UPDATED MARCH 7, 2014:
765 TO ATTEND TRAIN EXPO 2014:
The Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan is welcoming the return of steam locomotive no. 765 for Train Expo 2014, a special summer event featuring trains, vintage aircraft, and automobiles. Owosso is home to restored Pere Marquette steam locomotive no. 1225.
Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765 will operate excursions during the event. The 765 last operated at the Steam Railroading Institute in 2011 during a fall-color excursion with no. 1225.
No. 765 will operate one half-day excursion each day to Alma, pulling the 8AM departure on Friday and Sunday and the 2PM. departure on Saturday. These 4 hour trips will include photo runbys. Additionally, the 765 will be appearing in several night photo sessions during the event.
Additional visiting steam locomotives will include Gramling Locomotive Works’ 0-4-0Ts Flagg Coal No. 26, and Lehigh Valley Coal No. 126, Little River Railroad 0-4-0T No. 1 and 4-6-2 No. 110, which will pull one-hour trains rides. No. 1225 and no. 765 will each pull half-day excursions from the expo.
In addition to trains, the event will include vintage World War II aircraft, including B-17 and B-25 bombers, a C-47/DC-3 transport, and a P-51 Mustang fighter. There will also be a display of vintage automobiles.
Tickets and more information are available at
(Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
AMTRAK LAUNCHES NEW ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS:
With ridership at a record 31.6 million in fiscal year 2013, Amtrak is highlighting the choice and benefits consumers have for travel with two new advertising campaigns promoting the National system and Northeast Regional Service.
“The new campaigns offer us the opportunity to feature the benefits and amenities of long-distance trains and the convenience of our Northeast Regional Service,” said Amtrak Chief of Marketing and Advertising Programs John Lee. “From the heart of one big city to another or to destinations in hundreds of local communities across the country, Amtrak takes you where you want to go.”
The new Amtrak National advertising campaign showcases the amenities offered by long-distance trains that contribute to a unique and comfortable alternative to automobile road trips. With headlines such as “A better journey starts with a better ride,” “The art of travel redefined,” “Show the road who is boss” and “Take a whole new view of travel,” the new campaign promotes the advantages of rail travel vis-à-vis an automobile, such as private sleeper service, panoramic windows, and wide seats with extra headroom and legroom. The sign-off for these ads, “Making 500 destinations a far better ride,” speaks to the breadth and connectivity of the Amtrak network. The National campaign includes radio, print, digital, mobile and out of home media elements. In fiscal year 2013, Amtrak long-distance routes combined had the best year in 20 years with 4.8 million passengers The new Northeast Regional advertising campaign promotes the action-oriented cities along the route and symbolically showcases the train arriving in the middle of the action. The ads visually depict the Amtrak train getting you to the action at a variety of events and attractions including an art gallery, music concert, theatre performance, shopping mall, restaurant, and sports arena/basketball game. They feature headlines highlighting a benefit of train travel such as a train at a basketball game with the headline “The only driving here should be to the basket,” and another ad with the train at a concert has the headline “Roll in ready to rock out.”
The Northeast Regional campaign is featured in print, digital and mobile media. Northeast Regional Service set a new ridership record with more than eight million riders in fiscal year 2013. Northeast Corridor passengers will experience more reliable and efficient service over the next two years as Amtrak puts in service 70 new advanced technology locomotives.
By promoting the benefits of intercity rail travel, both of these campaigns provide brand support for all Amtrak services nationwide and are also readily adaptable to promote a specific region’s markets and services.
Draftfcb New York worked in conjunction with Amtrak to develop the campaigns. (Amtrak
AAR REPORTS MIXED TRAFFIC FOR FEBRUARY, INCREASED TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK:
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed U.S. rail traffic for the month of February 2014, with carload volume decreasing and intermodal volume increasing compared with February 2013. Intermodal traffic in February totaled 993,807 containers and trailers, up 1.1 percent (10,729 units) compared with February 2013, which represents the 51st-consecutive year-over-year monthly increase for intermodal volume. U.S. carload originations totaled 1,100,858 in February 2014, down 1.1% (12,061 carloads) from February 2013.
Nine of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in February over the same month last year. Commodities with the biggest carload increases last month included grain, up 12.3 percent or 8,696 carloads, and grain mill products, up 10.1 percent or 3,645 carloads.
Commodity categories with carload declines last month included coal, down 3.5 percent or 15,571 carloads from February 2013, and primary metal products, down 7.2 percent or 3,092 carloads. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 5,186 carloads or 0.9 percent in February 2014 over the same month last year.
“It would be nice to be able to separate out the effects of the harsh winter on rail traffic, but we can’t do that. We can probably expect improvements in the rail numbers in the months ahead, assuming that the weather and the economy cooperate,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “In the meantime, crude oil has become a significant part of the railroad business. Railroads know how important it is to move crude oil safely, and they are committed to continually searching for ways to make this happen.”
AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending March 1, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 287,294 carloads last week, up 1.4 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 257,710 units, up 3.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 545,004 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.3 percent compared with the same week last year.
Four of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including: grain, with 19,746 carloads, up 14.3 percent, and nonmetallic minerals and products, with 31,793 carloads, up 11.5 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic were led by metallic ores and metals, with 23,863 carloads, down 5.2 percent.
For the first nine weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,446,042 carloads, down 0.3 percent from the same point last year, and 2,177,092 intermodal units, up 1.2 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first nine weeks of 2014 was 4,623,134 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.4 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 71,203 carloads for the week, down 11.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 54,344 intermodal units, up 3 percent compared with 2013. For the first nine weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 635,287 carloads, down 7.9 percent from the same point last year, and 455,652 intermodal units, down 0.8 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 14,726 carloads for the week, down 2.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 9,455 intermodal units, down 11.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first nine weeks of 2014 is 132,441 carloads, up 1.5 percent from the same point last year, and 85,860 intermodal units, down 1 percent.
Combined North American rail volume for the first nine weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 3,213,770 carloads, down 1.8 percent compared with the same point last year, and 2,178,604 trailers and containers, up 0.8 percent compared with last year.
(AAR - posted 3/06)
STREAMLINERS AT SPENCER UPDATE:
The 17th locomotive has joined the N.C. Transportation Museum's upcoming Streamliners at Spencer event, May 29 - June 1. The event, featuring these classic cab units gathered around the Bob Julian Roundhouse, will also feature additional exhibits for attendees, including the N.C. DOT display train and the Amtrak Exhibit Train. The Iowa Pacific #515 is the latest locomotive to join the Streamliners at Spencer roster. The 61-year-old engine has enjoyed a long history on the rails, pulling passengers and freight through both the cold winters of Chicago and the desert heat of Arizona.
These days the engine wears the colors of Iowa Pacific, inspired by the paint scheme of the Illinois Central Railroad.
(N.C. Transportation Museum, Scott Snell - posted 3/06)
MBTA GREEN LINE EXTENSION GETS NOT FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA:
President Obama in his budget released yesterday recommended federal funding to support the Green Line Extension (GLX), marking a significant milestone for a project that will bring thousands of new jobs to the region and create new economic opportunity.
The President’s proposal includes $100 million in Federal Fiscal Year 2015 and paves the way for agreement with the federal government for greater support over the next several years.
“I thank President Obama and his Administration for recognizing the critical importance of completing the Green Line Extension,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “This historic commitment of federal New Starts Program funds, when matched with state contributions, will fulfill a promise made during construction of the Central Artery Project and complete the long-awaited extension of rail service to Somerville and Medford.
With the first phase of construction already underway, we are already clearly seeing the economic opportunity and jobs created through this project. This wise federal and state investment will unlock the potential economic growth along the new Green Line corridor and leave a legacy of greater mobility for residents and smart environmental benefits in one of the Commonwealth’s most densely-populated areas.”
Earlier this year, the Patrick Administration requested that the federal government fund 50 percent of the $1.428 billion project.
The Green Line Extension project is an initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).This important project will extend existing MBTA Green Line service from a relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford.
“We have been working closely with the Obama Administration on the Green Line Extension and this is an important step forward in securing the federal funding necessary for construction,” stated Congressman Mike Capuano, a member of the House Transportation Committee. “The environmental and economic benefits of extending the Green Line are tremendous and residents are overwhelmingly supportive of it. Today’s news brings us closer to the day when commuters can enjoy expanded transit service.”
The GLX project will greatly improve public transit service in some of the most densely-populated municipalities of the Commonwealth. Among its many benefits, the Green Line Extension project will provide new and better opportunities for residents and visitors to travel within their communities and within the region, address longstanding transportation inequities. It will also result in fewer automobiles on local roads and help combat greenhouse gas emissions and other components of air pollution.
“The Green Line Extension offers Somerville and the region both economic justice and environmental justice, connecting residents with jobs that pay a livable wage and health care while reducing the number of cars on the road and pollution in the air we all breathe, as well shifting us to a more sustainable mode of transit,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “Somerville owes thanks to President Obama and Congressman Michael Capuano for committing in this budget to economic and environmental justice for our residents and to smart, long-term infrastructure investments that will build the 21st century transportation system we need to have a 21st century economy. This commitment needs local, state and federal government working together toward a common goal, and we are fortunate to have our partners in Washington fighting to make the Green Line Extension a reality, along with Gov. Patrick, Sec. Davey, the MassDOT Board of Directors and all our state partners. Our 20-year comprehensive SomerVision plan sets goals of creating 30,000 new jobs and 6,000 new homes in Somerville, all while creating walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented neighborhoods that reduce our reliance our cars and boost our economy, both in our city and across the region. The Green Line Extension is crucial to reaching those goals and investing in it today means billions of dollars pumping through the Massachusetts economy in the years to come.”
MassDOT has already begun work on the project with early action bridge and roadway upgrades currently underway in Somerville and Medford. Major utility relocation and site preparation work is scheduled to begin later this year with full construction commencing in the spring of 2015.
(Massachusetts Department of Transportation
NORFOLK SOUTHERN DECORATES LOCOMOTIVE FOR GORAIL:
Norfolk Southern is commemorating the 10th anniversary of
with a specially decorated locomotives. The railroad has lettered SD60E 6963 with GoRail markings on the each side of the carbody. GoRail was organized 10 years ago to promote the public benefits of shipping more freight by rail.
(NS - 3/04)
AMTRAK: NEW WINTER PARK, FLA., STATION
A GREAT COMMUNITY INVESTMENT:
Today, Amtrak joined the City of Winter Park, Florida Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, and community leaders for the grand opening of the new Winter Park Train Station. Amtrak issued the following statement:
“We are proud Winter Park is an Amtrak-served community and look forward to having our Silver Meteor and Silver Star trains stop at this great new station.
“A well-planned passenger rail train station like this is one of the best investments a community can make as it seeks to expand its appeal as a place for tourism and business investment and also cultivate civic pride.
“The new station, with both Amtrak and SunRail commuter rail service, will provide a long-term viable solution for needed mobility and will bring many economic benefits to the community for years to come.
“Amtrak service at Winter Park provides connectivity for travelers south to Miami and north to New York and dozens of exciting destinations in between. Last year, more than 30,000 passengers traveled to and from Winter Park, an increase of 40 percent since fiscal year 2002.” .
(Amtrak - 3/03)
RARITAN VALLEY LINE TRAINS TO PENN STATION NEW YORK:
Today NJ Transit commenced through Raritan Valley Line service to and from Penn Station New York. Five daily round trip trains operate from Raritan to New York. These trains arrive in New York between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on weekdays; and depart between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Due to the lack of capacity, NJ Transit will not offer rush hour through service. However, it is considering through service during weekday evenings. Also, no weekend through service is offered due to weekend maintenance of the North River Tunnels. NJ Transit is utilizing its fleet of dual model ALP45DP diesel-electric/electric locomotives for the new service.
(Bernie Wagenblast - 3/03)
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES INSPECTION BLITZ TO PROTECT NEW YORKERS FROM POTENTIANL ACCIDENTS INVOLVING VOLATILE CRUDE OIL:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that state officials have launched a series of inspections to safeguard New York’s residents, communities, waterways and lands from potential serious incidents involving the shipment of volatile crude oil by rail throughout the state. Working with federal authorities throughout this week, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) participated in a series of inspections at the Port of Albany and its adjacent rail yard, as well as inspections in Albany and Buffalo along rail tracks and in rail cars. In addition, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is conducting inspections today at the Port of Albany.
“We are taking action to safeguard our communities from the potential risk of crude oil shipments by launching more aggressive and enhanced enforcement of rail safety,” said Governor Cuomo. “This inspection blitz has resulted in immediate improvements to some of the State’s busiest rail sites. In addition to performing these and other inspections with our federal partners, my administration will continue to urge Washington to enact improved rail and port safety practices that are both mandatory and enforceable.”
NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “I want to thank the Federal Railroad Administration for partnering with us to develop this important initiative. Under the direction of Governor Cuomo, we are responding to the increased shipment of crude oil by rail with a rigorous, coordinated enforcement effort along our rail lines. The safety of New Yorkers and our communities is our top priority.”
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said, "DEC is committed to protecting public health and the environment in the communities near rail and water transport operations and oil storage facilities. Inspections are critical tools to ensure facilities comply with stringent safety regulations. Governor Cuomo is a leading advocate in calling for improved safety of crude oil transport and DEC will continue to work with state, federal and local partners to protect communities and New York's air, land and waters."
These inspections stem from the growing concern regarding the volatility of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and its significantly increased shipment by rail throughout New York State. Just last month, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order directing several State agencies to do a top-to-bottom review of safety procedures and emergency response preparedness related to shipments of rail, ship and barge shipments of crude oil following several severe accidents, including the deaths of dozens of people, the evacuation of thousands and devastation of entire communities. This review is due by April 30. Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order also directed agencies to work with federal partners to enhance preparedness and oversight. The federal government has nearly exclusive regulatory authority over railroad transportation.
The first round of inspection efforts concludes just one week after Cuomo Administration officials traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with federal transportation authorities to express their concerns about the safety of New York State communities due to the increased transport of Bakken crude oil throughout the state. On Friday, Feb. 21, state environment and transportation officials met with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), FRA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, resulting in an agreement to coordinate and increase federal and state efforts to inspect rail and port facilities to safeguard the surrounding communities and the environment from oil spills.
This inspection initiative will continue in the weeks and months to come and will also serve to help inform the state’s ongoing review, as directed in Governor Cuomo’s executive order.
As part of the inspection effort, federal and state officials engaged in multiple inspections throughout the week:
(New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)
Kenwood Rail Yard (Albany) and Frontier Rail Yard (Buffalo):
On Feb. 27, inspectors from the NYSDOT spearheaded an inspection blitz at two major rail yards with officials from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The inspectors did a mechanical inspection of brakes and other safety equipment, including tanker cars that carry crude oil, as well as the rails, ties and other equipment. They also performed a hazardous materials inspection to ensure that equipment is in line with regulations, including valves, valve closures, and placards and decals that describe the cargo being shipped. They also checked dates for the last tank inspection and pressure test.
The inspections on this date took place at the Kenwood Rail Yard in Albany (owned by Canadian Pacific Railroad) and the Frontier Rail Yard in Buffalo (owned by CSX). These two rail yards are two of the most heavily utilized rail locations in New York State for the transport of crude oil. The Kenwood rail yard, adjacent to the Port of Albany, serves as the critical transfer site of crude oil from rail cars to ships and barges. The findings of that examination are considered typical for the type of inspection, and were either addressed immediately or are in the process of being remedied.
At the Kenwood Yard in Albany, the NYSDOT-FRA team inspected 120 T-111 type tank cars, and found three defective wheels and 3 defective brake shoes. Those defects must be addressed before the cars can leave the yard. The team also inspected two miles of track and 31 switches, and found 36 defects, including loose rail joints, fasteners and a broken joint bar. All of these defects were immediately repaired by railroad personnel.
The team at the Frontier Rail Yard in Buffalo inspected 198 T-111 type tank cars, three locomotives and one yard switcher. Two of the tank cars had wheel defects, and a few others were found with brake shoe defects. The team also inspected four miles of track and 13 switches. Seven defects were found, including a broken rail that may require that section of rail to be taken out of service. The railroad has 30 days to remediate the track defects.
In addition, the FRA has issued a violation to Green Plains Renewable Energy of Nebraska for two non-compliant tank cars. Inspectors found the two tank cars, which were carrying ethanol, did not have their bottom outlet nozzle caps secured. The violations could result in a civil penalty. Green Plains is the shipping company, and not the rail carrier.
Kenwood Rail Yard – Albany:
On Feb. 25, DOT participated in inspections at the Kenwood Rail Yard adjacent to the Port of Albany with the FRA, Canadian transportation officials (Transport Canada) and CP Rail to inspect rail wheels. The inspection focused on wheel defects that have been identified on tanker cars currently in use for crude oil transport. The observed defects are characterized by excessive ware of the steel wheel surfaces on these tanker cars, which is an issue of concern in both the U.S. and in Canada.
The inspections uncovered “shell type” wheel defects, a condition observed on a number of steel wheel sets which have recently been removed from tank cars in the Kenwood yard. This condition is characterized by the degradation and loss of the hardened steel wheel surface, resulting in flat areas which can cause a pounding effect on the rails. Although these wheel conditions are not known to have contributed to any derailment incidents to date, federal, state and Canadian officials are examining the specific cause of these shell defects out of an abundance of caution for potential collateral defects.
Port of Albany:
Today, DEC initiated a thorough, multi-week inspection process of Global Partners’ major oil storage facility at the Port of Albany. Today’s reconnaissance inspection included visual observations of storage tanks and their associated pipelines.
The inspection process will focus on all aspects of the facility to ensure it will be able to contain oil discharges and prevent them from reaching navigable waters and adjoining shorelines.
Inspectors will evaluate the condition and integrity of storage containers as well as secondary containment measures such as liners, ditches, sumps or ponds to prevent spills from impacting groundwater or surface waters. DEC will also examine the ability of spill response organizations to begin recovery efforts immediately after receiving notification.
Other NYS-led Safety Efforts:
In addition to this analysis, Governor Cuomo last month directed several state agencies to petition the federal government to take immediate actions to protect the State’s communities and natural resources from these potential disasters. These needed changes include the expedited adoption of permanent federal regulations based upon a comprehensive reassessment of the safety of rail, barge and ship transportation of crude oil, the implementation of stronger tank car safety and design standards, and upgraded measures to prevent and respond to crude oil spills on our rivers.
Since that time, and at the urging of Cuomo Administration officials, federal authorities have reached an agreement with railroad operators to increase inspections, improve safety with lower speeds and new technology to find the safest routes, expedite rail safety standards and improve emergency preparedness and response along the rail lines. Also, earlier this week, the USDOT issued an emergency order requiring all shippers moving Bakken crude oil to test their product to ensure it is properly classified before transit.
CANADIAN NATIONAL SELLS DEUX-MONTAGNES RAIL LINE TO AMT:
CN today closed the sale of a rail line principally used by Agence métropolitaine de transports (AMT) commuter trains between Deux-Montagnes and Montreal's Central Station to AMT for C$97 million.
AMT, a government agency that reports to the Quebec Transport Minister, oversees public transport services in the Greater Montreal area.
AMT is acquiring CN's entire Deux-Montagnes Subdivision, which runs from St-Eustache to the entrance of Montreal's Central Station, including the Mount Royal tunnel, a rail corridor of 21 miles in total.
CN will retain freight operating rights over a portion of the line sold to AMT where freight customers are located.
AMTRAK COMES HOME TO DENVER UNION STATION :
Amtrak service has resumed at the historic Denver Union Station at 1701 Wynkoop St., starting with the scheduled 7:10 p.m. departure tonight of the eastbound California Zephyr to Chicago. The first westbound California Zephyr to use the landmark station is scheduled tomorrow morning at 8:05 a.m. to the San Francisco Bay.
Amtrak had been serving Denver passengers at a temporary location on 21st St. since 2011. This made way for the redevelopment of the historic building and construction of a new commuter rail station and underground bus concourse.
Renovation inside Union Station is not yet finished, so Amtrak passengers will access the waiting room, ticketing and baggage office by following signs to the track-side of the building. From there, passengers will follow signs to the newly constructed passenger platform, under the large white canopy, where they will load and unload from Amtrak trains.
Access to the new Amtrak facility will be from the front of the building when construction is completed in July.
“We are looking forward to bringing the California Zephyr back to its historic home and for the entire project to be complete,” said Jim Brzezinski, Amtrak Route Director for the train. “Amtrak passengers will see just a hint of what’s in store at this magnificent building and we hope they return when we celebrate the grand re-opening later this year.”
Denver passengers also use Amtrak Thruway Buses to connect with the Amtrak Southwest Chief at Raton, N.M. That service is marked with signs and will operate across from Union Station on Wynkoop St. until the underground bus concourse is finished.
“Construction will still be very active in and around the historic building so passengers are urged to leave themselves enough time to navigate the construction congestion,” said Union Station Project Manager Jerry Nery of Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD).
Amtrak operates two trains daily through Denver – the westbound California Zephyr (Train 5) and the eastbound California Zephyr (Train 6). The trains run between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay city of Emeryville, via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City and Reno., Crossing the Rocky and Sierra mountain ranges, Amtrak passengers Enjoy the journey® on bi-level Superliner railcars with wide, reclining coach seats, sleeping cars, a Sightseer Lounge Car with wrap-around windows, dining and café car services. As always, Amtrak has special provisions aboard the trains and at stations for passengers with disabilities.
There are no changes to Amtrak schedules associated with the resumption of service at Denver Union Station. Amtrak served more than 108,000 Denver passengers last year.
Although there will be no passenger parking at the new location, there are numerous long and short- term parking lots and garages around Union Station. For more information, visit the
website or see the attached fact sheet for directions.
The return of Amtrak service to the station and the establishment of commuter rail by RTD are key elements of the creation of a bustling mixed-use, transit-oriented hub in and around a building with a bright future and a glorious past. According to the Amtrak-sponsored
website, Union Station was built in 1881 at a cost of $525,000 and was partially rebuilt after a fire in 1894 destroyed the central section. A larger Beaux-Arts style central waiting room made of Colorado granite was built in 1914 as rail traffic continued to increase. The plaster arches that line the walls of the room have 2,300 carved Columbine flowers.
The Union Station Neighborhood Co. was selected as the master development team to lead this significant redevelopment and preservation effort. This station will ultimately become the connection point for Amtrak, light and commuter rail, local, regional and intercity buses and other public and private transportation modes.
(Amtrak - 2/28)
MTA TO OPEN EXPANDED YAWKEY STATION IN MARCH:
The MBTA plans to open the rebuilt Yawkey commuter rail station in Boston next month, clearing the way for the transit agency to boost service across the entire Framingham-Worcester line, officials announced Wednesday
(MBTA - 2/27)
AAR REPORTS INCREASES WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC:
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Feb. 22, 2014 with 281,678 total U.S. carloads, up 1.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 253,358 units, up 6.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 535,036 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.7 percent compared with the same week last year.
Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including grain with 22,076 carloads, up 29.7 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included coal with 109,295 carloads, down 3.9 percent.
For the first eight weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,158,748 carloads, down 0.5 percent from the same point last year, and 1,919,382 intermodal units, up 0.9 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first eight weeks of 2014 was 4,078,130 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.1 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 70,152 carloads for the week, down 9.8 percent, and 53,162 intermodal units, up 3.5 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first eight weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 564,084 carloads, down 7.4 percent from the same point last year, and 401,308 intermodal units, down 1.4 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 16,003 carloads for the week, down 2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,818 intermodal units, down 1.4 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first eight weeks of 2014 was 117,715 carloads, up 2 percent from the same point last year, and 76,405 intermodal units, up 0.5 percent from last year.
Combined North American rail volume for the first eight weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 2,840,547carloads, down 1.9 percent compared with the same point last year, and 2,397,095 intermodal trailers and containers, up 0.5 percent compared with last year.
(AAR - 2/27)
AMTRAK DEBUTS FIRST-EVER #AMTRAKLIVE TRAIN :
More than 30 digital leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs will participate in #AmtrakLIVE, an inspiring train journey on the Texas Eagle from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, March 5 – 7, 2014.
“AmtrakLIVE will have amazing scenery, engaging collaboration and the opportunity to explore and be inspired – it’s all part of the Amtrak long-distance experience,” said Amtrak Director of Social Media Julia Quinn. “Amtrak provides customers a one-of-a-kind experience, making train travel the perfect choice for like-minded communities to explore the country together. AmtrakLIVE is all about creativity.”
The #AmtrakLIVE onboard participants will be a diverse mix of adventurous thought leaders including: BJ Mendelson, author and viral marketer; Benni Leigh, Head of Lifestyle at Makers Studio; and Sarah Austin of Pop17.
The selected social media influencers will collaborate and share the scenic views of the Southwest from a reserved observation car on the Texas Eagle. Participants will provide updates from the #AmtrakLIVE adventure on Twitter and Instagram via #AmtrakLIVE. Fans and followers can also interact with the travelers by using the special hashtag. The program builds off of the company’s recent viral #AmtrakResidency campaign for writers and its history of providing group travel experiences for people ranging from extreme skiers to adventurous families. Additional details on the #AmtrakResidency program will be provided in a formal announcement later this week.
The Texas Eagle is one of 15 long-distance trains and part of a national network that provides service to small towns and big cities across America. In addition to providing mobility and connectivity, Amtrak provides economic opportunities, helping communities across America to grow and prosper. For more information on Amtrak and the #AmtrakLIVE experience, visit
(Amtrak - 2/26)
AMTRAK EXHIBIT TRAIN CROSS-COUNTRY
TOUR ON TRACK FOR 2014 :
For the third consecutive year, Amtrak is showcasing its past, present and future in a traveling Exhibit Train that will make various stops to communities around the country. The Exhibit Train allows visitors to take a self-guided tour to catch a glimpse of more than four decades of history of America’s Railroad® providing mobility and connectivity to the nation.
The first stop of the 2014 tour will be at the Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler, Ariz. on March 1 and 2 to complement their 30th anniversary celebration. Since the train’s inception in 2011, new displays have been added such as workable signals, interactive virtual sleeping accommodation tours and trivia with returning favorite displays including the locomotive stand and horns. In addition, it features photos, uniforms, vintage advertising and memorabilia from Amtrak’s beginning in 1971 to today’s modern-sleeping cars and high-speed rail service. Exclusive Amtrak merchandise will also be available for purchase.
The Exhibit Train includes two locomotives, three renovated baggage cars and one bistro car, all with historic paint schemes. For most stops, the Amtrak Veterans’ Locomotive will lead the train. Introduced in 2013 and featuring a patriotic paint scheme, it is a tribute to our servicemen and women and supports the company’s goal that 25 percent of new hires will be from the military by 2015.
(Amtrak - 2/25)
March 1-2 Arizona Railway Museum Chandler, Ariz.
March 22 Santa Fe Railyard Sante Fe, N.M.
April 12-13 Amtrak Station,
Topeka, KS Topeka, Kan.
April 26-27 Amtrak Station,
Lincoln, NE Lincoln, Neb.
May 3 Los Angeles Union Station, 75th Anniversary Celebration Los Angeles, Calif.
May 9-10 National Train Day/Station Dedication, Amtrak Station Longview, Texas
May 17-18 Cheyenne Depot Museum Cheyenne, Wyo.
May 30-June 1 North Carolina Transportation Museum Spencer, N.C.
June 12-14 National Railroad Historical Society Meeting Springdale, Ark.
July 19-20 Delaware State Fair Harrington, Del.
August 1-3 Rockland Lobster Fest Rockland, Maine
August 23-24 Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Essex, Conn.
September 13 Glory Days, Amtrak Station, White River Junction White River Junction, Vt.
September 27-28 Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Cumberland, Md.
October 4 100th Anniversary, Memphis Central Station Memphis, Tenn.
October 18-19 Virginia Transportation Museum Roanoke, Va.
November 1-2 Kansas City Union Station Kansas City, Mo. .
CSX J&L TUNNEL PROJECT EARNS TWO ENGINEERING AWARDS:
CSX Corporation today announced that its J&L Tunnel Modification Project in Pittsburgh has won the Project of the Year Award from the Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP) and the Diamond Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA). These awards recognize the J&L Tunnel Project's safe completion, sustainability, cost-effectiveness and community benefits.
Completed in late 2013, the J&L Tunnel Project increased the vertical clearance of a 130-year-old tunnel running through Pittsburgh's SouthSide Works, a mixed-use residential and commercial development. CSX worked closely with public officials, local businesses and residents to minimize noise and disruption during construction. Upon completion of the tunnel work, CSX restored trees and plantings, and invested in landscaping improvements which left the overlying Tunnel Park a more usable recreational space.
"The J&L Tunnel Project is a great example of CSX's commitment to invest in infrastructure that supports American businesses and growth while respecting the communities in which we operate," said Randy Cheetham, regional vice president, CSX Transportation. "We have a long history in the Pittsburgh community, and are proud to invest here to keep the Pittsburgh region moving for many years to come."
The J&L Tunnel Project is part of CSX's National Gateway, a public-private partnership to create a double-stack freight rail corridor between Mid-Atlantic seaports and the Midwest. Through the National Gateway, CSX continues to invest in infrastructure projects that support expected increases in intermodal freight rail traffic.
In Pittsburgh, CSX recently unveiled a $50 million proposal to redevelop the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie (P&LE) Railroad Yard in McKees Rocks and Stowe Township into a new intermodal rail facility. In Washington, D.C., CSX is working closely with local and federal authorities to evaluate alternatives for the more than 100-year-old Virginia Avenue Tunnel, a major chokepoint on the nation's rail network.
The J&L Tunnel was constructed in the 1880s as part of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad line to allow trains beneath the former J&L Steel Company's Pittsburgh Works Southside facility. Today, the tunnel is an important component of CSX's freight rail infrastructure and a critical transportation link for the Pittsburgh regional economy.
The ESWP Project of the Year Award aims to advance the professions of engineering, architecture and applied sciences through its activities and commitment to public service, recognizing four exemplary projects across the state each year. The J&L Tunnel Project earned the award in the Commercial category for its safety, cost-effectiveness, and ability to deliver long-term economic benefits to the local community. The Diamond Awards for Engineering Excellence from the ACEC/PA celebrates the achievements of member firms who have demonstrated innovation, a commitment to sustainable practices, economic value and superior client service
(Randy Kotuby, CSX- 2/25)
PENNSYLVANIA RAIL FREIGHT GRANTS:
Governor Tom Corbett announced today that 33 rail freight improvement projects that will help sustain more than 43,000 jobs across Pennsylvania were approved today for funding from three PennDOT-managed programs.
"Pennsylvania has more operating railroads than any other state, and investing in our rail freight network keeps these invaluable assets in prime position to generate economic growth and jobs,'' Corbett said. "Improving rail networks not only spurs our economy, it also increases safety by helping to ease traffic on our highways."
The State Transportation Commission (STC) voted to approve $33.4 million for 15 projects through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and 14 projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP). RTAP is a capital budget grant program funded with bonds and RFAP is underwritten through the new Multi-Modal Fund, created by Act 89. In November, Corbett signed Act 89, a far-reaching transportation program that clears the way for significant investments in all transportation modes.
Also, the STC approved $1.3 million for four projects from Marcellus Shale impact fees designated for distribution through PennDOT's Bureau of Rail Freight, Ports and Waterways.
For more information, visit
Allegheny County Allegheny Valley Railroad Co. -- $1.2 million to construct 4,500 feet of track for a new interchange siding with the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway at Bruceton, Pa.
Redevelopment Authority of Berks County -- $952,839 to rehabilitate and expand rail resources to accommodate a new rail-shipment customer.
Blair, Centre, Columbia, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland counties:
SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority -- $1.8 million to rehabilitate nine bridges on five short-line rail systems to support 315,000-pound cars.
Bucks County Railroad Preservation & Restoration Corp. -- $1.8 million to replace rail.
South Avis Realty -- $2.5 million to reconstruct the existing rail yard and construct additional track.
Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County -- $4 million to construct a 7,000-foot unit train loop track and a 400-foot industrial track siding for a new tenant in the Keystone Regional Industrial Park.
Mittal Steel USA Railways Steelton & Highspire -- $1.9 million to rehabilitate 14,242 feet of track, including 27 turnouts.
Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority -- $674,800 to purchase and install 8,000 ties and 7,715 linear feet of rail.
Medley Investments -- $940,310 to relocate CPR's mainline switch, construct 1,050-foot new siding, install a concrete pad for loading and unloading and establish a stone/gravel storage area.
Hodge Foundry, Inc. -- $524,514 to construct a new 460-foot rail siding on the CN/Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad Co. mainline.
Casella Waste Management of Pennsylvania, Inc. -- nearly $7 million to construct a rail siding transfer station along the Buffalo & Pittsburgh line.
Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad -- $539,000 to install 6,000 cross ties and surface 16,000 feet of track.
Allegheny Eastern Railroad Inc. -- $2.3 million to re-establish and upgrade tracks in the Warren yard.
Procter and Gamble Paper Products Co. -- $250,600 to construct track, replace cross ties, replace timber, install ballast and improve the line's surface.
Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation -- $1.1 million for the first of three phases for a project replacing 2.4 miles of worn rail with rail that will eliminate joints.
Allegheny County: Leetsdale Industrial Corp. -- $700,000 for the last phase of track rehabilitation in the industrial park, including turnout replacement, welding, upgrading rail and rail alignment.
The Techs Industries, Inc. -- $229,320 to replace crossties, improve drainage and remove and replace ballast.
Berks, Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery counties:
East Penn Railroad LLC -- $493,640 to replace ties, rails, ballast and renew rail crossing.
Mittal Steel USA Railways, Inc. -- $230,790 to rebuild 1,598 feet of track and replace two turnouts.
Arcelor Plate, LLC -- $197,610 to rehabilitate more than 1,500 feet of track and one turnout.
Crawford and Venango counties:
Oil Creek Titusville Lines, Inc. -- $127,194 to install 1,500 new cross ties, and restore proper profile and depth of roadbed.
Columbia and Reading Railway Co. LLC -- $732,200 to add five new tracks, five new turnouts, realign 390 feet of mainline track, add four new turnouts and 1,350 feet of new track.
Hazleton Shaft Corp. -- $250,000 to construct a new rail spur for access to new anthracite coal thermal drying facility.
Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad -- $507,150 to install 2,000 new cross ties and replace and repair two grade crossings.
Standard Steel, LLC -- $700,000 to remove and replace 2,600 feet of track and several turnouts.
North Shore Railroad -- $250,000 for the first of two phases consisting of constructing 1,500 feet of new track in the yard.
James J. Anderson Construction Co. Inc. -- $476,000 to rehabilitate 5,618-foot loop track, including grade crossing and replace cross ties and miscellaneous rail, and to raise line and surface rail.
Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad -- $700,000 to rehabilitate track in the Buck Mountain tunnel, including replacing 2,478 ties.
Three Rivers Marine and Rail Terminal LP -- $277,088 to rehabilitate grade crossing and connection to Wheeling & Lake Erie railroad and rehabilitate track on Koppers lead mainline.
(Randy Kotuby, State of PA. - 2/25)
Pittsburgh, Allegheny, McKees Rocks Railroad Co. -- $350,000 to install new turnouts, construct new track and rehabilitate existing track including crosstie replacement.
Bradford and Wyoming counties:
Lehigh Railway LLC -- $367,500 for various rail improvements and replacing the deck on Wyalusing Bridge.
Youngstown & Southeastern railroad Inc. -- $339,500 to rehabilitate track from the Pennsylvania border to Darlington, Pa. and rebuild siding at NOV Tuboscope.
Yourga Trucking, Inc. -- $250,000 to install a new asphalt turnout, 700 feet of embedded track and a bumping post for the end of the track.
STREAMLINERS IN SPENCER
The N.C. Transportation Museum and the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation are adding two locomotives to list of attending this year’s Streamliners at Spencer event. The four-day festival, May 29 – June 1, will celebrate classic streamliner locomotives of the 1930s through 1950s, gathering the engines around the historic Bob Julian Roundhouse at the N.C. Transportation Museum.
With the addition of the Wabash E8 No. 1009 and the Pan Am Railways No. 1, the total number of engines attending “Streamliners at Spencer” is now 16. Additional units will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Wabash E8 No. 1009 is notable as the 10,000 unit produced by General Motors Electro-Motive Division. This locomotive pulled Wabash passenger trains, such as the Banner Blue, the Wabash Cannonball and the Blue Bird.
When the Wabash Railroad came under Norfolk & Western control in 1964, No. 1009 was sent to the transportation museum in Roanoke, Va. The unit underwent a complete cosmetic restoration in the last year at Norfolk Southern’s shop in Chattanooga, Tenn. The restoration will allow the unit to appear Streamliners at Spencer event.
Pan Am Railways FP9 No. 1 was built in 1954 by Electro Motive Division for Canadian National as No. 6505. The unit was placed in passenger service and became part of VIA Rail Canada, Canada’s equivalent of Amtrak, in 1978.
Upgrading their fleet in the early 1990s, VIA sold the engine to New Hampshire's Conway Scenic Railway for use on the tourist railroad. In 2010, the engine was part of a trade between Conway Scenic Railway and Pan Am Railways that saw the engine move to its new home in Waterville, Maine. After application of the Pan Am Railways blue paint scheme it became “PAR 1”.
Both units will appear throughout the four day, rail fan event. Streamliners at Spencer will include special operations, daytime locomotive portraits, nighttime photo shoots, the Amtrak exhibit train, special appearances by railroad industry figures and railroad artist Andy Fletcher.
The full list of locomotives can be found on the museum’s event blog, “Streamliners Scoop,” available at www.nctrans.org
A special Preview Day, featuring the last of the engines to arrive, special movements, site preparations and more will be held May 29. Tickets for the Preview Day are $40 per person in advance. Tickets will be $45 on the day of the event.
A special Streamliners “Celebration at the Station” will be held the night of May 29 at the nearby Salisbury station, featuring live music, guest speakers and a BBQ and chicken dinner for $20/person.
Regular daytime admission to Streamliners at Spencer for activities running May 30 through June 1 will be $30 for adults and $20 for children per day if purchased in advance. The price increases to $35 for adults and $25 for children per day if purchased on the day of the event.
Nighttime photo shoots Thursday through Saturday will be $25 per person, per night.
Combo tickets and group discounts will be available, along with discounts for N.C. Transportation Museum members and Norfolk Southern employees. More information about the day-to-day operations and ticket prices are available online at www.nctrans.org.
The participation of all resident and visiting locomotives is subject to timely transportation and mechanical availability.
Tickets are available online at www.nctrans.org or by calling (704) 636-2889 ext. 237 or ext. 257.
(The N.C. Transportation Museum - 2/24)
NJ TRANSIT BOARD SELECTS VERONIQUE (RONNIE) HAKIM AS AGENCY'S NEXT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
In a unanimous vote, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors appointed Veronique (“Ronnie”) Hakim as the new Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT during a special meeting today. The appointment is effective starting Saturday, March 1, 2014.
“I would like to thank Governor Christie and the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors for the opportunity to continue serving the citizens of New Jersey” said Executive Director Hakim. “A robust and efficient public transportation network is vital to the economic growth of the Garden State, and our customers deserve a system that meets and exceeds their expectations. I look forward to working with the hard-working men and women of NJ TRANSIT to achieve these goals in the months and years to come.”
Prior to Executive Director Hakim’s appointment, she led the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) for nearly four years. During her tenure, Executive Director Hakim successfully spearheaded effective cost-cutting initiatives at NJTA while simultaneously maintaining the agency’s high performance levels. These savings and efficiencies include reducing $10 million from the NJTA's operating budget, continuing funding of the agency's ambitious $7 billion Capital Program at a lower cost of capital, and bringing a higher level of transparency and accountability to the agency.
“As a professional with 27 years of experience in the transportation industry, Ronnie’s proven commitment to public service and her results-driven focus will serve the agency, our customers, and the taxpayers of New Jersey well,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman James Simpson.
Previously, Executive Director Hakim also served in leadership roles throughout a 23-year career with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City. She first served as Special Counsel at MTA New York City Transit and later as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Capital Construction at MTA Capital Construction. In that position, she provided senior management with policy and legal advice on numerous large-scale projects, including the Second Avenue Subway, the LIRR East Side Access Project, and the No. 7 Subway Extension Project.
Executive Director Hakim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Rochester and a Juris Doctor from the Pace University School of Law.
(NJ Transit - 2/24)
MTA ANNOUNCES NEW INITIATIVES TO ENSURE PASSENGER AND WORKER SAFETY:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today anounced a series of initiatives to improve safety throughout its operations by strengthening reporting responsibilities, emphasizing management oversight and installing
Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast announced he is creating the position of Chief Safety Officer, a new senior management post reporting directly to the Chairman and CEO, to ensure safety is a top priority throughout all MTA operations. The MTA will also create a new Safety Committee on its board to provide focused oversight of safety issues.
In addition, each MTA agency will ensure its top safety official reports directly to the agency’s president, to reinforce that safety is a prime concern for every agency’s management. At Metro-North Railroad, where safety and security now report to the same position, the responsibilities will be separated and a new position of Chief Safety Officer will be created.
“The safety of our customers and employees is unquestionably the top priority for the MTA, and these steps will make sure this emphasis on safety is built into the operations of every MTA agency,” Prendergast said. “The events of the last year have made clear to everyone in the MTA how important it is to create a culture where all employees act to eliminate risks, and changing our executive structure will ensure safety remains a dedicated agency value.”
Agency presidents discussed their safety programs at today’s meetings of MTA Board committees, detailing how they monitor the condition of crews and equipment, search for potential problems and fix those that they discover. Key among the presidents’ efforts is emphasizing and improving the safety culture within their agencies, so all operations have safety as their primary objective.
All MTA agencies have re-examined their safety-related operations over the last year. Prendergast, who has spent 10 years of his career in safety positions, convened a Blue Ribbon Panel of outside experts to study MTA safety practices in September.
In addition, Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road announced they have installed automatic speed controls at 10 critical curves and one moveable bridge since the Dec. 1, 2013 Metro-North derailment at a curve in Spuyten Duyvil. These controls work with existing signal systems installed in every train cab to enforce speed limits at those locations.
“The MTA has a long tradition of safe and reliable operations, which is why our customers and our employees are rightly upset with the failures we’ve seen in the last year,” Prendergast said. “We are making these and many other improvements so our customers and employees can be confident on the MTA network. Safety is a mindset, not a checklist, and these improvements are important actions to ensure the MTA earns the trust of our customers and employees again.”
(MTA - 2/24)
FREIGHT RAILROADS JOIN U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY FOXX IN ANNOUNCING INDUSTRY CRUDE BY RAIL SAFETY INITIATIVE:
The nation’s major freight railroads today joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in announcing a rail operations safety initiative that will institute new voluntary operating practices for moving crude oil by rail. The announcement follows consultations between railroads represented by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), including the leadership of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
The announcement today covers steps related to crude by rail operations. Additional issues relating to the safe transport of crude oil, such as tank car standards and proper shipper classification of crude oil, are being addressed separately.
“We share the Administration’s vision for making a safe rail network even safer, and have worked together to swiftly pinpoint new operating practices that enhance the safety of moving crude oil by rail,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “Safety is a shared responsibility among all energy-supply-chain stakeholders. We will continue to work with our safety partners – including regulators, our employees, our customers and the communities through which we operate – to find even more ways to reinforce public confidence in the rail industry’s ability to safely meet the increased demand to move crude oil.”
Under the industry’s voluntary efforts, railroads will take the following steps:
Railroads will continue to work with the Administration and rail customers to address other key shared safety responsibilities, including federal tank car standards and the proper shipper classification and labeling of oil moving by rail. PHMSA is currently reviewing public comments on increasing federal tank car standards.
(AAR - 2/21)
Increased Track Inspections – Effective March 25, railroads will perform at least one additional internal-rail inspection each year above those required by new FRA regulations on main line routes over which trains moving 20 or more carloads of crude oil travel. Railroads will also conduct at least two high-tech track geometry inspections each year on main line routes over which trains with 20 or more loaded cars of crude oil are moving. Current federal regulations do not require comprehensive track geometry inspections.
Braking Systems – No later than April 1, railroads will equip all trains with 20 or more carloads of crude oil with either distributed power or two-way telemetry end-of-train devices. These technologies allow train crews to apply emergency brakes from both ends of the train in order to stop the train faster.
Use of Rail Traffic Routing Technology – No later than July 1, railroads will begin using the Rail Corridor Risk Management System (RCRMS) to aid in the determination of the safest and most secure rail routes for trains with 20 or more cars of crude oil. RCRMS is a sophisticated analytical tool, developed in coordination with the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), PHMSA and FRA. Railroads currently use RCRMS in the routing of security sensitive materials. This tool takes into account 27 risk factors – including volume of commodity, trip length, population density along the route, local emergency response capability, track quality and signal systems – to assess the safety and security of rail routes.
Lower Speeds – No later than July 1, railroads will operate trains with 20 or more tank cars carrying crude oil that include at least one older DOT-111 car no faster than 40 miles-per-hour in the federally designated 46 high-threat-urban areas (HTUA) as established by DHS regulations. In the meantime, railroads will continue to operate trains with 20 or more carloads of hazardous materials, including crude oil, at the industry self-imposed speed limit of 50 miles per hour.
Community Relations - Railroads will continue to work with communities through which crude oil trains move to address location-specific concerns that communities may have.
Increased Trackside Safety Technology – No later than July 1, railroads will begin installing additional wayside wheel bearing detectors if they are not already in place every 40 miles along tracks with trains carrying 20 or more crude oil cars, as other safety factors allow.
Increased Emergency Response Training and Tuition Assistance – Railroads have committed by July 1 to provide $5 million to develop specialized crude by rail training and tuition assistance program for local first responders. One part of the curriculum will be designed to be provided to local emergency responders in the field, as well as comprehensive training will designed to be conducted at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) facility in Pueblo, Colo. The funding will provide program development as well as tuition assistance for an estimated 1500 first responders in 2014.
Emergency Response Capability Planning – Railroads will by July 1 develop an inventory of emergency response resources for responding to the release of large amounts of crude oil along routes over which trains with 20 or more cars of crude oil operate. This inventory will include locations for the staging of emergency response equipment and, where appropriate, contacts for the notification of communities. When the inventory is completed, railroads will provide DOT with information on the deployment of the resources and make the information available upon request to appropriate emergency responders.
AAR REPORTS DECREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC:
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported decreased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Feb. 15, 2014 with 270,632 total U.S. carloads, down 2.9 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 236,625 units down 5.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 507,257 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.3 percent compared with the same week last year.
Two of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products with 14,234 carloads, up 7.9 percent; and grain with 19,137 carloads, up 2.5 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included nonmetallic minerals and products with 26,660 carloads, down 10.6 percent.
For the first seven weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,877,070 carloads, down 0.8 percent from the same point last year, and 1,666,024 intermodal units, up 0.1 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first seven weeks of 2014 was 3,543,094 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.4 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 71,456 carloads for the week, down 9.5 percent, and 55,317 intermodal units, up 2.8 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first seven weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 493,932 carloads, down 7.0 percent from the same point last year, and 348,146 intermodal units, down 2.1 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 15,571 carloads for the week, down 1.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,249 intermodal units, up 4.1 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first seven weeks of 2014 was 101,712 carloads, up 2.6 percent from the same point last year, and 65,587 intermodal units, up 0.9 percent from last year.
Combined North American rail volume for the first four weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 2,472,714 carloads, down 2 percent compared with the same point last year, and 2,079,757 intermodal trailers and containers, down 0.2 percent compared with last year.
(AAR - 2/20)
CN CAPITAL 2014 CAPITAL PROGRAM:
CN announced today a 2014 plan to invest approximately C$2.1 billion to continue to raise network safety and efficiency, improve service and grow the business.
Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer, said: "CN is committed to making continued improvements in its safety performance - infrastructure investments are critical to this, as well as to driving improvements in customer service and taking advantage of freight opportunities to grow the business at low incremental cost.
"Investments in our network and distribution capability, the acquisition of new locomotives and equipment and the enhancement of information systems and technology will help support our agenda of operational and service excellence. They will help us achieve our goal of becoming a true supply chain enabler and help our customers compete better in their markets. They will also position us to take advantage of business opportunities in intermodal, energy and other resource and manufacturing markets."
CN is targeting to spend more than C$1.2 billion in 2014 on track infrastructure and to improve the safety, productivity and fluidity of the network. This investment will include the replacement of rail, ties and other track materials, bridge improvements, as well as various branch-line upgrades. This envelope will also include funds for strategic initiatives and additional improvements to track infrastructure in western and eastern Canada as well as in the United States. In 2013, CN invested approximately C$100 million in the Edmonton-Winnipeg corridor to increase rail capacity and to support the movement of strong volumes of grain and other commodities.
CN's equipment capital expenditures in 2014 are targeted to reach approximately C$300 million, allowing the company to tap growth opportunities and improve the quality of the fleet. To accommodate increased traffic and improve operational efficiency, CN in 2013 took delivery of 44 new and 37 second-hand high-horsepower locomotives. In 2014, CN will acquire an additional 45 new high-horsepower locomotives.
By the end of 2014, CN will have acquired 763 high-horsepower locomotives over a 10-year period - these units will represent more than one-half of CN's high-horsepower mainline fleet. Of these acquisitions, 114 units will have alternate-current electrical (AC) traction systems. AC traction motors are more robust than direct-current ones in extreme winter conditions and improve locomotive fleet reliability.
CN also expects to spend approximately C$600 million in 2014 on facilities to grow the business, including transloading terminals, distribution centers and the completion of its Calgary Logistics Park project. This envelope also includes capital for information technology to improve service and operating efficiency, and for other projects to increase the productivity of operations.
Across all of the envelopes are capital projects that will have a major impact on safety. In addition to capital expenditures to ensure the integrity of CN's rail infrastructure, the company is allocating funds to enhance its system-wide flaw detection capabilities. CN will also complete the construction in 2014 of two state-of-the-art training facilities - one in Winnipeg, the other in suburban Chicago - that will help strengthen CN's safety culture and prepare a new generation of safety-conscious railroaders.
In 2013, CN's capital investment program totalled approximately C$2.0 billion.
(CN, Randy Kotuby - 2/19)
SEPTA CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY:
On this day in 1964, a newly-created state Authority held its first ever meeting. The group, called SEPTA, was charged with the planning, development, and coordination of a regional transportation system for Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. Its original function was to coordinate subsidies to the private companies who were struggling to provide safe, consistent, and reliable passenger service to the residents of the Delaware Valley.
The Authority initially provided several ambitious grants to private operators to support and expand public transportation options in the region, but the safety and reliability of their services continued to rapidly decline as they neglected to invest in maintenance of even their existing vehicles and routes. By the late 1960's, with the potential for lucrative profits disappearing, private corporations began publically expressing their interest in dropping public transportation. In response, local & state officials stepped in to create a permanent government body to take over these essential operations.
Beginning with the absorption of the Philadelphia Transit Company (PTC) in September 1968, SEPTA then began assuming full operation and control of all modes of public transportation in the region including an extensive regional railroad operation nearly abandoned by the bankrupt Penn Central & Reading Companies. Today, SEPTA has evolved to become the nation's sixth-largest public transportation system in terms of ridership, and is one of only two public transportation systems in the United States that operates bus, subway, trolley, trolley bus, and commuter rail under one umbrella serving nearly 340 million riders each year.
To recognize this important milestone in the region's history, SEPTA will host a series of physical & digital (A.K.A. "multi-modal") events to celebrate the central role that public transportation continues to provide in the Delaware Valley. The growing list of anniversary events and programs include:
Central to all of these programs is the establishment of the history collection center. "While our region is the seat of the nation's history", said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "Our residents have been without a formal place to remember and preserve their transit memories. This is something that many people have been asking me about for a long time, and now with this anniversary, we're finally able to be able to begin building and enriching it with the help of our riders, friends, and neighbors".
"We look forward to celebrating this milestone with the region" added SEPTA Director of Media Relations Jerri Williams, who also asked "the public & press to keep an ear out for forthcoming announcements regarding additional celebrations and festivities as the year moves forward. This anniversary is one for the history books".
(SEPTA - 2/18)
A vehicle advertising campaign that will feature the SEPTA logos used during the past 50 years
Encouraging riders to share their "first ride on SEPTA stories" through the iSEPTAPhilly campaign
Hosting "Throwback Thursdays" on the SEPTA Newsroom page (www.septa.org/media/short), featuring SEPTA retirees, and classic stories about the agency's development & past.
Encouraging rides aboard SEPTA's vintage PCC trollies along Route 15 and at the Transit Museum at 1234 Market Street. Riders can also hop aboard the historically-wrapped Red Arrow trolley car on Route 101.
Marking the anniversary at other regional events including AMTRAK's National Train Day
The establishment of a "history collection center" at the Transit Museum Store at 1234 Market Street for the public to donate photos, patches, and other memorabilia. These items will serve as the centerpiece of an anniversary open house to display SEPTA related memorabilia.
RAIL TANK CAR INDUSTRY CALL FOR ADDITIONAL SAFETY MEASURES:
The Railway Supply Institute Committee on Tank Cars (RSICTC) has called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider several new safety measures for tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol. In a letter to DOT Secretary Anthony R. Foxx, RSICTC proposed additional safety requirements on newly manufactured railway tank cars, a prohibition on placing additional legacy tank cars into crude oil and ethanol service and prioritization of the modification of existing legacy crude oil and ethanol tank cars. The call comes after three years of waiting for the government to issue new rules that would create an industry standard and help mitigate product loss after train derailments.
"The discovery of new sources of crude oil in North America is one of the most important developments for our economy in the last few decades," said Thomas D. Simpson, President of RSI. "Addressing a 4000 percent increase in delivery of those resources by rail and protecting the public requires actions by railroads, shippers, tank car manufacturers and the federal government. Today we clearly laid out how tank cars can be made safer as quickly as possible. Now it's up to the federal government to complete its rulemaking and issue new standards for the manufacture and modification of tank cars meant to carry crude oil or ethanol."
In 2011, manufacturers began voluntarily building tank cars to a new standard (CPC-1232) jointly developed with the railroads and petitioned DOT to issue a new regulatory standard. Despite DOT's inaction on this petition, today's announcement would expand this safety standard and proposes seven guiding principles to move crude oil and ethanol tank car safety forward, including:
"These guiding principles will accelerate tank car safety," continued Simpson. "Adding new technology, prohibiting additional unmodified tank cars from entering into crude oil and ethanol service, and modifying crude oil and ethanol tank cars first will move safety forward. Additionally, the DOT needs to issue revised tank car standards. These standards should consider the work already done by engineers in the industry to improve tank car safety. The absence of a science-based, government-mandated standard is chilling investment, hindering job creation and slowing down the rollout of new, stronger, cars that can potentially save lives and limit damage after train accidents occur."
(The Railway Supply Institute Committee, Randy Kotuby - 2/18)
Additional Safety Technology. The RSICTC proposed expanding the CPC-1232 standard by requiring a metal jacket, full height head shield and top fittings protection with added thermal protection for the manufacture of all new crude oil and ethanol tank cars. These additions will make the cars more resistant to punctures and heat in case of a derailment.
Limits on Legacy Cars. The industry also called for a prohibition on adding additional legacy (i.e. non-CPC-1232 compliant) tank cars to the existing crude oil or ethanol fleets until DOT issues standards to modify legacy tank cars.
Modify Crude Oil & Ethanol Cars First. RSI's tank car committee has estimated that it will take 10 years to modify existing legacy tank cars because DOT regulations require other work as well. If DOT allows the modification of crude oil and ethanol tank cars first, the time frame for addressing the highest risks could be shortened significantly.
IRVING OIL ANNOUNCES VOLUNTARY CONVERSION OF CRUDE OIL RAILCAR FLEET:
Irving Oil announced today that by April 30, 2014, it will complete the conversion of its proprietary fleet of crude oil railcars to the Association of American Railroads' (AAR) recommended specifications for DOT-111 railcars constructed after October 1, 2011. This will require the voluntary removal of older-model railcars from service. The AAR specifications recommend that DOT-111 railcars built after October 2011 be constructed with reinforcements and enhancements that have been reported to reduce the risk of product loss if these railcars are involved in derailments. Irving Oil will also advise suppliers and marketers of crude oil of Irving Oil's adoption of AAR's enhanced standard, and will ask for their adherence by no later than December 31, 2014 for crude oil railcars servicing Irving Oil facilities.
The announcement by Irving Oil follows recommendations made on January 23, 2014 by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) relating to enhanced protection standards for rail cars.
"We have made substantial progress in converting our fleet of crude oil railcars to meet this enhanced standard. In light of the strongly worded recommendation from the TSB in January, we felt it was important to communicate this milestone to the public," says Paul Browning, President & CEO of Irving Oil. "Safety is paramount to our business, and by taking this voluntary leadership position with our own fleet of railcars we expect to set a standard for the suppliers and marketers who ship crude oil to our facilities to quickly follow our example."
After working in recent months to implement the AAR recommendation, 88% of Irving Oil's crude oil railcars are already of newer construction that meet the AAR's enhanced specifications for DOT-111 railcars constructed after October 2011. Over the next ten weeks, Irving Oil will continue to execute its plan of emptying the remaining older-model rail cars so that they can then be cleaned and removed from service. By April 30, Irving Oil's in-service proprietary DOT-111 rail fleet in Canada and the United States will consist exclusively of newer-model rail cars built in 2012 and 2013, and all of these cars will meet the AAR's enhanced specifications for DOT-111 railcars constructed after October 2011.
(Irving Oil - 2/17)
CENTRAL MAINE AND QUEBEC RAILWAY:
Railroad Acquisition Holdings, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, is purchasing the assets of the bankrupt Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway. The new railroad will be known as the Central Maine and Quebec Railway.
AMTRAK TO RESUME NORMAL OPERATIONS ON NORTHEAST CORRIDOR, LONG DISTANCE SERVICE:
Amtrak will operate a full Saturday schedule on the Northeast Corridor on February 15th. Acela Express (Boston – Washington), Northeast Regional (Boston - Lynchburg/Newport News/Norfolk), Keystone Service (New York – Harrisburg, Pa.), Empire Service (New York – Albany, N.Y.) and Piedmont Service (Raleigh – Charlotte) will all operate on normal Saturday schedules.
Long distance operations in the Southeast will resume in full, including the popular Auto Train which now features additional capacity. The Silver Star (Trains 91 & 92) will operate between Jacksonville, Fla., and Miami.
Amtrak regrets any inconvenience. This information is correct as of the above time and date. Information is subject to change as conditions warrant.
Passengers with travel plans can confirm their train's status, change their plans or review refund information using a range of tools – including Amtrak.com, smartphone apps or by calling 800-USA-RAIL. Service Alerts, Passenger Notices and other announcements are posted at Amtrak.com/alerts.
To be notified of service disruptions on the Northeast Corridor (including Acela Express, Northeast Regional and other corridor services), follow @AmtrakNEC on Twitter.
AMHERST RAILWAY SOCIETY AWARDS MORE THAN $40,000 IN GRANTS TO PRESERVE RAIL HISTORY:
The Amherst Railway Society has awarded more than $40,000 in grants to 19 charitable organizations that work to preserve rail heritage. The awards were made at the society's annual Railroad Hobby Show Jan. 25, 2014 at the Eastern State's Exposition in West Springfield, Mass.
The two-day show, one of the largest in the nation, attracts about 25,000 railroad enthusiasts each year. It is also the society's primary fundraising endeavor and generates the money the society then distributes to rail-related museums, historical societies and restoration groups.
Since 1991, the non-profit Amherst Railway Society has given away about $750,000 in grants.
"We're delighted to be able to share the proceeds of our annual train show with these terrific organizations that work so hard to preserve rail history," said John Sacerdote, the Show Director.
"Preservation of important rail sites and equipment is extremely difficult, even before one considers all the fundraising these groups do," added Amherst Railway Society President Sudro Brown. "We're glad to be able to lend a hand to so many organizations doing such worthwhile work. We plan to keep doing it in the coming years."
The other grant recipients are:
The Amherst Railway Society's $10,000 Founders' Award went to the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum in Shelburne Falls, Mass. The museum is raising money to build a fire- resistant metal two-car car barn to house part of its collection.
The Robert A. Buck Award, totaling $2,000 and named in honor of the long-time director of the Railroad Hobby Show, went to the Chester Foundation in Chester, Mass. for restoration of a 1919 wooden caboose displayed at the Chester Depot.
The President's Award, totaling $3,125, went to Branford Electric Railway Association/Shoreline Trolley Museum in East Haven, Conn. for restoration of Connecticut Company Car No. 865.
(Amherst Railway Society
The ALCO Historical & Technical Society of Schenectady, N.Y., $1,000 to help cover the cost of moving Adirondack RSC2 No. 25 to a new location for eventual display.
Bartlett Roundhouse Preservation Club of Bartlett, N.H., $1,000 for continuing restoration of the Conway Scenic Railroad's 1923 Russell snow plow.
Central Vermont Railway Historical Society of Randolph Center, Vt., $2,500 to aid in archiving CV historical information.
Conrail Historical Society of Marysville, Pa., $1,500 for the purchase of a portable generator for outdoor restoration work.
Friends of the Keystone Arches, Inc., of Huntington, Mass., $1,500 to lift stones from the Westfield River to restore one of the Keystone Arches in Chester, Mass.
Hopewell Depot Restoration Corp. of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., $1,500 for construction of a replica of the 1892 control tower.
New England Electric Railway Historical Society/Seashore Trolley Museum of Kennebunkport, Maine, $3,000 toward restoration of Bay State Railway car No. 4175.
National Railway Historical Society -Cape Cod Chapter, $1,500 toward interior restoration work at the West Barnstable, Mass. train station.
National Railway Historical Society -Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Chapter of Scranton, Pa., $3,200 toward continuing restoration of Boston & Maine steam locomotive No. 3713.
National Railway Historical Society -Western Connecticut Chapter of South Norwalk, Conn., $1,500 for exterior restoration work to SoNo Tower.
Old Colony & Newport Railway/The National Railroad Foundation and Museum of Newport, R.I., $1,450 toward window replacement on the railway's 1884 office car No.74.
Rowe Historical Society of Rowe, Mass., $1,232 for the purchase of a display case.
Rutland Railroad Museum of Rutland, Vt., $2,000 to upgrade interior lighting.
Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Valley Railway Museum of Alna, Maine, $2,600 for interior enhancements to the Percival house.
PATH WEEKEND WORK ADVISORY - PATH RAIL WORK TO ENHANCE SAFETY, SECURITY AND SERVICE STARTS THIS WEEKEND WITH CLOSURES OF WORLD TRADE CENTER AND EXCHANGE PLACE STATIONS:
Extensive PATH rail work to implement a federal safety mandate is set to begin late Friday night through early Monday morning with closures of the World Trade Center and Exchange Place stations, a process that will continue most weekends throughout 2014 with the exception of major holidays.
PATH riders will be able to get between New Jersey and New York from all other PATH stations on weekends, including Grove Street, Newport and Journal Square in Jersey City. Riders from Newark and Harrison will need to transfer at Journal Square for trips into New York.
Service between New Jersey and New York will run on weekends on the Journal Square to 33rd Street (via Hoboken) line during the closures of the World Trade Center and Exchange Place stations, with increased service and decreased wait times.
The Port Authority regrets the inconvenience, but wants riders to know the work is critical to install Positive Train Control, an updated safety system that automatically applies a train’s brakes if a collision is imminent. The federal government has mandated the system’s implementation by a December 2015 deadline. The weekend window also is required to continue ongoing work to remove latent, corrosive salt from the system left by Superstorm Sandy flooding.
Allotting this work time is vital to upgrading PATH to improve current and future service. In addition to safety and security enhancements, this work will provide PATH riders increased reliability in the future, as well as laying the groundwork for increased passenger capacity as early as 2016.
PATH officials are making a concerted effort to inform its passengers of the station closures and alternative travel options, with announcements running in stations every five minutes, PATHVision alerts with increased daily frequency, explanation boards at the WTC and Exchange Place stations, as well as regular PATHAlerts and @PATHTrain Twitter messages. Additional PATH information agents will be at the WTC and Exchange Place stations to provide riders with alternative route information on weekends between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Additionally, PATH has reached agreement with NJ TRANSIT to cross-honor PATH tickets on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail at the Exchange Place, Newport and Hoboken stations during the upcoming weekend closures. PATH officials also have coordinated with NJ TRANSIT and NYC Subway officials about letting their potential connecting customers know of the station outages.
CSX PREPARES FOR WORST WINTER WEATHER IN RECENT HISTORYl
CSX continues to experience the worst winter weather in recent history across its entire network. Since December 1, temperatures in many places have remained in the single digits and even below zero over the northern two-thirds of the system. These frigid temperatures have been accompanied by multiple storms and heavy, blowing snow and ice accumulations. Two major storms, including one this week, have impacted the southern portion of the CSX network. This weather has caused issues with switches, signal systems, locomotive reliability and employees' ability to get to work locations.
CSX has taken the following actions to mitigate the impact of the severe weather:
Delays are expected to continue as CSX manages through the severe weather but normal operations and customer service should resume as conditions improve. In the meantime, and as the extreme winter weather persists, customers should continue to expect delays.
Key operating leaders and other managers' duties and work locations have been shifted to focus strictly on train operations and customer concerns.
Employees have been relocated to areas where they are urgently needed, while the company continues to hire aggressively in all operating departments.
System Operations conference calls are being held around the clock to ensure the highest levels of coordination and planning.
Communications also are focused on close coordination with other railroads and rerouting traffic away from the hardest hit areas to maintain fluidity.
The locomotive fleet has been increased 5 percent since December 1 through purchases, leases and re-deploying locomotives in storage.
Any and all emergency customer needs are being escalated immediately to the highest levels in Operations for attention.
PATH RAIL SET TO ENHANCE SAFETY, SECURITY AND SERVICE WITH MAJOR WORK THAT REQUIRES WEEKEND CLOSURES OF WORLD TRADE CENTER AND EXCHANGE PLACE STATIONS:
PATH is poised to become one of the nation’s first mass-transit rail systems to meet the federal government’s December 2015 deadline for implementing Positive Train Control, an advanced signal technology that enhances safety by automatically applying a train’s brakes if a collision appears imminent.
This project, which also will ensure time for other critical work like continued post-Superstorm Sandy cleanup and security improvements, will require the closure of the World Trade Center and Exchange Place PATH stations up to 45 weekends – excluding major holidays -- throughout the remainder of 2014 and possibly early 2015. Similar work and closures will be necessary on tunnels beneath the Hudson River serving PATH’s uptown 33rd Street line in 2015.
Work and closures will commence the weekend of Feb. 14-17, beginning late Friday night, Feb. 14 and continuing through 5 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 17.
Positive Train Control was mandated by federal law in 2008 and is designed to help reduce human or mechanical errors to avoid accidents and save lives. If a dangerous situation arises, a train’s braking system automatically engages to avoid accidents with other trains, derailments caused by excessive speed or wrong switching to tracks undergoing repairs. While PATH long has maintained an excellent safety record, this improvement is mandated to further enhance safety.
The Positive Train Control improvements are part of a $580 million, comprehensive signals modernization program to replace PATH’s antiquated mechanical train controls with state-of-the-art, computerized signals. In addition to replacing aging technology and making the system safer, this new signal system will ultimately improve service for PATH riders by enabling more frequent service in the future.
Throughout this year’s outages, there will be PATH service at all times on the weekends between New York and New Jersey on the Journal Square to 33rd Street via Hoboken line. PATH passengers can access the 33rd Street line, changing at Journal Square Transit Center, from the Newark and Harrison stations as well.
The Port Authority regrets the inconvenience to its passengers, but stresses that this work is vital to upgrading PATH to improve current and future service. In addition to safety and security enhancements, this work will provide PATH riders increased reliability in the future, as well as laying the groundwork for increased passenger capacity as early as 2016.
“Positive Train Control is a vital part of our ‘PATH Forward’ plan in the coming years and we hope our passengers understand that inconvenience now will mean an even safer and better ride in the long run,’’ said Stephen Kingsberry, PATH’s director and general manager. “We are utilizing the out-of-service periods to maximize post-Sandy initiatives, installation of computerized signals and state-of-good-repair work on our tunnels and lines.”
This year’s work also is essential for PATH to continue its remediation efforts on rails, tunnels and equipment due to ongoing deterioration from latent, corrosive salt residue from Superstorm Sandy. The storm’s unprecedented flooding of 15 million gallons of corrosive salt water in each of the PATH tunnels left behind a salt residue that could not entirely be cleaned during the efforts to restore service in the months after the storm. To remedy this issue, workers will power-wash the tunnels between WTC and Exchange Place stations during the closures to remove corrosive salt. They also will also replace 90 percent of the utilities in the tunnels, including power and communications equipment, rail, third rail, and track—all of which is corroding due to salt intrusion.
Just before the Superstorm Sandy hit in late October 2012, 55 percent of the signal work had been awarded, the design of the new system was complete and installation of equipment was well underway. After the storm passed, all field activity for the signals program stopped for more than four months, with work gradually returning to normal activity over a three-month period. Continuing at this pace, the overall signal program would have been delayed more than three years.
(PANYNY, Alex Mayes
AMTRAKCONNECT® Wi-Fi NOW ON MIDWEST CORRIDORS:
AmtrakConnect® cellular-based Wi-Fi service is now available on Amtrak trains in the Midwest, with eight corridors offering this free amenity to Amtrak passengers, effective today. Collectively, these routes carried nearly 3.3 million passengers in the last year (Amtrak FY2013, Oct. 2012-Sept. 2013) and account for about 10 percent of Amtrak ridership.
"We continually look for ways to improve the customer experience on board our trains. The availability of a free Wi-Fi service that delivers the speeds and connectivity passengers are looking for is yet one more way to achieve this goal and maintain a competitive position among transportation providers," said Matt Hardison, Amtrak Chief Marketing and Sales Officer.
AmtrakConnect utilizes multiple cellular carriers to provide the best mobile experience possible, taking advantage of 4G technologies where available. Amtrak installed the equipment under contracts with the states of Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin as part of their sponsorship of Amtrak service. This brings the Wi-Fi coverage to about 85 percent passengers across the national network.
Hardison explained that AmtrakConnect is provided at no cost to passengers and has proven very popular – as evidenced by the fact that it routinely supports between 30 and 50 percent of passengers on a given train.
Wi-Fi service is now provided on these Chicago Hub Services routes in addition to Amtrak trains on the East and West Coasts (FY2013 ridership data):
As the demand for on-board Wi-Fi continues to grow, and in order to ensure the best experience for everyone, data-intensive activities, such as streaming video and music, and large file downloads that can slow everyone down, will be restricted. Doing so helps ensure that high-volume data users onboard the trains do not degrade the experience for others. More information is available on the attached document, which is available at stations and aboard the trains.
Passengers will also see specially dressed "AmtrakConnect Ambassadors" on some trains, distributing brochures and providing other assistance in celebration of the new service.
(Amtrak, Randy Kotuby
Illinois: 1.22 million passengers -
Lincoln Service: Chicago-Springfield-St. Louis (expanding to all four round-trips);
Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg: Chicago-Galesburg-Quincy
Michigan: 1.05 million passengers -
Wolverine Service: Chicago-Ann Arbor-Detroit-Pontiac;
Blue Water: Chicago-East Lansing-Port Huron;
Pere Marquette: Chicago-Holland-Grand Rapids
Missouri: 200,000 passengers -
Missouri River Runner: St. Louis-Jefferson City-Kansas City
Wisconsin (contract shared with Illinois): 821,000 passengers -
Hiawatha Service: Chicago-Milwaukee
FOURTH ANNUAL PROJECT 113 SLIDE SHOW::
The Fourth Annual Project 113 Slide Show will be held on Saturday, March 29, in Minersville, Pa.
Doors will open at 8:00 AM for coffee and doughnuts. The presenters will begin at 9:00 AM.
The show will be presented at Christy Joy Catering Service, located on 141 Bulls Head Road, Pottsville, PA.
The master of ceremonies for this event will be Mr. Al Barnes. Shows are as follows:
There will be door prizes, raffles, and a limited number of vendors selling memorabilia .
Lunch will be provided by Christy Joy Catering Service. The menu will be served buffet style and consist of the following: City chicken, ham, stuffed shells, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and mixed homemade desserts.
The cost is $30.00 per person. Seating is limited, tickets will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Checks can be made payable to Project 113 and sent to Project 113, 113 East Sunbury Street, Minersville, PA 17954. For information phone: 570-544-8300 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Directions to Show:
Starting at Minersville Station, proceed east on Seltzer Road 1 3/10 miles to Bulls Head Road, turn right onto Bulls Head Road, travel approximately
7/10 mile. Christy Joy’s Catering Service is on the right. There is plenty of off road parking on the grounds of the facility.
(Kermit Geary, JR
9:00 AM to 9:45 AM: Allen Keller, PRR in the Early 1960’s, My Experiences as a Locomotive Inspector for Remote Control Locomotives.
10:00 AM to 10:45 AM: Bob Warner, 1950s Steam Around Reading.
11:00 AM to 11:45 AM: Don Young, South African Steam.
11:45 AM to 1:00 PM: Break for lunch.
1:00 PM to 1:30 PM: Joe Fusco’s 113 Restoration Progress Presentation and Slides from the John Pritz Collection of Jersey Central and Reading Steam.
1:45 PM to 2:30 PM: Kermit Geary, Lehigh New England Railroad in General.
2:45 PM to 3:30 PM: Craig Werley, Kantner Slide Collection, The Conrail Era.
ACS-64 MAKES FIRST REVENUE RUN:
On February 7, at 8:15 am, ACS-64 #600 pulled Boston-Lynchburg Regional #171 from BOS to Washington. The 9-car train included track inspection car Beech Grove as the last car. The new motor did a good job of keeping the big (for the Northeast Corridor) train on schedule, getting it to WAS at 4:13 pm – two min. early. It’s best performance was the 20.7-mi. run from BWI to New Carrollton, which it accomplished in 12” (103.5 MPH).
CN CONDUCTORS' STRIKE AVERTED AFTER COMPANY AND TEAMSTER UNION REACH NEW TENTATIVE LABOR AGREEMENT:
CN announced y that it has reached a new tentative collective agreement with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference – Conductors, Trainpersons and Yardpersons (TCRC-CTY).
The parties’ negotiation of a new tentative agreement averts a threatened strike by the union at 0001 hours Eastern Standard Time Feb. 8, 2014. The TCRC-CTY represents approximately 3,000 CN train conductors, trainpersons, yardpersons and traffic coordinators on CN’s network in Canada.
Details of the three-year labour contract are being withheld pending ratification.
Jim Vena, CN executive vice-president and chief operating officer, said: “We commend the leadership of the TCRC-CTY for reaching consensus with the company and averting a possible strike. This will ensure continued service to our customers in a very challenging environment where extreme winter conditions have hampered CN operations and affected service levels.
“CN has offered to work closely with the union leadership to explain the terms of the agreement to union members over the next 45 days to help ensure a successful ratification of the agreement.”
(CN - 2/07)
COMMUNITIES AND COASTAL RIVER BENEFIT FROM NORFOLK SOUTHERN STORMWATER PROJECT:
Communities around Norfolk and the Elizabeth River, a tributary of the ecologically important Chesapeake Bay, have benefitted from Norfolk Southern’s innovative stormwater management system at the railroad’s Lamberts Point coal transload facility.
When it rains, the multimillion-dollar recycling system collects, filters, and treats stormwater from the 425-acre export coal facility. The water is reused to suppress dust and clean equipment at Pier 6, where oceangoing colliers are loaded with metallurgical and steam coal used to produce steel and electricity worldwide. In addition to enhancing the health of the river’s ecosystem by reducing stormwater runoff, the project conserves water and lowers the company’s water bill. Since the recycling system began operating in March 2013, the coal pier has reduced its use of municipal water by approximately 1.5 million gallons a month, annually saving about 18 million gallons.
The railroad’s efforts have earned recognition from the Elizabeth River Project, a nonprofit conservation organization whose goal is to restore the river’s water quality. The ERP in January presented Norfolk Southern with a 2013 “Sustained Distinguished Performance” award for the stormwater project, the second consecutive year the railroad has achieved the award. The railroad is a “Model Level” partner in the ERP’s River Star Business program, the highest level for businesses.
“It really is an impressive project,” said Pamela Boatwright, the ERP’s deputy director administration and River Star program manager. “Through its efforts at Lamberts Point, Norfolk Southern has shown its commitment to environmental stewardship and is contributing to our long-term goal to make the Elizabeth River safe again for swimming and fishing.”
Blair Wimbush, NS vice president real estate and corporate sustainability officer, said the stormwater project demonstrates the railroad’s commitment to corporate responsibility.
“Our investment supports a healthier environment while also benefitting the company’s bottom line, results that are good for the communities the railroad serves as well as employees and shareholders,” Wimbush said. “This is the kind of sustainability project that we love to do. It was voluntary, goes beyond governmental compliance, and has ecological and economical efficiencies. It reflects our underlying commitment to innovate, reduce our environmental footprint, and improve our economic well-being at the same time.”
Norfolk Southern constructed stormwater retention ponds at the Lamberts Point facility in 2000. The latest upgrade, an approximately $5-million investment, added a 10,000-gallon holding tank, a “Hydroclone” filtration system to remove fine coal particles, and a carbon and ultraviolet light treatment system that neutralizes microorganisms and other potential pollutants. The water then is ready for use in the coal pier’s operating processes.
“A lot of people think that big industry doesn’t care about the environment until somebody forces their hand, but that has not been my experience at Norfolk Southern,” said Ray Jones, director piers and facilities. Jones, a 33-year employee of the company, helped oversee the stormwater system upgrade. “Norfolk Southern has done many other projects across our 22-state system that show we do care about the environment and are taking care of the land and waterways around us.”
To learn more about how Norfolk Southern contributes to a cleaner environment, a healthy economy, and safer communities, visit
(Norfolk Southern Corporation
NEW AMTRAK LOCOMOTIVES READY FOR SERVICE
AND SET TO POWER NORTHEAST ECONOMY:
When Amtrak Northeast Regional #171 departs Boston on Feb. 7, a new era of mobility will begin as the first of 70 new advanced technology electric locomotives enters revenue service. The modern equipment provides more reliable and efficient service for passengers, and will power the Northeast region’s economic growth and continued prosperity.
“Amtrak is integral to the daily life of the Northeast and the new locomotives will keep the people and businesses of the region connected and on the move,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “New equipment ensures Amtrak can deliver the reliable service the region depends on and supports the growth of the region as America’s economic powerhouse.”
“Beyond improved reliability of service, the new locomotives represent a prudent business decision to invest in the future of the Northeast region and better position Amtrak to support ridership growth in the coming years,” said Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia.
The new locomotives will serve as the strong workhorses of Amtrak Northeast Corridor operations, power all Northeast Regional and long-distance trains between Washington, New York and Boston, and match existing trip-times at speeds up to 125 mph. Eventually, they also will operate on the Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa.
The Siemens-built electric locomotives, known as the Amtrak Cities Sprinter, are being assembled at its solar-powered rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, Calif. The equipment includes parts built from Siemens plants in Norwood, Ohio, Alpharetta, Ga., and Richland, Miss., and nearly 70 other suppliers, representing more than 60 cities and 23 states.
“We are extremely proud to serve as a rail technology partner for Amtrak,” said Michael Cahill, President of Siemens Rail Systems in the U.S. “Through our teamwork with Amtrak, we
are not only delivering improved performance, we’re boosting American manufacturing. Our innovation, expertise and proven technology are helping transportation operators across the country keep the economy moving.”
The new locomotives are designed for improved reliability and easier maintenance leading to faster turn-around times and increased availability for service. A state-of-the-art microprocessor system performs self-diagnosis of technical issues, takes self-corrective action and notifies the locomotive engineer. In addition, there are redundant systems to ensure power is maintained to the passenger cars to keep heating and cooling systems working, the lights on and the doors operational. The locomotives also meet the latest federal rail safety regulations, including crash energy management components.
Furthermore, the locomotives are energy efficient and use a regenerative braking system to feed energy back into the power grid. Together, the 70 locomotives could save over 3 billion-kilowatt hours of energy and could result in more than $300 million in savings over 20 years.
The new locomotives will replace older equipment that have between 25 and 35 years of service and average mileage of more than 3.5 million miles traveled with some approaching 4.5 million miles. Amtrak expects to have several more new locomotives enter revenue service in the coming weeks and then will receive monthly delivery of the remaining units through 2015.
Amtrak is a vital player in the Northeast economy and transportation system, connecting major business, financial, political, cultural, medical and educational centers. Today, Amtrak carries three passengers for every one airline passenger between Washington and New York, and moves more passengers between New York and Boston than all the airlines combined. (Amtrak - 2/06)
NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY'S DYCKMAN STREET STATION REHAB COMPLETED:
The MTA’s two-year rehabilitation of the Dyckman St 1 Subway Line station, which greatly improves conditions for customers and adds a new elevator, was marked today by a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by MTA Board Vice Chairman Fernando Ferrer, NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco, MTA officials and community leaders from Upper Manhattan.
This $31 million rehabilitation project, which includes the addition of a new state-of-the-art elevator from the station mezzanine to the southbound platform, was completed in November. Over the past two years, the station has undergone major repairs to its interior and exterior finishes.
“We have been able to fully rehabilitate this historic station improving the structural aspects and customer amenities while retaining the unique architectural features that have made this station so visually special,” NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco said.
“As part of this contract, NYC Transit was also able to carry out line structure steel repairs, waterproofing and track replacement,” said MTA Vice Chairman Fernando Ferrer. “Together with the other work we have completed along this corridor, customers will see more reliable service and vastly improved amenities.”
After years of deferred maintenance, the finished station now has new concrete platforms, a refurbished Fort George Tunnel Portal, new platform windscreens, new canopies (which include salvaged wood rafters), and a refurbished control area with restored historic finishes.
Some of these finishes include wood frame windows, mosaic tiles, granite floor tiles, plaster ceiling, ceramic wall tiles and “iron-spot” bricks, replicated cast iron guardrails, and restored mosaic tile signage at the platform level. New cast iron lighting was installed at the entrance and platform level, designed to reflect the historical era of the originals.
The new elevator, serving the downtown platform, is the first of its kind to be installed inside New York City Transit. It features an energy-efficient, reliable, machine room-less (MRL) elevator system. This type of elevator uses conventional steel cord ropes as hoisting cables operated by a motorized traction hoisting machine installed at the top side wall.
Other upgrades that will also improve access for the disabled include a ramp at the station entrance, realignment of the station platforms, modification of the staircases, and the installation of new railings and door handles. The sidewalk leading to the station head-house has been reconfigured to improve pedestrian safety.
In addition to the Dyckman St 1 Subway Line Station Rehab, component work at a cost of approximately $23 million was completed at five other stations: 207 St, 215 St, 225 St, 238 St and Van Cortlandt Park-242 St. Platform edges and canopies were replaced at all five stations. Street stairs were also replaced at the 207 St and 225 St stations.
At Dyckman St, MTA Arts for Transit commissioned an artist to create additional artwork during the station’s rehabilitation. In creating the artwork for the station, Wopo Holup found inspiration in nature. “Birds in Flight-Moon View” consists of ceramic tile reliefs of birds in flight that were originally installed in 1991 within the white tile of the mezzanine wall and stairwells. The new work provides a view of the earth as seen from the moon. In the artist’s words, “Birds in Flight-Moon View” greets customers upon entering the station and emphasizes nature and the vastness of the universe.’’
Opened in 1906, the Dyckman St 1 Subway Line Station is a design unique in the system and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The outdoor station situated just north of the Fort George Tunnel portal has two side platforms above a masonry head house. The fare control area is located in the station building below track level.
(MTA - 2/06)
AAR REPORTS INCREASED TRAFFIC FOR JANUARY, DECREASED TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK:
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased total U.S. rail traffic for January 2014, with intermodal and carload volume increasing overall compared with January 2013. Intermodal traffic in January 2014 totaled 1,183,285 containers and trailers, up 1.3 percent (14,682 units) compared with January 2013. The weekly average of 236,657 intermodal units in January is the highest weekly average for any January on record. U.S. carload traffic totaled 1,345,184 carloads in January 2014, up 0.4 percent (5,183 carloads) over January 2013.
Seven of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in January over the same month last year. Commodities with the biggest carload increases last month included grain, up 13.2 percent or 12,141 carloads, and petroleum and petroleum products, up 10.4 percent or 6,777 carloads. Crude oil accounts for approximately half of this commodity category.
Commodity categories with carload declines last month included metallic ores, down 23.5 percent or 7,389 carloads from January 2013, and motor vehicles and parts, down 6.1 percent or 4,158 carloads.
Coal carloads were down 0.5 percent, or 2,901 carloads, in January 2014 from January 2013. Excluding coal, carloads were up 1 percent (8,084 carloads) in January 2014.
“Railroads are very good at operating their 140,000 mile long, outdoor ‘factory floor’ in all kinds of difficult weather. That said, in many parts of the country, January took the term difficult weather to new lows, as in low temperatures, for recent years,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “We can’t quantify it precisely, but the extreme cold probably held down rail traffic to some extent – for example, by making it more difficult for rail customers to produce their products and to load what they did produce into rail cars.”
AAR today also reported decreased rail traffic for the week ending February 1, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 270,903 carloads last week, down 1.5 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 247,109 units, down 0.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 518,012 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.2 percent compared with the same week last year.
Two of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including: grain, with 20,745 carloads, up 22.5 percent, and petroleum and petroleum products, with 13,255 carloads, up 0.8 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic were led by nonmetallic minerals and products, with 26,785 carloads, down 8.8 percent.
For the first five weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,345,184 carloads, up 0.4 percent from the same point last year, and 1,183,285 intermodal units, up 1.3 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first five weeks of 2014 was 2,528,469 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.8 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 72,288 carloads for the week, down 3.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 46,527 intermodal units, down 6.3 percent compared with 2013. For the first five weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 352,192 carloads, down 5.4 percent from the same point last year, and 242,102 intermodal units, down 3.5 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 15,055 carloads for the week, down 1.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,319 intermodal units, up 1.1 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first five weeks of 2014 is 71,951 carloads, up 4.4 percent from the same point last year, and 46,058 intermodal units, up 2.7 percent.
Combined North American rail volume for the first five weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 1,769,327 carloads, down 0.7 percent compared with the same point last year, and 1,471,445 trailers and containers, up 0.5 percent compared with last year.
(AAR - 2/06)
GREENBRIER'S SAFER TANK CAR DESIGN:
The Greenbrier Companies ("Greenbrier"), announced today that it will design a new generation "Tank Car of the Future" for rail transport of hazardous freight, including flammable crude oil and ethanol, that can better withstand the additional demands associated with operating unit trains. The new "Tank Car of the Future" design will also respond to safety criticisms of the existing legacy fleet of older DOT-111 tank cars. The new car design is intended to meet anticipated new industry and government standards for tank cars transporting certain hazardous material. Greenbrier is also introducing retrofits for tank cars already in service or now being produced, significantly enhancing the safety of existing cars.
"Statistics from the Association of American Railroads ("AAR") show that 99.9977% of all rail-carried hazardous material arrives at its destination without incident. However, recent high-profile derailments have clearly demonstrated the need for updating the North American tank car fleet to the highest practical safety standards," said Greenbrier Chairman and CEO William Furman. "Greenbrier is addressing the tank car safety issue on two fronts - by supporting a 'Tank Car of the Future' and through offering retrofit alternatives for the legacy fleet, including our most recently built CPC-1232 tank cars, as may be appropriate. This allows the industry to take immediate steps to improve public safety. It also preserves the massive investment in tank cars now in service, by extending the time these cars could be used in hazardous material transportation as they ultimately transition over time to less hazardous service. The Department of Transportation ("DOT") has yet to rule on industry recommendations to adopt the newer and safer CPC-1232 standards submitted to them in March 2011. These were subsequently mandated by the AAR on tank cars ordered after October 2011. When Greenbrier builds railcars, our top priorities are to ensure our workers' and the public's safety while protecting the natural environment."
In order to respond to immediate safety concerns, and in anticipation of future action by the DOT, Greenbrier is also introducing retrofits for legacy DOT-111 cars and newer cars that meet the current CPC-1232 standard mandated by AAR. As of November 2013, there were 272,100 DOT-111 tank cars in service in North America of which 255,000 were of the older legacy design. Among those tank cars, 170,000 were in hazardous transport, with 68,000 tank cars in crude oil and ethanol service.
Retrofit options for the legacy DOT-111 tank cars will include high-flow pressure relief valves, head shields, top fittings protection and thermal protection. It is expected that appropriate retrofit choices could allow extended service for DOT-111 tank cars as these cars are placed in lower risk service over time. Industry research has shown that bottom and top appurtenances on the legacy DOT-111 tank cars are impacted in high speed derailments. Greenbrier's proposed retrofit is targeted to improve these tank car features, and adds head shields, to achieve better performance in a derailment event.
Greenbrier will also provide retrofit offerings for newer tank cars built under the AAR's CPC -1232 standards, which applies to all tank cars ordered after October 2011. Greenbrier's retrofit package for newer CPC-1232 cars includes high-flow pressure relief valves and improved bottom outlet valve handles for any CPC-1232 cars in crude and ethanol service which were not originally equipped with these features.
Combined, these retrofits can meaningfully improve the safety performance of both car types in continued service. Greenbrier expects its "Tank Car of the Future" and retrofit offerings will comply with anticipated Class I rail carrier requirements as well as pending regulatory actions by the U.S. and Canadian governments. The Company's retrofitting work, as part of its Wheels, Refurbishment & Parts segment, will not materially impact production rates for new builds as part of its Manufacturing segment.
Furman continued, "Greenbrier has a rich history of designing and building the world's most durable tank cars for delivering sensitive materials. For over 30 years our Wagony Swidnica facility in Poland has built all types of pressure tank and specialty cars for the Western European rail system. European tank car service is highly regulated, and typically consists of shorter, faster trains than in the US and North America, with many advanced safety features and an excellent safety record for hazardous materials service."
"We are prepared to respond in part as the result of an order to build 500 pressure cars in North America. Currently, pressure cars are used to transport hazardous freight other than crude oil and ethanol. These cars exceed current tank car standards for cars transporting crude oil and ethanol, as well as all new tank car standards recently considered by AAR. Our pressure car experience will aid our design effort on the Tank Car of the Future for non-pressurized hazardous service, including the transportation of crude oil and ethanol," Furman added.
In North America, Greenbrier can build tank cars at a rate of 4,000 cars per year, and is increasing its capacity in light of higher demand for tank cars related to the energy renaissance in America. As of November 30, 2013, 47% of Greenbrier's backlog consisted of tank cars which are almost entirely the more advanced and safer CPC-1232 tank cars and pressure cars. Greenbrier no longer produces the legacy DOT-111 tank car for use in flammable service.
Greenbrier will collaborate with industry leaders to achieve a shared goal of providing the safest means of transportation of crude oil and ethanol by rail. Railroads already have addressed operating practices to improve safety, while energy and chemical shippers are evaluating the content of their commodities to verify proper packaging to protect the public and the environment.
(Greenbrier - 2/05)
NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO ROCK NATIONAL TRAIN DAY:
Norfolk Southern will rock National Train Day with the premiere of its new television advertisement, which shows how trains connect communities and businesses to drive economic growth.
The commercial, “Norfolk Southern, What’s Your Function,” will show during National Train Day, the sixth annual celebration of freight and passenger trains hosted by Amtrak, on Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Union Station in Washington, D.C.
NS activities will center on the theme “Train Day Rocks” and the first showing of the commercial, based on the “Conjunction Junction” song from the Schoolhouse Rock! television show, a Disney / American Broadcasting company property that celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. A locomotive engineer sang the original song as he hooked together boxcars with “and, or, and but.” The NS ad updates this classic to remind everyone that trains connect us all.
In conjunction with the debut, there will be a Schoolhouse Rock! sing-along. NS will display rail equipment, including its Marco Polo, West Virginia, and Delaware office cars; Exhibit Car; Research and Test Car; and two locomotives.
Across the country, more than 200 communities are hosting events at local train stations, railroad museums, and other locations. At Chicago’s Union Station, Norfolk Southern will display its Conrail heritage locomotive.
Norfolk Southern events at National Train Day
Tweet your pictures and comments to #traindayrocks. Celebrating trains doesn’t end with National Train Day. Visit Norfolk Southern’s Facebook page and Twitter account to keep the train talk going.
Norfolk Southern Corporation - 2/05)
Explore one-of-a-kind rail cars and view locomotives
Join the Schoolhouse Rock! sing-along, take pictures in a photo booth to share with friends
Experience what it’s like to operate a locomotive
See how NS uses technology in its operations
Step inside Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s private rail car
See “Norfolk Southern, What’s Your Function”
PORT AUTHORITY UNVEILS COMPREHENSIVE, PROPOSED $27.6 BILLION CAPITAL PLAN TO REVITALIZE REGION’S TRANSPORTATION ASSETS:
The Port Authority today unveiled a record $27.6 billion, 10-year proposed Capital Plan that provides a roadmap to focus the agency on its core mission of maintaining and building transportation infrastructure and provides for projects that will have meaningful benefits to the millions of travelers who use its airports, tunnels, bridges, ports and rail system.
The 10-year capital spending plan – which covers the years 2014 through 2023 – will serve as a regional economic engine, resulting in 126,000 total job years and $29 billion in economic activity. It is one of the most comprehensive efforts ever undertaken by the 93-year-old agency to painstakingly identify and prioritize its critical long-term transportation needs.
The Port Authority is seeking public comment on the proposed 10-year Capital Plan, which will be available online today on the Port Authority website http://www.panynj.gov/corporate-information/budget-capital-plan.html. The Capital Plan is subject to Board approval on February 19. The agency is requesting that comments be received by February 14, but will review any submissions through February 18.
Development of the plan followed a lengthy, rigorous risk-based scoring process undertaken by the agency’s operating professionals and engineering staff to define projects that are of the most importance to the regional movement of people and goods. Approximately 46 percent of the total Capital Plan spending is on state of good repair projects as the agency focuses on maintaining the assets in its existing portfolio.
The Capital Plan also continues the Port Authority’s ongoing resiliency efforts to recover from Superstorm Sandy – including $1 billion of capital investment over 10 years to pay for repair, mitigation and resiliency projects. More than $700 million dollars will be invested in the period making permanent repairs to the PATH system, which was the most severely impacted Port Authority facility.
For the tens of millions of customers who use the Port Authority’s facilities every year, the plan also contains projects that will directly impact their daily travel, including the redevelopment of the Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia Airport; the raising of the Bayonne Bridge to ensure the long-term viability of the region’s port; the extension of PATH to Newark Liberty International Airport, giving travelers a one-seat ride from Lower Manhattan to the airport; the replacement of the Goethals Bridge with a state of the art bridge that will speed access across the bridge and improve safety, an upgraded PATH signal system that will result in more reliable train service and fewer delays, and the reconstruction of the Lincoln Tunnel Helix, which will provide greater roadway capacity for future growth.
The 2014-2023 Capital Plan provides the Board and public with transparency as to planned capital expenditures and priorities. Each project in the Capital Plan will, as now, be subject to separate approval. The Port Authority will regularly monitor progress on the plan, new developments including changes in risks, and availability of funding and modify the Plan as necessary.
“The proposed 10-year capital plan is a transformational moment in the Port Authority’s history,” said Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye. “Under the leadership of Governors Cuomo and Christie, the agency has undergone a rigorous, data-driven process to identify and prioritize the most important capital projects, including significant investment in state-of-good-repair projects that strengthen the region’s aging transportation infrastructure while also enhancing transportation capacity and service for our customers. The $27.6 billion investment plan will return this agency to core mission and ensure that the Port Authority remains a key economic engine, creating more than 126,000 jobs for the region.”
“The proposed $27.6 billion, 10-year capital plan lays out a bold vision that combines significant investment in state-of-good repair projects with funding for vital new transportation infrastructure such as the raising of the Bayonne Bridge, a new Goethals Bridge and the extension of PATH to Newark Liberty International Airport,” said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Deborah Gramiccioni. “We are committed to revitalizing the region’s aging transportation infrastructure in a smart, cost-effective and efficient manner that allows us to get the most out of every dollar we invest. The plan will serve as a living document subject to continued review and revision as necessary, ensuring a transparent and thoughtful process that benefits the region and our customers.”
Railroad related portions of the budget include:
(PANYNJ - 2/04)
PATH’s capital program calls for $3.3 billion, including three major projects – the replacement of the Harrison PATH Station, the modernization of the Grove Street PATH Station and the PATH extension to Newark Liberty International Airport.
The $249 million Harrison Station project involves construction of a new station to replace the existing facility, which was built in 1936. The new station will feature a glass-enclosed entrance with entrances on both the westbound and eastbound sides of the station. It also will contain ADA accessible elevators and other amenities.
The $192 million Grove Street project provides improvements to accommodate 10-car train operations and new elevators that comply with ADA requirements.
The $1.5 billion PATH extension to Newark Liberty International Airport will, for the first time, give travelers a one-seat ride from Lower Manhattan to Newark Liberty International Airport. It involves the extension of PATH from its current terminus at Newark Penn Station to the airport’s Rail Link Station.
In addition to the major projects, there are 71 core PATH projects in the program, of which 57 – or 77 percent – are state of good repair work.
Port Commerce’s 10-year spending plan includes $1.5 billion in investments, including a major project to design and build an upgraded Cross Harbor Car Float facility and a new on-dock rail facility at Greenville Yards that will serve the Global Container Terminal in Jersey City.
In addition, the $1.3 billion Bayonne Bridge project will allow the port to accept new, larger ships that will call on the port as soon as the Panama Canal widening is complete. This will ensure the port’s long-term viability to maintain its position as the East Coast’s leading destination for international shippers.
In addition to the Greenville Yards development program, there are 51 core projects in the Port Commerce program, of which 25 – or 54 percent – are state of good repair work.
NORFOLK SOUTHERN RELEASES NMRA COMMEMORATIVE LOCOMOTIVE:
Norfolk Southern's Altoona Locomotive Shop has released SD40-2 3215 with a special decal on each side of the long hood commemorating the National Model Railroad Association's upcoming convention in Cleveland, Ohio. For more information on the upcoming convention and for a view of the 3215 with the decal, visit the
(NMRA - 2/03)
MTA UNVEILS NEW ROUND OF SUBWAY ART CARDS:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced the latest collection of graphic art placed in subway cars, slated for installation throughout January 2014. Three new art cards will adorn the panels in subway cars throughout the MTA system. The art cards are seen close-up, by millions of riders throughout the year and provide a pleasing burst of creativity into the daily commute.
MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design commissions five to six artists each year to create transit- related graphic art that appears on horizontal interior-facing panels in subway cars and vertically oriented spaces on station walls. The MTA initiated the Art Card Program in 1999, modeling it after its curated Poster Program which began in 1991 as a means of enhancing the station environment.
Arts for Transit and Urban Design’s Deputy Director, Amy Hausmann, who oversees the project, commented, “It is always exciting to commission art that will appeal to a broad spectrum of riders of all ages, especially since they will spend a lot of time looking closely at the art cards as they travel. This year, the artists filled their work with playful detail to reward the inquisitive viewer – one includes a drawing packed full of things you might find on the subway, another reveals a charming collage of robots and creatures, and the third new card is a great graphic illustration of some ordinary objects enlarged to extraordinary proportions”.
Artist James Gulliver Hancock, who grew up in Sydney, Australia, and studied Visual Communications at the University of Technology there, developed the concept for his black and white illustration titled “All the Stuff on the Subway” during his many trips on the G train across Brooklyn. The detailed work includes groupings of coffee, donuts, umbrellas, shoes, guitars, and even “a curious smell.”
“Living in New York, you can’t avoid an intimate relationship with the subway,” said Hancock. “I’ve seen different people getting on and off in different neighborhoods and carrying all sorts of things. It always fascinated me how much stuff the subway system moves around the city. So sitting on my commute I would always draw the things around me. I’ve drawn lots of amazing faces, but what caught my eye for this project were the objects that travel with us on the subway.”
Hancock, who splits his time between studios in Brooklyn and Sydney is the author/illustrator of “All the Buildings in New York” published by Rizzoli, and his series of drawings featuring diagrammatic inventories of things like “All the Bicycles in Berlin”, “All the Rain in London”, “All the Cars in LA”, and more.
“When I’m in New York, especially Manhattan, I often get a feeling that everything is out of scale. There are micro details and massive structures all side by side,” said Hancock. “During the day, different things take on different significance and expand and contract in scale -- a take-away coffee might become super important, then a certain building might stand out. This is what makes New York buzz for me. The fact that there are so many different things all side by side -- it’s so fun to explore those juxtapositions.”
Artist Susan Farrington is an award-winning illustrator who creates whimsical mixed media collages using vintage paper, fabric and paint. Her art card, “Robots,” shows a wide variety of colorful, and amusing robotic beings on the street, with a subway full of some more of these imaginative creatures traveling directly below. Sheet music ties the bi-level work together.
“I started working right away (on this piece) sketching out rough ideas, gathering papers from my giant collection of vintage ephemera, working with color and placement, cutting, painting, gluing, etc.,” said Farrington. “I wanted to celebrate the diversity of subway riders (both robot and real). I also wanted the piece to be fun, colorful and happy. I hope it brings cheer to those who view it.”
Farrington, who has been published in countless magazines, books and newspapers, has been described as a modern day folk artist. She lives in New England with her family.
Lydia Bradshaw, Arts for Transit and Urban Design Manager who coordinates the program said, “The art cards are extremely popular with transit customers, probably because they are at eye level and add an element of fun and visual interest to the journey all year long. We are exceptionally proud of this year’s selections”.
MTA Arts for Transit popular Graphic program has received various awards and recognition nationally and internationally. Recently, the program received the 2013 communications grand prize for printed materials by the American Public Transportation Association. This month, the Society of Illustrators awarded Marcos Chin’s 2013 Art Card, “Grand Central Catwalk”, a silver medal in the Advertising category. Chin’s original work, along with an original work by Pop Chart Lab commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit for the Grand Central Centennial are on view at the Society of Illustrator’s Annual Exhibit until February 1, 2014.
(MTA - 2/03)
CONTRACT TO REPAIR RAILROAD BRIDGES AWARDED
The MassDOT Board of Directors today authorized MBTA General Manager and Rail & Transit Administrator Dr. Beverly Scott to execute a contract to repair and rehabilitate three bridges spanning the Merrimack River in Haverhill. The bridge work will allow the MBTA to continue to operate safe and reliable Commuter Rail service on the Haverhill Line. A contract of $23,937,000.00 was authorized to be awarded to JV: LM Heavy Civil Construction and Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti – CMC di Ravenna.
The Merrimack River bridge, Merrimack River North Approach bridge and the Washington Street bridge comprise twelve spans over approximately 1,042 feet across the Merrimack River from Bradford to Haverhill. The bridges were originally constructed between the late 1800s and 1920s and are in need of repair due to advancing age. In his presentation to the MassDOT board today, MBTA Assistant General Manager for Design & Construction Ed Hunter said, “This contract will address the first of a two-contract construction plan to rehabilitate the superstructure of the bridges and strengthen their land piers.”
“The maintenance and upkeep of our infrastructure is of paramount importance to our work at the MBTA,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott. “Safety is our number one priority and these necessary repairs to these bridges will ensure we are able to continue safe and reliable Commuter Rail service over the Merrimack River.”
Under the MBTA Bridge Management Program, these bridges are closely monitored with periodic inspection and live load rating analysis to assure they are safe for service. After careful monitoring and thoughtful review, a decision was made to repair the entire bridge superstructure at once, taking into account cost, service impacts and other factors.
Construction is expected to take 36 months from the signing of the Notice to Proceed and is expected to begin this spring. Once work begins, buses will replace train service for a limited number of off-peak trips (three per day), likely beginning in April. All other scheduled trains will operate on a regular schedule and Haverhill Station will stay open for service. There will also be six weekends between September 2014 and November of 2016 in which train service will be suspended to accommodate construction activity. As construction nears, the MBTA will issue service alerts to its Haverhill Line customers and provide variable message sign boards at Bradford and Haverhill stations, offering updates to customers.
(Massachusetts Department of Transportation - 1/31)
NORFOLK SOUTHERN OPENS TRANSFER TERMINAL IN CHESAPEAKE:
Norfolk Southern has opened a new Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer terminal in Chesapeake.
Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer (TBT) terminals are specialized facilities that allow customers to transfer a large array of commodities between rail cars and trucks. TBT terminals are owned by Norfolk Southern and operated by independent contractors that are industry experts in facilitating safe and efficient bulk transfer and distribution. The facilities allow customers without rail sidings to receive the benefits of rail economics and service quality.
Less than three miles from downtown Norfolk, Va., with convenient access to Interstates I-264 and I-464 at 1305 Atlantic Blvd., the Chesapeake TBT also enjoys close proximity to rail-serving yards on Norfolk Southern's high-density main line. The terminal can handle dry and liquid bulk food-grade commodities such as flour, sugar, grains, and plastic pellets, as well as aggregates, sand, and cement. It is located on 40 acres with seven acres of laydown area, with expansion capability to handle lumber, dimensional products and accommodate container stuffing. The facility features 104 car spots, a certified truck scale, and is fully paved, fenced, and lighted. The Chesapeake TBT is strategically positioned to serve Hampton Roads-served markets as well as markets overseas with its close proximity to nearby container terminals.
Norfolk Southern has a network of 32 TBT facilities in 17 states. The new Chesapeake terminal is operated under license by RSI Leasing Inc. More information on Norfolk Southern's transload network is available at www.nscorp.com/distributionservices.
(Norfolk Southern Corporation
FLORIDA EAST COAST RAILWAY ACQUIRES 24 LOCOMOTIVES FROM GE TRANSPORTATION:
Florida East Coast Railway, LLC (FEC) announced today that it will acquire 24 new ES44C4 locomotives from GE Transportation. The new locomotives will be used in thru-freight, heavy haul service on the railway's 351 mile mainline route between Jacksonville, and Miami, FL.
"These locomotives will provide the fuel efficient power we need to support the current operations and future growth of the railroad," said Fran Chinnici, Senior Vice President of Mechanical, Engineering and Purchasing at FEC.
The ES44C4 locomotive, part of GE's Evolution® Series, is designed to meet US EPA Tier 3 emissions requirements using advanced engine technology that lowers fuel consumption and operating costs. These locomotives provide the benefits while controlling NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions.
"We're excited to have our Evolution Series locomotives join FEC's fleet. This locomotive model is the most fuel-efficient locomotive in the North American heavy-haul market today," said Dave Tucker, Vice President of Global Sales at GE Transportation.
(Florida East Coast Railway- 1/30)
AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC:
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Jan. 25, 2014 with 280,761 total U.S. carloads, up 5.6 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 245,883 units up 3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 526,644 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.4 percent compared with the same week last year.
Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including grain with 23,175 carloads, up 24.4 percent; and, petroleum and petroleum products with 15,211 carloads, up 13.1 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included metallic ores and metals with 22,539 carloads, down 1.8 percent.
For the first four weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,074,281 carloads, up 0.9 percent from the same point last year, and 936,176 intermodal units, up 1.8 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first four weeks of 2014 was 2,010,457 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.3 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 74,311 carloads for the week, down 1.6 percent, and 52,824 intermodal units, up 1.7 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first four weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 281,220 carloads, down 5.3 percent from the same point last year, and 198,167 intermodal units, down 1.5 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 16,416 carloads for the week, up 8.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,542 intermodal units, up 6.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first four weeks of 2014 was 56,896 carloads, up 6.1 percent from the same point last year, and 35,739 intermodal units, up 3.2 percent from last year.
Combined North American rail volume for the first four weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 1,412,397 carloads, down 0.2 percent compared with the same point last year, and 1,170,082 intermodal trailers and containers, up 1.3 percent compared with last year.
MBTA ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF SUBWAY COUNTDOWN CLOCK SYSTEM
MBTA GeneralManager Dr. Beverly Scott announced at the MassDOT board meeting today thatcountdown clocks, alerting riders to when the next train is to arrive, are nowup and running at all 53 Heavy Rail (Red, Orange & Blue lines) stations inthe MBTA system. The activation of the countdown clocks at the Blue Line’sOrient Heights station this past week completed the countdown clock system onthe Heavy Rail system.
Intotal, there are now 314 countdown signs bringing information to customers at53 stations in the MBTA system. This makes the MBTA one of the first transitagencies in the country to have all Heavy Rail stations equipped with trainarrival information. Since the introduction of the countdown system in 2012,there have been constant improvements based on customer feedback includingbetter accuracy and increased visibility. In addition, the MBTA introduced“Next Train” signs at Kenmore station this past fall to inform customers as towhich Green Line branch (B, C, & D) would be arriving next.
TheGreen Line, a Light Rail line, is currently equipped with a less-sophisticatedtracking system than the Heavy Rail lines. The Green Line is now undergoing thenecessary work to upgrade the system with both GPS and sensor technologycapable of providing customers with the same countdown capability as the HeavyRail lines. The MBTA expects that the introduction of the countdown system onthe Green Line will begin by the end of 2014.
“Wehave received overwhelming response from customers that they love the countdownclock system,” said General Manager Scott. “This service answers one of the keyquestions in commuting - ‘Where is the train?’ - and I’m thrilled we continueto focus on innovative ways to improve our customers’ experience.”
Sincethe introduction of the countdown system in 2012, the MBTA has been working onsoftware enhancements to improve the quality of countdown information,currently focusing on providing real-time information during diversions anddelays. These improvements and coming additions to the countdown system willalso be available on the MBTA’s real-time data feed for app developers. Inaddition, customers will also start to see the introduction of countdowninformation on the bus system in the coming months, beginning with Forest Hillsstation’s activation in the next few weeks.
PATRIOT RAIL COMPANY LLC ACQUIRES RAILCAR REPAIR FACILITY IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA:
Patriot Rail Company LLC (Patriot Rail) announced today that it has acquired, through the bankruptcy process, the assets of Alderman Railcar Services, Inc., a railcar repair and cleaning service provider located in Central Virginia. The repair facility will operate under its new name, Blue Ridge Railcar Repair LLC (Blue Ridge).
The Blue Ridge facility is located in Keysville, Virginia, 16 miles from the Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) interchange via the Buckingham Branch Railroad (BB). The shop is a M-1003 AAR certified railcar repair facility with 21 acres of land, paint and blast capabilities, and 11,000 feet of track capacity which allows for up to 130 "repair in progress" cars to be stored at any given time. Blue Ridge will repair, clean, and paint a wide array of railcar types including boxcars, hoppers, gondolas, and flatcars.
There is projected to be a shortage of certified railcar repair facilities across North America over the next several years. It is Patriot's intention to use this facility as a foundation for best practices that will be used to establish and grow additional repair facilities to address this shortage.
"We are excited about this investment, as it supports Patriot Rail's long-term strategy to expand the mechanical repair services within the rail industry," says President and CEO, John Fenton. "Our operational strategy for Blue Ridge is designed to provide fleet owners with a network that delivers consistent, high-quality and responsive maintenance services that will reduce overall fleet downtime."
The acquisition was finalized on December 31, 2013 and is scheduled to be fully operational in February 2014.
(Patriot Rail, Randy Kotuby
SEPTA HOLDS PUBLIC INFORMATION SESSION FOR KING OR PRUSSIA RAIL PROJECT:
SEPTA has scheduled a public information session for the King of Prussia Rail Project on Thursday, January 30, 2014 from 4-8 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel at the Valley Forge Casino - Grand Ballroom (1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia, PA 19406). The information session will be held from 4-8 p.m., with presentations at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The meeting will include an information session and presentations based on the input and comments received during the Public Scoping Meeting held in July 2013.
Representatives from SEPTA and the King of Prussia Rail consultant team will be available to discuss the project, including the possibility for a combination of elevated and at-grade segments along the project's proposed alignments.
SEPTA's Norristown High Speed Line currently provides service between 69th Street and Norristown Transportation Centers, serving the Main Line area in Delaware and Montgomery counties, and connecting to Center City Philadelphia. The project is evaluating various alternatives to provide increased transit service to the King of Prussia area.
The public is invited to attend this information session to hear a summary of input and comments received during the July 2013 Public Scoping Meeting, and to learn more about the potential elevated and elevated/at-grade alternatives by reviewing fast facts and visualizations in addition to speaking with SEPTA and King of Prussia Rail Project representatives.
NORTH CAROLINA RAILROAD CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY:
The North Carolina Railroad Company is one of our state's most enduring treasures, the oldest continuously-operating corporation in North Carolina, and an ongoing catalyst for economic development.
And as the North Carolina Railroad celebrates its 165th anniversary, it is worth noting its founder, the visionary North Carolina Governor John Motley Morehead, chartered the railroad as "an economic tree of life" for our state.
Today, the North Carolina Railroad's modern vision echoes Gov. Morehead's dream to improve our state by enabling freight to grow business, expanding rail to move people, and investing in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Railroad Company's 317-mile corridor extends from Morehead City through New Bern, Kinston, Goldsboro, Raleigh, Cary, Research Triangle Park, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury, and Kannapolis to Charlotte. By virtue of the 1989 merger with its sister company, the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, it serves the Port of Morehead City and three military bases, and it links with numerous distribution and manufacturing facilities, other railroads, and major interstate highways. It passes through 16 counties that are home to two out of every five North Carolinians.
The railroad also connects with over 1,500 miles of rail across the state, and lies within a two-mile radius of 30 North Carolina colleges, universities and community colleges. Built to enable commerce across the state by connecting the farms in the east with the industrial centers in the piedmont and the west, today, the modern railroad connects North Carolina to the rest of the country and beyond.
Chartered on January 27, 1849 by a one-vote majority of the General Assembly, the North Carolina Railroad was financed by combining $3 million in state funds and $1 million in private funds. In 1998, the state bought all of the private shares, making the railroad a unique asset for North Carolina: a private company whose only shareholders are the state's citizens.
Our track operating lease with Norfolk Southern Railway produces its $14 million in primary annual revenue. The railroad invests those revenues in track upgrades such as bridges; double-tracking and sidings that allow trains to pass each other; pedestrian underpasses; and other enhancements for capacity, efficiency and safety to create jobs, as was intended at inception. The North Carolina Railroad receives no state appropriations.
These improvements allow for faster and heavier trains to move freight safely and efficiently, to serve businesses and industrial sites, and to improve crossing protections for vehicles and pedestrians. Our railroad - your railroad - partners with economic development organizations, the Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, universities and colleges, and cities and counties across our state to promote economic growth and vitality.
Our strategic plan includes new investments to help our state compete for jobs and develop our assets for the good of the people of North Carolina.
On its 165th birthday, the North Carolina Railroad continues to build on its strong and unique tradition of providing high-quality rail transportation across the state and remains a treasured asset of North Carolina's people that will continue to benefit the state and help create vital jobs for our citizens for centuries to come.
(North Carolina R.R., Randy Kotuby
METRO-NORTH'S 2013 EAST OF THE HUDSON RIDERSHIP HIGHEST EVER:
Metro-North’s annual east of Hudson ridership last year was the highest in the railroad’s history, at 81.8 million, surpassing the previous east of Hudson record of 81.5 million rides that was set in 2008.
This is an increase of 0.7% above calendar-adjusted 2012 levels. Combined ridership on the east and west of Hudson markets was 83.4 million.
In 2013, the Harlem Line was the fastest growing line with a 1.2% increase and carried 26,949,667 riders.
The New Haven Line was up 0.5% and recorded its highest ridership ever in 2013 (carrying 38,975,052 customers) an increase of more than 1 million annual rides since 2008, and 175,000 more than in 2012, the previous record year when the line carried approximately 38.8 million customers.
The Hudson Line grew 0.3% in 2013 and carried 15,877,559 customers.
During the past year, commutation ridership grew 1.8%, reflecting the strengthening regional economy, while non-commutation ridership decreased 1% from the previous year, due to a variety of factors including weather and major service disruptions.
Metro-North rail ridership in the West of Hudson territory including the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines was down, falling 2.3% to 1,576,227 rides in 2013. Individually, ridership on the Port Jervis Line fell 3.6% and ridership on the Pascack Valley Line was essentially unchanged from the previous year. While the ridership drop is not as pronounced as in previous years, it reflects a customer base that has been slow to recover since Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. West of Hudson ridership peaked in 2008 at almost 2.1 million.
MTA LIRR RIDERSHIP INCREASED BY 2% IN 2013:
A surge in train travel over the last three months of 2013 helped boost MTA Long Island Rail Road’s ridership for the second year in a row with the LIRR recording a 2% jump in passenger rides over 2012 totals.
The LIRR carried 83.4 million riders in 2013, an increase of 1,640,716 passengers over the previous year. The 2 percent increase is another indication that the region’s economy is improving and that LIRR customers responded to the restoration of some service that had been cut during the Great Recession.
“We are seeing an increase in both commuters going to work and occasional riders,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. “We had the opportunity to add back some service in 2013 and we are pleased that riders are responding by using the LIRR more often to get to work as well as for leisure and other travel during the off peak periods. We believe the increase in ridership also reflects an improving Long Island and NYC economy.”
The LIRR’s 2013 ridership is the 7th best year in the post-war period. The LIRR carried 87.4 million passengers in 2008, its best year at the time in 60 years.
The LIRR branches with notable increases in 2013 include: Port Washington with a 3.0% increase or 351,294 rides; Port Jefferson with a 2.7% increase or 471,942 rides; Far Rockaway with a 2.6% increase or 139,808 rides; Ronkonkoma with a 2.4 increase or 228,366 rides; and Montauk with a 2.8 percent increase or 57,525 rides. Long Beach, which is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, experienced a decline (0.8%).
Significantly, the LIRR experienced a nearly 3 percent jump in weekly and monthly passenger rides last year (commutation ridership).
The LIRR last year took a number of steps that helped boost weekend and leisure travel, including an enhanced service plan to meet new demand created by the opening of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, located directly across from the LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal.
In the summer, the LIRR made adjustments to the Montauk schedule, including moving the departure of the Friday afternoon Cannonball express train to Penn Station from Hunterspoint Avenue. In November, the LIRR restored half-hourly weekend service on the Port Washington Branch. The Railroad also added trains to and from Farmingdale on its weekday schedule on the Ronkonkoma Branch and extended weekend service to and from Greenport by approximately 10 weeks, providing service into November
AMTRAK AND CALIFORNIA REQUEST BIDS
FOR HIGH-SPEED TRAINSETS:
Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) today issued a request for proposals to build modern, state-of-the-art high-speed trainsets. The trainsets are essential to meeting Amtrak’s critical short-term need to expand the capacity of its current Northeast Corridor (NEC) high-speed service and meeting the long-term operational needs of both Amtrak and the Authority.
Amtrak is seeking up to 28 high-speed trainsets, each with between 400 and 450 seats, which can meet or exceed current Acela Express trip-times on the existing NEC infrastructure between Washington, New York and Boston. The Authority is seeking an initial order of 15 trainsets which will have a minimum of 450 seats that can meet its planned trip-time requirements for service from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles on what will be largely brand new infrastructure.
A goal of the procurement is to identify whether established high-speed rail equipment manufacturers have service-proven designs that can meet both the short-term needs of Amtrak and the long-term operational needs of the Authority and Amtrak with little or no modification. It is also hoped that the joint procurement of equipment with a large degree of commonality will result in lower unit acquisition and life cycle costs for both Amtrak and the Authority, while helping expand the U.S. role in high-speed rail equipment manufacturing.
“With packed trains and increasing demand, the need to expand the capacity of Amtrak’s high-speed service cannot be overstated,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “It is absolutely critical that we get more high-speed trains as soon as possible to provide more service and meet the growing mobility and economic needs of the Northeast region.”
The Authority requires operation at speeds of a minimum of 200 mph which is similar to what Amtrak expects it will need to realize its Vision for High-Speed Rail on the NEC. Initially, Amtrak intends to operate at peak speeds of 160 mph because that is the expected maximum allowable speed permitted by the NEC infrastructure at the time these trainsets are delivered.
“This is a major milestone for California’s high-speed rail project,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales. “Combining California’s and Amtrak’s orders will help make it worthwhile for manufacturers to locate in the United States, create jobs and deliver 21st Century, state-of-the art trainsets.”
“Today’s announcement is one more step in our efforts to standardize domestic rail equipment and reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “Combining orders between Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority will generate economies of scale and make it more attractive for high-speed rail manufacturers to build factories here in the USA, bringing new high-quality jobs and creating ripple effects throughout our domestic supply chain. The end result means the riding public will have lighter, faster, more energy efficient passenger rail service.”
Only current manufacturers of high-speed rail equipment, which the partners define as manufacturers with equipment in commercial operation at speeds of at least 160 mph (257 kph) for at least two years, will be eligible to submit a bid. Proposals are due May 17 and it is expected that a builder will be selected by the end of 2014.
PROVINCE OF NEW BRUNSWICK AND CN COMMIT TO PRESERVE RAIL FREIGHT SERVICE IN NORTHERN NEW BRUNSWICK:
The Province of New Brunswick and CN have reached an agreement to preserve rail freight service on the line in northern New Brunswick.
"Freight rail is a critical mode of transportation for industries in northern New Brunswick, and it is a vital lifeline for the jobs and communities that rely on these industries," said Premier David Alward. "Our investment in the rehabilitation of two sections of railway line ensures companies in northern New Brunswick can continue to ship their goods to market efficiently and explore new opportunities for growth."
Premier Alward joined Sean Finn, CN executive vice-president, corporate services, and chief legal officer, other government officials and stakeholders for the announcement in Miramichi today.
Under the agreement, the Province of New Brunswick will invest up to $25 million in rail infrastructure improvements to the Newcastle subdivision. CN will in turn spend a comparable amount to maintain and operate the line, ensuring continued rail freight service for a 15-year period on the northern and southern sections of the rail line: between Irvco, N.B., and Nepisquit Junction, N.B., in the north and between Catamount, N.B., and Nelson Junction in the south, where there are active rail freight customers.
The province's investment will be used to rehabilitate and upgrade the rail line to the operating standards required to efficiently and cost-effectively handle current and projected traffic. The work will commence in the spring of 2014.
CN, the province and local businesses will continue to work together to increase freight traffic in future years, with benefits to be shared between the two partners.
Finn said: "We thank the provincial government for working with us over the last year to develop this agreement that will preserve rail freight service in northern New Brunswick. This agreement would not have been possible without the commitment of both parties to continuing investments and to the growth of rail freight traffic in the region."
CN will seek to discontinue rail operations on the 44-mile middle section of the Newcastle subdivision, between Nelson Junction (mile 62) and Nepisquit Junction (mile 106), due to the significant investments required to maintain the line and the lack of both originating and terminating freight traffic on that section.
Before this part of the line can be discontinued, however, it will be offered for sale in early February to private interests and then to municipal, provincial and federal levels of government, as per the provisions of the Canada Transportation Act. They will have a five-month window to submit offers to purchase the middle section, should there be a desire to maintain rail service on the segment.
NEW YORK GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES $886.3 MILLION IN FEDERAL AID:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded $886.3 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to repair and rebuild infrastructure that was damaged by Superstorm Sandy and protect and fortify it against future storms. The funding will help state government continue to reimagine New York’s vital infrastructure for the new realities of extreme weather.
The grant builds on an initial allotment of $193.9 million announced by the FTA in March 2013. The MTA has spent almost $180 million so far on capital projects to rebuild and strengthen infrastructure damaged by Superstorm Sandy, and committed more than $750 million for specific Sandy recovery and resiliency projects, many of which are funded at least in part by the grant being announced today.
“With this funding, we are furthering our efforts to reimagine New York’s most vital infrastructure to meet the needs of extreme weather,” Governor Cuomo said. “This grant is critical to the continued health and viability of the New York metropolitan region’s $1.4 trillion economy. I am thankful for the support of the federal government in this endeavor, and know that it will go a long way to helping us build a stronger and more resilient New York.”
“There are many challenges a transit system faces in the months and years after suffering the types of severe impacts we did during Sandy,” MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast said. “The work of rebuilding carries on behind the scenes long after the storm has left the public consciousness. At the same time that we are rebuilding an entire subway tunnel, we are fighting back against latent failures – unseen failures brought on by the storm that are waiting to happen – and reduced lifespan of components system wide. This funding is essential in helping us to address those needs and to allow us to continue to provide service at the same time that we build back stronger than we were before the storm.”
The majority of the funding to the MTA is going to MTA New York City Transit, which was dealt the most crippling blows by the storm surge and whose riders are still experiencing a lingering long-term service disruption as crews work to rebuild infrastructure with ongoing service disruptions on the R Line and weekend disruptions on the G Line.
The specific allocations for each MTA agency from the newly announced award are as follows:
MTA New York City Transit
$615.6 million – MTA New York City Transit
$145.7 million – MTA Long Island Rail Road
$103.5 million – MTA Metro-North Railroad
$21.4 million – MTA Capital Construction
MTA Long Island Rail Road
$266.4 million R Line - Montague Tube: Work is underway to replace systems in the R train’s Montague Tube under the East River, including track, switches, 30,000 feet of duct bank, 200,000 feet of communications cables, 75,000 feet of power cable, two pump rooms, a fan plant, two substations, three circuit breaker houses. More information: http://web.mta.info/sandy/montague.htm and http://web.mta.info/nyct/service/R_14monthMontagueTunnelClosure.htm
$89.1 million G Line - Greenpoint Tube: Work is underway to restore the G Line’s Greenpoint Tube under Newtown Creek, including replacement of tunnel lighting, track, power and communication cable, signals, a pump room and a fan plant. More information: http://web.mta.info/nyct/service/FixingtheGreenpointTubes.htm
$83.1 million A Line - Rockaways: Reimbursement for completed work to restore A train service to the Rockaways. More information: http://web.mta.info/sandy/rockaways.htm
$77.4 million Sandy Design & Pre-Engineering: Ongoing design for numerous upcoming repair projects including work needed in shops, yards, tubes, stations, depots and other facilities.
$19.6 million Fare collection equipment: Replacement of damaged Subway / Select Bus Service fare collection equipment. This includes the purchase of an armored vehicle damaged at the Maspeth revenue processing facility, which flooded.
$18.5 million 7 Line - Steinway Tube: Work to restore the 7 Line’s Steinway Tube under the East River is taking place during night and weekend outages that were already planned for the modernization of signal system through upgrading to communications-based train control (CBTC).
$15.2 million South Ferry: Cleanup of the South Ferry 1 Station opened in 2009 and re-opening of the 1 Line’s South Ferry Loop Station. Work to rebuild/rehabilitate the 2009 South Ferry Station will be funded separately. More information: http://web.mta.info/sandy/south_ferry.htm
$13.9 million Pump Trains: Conversion of existing rolling stock into two new pump trains, increasing New York City Transit’s subway water-pumping capacity. Currently there are three pump trains and 14 under river tubes. Work is underway, with both new trains expected to be complete by May 2014.
$12.8 million Coney Island: Permanent repairs to New York City Transit employee facilities and District Office 34 at Coney Island / Stillwell Terminal that were damaged by Sandy.
$12.5 million Lower Manhattan Resiliency: Work is underway to prevent water incursion in Lower Manhattan through a specific list of ventilation grates, manholes and subway stairs. Design is underway to develop solutions for other additional openings, including fan plants. Additional funds will be requested in subsequent grants. More information: http://web.mta.info/sandy/lower_Manhattan.htm
$7.3 million Security: Restoration/replacement of security equipment in under-river subway tunnels.
MTA Metro-North Railroad
$120 million Long Beach Branch: Projects will replace three of four substations on the branch, and permanently restore signals, power, and communications systems, system components and cabling along the right-of-way, including grade crossings and station platforms. Construction is underway to replace the emergency generator, underwater cable, and bridge electrical systems on the Wreck Lead Bridge, which spans Reynolds Channel and connects Long Beach to Island Park.
$10.2 million West Side Yard: Project replaces signal, power and other assets in the yard, including switch machines, signal components, third rail components, switch heaters, and facilities fire alarm systems.
$6.1 million First Avenue Substation: Design is underway to make permanent repairs to LIRR power substation at First Avenue, which provides power to tracks leading to Penn Station.
$6 million Infrastructure and system upgrades at facilities and assets that experienced wind damage or flooding, including the Hillside Support Facility, Shea Yard, the Far Rockaway Branch, and the Westbury Station.
$3.4 million Long Island City Yard: Electrification of Tracks 7 & 8, making Long Island City a more robust terminal if service through East River Tunnels is curtailed. Project includes restoration of Long Island City Yard power substation.
MTA Capital Construction
$74.8 million Power: Project replaces damaged components, including substations, third rail components, facility houses. Design underway for substations and facility houses for Harlem River Lift Bridge.
$21.5 million Communications and Signals: 30 miles of fiber optic cable will be replaced. Other components requiring replacement includes signal cable, switches, bond boxes, relays, snowmelters, crossing gate infrastructure. Design underway.
$7.2 million Right-of-Way: Tree removal and shoreline restoration work.
Superstorm Sandy triggered the worst transit disaster in U.S. history in October 2012. FTA plans to award $3 billion on a competitive basis for projects that protect critical transit infrastructure from being damaged or destroyed by future natural disasters.
The MTA has budgeted a total of $5.8 billion for Superstorm Sandy resiliency work – fortification projects that are beyond the scope of simple repairs – that will render the New York region’s transportation network more prepared and resilient in its most vulnerable areas to protect equipment and infrastructure against future storms. The MTA expects this work to be funded mostly through reimbursements from the federal government.
In addition, Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have approved projects totaling $4.7 billion dollars for MTA Sandy-related repairs. The MTA is seeking federal support for the majority of its post-Sandy reconstruction efforts, and is issuing short-term notes to pay for immediate reconstruction needs as well as local match requirements, pending receipt of Federal funds. Monies from the FTA, as well as insurers and FEMA are being used to reimburse the MTA and its noteholders.
The MTA is seeking federal support for the majority of its post-Sandy reconstruction efforts, and is issuing short-term Bond Anticipation Notes and long-term bonds to help pay for immediate reconstruction needs as well as local match requirements.
The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2012 provided $10.9 billion for FTA’s Emergency Relief Program for recovery, relief, and resiliency efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. That total was subsequently cut by almost $545 million due to sequestration. FTA is allocating the remaining $10.4 billion in multiple tiers for response, recovery, and rebuilding; for locally prioritized resiliency projects; and for competitively selected resiliency work. FTA has made available roughly $5.7 billion to help transit systems in the affected states. To date, the MTA has been allocated $3.8 billion from the FTA, including $898 million for resiliency.
“This is a welcome and much-needed investment in New York’s transportation infrastructure that will ensure Metro-North is better prepared for future storms,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey. “Federal aid has been essential in not only helping communities, businesses, and homeowners recover and rebuild, but in ensuring that our region is better prepared to withstand the impact of future disasters.”
$21.4 million Security Equipment: Project repairs damaged security equipment in East River tunnels. Design underway.
CANADA'S MINISTER RAITT RESPONDS TO TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS FOLLOWING THE LAC-MEGANTIC TRAIN DERAILMENT:
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, issued this statement today in response to the Transportation Safety Board's three recommendations related to the ongoing investigation into the July 2013 train accident in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.
"The safety of Canadians remains Transport Canada's priority. Transport Canada officials are reviewing the Transportation Safety Board's recommendations. The department is committed to doing all it can to maintain and enhance the safety of Canada's rail sector.
"Following the accident in Lac-Mégantic, Transport Canada took immediate action to improve rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods by requiring:
"The Government of Canada has taken several other measures to strengthen railway safety:
All railway operators to further enhance the safety of existing railway operations and the security of railway transportation.
Railway companies to develop rules in this regard for the longer term.
Any person who imports or offers for transport crude oil to conduct classification testing if the current tests had not been performed prior to July 7, 2013.
Railway companies to share information with municipalities, which will further support municipal emergency planners and first responders.
"In addition, the Government of Canada has committed a combined $155 million in federal support to Lac-Mégantic for response and recovery and additional decontamination and clean-up efforts.
"On January 10, 2014, Transport Canada proposed tough new standards for the DOT-111 tank cars, including thicker steel requirements as well as the addition of top fitting and head shield protection for the tank car. New cars will be built to the new, stronger amended standard with enhanced safety requirements.
"Transport Canada continues to work with all its stakeholders, including officials in the United States, as we look together to what additional requirements may be needed for the North American fleet. This includes exploring the retirement, retrofit or repurposing of older DOT-111 tank cars. As these tank cars regularly cross Canadian and American borders, a North American solution is required.
"In addition, I asked the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (SCOTIC) to review safety management systems for railways and the transport of dangerous goods program. Transport Canada has also launched three industry-led working groups (Classification, Emergency Response, and Means of Containment) to provide recommendations by the end of January on short term and long term safety actions and enhancements that could be made to the DOT-111 tank cars.
"We recognize that there is still a lot of work to do. The department remains committed to working with the rail industry, all levels of government, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, international partners and others to continuously improve the safety of the railway system in Canada."
(Minister of Transport
Between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, Transport Canada conducted more than 30,000 inspections.
Invested more than $100 million in our railway safety system.
Continued to hire more inspectors.
Increased fines for companies found to break our regulations.
Set the groundwork for creating whistleblower protection for employees who raise safety concerns.
Will require each railway to have an executive legally responsible for safety.
AAR REPORTS INCREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC:
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Jan. 18, 2014 with 289,825 total U.S. carloads, up 4.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 267,428 units up 7.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 557,253 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year.
Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including nonmetallic minerals and products with 32,557 carloads, up 20.9 percent; and, petroleum and petroleum products with 15,708 carloads, up 13.3 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included metallic ores and metals with 25,509 carloads, down 1.5 percent.
For the first three weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 793,520 carloads, down 0.7 percent from the same point last year, and 690,293 intermodal units, up 1.4 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first three weeks of 2014 was 1,483,813 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.3 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 76,771 carloads for the week, down 0.7 percent, and 54,861 intermodal units, up 2.6 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first three weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 206,909 carloads, down 6.6 percent from the same point last year, and 145,343 intermodal units, down 2.6 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 15,393 carloads for the week, up 6.0 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,493 intermodal units, up 7.1 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first three weeks of 2014 was 40,480 carloads, up 5.0 percent from the same point last year, and 25,197 intermodal units, up 1.7 percent from last year.
Combined North American rail volume for the first three weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 1,040,909 carloads, down 1.7 percent compared with the same point last year, and 860,833 intermodal trailers and containers, up 0.7 percent compared with last year.
NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS RECORD-SETTING 2013 FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR RESULTS:
General merchandise revenues were $1.6 billion, 12 percent higher than the same period last year. Strong crude by rail shipments and expanded automotive production helped boost traffic volume by 8 percent in the quarter.
Coal revenues were $641 million, 2 percent lower compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, the result of an 8 percent decline in volumes.
Intermodal revenues increased to $618 million, a 6 percent increase over 2012. Growth in domestic and international business pushed traffic volume up 6 percent in the quarter compared with the same period of 2012.
Railway operating expenses were $2 billion, 2 percent higher than in the same period of 2012. The operating ratio was 69.4 percent, a 5 percent improvement over the same quarter in 2012. Income from railway operations was $881 million, 23 percent higher compared with fourth-quarter 2012.
“Norfolk Southern’s team of safety and service-oriented employees drove our record-setting fourth-quarter results through increased productivity, efficient network operations, and continued revenue gains,” said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. ”We’re seeing the results of our investments in network capacity and technology enhance our ability to offer superior service to all of our customers.
Moorman continued: “In 2014, we plan to invest $2.2 billion, a 12 percent increase over 2013, to maintain safe railway operations, purchase locomotives and freight cars, and support growth and productivity initiatives.” Operating revenues increased to $2.9 billion, marking a 7 percent jump compared with fourth-quarter 2012. Strong intermodal, chemical, automotive, and agricultural shipments more than offset declines in coal traffic to drive total volumes up 4 percent.
General merchandise revenues were $1.6 billion, 12 percent higher than the same period last year. Strong crude by rail shipments and expanded automotive production helped boost traffic volume by 8 percent in the quarter.
Coal revenues were $641 million, 2 percent lower compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, the result of an 8 percent decline in volumes.
Intermodal revenues increased to $618 million, a 6 percent increase over 2012. Growth in domestic and international business pushed traffic volume up 6 percent in the quarter compared with the same period of 2012.
Railway operating expenses were $2 billion, 2 percent higher than in the same period of 2012. The operating ratio was 69.4 percent, a 5 percent improvement over the same quarter in 2012. Income from railway operations was $881 million, 23 percent higher compared with fourth-quarter 2012.
FORMER NJ TRANSIT PCC TROLLEY CARS DEPART NEW JERSEY:
NJ Transit's fleet of PCC trolley cars had rolled their last miles on August 24, 2001 on the Newark City Subway. In 2004 eleven of the PCCs were sold to San Francisco Municipal Railway while a few others went to museums in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. The balance of the PCCs were stored in Jersey City. Over the past few weeks the remaining 10 PCCs have been removed, being acquired by various museums. PCC 26 was acquired by the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, while other have gone to Rochester, the Illinois Railway Museum, and to Branford.
(Alexander D. Mitchell IV
AMTRAK SUPER BOWL SERVICE:
On Sunday, February 2, several Amtrak passenger trains will make a special stop at NJ Transit's Secaucus Junction station to accomodate Super Bowl ticket holders. These trains include:
Passengers must present their Amtrak and Superbowl tickets to pass through the security gate that allows them to access the lower
level platform at Secaucus Jct. – the location from where NJ Transit’s shuttle trains to the stadium depart(Andy Kirk- 1/21)
Regionals #161 at 2:14 pm and #163 at 4:14 pm
From Washington/Harrisburg: Regionals #154 at 1:34 pm, #140 at 3:34 pm and #194 at 4:21 pm; Keystone #666 at 2:47 pm and Pennsylvanian #42 at 4:38 pm
Returning to Washington: Departing are Regionals #139 at 10:14 pm, #169 at 11:14 pm, #123 at 12:07 am and #67 at 3:09 am.
Returning to Boston: #66 at 1:38 am
Returning to Philadelphia:
and Keystone #637 at 12:37 am NOTE: there is no thru service for those returning to Harrisburg Line points. The last train for Harrisburg leaves Philadelphia at 9:45 pm.
MAINE DAIRY CAR WILL BE ON DISPLAY AT THE UPCOMNG AMHERST RAILROAD SHOW:
Wiscasset, Waterville &
Railway Museum's Turner Centre Dairying Association car No. 65, built at the museum's carshop during 2011 and 2012, will be on display at the
Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show on
Saturday & Sunday, January 25 and 26, 2014. The diary car will be on display in the Mallary Building. The group will have
exhibit/sales tables in the Young Building, in the “narrow gauge corner.”
Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
For further information on the show, please visit
(Wiscasset, Waterville &
Railway Museum - 1/20)
NJ TRANSIT EXPANDS AVAILABILITY OF UNLIMITED RIDE SUPER PASS
Super Bowl visitors and regular NJ TRANSIT customers looking to speed their travel and take advantage of special savings throughout Super Bowl week are in luck. NJ TRANSIT today announced that a second, non-commemorative version of its unlimited ride SUPER PASS will be available for purchase from ticket vending machines, ticket windows and the MyTix mobile ticketing app from January 20 to February 2.
Customers who wish to purchase the special commemorative SUPER PASS may continue to do so via online orders only at
through January 20. The commemorative version of SUPER PASS is 3 7/8 x 5 ½ inches, printed on card-type stock with lanyard capability for convenient use.
The special $50 pass offers customers the flexibility to utilize the entire NJ TRANSIT system throughout Super Bowl week. It is valid for unlimited travel from Monday, January 27 through Monday, February 3 on all NJ TRANSIT rail, bus, light rail and Access Link services throughout New Jersey, including travel to and from Newark Liberty International Airport and New York City.
(NJ Transit - posted 1/17)
AMTRAK SUPPORTS U.S. DOT CALL TO ADDRESS
THE NATION’S INFRASTRUCTURE DEFICIT:
The following statement is made by Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman regarding remarks from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx on the need to address the nation's infrastructure deficit:
"Amtrak supports Secretary Foxx's call to address the nation's infrastructure deficit and develop a national transportation plan that links our roads and rails and ports into a safe, integrated and interconnected system.
"The Highway Trust Fund is dead. It's financially unviable and built on an outmoded vision for mobility in the United States. We need to replace it with a surface transportation program for the 21st Century.
"The guiding principle of a new federal surface transportation investment program must focus on national priorities, connectivity and economic growth. A world-leading economy today requires a world-leading transportation system that strengthens the whole network.
"We need a balanced program that can provide investment in any surface mode-- including Highway, Transit, and Rail (both passenger and freight)--to unshackle transportation planners, system users, and other decisions makers from simply chasing mode-restricted dollars and instead ask them to produce results that matter to the nation.” (Amtrak - posted 1/16
AAR REPORTS DECREASED WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC:
AAR Reports Decreased Weekly Rail Traffic
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported decreased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Jan. 11, 2014 with 256,849 total U.S. carloads, down 8.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 235,987 units down 6.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 492,836 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.5 percent compared with the same week last year.
Two of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including grain with 20,367 carloads, up 10.1 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included motor vehicles and parts with 11,051 carloads, down 22.5 percent; metallic ores and metals with 20,143 carloads, down 20.3 percent; and, nonmetallic minerals and products with 25,177 carloads, down 16.0 percent.
For the first two weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 503,695 carloads, down 3.4 percent from the same point last year, and 422,865 intermodal units, down 1.9 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first two weeks of 2014 was 926,560 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.8 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 66,872 carloads for the week, down 11.8 percent, and 48,377 intermodal units, down 10.2 percent compared with the same week in 2013. For the first two weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 130,138 carloads, down 9.7 percent from the same point last year, and 90,482 intermodal units, down 5.5 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 14,563 carloads for the week, up 5.0 percent compared with the same week last year, and 9,728 intermodal units, up 5.0 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first two weeks of 2014 was 25,087 carloads, up 4.3 percent from the same point last year, and 14,704 intermodal units, down 1.8 percent from last year.
Combined North American rail volume for the first two weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 658,920 carloads, down 4.5 percent compared with the same point last year, and 528,051 intermodal trailers and containers, down 2.6 percent compared with last year.
(AAR - posted 1/16)
UPDATE ON NEW SIGNALS ALONG FORMER B&O ROUTES IN MARYLAND:
The cut-over for new signals at HB, Baileys, and Leadenhall Street in Baltimore Terminal will be the first weekend of February. Baileys features the last traditional B&O full overhead signal span in the area. The closest cross street to the signal bridge is Ridgely (which crosses the mainline at grade) and Ostend Streets, near the Ravens Stadium. Not sure about the status of the Locust Point Branch, but that's probably pretty low priority since it does not host passenger trains.
Further west on the Capitol Sub, the new signals are up at JD and Riverdale, but those will not be activated until the double track project from JD to Jones Hill is completed. No progress whatsoever at Greenbelt. There is one intermediate B&O signal at "Cherry Lane" (just west of Laurel MARC station) that will likely live on for a while and very well may be the last B&O signal on any MARC line.
AMTRAK TO SERVE AS A CRITICAL TRANSPORTATION LINK
TO THIS YEAR’S “MASS TRANSIT” SUPER BOWL:
As part of Amtrak’s role in providing a critical transportation link to this
year’s Super Bowl, and through an agreement with its partners at New Jersey Transit (NJ
Transit), select Amtrak Northeast Regional and Keystone Service trains will be permitted to
make special stops at NJ Transit’s Secaucus, New Jersey, transfer station prior to and following
the Super Bowl.
Also, Amtrak will suspend all routine repair work in the Hudson River Tunnels for Super
Bowl weekend, allowing for the two available tunnels to remain operational. In addition, the
United States Coast Guard has granted Amtrak’s request to suspend all non-emergency opening
requests from maritime traffic at the Portal Bridge in Newark, New Jersey, on the day of the
game. Each of these measures will enhance the overall reliability of Northeast Corridor service
between New York and New Jersey for those traveling to and from the game.
Amtrak passengers presenting a valid Super Bowl game ticket at Secaucus will be offered
direct commuter rail shuttle service to and from the Met Life Stadium provided by NJ Transit.
Amtrak has also designated game day volunteers to staff Penn Station in New York and the
Secaucus transfer station to guide passengers to their destinations and answer any questions they
may have about getting to and from the stadium.
“These travel options and other initiatives being implemented for this great event will
make navigation to and from points on Amtrak’s busiest and most widely used route easy and
safe,” said Mike DeCataldo, General Manager, Northeast Corridor. “Thanks to the efforts of the
Super Bowl Host Committee and our partners at NJ Transit, MTA and Port Authority, this year’s event will be a unique and enjoyable experience for everyone who participates.”
Amtrak has additional information about activities lined up for Super Bowl Week, Game
Day Preparedness and special train schedules into Secaucus Junction Station on its website, at
. Find out what it’s like to be a part of history – watch our “Super Memories 48”
videos featuring football greats, Matt Light, Torrey Smith and Brian Dawkins, then book your
trip to create your own Super Memories.
More than 400,000 visitors are expected to visit the region for game-related events and
about 80,000 fans will attend the actual game.(Amtrak - posted 1/14)
CSX CORPORATION ANNOUNCES FOURTH-QUARTER AND FULL-YEAR EARNINGS:
CSX Corporation today announced fourth-quarter 2013 net earnings of $426 million, or $0.42 per share, down slightly from $449 million, or $0.44 per share in 2012. Prior year results included after-tax real estate gains of $57 million or 6 cents per share.
"Supported by the strength of an expanding economy, we delivered 6 percent volume growth in the quarter, despite another sharp decline in coal," said Michael J. Ward, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "As the economy continues to expand, CSX is well positioned to leverage that environment to create sustainable long-term value for our customers and shareholders."
Fourth-quarter revenue increased 5 percent to $3.0 billion, driven by broad-based strength in the company's merchandise and intermodal markets. Operations were resilient in the quarter, despite increased volume and challenging winter weather at the end of the quarter. However, the cycling of prior year real estate gains contributed to operating income that was essentially unchanged at $813 million.
For the full-year 2013, net earnings were $1.83 per share, up slightly from $1.79 per share in 2012. Full-year 2013 revenue increased 2 percent to a record $12.0 billion, operating income remained stable at $3.5 billion, and the operating ratio increased slightly to 71.1 percent compared with 70.6 percent for 2012.
Looking forward, the company remains on target to sustain a high-60s operating ratio by 2015 and achieve a mid-60s operating ratio longer-term.
(CSX - posted 1/14)
MORNINGSTAR NAME E. HUNTER HARRISON OF CANADIAN PACIFIC AS ITS 2013 CEO OF THE YEAR:
Morningstar, Inc., a leading provider of independent investment research, today announced its 2013 CEO of the Year, E. Hunter Harrison of Canadian Pacific. Morningstar annually recognizes a chief executive who exhibits exemplary corporate stewardship, demonstrates independent thinking, creates lasting value for shareholders, and has put his or her stamp on an industry. Tune into CNBC's "Nightly Business Report" this evening to watch an interview with Harrison.
The two other nominees for Morningstar's 2013 CEO of the Year award were Darren Gee of Peyto Exploration & Development Corp. and John Martin of Gilead Science Inc.
"This year's nominees have demonstrated sound stewardship practices on behalf of their firms' shareholders," Heather Brilliant, head of global equity and corporate credit research for Morningstar, said. "We selected Mr. Harrison as this year's winner because Canadian Pacific has produced outstanding results since his appointment as CEO in June 2012. Harrison has now transformed three railroads in his career, and along the way forged a new standard of profitability in a two-centuries-old industry.
"It would be difficult to identify another company leader who has revolutionized operations within a mature, asset-intensive industry several times over. Earlier in his career, Harrison steered both the Canadian National and Illinois Central railways to industry-leading margins. His actions in 2013 improved operations for the benefit of Canadian Pacific employees, customers, and shareholders, and positioned the firm for future success."
Harrison has been a powerful catalyst for change at Canadian Pacific:
"Remarkably, Harrison has made these changes to Canadian Pacific's business without harming customer service," Brilliant added. "The firm's higher margins and greater return on invested capital will generate additional free cash flow, which can be invested in a virtuous cycle to enhance safety, operations, and customer service, thereby driving down costs even further. We believe this trend will enhance Canadian Pacific's cost advantage—a key source of its Wide 'Economic Moat' rating. The firm's wide economic moat is also based on efficient scale; Canadian Pacific has a difficult-to-replicate network of track and assets and operates in an industry effectively served by existing participants."
Morningstar's Economic Moat™ rating is a proprietary measure of a company's sustainable competitive advantages, and Morningstar assigns each company a rating of Wide, Narrow, or None. A company can obtain an economic moat through five primary sources: Efficient Scale (a limited market where there is little incentive for new entrants), Network Effect (a situation where incremental customers add value for existing customers), Cost Advantage (allowing a company a greater profit margin and/or the ability to steal market share), Intangible Assets (e.g. patents or strong brands), and Switching Costs (making it costly in time and/or money for customers to switch providers).
Morningstar introduced its CEO of the Year award in January 2000. Winners are chosen by senior members of Morningstar's equity analyst team based on their in-depth independent research.
For Morningstar's commentary about Harrison, go to:
- posted 1/14)
Following his appointment, Harrison streamlined leadership, operating practices, and assets, both human and steel. He replaced nearly all senior leadership, decreased the work force by 27 percent, and reduced company-controlled railcars and locomotives by 35 percent and 43 percent, respectively.
He relocated the firm's headquarters from downtown Calgary, Alberta to the firm's Ogden Yard, a move that cut costs but also keeps Canadian Pacific's focus on freight operations front and center for corporate employees.
The firm is on track to produce a nearly 30 percent operating margin in 2013 and targets a 35 percent margin in 2014, a figure nearly double 2011's level. Shares have soared to CAD 160.65 as of Dec. 31, 2013, far above the CAD 70 price in January 2012 when public correspondence between the firm's board and activist investor Pershing Square mentioned Harrison's name as a potential new CEO. In 2013, Canadian Pacific's 61 percent total return dwarfed the returns of the S&P 500 (32 percent) and the Dow Jones Transportation Index (41 percent).
CPL SIGNAL UPDATE:
An update to some of the remaining former B&O CPL signals in Maryland during early January, as follows:
(Alex Koehler, Stephen Panopoulos - posted 1/14)
On the CSX Philadelphia Subdivision the
West and East Aiken
CPL signals are still in use. Most of the replacement signals are up.
On the CSX Philadelphia Subdivision, CPL signals are still in use at Leslie, Eder, West/ East Singerly, State Line, and Newark. So far, no replacements.
On the Baltimore Terminal Subdivision, CPL signals are still in use at
HB, Baileys Wye.
Locust Point Branch, and Leadenhall Street
However, most of the replacement signals are up.
MASSACHUSETTS RELEASES FIVE YEAR TRANSPORTATION PLAN:
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) today released the first draft five-year MassDOT Capital Investment Plan (CIP) for FY2014-FY2018. The $12.4 billion program makes long-term investments that will create growth and opportunity for residents across the Commonwealth and represents the first unified, multi-modal capital investment plan covering all MassDOT highway and municipal projects, regional airports, rail, and transit, including the MBTA and Regional Transit Authorities.
“We invest in our transportation infrastructure because roads, rail and bridges create a foundation that supports private sector investment and expanded opportunity for all our residents,” said Governor Patrick. “This plan makes investments across the entire state, is flexible, and spends wisely while creating thousands of jobs over the next several years.”
“This five-year plan will invest in critical projects identified in The Way Forward and reflects the Governor’s priorities in mobility, equity, environmental stewardship and economic development,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.
The five-year CIP includes funding for the following initiatives:
MassDOT will host six public meetings across the Commonwealth to receive feedback on the draft CIP plan, which is expected to be delivered to the MassDOT Board of Directors for consideration in February.
The public meetings are scheduled as follows:
$1.3 billion to complete the Green Line Extension, providing full service to Somerville and Medford by 2020.
$835 million to begin the $1.3 billion replacement program of 43-year old Red line vehicles and 31-year old Orange Line vehicles, as well as improvements to tracks, signals and systems.
$254 million for South Coast Rail, including early action improvements to rail ties, signal systems and bridges, as well as beginning preliminary engineering for the project.
$252 million for implementation of diesel multiple unit service (DMU) on the Fairmount Line and expansion of the Silver Line to Chelsea.
$3.3 billion for the rehabilitation and maintenance of bridges, including nearly $1.7 billion to complete historic Accelerated Bridge Program “mega” projects such as the Longfellow Bridge, Whittier Bridge in Amesbury and Braga Bridge in Fall River.
$260 million to rehabilitate the I-91 Springfield Viaduct from the North End Bridge to the Memorial Bridge and review Viaduct options in downtown Springfield.
$240 million for reconstruction of the I-93/95 Interchange in Canton, which facilitates private sector investment in the University Station development in the town of Westwood.
$161 million for the realignment of the I-90 Turnpike in Allston.
$160 million to complete the conversion to All Electronic Tolling on the I-90 Turnpike from New York to Boston and the harbor tunnels, including funds to begin ramp and road reconfiguration in FY2016.
$192 million for advanced communications and traffic control technologies to reduce congestion and delays.
$1.5 billion for municipal projects, including $200 million per year for Chapter 90 and $582 million in other municipal projects identified for the first time in a comprehensive project list.
$250 million for a statewide portfolio of Aeronautics projects focused on maintenance and repair of runways, hangers and navigation systems.
$34 million for the Housatonic Railroad, including the rehabilitation of tunnels, track and signals in advance of eventual rail line acquisition.
$31 million to complete track and signal projects necessary to restore permanent, seasonal Cape Flyer passenger service to Cape Cod.
$211 million for regional transit services, including $15 million for the purchase of senior citizen transportation vans for the local Councils on Aging
$196 million for the replacement of Regional Transit Authority buses and improvements to maintenance depots and intermodal facilities such as a new Pioneer Valley Transit Authority maintenance facility.
$99.5 million for a comprehensive modernization effort of the RMV’s 20-year old Automated License and Registration Renewal System (ALARS) that includes the archiving of twenty years of data, removing old software and building a new, modern computer system.
$43.0 million to advance the “Reimagining RMV” plan, in collaboration with the ALARS project, to significantly upgrade the quality of services provided by the department
To see the plan, it is available on the website,
In 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) was created to unify the state’s various transportation agencies. MassDOT now includes the Highway Division, the MBTA and Rail Transit Division, the Aeronautics Division, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. MassDOT is committed to providing a safe and reliable transportation system to all those who travel in the Commonwealth and works to deliver excellent customer service. MassDOT has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to transportation, including the Accelerated Bridge Program, the “Where’s My Bus and Train?” apps and “Fast 14” work
(Mass DOT - posted 1/14)
Wednesday, January 29, 6:00-8:00pm, State Transportation Building, 2nd Floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston
Wednesday, January 29, 6:00-8:00pm, Union Station, 2 Washington Square, Worcester
Monday, February 3, 6:00-8:00pm, Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst
Monday, February 3, 6:00-8:00pm, Berkshire Athenaeum, 1 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield
Wednesday, February 5, UMass Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Rd, North Dartmouth
Monday, February 10, 6:00-8:00pm, Lynn, exact location to be determined
PATH LINES UP FOR FIRST MASS TRANSIT SUPER BOWL:
The Port Authority is kicking off extra PATH service to help serve riders for the first mass transit Super Bowl, adding more frequent train service beginning the week before the February 2 championship game.
Volunteer customer service representatives also will join the ranks of PATH staff to help Super Bowl fans and regular users navigate their way through the system that links Hudson and Essex counties in New Jersey with Manhattan.
Additional PATH rail service in effect between Monday, January 27, and Monday, February 3, will help football fans get to a myriad of events related to Super Bowl XLVIII in both New York and New Jersey – including Media Day in Newark and Super Bowl Boulevard in midtown Manhattan – while keeping the system running efficiently for regular commuters.
PATH projects that as many as 300,000 passenger trips will be made on the system each weekday leading up to the Super Bowl, which represents a 20 percent increase over regular weekday ridership. The enhanced service will provide enough capacity to accommodate the additional demand.
“PATH wants to score its own touchdowns Super Bowl week by ensuring regular riders and visiting fans are able to reach their destinations as safely and efficiently as possible,” said Stephen Kingsberry, PATH’s director and general manager. “Although we have increased our train service to accommodate the extra ridership, we still encourage everyone to leave extra time and sign up for PATH Alerts to help ease their travel during the hectic activity of game week.”
Starting Monday, January 27, to Friday, January 31, frequencies on the Newark-WTC line during off-peak hours will be every 10 minutes, instead of every 15 minutes. This will particularly help fans wishing to attend the Tuesday, January 28, Super Bowl Media Day at the Prudential Center in downtown Newark, which is open to the public.
From Wednesday, January 29, to Friday, January 31, frequencies on the Journal Square-33rd St. and Hoboken-33rd St. lines during off-peak hours will be every 10 minutes, until midnight. These lines offer convenient ways to travel to and from several Super Bowl-related activities, including Super Bowl Boulevard, which stretches from 34th to 47th streets along Broadway. The PATH train will take riders to the 33rd Street station, just one block from the activities.
Extra service for commuters on the Newark-World Trade Center line also will be in place during the morning and evening rush-hour peak periods.
All week long, overnight train service will be increased on the Newark-World Trade Center and Journal Square-33rd via Hoboken lines, with frequencies every 10-to-15 minutes instead of every 35 minutes. All overnight and weekend construction activities will be cancelled.
On Saturday, February 1, service on all PATH lines will operate 10-minute service during the day and evening. Overnight, the Journal Square-33rd via Hoboken and the Newark to World Trade Center services will run with frequencies every 10 to15 minutes.
Although PATH lines do not run to the Meadowlands on Super Bowl game day, Sunday, February 2, extra trains will be on standby in case other transit systems experience difficulties to help move fans and others around the region.
Information about PATH service to various Super Bowl-related events and destinations will be available at every station.
Last week, PATH announced the launch of the limited edition Super Bowl PATH SmartLink cards available for purchase online, from blue SmartLink vending machines in most PATH stations or at several Hudson News locations. The special edition cards, which are made of plastic and the size of a credit card, may be used as a souvenir of Super Bowl XLVIII or to pay fares.
For the PATH schedule, information, and alerts, visit
or follow @PATHTrain on Twitter.
(PANYNJ, Randy Kotuby - posted 1/14)