Railroad News

Rail supplier news from NRC, Tramont, Alstom, ABB Turbocharging, TekTracking, CRRC and HNTB (June 14)

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) has hired TGA Association Management Solutions LLC (TGA AMS) for government affairs and association management services. TGA AMS President Matt Ginsberg previously worked with the association in roles including operations, conference planning, and regulatory and government affairs.

Tramont Manufacturing has acquired Compo Steel Products, increasing its production capacity and expanding its reach into the railroad market. Compo will continue operations as a division of Tramont Manufacturing under the name Motive Energy. Motive Energy is known for creating precision components for passenger and freight locomotives, according to a Tramont press release. As part of the acquisition, Tramont will begin transferring production to the Compo manufacturing plant, which is less than a mile from Tramont’s current facility in Milwaukee.

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PATH to open eastbound Harrison Station

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/14/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image PATH’s eastbound Harrison Station redevelopment is part of the agency’s $256 million modernization of the 76-year-old station.Photo – PATH

Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) commuter-rail system officials announced it will open the eastbound Harrison Station tomorrow in Harrison, New Jersey.

The eastbound redevelopment is part of PATH’s $256 million modernization of the 76-year-old Harrison Station. It is glass-enclosed, with weather-protected entrances, elevators, widened stairs and escalator access to the platform. 

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LA Metro tunnel boring machine breaks through to Wilshire/Western Terminus

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 6/14/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image Since LA Metro’s tunnel boring machine was lowered into the ground at the La Brea site in October 2018, the machine has burrowed about 60 feet per day.Photo – LA Metro

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) earlier this week announced that its first tunnel boring machine has broken through from the Wilshire/La Brea Station site to the Wilshire/Western Terminus in Los Angeles. 

The boring machine is one of two being used to mine parallel subway tunnels to extend LA Metro’s Purple Line from the current Wilshire/Western Terminus to the Wilshire/La Brea Station site. 

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Palmetto Railways to serve new plastics transload facility

Rail News Home Intermodal 6/14/2019 Rail News: Intermodal
image The 550,000-square-foot facility will be built on 26 acres of the former U.S. Navy base in North Charleston, South Carolina.Photo – South Carolina Ports Authority

Frontier Logistics broke ground yesterday on a new warehouse facility that will support the handling of plastics and resin exports from the Port of Charleston in South Carolina.

The 550,000-square-foot facility will be built on 26 acres of the former U.S. Navy base in North Charleston, South Carolina. It will be served by Palmetto Railways, which will connect it to Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX routes, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) officials said in a press release.

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DART names Schulze chief of staff

Rail News Home Railroading People 6/14/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Dallas Area Rapid Transit Chief of Staff David SchulzePhoto – DART

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) yesterday announced the appointment of David Schulze as the chief of staff.

Schulze becomes DART’s first executive-level chief of staff, serving as senior adviser to DART's president and executive director, according to a DART press release. 

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North Dakota lawmakers seek Chao's help to fight Washington state's crude-by-rail law

North Dakota's congressional delegation is making its case to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao that Washington state's new crude-by-rail law violates the nation's Interstate Commerce Clause and interferes with the U.S. Department of Transportation's authority over the shipment of crude oil over state lines.

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) this week asked Chao's assistance in North Dakota's concerns about Washington's new law.

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USDOT seeks applicants for new port infrastructure grant program

Rail News Home Intermodal 6/14/2019 Rail News: Intermodal
image “This major investment in the Port Infrastructure Development Program will help strengthen, modernize, and improve our country’s maritime systems and gateway ports,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.Photo – dot.gov

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) this week announced a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) to apply for $292.7 million in discretionary grant funding through the new Port Infrastructure Development Program.

The program aims to support public coastal ports by improving the safety, efficiency or reliability of goods moved into, out of or within a port, USDOT officials said in a press release.

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MARTA OKs timeline for major transit expansion

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's (MARTA) board yesterday approved the timeline for $2.7 billion in expansion projects that will result in the largest investment in public transit since the agency was founded 40 years ago.

Under the More MARTA Atlanta program, the projects call for 14 miles of bus rapid transit, 22 miles of arterial rapid transit and 29 new miles of light-rail service. Included is nearly $1.3 billion in projects directly connecting to and around the Atlanta BeltLine, MARTA officials said in a press release.

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PTC progress report 2019: Commuter railroads

VRE has provided PTC training to nearly every employee, which has helped many staff members better understand the technology.Photo – Virginia Railway Express

By Michael Popke

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WMATA names Mobbs counsel to inspector general

Rail News Home Railroading People 6/13/2019 Rail News: Railroading People
image Michael MobbsPhoto – WMATA

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has appointed Michael Mobbs counsel to the inspector general, effective Aug. 5. He will report to Inspector General Geoffrey Cherrington.

Mobbs most recently served as general counsel to the inspector general at the U.S. Department of State. Over the past decade, he has served as general counsel to the inspectors general at the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction and at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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South Florida RTA to start PTC revenue service demos at Tri-Rail

Rail News Home Positive Train Control 6/13/2019 Rail News: Positive Train Control
image Tri-Rail will test PTC on its corridor between West Palm Beach and Miami.Photo – Tri-Rail

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) yesterday announced the Federal Railroad Administration approved its plan to test Tri-Rail trains equipped with positive train control (PTC) during regularly scheduled revenue service.

On June 29, SFRTA plans to launch revenue service demonstrations on the entire commuter-rail corridor between West Palm Beach and Miami.

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FRA: Short Line Safety Institute's assessment model is 'robust'

In a new report, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) described the Short Line Safety Institute's (SLSI) "safety culture assessment" model to be the most comprehensive or robust approach in the U.S. rail industry's safety evaluation culture, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association announced yesterday.

Since 2015, the safety institute has been conducting voluntary, non-punitive and confidential assessments of safety culture at short lines and regionals. The institute defines safety culture as shared values, actions and behaviors that demonstrate a commitment to safety over competing goals and demands, based on a U.S. Department of Transportation Safety Council definition, according to the FRA's report.

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Washington state to update railroad oil-spill response rules

Rail News Home Safety 6/13/2019 Rail News: Safety
image Railroad tracks near Bellingham, Washington.Photo – Washington State Department of Ecology

The Washington State Department of Ecology is seeking public comments on proposed changes to regulations government railroads oil-spill response efforts in the state.

In 2015, the state began requiring railroads to have oil-spill contingency plans to ensure they are adequately prepared in case of a spill. Based on direction from the Washington Legislature, the department is streamlining requirements and "strengthen response to potential railroad spills," department officials said in a press release.

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NJ Transit lands federal grant for distributed generation project

New Jersey Transit yesterday announced it will receive a $46 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to enter the design and construction phase for the distributed generation portion of the NJ TRANSITGRID project.

The distributed generation work involves the installation of a first-of-its-kind microgrid system designed to provide reliable power to support critical infrastructure during power brownouts or blackouts, agency officials said in a press release.

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U.S. rail traffic slump carries into June

U.S. railroad traffic continued to slide during June's first full week, with combined carload and intermodal volumes falling 8.5 percent to 513,099 units compared with the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week ending June 8 plummeted 9.1 percent to 246,758 units, while intermodal traffic dropped 8 percent to 266,341 containers and trailers.

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BMW opens KCSM-served plant in Mexico

Rail News Home Kansas City Southern 6/13/2019 Rail News: Kansas City Southern
image KCSM operates more than 2,000 miles of track in Mexico, where it expects to serve 14 automotive plants by next year.Photo – Kansas City Southern

BMW Group and Mexican government officials last week marked the opening of the automaker's new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

To be served by Kansas City Southern de Mexico (KCSM), the more than $1 billion plant is designed to produce up to 175,000 vehicles annually. The facility will be used to produce the BMW 3 Series Sedan, the company's most successful model series, BMW Group officials said in a press release.

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BMW opens KCSM-served plant in Mexico

Rail News Home Kansas City Southern 6/13/2019 Rail News: Kansas City Southern
image KCSM operates more than 2,000 miles of track in Mexico, where it expects to serve 14 automotive plants by next year.Photo – Kansas City Southern

BMW Group and Mexican government officials last week marked the opening of the automaker's new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

To be served by Kansas City Southern de Mexico (KCSM), the more than $1 billion plant is designed to produce up to 175,000 vehicles annually. The facility will be used to produce the BMW 3 Series Sedan, the company's most successful model series, BMW Group officials said in a press release.

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FRA announces $326M in rail safety, improvement grants

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) yesterday announced the recipients of $326 million in grant funds under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) and the Special Transportation Circumstances programs.

The grants will fund 45 projects in 29 states. Authorized by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the CRISI program funds projects that improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger- and freight-rail systems.

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Transit agencies develop multimodal mobile apps in response to on-demand call

To better serve on-demand transportation needs many transit agencies are adapting their mobile application offerings.Photo – Shutterstock

By Vesna Brajkovic, Associate Editor

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Amtrak's Empire Builder route turns 90

Amtrak yesterday marked the 90th anniversary of the Empire Builder route, which travels across the northern United States from Chicago to Seattle and Portland.

Inaugurated by the Great Northern Railway (GN), the first westbound Empire Builder departed Chicago on June 10, 1929. It was christened the next day in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the GN had its headquarters and where its mainline to Seattle began, Amtrak officials said in a press release.

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