Railroad News

Rail supplier news from InnoTrans, FSI, Alstom, RailPlan, TIA and STV (Oct. 23)

InnoTrans has postponed its conference until Sept. 20-23, 2022, due to the “constantly changing situation” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, InnoTrans 2020 was rescheduled to be held in April 2021 in Berlin. Ultimately, the factors in postponing again were a lack of planning certainty and the forecast for the pandemic in the months to come, officials said in a press release. “In the current situation no one can predict with sufficient certainty whether the overall conditions will permit the use of our rail track display in April 2021, and the holding of a leading international trade fair such as InnoTrans," officials said.

Focused Technology Solutions (FSI) developed its first ever battery-operated spike driver. Dubbed the SpikeForce, the spike driver eliminates the need for the claw bar, hydraulic fluid, hoses and generators. The SpikeForce operates using a standard Milwaukee Tool drill, and has the capability to dock two batteries on the tool at once, allowing for increased production, FTS officials said in a press release.

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DCTA creates COVID-19 safety plan

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/23/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The plan outlines the precautions and safety efforts DCTA is taking during the pandemic.Photo – DCTA

The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) in Texas has created an 11-step plan to welcome returning commuter-rail riders during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The plan is designed to outline the precautions and safety efforts DCTA is taking during the pandemic to increase rider confidence in the system, DCTA officials said in a press release.

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VIA Rail to resume some service in western Canada

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/23/2020 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image In December, VIA Rail plans to offer one weekly round-trip between Winnipeg and Vancouver.Photo – VIA Rail Canada Inc.

VIA Rail Canada Inc. earlier this week announced it will resume service between Winnipeg and Vancouver on Dec. 11.

After evaluation of health and safety protocols, including social distancing measures and enhanced air ventilation systems, VIA Rail plans to offer one weekly round-trip between those cities on the Canadian route, VIA Rail officials said in a press release.

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Intersand opens OmniTRAX-served HQ in Colorado

Rail News Home Shippers 10/23/2020 Rail News: Shippers
image OmniTRAX Inc.'s Great Western Railway of Colorado serves Intersand's new facility.Photo – Golden Triangle Construction, gtc1.net/industrial

Intersand America Corp., a cat litter producer, has opened its new U.S. headquarters in Windsor, Colorado.

Located in the Great Western Industrial Park, the plant is served by OmniTRAX Inc.'s Great Western Railway of Colorado LLC. The 46,000-square-foot, packaging distribution facility already shipped by rail its first orders to begin operations, Intersand officials said in a press release.

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Ohio rail panel approves grade crossing upgrades

Rail News Home Communication and Signal 10/23/2020 Rail News: Communication and Signal
image CSX will install and upgrade lights and gates at the East Franklin Street and Park Road/County Road 19 crossings.Photo – CSX

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) this month approved the installation of lights and gates at three grade crossings in the state.

PUCO approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing CSX to install flashing lights and gates at the East Franklin Street crossing in Miami County by July 7, 2021. 

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CP honors U.S., Canadian 'Elevators of the Year'

Rail News Home Canadian Pacific 10/23/2020 Rail News: Canadian Pacific
image For the 2019-2020 crop year, CP recognized elevators on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.Photo – cpr.ca

Canadian Pacific yesterday announced two winners of its Elevator of the Year award: Viterra Gull Lake (Canada) and CHS Northland Grain Hazel (U.S.).

The Class I presents the award annually to grain elevators that achieve high volumes from a single loading point while consistently demonstrating efficient rail-car loading and a strong commitment to safety, CP officials said in a press release.

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CP honors U.S., Canadian 'Elevators of the Year'

Rail News Home Canadian Pacific 10/23/2020 Rail News: Canadian Pacific
image For the 2019-2020 crop year, CP recognized elevators on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.Photo – cpr.ca

Canadian Pacific yesterday announced two winners of its Elevator of the Year award: Viterra Gull Lake (Canada) and CHS Northland Grain Hazel (U.S.).

The Class I presents the award annually to grain elevators that achieve high volumes from a single loading point while consistently demonstrating efficient rail-car loading and a strong commitment to safety, CP officials said in a press release.

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Amtrak ended FY20 with half of previous year's revenue, Flynn says

Amtrak's latest projections are that the railroad ended fiscal-year 2020 on Sept. 30 with $1.24 billion in annual ticket-sales revenue, just 53 percent of what it had been in the previous fiscal year, President and Chief Executive Officer William Flynn told a U.S. Senate committee this week.

Flynn on Oct. 21 provided members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation an update on the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on Amtrak's finances and operations, as well as the railroad's measures to address the drastic loss in ridership and revenue over the past several months.

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UP's Vena to become senior adviser, Gehringer named EVP operations

Rail News Home Railroading People 10/23/2020 Rail News: Railroading People
image Jim Vena (left) and Eric GehringerPhoto – up.com

Union Pacific Railroad this week announced that Jim Vena, chief operating officer, will transition to a new role by year's end. He will be succeeded by Eric Gehringer as executive vice president of operations, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Vena will remain employed at the company as senior adviser through June 2021. After a long railroad career, he joined UP in January 2019 to lead all aspects of the Class I's operations, including the Unified Plan 2020 implementation.

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Study: One in four NYCT workers report having had COVID-19

Rail News Home Security 10/22/2020 Rail News: Security
image In addition to nearly one in four reporting they've had COVID-19, 90 percent of respondents said they are concerned about getting sick at work and more than 70 percent are fearful for their safety at work, according to the NYU study.Photo – TWU Local 100

Nearly a quarter of MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) subway and bus workers have contracted COVID-19, according to a new study conducted by the New York University (NYU) School of Global Health.

The pilot study, conducted by NYU researchers in coordination with the Transport Workers Union Local 100 (TWU), illustrates the toll the pandemic is having on the physical and mental health of transit and other front-line workers, NYU officials said in a press release.

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ASLRRA honors TRRA for supporting veterans

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals 10/22/2020 Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
image Veterans represent more than 18% of TRRA’s total workforce.Photo – TRRA

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) earlier this month selected the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) as its 2020 Veterans Engagement Award winner for recruiting and supporting veterans. 

At ASLRRA’s Virtual Convention on Oct. 5, TRRA was recognized for its "focused and sustained" efforts to recruit veterans for employment. TRRA also was recognized for supporting veterans and their families in the community beyond the railroad's workforce.

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APTA honors top public transportation leaders

Rail News Home Railroading People 10/22/2020 Rail News: Railroading People
image Sharon BulovaPhoto – VRE

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) yesterday honored individuals and organizations for their leadership, vision and life-time commitment to public transportation. The association also inducted four new members into the APTA Hall of Fame.

The APTA Honors recognize North American public transportation leaders who are outstanding role models of excellence, have demonstrated significant leadership, and whose accomplishments and innovations have greatly advanced public transportation, APTA officials said in a press release.

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U.S. freight-rail traffic up slightly in Week 42

U.S. freight-rail traffic rose 2.2% to 518,763 carloads, containers and trailers for the week ending Oct. 17 compared with the same week in 2019, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week fell 7.5% to 226,828 units, while intermodal volume climbed 11.3% to 291,935 containers and trailers.

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LRW names Metrolink CEO Wiggins 'Woman of the Year'

The League of Railway Women (LRW) yesterday named Metrolink Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Wiggins its 2020 Railway Woman of the Year during a virtual presentation.

Co-sponsored by Progressive Railroading, the annual award is presented to a woman in the rail industry who demonstrates vision, initiative, creativity and guidance in a leadership role within her professional railway field; is innovative, a problem-solver and overcomes challenges; and brings consistent excellence to her organization and surrounding community, LRW officials said in a press release.

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NS, short-line owners, rail-car firms launch venture to transform shipping

Norfolk Southern Railway, GATX Corp., Genesee & Wyoming Inc., TrinityRail and Watco Cos. LLC yesterday announced a venture to create a technology platform that will help transform rail shipping.

The new venture, Rail Pulse, will facilitate and accelerate the adoption of GPS and other telematics technology across the North American rail-car fleet, NS officials said in a press release.

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CSX posts lower earnings, steady operating ratio in Q3

CSX Corp. yesterday reported third-quarter 2020 net earnings declined 14% to $736 million, or 96 cents per share, compared with $856 million, or $1.08 per share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter fell 11% to $2.65 billion, as intermodal volume growth was more than offset by declines in coal and merchandise volumes, as well as lower fuel surcharge revenue.

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CSX posts lower earnings, steady operating ratio in Q3

CSX Corp. yesterday reported third-quarter 2020 net earnings declined 14% to $736 million, or 96 cents per share, compared with $856 million, or $1.08 per share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter fell 11% to $2.65 billion, as intermodal volume growth was more than offset by declines in coal and merchandise volumes, as well as lower fuel surcharge revenue.

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UP revenue, earnings fall in Q3, but operating ratio improves

Union Pacific Railroad today reported third-quarter 2020 net income decreased 12% to $1.4 billion, or $2.01 per diluted share, from $1.6 billion, or $2.22 per diluted share, in the same quarter last year.

Operating revenue in the quarter fell 11% to $4.9 billion from a year ago. Third-quarter business volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, decreased 4%. Premium volumes increased compared to Q3 2019, while industrial and bulk declined, UP officials said in a press release.

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UP revenue, earnings fall in Q3, but operating ratio improves

Union Pacific Railroad today reported third-quarter 2020 net income decreased 12% to $1.4 billion, or $2.01 per diluted share, from $1.6 billion, or $2.22 per diluted share, in the same quarter last year.

Operating revenue in the quarter fell 11% to $4.9 billion from a year ago. Third-quarter business volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, decreased 4%. Premium volumes increased compared to Q3 2019, while industrial and bulk declined, UP officials said in a press release.

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LA Metro to set up safety advisory committee

Rail News Home Security 10/21/2020 Rail News: Security
image The committee will enable LA Metro to consult with law enforcement experts and community members on the culture of policing.Photo – LA Metro

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) is establishing a new advisory committee to "re-envision" transit safety and explore community-based approaches to policing. 

Through the new Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), LA Metro will consult with key law enforcement experts and community members as the agency seeks a more accountable culture of policing, according to an LA Metro press release.

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