Railroad News

Product update: Special trackwork

Shown: A 36-pound heavy-haul expansion joint on BNSF Railway Inc.’s Memphis River Bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tennessee.Photo – Atlantic Trackwork

Compiled By Pat Foran, Editor

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Rail supplier news from Trinity, Balfour Beatty, Hanson, WSP, CII and NRC (May 22)

TrinityRail Maintenance Services Inc., a subsidiary of Trinity Industries Inc., has selected a 2,230-acre site in Shell Rock, Iowa, to construct a new rail-car maintenance services facility by 2020's end. Factors in the site's selection included its co-location with the Iowa Northern Railway Co., optimal access to the Class I network and strategic access to the upper Midwest, according to a company press release.

Balfour Beatty has completed construction of a 2.3-mile extension of the Regional Transportation District of Denver's E, F and R light-rail lines. Known as the Southeast Rail Extension during construction, the project adds three new stations: Sky Ridge, Lone Tree City Center and Ridgegate Parkway.

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Metra revises BNSF Line service to address crowding

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 5/22/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Beginning June 3, Metra will add two trains to its BNSF Line weekday schedule to relieve crowding on some trains. The BNSF Line is the Chicago commuter railroad's busiest.  A survey of BNSF Line riders taken earlier this year revealed requests for more service and complaints of overcrowding on existing trains.  In response, Metra added a five-car train by using equipment from other Metra lines. The measure won't eliminate all crowding on the line, but Metra has no additional equipment available, railroad officials said in a press release.  In addition, there are capacity constraints in the yards, on the tracks and at Chicago Union Station that prevent Metra and BNSF Railway Co. from adding more trains or cars. Another change to the weekday schedule is the first train of the morning leaving 5 minutes earlier to accommodate riders transferring to Chicago Transit Authority buses in downtown Chicago.  In addition to revised weekday service on the line, Metra will add a train in each direction to the weekend schedule as part of a pilot program beginning June 8 and ending Sept. 2. Trains were also added to the UP Northwest and Rock Island lines' weekend schedules as part of the pilot. 

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BLET reaches tentative contract with M&NA

Rail News - BLET reaches tentative contract with M&NA. For Railroad Career Professionals
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CN recognizes customers for hazmat safety

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 5/22/2019 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN today announced 137 companies received its Safe Handling Award for 2018.Launched in 1992, the award recognizes CN customers that load freight cars with hazardous goods and meet strict standards for safely handling and shipping regulated products. Award winners must meet established criteria according to the total number of shipments of dangerous goods for all facilities."Safety is a core value at CN and we are working closely with our customers to deliver their goods safely and efficiently. With this award, CN wants to recognize its clients who make the safe handling of dangerous goods a top priority," said James Cairns, CN's senior vice president of rail centric supply chain, in a press release.The award is part of the Responsible Care® Program, an ongoing performance improvement initiative in which CN is a partner in Canada and the United States.

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CN recognizes customers for hazmat safety

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 5/22/2019 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN today announced 137 companies received its Safe Handling Award for 2018.Launched in 1992, the award recognizes CN customers that load freight cars with hazardous goods and meet strict standards for safely handling and shipping regulated products. Award winners must meet established criteria according to the total number of shipments of dangerous goods for all facilities."Safety is a core value at CN and we are working closely with our customers to deliver their goods safely and efficiently. With this award, CN wants to recognize its clients who make the safe handling of dangerous goods a top priority," said James Cairns, CN's senior vice president of rail centric supply chain, in a press release.The award is part of the Responsible Care® Program, an ongoing performance improvement initiative in which CN is a partner in Canada and the United States.

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MTA Metro-North meets roadmap milestones

MTA Metro-North Railroad has met key benchmarks in its “Way Ahead” program, railroad President Catherine Rinaldi announced yesterday.

Six months ago, Metro-North launched Way Ahead to enhance safety, customer service, infrastructure and communications. 

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Virgin Trains starts construction of Orlando-South Florida rail line

Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, yesterday began construction on the company's passenger-rail line between Orlando and southern Florida.

The rail line's second expansion phase involves 170 miles of new track that will run into the completed intermodal facility located in the new South Terminal at Orlando International Airport. The project is estimated to represent $4 billion of private investment, Virgin Trains officials said in a press release.

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Virgin Trains start construction of Orlando-South Florida rail line

Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, yesterday began construction on the company's passenger-rail line between Orlando and southern Florida.

The rail line's second expansion phase involves 170 miles of new track that will run into the completed intermodal facility located in the new South Terminal at Orlando International Airport. The project is estimated to represent $4 billion of private investment, Virgin Trains officials said in a press release.

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CSX taps Bezar to serve as senior VP, chief of strategy

Rail News Home CSX Transportation 5/22/2019 Rail News: CSX Transportation
image Farrukh BezarPhoto – csx.com

CSX Corp. has appointed Farrukh Bezar senior vice president and chief strategy officer as of May 29.

Bezar joins CSX with more than 25 years of strategic leadership in transportation and logistics. Most recently, he served as founder and managing partner of Lynwood Partners, a transportation and logistics advisory firm.

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CSX taps Bezar to serve as senior VP, chief of strategy

Rail News Home CSX Transportation 5/22/2019 Rail News: CSX Transportation
image Farrukh BezarPhoto – csx.com

CSX Corp. has appointed Farrukh Bezar senior vice president and chief strategy officer as of May 29.

Bezar joins CSX with more than 25 years of strategic leadership in transportation and logistics. Most recently, he served as founder and managing partner of Lynwood Partners, a transportation and logistics advisory firm.

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NTSB: Inadequate planning, training led to fatal Amtrak derailment

Failure to provide effective mitigation of a hazardous curve and the inadequate training of the locomotive engineer led to the deadly derailment of an Amtrak train near Dupont, Washington, in late 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced yesterday.

Three of 77 passengers were killed and 65 others were injured on Dec. 18, 2017, when Amtrak Cascades train 501, on its inaugural run on the Point Defiance Bypass between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, derailed on an overpass as the train entered a 30-mph curve at about 78 mph.

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Data analytics is giving rail asset owners new ways to improve their predictive maintenance practices

Amsted offers a wireless intra-train communication system for freight-rail revenue service.Photo – Amsted Digital Solutions

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USDOT's Chao names new members to Drone Advisory Committee

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao yesterday announced appointments to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee (DAC).

The committee provides the FAA with advice on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) integration issues by helping to identify challenges and prioritize improvements. The committee helps to create broad support for an overall integration strategy and vision, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) press release.

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Survey: New Hampshire residents support passenger-rail expansion

Nearly 76 percent of New Hampshire residents support passenger-rail service expansion from Boston to Nashua and Manchester, New Hampshire, according to a survey conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center. 

The poll indicates that 75.5 percent of residents support the expansion, 14.5 percent oppose it and 10 percent had no opinion. 

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MBTA to extend night service in Boston

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 5/21/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) this fall will begin late-night service on three commuter lines in Boston.  The Greenbush, Kingston/Plymouth and Middleboro/Lakeville lines will have trains leaving Boston daily at 11:20 p.m., or later, according to a Scituate Mariner report citing MBTA officials.  At a MBTA Fiscal Management Control Board meeting last week, General Manager Steve Poftak allowed the proposal to move forward. Poftak said MBTA will review the schedule change after a year of extended service to see if ridership expectations hold up.  Advocates have been requesting the extended service for more than five years, MBTA advisory board member Richard Prone told Scituate Mariner.  The extension is expected to cater to riders who attend late-night concerts and sporting events in Boston. 

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Georgia Ports Authority's board elects McKnight chairman

Rail News Home Railroading People 5/21/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image The board also authorized an expansion of auto-handling capacity at the Port of Brunswick.Photo – gaports.com

The Georgia Ports Authority's (GPA) board yesterday elected William McKnight chairman to succeed Jimmy Allgood.

McKnight, who has served as vice chairman since 2018, will assume his new role July 1. He is president of his family's construction company in Augusta, Georgia.

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Metro Transit kicks off maintenance facility improvement project

Rail News Home Mechanical 5/21/2019 Rail News: Mechanical
image Renovations to Northstar’s maintenance facility include adding a 26-foot-deep drop table to allow crews to remove rail car wheels more quickly.Photo – Metro Transit

Metro Transit last week began a $4 million improvement project at a commuter-rail operations and maintenance facility in Big Lake, Minnesota. 

The facility serves as a maintenance, inspection and wash station for 19 rail cars and six locomotives that run on the Northstar Line between downtown Minneapolis and Big Lake, according to the Metro Transit website.

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Cape Cod summer train service begins

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 5/21/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The CapeFLYER passenger-rail service runs from Boston to Cape Cod every summer.Photo – CapeFLYER Facebook

The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) on Friday will begin its seasonal weekend rail service on the CapeFLYER

The CapeFLYER passenger-rail service runs from Boston to Cape Cod every summer. This year's season-run will end Sept. 2. 

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Schumer calls on feds to investigate Chinese rail-car manufacturer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is calling on the U.S. Department Commerce to investigate whether a Chinese rail-car manufacturer that has obtained contracts to build subway cars in major U.S. cities poses a threat to national security.

Schumer wants the federal government to "thoroughly investigate" the Chinese state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. (CRRC), which was among the winners of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) 2018 design contracts for new subway cars that could include modern train control technology.

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