train consists of two locomotives, three renovated baggage cars and one bistro car, all with historic paint schemes. Exclusive Amtrak collectibles are also available for purchase including Amtrak: An American Story, an illustrated company history written by employees with chapter introductions composed by past and present Amtrak leaders. In addition, a documentary DVD explores the history of Amtrak and its importance to the nation's transportation network. (Amtrak - posted 8/22)

      LAC-MEGANTIC OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT AND EXPLOSION REPORT ISSUED: Canada's Transportation Safety Board has issued a report . concerning the July 5, 2013 derailment and explosion of a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic crude oil train. As a recap of this incident, the oil train arrived in Nantes, Quebec on July 5, at approximately 10:50 p.m., with the locomotive engineer parked a train on a descending grade on the main track. The engineer applied hand brakes on all five locomotives, plus two other cars, and shut down all but the lead locomotive. Railway rules require hand brakes alone be capable of holding a train, and this must be verified by a test. That night, the locomotive air brakes were left on during the test, meaning the train was being held by a combination of hand brakes and air brakes, and giving a false impression that the hand brakes alone would hold the train. When a fire began in the engine of the lead locomotive, in keeping with railway instructions, emergency responders shut off the engine, which subsequently caused the air holding the locomotive air brakes to leak off. Without enough force from the handbrakes, the train began rolling downhill toward Lac-Mégantic, just over seven miles away. As it moved down the grade, the train picked up speed, reaching a top speed of 65 mph. It derailed near the centre of town at about 1:15 a.m. Almost all of the derailed tank cars were damaged, and many had large breaches. About six million litres of petroleum crude oil was quickly released. The fire began almost immediately, and the ensuing blaze and explosions left 47 people dead. Another 2000 people were forced from their homes, and much of the downtown core was destroyed. (TSB via Richard Adams posted 8/22)

      FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION FUNDS TWO GRANTS TO MITIGATE RISK AMONG SHORTLINE RAILROADS HAULING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS: The Federal Railroad Administration today funded two grants totaling $350,000 to support development of a Short Line Safety Institute. The Institute will help mitigate risk associated with shipping hazardous materials by rail by working to improve the culture of safety within the short line and regional rail industry while improving its overall safety record. “Nearly half of all short line and regional railroads handle some type of hazardous materials, and today’s grants will play an important role in ensuring those materials and all shipments reach their destination safely,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These grants are just the latest step in our comprehensive approach to improving the safe transport of crude oil and other hazmat by rail.” The primary purpose of the Institute will be to conduct safety compliance assessments to measure compliance with federal safety standards and safety culture assessments to evaluate the steps each railroad is taking to promote safe practices internally. In addition, the Institute will provide safety education, training and development to managers and employees. Assessors from the Institute will visit member railroads, evaluate safety compliance and safety culture and document their findings in a written report. The Institute will also provide education, training and employee development following the assessments. “Although the Short Line Industry has an excellent safety record overall, we owe it to the public and the industry to drive continuous safety improvement,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “These grants are a first step in assisting the industry to further identify and contain risks.” Short line railroads serve as a feeder system for the larger Class I carriers, picking up or delivering one out of every four rail cars moving on the national rail network. More than 550 short line and regional railroads operate in 49 states and bring rail service to thousands of communities that would otherwise not be connected to the nation's mainline railroad system. As short line railroads are much smaller than Class I Railroads, many of them lack the resources to carry out the same kind of robust safety training and enforcement on their own that Class I carriers perform. Today’s announcement includes a $250,000 grant to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) to begin the pilot phase of safety culture assessments. Pilot testing will begin in January 2015 and will initially focus on the safety of crude oil transportation by rail. With the grant money, ASLRRA will:
      • Conduct a comprehensive review of the existing safety programs on short line and regional railroads (e.g., compliance requirements of FRA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration);
      • Use tools developed by the University of Connecticut to identify areas of non-compliance and help railroads develop a culture of commitment to railroad safety;
      • Provide access to effective safety training processes, programs and resources.
      • Develop large libraries of training tools, technical materials and other educational resources to assist small railroads in instilling a culture of safety.
      The University of Connecticut also received a $100,000 grant to conduct initial work that will focus on the development, testing and validation of safety education, training and development for managers and employees. Short lines and regional railroads account for 31 percent of U.S. freight rail mileage and 10 percent of industry employees. There are more than 550 short line and regional railroads operate in every U.S. state except Hawaii and often feed traffic to Class I railroads and receive traffic from Class I railroads for final delivery. (FRA - posted 8/22)

      ELDCPS TO HOST DINNER ON THE DINER EVENT DURING THE STEAMTOWN RAILFEST: Labor Day weekend draws thousands of visitors to the Scranton area with two large events—Steamtown's Railfest and La Festa Italiana. If you are planning to attend either of these events, join ELDCPS on Saturday, August 30 for a Dinner on the Diner event, to benefit DL&W Phoebe Snow Diner 469, which will be held in the recently-restored dining area of the 1949-vintage Budd dining car.  Reservations are now being accepted for this unique experience. This evening of great food, service and conversation, will be catered by City Café of Scranton and will support the restoration and operation of The Phoebe Snow Diner, Diner 469. Seating times will be at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. For more information, including the complete menu and location information, visit our Events page at http://www.eldcps.org/pages/events.html. ( posted 8/21)

      U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY FOXX ANNOUNCE $1.28 BILLION FOR PHASE TWO SILVER LINE TO DULLES: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the closing of a $1.28 billion Transportation Infrastructure Financial Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) for construction of Phase Two of the Metrorail Silver Line extension. Work will begin at the Wiehle Avenue Station, where Phase One work ended, and includes construction of 11.4 miles of track from Wiehle Avenue to Route 772 in eastern Loudoun County. Six new stations will also be constructed along the way – Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Route 606 and Route 772, and a new Service and Inspection Yard at Dulles International. “The first phase of the Silver Line has been an overwhelming success, and we look forward to ensuring the second half is just as successful, with the help of this $1.28 billion loan from the federal government,” said Secretary Foxx. “When complete, the Silver Line will help residents and visitors get where they need to go safely, quickly and affordably. It’s the kind of project we’d like to see more of, and one way to do that is if Congress will support our GROW AMERICA Act to provide long-term funding for transit systems, roads and bridges nationwide.” Secretary Foxx joined other U.S. Department of Transportation officials along with state and local elected leaders last month to celebrate the opening of the first phase of the Silver Line, which represented the largest expansion of Metrorail service in 20 years. The first phase extended Metrorail service from the East Falls Church Metrorail station through the large Tysons Corner employment and retail center to the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station in the Reston area of Fairfax County. Metro announced that during its first week of service alone, nearly 220,000 trips were taken. The Silver Line is being constructed by MWAA and operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The new line is expected to serve approximately 85,700 daily riders by 2030. “Completion of the Silver Line project will provide a critical link to Dulles International Airport and gives residents in the rapidly growing Northern Virginia region more transportation options,” said Sylvia Garcia, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs. This delivers part of an approximately $1.87 billion combined commitment of TIFIA loans for Phase Two of the Silver Line extension to Loudoun County, which represents the largest TIFIA assistance for a single project in the program’s history. (USDOT, Alex Mayes - posted 8/21)

      AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending August 16, 2014 with 304,276 total carloads, up 2.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 270,316 units, up 5.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 574,592 carloads and intermodal units, up 4 percent compared with the same week last year. Nine of 10 of the carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products with 15,653 carloads, up 19.5 percent; metallic ores and metals with 28,142 carloads, up 11.6 percent; nonmetallic minerals with 39,394 carloads, up 7.4 percent; and grain with 17,916 carloads, up 7.1 percent. The commodity that posted a decrease was coal with 118,954 carloads, down 3.3 percent. For the first 33 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,526,136 carloads, up 3.7 percent compared with the same point last year, and 8,465,069 intermodal units, up 5.8 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 33 weeks of 2014 was 17,991,205 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.7 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 81,707 carloads for the week, up 4.4 percent, and 62,175 intermodal units, up 10.1 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first 33 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,603,815 carloads, up 1.5 percent from the same point last year, and 1,865,701 intermodal units, up 6.9 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 16,375 carloads for the week, down 2.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,490 intermodal units, down 1.1 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 33 weeks of 2014 was 517,594 carloads, up 1.9 percent from the same point last year, and 337,248 intermodal units, up 3.7 percent from last year. Combined North American rail volume for the first 33 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 12,647,545 carloads, up 3.2 percent compared with the same point last year, and 10,668,018 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.9 percent compared with last year. (FRA - posted 8/21)

      B&O RAILROAD MUSEUM ANNOUNCES FORMAL AFFILIATION WITH THE RAILWAY MUSEUM, SAITAMA CITY, JAPAN: Officials from the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and The Railway Museum in Saitama City, JAPAN announced today that a formal sisterhood agreement will be signed between the two institutions at a ceremony in the B&O Railroad Museum’s Roundhouse on Friday, September 5, 2014 at 11 A.M. The public and press are invited as the leadership of these two railroad museums join hands in an affiliate relationship designed to enable the museums to exchange collections, expertise, technology, personnel, education programs and best practices, and to collaborate on international railway heritage projects.  In addition, a coordinated international marketing campaign will draw travelers from East to West and West to East. The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, will be on hand to welcome the Japanese delegation that includes the Minister for Economic Affairs and the Counselor of Transportation, Embassy of Japan, the Chairman of the East Japan Railway Culture Foundation, the Director of the Railway Museum and other representatives of The Railway Museum and the East Japan Railway. Courtney B. Wilson, Executive Director of the B&O Railroad Museum, said “…we view this as a unique opportunity to secure a formal working relationship with one of the world’s premier railway museums and enhance our mission and ability to preserve and interpret railway heritage internationally.” In 2012 Trains Unlimited in the 21st Century pronounced that the B&O Railroad Museum and The Railway Museum, Saitama City were among the top ten railroad museums in the world. Officials from both institutions were introduced at the 1st International Conference of Railway Museums which was held in Tokyo in November 2013. (B&O Railroad Museum - posted 8/20)

      MASSAPEQUA STATION IMPROVEMENT PROJECT: MTA Long Island Rail Road’s $40-million improvement project at Massapequa Station enters its next phase on Monday, August 25 with work shifting to the station’s east end. Meanwhile, customers will be able to use the newly constructed west end platform and waiting room and glimpse artwork of artist Peter Drake, a native Long Islander, for the first time. In addition, a new station elevator is scheduled to go into service shortly after Labor Day. As contractors turn their attention to the reconstruction of the east side of the station, that section – including the east side underpass - will be closed to the public project, which got underway in the Spring of 2013, includes the replacement of the 12 car elevated platform, canopy, staircases, elevator and escalator as well as the platform waiting room, lighting, public address system and signage. The Railroad is adding a new pocket track just east of the station that will improve frequency and flexibility of train service. The station rehabilitation and the pocket track represent a $40 million investment, the most significant Railroad improvement effort at Massapequa Station since the station was raised from street level in 1953. The LIRR is carrying out the work in phases arranged to ensure that train service continues uninterrupted throughout the project. During this second phase of the project, westbound customers will board the first six cars of trains and eastbound customers will board and exit from the last six cars of trains. The station’s escalator will be closed for the duration of construction and reopened when Phase 2 is completed during the summer of 2015. The Massapequa Station project also features permanent artwork commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit program, artist Peter Drake, who grew up in Garden City. Drake has created scenes for 17 laminated glass windows lining the walls of the new waiting room and two mosaic panels for the stairwells that lead customers from the street to platform level and two large mosaic panels that will be installed on the platform during Phase 2 of construction. Drake’s scenes of people waiting for trains were inspired by the 1930s-era lead figurines and street furniture of vintage Lionel train sets. The art also pays homage to role of a former airfield the Massapequa Park in the early days of flight. The station renovations are part of a multi-phase initiative to improve infrastructure and train service in Massapequa, a station that serves approximately 6,000 customers every weekday. The pocket track is one of several improvements the LIRR is making in anticipation of the completion of the East Side Access project, which will enable Long Islanders to travel directly to Grand Central Terminal and the East Side of Manhattan for the first time. The extra track space will begin paying immediate dividends when it becomes available in 2016, providing the LIRR with greater operating flexibility along the Babylon Branch. Following the opening of East Side Access service, the pocket track will allow the LIRR to turn trains for return trips to Penn and Grand Central Terminal without traveling out to Babylon. First stop Massapequa! East Side Access promises to be a transformational event in the history of transportation on Long Island, saving up to 40 minutes a day for Long Islanders who commute to the East Side. (MTA LIRR - posted 8/20)

      READING & NORTHERN RAILROAD AWARDED $10 MILLION GRANT FOR NEW RAILROAD BRIDGE IN CARBON COUNTY: The Reading & Northern Railroad has been awarded a $10 million State Capital budget grant to build a new railroad bridge over the Lehigh River near Nesquehoning in Carbon County. The project cost is in excess of $14 million with Reading & Northern investing the balance. The new bridge will provide Reading & Northern with an efficient and safe north/south route connecting the Philadelphia region to New England and eastern Canada. Reading & Northern will offer the use of this route to both Norfolk Southern and Canadian Pacific railroads; both of whom already use part of the Reading & Northern’s mainline track today. According to Andrew Muller, Jr., owner and CEO of the railroad, this Bridge will enable Reading & Northern to provide improved service to dozens of its existing customers. It will be the fastest and most economical route into the Marcellus Shale territory in northeast Pennsylvania, and it will assist in the development of the Port of Philadelphia allowing unit trains of double-stack intermodal containers to flow in and out of the Port of Philadelphia to points in the northeastern United States and Canada. Muller said other public benefits would result from this project by keeping heavy trucks off Pennsylvania roads, improving highway safety, congestion mitigation and air quality, while reducing highway wear and tear and fuel usage. He noted that rail is three times more fuel-efficient than trucks. (R&N, Rick Glosser - posted 8/19)

      TOM E. DAILEY FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE RAILROAD PRESERVATION GRANTS: The Board of Directors of the Tom E. Dailey Foundation Inc. is pleased to announce the approval of the following 14 grants totaling $44,765 at its August 9, 2014 quarterly board meeting.
      • Milwaukee Road Heritage Center $ 3,000: This Minnesota group, formed in 1992, is preserving the history of The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, commonly known as The Milwaukee Road. They have several early Milwaukee Road railroad cars donated by Canadian Pacific.Grant funding will be used to repair/restore a 90-foot long turntable built in 1913.
      • Beaver Area Heritage Foundation $ 1,000: The project is to restore the Beaver rail station back to its original appearance. It will house a local genealogy collection and two classrooms. Grant will be used toward renovation of the exterior of the station.
      • Steam Into History $ 2,000: The group was formed in 2010 as an educational effort to provide Civil War railroad history to the general public. Visitors board a replica train which travels a 30 mile route taken by Lincoln to deliver his Gettysburg Address. The grant is for the purchase and installation of a handicap lift.
      • New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railway Historical Society $ 7,500: The group is restoring Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 4-8-4 steam locomotive No. 2926 to running condition—an Albuquerque landmark of historical value. The project began in 2000 and is expected to be completed by 2016. The locomotive will be used to provide not-for-profit excursions in New Mexico in celebration of railroad heritage. The grant is for a portion of the cost of fabricating a modernized version of a brake stand subsystem to meet FRA certification.
      • Sarpy County Historical Society $ 2,500: The project is the restoration of a Class CA-9 caboose built in May 1967 for the Union Pacific Railroad. The grant request is for a portion of the $12,000 estimated cost to relocate and restore the interior and exterior of the caboose. The expense is for materials only. All time to be provided by retired railroad workers and Eagle Scouts.
      • Northwestern Pennsylvania Railroad and Tooling Heritage Center $ 4,465: Grant will be used for insulation of the exterior walls of a former trolley station as part of a capital improvement project for completion of a transportation museum. The main goal of the project is to create and operate the trolley station museum as an educational and interpretive center emphasizing the industrial history of trolley, railroad and canal transportation in northwestern PA. Eight supervised high school vocational education students will work on the restoration project.
      • Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Inc. $ 3,000: The group’s collection includes a 1926 vintage suburban streetcar, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (Red Arrow) center door Car 66. After serving visitors since 1974, it needs major refurbishment. Work will include repainting the exterior, reupholstering the interior, rebuilding the second truck with overhauled traction motors, replacing windows, and rebuilding the center door steps and underframe.
      • Austin Steam Train Association, Inc. $ 2,000: Among the group’s collection is the “Rippling Stream,” a stainless-steel, sleeper-buffet-lounge car. This car was originally delivered to the New York Central Railroad in 1949. The group was founded in 1989 and runs historic rail excursions through the Texas Hill Country, serving 27,000 passengers last year.
      • Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, Inc. $ 3,300: This group has operated a working railroad museum and display site in North Judson, Indiana, since 1988. They preserve and maintain 33 miles of former Chesapeake & Ohio Railway track.The grant request is to replace 250 railroad ties.
      • New England Steam Corp. $ 2,000: NESCO was formed in 2012 to purchase, relocate, rebuild, and care for Maine Central #470 steam locomotive. Once complete, the locomotive will be a steam technology classroom. Funds will be used to transport the locomotive via a flat bed truck.
      • The Toy Train Depot $ 4,000: This Alamogordo, New Mexico, railroad historical preservation group is restoring a Chicago &Eastern Illinois caboose. Funds will be used to upgrade the electrical service and to replace the platform to the caboose.
      • Railroad Museum of New England, Inc. $ 2,500: This organization, in existence for 46 years, owns and maintains the historic 1881 Thomaston, Connecticut Railroad Station. The station is located in the central business district of Thomaston, and is listed on the State Register of Historic Places. The group operates Naugatuck Railroad, a 19.5 mile tourist train ride, and conducts special events at the station. Funds will be used for masonry wall repairs.
      • Railways To Yesterday, Inc. $ 2,500: This Allentown, PA, based group—in existence for 52 years—is restoring a Johnstown Traction Company (#311) trolley that served the city of Johnstown, PA. It is a Birney Safety Car built in 1922 by the Wason Manufacturing Company of Springfield, MA. Safety trolleys are designed to operate with just a motorman, saving the cost of the conductor. The car, which ran on the museum’s line, was removed for repairs in 2004 and is now undergoing restoration to working condition. .
      (Tom E. Dailey Foundation Inc - posted 8/18)

      PIPELINE TO MOVE CRUDE OIL TO CP SERVED RAIL TERMINAL" Dakota Plains Holdings, Inc. (“Dakota Plains”) and Hiland Crude, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hiland Partners, LP (“Hiland”) today jointly announced the execution of an interconnection agreement that links Dakota Plains’ Pioneer Rail Terminal in New Town, North Dakota, with Hiland’s Market Center Gathering System crude oil pipeline network. Construction for the final link is underway and is expected to be commissioned by October 31, 2014. Hiland’s gathering system is the largest in the Bakken, traversing through the heart of the field in Divide, Dunn, Mountrail, McKenzie and Williams counties in North Dakota, as well as Richland and Roosevelt Counties in Montana. Hiland’s gathering system has multiple connection points into pipeline outlets and crude by rail terminals, with the Pioneer Terminal being the only Canadian Pacific Railway origin. The connection to the Pioneer Terminal is expected to have an initial capacity of greater than 15,000 barrels a day and easily expanded to supply approximately 60,000 barrels of oil per day. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dakota Plains, Craig McKenzie, said, “This new infrastructure provides another source of oil supply to the Pioneer Terminal. We now have two gathering pipelines in addition to our ten stations dedicated to oil supplied by truck. The Hiland pipeline is an important link to the western area of the Williston Basin, effectively expanding our supply radius to enable cost effective delivery of oil to the Pioneer Terminal. We believe the connection with Hiland provides a substantial increase in value to the Pioneer Terminal for our three current shippers and will assist us in attracting incremental shippers in the future.” Senior Vice President of Hiland Crude, Jim Suttle, said, “Our connection into the Dakota Plains terminal is a continued part of our efforts to cover every element of crude oil transportation in the Bakken. In connecting to the Pioneer Terminal on the Canadian Pacific Railway network, we can now offer our clients access to every market outlet in the Bakken. It is another example of Hiland being the fundamental leader in market outlet access for Bakken production.” (Dakota Plains Holdings, Inc - posted 8/18)

      CSX SAFETY TRAIN PREPARES FIRST RESPONDERS: Over the past four months, CSX's Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program, with rolling classrooms and specialized hands-on training, has trained more than 1,300 first responders from more than 250 organizations in more than a dozen cities and towns, in partnership with the Firefighters Training and Education Foundation. This enhanced training program offers fire fighters, police officers, emergency management professionals and other first responders insights on how rail cars work and how to deal with rail-related incidents. "We want to make sure emergency responders along our rail lines receive the hands-on and classroom training to help them adequately prepare in the case of a train incident," said Skip Elliott, vice president, public health, safety and environment, CSX. "We have expanded our engagement with first responders and emergency personnel along key routes to include training specific to crude oil movements, and we remain committed to moving these materials safely and as efficiently as possible." The CSX Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program began in Philadelphia in May 2014 and reached Chicago this week. Along the way, it has trained first responders in South Kearny, N.J.; Kingston, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and New York, N.Y.; Erie, Pa.; Cleveland and Willard, Ohio; and Garrett, Ind. Future training is planned for responders in the Mid-Atlantic this fall. The CSX Safety Train is comprised of a locomotive, four tank cars, one flat car equipped with a variety of tank car valves and fittings, two classroom cars and a caboose. CSX hazardous material specialists lead training sessions with specific instruction on how crude oil and other hazardous materials are shipped. The train and instruction help strengthen CSX's partnership with first responders and provide a higher level of emergency readiness. As training came to a close on Thursday outside Chicago, a number of local first responders offered their thoughts about the quality, benefit and importance of in the CSX Safety Train. "This is a great opportunity for first responders and the railroad for partnership," said Rob Scharnhorst, fire chief for Riverdale, Illinois, who participated in training with a dozen other fire fighters from Riverdale. "What a huge benefit," said LeeAnn McKay of the Homewood Acres, Illinois, Volunteer Fire Department. "You can tell me, but when you show me how to put on the gasket, close the valve and stop the leak—that's what sticks." The CSX Safety Train is just one of a number of continuing programs through which CSX offers training and recognition to emergency responders and customers. CSX has reached more than 100,000 first responders over the past six years, through hands-on sessions at training centers operated by CSX and the Association of American Railroads, classroom training at local fire stations, exercises and table-top drills, web-based and self-study training courses and the Safety Train. In September 2013, nearly 100 crude oil customers were trained by a joint CSX team. "Safety training, no matter where you go, always pays off," explained Romano De Simone, Director Hazardous Materials. "Better prepared responders can make better fact-based decisions to protect the public, which is why CSX continues to invest in skill- and knowledge-based training programs like the CSX Safety Train." ( CSX - posted 8/18)

      AMTRAK MAKES NEW GULF COAST CONNECTIONS : An expanded partnership between Amtrak and two bus carriers can take passengers to and from the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and Amtrak trains in Jackson, Miss., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and New Orleans. Connections to Amtrak City of New Orleans, Crescent and Sunset Limited trains are now available on Amtrak.com and other sales channels in a partnership with Greyhound Lines and Capitol Trailways. Bus stop and station information is also on Amtrak.com, with locations listed on the attachments, along with sample fares. Several of these Gulf Coast communities, including Biloxi and Mobile, were served by Amtrak until 2005, when the service was suspended east of New Orleans following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Amtrak is analyzing its national network to identify more opportunities to form partnerships with other bus carriers to expand connectivity, increase ridership and provide additional intercity travel options for more communities. (Amtrak - posted 8/13)

      AAR REPORTS INCREASED TRAFFIC FOR JULY AND FOR THE WEEK: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for July 2014, with both carload and intermodal volume increasing compared with July 2013. U.S. Class I railroads originated 1,471,811 carloads in July 2014, up 6.3 percent (86,792 carloads) over July 2013. Total carloads averaged 294,362 per week in July, the highest weekly average for July since 2008. Intermodal traffic in July totaled 1,286,160 containers and trailers, up 5.5 percent (67,524 units) over July 2013. The weekly average in July was 257,232 units, the highest for any July in history. Fifteen of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in July. Commodities with the biggest carload increases in July 2014 over July 2013 were led by motor vehicles and parts, up 21,992 carloads, or 35.9 percent. Carloads of crushed stone, gravel, and sand were up 16,690, or 15.9 percent, their third straight month of double-digit year-over-year growth. Carloads of grain rose 14,968 carloads, or 18.7 percent. July marked the ninth straight month of double-digit gains in U.S. grain carloads, something that hasn’t happened since 1995. Commodity carloads that decreased in July 2014 over July 2013 were led by coal, down 9,464 carloads, or 1.7 percent. Excluding coal, U.S. rail carloads were up 96,256 carloads, or 11.7 percent, in July 2014 over July 2013, the largest year-over-year percentage gain since June 2010. Excluding coal and grain, carloads in July were up 81,288 carloads, or 11 percent, their largest year-over-year percentage gain since December 2011. “The economy has had several so-called “false dawns” over the past few years, but based on current rail traffic levels, there’s reason to be optimistic that this time the economy might start growing like it should,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending August 2, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 304,229 carloads last week, up 5.6 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 270,323 units, up 6 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 574,552 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products, with 15,997 carloads, up 24.3 percent; grain, with 19,398 carloads, up 22.1 percent; and, motor vehicles and parts, with 17,765 carloads, up 14.6 percent. For the first 31 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,920,105 carloads, up 3.7 percent from the same point last year, and 7,928,600 intermodal units, up 5.9 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 31 weeks of 2014 was 16,848,705 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.7 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 80,921 carloads for the week, up 3.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 60,743 intermodal units, up 8.8 percent compared with 2013. For the first 31 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,440,113 carloads, up 1.3 percent from the same point last year, and 1,744,962 intermodal units, up 6.7 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 16,863 carloads for the week, up 6.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,128 intermodal units, up 10 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 31 weeks of 2014 is 485,083 carloads, up 2.3 percent from the same point last year, and 314,134 intermodal units, up 3.7 percent. Combined North American rail volume for the first 31 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 11,845,301 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 9,987,969 trailers and containers, up 5.9 percent compared with last year. (AAR - posted 8/13)

      MTA AND NYC DOT INTRODUCE UNIFORM NEIGHBORHOOD MAPS: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) have teamed to install new way-finding maps throughout the city, making it easier for subway customers to orient themselves and learn what a neighborhood has to offer as they step out of a subway station. This next generation of the subway system’s helpful neighborhood map is being installed in all 468 subway stations. Previously, the MTA had 68 different neighborhood maps in stations around the system. The same map was used in several stations and covered a radius between 15 and 30 blocks. At 46 by 59 inches, the new maps are identical in size to the old neighborhood maps, but with a coverage radius of about 12 blocks, they provide each station with a unique map centered on the station. The new maps use the same base map as DOT’s WalkNYC way-finding signage program, which provides detailed, location-specific maps and directional information to people navigating the city’s streets. However, they have been adapted to the subway with lighter base colors; subway lines and station footprints; and local, limited, and Select Bus Service (SBS) routes. So far, DOT has employed the maps on its pedestrian way-finding signs, on Citi Bike kiosks, and at prototype installations of the new SBS totems, which provide real-time bus arrival information at SBS stations using MTA’s BusTime data feed. With the addition of these new neighborhood maps in the subway, there will be a standard way-finding map for pedestrians, transit riders, and cyclists alike for the first time in New York City history. “This partnership with the MTA allows for consistent maps above and below ground, making it easier for users to reach their destinations,” said NYC DOT Commissioner and MTA Board Member Polly Trottenberg. “We’re excited to provide this resource to New Yorkers and tourists to find their way in the city.” “Though we’ve kept the MTA’s neighborhood maps up-to-date, this is the first redesign since the original set created more than 20 years ago and will be extremely helpful to subway customers as they leave the system and look for neighborhood points of interest,” noted Paul Fleuranges, Senior Director of Corporate and Internal Communications. “With this new map, everyone will rely on one way-finding system, both above and below ground.” The first five stations to get the new maps intersect the B44 SBS route:
      • Bedford-Nostrand Avs G
      • Nostrand Av 3
      • Nostrand Av AC
      • President St 25
      • Sterling St 25.
      The WalkNYC way-finding system was designed for DOT and adapted for MTA’s use in the subway by PentaCityGroup, a joint venture between City ID, Pentagram, T-Kartor, Billings Jackson Design, and RBA Group. To learn more about this program, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/pedestrians/walknyc.shtml. . (MTA - posted 8/12)

      PORT OF CHURCHILL MARKS THE BEGINNING OF ITS 85TH GRAIN SHIPPING SEASON: The Port of Churchill celebrated its 85th anniversary by holding its annual First Vessel On August 5 a ceremony was held to mark the start of the shipping season. Captain Saw Din Maung hosted the ceremony and was joined by more than 50 people including Manitoba Minister of Agriculture Ron Kostyshyn, federal MP Larry Miller who chairs the House of Commons Transportation Committee, Senator Don Plett, and Richardson International, whose spring wheat is on this season’s first vessel. As the ceremony took place, grain was loaded on to the M.V. Ikan Suji destined for Mexico. “We’re looking forward to another successful shipping season with our dedicated shippers, like Richardson International, who provide continued, long-standing support to the Port of Churchill,” said Merv Tweed, president, OmniTRAX Canada. “Following last year’s record crops we are preparing for another stellar shipping season.” As Canada’s only deep sea Arctic port, the Port of Churchill operates from late July through mid-November shipping grain, as well as other crops around the world. The Port of Churchill, a division of OmniTRAX Canada, also handles various cargos and provides custom handling services including; consolidation, marshaling, packaging, and heavy equipment moving (OmniTRAX - posted 8/11)

      NORFOLK SOUTHERN BRINGS 40 EMERGENCY RESPONDERS FROM NINE STATES TO WORLD-CLASS TRAINING CENTER FOR CRUDE-BY-RAIL SAFETY CLASS: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for July 2014, with both carload and intermodal volume increasing compared with July 2013. U.S. Class I railroads originated 1,471,811 carloads in July 2014, up 6.3 percent (86,792 carloads) over July 2013. Total carloads averaged 294,362 per week in July, the highest weekly average for July since 2008. Intermodal traffic in July totaled 1,286,160 containers and trailers, up 5.5 percent (67,524 units) over July 2013. The weekly average in July was 257,232 units, the highest for any July in history. Fifteen of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in July. Commodities with the biggest carload increases in July 2014 over July 2013 were led by motor vehicles and parts, up 21,992 carloads, or 35.9 percent. Carloads of crushed stone, gravel, and sand were up 16,690, or 15.9 percent, their third straight month of double-digit year-over-year growth. Carloads of grain rose 14,968 carloads, or 18.7 percent. July marked the ninth straight month of double-digit gains in U.S. grain carloads, something that hasn’t happened since 1995. Commodity carloads that decreased in July 2014 over July 2013 were led by coal, down 9,464 carloads, or 1.7 percent. Excluding coal, U.S. rail carloads were up 96,256 carloads, or 11.7 percent, in July 2014 over July 2013, the largest year-over-year percentage gain since June 2010. Excluding coal and grain, carloads in July were up 81,288 carloads, or 11 percent, their largest year-over-year percentage gain since December 2011. “The economy has had several so-called “false dawns” over the past few years, but based on current rail traffic levels, there’s reason to be optimistic that this time the economy might start growing like it should,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending August 2, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 304,229 carloads last week, up 5.6 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 270,323 units, up 6 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 574,552 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products, with 15,997 carloads, up 24.3 percent; grain, with 19,398 carloads, up 22.1 percent; and, motor vehicles and parts, with 17,765 carloads, up 14.6 percent. For the first 31 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,920,105 carloads, up 3.7 percent from the same point last year, and 7,928,600 intermodal units, up 5.9 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 31 weeks of 2014 was 16,848,705 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.7 percent from last year. Canadian railroads reported 80,921 carloads for the week, up 3.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 60,743 intermodal units, up 8.8 percent compared with 2013. For the first 31 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,440,113 carloads, up 1.3 percent from the same point last year, and 1,744,962 intermodal units, up 6.7 percent from last year. Mexican railroads reported 16,863 carloads for the week, up 6.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,128 intermodal units, up 10 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 31 weeks of 2014 is 485,083 carloads, up 2.3 percent from the same point last year, and 314,134 intermodal units, up 3.7 percent. Combined North American rail volume for the first 31 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 11,845,301 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 9,987,969 trailers and containers, up 5.9 percent compared with last year. (AAR - posted 8/08)

      NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS PROGRESS AND EFFORTS TO REDUCED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) has reported its carbon performance and strategic efforts in the past year to lower the railroad's greenhouse gas emissions, driving improved operating efficiencies and customer service. The company's seventh annual public disclosure to CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, describes investments in technologies and network improvements reducing the railroad's carbon footprint while expanding freight capacity and providing fuel- and cost-efficient customer service. The disclosure also charts progress on the company's five-year goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 10 percent per revenue ton-mile, reaching nearly 79 percent of goal with one year remaining.   "Our CDP disclosure is driven by the company's commitment to be accountable and transparent in how we address environmental impacts of our operations," said Blair Wimbush, vice president real estate and corporate sustainability officer. "Today's environmental issues, such as climate change, offer complex challenges as well as opportunities for businesses and communities, and Norfolk Southern is fully engaged in achieving successful outcomes." Norfolk Southern describes key strategic initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They include:
      • Expanding its LEADER train-handling initiative, a GPS-based technology that in 2013 saved an estimated 10 million gallons of diesel fuel and reduced locomotive GHG emissions by an estimated 110,500 metric tons.
      • Purchasing new, more fuel-efficient locomotives and upgrading older locomotives with reconditioned engines that boost fuel economy and are cleaner burning.
      • Investing in network improvements to increase freight rail capacity, providing customers with truck-competitive service that reduces their supply chain carbon footprint and eases highway congestion.
      • Improving building operating efficiencies by installing more energy-efficient lights and HVAC systems at railroad facilities.
      • Exploring locomotive fuel alternatives, including battery power and natural gas.
      (NS, Rick Glosser - posted 8/08)

      TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY ANTHONY FOXX AWARDS $35 MILLION TO HELP EXPAND CAPACITY, IMPROVE SERVICE OF CHICAGO'S L: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today to announce a $35 million grant to help the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) lay the groundwork to improve service and capacity on a heavily traveled segment of its aging North Red Line and Purple Line rail transit system. The CTA is the first U.S. transit agency selected for funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Core Capacity Grant Program, which is designed to help rail transit providers increase the volume of passengers or trains without expanding the footprint of the system. “The City of Chicago has run on public transportation for over a century, and it is up to all of us to ensure that the many thousands of riders who cross this city by train every day to get to work, to school, to the doctor’s, or even to see the Cubs or White Sox, can continue do so safely, efficiently, and comfortably,” said Secretary Foxx. “Congress should pass the President’s GROW AMERICA Act so we can support more projects like this in transit-intensive cities across the country.” The FTA’s $35 million Core Capacity grant supports $43.7 million to plan the initial phase of the CTA’s comprehensive 9.6-mile, $4.7 billion Red-Purple Line Modernization Project. This initial work will pave the way for constructing a track bypass immediately north of the CTA Belmont Station to reduce bottlenecks with the Brown Line; expanding and modernizing four rail stations between Leland and Ardmore Avenues, to make them ADA-compliant for the first time; upgrading rail corridor signals; and making other track and related infrastructure improvements. According to CTA, the future enhancements are expected to result in faster, smoother service and increase passenger capacity by about 30 percent. Approximately 110,000 daily riders on this segment of the Red and Purple lines are expected to benefit from these investments, CTA says. “While Chicago’s transit systems face state-of-good-repair challenges, we cannot ignore the equally important need to modernize the current system to meet rising demand for service now, and for years to come,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “The need is equally great in cities across the country—from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco—which is why we must keep pace with investments in a 21st century transportation systems that generations depend on.” FTA’s Core Capacity Program was created by the current authorizing legislation, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act. The program is a new addition to the agency’s existing Capital Investment Grants Program (often called New Starts/Small Starts). Projects eligible for Core Capacity grants must expand capacity by at least 10 percent in existing transit corridors that are already at or above capacity today, or are expected to reach that point within five years. The FTA’s FY2014 budget includes $120 million for the Core Capacity Program; FTA is determining how to allocate the remaining funds. The President’s FY2015 budget proposal seeks an additional $275 million for the program. (FTA - posted 8/06)

      FORMER MM&A LOCOMOTIVES SOLD AT AUCTION: On Tuesday the bulk of the defunct Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway's locomotive fleet was sold at an auction in Derby, Maine. They included three GP7s, a GP9, three F40PH's, an F40PHM-2, a B23-7, eight B39-8E's, a dozen C30-7s, and three C39-8s. The proceeds of approximately $1 million will help partially satisfy a loan, from the Bangor Savings Bank, that kept had the railroad afloat. Former Bangor & Aroostook F3A 42 and MM&A 5017 were not on the auction list. The 5017 was the lead locomotive in the notorious runaway oil train that exploded and killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The 5017 is being kept for evidence in an upcoming trial concerning the runaway train. This event had led the MM&A to eventually declare bankrupty. Subsequently, the Fortress Group assumed operation of the railroad, between Montreal and the Bangor and Brownsville, Me. This new operation, known as the Central Maine and Quebec Railway, plans to spend $10 million during the next two years to improve the infrastructure of the railroad. (Alex Mayes - posted 8/06)

      SEPTA EXTENDS 24 HOUR WEEKEND SUBWAY PILOT PROGRAM THROUGH NOVEMBER 2: SEPTA will extend the current 24-hour weekend service pilot on the Broad Street and Market Frankford Lines through November 2. This gives the Authority an opportunity to evaluate the service during the fall ridership season, and provides time to attract new riders after they return from summer vacations. SEPTA launched the pilot on June 15, to accommodate demand for subway service among late-night riders on Fridays and Saturdays. During the pilot, trains are replacing Nite Owl buses on weekends and holidays. Nite Owl buses continue to provide overnight service on weekdays. The pilot was originally scheduled to run through Labor Day weekend, with SEPTA evaluating factors such as ridership, security and overall performance. Extending the program into the fall - when college students come back and other riders resume normal routines - will provide the Authority with a more complete picture in considering the long-term options for late-night weekend subway service. "We're pleased to announce the extension of the 24-hour weekend pilot program on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "As we move into the fall, we hope to welcome new customers who haven't yet had a chance to use this service." Broad Street and Market-Frankford Line ridership has increased by 50 percent or more during these extended service hours on most weekends this summer. SEPTA's strategic deployment of police officers on the two lines has helped ensure security for riders. Casey noted that moving forward, SEPTA hopes to see additional ridership and fare revenue increases to help offset the operating costs associated with the program. This will be a key factor in determining whether SEPTA will be able to provide late-night weekend subway service beyond the pilot program's conclusion on November 2. For more information on SEPTA's 24-hour weekend service pilot on the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines, click here. . (SEPTA - posted 8/05)

      NEAR-FATAL RAILROAD TRESPASSING INCIDENT CALLS FOR AWARENESS: Railroads, Operation Lifesaver and law enforcement preach three facts on a daily basis: railroad tracks are private property, they are not public thoroughfares, and they are very dangerous. These realities came into sharp focus at 6:50 a.m. (ET) Thursday, July 10, on Indiana Rail Road’s viaduct spanning an inlet of Lake Lemon, 10 miles northeast of Bloomington, Ind., when two female subjects were found trespassing on the middle of the bridge, known as Shuffle Creek Trestle. The person who first saw the trespassers was the engineer in the lead locomotive of a northbound, 14,000-ton Indiana Rail Road (INRD) freight train traveling at 30 mph. Imagine, if you will, rounding a curve just before a 500-foot-long, 80-foot-high bridge, only to find two subjects sitting in your train’s path. The engineer followed all appropriate protocols, immediately applying an emergency brake application and repeatedly sounded the horn. However, as the subjects ran toward the opposite end of the viaduct, the engineer was helpless to do more. The ever-slowing train was still catching up to the fleeing trespassers. Nearly every locomotive in North America – including INRD’s – is equipped with video cameras for safety and security purposes. Video shows that with more than 100 feet left to the end of the bridge, and the train still catching them, one woman slammed her body onto the ties between the rails. The other veered to the left and nearly fell off the bridge, and then with the locomotive approximately 30 feet away, she too “hit the deck” between the rails. By the time the train came to a stop, the locomotives were off the bridge; they completely passed the point where the subjects stopped running. The engineer assumed he had just killed two people; Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was quickly alerted. Miraculously, however, the two subjects survived, and escaped to a nearby vehicle and fled the scene. “The consequences of trespassing on railroad-owned property are never taken seriously by those choosing to do so, and this incident at Lake Lemon is one of the most glaring examples I’ve seen in more than 40 years in this business,” said Tom Hoback, founder, president and chief executive officer of Indiana Rail Road Company. “In this case, not only did two trespassers narrowly escape a horrible death, but had the heavy train derailed due to the emergency brake application – which isn’t uncommon – it could have taken down the bridge, possibly killing the engineer as well. The human, environmental and financial toll would have been enormous.” The subjects involved in the Shuffle Creek incident have been identified by law enforcement, and it is now a criminal matter. But the tragic fact remains that 908 people were killed in the United States by trespassing on railroads in 2013; 38 of those unnecessary deaths were in Indiana, and each represents a tragedy that mars the lives of not just the trespasser’s family, but railroaders and their families for life. (Indiana Railraod - posted 8/05)

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