Railroad News

Metra issues RFP for onboard camera systems, discounts passes due to service disruptions

Metra has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for onboard camera digital video recorder systems.

The chosen firm will provide up to 700 interior passenger seating area camera systems for Metra's cab, trailer and electric multiple unit cars, with associated software, hardware, materials, equipment, spare parts and accessories, and training and support.

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NTSB recommends new safety measures following tank car chlorine incident

Rail News Home Safety 2/15/2019 Rail News: Safety
image The incident occurred when 178,000 pounds of liquefied compressed chlorine was released over two-and-a-half hours after a DOT-105 tank car sustained a 42-inch crack in its tank shell.Photo – NTSB accident report

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday issued five safety recommendations following its investigation of an August 2016 chlorine release from a ruptured tank car near New Martinsville, West Virginia.

Eight people were injured in connection with the accident, in which 178,000 pounds of liquefied compressed chlorine was released over two-and-a-half hours after a DOT-105 tank car sustained a 42-inch crack in its tank shell. The crack occurred shortly after the car was loaded at the Axiall Corp. Natrium plant, according to an NTSB press release.

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AAR calls for higher gas tax, weight-distance fee to shore up trust fund

Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation 2/15/2019 Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation
imageThe Association of American Railroads (AAR) is calling on Congress to implement a federal gas tax increase and a user-based fee system in an effort to ensure the Highway Trust Fund's financial viability.The recommendations are part of the association's national infrastructure priorities this year, which AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Jefferies outlined prior to testifying before Congress earlier this week, according to The Signal, an AAR newsletter.Among the AAR's recommendations is to re-instill "user-pay funding" to support the Highway Trust Fund. To do that, the AAR wants Congress to increase the federal gas tax; devise and implement a user-based fee system that accounts for all highway users' impacts on infrastructure; and reject certain shippers' overtures to allow for longer and heavier trucks on the nation's highways. In addition to increasing the Highway Trust Fund's revenue sources, the AAR wants Congress to:
• maintain a balanced structure of economic regulation;
• streamline the infrastructure project permitting process;
• promote and support public-private partnerships such as the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency, or CREATE, program; and
• support the Section 130 program to improve grade crossings.Jefferies unveiled the AAR's infrastructure priorities before speaking to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which held a hearing Feb. 13 on the nation's infrastructure needs. A copy of his testimony is available here.To learn more about the rail industry's legislative priorities for the new Congress, read the cover story in this month's issue of Progressive Railroading.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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CN to increase rail capacity at Port of Vancouver's Burrard Inlet corridor

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 2/15/2019 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image By building a second track, CN will increase rail capacity, which will improve rail-traffic flow in and out of the port.Photo – Shutterstock

CN, the Canadian government and Vancouver Fraser Port Authority have signed an agreement calling for upgrades to the Burrard Inlet rail corridor that serves the south shore port area in Vancouver.

The work is necessary to increase capacity on a critical segment of trade infrastructure in the Vancouver area, according to a press release. The project calls for double tracking a 2.5-mile section of rail that links expanding import and export terminals on the Burrard Inlet's south shore to the national rail network.

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CN to increase rail capacity at Port of Vancouver's Burrard Inlet corridor

Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN 2/15/2019 Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN
image By building a second track, CN will increase rail capacity, which will improve rail-traffic flow in and out of the port.Photo – Shutterstock

CN, the Canadian government and Vancouver Fraser Port Authority have signed an agreement calling for upgrades to the Burrard Inlet rail corridor that serves the south shore port area in Vancouver.

The work is necessary to increase capacity on a critical segment of trade infrastructure in the Vancouver area, according to a press release. The project calls for double tracking a 2.5-mile section of rail that links expanding import and export terminals on the Burrard Inlet's south shore to the national rail network.

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PSR and the rail car: Commentary by Richard Kloster

Richard Kloster is senior vice president and chief commercial officer of AllTranstek LLC. He also is a principal at FTR Intel.

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Milwaukee streetcar rolls out rider app

Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends 2/14/2019 Rail News: Rail Industry Trends
image A free app enables riders to monitor a streetcar’s position.Photo – visitmilwaukee.org

Milwaukee streetcar system The Hop has introduced a new real-time app aimed at improving the rider experience.

Developed by TransLoc Inc., the TransLoc Rider app provides real-time positioning of all streetcars along the route and vehicle arrival time estimates for each station. Riders also can receive alerts when a streetcar is nearing a particular station or when service is impacted or delayed.

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PATCO set to celebrate golden anniversary

Port Authority Transit Corp. (PATCO) will mark its 50th anniversary tomorrow by rolling back fares to 1969 prices.

On Feb. 15, 1969, PATCO completed its first trip from Lindenwold, New Jersey, to Center City in Philadelphia. From 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. tomorrow, fares will cost 30 cents to 60 cents, depending on the destination.

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BNSF budgets nearly $3.6 billion for capex in 2019

BNSF Railway Co. will spend $3.57 billion on capital expenditures this year, up from $3.4 billion in 2018, the Class I announced yesterday.

This year's plan will continue to emphasize maintenance and expansion of the network "with an unwavering focus on operating a safe railroad that meets customers' demands," BNSF officials said in a press release.

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Winter challenges 2019: Products to help railroads ward off Old Man Winter

(Shown) Rails Co.'s wireless remote-control and monitoring system.Photo – Rails Co.

Compiled By Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor

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Class Is continue to gain traffic boost from logistics units

In 2016, TBT completed an 80-car expansion at its Doraville terminal northeast of Atlanta that boosted car spots to 164.Photo – Norfolk Southern Corp./Thoroughbred Bulk Terminals

By Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor

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Chuck Baker takes short-line association's reins

By Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) in January named Chuck Baker president. He assumed the post Feb. 4.

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Norfolk Southern to aim for 60 operating ratio by 2021

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 2/11/2019 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image The Class I's financial targets include a full-year OR improvement in 2019 of at least 100 basis points from the 2018 OR of 65.4 percent.Photo – nscorp.com

Norfolk Southern Corp. officials today will provide details of the Class I’s latest strategic plan, which includes targeting an operating ratio (OR) of 60 percent by 2021.

The details — which will be revealed at the railroad’s Investor and Financial Analyst Conference being held today in Atlanta — will cover ways to increase productivity, efficiency and growth.

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U.S. Coast Guard seeks input on BNSF's proposed bridges in Idaho

Rail News Home BNSF Railway 2/11/2019 Rail News: BNSF Railway
image The proposed project would improve traffic flow for freight and passenger trains, according to BNSF.Photo – keepsandpointrolling.com

The U.S. Coast Guard has released a draft environmental assessment (EA) of BNSF Railway Co.'s proposed construction of railroad bridges across Lake Pend Oreille and Sand Creek at Sandpoint in Bonner County, Idaho.

BNSF proposes constructing a second mainline track and associated bridges parallel to existing rail bridges that cross the lake and creek. As structures over U.S. navigable waters, the proposed bridges will require a Coast Guard bridge permit.

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Washington update 2019: What will a new and divided Congress mean for rail?

By Julie Sneider, Senior Associate Editor

Passing a permanent extension of the 45G short-line tax credit. Maintaining existing truck size and weight restrictions. Introducing a comprehensive infrastructure package that includes funding priority for freight and passenger rail. Shoring up the federal Highway Trust Fund. Continuing existing "balanced" regulations for freight railroads.

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CN recognized as a top Montreal employer

The "Canada's Top 100 Employers" project has recognized CN as one of Montreal's top employers, the Class I announced yesterday.

This is the third consecutive year that the railroad has been recognized by Canada's Top 100 Employers, an annual competition first published in 2006, CN officials said in a press release.

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From the editor: PSR is top of mind in all sorts of places

For the U.S. rail realm, this year’s legislative priorities — passing a permanent extension of the 45G short-line tax credit, maintaining existing truck size and weight restrictions, keeping the regulatory playing field “balanced” for freight railroads — are, for the most part, of the usual-suspect variety, as Senior Associate Editor Julie Sneider reports in this month’s cover story. But rail advocates have a few other concerns they’ll be talking about with lawmakers and their staffers — including the potential monitoring of railroads that implement precision scheduled railroading (PSR).

Last month, Railway Supply Institute Vice President of Government Affairs Nicole Brewin told Sneider she’d heard rumblings that congressional hearings could be in the offing on such topics as PSR. We heard similar comments about oversight interest in PSR late last fall during our annual RailTrends summit.

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Big Data conference highlights rail industry’s embrace of analytics, blockchain, AI

Big Data enables railroads to get "actionable information" — the kind they can "actually use day to day, month to month and year to year in short-, medium- and long-term capital programs,” says Allan Zarembski, a professor in the University of Delaware’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.Photo – University of Delaware

By Michael Popke

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USW Local 2004 ratifies pact with CN

CN employees who are members of United Steelworkers Local 2004 (USW) have approved a new five-year contract, the union and Class I announced yesterday.

For the past several weeks, members have been voting on the tentative agreement reached between CN and Local 2004 in December 2018. The contract covers 3,000 USW members who inspect, maintain and repair CN's system of track, bridges and infrastructure in Canada.

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TSB: Canadian Pacific train moved on its own before fatal derailment

A Canadian Pacific unit grain train began to move on its own prior to a fatal derailment that occurred early Monday near Field, British Columbia, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) announced yesterday.

The derailment, which occurred between the Upper and Lower Spiral Tunnel, resulted in the deaths of the train's three crew members. They were identified as conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer.

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