Railroad News

CN, Hutchison Ports to develop new container terminal

The Quebec Port Authority (QPA) yesterday announced the signing of a long-term commercial agreement with Hutchison Ports and CN to build and operate a new container terminal known as project Laurentia.

The CA$775 million project will be financed through the joint investment of all three partners. In addition, the QPA is in discussions with federal and provincial governments to complete the financing, according to a QPA press release.

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CN, Hutchison Ports to develop new container terminal

The Quebec Port Authority (QPA) yesterday announced the signing of a long-term commercial agreement with Hutchison Ports and CN to build and operate a new container terminal known as project Laurentia.

The CA$775 million project will be financed through the joint investment of all three partners. In addition, the QPA is in discussions with federal and provincial governments to complete the financing, according to a QPA press release.

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TransLink to install trip planning kiosks at SkyTrain stations

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 5/28/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image TransLink’s newly unveiled kiosks include trip planning features, live transit schedules and network update alerts.Photo – TransLink YouTube

TransLink last week unveiled its first touch-screen commuter information kiosks at Surrey Central Station in Surrey, British Columbia. 

More than 50 of kiosks are set to be installed around TransLink’s network, including SkyTrain stations on the Expo and Millennium lines, West Coast Express stations and park and ride locations, according to a TransLink press release.

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VIA Rail reports record ridership during Victoria Day

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 5/28/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image VIA Rail Canada logged more than 82,000 passengers for the May long weekend, also known as Victoria Day.Photo – VIA Rail Canada

VIA Rail Canada logged more than 82,000 passengers for the May long weekend, also known as Victoria Day, a nearly 4 percent increase compared to the same period last year. 

VIA Rail recorded its best ridership performance for this period in the past 10 years, according to a VIA Rail press release. 

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APTA praises THUD's 2020 funding levels for transit, passenger rail

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 5/28/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image APTA President and CEO Paul SkoutelasPhoto – apta.com

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) last week endorsed the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) for approving a proposed fiscal-year 2020 appropriations bill that includes "historic funding levels" for public transportation and passenger rail.

The legislation includes $13.5 billion for public transportation and $2.7 billion for passenger-rail grants, more than $1 billion more than what is called for in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act's authorization levels for FY2020 and $150 million more than the 2019 THUD Appropriations Act, APTA officials said in a press release.

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LA Metro extends homeless outreach services

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 5/28/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (LA Metro) board last week approved a contract extension with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to continue providing homeless outreach services on trains until May 2021.  Under the contract, outreach teams are deployed seven days a week to help find temporary or permanent housing services for interested homeless individuals who have taken to LA Metro’s rail, buses and the Los Angeles Union Station for alternative shelter, according to an LA Metro press release. The cost for the services is $4.9 million per year. The board originally approved $1.2 million to deploy multidisciplinary homeless outreach teams on the LA Metro system in late 2016. The authority has since grown the number of its outreach teams from two to eight teams systemwide.  “As a result of LA County’s Homeless Initiative, over the last 18 months more than 27,000 people have been placed in permanent homes, while tens of thousands of others have been set on a path from homelessness to housing,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and LA Metro Chair Sheila Kuehl in a press release.

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AAR, Class Is urge Congress to pass new North American trade pact

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) and its Class I members are calling on Congress to pass the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) "expeditiously."

The letter — sent by AAR, BNSF Railway Co., Canadian Pacific, CN, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad — urges Congress to approve the USMCA to harness the North American trading relationship's full potential.

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CN recognized for supply chain contributions

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 5/28/2019 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN has received the Supply Chain Management Association's (SCMA) first Nation Builder award, the organizations announced last week.The award commemorates the association's 100th anniversary and recognizes the historical significance and future importance of building supply chains to Canada, according to a CN/SCMA press release.SCMA chose CN for its "unrivaled legacy of economic and innovative contributions to building Canada's supply chain infrastructure," said Christian Buhagiar, the association's president and chief executive officer.This year also marks CN's 100th anniversary, noted CN President and CEO JJ Ruest."While we are proud of the company's heritage, our focus is on the future of the supply chain and how we can play an active role in moving Canada's natural resources and our customers' goods to market safely and efficiently," he said. "We are focusing on investing in infrastructure, technology and solutions to increase our role in Canadian supply chain and across our international markets."The award will be presented Thursday during the 2019 National Conference and Fellow Awards Gala in Montreal.

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CN recognized for supply chain contributions

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 5/28/2019 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image CN has received the Supply Chain Management Association's (SCMA) first Nation Builder award, the organizations announced last week.The award commemorates the association's 100th anniversary and recognizes the historical significance and future importance of building supply chains to Canada, according to a CN/SCMA press release.SCMA chose CN for its "unrivaled legacy of economic and innovative contributions to building Canada's supply chain infrastructure," said Christian Buhagiar, the association's president and chief executive officer.This year also marks CN's 100th anniversary, noted CN President and CEO JJ Ruest."While we are proud of the company's heritage, our focus is on the future of the supply chain and how we can play an active role in moving Canada's natural resources and our customers' goods to market safely and efficiently," he said. "We are focusing on investing in infrastructure, technology and solutions to increase our role in Canadian supply chain and across our international markets."The award will be presented Thursday during the 2019 National Conference and Fellow Awards Gala in Montreal.

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Sound Transit advances light-rail extension projects

Sound Transit's board last week identified preferred design alternatives for the 11.8-mile West Seattle and Ballard Link light-rail extensions to study in a draft environmental impact statement (EIS). 

The route alternatives, which include design of 14 stations, were based on 18 months of public engagement with community groups, agency partners and local elected officials, Sound Transit officials said in a press release.

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Transport Canada proposes regs for locomotive video, voice recorders

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 5/28/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
image Minister of Transport Marc GarneauPhoto – tc.gc.ca

Canada's Transport Minister Marc Garneau last week unveiled voice and video recorder regulations that specify technical requirements for rail companies to install such devices on locomotives.

Published in the Canada Gazette, the proposed regulations "reflect a careful balance between measures to increase safety benefits, while safeguarding the privacy rights of railway employees," according to a Transport Canada press release.

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Rail supplier news from Wabtec, Helaba, IntegriCo, Ondas, Saft, Ricardo and Freightera (May 24)

Wabtec Corp. was selected to implement the positive train control (PTC) system for the New Mexico Rail Runner Express (NMRX), in an order worth $55 million. Under the contract, Wabtec will implement its Interoperable Electronic Train Management System, a PTC safety-overlay system, on NMRX, including all necessary wayside and communication design and dispatch upgrades. Wabtec will also provide full back office server support, as well as equipment and software upgrades to nine NMRX locomotives and nine cab cars. The contract schedule calls for NMRX PTC assets to be in revenue service by late 2020, according to a Wabtec press release.

Helaba completed the acquisition of the Land Transport Finance customer loan portfolio from DVB Bank SE. Personnel associated with the loan portfolio will also integrate into Helaba. As a result of the transaction, the company’s rolling stock rail finance segment has grown to a total volume of $2.2 billion, according to a Helaba press release.

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Buckingham Branch Railroad achieves safety milestone

Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals 5/24/2019 Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
image Buckingham Branch Railroad (BBRR) announced this week that it reached a safety milestone earlier this month when it operated for two years without a Federal Railroad Administration-reportable injury.The Virginia short line's 75 employees worked over 300,000 man-hours without injury, according to a BBRR press release.BBRR employees' "unwavering commitment to maintaining a strong safety culture has been essential to reaching this important milestone," said Chief Executive Officer Mark Bryant.BBRR operates 282 miles of track in Virginia.

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Metro Transit-St. Louis to test mobile ticketing platform

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 5/24/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image During the six-month pilot period, Metro Transit-St. Louis customers using the Metro Mobile app will be able to purchase fare for select trips on a mobile device.Photo – Metro Transit-St. Louis

Metro Transit-St. Louis is partnering with moovel to pilot a mobile ticketing application, allowing riders to purchase transit fare directly on a mobile device for select trips.

During the six-month pilot period, riders using the Metro Mobile app will be able to purchase round-trip MetroLink passes to St. Louis Cardinals baseball games and St. Louis Blues hockey games, according to a Metro Transit-St. Louis press release. 

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NS recognizes 58 chemical customers for safe hazmat practices

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 5/24/2019 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image The award is part of an NS initiative to promote safe rail-shipping practices.Photo – nscorp.com

Norfolk Southern Railway has recognized 58 of its chemical shipper customers with the Class I's 2018 Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award.

The award is part of an NS initiative to promote safe rail-shipping practices in communities the railroad services, according to an NS press release.

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NS recognizes 58 chemical customers for safe hazmat practices

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 5/24/2019 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image The award is part of an NS initiative to promote safe rail-shipping practices.Photo – nscorp.com

Norfolk Southern Railway has recognized 58 of its chemical shipper customers with the Class I's 2018 Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award.

The award is part of an NS initiative to promote safe rail-shipping practices in communities the railroad services, according to an NS press release.

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Canadian officials unveil first light-rail vehicles for Eglinton Crosstown Line

Metrolinx, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Ontario government officials earlier this week unveiled six new light-rail vehicles to be used on the future Eglinton Crosstown Line that will run between the Mount Dennis and Kennedy subway stations in Toronto.

Metrolinx and its contractor, Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS), have been conducting low-speed testing of the vehicles at the Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility, according to a Metrolinx blog.

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Oregon Sens. Wyden, Merkley express concerns over UP layoffs

Oregon's two U.S. senators are raising concerns with Union Pacific Railroad's reported plan to eliminate nearly 200 jobs from the Class I's Hinkle Rail Yard in Hermiston.

In a letter sent this week to UP Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz, the senators wrote that the railroad's decision to reduce jobs at the yard and close the Hinkle supply warehouse and mechanical locomotive shop "will devastate this rural community by hamstringing the economic opportunities and stability of the entire region."

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Oregon Sens. Wyden, Merkley express concerns over UP layoffs

Oregon's two U.S. senators are raising concerns with Union Pacific Railroad's reported plan to eliminate nearly 200 jobs from the Class I's Hinkle Rail Yard in Hermiston.

In a letter sent this week to UP Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz, the senators wrote that the railroad's decision to reduce jobs at the yard and close the Hinkle supply warehouse and mechanical locomotive shop "will devastate this rural community by hamstringing the economic opportunities and stability of the entire region."

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LA Metro adopts 2020 budget

Rail News Home Passenger Rail 5/24/2019 Rail News: Passenger Rail
image The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (LA Metro) board earlier this week approved a $7.2 billion budget for fiscal-year 2020. The new budget represents an 8.9 percent increase over the FY2019 budget. It calls for no increases in fares. The larger budget was due to a number of factors, including the anticipation of more revenue from sales taxes, grants and bonds; as well as higher expenses associated with labor and benefits, debt and the planning and construction of transportation projects, LA Metro officials said in a press release.  The budget includes $1.84 billion for bus and rail operations and  $2.4 billion for various capital projects, including the Regional Connector light-rail tunnel, the Crenshaw/LAX Line, and extensions of the Purple Line subway and the Gold Line.  Other projects funded in the budget include:  continued support for the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority and its Phase II grade separation projects; midlife modernization projects for both light-rail and heavy-rail vehicles; and Blue Line improvements and the rebuilding of the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station.  The adopted budget is for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2020. 

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