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CSX reports 'strong performance' in Q3

CSX Corp. yesterday reported third-quarter net earnings jumped 95 percent to $894 million, or $1.05 per share, from $459 million, or 51 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. The per-share earnings beat analysts' estimates for the quarter.

CSX's operating ratio of 58.7 percent set a company third-quarter record. A year ago, CSX posted a third-quarter operating ratio of 68.4 percent.

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Severe weather, proposed tariffs generate uncertainty among tie suppliers

Wood-tie suppliers began 2018 with inventories below optimal levels to meet demand, said Railway Tie Association’s Jim Gauntt.Photo – Gross & Janes Co.

By Daniel Niepow, Associate Editor

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Metra PTC project prompts Rock Island schedule changes

Metra yesterday released a proposed revision of its Rock Island Line schedule to accommodate service changes related to positive train control (PTC) implementation.

With PTC in place, train crews must initialize the system before each individual run. The process includes compiling information about the size and makeup of the train, along with any other details about route conditions that could affect train operations.

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Twin Cities' Metropolitan Council to study local travel behavior

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/16/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The council will survey 7,500 households across 19 counties, including Hennepin County.Photo – Metropolitan Council

The Minneapolis-area Metropolitan Council this month is launching a survey to gauge how locals travel across the greater Twin Cities region.

Working in partnership with the Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation, the council will survey 7,500 households across 19 counties starting this month through October 2019.

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Operation Lifesaver taps Puchala for communications, marketing role

Rail News Home Railroading People 10/16/2018 Rail News: Railroading People
image Jessica PuchalaPhoto – Operation Lifesaver Inc.

Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) has hired Jessica Puchala as director of communications and marketing.

She has more than 20 years of experience in communications and project management in the corporate, nonprofit, state government and media sectors.

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LA Metro marks design milestone on Airport Metro Connector

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/16/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Airport Metro Connector will provide transfers between local light-rail lines and Los Angeles International Airport's planned automated people mover system.Photo – LA Metro's blog

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is 60 percent finished with design plans for the new Airport Metro Connector station, agency officials reported in a blog post yesterday.

The station will provide transfers from the Green Line and the future Crenshaw/LAX light-rail line to Los Angeles International Airport's new $4.9 billion automated people mover system.

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EDA grant to aid BNSF-served Port of Pasco industrial park

Rail News Home Intermodal 10/16/2018 Rail News: Intermodal
imageThe U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $7.1 million grant to the Port of Pasco in Washington to improve roads and install stormwater management systems that will aid the operation of Big Pasco Industrial Park.The improvements will enable multimodal transportation to "continue unabated in the face of future snow melts," said U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a press release.Located in Pasco, Washington, the park provides barge, rail and road service. Its capacity to serve businesses was affected by the winter snowmelt in 2017.BNSF Railway Co. provides the park's rail service and switching.

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CN unveils new centerbeam rail car

CN has begun to roll out the first of its new centerbeam rail cars ordered earlier this year from National Steel Car Ltd.

CN received the first of 350 new centerbeams in August. The new builds are 73-foot riserless centerbeams with a maximum load capacity of 286,000 pounds, CN officials said in a website post.

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CN unveils new centerbeam rail car

CN has begun to roll out the first of its new centerbeam rail cars ordered earlier this year from National Steel Car Ltd.

CN received the first of 350 new centerbeams in August. The new builds are 73-foot riserless centerbeams with a maximum load capacity of 286,000 pounds, CN officials said in a website post.

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MTA orders 65 flat cars from Harsco

Rail News Home Maintenance Of Way 10/16/2018 Rail News: Maintenance Of Way
image The cars will be designed to transport track maintenance machinery and other heavy equipment.Photo – MTA New York City Transit/Marc Hermann

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has awarded a $40 million contract to Harsco Rail to build and deliver 65 flat cars by the end of 2021.

The flat cars will consist of a frame mounted on a pair of trucks, and will be designed to transport track maintenance machinery and other heavy equipment, materials and supplies, according to a summary of MTA's Sept. 26 board meeting.

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Short Line Safety Institute awarded $2.4 million grant

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals 10/16/2018 Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
image Short Line Safety Institute Executive Director Tom MurtaPhoto – Short Line Safety Institute

The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded a $2.4 million grant to the Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI).

The grant will enable the institute to enhance and improve safety practices at short lines and regionals, according to an institute press release.

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Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: Preface

Rail News Home Passenger Rail October 2018 Part 1 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: Preface Part 2 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: Amtrak, California, & Colorado Part 3 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia and Illinois Part 4 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: New Jersey, New York, Ohio & Oregon Part 5 : Progressive Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: Pennsylvania, Texas, & Washington Rail News: Passenger Rail

image By Julie Sneider, Senior Associate Editor In first-quarter 2018, commuter-rail ridership in the United States ticked up 0.8 percent compared with Q1 2017’s total, with 14 out of 30 transit systems reporting increases, according to American Public Transportation Association (APTA) data. Some cities even reported double-digit ridership increases. At the same time, overall ridership on U.S. heavy-rail — subways and elevated trains — and light-rail systems fell by 3.8 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, in the first-quarter compared with the same period a year ago. APTA officials attribute the ridership decline in part to the popularity of ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft. In response, several transit-rail agencies and passenger railroads are partnering with Uber, Lyft and similar companies to address the “first-and-last-mile dilemma,” which means helping riders get from their homes to the train station and back. Figuring out how to survive in a transportation landscape that’s in flux is just one major challenge that transit-rail agency leaders say they’re facing this year, according to survey responses they submitted to Progressive Railroading for the 2018 edition of “Passenger Rail at a Glance.” Several indicated their high-priority concerns were similar to those expressed in more recent years: keeping their trains and rail infrastructure in a state of good repair; continuing to build rail extensions to connect outlying communities to downtowns and employment centers; refurbishing and rehabbing rail stations; tightening security; improving safety; and completing implementation of positive train control systems. Overlaying all those issues is figuring out how to pay for it all. “Funding, funding, funding,” is how one transit official described their agency’s top concern. Other agencies’ leaders cited the general uncertainty over federal grant funding, particularly for new transit projects. To be sure, how that and other trends evolve will be closely watched by passenger-rail execs and their staffs over the coming year. Why isn’t my railroad listed? As in prior years, Passenger Rail at a Glance is created primarily from survey information submitted by transit-rail agencies. If your railroad is not included in the 2018 guide and you would like it to be included in the 2019 guide, please contact me at julie.sneider@tradepress.com.
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Browse articles on passenger rail commuter rail ridership American Public Transportation Association APTA Passenger Rail at a Glance positive train control funding

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Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: Amtrak, California, & Colorado

Part 2 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: Amtrak, California, & Colorado

Amtrak*

Amtrak is the U.S. intercity passenger railroad. It is a federally chartered corporation, with the federal government as majority stockholder. The board is appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Amtrak is operated as a for-profit company rather than a public authority.
Service launched: 1971
Route Miles: 21,400
Rolling stock: As of January 2018, active Amtrak-owned or leased passenger equipment includes 20 Acela Express high-speed trainsets; 1,242 passenger cars including Amfleet, Superliner, Viewliner, Horizon and other types; 80 baggage cars; 80 Auto Train vehicle carriers; 259 road diesel locomotives and 68 ACS-64 electric locomotives. Amtrak Cascades service primarily operates with six Talgo trainsets with cars owned by Amtrak and the states of Oregon and Washington. In FY 2017, Amtrak began receiving new single-level dining cars that are part of a larger 130-car order that also includes sleeping (pending) and baggage (delivered) cars.
Annual ridership: 31.7 million passenger trips (FY2017)
Total revenue: $3.3 billion (FY2017)
Operating earnings: $194 million (FY2017)
Capital and operating expense: $5.9 billion (FY2017)
Major capital improvement projects underway or scheduled to begin in one year:
Amtrak announced in August 2016 that it contracted with Alstom to produce 28 next-generation high-speed trainsets that will replace the equipment used to provide Acela Express service. The first trainset should enter revenue service in 2021, and all trainsets are expected to be in service by the end of 2022. In addition to the trainsets, Amtrak is investing in infrastructure needed to improve the onboard and station customer experience and accommodate increased high-speed rail service levels. Amtrak will invest in significant improvements at Washington Union Station; and Moynihan Station New York, as well as track capacity and ride quality improvements to the Northeast Corridor that will benefit all intercity and commuter customers. Amtrak will also modify fleet maintenance facilities to accommodate the new trainsets.

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Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia and Illinois

Part 3 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia and Illinois

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority*

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Agency (WMATA) was created in 1967 for the purpose of creating and operating a public transit system serving the District of Columbia and areas in Virginia and Maryland. WMATA operates Metrorail.
Miles: 118
Rolling stock: 1,200 rail cars
Cars/locomotives on order: 748 rail cars (7000 series), of which 548 have been delivered
Ridership: 44.9 million (Metrorail, Q1 FY2018)
Operating budget: $1.9 billion (FY2019 budget)
Capital budget: $1.3 billion (FY2019 budget)
Stations: 91
Major active capital projects: Several major capital projects are underway, including the 7000 series rail-car acquisition; construction of the Andrews Federal Center Bus Maintenance and Storage facilities; the Radio and Wireless Infrastructure project, which will facilitate wireless communication in the underground segments of the rail system and upgrade radio communications systemwide; and construction of Silver Line Phase 2 to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County, for which WMATA is providing technical support.

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Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: New Jersey, New York, Ohio & Oregon

Part 4 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: New Jersey, New York, Ohio & Oregon

New Jersey Transit

New Jersey Transit is the nation’s largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 944,000 weekday trips on bus, light-rail, commuter-rail and Access Link systems.
Service launched: Commuter rail, 1979; light rail, 1930s
Miles: 1,001 (commuter rail)
Rolling stock: 188 locomotives, average age 16 years; 1,098 rail cars, average age 20 years; 93 light-rail vehicles, average age 16 years
Locomotives on order: 17 ALP 45A dual powered locomotives; first vehicle to be delivered in December 2019; manufacturer is Bombardier
Ridership: commuter rail, 85.4 million; light rail, 23.7 million
Annual operating cost: $2.35 billion budget (systemwide)
Annual capital cost: $1.46 billion budget (systemwide)
Stations: 62 light rail, 165 commuter rail
Major capital improvement projects: Positive train control installation continues; Raritan River Bridge Replacement Project, to advertise this year; Long Slip Fill and Rail Enhancement Project, to advertise this year.

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Progressive Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: Pennsylvania, Texas, & Washington

Part 5 : Progressive Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: Pennsylvania, Texas, & Washington

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

SEPTA is the nation’s sixth largest public transportation system with an extensive network of fixed route services that include bus, subway, trolley, trackless trolley, high-speed and regional rail serving a 2,202-square-mile service region. That service region includes five Pennsylvania counties (Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery) and extends to Trenton, New Jersey and Newark, Delaware. SEPTA employs 9,000 workers, making the agency one of the region’s largest employers.
Service launched: heavy rail, 1968; light rail, 1969; commuter rail, 1983. SEPTA was created by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1964 to consolidate private regional public transportation operators. SEPTA’s predecessor rail agencies began providing passenger service in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The dates shown here reflect the years that SEPTA began operating those modes.
Route miles per mode: Light rail, 42; heavy rail, 47; commuter rail, 280
Rolling stock: locomotives, 8 (average age 27 years); rail cars, 404 (average age 30 years); light-rail vehicles, 167 (average age 35 years)
Cars/locomotives on order: 45 cars, expected delivery 2022; 13 locomotives, expected delivery fall 2018
Annual ridership: light rail, 24,720,500; heavy rail, 93,524,700; commuter rail, 34,355,300
Operating budget: $1.45 billion (FY2018)*
Capital budget: $727.2 million (FY2018)*
Stations: light rail, 8; heavy rail, 75; commuter rail, 154
Major capital improvement projects underway:
• Southwest connection: SEPTA has designed a series of infrastructure improvements near the University City Station. The project includes replacement of 80-year-old catenary, construction or rehabilitation of four interlockings, retiring an interlocking, tie and surface renewal, and signal improvements along a 3-mile segment of SEPTA railroad that’s adjacent to the Northeast Corridor. The improvements are designed to have a positive impact on service on SEPTA’s Airport, Wilmington and Media lines, and will be constructed between now and 2020. In summer 2018, SEPTA performed a two-week shutdown of the commuter railroad to install major interlocking components.
• Elwyn to Wawa service restoration: SEPTA will restore revenue service on the Media-Elwyn Regional Railroad Line from its current terminus at Elwyn Station to Wawa, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. (Service beyond Elwyn was discontinued in the 1980s.) An early action phase to stabilize embankments on sections of this line was completed in 2010. The second component of this 3-mile service restoration started in spring 2018. This phase will involve significant infrastructure renewal, including retaining walls; the rehabilitation of 9 bridges; and the replacement of track, catenary and structures, and signals. The final component of this project is the construction of a new station, a 600-car parking deck and an intermodal connect.
• Substation program: SEPTA has initiated a multiyear program to rehabilitate the 80-year-old traction power substations that provide electricity to propel vehicles on the Regional Railroad. The first substations to be addressed in this program are under construction and include Lenni and Morton on the Media/Elwyn Line and Jenkintown and Ambler (Main Line). Fourteen additional substations will be overhauled or replaced as part of this program. SEPTA also will be constructing a new substation on the West Trenton Line.

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LIRR to perform PTC, rail safety tests on Montauk Branch

Rail News Home Positive Train Control 10/15/2018 Rail News: Positive Train Control
image The testing will take place during off-peak hours.Photo – mta.info

MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) this week will conduct positive train control (PTC) testing and other routine rail safety tests on the Montauk Branch during off-peak hours.

The tests will take place again Oct. 29 and Nov. 2. A self-propelled Sperry Rail Car fitted with ultrasonic and induction test equipment will perform some of the rail safety tests. The car is designed to detect internal defects inside running rails that aren't readily visible.

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Ohio panel OKs rail crossing improvements in Columbiana, Tuscarawas counties

Rail News Home Safety 10/15/2018 Rail News: Safety
imageThe Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) last week approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing Norfolk Southern Railway and Ohio Central Railroad to upgrade rail crossings in Columbiana and Tuscarawas counties.NS will install lights and gates at the Bayard Road and the Essick Road/ Township Road 704 crossings in West Township, Columbiana County. The railroad must complete the work by Oct. 10, 2019, according to a PUCO press release.Ohio Central Railroad's project calls for upgrading circuitry at existing warning devices at the Dover Road/State Route 39 crossing so that they interconnect with nearby traffic signals. The railroad is directed to complete the work by July 10, 2019.Federal funding will be provided for the upgrades, PUCO officials said.The PUCO is responsible for evaluating Ohio's public grade crossings to determine the need for installing active warning devices.

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Port of Virginia logs first-quarter volume increase

Rail News Home Intermodal 10/15/2018 Rail News: Intermodal
imageThe Port of Virginia posted a nearly 3 percent increase in 20-foot-equivalent unit (TEU) volume in first-quarter fiscal-year 2019 compared with the same period a year ago.The port logged the increase despite a 7 percent dip in September cargo volumes that was driven by Hurricane Florence, which disrupted shipping throughout the southeastern United States, port officials said in a press release. The port closed for more than three days as the storm approached the U.S. East Coast in September."We lost 10 percent of our workdays in September as a result of the storm and that is a significant amount of time for our vessel traffic to be idled," said John Reinhart, chief executive officer and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. On a fiscal year basis, loaded exports and imports are up 2 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Volume at Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal is 16 percent ahead of last fiscal year's first quarter, and cargo moving on the Richmond Express barge service is up nearly 58 percent. Both rail and truck volume were up, comparatively, as well."The investment we are making at VIG (Virginia International Gateway) is truly starting to show its value; the new capacity that is in service is beginning to make a difference," Reinhart said. "We are now moving some volume out of Portsmouth Marine Terminal back to VIG and gaining efficiency. We also brought four new gates into service at VIG in September and along with our truck reservation system, they are helping to drive throughput of cargo and build velocity."

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VIA Rail taps Rail GD to renovate dining cars

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 10/15/2018 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The work includes installation of a new kitchen and devices to make the cars Wi-Fi ready.Photo – VIA Rail Canada Inc.

VIA Rail Canada Inc. has awarded a CA$16.4 million contract to Rail GD Inc. to refurbish four 1950s-era dining cars for use on long-haul Canadian line trains.

Slated for completion in second-quarter 2020, the work will include installation of a new kitchen and devices to make the cars Wi-Fi ready.

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