Railroad News

Rail supplier news from Alstom, The Andersons, Thales, Abloy and IMC (Nov. 1)

Rail News Home Railroading Supplier Spotlight 11/1/2019 Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
image Alstom will test its Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell-powered passenger train on track in the Netherlands.Photo – Alstom

Alstom will conduct a two-week test of its Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell-powered passenger train on track between Groningen and Leeuwarden, Netherlands, in first-quarter 2020. The test's objective is to demonstrate that hydrogen fuel cell technology is an appropriate way to achieve zero-emissions rail traffic on nonelectrified lines in the Netherlands diesel trains now operate, Alstom officials said in a press release.

The Andersons Inc. hired Christine Castellano as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, effective in February 2020. Castellano will succeed Naran Burchinow, who will retire in March 2020 after more than 15 years at The Andersons, company officials said in a press release. Castellano is the former SVP, general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer for Ingredion Inc.

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APTA hails Senate action to stop public transit funding cuts

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 11/1/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image American Public Transportation Association President and Chief Executive Officer Paul SkoutelasPhoto – APTA

American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas yesterday lauded the U.S. Senate’s adoption of an amendment that blocks a 12 percent funding cut to transit agencies in fiscal-year 2020. 

The U.S. Senate yesterday adopted Jones-McSally Amendment No. 1141 and passed H.R. 3055, a minibus appropriations bill that includes the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations bill. 

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Secure Rail seeks presenters for 2020 conference in Chicago

Rail News Home Security 11/1/2019 Rail News: Security
image Secure Rail is calling for presenters for its next conference, which will be held April 21-22, 2020, in Chicago.Presented by Progressive Railroading, Secure Rail's mission is to bridge the gap between the future of rail technology and rail security. Conference organizers are seeking presenters with expertise in rail security,  emergency preparedness, hazardous materials transportation, positive train control, information technology, signaling and communications, border control, bridge and tunnel management and capital infrastructure programs.Presenters should provide a rail security perspective on their chosen topic.The deadline to submit presentations is Dec. 6. Presentation information may be submitted via this link.

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NYCT launches debris inspection blitz

Rail News Home Safety 11/1/2019 Rail News: Safety
image NYCT crews are checking 325,000 containment baskets across the system’s 60 miles of elevated track to ensure they are properly aligned and secured.Photo – NYCT Facebook

MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) earlier this week launched a seven-day, systemwide inspection of its containment baskets that are installed under elevated structures to prevent debris from falling.

The inspection blitz follows an Oct. 29 incident in which a 15-pound metal D-wedge separated from an elevated structure on the A Line, fell into a containment basket that was not properly secured, and fell on a car, according to a local report. A D-wedge is a component designed to maintain correct spacing between running rail and a guardrail, NYCT officials said in a press release.

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NDTA honors Anacostia Rail for military support

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals 11/1/2019 Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
image Left to right, NDTA Chairman John Dietrich; Scott Lurkins, Anacostia Rail Holdings senior director of business development; NDTA President and CEO, William Brown.Photo – Anacostia Rail

The National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA) last month presented Anacostia Rail Holdings Co. (ARH) with the Corporate Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognizes NDTA corporate members who have provided “outstanding support” for the association’s goals and programs that facilitate an environment where government, military and private sector professionals can address challenges in logistics and transportation, ARH officials said in a press release.

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Alberta to ease production limits on oil if it's shipped by rail

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 11/1/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image "Pipeline delays ultimately have constrained market access and dampened investment in our oil sector," said Alberta Minister of Energy Sonya Savage.Photo – Alberta provincial government

The Canadian province of Alberta will ease oil production limits on energy companies if they move the additional oil on trains, provincial government officials announced yesterday.

The announcement was made after industry representatives proposed shipping more crude by rail in exchange for curtailment relief.

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Union Pacific implements PTC on 93 percent of route miles

Rail News Home Positive Train Control 11/1/2019 Rail News: Positive Train Control
image UP expects to have implemented PTC on all required lines by the end of this year.Photo – Union Pacific Railroad

Union Pacific Railroad implemented positive train control (PTC) on 1,113 route miles during the third quarter, bringing PTC-required route miles to 93 percent completion, including all passenger train routes, the Class I announced yesterday.

Nearly all UP trains operated on PTC-mandated rail lines are operating with PTC locomotives. UP expects to have implemented PTC on all required lines by the end of this year, a year before the federal deadline of Dec. 31, 2020, company officials said in a press release.

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Progress Rail, Loram announce acquisitions

Rail News Home Railroading Supplier Spotlight 10/31/2019 Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
image Loram Pty Ltd. completed the acquisition of the rail grinding business of Aurizon Operations Ltd.Photo – Loram

Two major rail industry suppliers this week announced acquisitions to expand their track work portfolios. 

Progress Rail yesterday signed an agreement to acquire the Cleveland Track Material (CTM) business from Vossloh North America.

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NJ Transit enters MOU to advance North Brunswick train station project

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/31/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced NJ Transit and MCIA have entered into a memorandum of understanding to develop the North Brunswick Station.Photo – Gov. Phil Murphy Twitter

New Jersey Transit and the Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU), laying the groundwork for the development of the North Brunswick commuter-rail station, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced yesterday. 

The MOU calls for the design and construction of a train station at the North Brunswick Transit Village along the Northeast Corridor. Under the agreement, MCIA will serve as the project manager.

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Cleveland RTA awarded state funds for rail-car replacement

Rail News Home Mechanical 10/31/2019 Rail News: Mechanical
image The ODOT awarded to GCRTA $5 million toward rail-car replacement.Photo – GCRTA

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) earlier this week awarded $15.3 million in grant funding to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA), which will use some of the funds for its rail-car replacement program.

Under the Ohio Transit Preservation Partnership Program (OTP3), the ODOT awarded to GCRTA $5 million toward rail-car replacement. With the additional funds, GCRTA now has a total $57.2 million committed from a mix of local grants, reserve funds and expected future federal grants for rail-car funding, agency officials said in a press release.

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Long Island Rail Road commissions PTC on four branches

Rail News Home Positive Train Control 10/31/2019 Rail News: Positive Train Control
image Sixty-five route miles of LIRR's system are in PTC operation.Photo – MTA Facebook

MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) yesterday announced that select trains operating on the Far Rockaway, Long Beach, Oyster Bay and West Hempstead branches in New York have begun operating with positive train control (PTC).

As a result of the implementation, 65 route miles of LIRR's system are in PTC operation, or 21.5 percent of the PTC system, LIRR officials said in a press release.

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BNSF identifies six rail-served industrial sites ready for development

Rail News Home BNSF Railway 10/31/2019 Rail News: BNSF Railway
image The map shows BNSF's Certified Sites.Photo – BNSF Railway Co.

BNSF Railway Co. yesterday announced six new industrial locations have been awarded the Class I's Certified Sites designation.

Four of the sites are the first for their state in Arizona, Minnesota, Mississippi and Missouri. Two new sites were named in Illinois, bringing that state's count to four, BNSF officials said in a press release.

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U.S. freight railroads log another traffic decline

U.S. freight railroads logged 513,147 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending Oct. 26, down 8.8 percent compared with the same week last year, Association of American Railroads (AAR) data shows.

Total carload traffic for the week plunged 9.4 percent to 243,321 units, while intermodal volume dropped 8.3 percent to 269,826 containers and trailers.

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Rail supplier news from MUL, Operail, TRB, CAF, Schneider and WAGO (Oct. 30)

Rail News Home Railroading Supplier Spotlight 10/30/2019 Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
image MUL Railcars Inc. hired Phillip Thompson as vice president of business development. He's responsible for the company's investment and services strategy, portfolio management and general management activities, company officials said in a press release. Previously, Thompson served in finance, strategy, capital markets and service roles at Trinity Rail.Operail entered into a cooperation agreement with DiGas to develop the first cargo-carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) freight locomotive in Latvia. Adding the LNG system to freight locomotives is a landmark event in Baltic rail transportation and the rail sector in general, Operail officials said in a press release. The effort involves reconstructing an American General Electric C36 locomotive by dividing the 17,000-liter fuel tank in two – half for diesel fuel and half for LNG – and adding new systems. The first LNG locomotive is expected to be ready for testing in summer 2020 and operating in late 2020.TRB Lightweight Structures is collaborating with Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A. (CAF) on the production of 17 new trains for the West Midlands Railway in the United Kingdom. Each four-car train is designed to operate as a stand-alone vehicle, or can be coupled with additional units to increase passenger capacity, TRB officials said in a press release. TRB will design and produce gangway doors.General Mills recognized Schneider with its Platinum Dry Carrier of the Year award. The annual award recognizes a carrier that goes above and beyond in on-time service metrics, teamwork, creative solutions and interactions with General Mills, Schneider officials said in a press release.WAGO Corp. hired Barry Nelson as a public relations coordinator to oversee publicity, editorial content and social media. Nelson's extensive news background includes anchoring and sports play-by-play on Milwaukee radio stations, WAGO officials said in a press release.

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Cap Metro to resume downtown Austin rail service

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/30/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image A permanent downtown station will open at the site in spring 2021.Photo – Cap Metro

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Cap Metro) on Nov. 4 will open a temporary MetroRail Station in downtown Austin, Texas, to resume service that has been suspended since June.

In June, Cap Metro closed its downtown rail station next to the Austin Convention Center to allow for  construction of a new station. Rail service was replaced by shuttle service to accommodate riders from Plaza Saltillo Station to and from the downtown.

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NJ Transit expands conflict de-escalation training

Rail News Home Security 10/30/2019 Rail News: Security
image All of NJ Transit’s employees who work with the public on trains receive conflict de-escalation training.Photo – NJ Transit Facebook

New Jersey Transit has expanded its conflict de-escalation training for its rail operators, conductors and transit police officers in order to reduce assaults.

NJ Transit’s internal training program, which teaches techniques and best practices for de-escalating a potentially violent situation, now includes curriculum from Rutgers’ National Transit Institute.

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MTA marks resiliency construction milestone with Coney Island Yard Complex

Rail News Home Maintenance Of Way 10/30/2019 Rail News: Maintenance Of Way
image During Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Coney Island Yard Complex was flooded with 27 million gallons of saltwater and debris.Photo – STV

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit (NYCT) marked a construction milestone with the installation of the first section of an elevated cable bridge that will supply traction power to the entire the Coney Island Yard Complex.

Begun in March 2018, the Coney Island Yard project calls for installation of flood mitigation and other protections, including a new 4,280-foot-long bridge to carry power feeders and communication cables across the 74-acre yard.

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KCS releases latest sustainability report

Rail News Home Kansas City Southern 10/30/2019 Rail News: Kansas City Southern
image Kansas City Southern yesterday unveiled a report highlighting the Class I's sustainable business practices in 2018.Titled "For the Long Haul: Delivering Prosperity, Valuing People, Protecting the Planet,"  the report illustrates why sustainable practices are important to the company's business, said KCS President and Chief Executive officer Patrick Ottensmeyer in a press release."Responsible business practices are key to KCS' vision, values and culture, and to maintaining strong relationships with our stakeholders," Ottensmeyer said.The report follows the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) latest standards for disclosing governance, economic, social and environmental topics. The GRI standards provide for the disclosure of measurable data and specific information related to sustainability, KCS officials said.According to the report, KCS last year:
• reduced its carbon footprint by reducing waste and energy usage through design and innovations, and decreased greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing fuel-reduction technologies and operational initiatives;
• diversified its workforce and optimized employee experiences via innovative technologies; and
• reduced reportable injuries and made operations more safe and secure, such as by reaching a goal to make all required route miles fully positive train control compliant.The Class I also began to implement precision scheduled railroading (PSR), laying the groundwork for what became in 2019 KCS’ PSR, which is helping the company realize significant efficiency and productivity improvements, the railroad’s officials said.

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Teamsters members consider November strike against CN

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 10/30/2019 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) members at CN could go on strike by Nov. 19, the labor union announced earlier this week.Last month, about 3,000 CN conductors and train and yard personnel voted 99.2 percent in favor of a strike. The union will provide CN at least 72 hours notice before taking any strike action, TCRC officials said in a press release.A legally mandated conciliation period ended Oct. 25. The union and CN have been in negotiations for six months and have been working with federal mediators for the past four months.The previous collective agreement between the parties expired July 23.The next round of talks with CN and federal mediators is set for Nov. 12, TCRC officials said.

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CP explores growth with short lines, transload operators at 'Connect' conference

Rail News Home Canadian Pacific 10/30/2019 Rail News: Canadian Pacific
image Officials from Canadian Pacific, short lines and transload operators met this week to develop growth-producing service offerings for customers as part of a Connect 2019 conference held at the Class I's headquarters in Calgary, Alberta.The event — which followed up the success of CP's 2018 Reconnect Conference — was attended by representatives from more than 50 companies Oct. 28 and 29, officials from the Class I said in a press release."Our goal in bringing together these companies annually is to find efficiencies and opportunities, something of critical importance in today's economic climate," said John Brooks, CP's executive vice president and chief marketing officer. CP works with an extensive network of short lines and regionals, providing access to almost any North American location beyond the reach of the Class I’s network, CP officials said."Our solid relationships with our Class I connections are part of the backbone to growth," said Brian Jonaitis, director of business development at Indiana Rail Road Co.CP also works with more than 100 North American transload facilities. The transload business unit is a critical area of focus and development for the Class I, with many unique opportunities to build on the company's franchise strengths to generate sustainable, profitable growth, CP officials said."Our transload alliance with CP at the Minneapolis Intermodal Terminal has been the key driver of our growth," said Revis Stephenson, president of Stone Arch Commodities.In addition to Brooks, other CP leaders who participated in the event included Joan Hardy, VP of grain and fertilizers; Jonathan Wahba, VP of intermodal and automotive; and Coby Bullard, VP of merchandise and energy, and chemicals.

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