` Hot News!
Railpace Newsmagazine

Hot News!
Edited by Carl G. Perelman
March 24, 2017:

SEPTA BOARD APPROVES PURCHASE OF MULTI-LEVEL COACHES FOR REGIONAL RAIL: The SEPTA Board approved the purchase of multi-level coaches for Regional Rail -- a key part in the Authority's efforts to meet the needs of a growing railroad ridership. SEPTA will purchase 45 multi-level coaches, with an option for 10 more, from CRRC MA Corp. As part of the Request for Proposal process, SEPTA received proposals from CRRC and two other companies, Bombardier and Hyundai Rotem:
  • CRRC MA: $137,480,000 for base-order of 45 coaches; $161 million with 10-coach option
  • Bombardier: $171,528,744 base; $197,894,224 with option
  • Hyundai Rotem: $184,761,928 base; $214,221,928 with option
The contract award was based on technical rating and pricing. SEPTA determined the CRRC proposal was the best value and most advantageous for the Authority. The new multi-level coaches will meet "Buy America" requirements, with 60 percent or more of the parts, labor and fabrication done domestically. "This contract award allows SEPTA to advance a major service-improvement initiative at a cost that fits within our budget constraints," said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. "We look forward to seeing the new multi-level coaches in service for our customers." The first of the new multi-level coaches are expected to be delivered in late 2019. The coaches will be paired with SEPTA's new electric locomotives, which are currently being manufactured by Siemens. The multi-level coaches will be produced primarily at CRRC MA's main U.S. manufacturing facility in Springfield, Mass. CRRC MA is a subsidiary of the largest railcar manufacturer in the world. "SEPTA's Regional Rail ridership has grown by more than 50 percent over the last 15 years," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. "The addition of new multi-level coaches and electric locomotives are critical for expanding capacity and meeting the needs of our riders. These fleet upgrades will play a key role in advancing SEPTA's Regional Rail Service Improvement Program." The Regional Rail Improvement Program is a comprehensive effort to address travel demand, on-time performance and overall service by renewing infrastructure, upgrading the rail fleet, utilizing new technologies and bolstering the workforce, along with other initiatives (SEPTA - posted 3/24)

AMTRAK SERVICE CHANGES DUE TO DERAILMENT: Due to this morning's Acela Express derailment and collision , Acela Express and Northeast Regional service between Newark, NJ and New York will be subject to delays. NJ TRANSIT service will terminate either in Newark Penn Station or Secaucus. Keystone Service will end and originate in Newark where passengers can transfer to Northeast Regional trains into New York. PATH will also honor Keystone Service ticketed passengers in and out of New York. Empire Service will terminate and originate in Yonkers, NY. A Metro North shuttle train will transport passengers to and from Grand Central Terminal. (Amtrak - posted 3/24)

LIRR TO CANCEL 29 PM RUSH HOUR TRAINS FROM PENN STATION RESULTING FROM AMTRAK DERAILMENT: Because of an Amtrak derailment at Penn Station this morning, the Long Island Rail Road plans to cancel 29 PM rush hour trains out of the 87 that normally depart from Penn Station during this time. The cancelations are necessary to allow NJTransit and Amtrak the exclusive use of Tracks 13-16, which are normally shared with LIRR; the move means four of the nine Penn Station tracks used by the LIRR for the evening rush hour are not available for use as a result of the derailment. The remaining LIRR trains from Penn Station could experience delays and crowding. The LIRR will operate on near normal schedules out of Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn and Jamaica, Woodside and Hunterspoint Avenue, Queens. New York City Transit will cross-honor LIRR tickets at 34th Street-Penn Station on the 1 Subway2 Subway3 Subway and A SubwayC SubwayE Subway. Westbound Port Washington Branch trains will terminate at Woodside, where customers will be able to transfer to the 7 Subway subway for continued service to Manhattan. On the LIRR’s other branches, there will be no westbound service between Jamaica and Penn Station. Customers will be able to transfer to the E Subway subway for continuing service to Penn Station. New York City Transit will cross-honor LIRR tickets at Woodside and Jamaica. (LIRR- posted 3/24)

CN AND TFI INTERNATIONAL RENEW INTERMODAL AGREEMENTl CN and TFI International, Inc. (formerly TransForce Inc.) today announced a renewed collaboration to grow domestic intermodal business in markets across Canada. The renewed long-term partnership aligns Canada's largest railroad, with its transcontinental rail network that reaches the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and Canada's largest trucking company and logistics leader, with a range of services, including truckload, less-than-truckload and package and courier. "Over the last five years, TFI International has grown its operating divisions' presence in the domestic intermodal market and its companies have a combined 100 years of collaboration with CN," said JJ Ruest, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer. "We believe our expanding partnership will help both our organizations provide more consistent, reliable service for our shared and growing customer base." Said Alain Bédard, TFI International Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, "We are very pleased to have this productive partnership in place with a superior supply chain partner which will ensure best-in-class service for our valued customers. This agreement is in line with TFI's stated objective to grow its intermodal presence in Canada." (CN- posted 3/24)

AMTRAK OFFERS MORE ACELA EXPRESS SERVICE: Weekend Amtrak travelers will soon have more high-speed options for Northeast Corridor (NEC) service between Boston and New York City, as Amtrak expands its popular Acela Express service between the two cities, with an additional round trip on Sunday. Schedules will also be adjusted to add more departures Saturday morning and Sunday evening when customers have requested more service. These changes will go into effect April 8, 2017. Tickets are now available at Amtrak.com , the Amtrak mobile apps or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. With these schedule changes, Amtrak is responding to customer feedback to provide more options for customers traveling the busy NEC. “Acela Express has long been the preferred premium choice for travelers between Washington, New York and Boston,” said Mark Yachmetz, Amtrak Vice President of NEC Business Development. “Our responsibility is to listen to our customers and continually improve our product to make sure Amtrak is always recognized as a smarter way to travel.” In an effort to meet the increasing demand for high-speed rail service and provide additional capacity on the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak contracted with Alstom to produce 28 next-generation high-speed trainsets that will eventually replace the existing Acela Express equipment. (Amtrak - posted 3/23)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S 2016 ANNUAL REPORT: Norfolk Southern today posted its 2016 Annual Report online, highlighting success at achieving first-year goals in the railroad's five-year strategic plan to streamline operations, drive profitability and growth, and enhance shareholder value. In the report, titled "Delivering On Our Commitments," CEO Jim Squires tells shareholders that the company finished the year "a stronger, faster, lower-cost, and more profitable railroad." Through the continued successful execution of its strategic plan, Norfolk Southern met or exceeded the company's targets to lower operating costs and increase profitability while improving customer service, "putting us well on our way to achieving our 2020 goals," Squires said. For the year, the company:
  • Achieved an all-time best operating ratio of 68.9 percent;
  • Reduced expenses in all areas of operations to generate savings of $250 million, surpassing a targeted $130 million;
  • Increased income from railway operations and net income by 7 percent each, driven by an 11 percent decrease in operating costs;
  • Produced year-over-year earnings per share growth of 10 percent; and
  • Rationalized 1,000 miles of secondary rail lines.
While exercising disciplined cost control, the company invested in strategic capital projects "to ensure safe and efficient operations and promote growth," Squires noted. In addition, efforts to improve locomotive fuel-efficiency, reliability, and emissions reduction continued as a cornerstone of the company's sustainability and business strategy, he said. Amid shifting markets and industry dynamics, Squires said, the company is "more focused than ever on services that will help convert freight from highway to rail." To drive growth, the company is working on customer-service initiatives that range from modernizing its e-commerce platforms to developing shared performance indicators to measure service. Squires notes that the railroad's management team began a structured dialogue with key customers and is using their input to improve operating efficiencies and deliver a superior service product. "We are changing the way we do business in order to meet and exceed our customers' expectations and to drive superior value creation for shareholders," Squires said. (NS, Randy Kotuby - posted 3/22)

WORK TO START ON FIRST THREE STATIONS IN $72 MILLION STATION MODERNIZATION PROJECT: Work is beginning this month on the first group of stations that are part of the ongoing Enhanced Station Initiative (ESI) to create new and dramatically improved subway stations throughout New York. The R Subway line stations, along 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, will close in both directions for renovations using a single-contractor design-build method to cut construction time and save money. The awarding of the $72.1 million contract to Citnalta-Forte Joint Venture in late 2016 started the clock on the extensive renovations planned for the Prospect Av, Bay Ridge Av and 53 St R Subway stations. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed the MTA to use design-build procurement for these renovations, the first time that NYC Transit is using this method for delivering construction projects. Previously NYC Transit made station component repairs using a piecemeal method that allowed limited service at affected stations but stretched the construction timeline, often to several years. The process and success of using these new innovative construction methods will inform future projects planned for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad. “These first three stations to be renovated represent the start of a new age for our subway system. By using the design-build method, we are putting the onus on one contractor to get the work done seamlessly and on time,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim. “The emphasis is on giving them complete access to the stations and the ability to get in, get done and get out as quickly as possible. We specifically sought out companies that have worldwide experience with building infrastructure and transportation projects, and we expect them to put the best industry practices to use here.” For the station modernization project, the MTA worked with consultants Grimshaw Architects to study and revise existing design guidelines for stations and facilities, with a focus on identifying ways to improve their appearance, usage, wayfinding and the flow of foot traffic. These revised guidelines will change the way that subway stations look and feel going forward and establish the new look of subway stations, influencing station design long after this major renovation project is complete. Stations will be closed for construction for six months each. The 53 St Station will close for service in both directions on March 27; the Bay Ridge Av station is scheduled to close on April 29 for six months; and the Prospect Av station is scheduled to close on June 5 for six months. During the closures, customers for all three affected stations are encouraged to use nearby subway stations, the B37 bus route or the B63 route, which run on Third and Fifth avenues run parallel to the R Subway line in the area. These three stations on the R Subway line opened in 1915 as part of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation and will require major demolition work before extensive renovations can begin. In advance of station closures, customers may see necessary preparation work on the street level near stations or at station exits. The renovations for all three stations include infrastructure work such as concrete and steel repairs; new platform edges; waterproofing; upgraded electrical and communications systems; track wall and platform wall repairs; new granite flooring; new stair finishes; glass barriers in station mezzanines; new LED lighting; and improved station signage.
  • Station entrances: All entrances will be refurbished and receive new handrails, stair treads, wall tiles, totems and digital screens providing real-time service information at the street level before customers enter the station. Canopies will be installed at select key entrances.
  • Turnstile areas: Walls and ceilings will be repaired, and new granite flooring, informational dashboards and glass barriers will be installed.
  • Mezzanines and platforms: LED light fixtures for brighter, more secure areas will be installed, along with security cameras and Help Points. Digital screens for real-time arrival information, updated service information and advertising will be installed. Customer amenities include new station art; electronics charging stations built into station furnishings; new platform edges, and new benches and leaning bars.
Once all stations are renovated, they will have Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, intuitive wayfinding, and top-to-bottom renovations of every station component that customers see or use on their daily commutes. Closures of each station are limited to six months at a time, and renovations for all stations in the project are expected to be complete by 2020. The station modernization project is part of the Governor’s robust package of enhancements and capital investments to improve the reliability, capacity and reputation of the subway system. The MTA has continued to move forward with the renovation project and expects to soon issue an RFP for the second group of stations that include the Broadway, 30 Av, 36 Av, and 39 Av stations on the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd line in Queens. High-resolution renderings of the station renovations are available here (MTA - posted 3/22)

AAR WEEKLY TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending March 18, 2017. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 495,281 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending March 18 were 246,465 carloads, up 4.6 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 248,816 containers and trailers, up 0.3 percent compared to 2016. Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They included coal, up 18.9 percent to 77,123 carloads; grain, up 8.1 percent to 23,243 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, up 3.3 percent to 33,255 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included motor vehicles and parts, down 13.8 percent to 16,621 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 9.3 percent to 9,655 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, down 5.9 percent to 9,237 carloads. For the first 11 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,803,485 carloads, up 4.9 percent from the same point last year; and 2,854,161 intermodal units, up 0.2 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 11 weeks of 2017 was 5,657,646 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2.5 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending March 18, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 345,292 carloads, up 6.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 319,052 intermodal units, up 2.3 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 664,344 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.3 percent. North American rail volume for the first 11 weeks of 2017 was 7,478,833 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.3 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 81,651 carloads for the week, up 12.4 percent, and 60,051 intermodal units, up 11.4 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 11 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 1,531,393 carloads, containers and trailers, up 7.9 percent. Mexican railroads reported 17,176 carloads for the week, up 3.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,185 intermodal units, up 1.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 11 weeks of 2017 was 289,794 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.4 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 3/22)

NJ TRANSIT ANNOUNCES THE RETURN OF ‘MUSIC IN MOTION’ CONCERT SERIES : Back by popular demand, NJ TRANSIT announces the Music in Motion concert series is back in swing. Music in Motion is a community-based initiative that allows local musicians to perform in NJ TRANSIT station facilities. These performing artists are offering their talents while customers get a glimpse of the region’s up-and-coming talent as they traverse major stations and terminals. Performances are Monday thru Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Hoboken Terminal Waiting Room, Secaucus Junction Rotunda and Penn Station New York 7th Avenue Concourse. NJ TRANSIT customers can enjoy performers at various other stations throughout the season. Entertaining customers this spring-summer are: Karen Hardy, Chelsea Carlson, Sal Aversano, Joseph Frame, Jr., Amanda Rose Riley, Mike Oregano, Amy Beshara, Steve Gregoire, George Young, Kenny Cunningham, Frtiz Gunter, PrizeViolet, The Foxfires, as well as NJ TRANSIT’s own and commuter favorite, Garrad Perry. For more information on upcoming performances, please visit the official Music in Motion website: www.facebook.com/NJTRANSITMIM. Those who would like to audition for the upcoming 2017-2018 Music in Motion season, please e-mail music@njtransit.com. (NJT - posted 3/21)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SAFETY TRAIN BEGINS 23 CITY TOUR TO EDUCATE FIRST RESPONDERS: Norfolk Southern’s safety train will stop in 23 cities during 2017 as part of its Operation Awareness & Response (OAR) program, which provides first responders with free training on how to respond to a railroad incident. The safety train kicks off March 21 in Hagerstown, Md., with three days of training at Norfolk Southern’s rail terminal. Additional stops include communities in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina. The full schedule is available at the OAR program website, JoinNSOAR.com. The OAR safety train is composed of a 2,000-horsepower; 273-ton locomotive painted in honor of emergency responders; two boxcars converted into 30-seat classrooms; four styles of tank cars: DOT-105, DOT-111, DOT-112, and DOT-117; and two 89-foot flatcars used to transport intermodal containers. Each four-hour training session includes classroom instruction and hands-on training inside a locomotive and on rail cars. The sessions are recommended for representatives of fire and law enforcement departments, emergency medical services and hazmat response teams, military and homeland security personnel, and railroad customers and suppliers. “We’re committed to moving all materials on our railroad safely,” said John Irwin, Norfolk Southern assistant vice president safety and environmental. “Important components of our safety culture include building relationships with first responders in the 22 states where NS operates and providing in-person educational opportunities like the OAR train.” NS is a 16-time national TRANSCAER Achievement Award winner. The award recognizes exceptional achievement in voluntary efforts by companies to help communities prepare for and safely respond to incidents involving transport of hazardous materials. During 2016 Norfolk Southern provided training for about 5,600 emergency responders, government officials, and others in 18 states. The training included classroom seminars, hands-on sessions with rolling stock, table-top simulations, full-scale drills, and exercises at training centers operated by NS and the Association of American Railroads. Norfolk Southern also was instrumental in developing the AskRail™ mobile app, which provides real time rail information to first responders. (Norfolk Southern - posted 3/20)

MTA SEEKS TO ACCELERATE CANARSIE TUNNEL REHABILITATION AND STATION IMPROVEMENT, COMPLETING WORK IN 15 MONTHS: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will seek board approval next week to award an expedited contract to accelerate the rehabilitation of the L Subway train’s Canarsie Tunnel under the East River by three months, improve two stations, and build a substation that will allow more trains to run on the L Subway Line, increasing capacity. The contract award calls for the tunnel work to be completed in 15 months, three months shorter than the previously discussed 18 months. The $477 million contract, to be awarded to a joint venture consisting of Judlau Contracting Inc. and TC Electric, also adds $15 million in incentives to complete the tunnel project in 15 months. Contractual provisions were included to expedite demolition, encourage acceleration of the tunnel work, deter delays, enable traffic mitigation work, and the testing and commissioning of systems. Consistent with NYC Transit’s objectives to expedite critical capital projects and improve customer service, NYC Transit will also implement procedures to ensure that the project advances in a fast-tracked fashion similar to the expedited nature of Design Build projects. “The heavy damage sustained by the Canarsie Tunnel during Superstorm Sandy requires a full reconstruction in order to ensure the integrity of the tunnel and the safety of riders for generations to come,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim. “At the same time, we promised to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of this vital work on l line riders, and today, we’ve done just that, by shortening the tunnel closure from 18 months to 15 months.” The work under the contract will address the salt water damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in the tunnel to improve service and reliability for the riding public. The work in the tunnel will be completed during the closure of the tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan that is now planned to begin in April 2019. Work during the closure includes demolition and reconstruction of approximately 60,000 linear feet (LF) of duct banks, 14,400 LF of track and track bed, 270,000 LF of cable ducts and associated cables, repair of 7,000 LF of concrete lining, and the installation of tunnel lighting and fire systems. The tunnel will be also be protected from future storms with resiliency measures including construction of resilient cables and ducts and the installation of a new discharge line. Prior to the tunnel closure, extensive station work will be performed that will increase operational efficiency and improve accessibility and circulation. Station improvements at the 1 Av and Bedford Av L Subway stations will include new stairways, and four ADA-compliant elevators and other work to improve customer flow. Construction of a new Avenue B substation and other infrastructure will address power requirements that, combined with the existing CBTC signal system, will allow more trains to run on the line to accommodate growing ridership. The MTA and NYC DOT have engaged in an aggressive community engagement process through town halls and community workshops meeting with residents, businesses, community boards, merchant groups and civic associations in Brooklyn and Manhattan communities along the L Subway Line. The meetings have been successful forums providing information on the Canarsie Tunnel repairs and to solicit community feedback on possible alternate travel options during the planned closure. The Canarsie Tunnel suffered extensive damage to tracks, signals, switches, power cables, signal cables, communication cables, lighting, cable ducts and bench walls throughout a 7,100-foot-long flooded section of both tubes. MTA New York City Transit has taken several steps to ensure the Canarsie Tunnel remains reliable until permanent repairs can be performed. The agency is inspecting the tunnel’s walls more frequently, and has installed redundant power cables to ensure the pumping system will operate without interruption. (MTA - posted 3/20)

UNION PACIFIC IMPLORES PHOTOGRAPHERS: DO NO TAKE PICTURES ON OR NEAR RAILROAD TRACK: Continuing its outreach that launched nearly two years ago, Union Pacific implores photographers and the entire photography community to not take pictures on or near railroad tracks Union Pacific uses animated videos, promoted via multiple social media channels, to warn of the dangers related to taking photos on railroad property. One pair of videos compares the dangers of taking photos on tracks to posing for pictures on a busy highway. Another addresses pedestrian safety and the dangers of taking selfies on or near tracks. Railroad tracks are private property. Trespassing along railroad rights of way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, which reports more than 400 trespass fatalities occur each year. (Union Pacific - posted 3/20)

SEPTA ANNOUNCES PROPOSED FARE INCREASE FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018: SEPTA today announced proposed fare changes for Fiscal Year 2018, including modest increases across all modes of travel and methods of payment. In keeping with the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission, SEPTA has adopted a policy of making periodic fare adjustments, with increases in 2007, 2010 and 2013. This proposal represents the next regularly scheduled fare increase -- the 2016 increase was postponed to allow time for the initial rollout of the SEPTA Key. Fare revenues help fund SEPTA's Operating Budget, which provides for the everyday expenses of running the system, such as labor, fuel and power. Pending approval by the SEPTA Board, these proposed fare changes would go into effect at the start of Fiscal Year 2018 on July 1. This proposal builds on efforts implemented with the last increase to simplify the fare structure for customers as they switch to the SEPTA Key. For example, the new proposal removes "premium fares" on the Norristown High Speed Line and bus routes 123, 124, 125 and 150 -- making these permanent standard-fare rides. Below is a summary of changes to some of the most widely used fare payment methods. The full fare increase proposal and public hearing schedule is?posted online:
  • Cash Fare/Quick Trip: Increase from $2.25 to $2.50
  • Tokens/discounted single ride with Key: From $1.80 to $2
  • Transit Transfers would remain unchanged at $1
  • Disabled Fare: From $1 to $1.25
  • Paratransit/Shared Ride: $4 to $4.25
  • Weekly TransPass: From $24 to $25.50 (up to 56 trips for one customer)
  • Monthly TransPass: rom $91 to $96 (up to 240 trips for one customer)
  • Weekly TrailPasses: Currently $27.25-$53, depending on zone; proposed increase to $28.25-$55.75 (up to 56 trips for one customer)
  • Monthly TrailPasses: Currently $101-$191, depending on zone; proposed increase to $105-$204 (up to 240 trips for one customer)
  • Convenience Pass: From $8 to $9
  • Independence Pass: Individual - $12 to $13; Family - $29 to $30
  • Ten Trip Discounted Fares for Regional Rail: Currently $38-80 depending on zone; proposed increase to $40-$82.50. (Please note: Ten-Trip Tickets will be replaced upon implementation of the SEPTA Key)
  • Parking: Regional Rail surface lot daily parking fee would increase from $1 to $1.25 with implementation of the SEPTA Key. Surface lot monthly permits would increase from $20 to $25.
SEPTA will hold public hearings regarding the proposed fare increase starting April 19. Two hearing sessions will be held in each of the five counties that make up SEPTA?s service region. Customers, residents, stakeholders and other members of the public are encouraged to attend, ask questions and submit comments. Please click here. for the full public hearing schedule. (SEPTA - posted 3/17)

GLX RELEASES DRAFT REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL FOR DESIGN-BUILD CONTRACT: The MBTA Green Line Extension (GLX) Project Team has released a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for the GLX Design Build (DB) contract to the short-listed DB teams. The draft RFP includes an Affordability Limit of $1.319 billion, base scope of work, and “Additive Options,” should a firm believe the Options can be completed within the Project schedule and the Affordability Limit budget. “This draft RFP is a major step in the ongoing procurement process as we proceed towards building the Green Line Extension,” said Program Manager John Dalton. “This document reaffirms the primary objective of delivering the base scope of the program while also allowing for the inclusion of additive-scope options if the completive pricing received from the design-build teams will allow. The maximum price tag for the Green Line Extension Project has been set and supported by the Fiscal and Management Control Board and we will not go beyond this threshold. Teams hoping to participate in the GLX delivery effort must focus first on the core elements—seven stations and train service—before pricing out additional scope elements that would be welcome but not required to comply with the Project’s successful completion.” Six Additive Options are included within the draft RFP that the competing design-build firms may propose under the Affordability Limit. Options must be added in in the following prioritized order:
  • 1.Platform canopies.
  • 2.Additional elevators at select stations.
  • 3.Public art.
  • 4.Additional community connection to the community path located on Chester Street in Somerville.
  • 5.Extension of the community path between East Somerville and Lechmere Stations.
  • 6.Enhanced Vehicle Maintenance Facility in Somerville.
The MBTA, in collaboration with stakeholders, established the prioritized list to meet its objectives of enhancing rider experience, community access, and operational improvements. Price proposals for the competing design-build firms are due in September 2017 and must not exceed the established Affordability Limit of $1.319 billion, which is a part of the overall GLX Program budget of $2.3 billion. Also included within the draft RFP are necessary weekend shutdowns of the Lowell and Fitchburg commuter rail lines for twenty-five weekends during each year of construction. These two lines share right-of-way areas with Green Line Extension Project locations. These shutdowns, during the forty-three months of scheduled construction, will be coordinated with non-GLX work whenever possible. The draft RFP also states that the MBTA has the ability to consider more extended shutdown periods if the contractor can provide appropriate cost and/or schedule savings for the Project. The final RFP will be issued in May 2017 after feedback is received from the design-build firms on the draft RFP. For more information on the Green Line Extension Project, please visit the Project’s webpage.. (MBTA - posted 3/17)

AMTRAK PRESIDENT ISSUES STATEMENT CONCERNING PROPOSED FED BUDGET AND AMTRAK FUNDING: President Trump has proposed slashing Amtrak funding as part of the FY 2017 Budget Proposal. Word is that Amtrak might be able to obtain a mere $250 million in funding, which would allow it only to operate the Northeast Corridor and State subsidized trains. If this scenario becomes reality, Amtrak would be forced to eliminate all long distance trains. Amtrak President Wick Moorman issued a statement concerning President Trump's FY 2018 Budget Proposal and the correlating Federal Funds for Amtrak. The message, published in a Special Employee Advisory, stated: "Fellow Amtrak Employees, The President’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget summary just released proposes significant federal budget cuts for Amtrak.    Many, if not most, of you have read or heard those headlines, and are thinking: What does this mean for Amtrak, for us, for me? The answer is that we do not yet know. I have been an observer of Amtrak since its beginnings – and I want to share with you my perspective on this development. First, don’t be alarmed by these headlines. Every year, there is vigorous debate on what Congress should fund and what it should cut. These debates are long and hard, and they often result in a final outcome that is very different from the initial proposal, so let’s give this process some time. From what we understand, the Administration’s budget proposes to eliminate funding for Amtrak’s long-distance service, potentially impacting many of the 500 communities we serve.  Amtrak operates 15 long-distance trains across the nation and these routes offer the only Amtrak service in 23 of the 46 states we serve.  These trains connect our major regions, provide vital transportation to residents in rural communities, feed passengers and revenue to our Northeast and State-Supported Corridors, and provide a foundation of service for future growth.  By covering 94 percent of our network operating costs through ticket sales and other revenues in FY16, we’ve demonstrated that we are an efficient provider of these services – but Amtrak still requires Federal investment and funding to operate these trains and the rest of our network. As the budget process progresses, we will work with President Trump, Secretary Chao, and Congress to ensure that they understand the value of Amtrak’s Long-Distance services and what these proposed cuts would mean to this important part of the nation’s transportation system. Remember, this is just the beginning of the annual budget process, which will unfold over several months. Amtrak will have an opportunity to put forward our own budget request and make clear the value that we believe is generated by investing more – not less – in the services and infrastructure we provide.    In short: Let’s not get distracted by this news. Let’s stay focused on doing our jobs, and supporting all of our business lines and operations. Now more than ever, we need to work safely, provide a great customer experience, and operate as efficiently as possible. Thank you for all that you do for Amtrak." (Amtrak - posted 3/16)

NRE WILL OVERHAUL SIX CONNDOT LOCOMOTIVES: Connecticut Department of Transportation has awarded National Railway Equipment with a five-year contract to overhaul six EMD GP40-2H diesel locomotives. These locomotive currently retain the New Haven livery and are assigned to Shore Line East commuter rail service. (Alex Mayes - posted 3/16)

RAILROAD PROGRESS ON POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL IMPLEMENTATION: The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a status update today on railroads’ progress implementing positive train control (PTC) systems in the fourth quarter of 2016. The status update, based on railroad-submitted quarterly data, shows freight railroads continue to make consistent progress while passenger industry progress in installing and activating the life-saving technology only slightly increased. The latest data, current as of December 31, 2016, confirms freight railroads now have PTC active on just 16 percent of tracks required to be equipped with PTC systems—up from 12 percent last quarter. Passenger railroads made less progress—with a slight increase to 24 percent from 23 percent. Due in large part to Amtrak’s significant progress on PTC, 41 percent of passenger railroads’ locomotives are now fully equipped with PTC technology, compared to 29 percent the previous quarter. Freight railroads’ percentage of locomotives fully equipped with PTC technology rose to 42 percent, up from 38 percent. “We continue to closely monitor railroads’ progress implementing Positive Train Control,” said Patrick Warren, FRA Executive Director. “With less than two years remaining to complete the implementation process, it is imperative that railroads continue to meet implementation milestones.” PTC systems are designed to prevent certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and trains going to the wrong tracks because a switch was left in the wrong position. Congress requires Class I railroads and entities providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation to implement PTC systems by December 31, 2018. Only if some key implementation and installation milestones are met may railroads be eligible to obtain a limited extension to complete certain non-hardware, operational aspects of PTC system implementation no later than December 31, 2020, subject to the Secretary of Transportation's approval. The fourth quarter status update includes railroad-by-railroad quarterly data on track segments completed, locomotives equipped, employees trained, radio towers installed, route miles in PTC operation, and other key implementation data. See the infographics below. Since 2008, when Congress first mandated PTC system implementation on certain railroad main lines, FRA has provided significant assistance to support railroads’ PTC system implementation. Those efforts include:
  • Providing more than $716 million in grants to support railroads’ implementation of PTC systems, including nearly $400 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding and $25 million in fiscal year 2016 Railroad Safety Technology Program funding;
  • Issuing a nearly $1 billion loan to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to implement PTC systems on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad;
  • Announcing the availability of $199 million in grants to commuter railroads and state and local governments in fiscal year 2017 for PTC system implementation;
  • Building a PTC testbed at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado;
  • Working directly with the Federal Communications Commission and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to improve the approval process for PTC communication towers; and
  • Dedicating staff to work on PTC implementation, including establishing a PTC task force.
To view the interactive graphic of freight and passenger railroads’ overall PTC implementation progress, visit www.fra.dot.gov/app/ptcsummary/. (FRA - posted 3/15)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING MARCH 11, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending March 11, 2017. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 510,638 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending March 11 were 253,664 carloads, up 4.3 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 256,974 containers and trailers, up 4.5 percent compared to 2016. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They included coal, up 11.9 percent to 79,646 carloads; grain, up 10.9 percent to 24,248 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, up 10.3 percent to 35,069 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 15.6 percent to 9,344 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, down 8.5 percent to 18,390 carloads; and forest products, down 5.1 percent to 9,789 carloads. For the first 10 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,557,020 carloads, up 4.9 percent from the same point last year; and 2,605,345 intermodal units, up 0.2 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 10 weeks of 2017 was 5,162,365 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2.5 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending March 11, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 347,055 carloads, up 5.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 324,615 intermodal units, up 3.9 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 671,670 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.7 percent. North American rail volume for the first 10 weeks of 2017 was 6,808,375 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.2 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 77,024 carloads for the week, up 9 percent, and 57,958 intermodal units, up 3 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 10 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 1,389,691 carloads, containers and trailers, up 7.5 percent. Mexican railroads reported 16,367 carloads for the week, up 8.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 9,683 intermodal units, down 4.1 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 10 weeks of 2017 was 256,319 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 5.2 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 3/15)

SCHNEIDER AND CSX TRANSPORTATION AGREE ON NEW RAIL CONTRACT: Schneider, a premier provider of transportation, intermodal and logistics services, announced today that it has agreed to a new multiyear agreement with CSX Transportation under which the railroad will continue to serve as one of Schneider’s primary rail providers. The agreement sustains the ability for Schneider to serve the Eastern United States as the demand for intermodal transportation increases. “Renewing our relationship with CSX allows us to continue providing the exceptional service that our customers expect from Schneider Intermodal,” said Jim Filter, senior vice president and general manager of Schneider Intermodal. “By combining the expertise of one of the country’s largest intermodal providers and one of the country’s major railroads, Schneider has been able to provide creative solutions to more efficiently move intermodal freight with truck-like service.” CSX became Schneider’s primary Eastern rail provider in 2008. Since then, the organizations have continued to enhance their performance to deliver “truck-like” service to shippers. The agreement provides Schneider customers with capacity and operational interfaces that are designed to increase accessibility and efficiency of rail moves. Additionally, capital investments that CSX has made in projects such as the Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal have improved its infrastructure and facilitated expanded service offerings to the most Eastern origins and destinations. “We believe intermodal is a critical solution for supply chain optimization as it provides shippers with access to scalable capacity and sustainable savings,” said Dean Piacente, vice president-intermodal of CSX Transportation. “There is significant opportunity to optimize modal selection and convert freight from highway to rail in the Eastern U.S. CSX continues to invest in the intermodal growth opportunity, and we are excited to extend our relationship with Schneider as they truly are a premier intermodal provider. CSX and Schneider share a strong commitment to safety and customer service and to enhancing supply chain solutions for shippers. Renewing our relationship with Schneider is one of the many driving forces behind our Service Excellence initiative within the CSX of Tomorrow strategy.” (Schneider National - posted 3/14)

NJ TRANSIT INCREASING SERVICE FOLLOWING WINTER STORM: As road conditions improve following today’s storm, NJ TRANSIT anticipates increasing service levels across Bus, Rail, Light Rail and Access Link for Wednesday March 15th. Customers are strongly advised to check the status of the system on njtransit.com prior to making their trip, particularly bus and Access Link customers. Bus will resume regular service south of Route 195 for Wednesday March 15th. Bus service north of Route 195 may experience delays and detours due to local road conditions. Access Link will resume regular service in Region 3 (Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and South Ocean) effective 4 a.m. on Wednesday. All other Access Link regions will resume service at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Please note: Access Link will not provide transfer or certification trips on Wednesday. Rail service will operate on a President’s Day schedule on Wednesday. President’s Day service is more robust than a weekend schedule, with additional service on some lines including service west of Dover on the M&E and west of Bay St. on the Montclair-Boonton Line. However, trains do not operate out of Jersey Avenue on the Northeast Corridor or west of Raritan and Lake Hopatcong. Please Note: The Atlantic City Rail Line will continue to operate on a regular weekday schedule. Metro-North west of Hudson service, operated by NJ TRANSIT, on the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines will operate on a President’s Day schedule. Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, Newark Light Rail and RiverLINE will all operate on regular weekday schedules. (NJT - posted 3/14)

RAIL CARS ARRIVE AT K+S POTASH CANADA'S LEGACY PROJECT: Today K+S Potash Canada GP (KSPC) celebrates the arrival of the first 177 of 531 custom built rail cars at its Legacy Project mine site— enough to complete one of three trains that will transport KSPC's product to its potash handling and storage facility in Port Moody, B.C. "The arrival of these rail cars demonstrates how close we are to production, which is expected to begin in the second quarter this year," said Dr. Ulrich Lamp, KSPC President and Chief Executive Officer. "To see them here, branded with our company name and ready to carry our first marketable product, is really exciting." The rail cars will travel along 30 km of Canadian Pacific's (CP) recently constructed Belle Plaine subdivision, which connects CP's main line at Belle Plaine, SK to 14 km of newly constructed industrial rail line which is owned and will be operated by KSPC. "Canadian Pacific is proud to see this important project move towards completion," said Keith Creel, CP President and Chief Executive Officer. "The construction of the Belle Plaine subdivision is the largest single rail infrastructure project in CP's recent history and we are thrilled to be the exclusive rail provider to Saskatchewan's first potash mine in more than 40 years, providing the most modern rail infrastructure of all of the Saskatchewan potash mines." The rail cars were designed by National Steel Car and feature industry-leading design suitable for the Legacy Project's state-of-the-art facility. They can be loaded with product while in motion, and have the capacity to hold the same volume as a regular rail car, while being slightly shorter in length, thereby optimizing timely and efficient delivery of product. According to Steffen Brill, KSPC Senior Manager, Logistics and Transportation, 531 rail cars will be sufficient to meet initial requirements for weekly transportation to Port Moody, but additional cars will be required as production starts to ramp up later in the year. "Once the trains arrive at our facility in Port Moody, they will be unloaded by automatic conveyor to our warehouse or directly onto a ship at one of the world's most modern potash handling facilities," said Brill. "From there, they'll be shipped to regions worldwide." Part of the rail fleet will also be used to transport product to the U.S. All sales and distribution of KSPC's potash will be carried out through the K+S Group's experienced and well-established global distribution structures.- (CP- posted 3/13)

MTA SUSPENDS ALL ABOVE GROUND SUBWAY TRAIN SERVICE DUE TO WINTER STORM STELLA: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today declared a state of emergency across all 62 counties in New York ahead of the extreme winter storm expected to bring heavy snowfall and high winds. The Governor also directed non-essential state employees impacted by the winter storm to stay home from work on Tuesday without having to charge accruals. At the Governor’s direction, MTA express subway service will be suspended after the rush hour Monday night in order to store trains underground on those tracks. Beginning at 4 a.m. Tuesday, above-ground service on the subway will also be suspended. Commuters traveling on New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road and Metro North are encouraged to stay home tomorrow, if possible, as additional service changes are expected. As the state continues to prepare for the storm, New Yorkers should exercise caution, avoid unnecessary travel and pay close attention to winter storm advisories as the day progresses. (MTA - posted 3/13)

NJ TRANSIT SERVICE IMPACTS DUE TO EXPECTED SNOW ON MARCH 14 : Out of an abundance of caution and safety, NJ TRANSIT is making service changes for Tuesday, March 14th due to the forecasted severe winter weather expected to hit the region. NJ TRANSIT encourages all customers to prepare their transportation needs in advance of the storm, if they must travel. All Bus and Access Link service will begin shutting down at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning. Customers should expect those services to remain suspended for the duration of Tuesday’s service day. Service is anticipated to resume on Wednesday as weather and road conditions allow. All but one rail line will operate on a weekend schedule on Tuesday for as long as weather conditions allow trains to operate safely. Customers should be aware that weekend rail service does not extend west of Raritan on the Raritan Valley Line, west of Dover on the M&E Line or west of Bay Street on the Montclair-Boonton Line. Please Note: The Atlantic City Rail Line will operate on a regular weekday schedule. Pascack Valley Line trains will add Teterboro and Woodcliff Lakes stops and Train 2125 will operate as a local making all station stops. Hudson-Bergen Light Rail will operate on a weekend schedule with the addition of service, operating every 20 minutes, between Tonnelle Ave. and Hoboken Terminal. Newark Light Rail will operate on a Saturday schedule. RiverLINE service will operate on a Sunday schedule. Systemwide Cross-Honoring in Effect: To give customers additional travel options – if they must travel – during expected winter weather conditions, NJ TRANSIT will offer full systemwide cross-honoring, enabling customers to use their ticket or pass on an alternate travel mode—rail, light rail, PATH or ferry. As a reminder, on Tuesday, March 14th all bus service will be suspended. For example, customers who normally take the bus from Rutherford to the Port Authority Bus Terminal may use their bus pass or ticket on the train from Rutherford to New York Penn Station. Similarly, customers who normally take the bus between Atlantic City and Lindenwold may use the Atlantic City Rail Line instead at no additional charge. NY Waterway and Billybey ferries will accept NJ TRANSIT tickets and passes. All customers are strongly advised to check njtransit.com before traveling for up-to-the-minute service information before starting their trip. NJ TRANSIT will have a special winter storm section on the homepage of its website. NJ TRANSIT will continue to monitor the weather conditions and impacts to services as the storm progresses. For the latest travel information, customers should visit njtransit.com, access NJ TRANSIT’s Twitter feed at @NJTRANSIT or listen to broadcast traffic reports. Additionally, NJ TRANSIT will provide the most current service information via the My Transit alert system (www.njtransit.com/mytransit), which delivers travel advisories for your specific trip to your smartphone. Service information is also available by calling (973) 275-5555. Rail and light rail crews and equipment are on standby to quickly respond to downed trees, power outages or other issues that may arise. In addition, NJ TRANSIT will be positioning locomotives at strategic locations across the rail system to rapidly respond in the event of a disabled train. NJ TRANSIT’s employee Emergency Response Team will be at Newark Penn Station, Secaucus Transfer and Penn Station New York to assist customers who must travel on Tuesday. (NJ Transit - posted 3/13)

AMTRAK MODIFIES NEC SCHEDULE ON TUESDAY DUE TO WINTER STORM STELLA: Amtrak will operate a modified schedule in the Northeast region on Tuesday, March 14 due to a winter storm. Passengers holding reservations are strongly encouraged to monitor conditions and make any necessary changes in advance of their scheduled departure using Amtrak.com or our mobile apps to check their train status. On March 14, there will be no Acela Express service between New York City and Boston, and there will be modified Acela Express service between New York City and Washington, D.C. In addition, the Northeast Regional service that operates between Boston and Washington, D.C., will run on a modified schedule, with some trains truncated or cancelled, including some trains that operate in Virginia. The Empire Service, Shuttle and Downeaster Service will also run on a modified schedule, with some trains truncated or cancelled. The Keystone Service will operate on a severe weather schedule. Some long distance trains that normally travel to and from the Northeast Corridor will also be affected, with service suspended between Albany/Rensselaer and Boston, and between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Passengers should allow extra time to get to the station and be extremely careful with possible slippery conditions in stations, on platforms and in the doorways of trains. Changes to these schedules or announcements about other service changes will be made as far in advance as possible and posted on our Service Alerts and Notices page at Amtrak.com/alerts. Short-notice alerts are also displayed at the top of the Amtrak.com homepage. Amtrak's top priority is the safety of our passengers, employees and the traveling public. Amtrak engineering, operations and mechanical crews are actively monitoring the latest forecasts to ensure safe and efficient operation of the railroad, with preparations such as personnel and equipment positioning to quickly respond to potential problems and to resolve issues.(Amtrak - posted 3/13)

SEPTA ANNOUNCES PLAN TO WINTER STORM STELLA: SEPTA is urging customers to plan ahead, and if possible, avoid unnecessary travel as Winter Storm Stella moves into the region late Monday evening/early Tuesday morning. Forecasts are predicting 8-12 inches of heavy, wet snow and high wind gusts that will impact SEPTA services on all modes of travel throughout the transit system on Tuesday, March 14. SEPTA will continually monitor the storm and make service adjustments as needed to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. Below is a summary of some of the issues SEPTA may face, and steps being taken to maintain service and keep customers informed of possible disruptions: Proactive Measures & Additional Staffing: SEPTA will have additional personnel on-hand as of 11 p.m. Monday at the SEPTA Headquarters Command Center, and also in the field to monitor conditions. Personnel at bus depots and rail yards will take measures to address vehicle equipment concerns that come with this kind of weather. Track inspectors and maintenance crews, as well as signal maintainers and power crews, will be staged at various locations throughout the system to be available to quickly address issues. By deploying extra staff, SEPTA will be in the best possible position to quickly identify problems and take corrective action to minimize the impact to our riders. Crews will also run pilot vehicles on all trolley routes, the Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) and Regional Rail lines over night to keep the lines clear and ready for morning service. SEPTA has tools at its disposal to battle the winter weather, such as high-velocity snow blowers and brining equipment, aimed at combating snowy and icy conditions. This equipment will play a key role in the Authority's efforts to minimize disruptions to customers resulting from winter weather events. In addition, SEPTA has taken preventive efforts to prepare its revenue fleet of over 2,700 buses and trains. Air systems and doors on all vehicles are aggressively serviced, and additional traction motors are placed into inventory to reduce down time. Winter weather snow plans are also developed to identify critical system infrastructure areas that require deployment of personnel and equipment. Twenty-Four Hour Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line Service: Similar to weekends, 24-hour weekend train service will be in operation on the Market Frankford and Broad Street Lines - SEPTA's two busiest routes. There will be no overnight Nite Owl bus service; trains will operate every 20 minutes, all-night. This keeps additional buses off potentially hazardous roads, and helps with efforts to continue service on these vital transit arteries. The Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines will be the best modes of transit for those needing to travel throughout Philadelphia. Regional Rail to Operate on Severe Storm Service Plan: On Tuesday, March 14, SEPTA will activate its Regional Rail Severe Storm Service Plan. Lines will operate on a Saturday schedule with the exception of the following:
  • The Wilmington/Newark Line will run on an enhanced Saturday schedule, with service to Newark and Churchmans Crossing Stations.
  • Cynwyd Line service will not operate.
It is anticipated that service could experience significant delays and possible cancellations. Customers are urged to register for Twitter updates for their specific Regional Rail Line. Details are available here. Drifting Snow Could Impact Norristown High Speed Line: The NHSL will operate every 20 minutes; however, potentially high winds can cause snow drifts along the line. NHSL passengers should monitor SEPTA's website and Twitter alerts for possible service delays or service suspension. Historically Affected Bus Routes to be Detoured at 4 a.m. (Earlier if Conditions Warrant): SEPTA will cut back and possibly suspend bus service along routes that are historically impacted by storms, such as hilly areas or on tight streets: Routes 7, 9, 14, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 38, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 53, 55, 57, 58, 65,70, 73, 77, 84, 88, 92, 94, 95, 97, 99, 103, 107, 108, 112, 114, 117, 119, 120, 124, 126, G, H, XH, J, K, and L. Routes 35, 61, 62, 93 and 112 will be suspended. Additional bus routes could be detoured or suspended if road conditions deteriorate. Bus detours will be posted online here. Look for the storm cloud icon for weather-affected routes. Heavy Snow Could Impact Trolleys: Customers using SEPTA Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34 and 36, and the Media/Sharon Hill Line (Routes 101/102) should anticipate significant delays and possible service cancellations, due to street conditions and cars parked too close to the rails. Customized Community Transportation (CCT) to Operate Limited Schedule: Service will be available for dialysis and other urgent, critically-needed medical treatments and essential work personnel only on Tuesday, March 14. Customers should anticipate delays due accumulated snow and icy conditions on streets and sidewalks. Impassable streets and/or sidewalks not cleared of accumulated snow and ice may prevent safe boarding and transport. Customers should contact the Control Center at (215) 580-7720 to cancel trips if they don't plan to ride. Customers should call CCT Customer Service at (215) 580-7145 for all other inquiries. The SEPTA Customer Service Call Center will open at 6 a.m., and will be staffed with extra personnel. Customers can call (215) 580-7800 to speak to SEPTA representatives. The SEPTA Social Media Team (@SEPTA_Social) will also be available to answer inquiries via Twitter starting at 5 a.m. Service updates will be posted at www.septa.org. (SEPTA - posted 3/13)

NS OPERATIONS WILL BE EFFECTED BY WINTER STORM STELLA: As winter Storm Stella progresses across the Northeast in the next 24-48 hours, heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions are expected to impede train movement and working conditions, particularly in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York areas. Norfolk Southern is taking every precaution to prepare infrastructure and assets to minimize down time and delays. Customers should expect delays of 24-48 hours on traffic moving through these areas. (NS - posted 3/13)

AMTRAK EMPIRE REGION SECOND TRACK PROGRESS: On March 7, the second track was placed in service between CP 145 (just west of the Hudson River Bridge in Albany, NY) and CP 149 (Lincoln Ave., Colonie, NY). 6.7 miles of single track remains between Albany and Schenectady. Work is ongoing to complete this project. (Andy Kirk - posted 3/10)

TIMOTHY TIERNEY NAMED PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF CONRAIL: Conrail announced today that its board of directors has named Timothy Tierney president and chief operating officer, effective April 1. Tierney succeeds Ronald Batory, who is retiring after nearly 46 years in the railroad industry. A 39-year veteran of Conrail, Tierney most recently served as vice president and chief engineer, managing all of the company's engineering functions. Tierney assumed responsibility for locomotive assets, mechanical policy, and planning in 2002. Prior to this role, Tierney worked in various positions of increasing responsibility within the engineering department, including division engineer of the Buffalo, Albany, and Philadelphia divisions. Between 1996 and 1999, he worked assignments at Philadelphia headquarters, culminating as chief engineer – system during the planning, transition, and implementation of the Conrail acquisition by CSX and Norfolk Southern. Following that transaction, Tierney played a critical role managing capital expenditures and overseeing the design, development, and project management of infrastructure projects. "Tim Tierney has served Conrail with distinction and proven himself to be a successful, trusted leader with an exceptional commitment to hard work and safety," Batory said. "Tim brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the rail industry and will continue to accelerate Conrail's commitment to providing safe, efficient service." Batory joined Conrail in 1998 as vice president - operations, and was appointed president and chief operating officer in 2004. Jim Squires, Norfolk Southern chairman, president and CEO, said, "Norfolk Southern greatly appreciates Ron's leadership over the past 19 years and his more than four decades as a dedicated railroader. We wish him the best in a well-deserved retirement." CSX Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn served on the Conrail board of directors and worked closely with Batory for several years. "All of us at CSX have great respect for Ron's railroad experience and his continuous focus on teamwork," Sanborn said. "We wish him a happy retirement." Prior to Conrail, Batory served as president of The Belt Railway Company of Chicago. He spent more than 20 years working for both eastern and western Class I railroads in addition to assisting a court-appointed trustee's successful oversight of a regional railroad bankruptcy. (Conrail - posted 3/09)

BRISK WINDS CAUSES A CSX INTERMODAL TRAIN TO DERAIL: On Wednesday afternoon CSX intermodal train Q018 derailed in Batavia, N.Y. due to high wind gusts. During the afternoon wind gusts of up to 81 miles per hour were reported at the nearby Greater Rochester Internation Airport. Also, on Wednesday crews were still clearing the Q409 derailment, along the River Subdivision, in Newburgh, N.Y. Three locomotives and 17 freight cars had derailed when the train hit a forklift that was wedged into the tracks. Due to the derailment, two CSX intermodal trains detoured via the NYS&W.

CSX FREIGHT COLLIDES WITH BUS IN MISSISSIPPI: At approximately 2:10 p.m. on March 7 a CSX freight train collided with a charter bus at the Main Street grade crossing in Biloxi, Mississippi. Four people were killed in the collission. The bus was carrying 50 to 60 people, en route from Austin, Texas to casinos in Biloxi. (Randy Kotuby - posted 3/08)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING MARCH 4, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending March 4, 2017. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 521,607 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending March 4 were 262,743 carloads, up 6.3 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 258,864 containers and trailers, down 2.3 percent compared to 2016. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They included coal, up 18.7 percent to 85,183 carloads; grain, up 7.5 percent to 23,991 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, up 7.3 percent to 10,635 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 8.3 percent to 9,864 carloads; chemicals, down 2.7 percent to 32,057 carloads; and motor vehicles and parts, down 1.6 percent to 18,593 carloads. For the first 9 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,303,356 carloads, up 5 percent from the same point last year; and 2,348,371 intermodal units, down 0.2 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 9 weeks of 2017 was 4,651,727 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2.3 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending March 4, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 359,372 carloads, up 7.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 330,483 intermodal units, down 1 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 689,855 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.2 percent. North American rail volume for the first 9 weeks of 2017 was 6,136,705 carloads and intermodal units, up 3 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 80,555 carloads for the week, up 12.8 percent, and 60,691 intermodal units, up 4.6 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 9 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 1,254,709 carloads, containers and trailers, up 7.7 percent. Mexican railroads reported 16,074 carloads for the week, down 0.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,928 intermodal units, up 0.6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 9 weeks of 2017 was 230,269 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 6.1 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 3/08)

UPDATE ON MBTA INSTALLATION OF POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL TECHNOLOGY: The MBTA's Positive Train Control (PTC) Program staff Monday presented updates about the Program to the Fiscal and Management Control Board. The Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) of 2008 defines a Positive Train Control (PTC) System as a safety system designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and movement of trains through track switches that may have been left in the incorrect position. All PTC systems are generally comprised of the same components, including an on-board apparatus for the locomotive controlling each applicable train, wayside devices (such as Wayside Interface Units), a centralized dispatch system in a back office, and a communication system that links all components. A PTC Implementation Plan has been submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that provides for the installation of hardware on all Commuter Rail lines and two pilot lines (Stoughton and Lowell Lines) by the end of 2018 with full PTC implementation by December 31, 2020. The MBTA's PTC Program includes a third-party PTC SI contract with Ansaldo Signalling and Transportation Systems and with the MBTA's railroad operator, Keolis Commuter Services. The PTC Implementation Plan includes acquiring a spectrum through PTC 220 LCC or a frequency swap with the FCC; the installation of ~180 PTC antennas, ~250 PTC wayside installations, and ~4,500 PTC transponders; new optical fiber installations (~230 miles of new pole routes and ~50 miles of restored/existing pole routes); and PTC installation in 100 MBTA locomotives, twenty-five Pan Am locomotives, and 114 cab cars. The Implementation Plan also includes upgrades to dispatch centers. Manufacturing per the plan commenced in January 2017 with vehicle, wayside, and communication installation planned to commence in March 2017. In order to meet the implementation deadline, complete and unencumbered access to the right of way will be required with some simultaneous weekend service suspensions proposed on the Commuter Rail beginning in summer 2017 and into 2018 for the Lowell, Haverhill, Newburyport, Needham, Fairmount, Rockport, Fitchburg, Franklin, and Worcester Lines as well as the Wildcat Branch. Simultaneous weekend shutdowns of the entire Lowell and Haverhill Lines will begin in July 2017. No weekend shutdowns will be required of the Greenbush, Middleborough, Providence, or Kingston/Plymouth Lines. (MBTA - posted 3/07)

CSX NAMES HUNTER HARRISON AS CEO: CSX Corporation today announced the Company has named E. Hunter Harrison, a proven railroad executive with a well-regarded track record of producing market-leading operating results, as chief executive officer, effective immediately. Mr. Harrison replaces Michael Ward, who announced his decision to retire as Chairman and CEO on February 21, 2017 and will become a consultant to CSX, effective immediately. The Company also announced that it has reached an agreement with Mantle Ridge LP, an investment firm formed by Paul Hilal, to reconstitute the Company’s Board of Directors. Under the terms of the agreement, CSX has appointed five new directors to its Board of Directors, mutually agreed upon by CSX and Mantle Ridge and effective immediately – Mr. Harrison, Mr. Hilal, Dennis Reilley, Linda Riefler and John Zillmer. In addition, three incumbent CSX directors intend to complete their service for the Board at or before the conclusion of the 2017 annual meeting. As a result, the size of the Board will be 13 members. CSX’s current Presiding Director, Edward J. Kelly, III, will become Chairman of the Board and Mr. Hilal will become Vice Chairman. Hunter Harrison, said, "I am proud to join the dedicated and talented railroaders at CSX. Together, we will implement Precision Scheduled Railroading – a model proven to improve safety, create better service for customers, produce a proud and winning culture for employees, and generate exceptional, lasting value for shareholders.” Paul Hilal, said, “I thank every CSX director, including those leaving the Board, for their constructive and skillful engagement that enabled this terrific outcome for CSX. The Board is united behind a shared goal – creating value for shareholders and all stakeholders by implementing the Precision Scheduled Railroading model at CSX. Together, we have created the conditions for success. Now the real work begins.” As part of his compensation, Mr. Harrison will receive an award of incentive options to purchase nine million shares of CSX stock at its current trading price, eight million of which will be granted as an inducement award under the Nasdaq listing rules. The options will vest over four years with half of the options vesting based on service and half vesting based on the achievement of designated performance goals over the four year period. While CSX, Mr. Harrison and Mantle Ridge have agreed on the aforementioned conditions, the CSX Board continues to believe that it is appropriate to seek shareholder input with respect to certain proposals:
  • The requested payment of the $84 million of the amount of compensation and benefits forfeited by Mr. Harrison as a result of his separation from Canadian Pacific Railway Limited. To facilitate Mr. Harrison’s separation from CP on terms that would permit him to work at CSX, Mantle Ridge agreed to protect Mr. Harrison on an interim basis with respect to this $84 million.
  • The requested assumption of a related tax indemnity.
Mr. Harrison has informed CSX that his acceptance of the CEO position was subject to CSX ultimately providing this replacement protection initially offered by Mantle Ridge upon his departure from CP. Mr. Harrison has indicated that he will resign after the 2017 annual meeting if the reimbursement and tax indemnity are not provided by CSX, and return to Mantle Ridge to protect his reimbursements. CSX will submit th ese matters to CSX shareholders for an advisory vote at the 2017 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. The proxy statement relating to the Annual Meeting will contain further details. Because these matters will now be considered at the Annual Meeting, the previously convened Special Meeting of Shareholders will not be held. The CSX Board does not intend to make a recommendation to shareholders on the matters being put forward for a vote, but does intend to act promptly following the meeting based on the outcome of the vote. Biographies of new CSX Board members follow:
  • E. HUNTER HARRISON E. Hunter Harrison is the most effective and successful railroad leader of our times, having successfully led the turnaround of three major railroads over the last 25 years. In his last two undertakings at Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, he delivered 321% and 350% total shareholder return, respectively. Mr. Harrison created and refined Precision Scheduled Railroading over the recent decades, and is the acknowledged leader in implementing it at Class I railroads. He has been recognized by every major railroading publication, and he has twice been honored as Railroader of the Year.
  • PAUL HILAL Paul Hilal is the founder and CEO of Mantle Ridge LP. Mr. Hilal is a leading engaged or activist investor, as well as a well-respected expert on value investing and corporate governance. Mr. Hilal played a leading role in the historic 2012 proxy campaign at Canadian Pacific, which resulted in a reconfigured board and the hiring of Hunter Harrison as CEO. Mr. Hilal currently serves on the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School and served until 2016 on the Board of the Grameen Foundation – an umbrella organization that helps microlending and microfranchise institutions empower the world’s poorest through financial inclusion and entrepreneurship. He is also a Trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the collection and preservation of the history of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • DENNIS H. REILLEY Dennis Reilley is an experienced executive with a demonstrated track record of driving improvements in operations, financial results and shareholder value as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Praxair, Inc. He was named one of the best CEOs in America in 2004, 2005, and 2007 by Institutional Investor. Since retiring as CEO of Praxair, he has brought his expertise in finance, operations and leadership to the boards of leading Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Reilley currently serves as Non-Executive Chairman of Marathon Oil Corporation, and as a director of Dow Chemical Company. Mr. Reilley is a founding member and partner of Trian Advisory Partners (an advisory group for Trian Fund Management, L.P.).
  • LINDA H. RIEFLER Linda Riefler is a 25-year veteran of Morgan Stanley where she served on the Executive and Management Committees. She is an expert on talent management, having served as Chief Talent Officer for the bank. She also served as Chairman and Global Head of Morgan Stanley’s Research franchise as well as Chairman of MS where she oversaw the commercialization of Modelware, a knowledge management platform she had incubated as Head of Morgan Stanley’s renowned Global Research Strategy Team. Ms. Riefler currently serves as a director of MSCI, and as a strategic advisor to numerous start-ups, for-profits and non-profits, with an expertise in building adaptive capacity to help them navigate rapidly changing environments.
  • JOHN J. ZILLMER John Zillmer has led successful transformations at large, complex enterprises. He is the former chief executive of Univar, a Fortune 500 company, where he doubled EBITDA over three years. He is an expert in strategies for business optimization and process improvement. His operational transformation of Allied Waste Industries became an industry benchm ark. Mr. Zillmer has deep expertise in labor relations, environmental safety, logistics, corporate governance and talent management. Mr. Zillmer was named to National Association of Corporate Directors Directorship 100 in 2016 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to corporate governance. He currently serves as a director of Reynolds American, Inc., Ecolab Inc., Veritiv Corporation, and Performance Food Group. Mr. Zillmer has also served as a director of Liberty Capital Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in start-ups, early stage, growth equity, buyouts, and acquisitions, since June 2004. Mr. Zillmer also serves on the North American advisory board of CVC Capital Partners.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. and UBS Securities LLC are serving as financial advisors to CSX, and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Hunton & Williams LLP are serving as legal advisors. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is serving as legal advisor to Mantle Ridge.

PROGRESS RAIL COMPLETES EMISSIONS TESTING TIER 4 SWITCH LOCOMOTIVE: Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, announced it has successfully completed initial emissions testing of its new, repower locomotive – the EMD24B – and has begun the process of certifying the locomotive per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent Tier 4 emissions standards. The EMD24B locomotive will now start the California Air Resources Board’s 3,000-hour in-service verification testing, first with Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. (PHL). Rated at 2,000 horsepower, the EMD24B comes equipped with a Cat® 3512C HD engine and aftertreatment technologies proven to lower emissions. The EMD24B utilizes rebuilt EMD-style locomotive components, and has been constructed with a remanufactured underframe and cab from an existing EMD GP-40 locomotive. This pre-1973 locomotive core, which was originally developed based on "unregulated" emissions standards, has been remanufactured to meet the latest emissions standards, aligning with Caterpillar and Progress Rail’s sustainability values.  “In 2010, PHL took part in one of our largest repower projects to date by modernizing an existing locomotive fleet with cleaner burning engines. Today, we’re pleased to continue that legacy of collaborating for cleaner air, through our latest testing efforts for our Tier 4 ready switcher locomotive,” said Progress Rail’s Chief Executive Officer and Caterpillar Senior Vice President, Billy Ainsworth. “The EMD24B demonstrates our commitment to customers through its reliability and sustainability, while emphasizing Caterpillar’s broad engine expertise, with a strong focus on lowering emissions, maintaining fuel efficiency and safety.”  The design and manufacture of the EMD24B involved various teams within the company; including Progress Rail’s repower engineering team, employees from the company’s Patterson, Georgia facility, and its Brazilian subsidiary, Zeit, which provided the locomotive’s control system.  Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. President Otis Cliatt II said, “PHL is pleased to once again partner with Progress Rail in our ongoing effort to achieve the lowest possible emissions within the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. We are eager to test the EMD24B locomotive, which employs the latest technology and represents a very important step toward meeting the stringent clean-air standards of the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. EPA. The EMD24B’s operation on PHL will offer a challenging range of speed, direction and tonnage associated with a busy terminal.” (Progress Rail - posted 3/03)

WABCO SIGNS CONTRACT TO PROVIDE SIGNALING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR TEX RAIL: Wabtec Corporation (WAB), has signed a $97 million contract to provide signaling and communication services for TEX Rail, a new commuter rail line being developed by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. The authority expects to open the 27-mile, double-track line in 2018. Under the contract, Wabtec will provide wayside signaling and communication services, including a control and command center, for the line. Raymond T. Betler, Wabtec’s president and chief executive officer, said: “This project demonstrates our capabilities and expertise in wayside signaling and communications, which we believe is an attractive growth market for Wabtec. We already have a strong presence in the Fort Worth region, and we look forward to our role in this important expansion of commuter rail service there.” The TEX Rail line will begin in downtown Fort Worth and extend to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The service is projected to carry more than 13,600 daily riders using nine rail stations when it’s fully built. (Wabtec Corporation - posted 3/02)

OPERATION LIFESAVER ANNOUNCES U.S. RAIL SAFETY WEEK, SEPTEMBER 24-30, 2017: Operation Lifesaver (OLI, http://www.oli.org ), the national, nonprofit rail safety education group, today announced that it will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other organizations to observe the first national Rail Safety Week (RSW), September 24-30, 2017. “The goal of RSW is to raise awareness across the United States of the need for rail safety education and empower the general public to keep themselves safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way,” said OLI President and CEO Bonnie Murphy. “As OLI celebrates its 45th year of existence this year, launching a national Rail Safety Week fits with our ongoing mission of reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks,” she said. “It’s imperative that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Operation Lifesaver and railroads continue to partner to educate the public about the dangers at grade crossings and trespassing on railroad tracks,” said Karl Alexy, FRA Director, Office of Safety Analysis.  “Too many people unnecessarily lose their lives each year because they try to beat a train at a crossing.  We need education campaigns like Rail Safety Week to change behaviors among pedestrians and motorists.” Operation Lifesaver is working with the FRA, Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Transit Administration, alongside safety partners in federal and state government, the railroad industry and other safety-minded organizations on an awareness campaign, local events, and distributing safety tips for pedestrians, drivers, transit riders and passenger rail users throughout Rail Safety Week, Murphy said. “About every three hours in the U.S. a person or vehicle is hit by a train,” Murphy explained. “While sustained federal and private investment in engineering, enforcement and education on safety at highway-rail crossings has led to an 83 percent drop in collisions at these intersections over the past four decades, hundreds of Americans are still killed or injured each year. We look forward to working with a broad range of partners to save lives through our Rail Safety Week efforts.” (Operation Lifesaver - posted 3/01)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR FEBRUARY AND WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 25, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for February 2017. Carload traffic in February totaled 1,044,040 carloads, up 6.7 percent or 65,141 carloads from February 2016. U.S. railroads also originated 1,068,439 containers and trailers in February 2017, up 1.8 percent or 19,350 units from the same month last year. For February 2017, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,112,479, up 4.2 percent or 84,491 carloads and intermodal units from February 2016. In February 2017, 11 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with February 2016. These included: coal, up 19.2 percent or 57,589 carloads; crushed stone, gravel, and sand, up 13.1 percent or 10,091 carloads; and primary metal products, up 6.8 percent or 2,357 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in February 2017 from February 2016 included: petroleum and petroleum products, down 12.4 percent or 5,543 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, down 4.8 percent or 3,746; carloads and metallic ores, down 19.1 percent or 2,793 carloads. Excluding coal, carloads were up 1.1 percent or 7,552 carloads in February 2017 from February 2016. Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 8 weeks of 2017 was 2,040,613 carloads, up 4.8 percent from the same point last year; and 2,089,507 intermodal units, up 0.04 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 8 weeks of 2017 was 4,130,120 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2.3 percent compared to last year. "The 19.2 percent increase in coal carloads in February 2017 was the highest percentage gain for coal since sometime before 1988 when our current record series began," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "While it's an impressive gain, February 2017 was, unfortunately, also the second worst February in absolute terms for coal since sometime before 1988. It's all too representative of the challenges railroads are facing as their markets change. However, these same market changes are offering new opportunities. Over the past 15 years, the industry has worked hard to create a solid foundation to exploit these opportunities."
  • Week Ending February 25, 2017: Total U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending February 25, 2017 was 521,451 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending February 25 were 256,756 carloads, up 3.5 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 264,695 containers and trailers, down 3 percent compared to 2016. Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They were coal, up 14 percent to 84,822 carloads; nonmetallic minerals, up 12.1 percent to 33,908 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, up 0.2 percent to 21,272 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 15.5 percent to 9,438 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, down 5.8 percent to 18,634 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, down 4.3 percent to 8,921 carloads. North American rail volume for the week ending February 25, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 351,728 carloads, up 4.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 339,947 intermodal units, down 1.7 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 691,675 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.4 percent. North American rail volume for the first 8 weeks of 2017 was 5,446,850 carloads and intermodal units, up 3 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 78,200 carloads for the week, up 10.3 percent, and 64,428 intermodal units, up 5.2 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 8 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 1,113,463 carloads, containers and trailers, up 7.5 percent. Mexican railroads reported 16,772 carloads for the week, down 2.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,824 intermodal units, down 6.4 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 8 weeks of 2017 was 203,267 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 6.9 percent from the same point last year.
  • Crude Oil Update: The AAR also reported U.S. Class I railroads originated 43,293 carloads of crude oil in the fourth quarter of 2016, down 5,685 carloads or 11.6 percent from the third quarter of 2016 and down 41,632 carloads or 49 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015.
(AAR - posted 3/01)

$7.9 MILLION INVESTMENT TO UPGRADE MATTAPAN LINE TROLLEY FLEET: The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board was briefed Monday on a plan to invest $7.9 million to fully overhaul its existing Presidential Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars with new propulsion, brakes, and power supply systems. The plan would extend the life of the Mattapan-Ashmont Station High Speed Line vehicles, also known as the "Mattapan trolley." This investment over the next two years will maintain the historical significance of the distinctive orange and cream-colored cars, and also includes a study of options for the future of the line. A series of public meetings will also be held in April in Dorchester, Mattapan and Milton. "These historic vehicles are among the very last of many thousands that operated in major cities across the United States, and are beloved by many residents in the communities they serve," said MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve. "The Mattapan Trolley Line is a critical transportation link for residents in my district," said State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. "The MBTA's investment of $7.9 million to the existing cars will keep them viable for the next decade, while the $1.1 million Due Diligence Survey will take a holistic look at the long-term solutions for the trolley line. I have advocated for investment and sustainability of the Mattapan Trolley for over 12 years and am elated a roadmap will be created to ensure this crucial piece of infrastructure continues to serve the residents of Mattapan, Dorchester and Milton." "The Mattapan High Speed Trolley Line provides a crucial public transportation link to residents of Milton," said State Senator Walter Timilty. "I am pleased to see the MBTA invest in both maintaining the line's existing cars and reviewing options for updates to its infrastructure. I look forward to working together with the MBTA and my colleagues at the State House to not only preserve an essential element of the region's history but to also ensure access to public transit extends to future generations." "The Mattapan Trolley Line is important not just for its daily function - connecting more than 4,600 residents to the Red Line and Bus System - but for what it represents - a tangible connection to our community's history," said State Representative Dan Cullinane. "The Mattapan Trolley Line is a bright spot. It provides a consistent and reliable public transit link for the residents of Mattapan, Milton and Dorchester and is vital to our local economy. For the past year, Mattapan, Dorchester and Milton elected officials and residents have collectively advocated for increased investment in the Mattapan Line and I am grateful to the MBTA's Fiscal Management Control Board for not just listening, but acting, with today's state investment of $7.9 million dollars. We can all celebrate this as a big win for those who rely on and support the Mattapan High Speed Trolley Line." "The Mattapan trolley has been an integral transportation connection for constituents for many years," said State Representative Russell E. Holmes. "It is great to know that MassDOT has approved the investment needed to provide the maintenance needed to make the PCC Cars reliable. MassDOT will next do the long term planning and evaluations to develop proposals for the community to consider the next generation solution that will provide service for future generations" Because of their age, the MBTA's PCC fleet requires constant repair and replacement of parts that are no longer available on the market, and must be manufactured by MBTA machinists at the T's Everett shops. Parts have also been obtained from museums, all adding to the overall cost of repairs. The fleet consists of 10 cars, of which 7 are in revenue service. The Mattapan HSL opened in 1929 and is known for its distinctive streetcars, whose use dates back to the mid-1940s. The partially grade-separated light rail line services parts of Dorchester, Mattapan and Milton. While one of the shortest existing trolley lines, it is popular among many because it still uses PCC cars and offers some surprisingly scenic views. The line follows the right-of-way of two former Old Colony Railroad branches, and runs parallel to the Neponset River for much of its 2.6-mile route. The line serves Mattapan Station, Capen Street Station, Valley Road Station, Central Avenue Station, Milton Station, Butler Station, Cedar Grove Station, and Ashmont Station. (MBTA - posted 2/28)

WI-FI, BUSINESS CLASS AND CAFE CAR ON THE NEW AMTRAK HOOSIER STATE: The Indiana Department of Transportation, community partners and Amtrak announce passenger amenities on board the Hoosier State service when it transitions to modern Amtrak railcars and locomotives on Wednesday, March 1. The train operates four days a week between Indianapolis and Chicago with intermediate stops in Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer Amtrak will provide Horizon-series coach cars, each seating 68 passengers and including accommodations for passengers with disabilities. A café car with an attendant will have table seating on one end of the car and private seating at the opposite end for 14 Business class passengers. Food and beverages – including alcoholic drinks – will be available for purchase in the café and can be enjoyed at the tables or at each passenger’s seat. All the railcars have power outlets, reading lights and tray tables at each seat, with free cellular-based AmtrakConnect® Wi-Fi that combines mobile data from multiple carriers along the tracks. Overhead space is provided for baggage and each of the railcars also has a rack to stow larger luggage at one end. Amtrak continues to have the friendliest carry-on baggage policy in the travel industry, allowing up to four bags and 150 pounds per passenger. Also, coach passengers can bring along a dog or cat weighing 20 pounds or less, housed in a soft-sided carrier, for a fee of $25 each way. One-way adult ticket prices for coach service to and from Chicago range from $25 to $48 from Indianapolis, $25 to $47 from Crawfordsville, $23 to $45 from Lafayette, $17 to $30 from Rensselaer and $12 to $22 from Dyer. Children 2-12 years old are half-fare and discounts are also available for students, seniors, military and others. Business class is in a curtained area with abundant space arranged with two seats on one side of the aisle and one seat on the other side, with leather seating surfaces, foot-rests and leg-rests. Included is a 25-percent points bonus for Amtrak Guest Rewards members, as well as complimentary coffee, tea and use of the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago, which offers priority boarding. The additional charge each way for business class is $21 from Indianapolis and Crawfordsville, $20 from Lafayette and $14 from Rensselaer and Dyer. “BOGO” fares, other promotions and a special railcar for March To mark the transition, Amtrak and INDOT are offering a “buy-one, get-one” fare for the month of March, so two adult passengers can ride for the price of one. See the Deals tab on Amtrak.com for applicable requirements for fare code V216, for purchase starting Tuesday, Feb. 28. While Amtrak passengers in business class always have access to the Metropolitan Lounge at Chicago Union Station, coach customers normally pay for an upgrade for the Legacy Club, a separate waiting area at the station that has complementary snacks and beverages, charging stations and boarding ahead of other coach passengers. For the month of March, Amtrak Hoosier State coach customers will enjoy complementary Legacy Club access, a $20 value. Also, for the month of March, the Hoosier State train will include the only dome car in Amtrak service, a Great Dome. Built in 1955 by the Budd Company for the Great Northern Railway, it carries the name “Ocean View.” Repainted in honor of Amtrak’s 40th anniversary, it wears stripes comprised of equal width red, white and blue, symbolic of Amtrak being America’s Railroad®. It features an upper level with windows on all sides to provide passengers with panoramic views of spring in Indianapolis and Chicago, as well as the Hoosier scenery in between. There is no extra cost as seats in the car are unreserved and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Passengers are encouraged to rotate in and out of the Great Dome to allow all to enjoy this unique experience. About the Hoosier State train The Amtrak Hoosier State runs north on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings as Train 851 and runs south on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings as Train 850. The other days each week these communities are served by the Amtrak Cardinal (Trains 50 & 51), which operates between New York City and Chicago. Indiana partners with its on-line communities for Hoosier State funding and guidance, and is among 18 states that contract with Amtrak to provide short-distance, intercity passenger rail services. To promote reliability, the locomotive and railcars used for the Hoosier State are part of a pool used for other Amtrak services in the Midwest. (Indiana DOT - posted 2/28)

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON PAOLI STATION ACCESSIBILITY IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT: Today federal, state and local officials joined together with SEPTA, Amtrak and their honored guests to officially break ground on the Paoli Station Accessibility Improvements Project, a $36 million initiative to improve accessibility, safety and provide operational flexibility at the Paoli Train Station. “Amtrak is advancing a robust program of station accessibility improvements across our network,” said Tom Moritz, Amtrak Senior Director of Business Development. “We are proud to partner with SEPTA, PennDOT, the Federal Transit Administration and the Tredyffrin Township community to help transform the Paoli Train Station into an intermodal facility that is accessible for all.” “The Paoli Station Accessibility Improvements Project is the first phase in a long-term effort to bring much-needed improvements to this vital station,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “This partnership between Amtrak, FTA, PennDOT and the surrounding community is a game-changer. This current phase of ADA improvements will make the station more accessible and safety will be enhanced through upgrades to the surface parking lot. Our riders and the community have been looking forward to the transformation of Paoli Station. I am thrilled to see work finally starting – and this is only the beginning.” Amtrak has contracted with Neshaminy Constructors Inc., of Feasterville, Pa., to advance a series of station improvements including a new center island, high level platform, new elevators and ramps, a pedestrian overpass, parking lot improvements, ADA improvements to the existing station building and upgrades in rail infrastructure to support other project components. During construction, there will be no impact to the number of available parking spaces or train operations. Once complete, this project will set the stage for potential further construction of the proposed Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center, a new expansive transportation center envisioned to serve the growing needs of the traveling public and support the Paoli business district and future growth of the area. “The improvements at Paoli station are in line with station improvements PennDOT has overseen at stations all along the 104-mile Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia and Harrisburg,” said Deputy Secretary for Multi Modal Toby Fauver. “Governor Wolf’s administration has continued the Commonwealth’s commitment to enhancing and building ridership along this vital passenger rail corridor, which contributes to the region’s economic vitality.” “On behalf of the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors and Staff, I would like to thank the Project Teams at Amtrak, SEPTA, & PennDOT for all of their diligence and hard work in making this project a reality,” said Tredyffrin Township Board Chairman Trip Lukens. “The Township, along with our partners at the Chester County Board of Commissioners, Chester County Planning Commission, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and members of the Paoli Task Force (both past and present), are thrilled to finally see this project come to life. This is the beginning of a renaissance for Paoli, the first of many future improvements near the station that will continue Tredyffrin Township’s important role in helping meet the transportation needs of our region.” In fiscal year 2016, 201,572 Amtrak passengers and approximately 740,000 SEPTA passengers passed through the station. The current station facilities built in 1953 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, including the one-story brick station building, are not fully accessible and are in need of improvement. SEPTA and Amtrak have partnered to make modifications to the station and infrastructure at the station to bring into compliance with 2006 U.S. Department of Transportation Accessibility Standards. (Amtrak - posted 2/28)

MTA SPENDS $774M ON NEW TECHNOLOGY TO INCREASE TRAIN SERVICE, RELIABILITY ON THE NO. 7 LINES: MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) continues to make $774 million worth of critical improvements on the 7 Subway Line and is on target to increase the line’s capacity and reliability with a new high-tech signal system. The work includes replacement of both underground and elevated tracks, and critical replacement of the existing 50-90 year old fixed-block signal system on the 7 Subway line with state-of-the-art signal technology. New signals will allow for the use of Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), which increases operational flexibility and allows additional trains to run consistently on the line as the population grows along the corridor. “A safe, reliable Flushing Line is critical to the growth of Queens and these projects are critical to the future of the line,” New York City Transit Acting President Darryl Irick said. “Replacing old tracks means a smoother, faster ride for customers, and installing a modern signal system means less crowded and more reliable commutes.” Nearly every element of the 7 Subway Line is seeing improvements. In April 2016, reconstruction and fortification of the Steinway Tunnel was completed, bringing it back to a state of good repair after it had suffered saltwater damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The completion of this work was a major milestone in efforts to overhaul the Flushing Line and will be critical to reducing planned and emergency suspensions of service between Manhattan and Queens. NYCT has also been replacing track panels along various segments of the 7 Subway Line. Weekend closures will be needed to test previously installed CBTC equipment. The payoff will result in a significantly improved commute in the coming years and a more reliable subway system for everyone. The 2017 schedule below represents scheduled weekend service shutdowns of the 7 Subway Line between Queensboro Plaza and 34 St-Hudson Yards in both directions (MTA- posted 2/27)

CANADIAN PACIFIC LOCOMOTIVE GO'IN TO SCRAP: Canadian Pacific is shipping a batch of locmotives to JABCo., located in Chicago Heights, Illinois, for scrap. These units include SD40-2F 9001, 9002, 9003, 9006, 9007, 9008, 9009, 9012, 9013, 9015, 9016, 9018, 9019; SD40-2 5841, 5857, 6614, 6620; ICE SD40-2 6212 and 6215; DME SD40-3 6056. (Bryce Lee - posted 2/24)

PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN METR0-NORTH RAILROAD AND ZIPCAR TO LAUNCH HUDSON VALLEY CAR SHARE INITIATIVE: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new partnership between Metro-North Railroad and Zipcar, a leading provider of vehicle sharing services, to launch a Hudson Valley Car Share initiative. Starting today, Zipcars will be available at nine Metro-North Railroad stations in the Hudson Valley so passengers can conveniently take a Zipcar from the station and easily travel to tourist destinations and other locations throughout the region. "This new partnership will provide a convenient and economic travel option to allow New Yorkers and visitors alike to explore the Mid-Hudson Valley, further boosting the region's tourism economy," Governor Cuomo said. "I encourage New Yorkers and tourists alike to take advantage of this program and experience this region's natural beauty and recreational options for themselves." A total of 14 Zipcars are available now through the partnership including a Honda Civic, a Jeep Renegade and a Honda CR-V. The vehicles are parked at dedicated, clearly marked spaces at station lots, providing Metro-North customers with the ease and simplicity of stepping off the train, hopping into a Zipcar and conveniently continuing on to destinations beyond the station. Each Zipcar reservation includes gas, insurance, maintenance and 180 miles of driving per day. Zipcars will be available at the following stations:
  • Harlem Line: North White Plains and Woodlawn
  • Hudson Line: Poughkeepsie and Beacon
  • New Haven Line: Port Chester, Harrison, Mamaroneck, Pelham and Mount Vernon East
(MTA - posted 2/24)

GREENBRIER ACHIEVES MILESTONE: BUILDS 100,000TH INTERMODAL DOUBLE-STACK UNIT AT U.S. MANUFACTURING FACILITY: The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. (GBX) today proudly announced the production of its 100,000th intermodal double stack unit in January. This milestone achievement began more than 32 years ago at Greenbrier's flagship production and design facility, Gunderson LLC, based in Portland, Oregon.CP - posted 2/221) "Gunderson has been a pioneer in railcar design since Greenbrier's 1985 acquisition of this legendary manufacturing facility in operation since 1919. Building 100,000 intermodal double stack units is a significant achievement for Greenbrier. It is the result of years of hard work and dedication provided by our American workforce at Gunderson, which includes many employees who have worked in this facility in Portland for multiple decades," said William A. Furman, Chairman and CEO. "Greenbrier's manufacturing history began with the intermodal double stack railcar at Gunderson in 1985. Greenbrier is proud to build intermodal double stack railcars in America – work that supports more than 1,000 highly-skilled jobs in Portland." Greenbrier spearheaded the design of double stack railcars which were introduced in North America in the mid-1980s to haul intermodal containers. Double stack technology revolutionized long distance freight transportation by railroads. Using double stack technology, a freight train of a given length can carry roughly twice as many containers, sharply reducing costs per container. These cars are used for nearly 70% of all U.S. intermodal shipments. Greenbrier produces nearly twice the number of intermodal double stack railcars than its closest competitor and has built approximately 50% of all intermodal double stack railcars operating globally. Greenbrier has evolved and innovated from a railcar builder with a single product offering to a global manufacturer that now provides numerous railcar products and aftermarket solutions to support the transportation needs of thousands of customers, today on four continents. Furman added, "The 100,000th intermodal double stack unit is a considerable advancement from the first model built; the result of continuous innovation at Greenbrier. Since 1985, Greenbrier has developed 13 unique designs for intermodal double stack railcars; all to streamline containerized shipping. Our current Maxi-Stack design is an example of Greenbrier's unwavering dedication to supplying the safest and most efficient railcars in the industry." "This is a rewarding milestone for Greenbrier and the hard-working team here at Gunderson," said Mark Eitzen, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Gunderson. "I am proud of all our team members and appreciate the continued support of our suppliers and customers. We are also pleased to regularly receive quality awards for our intermodal railcars from our leading customer, TTX Company, a top provider of railcars to the North American rail industry. Our success is linked to the railroad industry's goal to realize substantial financial and environmental savings – our 100,000 intermodal double stack railcars save 15.5 billion truck miles each year resulting in lower emissions and reduced road traffic." "We are fortunate to have employers like Gunderson in our City," said Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon. "I congratulate all at Gunderson and Greenbrier on the production of their 100,000th intermodal double stack unit and I look forward to their continued success." (Greenbrier - posted 2/23)

READING & NORTHERN RAILROAD HIRES BILL CLARK AS SENIOR VP COAL: Reading and Northern Railroad announces the appointment of William (Bill) Clark as Senior Vice President - Coal. Clark joins Reading & Northern from Talen Energy (formerly PPL) where he managed logistics, coal purchasing and the oversight of a fleet of over 2,000 rail cars serving 4 power plants. Prior to joining Talen/PPL, Clark spent 14 years at Norfolk Southern Railroad in the coal business group, working in coal operations as well as metallurgic and utility marketing. Before joining Norfolk Southern Clark had senior marketing roles at the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad and Iowa Interstate Railroad. During his career Clark won the Golden Boxcar award for starting a distribution company handling forest, steel and food products. Clark will be responsible for managing the anthracite coal business at the Reading & Northern as well as the railroad’s freight car fleet of over 1200 cars. Anthracite is a core business at the Reading & Northern as evidenced by the fact that the railroad is known as “The Road of Anthracite.” In his new position he will be assisted by Michael Sharadin, AVP Coal Marketing and Steve Werley, Customer Service Manager for the anthracite business. Clark will report to Wayne Michel, President of the railroad, once he reports to work on March 1, 2017. In announcing the hiring Michel said, “We are excited to have Bill join our team. The roots of our railroad are in the anthracite business; a business that was crucial to the growth of our region and the nation. We have seen evidence of a growing interest in anthracite use in the domestic steel business and for exports. Having Bill join our team at this critical juncture gives us our best opportunity to help our customers, who mine almost all of the North American anthracite, in their efforts to get their material to the end users. In addition, Bill’s 30+ years of experience in railroad marketing will make him an invaluable resource to all of us at the Reading & Northern as we continue to grow our business.” Clark holds a Bachelor degree in Economics and Marketing from North Central College in Naperville, IL. He and his wife Judy reside in Bethlehem, PA. (Reading & Northern Railroa - posted 2/23)

AMTRAK POWERS POPULAR EXHIBIT AT PHILADELPHIA FLOWER SHOW: Amtrak is proud to partner with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Garden Railway Society to sponsor the return of the Railway Garden at the annual PHS Philadelphia Flower Show , which runs from March 11-19. Now on the main exhibit floor, this year’s Railway Garden will feature the theme “Holland in Your Backyard.” Visitors to the Flower Show can enjoy the Railway Garden’s vast display of model trains and a trolley as they depict city and country life in the Netherlands. The layout will include canals and a canal house, a park, farmhouse and barn, windmills and a flower field in the exhibit. This year, the Railway Garden is included in your Flower Show admission. Customers can take Amtrak to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show and save. Visit “The City of Brotherly Love” on the Northeast Regional service and save 30 percent on a companion fare. Customers can avoid the hassle and expense of driving, parking or flying and enjoy the journey® with free onboard Wi-Fi, electrical outlets and a café car offering sandwiches, salads, snacks and hot and cold beverages including a variety of wines, beer and soda. The Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s oldest and largest indoor flower show, attracting more than 250,000 people annually. The show features large-scale gardens, elaborate landscapes and over-the-top floral creations. This year’s theme is “Holland: Flowering the World” featuring the region’s top horticulturists and designers along with award winning landscapes and floral designers from the Netherlands. (CP - posted 2/221)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 18, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending February 18, 2017. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 531,123 carloads and intermodal units, up 6.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending February 18 were 263,620 carloads, up 7.6 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 267,503 containers and trailers, up 6 percent compared to 2016. Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They included coal, up 18.6 percent to 90,927 carloads; nonmetallic minerals, up 11.1 percent to 33,732 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, up 10.6 percent to 9,292 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 were motor vehicles and parts, down 10.3 percent to 17,590 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 3.7 percent to 9,878 carloads; and forest products, down 3.2 percent to 10,113 carloads. For the first 7 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,783,857 carloads, up 5 percent from the same point last year; and 1,824,812 intermodal units, up 0.5 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 7 weeks of 2017 was 3,608,669 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2.7 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending February 18, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 358,727 carloads, up 8.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 341,460 intermodal units, up 6.6 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 700,187 carloads and intermodal units, up 7.6 percent. North American rail volume for the first 7 weeks of 2017 was 4,755,175 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.2 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 79,323 carloads for the week, up 15.4 percent, and 62,100 intermodal units, up 8.6 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 7 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 970,835 carloads, containers and trailers, up 7.4 percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,784 carloads for the week, down 4.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,857 intermodal units, up 9.5 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 7 weeks of 2017 was 175,671 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 7.3 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 2/22)

CP CELEBRATES FUTURE, RE-CONNECTS WITH ITS PAST BY BRINGING BACK ICONIC BEAVER LOGO: Canadian Pacific is bringing back its iconic beaver logo as it looks to the future, while re-connecting with its past. "I am excited to say that 'the beaver is back,'" said Keith Creel, CP President and Chief Executive Officer. "Thanks to a lot of hard work in the last few years, we have taken our rightful place as an industry leader and the time is right to re-connect with our past by bringing back this iconic symbol for Canada, and for CP." The logo combines two elements: the bold and modern red 'CP' logo mark that has been in use since 2012, and the striking gold heritage shield that features the beaver, Canada's official symbol for sovereignty. The 'CP' logo mark, with its clean and crisp design will continue to be used as it symbolizes the strength of CP's foundations, expresses confidence in moving forward and speaks to the simplicity and elegance of the railway's operating model. "The people that work and have worked for this company and their families have a level of pride, commitment and professionalism for this company that is unrivaled," Creel said. "I am extremely proud and honoured to work alongside each and every one of these railroaders as we move toward our bright future." The new logo renews Canadians' and employees' sense of pride in the company that connected a nation, and that connected a nation with the rest of the world. The beaver and the maple leaf are Canada's national symbols, and justifiably, represent CP's leading position in Canada's past, present and future. With 2017 marking the year Canada turns 150, there is no better time to bring the beaver back. "2017 is an exciting year for Canada and for CP as we re-connect with our past and continue to build for the future," Creel said. "I join our employees across the network in enthusiastically welcoming back the beaver, a symbol our company first adopted in 1886 as the first transcontinental trains began service to the west from Montreal and Toronto." "We take pride in our past and look to the future with the same boldness, ambition and innovation that drove the creation of the railway in the first place," Creel said. Stay tuned for updates on how CP will be celebrating its role in connecting Canada, then and now, on CP's social media channels @CanadianPacific. (CP - posted 2/21)

CSX APPOINTS FREDRIK J ELIASSON AS PRESIDENT: CSX Corporation today announced the decisions of Michael J. Ward, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Clarence W. Gooden, President, to retire from the Company effective May 31, 2017. Fredrik J. Eliasson, a 22-year veteran of the Company and its current Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, has been appointed as President of CSX effective February 15, 2017, replacing Mr. Gooden, who will assume the role of Vice Chairman until his retirement. Mr. Eliasson will maintain his current responsibilities in his new position. The changes are part of an orderly transition of the company’s senior leadership that the Board has been considering for more than a year. The appointment of Mr. Eliasson as President is not intended to preempt or otherwise affect any discussions CSX may continue to have with Mr. Hunter Harrison and Mantle Ridge regarding Mr. Harrison becoming the CEO at CSX. “Fredrik has played a vital role in CSX’s progress in recent years and in the development of the next phase of its strategic plan, and he was a natural choice to help the Company continue to advance its CSX of Tomorrow strategy,” said Mr. Ward. “He has the vision, leadership abilities and deep understanding of our business to help CSX’s future leadership achieve its long-term strategic goals.” “On behalf of CSX’s Board of Directors, I want to thank Michael and Clarence for their many years of dedicated service and contributions to our Company,” said Edward J. Kelly, III, CSX’s Presiding Director. “Michael has helped build CSX into one of the nation’s leading transportation and logistics companies, and Clarence has similarly provided valuable leadership across CSX’s sales, marketing and operations teams. We wish both the best in their retirements.” Mr. Eliasson commented, “This is a dynamic and important time at CSX, and I look forward to continuing to work with the management team to implement the best ideas to drive growth across the organization and deliver a compelling future for our Company and our shareholders.” Mr. Eliasson, 46, has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at CSX since September 2015, where he is responsible for overseeing all customer service activities, growing rail-served markets and developing strategic plans for long-term revenue growth at the Company. He was previously CSX’s Chief Financial Officer, from 2012 to 2015, and he has held several leadership roles across the Company’s finance and sales and marketing departments since joining CSX in 1995 (CSX - posted 2/21)

PORT AUTHORITY BOARD AUTHORIZES SANDY MITIGATION PROJECTS AT PATH, HOLLAND TUNNEL AND JFK: The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today authorized more than $77 million in flood protection and resiliency projects at major Port Authority assets throughout the region that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The projects include planning for permanent flood mitigation repairs to the Holland Tunnel, and project authorization for work at John F. Kennedy International airport and four PATH stations – Hoboken, Exchange Place, Grove Street and Newport – that sustained the heaviest damage when the historic surge of corrosive seawater flooded stations and tunnels built more than 100 years ago. The salt water caused extensive and, in some cases, irreparable damage to signal and communications equipment. “Today is another key point in our recovery from Sandy. We have authorized the means to restore our facilities permanently, which also will create a more resilient and productive regional economy and transportation network,” said Board Chairman John Degnan. “What happens in our Port District – and what happens to our Port District – impacts the nation,” said Executive Director Pat Foye. “The projects authorized today reflect the latest Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps and the Port Authority’s own updated resiliency guidelines. We are restoring our facilities in ways that make them better and stronger and we are grateful to our federal partners for their essential support.” Resiliency measures at PATH stations include flood protections totaling $26.7 million at Exchange Place; $12.6 million for the Newport station; $10.7 million for repairs to the Grove Street station entrances; and flood-proofing six sets of exterior stairs and the elevator at a combined cost of $13.3 million at the Hoboken Terminal, which sustained the most damage in the PATH system. The authorization also includes almost $7 million in planning work for permanent repairs and restorations at the Holland Tunnel, a National Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark. Both the north and south tubes of the Holland were damaged severely by water entering through the New Jersey roadway portals and through the exhaust air duct system. At John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), the Board authorized $7 million to install tide gates that will prevent flooding at the airport’s lowest elevations. During Sandy, the rising waters of Jamaica Bay and the Bergen Basin pushed salt water onto airport property. Over the life of the construction, which is expected to take several years, these critical projects will generate a total regional economic impact of an estimated 3,230 jobs, $272 million in wages and $686.3 million in economic activity. (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - posted 2/20)

STRESSES AMTRAK'S RENEWED FOCUS ON STRENGTHENING SAFETY, OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE AND QUALITY SERVICE: In a hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman called for a new era of investment in Amtrak’s infrastructure, fleet, and stations, which are critical to the operations and future growth of passenger rail. “The time is now to invest in our aging assets,” Moorman testified. “More than ever, our nation and the traveling public rely on Amtrak for mobility, but the future of Amtrak depends on whether we can renew the cars, locomotives, bridges, tunnels, stations and other infrastructure that allows us to meet these growing demands.” Moorman noted that in fiscal year 2016 Amtrak had record ridership of more than 31 million passengers and ticket revenues of $2.2 billion. “I’m certain that we can get even better by relentlessly improving our safety culture, modernizing and upgrading our products and strengthening our operational efficiency and project delivery.” Moorman stressed that Amtrak’s job is to deliver the services and run the network that Congress and the Administration – the principal stakeholders – believe is worth the investment. To do so, Amtrak needs additional support from Congress and the Administration. After 45 years of service, many of Amtrak’s assets are at the end of their useful life. For example, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, with 363 miles of Amtrak-owned infrastructure, is North America’s busiest railroad with 2,200 daily high-speed, commuter and freight trains, but was largely built over 100 years ago. Noting that Amtrak’s list of investment needs is long, but provides considerable benefits to the traveling public and the national economy, Moorman outlined projects that warrant significant investment including:
  • Construction of the Portal North Bridge and new Hudson Tunnels, both parts of the larger Gateway Program that will ensure that 450 daily Amtrak and NJ Transit trains can continue to serve New York City from the south;
  • Construction of new B&P Tunnel and Susquehanna Bridge in Maryland to expand service and improve trip-time;
  • Expansion and improvement of Chicago and Washington Union Stations to improve accessibility, expand capacity, spur local development and enhance safety;
  • Construction of fleet of new or rebuilt diesel locomotives to support Amtrak’s National Network; and
  • Construction of track, signaling, and other improvements to remove chokepoints on our host railroads or restore service in key underserved markets, like along the Gulf Coast.
Additionally, Moorman emphasized the importance of the 21 states and various commuter agencies that Amtrak partners with to provide service on corridors across the country and on the Northeast Corridor. He noted that Amtrak is focused on identifying ways to work even more collaboratively with these states and agencies on the long list of important rolling stock, infrastructure, and funding needs. Moorman urged Congress and the Administration to consider the many ways in which the Federal government can advance intercity passenger rail service through direct investments, public-private partnerships and innovative financing, streamlining of the environmental review process and removal of red tape. Moorman added that such rail infrastructure investments not only help Amtrak better serve passengers, but also stimulate job growth in construction, manufacturing, and professional services. Rail cars, locomotives, steel, concrete, machinery, signals and track are sourced from across the nation. “Investments in these sectors can help spur the rebirth of America’s passenger rail manufacturing and supply sector,” he concluded. (Amtrak - posted 2/16)

CSX CALLS SPECIAL MEETING IN LIGHT OF EXTRAORDINARY MANTLE RIDGE AND HUNTER HARRISON REQUESTS: CSX Corporation announced that its Board of Directors has called a special meeting of shareholders to seek shareholder guidance on certain extraordinary requests of Mantle Ridge and Hunter Harrison. On January 18, 2017, Mantle Ridge advised CSX that Mantle Ridge had recently become a CSX shareholder owning less than 5 percent of the Company’s stock. Mantle Ridge also advised CSX that Mr. Harrison had terminated his employment with Canadian Pacific that day, was working with Mantle Ridge on an exclusive basis and would be eager to become CEO of CSX. CSX had been engaged in CEO succession discussions and was planning to make an announcement. In light of Mr. Harrison’s notable experience and accomplishments, however, the CSX Board quickly engaged in extensive discussions with Mr. Harrison and Mantle Ridge, including by inviting Mr. Harrison and Mantle Ridge to present to and engage in dialogue with the full CSX Board during a meeting which lasted more than five hours. In the course of these discussions, Mantle Ridge consistently requested first, that it receive substantial representation on the CSX Board, and second, that Mr. Harrison be engaged immediately as CEO of CSX on terms dictated by Mantle Ridge and Mr. Harrison. It became apparent that CSX would be unable to retain Mr. Harrison unless it acceded to Mantle Ridge’s requests with respect to the composition of the CSX Board and the governance of CSX, in addition to agreeing to Mr. Harrison’s terms of employment at a total cost which CSX estimates to exceed $300 million. Since engaging in discussions, CSX has made several proposals to Mr. Harrison and Mantle Ridge, including proposing the following in February 6 letters to Mr. Harrison and Mantle Ridge, which letters are reproduced herein and summarized below:
  • Mr. Harrison would be appointed as CEO of CSX with compensation that fully reflects Mr. Harrison’s experience and accomplishments, replacing Michael Ward, who would retire as Chairman and CEO;
  • Mr. Harrison, Paul Hilal (the CEO of Mantle Ridge) and three other individuals (to be mutually agreed) would be appointed to the CSX Board;
  • Four incumbent CSX directors would retire over the next three years;
  • Chairman of the Board and composition of committees would be determined by the newly constituted CSX Board; and
  • There would be no standstill agreement between CSX and Mantle Ridge.
CSX’s proposals have not been accepted by Mr. Harrison and Mantle Ridge. Based on subsequent discussions and receipt of a proposed employment agreement for Mr. Harrison, CSX believes that the following represent Mantle Ridge’s and Mr. Harrison’s current demands: With respect to matters relating to Mr. Harrison’s employment:
  • CSX estimates that the aggregate value of the compensation package requested by Mr. Harrison and Mantle Ridge, including the requested reimbursement and tax indemnity, exceeds $300 million. The details are summarized below.
  • CSX would pay $84 million to fund Mr. Harrison’s obligation to reimburse Mantle Ridge for compensation and benefits he chose to forego at Canadian Pacific, which Mantle Ridge had previously agreed to cover, and would assume a related tax indemnity provided by Mantle Ridge to Mr. Harrison. Mantle Ridge has described the cost of the tax indemnity to be “as much as a few tens of millions” of dollars. CSX would also reimburse Mantle Ridge for a $2 million annual consulting agreement with Mr. Harrison.
  • CSX would enter into a four-year employment agreement with Mr. Harrison providing, among other things, an immediate equity award, such as an option, covering 1% of CSX’s outstanding common stock, at least half of which would not be subject to performance measures of any kind and would vest upon Mr. Harrison’s death or disability, his resignation for “good reason” or his termination for poor performance, subject to performance metrics on the performance portion of the award. The proposed employment agreement provided by Mr. Harrison includes as an illustrative example a stock option with a present value, as stated in the proposed agreement, of $159.5 million.
  • Mr. Harrison would also receive an annual base salary of $2.2 million, a target bonus of 120% of base salary, with a minimum bonus of $2.64 million for 2017, extensive benefits and severance protections as well as housing in Jacksonville, Fl., and be eligible to participate in CSX’s incentive programs, including long-term incentive programs. The average nominal value of the long-term incentive awards granted to CSX’s CEO during the last three years was approximately $7.67 million per year.
  • The proposed employment agreement omits customary non-compete and employee non-solicit covenants. The proposed employment agreement also would require CSX to assume responsibility for non-compete and employee non-solicit obligations owed by Mr. Harrison to Canadian Pacific, which could restrict CSX’s conduct, including the entry into potential mergers.
  • Mr. Harrison has declined CSX’s request that an independent physician designated by the CSX Board conduct a pre-hire review of Mr. Harrison’s medical records.
With respect to governance matters, Mantle Ridge has insisted that:
  • Mr. Ward would retire as CEO and Chairman immediately.
  • Mantle Ridge would designate six of fourteen directors on the reconstituted CSX Board, including Mr. Hilal and Mr. Harrison.
  • Three incumbent CSX directors, in addition to Mr. Ward, would retire from the CSX Board effective as of CSX’s 2017 annual meeting, and Edward J. Kelly, III, CSX’s Presiding Director, would retire from the CSX Board in 2018, leaving at that point seven incumbent CSX directors. Director John Breaux would be ineligible to stand for reelection, under CSX’s current director age limitations, after CSX’s 2018 annual meeting. At that time, the number of incumbent CSX directors would drop from seven to six.
  • Mr. Kelly would serve as Chairman of CSX for one year, with Mr. Hilal as Vice Chairman. Mr. Hilal would succeed Mr. Kelly as Chairman.
  • Mantle Ridge would select the Chairs of CSX’s Compensation Committee and Governance Committee, and would have “heavy” representation on these committees and representation on all other CSX committees.
  • To account for Mr. Harrison’s age, CSX would amend its bylaws to permit any director who is younger than the current director age limitation (i.e., 75 years of age) when first elected to continue to serve as a director for up to five consecutive one-year terms.
CSX’s Board has concerns with Mr. Harrison’s and Mantle Ridge’s proposals.
  • First, the CSX Board believes that the governance requests would grant effective control of CSX to a less than 5% shareholder, which would be receiving additional benefits from CSX that may substantially exceed $100 million.
  • Second, the economic costs of Mr. Harrison’s and Mantle Ridge’s employment-related proposals (which CSX estimates, with the requested reimbursement and tax indemnity, to exceed $300 million), are extraordinary in scope and structured largely as an upfront payment and as equity grants that would be payable to Mr. Harrison upon his death or disability with only a portion of the equity grant including any performance metrics. The CSX Board believes such an employment arrangement for an incoming CEO is exceptionally unusual if not unprecedented.
The CSX Board is committed to being responsive to the interests of its shareholders and has closely observed the market reaction to Mr. Harrison’s possible employment. Accordingly, in light of the unusual circumstances surrounding Mantle Ridge’s approach the CSX Board has decided to seek guidance from shareholders on whether CSX should agree to Mr. Harrison’s and Mantle Ridge’s proposals. To accomplish this and to ensure that all shareholders are heard, the CSX Board has called a special meeting of shareholders. At the special meeting, and as will be described in further detail in CSX’s proxy statement relating to the special meeting, each shareholder will be asked to vote on whether the shareholder approves of (a) the employment arrangements proposed by Mr. Harrison and Mantle Ridge (including the requested reimbursement) and (b) if Mr. Harrison is hired as CEO, the governance arrangements proposed by Mr. Harrison and Mantle Ridge. The CSX Board does not intend to recommend for or against either item of business. The record date for the special meeting will be March 16, 2017, and the meeting will be held at a time and place to be announced. CSX’s shareholders are not required to take any action at this time. The CSX Board is deferring scheduling the CSX annual meeting of shareholders, which the CSX Board anticipates will occur after the special meeting. Goldman, Sachs & Co. and UBS Securities LLC are serving as financial advisors to CSX, and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Hunton & Williams LLP are serving as legal advisors. (CSX, Alex Mayes - posted 2/15)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 11, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending February 11, 2017. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 518,431 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.6 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending February 11 were 253,670 carloads, up 3.9 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 264,761 containers and trailers, up 1.5 percent compared to 2016. Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They were coal, up 18.7 percent to 89,318 carloads; nonmetallic minerals, up 4.2 percent to 30,850 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, up 0.8 percent to 19,348 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 13.6 percent to 9,763 carloads; grain, down 8.5 percent to 20,477 carloads; and forest products, down 7 percent to 9,614 carloads. For the first 6 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,520,237 carloads, up 4.5 percent from the same point last year; and 1,557,309 intermodal units, down 0.4 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 6 weeks of 2017 was 3,077,546 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending February 11, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 345,752 carloads, up 4.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 337,597 intermodal units, up 1.3 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 683,349 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.9 percent. North American rail volume for the first 6 weeks of 2017 was 4,054,988 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.5 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 76,471 carloads for the week, up 7.6 percent, and 62,036 intermodal units, up 2.3 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 6 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 829,412 carloads, containers and trailers, up 6.6 percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,611 carloads for the week, down 1.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,800 intermodal units, down 7.6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 6 weeks of 2017 was 148,030 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 8.7 percent from the same point last year. (FRA - posted 2/15)

CP LAUNCHES AWARENESS CAMPAIGN FOR INWARD FACING CAMERAS: Canadian Pacific today launched an awareness campaign that highlights the safety benefits of the proactive use of inward-facing cameras, and continues to urge the Minister of Transport to pass new legislation that would maximize these benefits. The campaign's website, www.cprailsafe.ca, specifies how CP intends to use the technology to reduce risk, improve safety, and assist in preventing accidents. CP is prepared to further invest in and install inward-facing cameras, also known as locomotive video and voice recorders (LVVR), if they can be used to proactively improve safety. The use of this technology would immediately enhance a culture of safety and accountability in the rail sector. "We are proud to be running the safest railway in North America, but we can always do better and having the ability to use inward-facing cameras allows us to be even safer," said Keith Creel, CP's President and Chief Executive Officer. "This is a preventative, proactive, behaviour-changing tool the industry should have been allowed to use years ago." The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has been calling on Transport Canada to mandate this technology since 2012. Current regulations allow inward-facing cameras to be used only by the TSB for post-incident investigation. "Having the ability to use this technology in a proactive manner as opposed to only after the fact would allow us to prevent incidents, instead of explaining them," said Creel. "This technology would be another tool in the broader package of rules, regulations and our safety management system suite – each of which protects the public, our employees and the goods we transport for our customers. We recognize the need to use this technology in a way that is respectful of our employees, and are committed to doing so." Our industry and regulators have an obligation to take all available measures that enhance the safety and security of the communities surrounding our railways. Effective use of inward-facing camera technology would include the ability for it to be used for investigation after an incident, as well as allowing railways and regulators the opportunity to proactively reduce unsafe behaviors such as tampering, cell phone use, sleeping and noncompliance with other safety-critical rules and regulations before incidents occur. CP uses inward-facing cameras in 49 of its locomotives in the U.S. The technology is also being used successfully by other transportation companies in the U.S. with studies showing a 40-percent reduction in collisions per million miles travelled. For 11 consecutive years, CP has been the safest Class 1 railroad in North America, measured by train-accident frequency. In 2016, CP celebrated its lowest-ever train accident frequency. "This government has made rail safety a focus," said Creel. "We implore the government to do what is right and legislate the proactive use of inward-facing locomotive cameras." CP has always prioritized the safe transportation of goods through the more than 1,100 communities in which it operates and will invest $1.25 billion on capital improvements in 2017. Opponents of taking this important step forward in rail safety are concerned about how railways would use the information. They say employees have a right to privacy while at work and recordings would be used for disciplinary purposes. CP is willing to sit down with regulators and stakeholders to determine how proactive use is defined given the understanding that the technology must be used to prevent incidents. In a recent omnibus survey conducted by Matchbox/MARU with 2,500 Canadians over the age of 18, CP found that almost all Canadians (97 percent) agree appropriate actions should be taken against employees that behave unsafely, while 89 percent agree that employees working in roles that could directly affect their own safety and the safety of others should expect to be monitored. Go to www.cprailsafe.ca and sign the Safety Pledge and show support for increased safety measures for railway operations across Canada. (CP, Randy Kotuby- posted 2/15)

FIRST ION TRAIN SHIPPING FROM THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO: The Region of Waterloo, Canada’s first ION light rail transit vehicle will be shipped from Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant tomorrow (2/15). Delivery is expected to take 10 to 12 days. “This is an important milestone for ION and the Region,” said Councillor Tom Galloway, Chair of the Planning and Works Committee. “Getting the trains into our community moves us one step closer to launching ION service next year. We still have a lot of work to do, with 13 more vehicles expected to arrive before the end of the year, but we’re pleased and will continue to monitor Bombardier closely as we move forward.” The first train will be delivered to the ION Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility. Once onsite, it will be brought inside where Bombardier and GrandLinq staff will spend several weeks preparing the vehicle for a wide-range of tests. Testing of the first ION train is expected to begin sometime in the spring and will initially take place along the ION test track, which runs from the Northfield ION stop to north of the Caroline/Erb intersection in Waterloo.  “As ION moves people within the Region, it is shaping the community for the future,” said Regional Chair, Ken Seiling. “ION and an improved transit system will help us protect our farm and rural land and concentrate development in our urban areas. Daily, we’re seeing this transformation already taking place. It’s an exciting time for our community.” Residents will be able to see the first ION train at the Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility in April, when it will be unveiled at a community event. Further details about this event will be released in March.   The second ION LRT vehicle will be shipped from Bombardier’s Kingston plant in June or July. To track the daily progress of the first ION train as it’s delivered to Waterloo Region, please visit: http://bit.ly/IONtracker  (Waterloo Canada, Alex Mayes - posted 2/14)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OPENS NEW LOCOMOTIVE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR SHOP IN CHICAGO: Norfolk Southern today opened a new locomotive maintenance and repair facility in Chicago to enhance operational efficiency for trains moving through the nation's largest rail hub. The company's $9.5 million investment expands Norfolk Southern's locomotive repair capabilities in the Chicago region. Previously, locomotives needing more extensive maintenance were transported to other repair shops on the rail system. In addition to the new facility, NS in Chicago operates a locomotive shop for minor repairs at its Calumet Yard intermodal facility and mobile rapid-response crews inspect and service outbound locomotives. "The new facility is strategically located on Norfolk Southern's primary rail line serving Chicago, and it will allow NS to rapidly make repairs to locomotives moving freight to our major terminals," said Don Graab, Norfolk Southern vice president mechanical. "The investment is part of NS' commitment to provide timely and reliable service and will enable us to move goods even more efficiently across the Chicago gateway and benefit intermodal customers shipping freight to East Coast markets." The 16,300-square-foot shop, located at the railroad's 47th Street intermodal facility, is equipped with a 125-ton drop table to inspect, repair, or replace locomotive traction motors; a mobile, 7.5–ton overhead gantry crane to hoist heavy engine components; and a 77-foot-long inspection pit to make repairs to the underside of locomotives. Four locomotives can be worked on indoors at one time. At full capacity, the shop will employ 25 craft workers around the clock. Across the greater Chicago area, NS employs about 600 people in all aspects of rail operations. As the nation's largest rail center, Chicago plays a vital role in Norfolk Southern's rail network. NS operates six rail yards in the city, moving more than 100 trains daily to connect Chicago and Illinois businesses to markets throughout the nation and world. In Illinois, Norfolk Southern employs 1,450 people and operates a network of 1,256 rail miles. (NS - posted 2/14)

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS TRAFFIC FOR JANUARY 2017: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) today reported traffic volumes for January 2017. G&W’s traffic in January 2017 was 278,268 carloads, an increase of 59,837 carloads, or 27.4%, compared with January 2016. G&W’s same-railroad traffic in January 2017 was 240,801 carloads, an increase of 22,370 carloads, or 10.2%, compared with January 2016. January 2017 Highlights by Segment
  • North American Operations: Traffic in January 2017 was 138,551 carloads, an increase of 11.4% compared with January 2016, including carloads from the Providence and Worcester Railroad Company (P&W) acquisition, which closed on November 1, 2016. On a same-railroad basis, North American traffic increased 9.1%, primarily due to increased coal & coke, agricultural products and minerals & stone traffic.
  • Australian Operations: Traffic in January 2017 was 51,977 carloads, including carloads from the Glencore Rail (GRail) acquisition, which closed on December 1, 2016. On a same-railroad basis, Australian traffic increased 14.7%, primarily due to increased agricultural products and metallic ores traffic. Please note, simultaneous with the GRail acquisition, G&W issued a 48.9% equity stake in its Australian Operations to Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. Carload information for the Australian Operations is presented on a 100% basis.
  • U.K./European Operations: Traffic in January 2017 was 87,740 carloads, an increase of 11.2% compared with January 2016, primarily due to increased intermodal traffic.
(G&W- posted 2/13)

NEW LOOK COMING SOON FOR NJ TRANSIT MOBILE APP: Capitalizing on its booming success, NJ TRANSIT showed off its updated, redesigned look for the mobile app during its monthly Board of Director’s meeting. The new interface will bring additional features and functionality to the home page and all bus customers will be able to use the app to purchase one-way, round-trip and discounted 10-trip tickets. “NJ TRANSIT continues to upgrade our technology in an effort to improve the features on the app, allowing for a more convenient process for our customers,’’ said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Steven H. Santoro. “A clean, functional interface is critical for our mobile app users and this redesigned look provides for one tap access to each of the most popular features. We are proud to be an industry leader in mobile ticketing and we will continue to look for ways to put the latest technology in the hands of our customers.’’ Visually, the crisp look features a new home screen with a tile layout, for easier viewing of the options, larger buttons, and clearer colors. Tiles provide access to tickets, train schedules, DepartureVision and MyBus right from the home screen. A Quick Buy tile provides for one-tap purchases of favorite tickets. DepartureVision and MyBus will display and auto refresh right on the home screen. NJ TRANSIT bus customers can now purchase monthly passes, discounted 10-trips, roundtrip and one-way tickets for both interstate and intrastate travel. The NJ TRANSIT mobile app’s popularity has grown steadily since its introduction in 2013 as the MyTix program, and now has more than 1.2 million customer accounts. While the upgrades won’t be in operation just yet, the current version of the NJ TRANSIT MyTix mobile app is now available for free download on any web-enabled iOS or Android device and will soon also accept Apple Pay and Android Pay. To purchase tickets, customers simply install the app and create an account, which will securely save a customer’s profile information and purchase history. (NJ Transit - posted 2/10)

CN TARGETING C$2.5 BILLION IN 2017 CAPITAL INVESTMENTS: CN today announced its planned C$2.5 billion capital program in 2017 focused on hardening its core infrastructure. "We once again are investing with a focus on advancing safety, service and productivity through infrastructure maintenance, strategic growth initiatives and new technology," said Luc Jobin , CN's president and chief executive officer. "We remain committed to investing in our business as we continue to advance our agenda of operational and service excellence." CN plans to invest approximately C$1.6 billion , consistent with last year's investment, on track infrastructure to maintain a safe and efficient network. The planned work includes the replacement of 2.2 million rail ties and installation of more than 600 miles of new rail, plus work on bridges, branch line upgrades and other general track maintenance. The company plans to invest approximately C$400 million in 2017 to advance the implementation of PTC, the safety technology mandated by the United States Congress, along parts of its U.S. network. CN will install the hardware on approximately 3,500 route-miles and plans to invest a total of US$1.2 billion on the entire project by 2020. Approximately C$500 million is expected to be spent on equipment, expansion projects and information technology initiatives to serve growing business, improve service for customers and advance safety. This includes planned growth investments to capitalize on Canadian west coast port expansions and key customer projects, and safety technology investments such as wayside inspection systems and track testing vehicles. Jobin added: "Our 2017 capital program maintains a steady level of investment focused on the maintenance and integrity of our network. This allows us to meet the needs of our customers today and for the long run while pursuing our goal of being the safest railroad in North America ." (CN- posted 2/09)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 4, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending February 4, 2017. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 541,474 carloads and intermodal units, up 7.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending February 4 were 269,994 carloads, up 11.7 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 271,480 containers and trailers, up 3.3 percent compared to 2016. Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They included coal, up 25.7 percent to 92,222 carloads; grain, up 15.7 percent to 25,741 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, up 12.7 percent to 10,032 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 were petroleum and petroleum products, down 15.8 percent to 10,088 carloads; forest products, down 4.3 percent to 10,045 carloads; and motor vehicles and parts, down 2.8 percent to 18,681 carloads. For the first 5 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,266,567 carloads, up 4.7 percent from the same point last year; and 1,292,548 intermodal units, down 0.8 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 5 weeks of 2017 was 2,559,115 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 1.9 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending February 4, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 362,517 carloads, up 10.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 346,049 intermodal units, up 3.5 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 708,566 carloads and intermodal units, up 7.1 percent. North American rail volume for the first 5 weeks of 2017 was 3,371,639 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.4 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 80,535 carloads for the week, up 14.6 percent, and 65,563 intermodal units, up 6.3 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 5 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 690,905 carloads, containers and trailers, up 6.9 percent. Mexican railroads reported 11,988 carloads for the week, down 21 percent compared with the same week last year, and 9,006 intermodal units, down 9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 5 weeks of 2017 was 121,619 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 9.7 percent from the same point last year. (AAR- posted 2/08)

GENESEE & WYOMING AGREES TO ACQUIRE HEART OF GEORGE RAILROAD: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) announced today that it has agreed to acquire the shares of Atlantic Western Transportation, Inc., parent company of Heart of Georgia Railroad, Inc. (HOG). Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of U.S. Surface Transportation Board approval, and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017 HOG was founded in 1999 and operates across the state of Georgia on 219 miles of track leased from the Georgia Department of Transportation. It connects with G&W’s Georgia Southwestern Railroad at Americus, Ga., and with G&W’s Georgia Central Railway at Vidalia, Ga. HOG serves an inland intermodal terminal at Cordele, Ga., providing five-day/week, direct rail service via the Georgia Central Railway to the Port of Savannah for auto, agricultural products and other merchandise customers. HOG has Class I railroad connections with CSX at Cordele and with Norfolk Southern at Americus and Helena, Ga. HOG transports approximately 10,000 annual carloads of agricultural products, feed, fertilizer, and lumber and forest products, of which approximately 2,000 carloads are interchanged with G&W’s Georgia Central Railway. Following the acquisition, HOG will be managed as one of G&W’s Coastal Region railroads, led by Senior Vice President Andy Chunko. “The Heart of Georgia is an excellent bolt-on acquisition that we expect will enhance economic development by providing an efficient lane across southern Georgia,” Mr. Chunko said. “Its proximity to other G&W railroads unlocks operational efficiencies, while enhancing the railroads’ abilities to serve customers and generate new commercial opportunities across the region. “We look forward to the 15 HOG employees joining those at our connecting railroads and working with our Class I partners to expand HOG’s recent success in driving more traffic onto rail in Georgia and Florida,” Mr. Chunko continued. “We also look forward to broadening our already strong relationship with the Georgia Department of Transportation and Georgia Ports Authority, in a state where we have established a significant long-term presence, operating 11 railroads over more than 600 track miles.” (G&W - posted 2/07)

PORT AUTHORITY SECOND PUBLIC MEETING ON PROPOSED $32.2 BILLION 10-YEAR CAPITAL PLAN TO BE HELD FEBRUARY 7: The Port Authority will host the second of its two public meetings on its largest ever $32.2 billion proposed 2017-2026 Capital Plan on Tuesday, February 7, at Port Authority offices at 2 Montgomery Street in Jersey City. The meeting, which will begin at 5 p.m. with the last speakers called at 7:45 p.m., will be attended by Board commissioners as well as the executive director and chief financial officer. The meeting location is one block from PATH’s Exchange Place Station in Jersey City. To speak at the meeting, members of the public can register in advance by clicking here: http://corpinfo.panynj.gov/pages/capital-plan-speaker-registration/. One site registrations also will be available at the door beginning at 4:30 p.m. The public meetings are just one component of the Port Authority’s month-long public review and comment period on the proposed 10-year plan. The plan is posted on the Port Authority’s web site and comments on the document can be submitted through February 15 to publiccomments@panynj.gov. The Board is scheduled to take action on the plan at its February 16 meeting. Prior to that action, the Board will consider public comments received in order to determine if any modifications to the proposed plan are warranted. The proposed plan outlines new major capital projects the agency will invest in over the next 10 years. All projects remain subject to Board authorization processes, and, before they proceed, are subject to a rigorous “gates” review process before they proceed that looks at agency revenue and the ability to finance them. The significant projects include:
  • A new Port Authority Bus Terminal.
  • The redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport and a new AirTrain system to serve LaGuardia Airport.
  • The redevelopment of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport.
  • The redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport’s Terminals C and D.
  • The extension of the PATH system to the rail link station at Newark Liberty International Airport.
The proposed plan also includes $8.8 billion – or 30 percent of the total 10-year spending – for critical renewal projects at the agency’s transportation facilities, including nearly $2 billion to restore the George Washington Bridge, $1.4 billion to replace the Lincoln Tunnel Helix and $550 million to replace wharves and piers. The proposed Capital Plan also follows the Special Panel’s recommendation to redeploy $600 million in regional development funds previously allocated to both states. The proposed Capital Plan includes a commitment to pay debt service on up to $2.7 billion of expected borrowing by the Gateway Program Development Corporation from low-interest federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loans for the critical trans-Hudson rail tunnel link between New York and New Jersey and Portal Bridge North projects. The plan also includes $7.6 billion to finish projects currently in construction, such as LaGuardia Airport’s ongoing Terminal B redevelopment project, the Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge, PATH’s signal replacement program, upgrades to the Harrison and Grove Street PATH stations and the port and rail cargo facility at Greenville Yard. (PANYNJ - posted 2/06)

READING & NORTHERN RAILROAD PLAYS CUPID TO SHELTER PETS, SPONSORING FREE ADOPTION WEEKEND AT HSBC: Find “the one” just in time for Valentine’s Day! Adoption fees for all pets will be waived at the Humane Society of Berks County (HSBC) from February 10-12 during its Free Adoption Weekend, generously sponsored by the Reading & Northern Railroad (RBMN)! “The Reading & Northern Railroad is a family-oriented and animal friendly company,” says Crystal Arndt, human resources at RBMN. “We are happy to sponsor the Humane Society this weekend as they find adoptable animals their forever homes.” Let cupid be your guide! The HSBC has dozens of animals for adoption, including dogs, cats and even small companion pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles and “love birds.” All pet adoptions include HSBC’s 30-Day Adoption Health Guarantee, spaying or neutering (prior to adoption), vaccinations, microchip, and more. Normal adoption policies apply. When you adopt during this weekend, RBMN will provide a printed snapshot of you with your furry Valentine, which can then be placed in a decorative frame crafted by children attending the event. Crystal exclaims, “Please join us for this Valentine’s Day themed event and come out and meet yourself a sweetheart!” To view many of the animals available for adoption at the HSBC, please visit www.humanepa.org/adoption. or stop by the shelter in person. The HSBC is located at 1801 N. 11th Street in Reading. Regular adoption hours are 10 AM to 4:30 PM on Tues/Wed/Thurs/Sat/Sun, and 10 AM to 6:30 PM on Mon/Fri. Call the shelter at 610-921-2348 for more information. (RBM&N - posted 2/06)

G&W ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT OF CHAIRMAN MORTIMER B. FULLER IN MAY 2017: BOARD TO APPOINT JACK HELLMANN AS CHAIRMAN: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) today announced that Chairman of the Board of Directors Mortimer B. Fuller III has decided to retire following the Company’s annual stockholders’ meeting in May 2017. Mr. Fuller’s retirement will serve as the culmination of a remarkable 40 years of distinguished service to the Company, its stockholders and the short line railroad industry. Mr. Fuller became Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman in 1977, when he purchased a controlling interest in the Company’s corporate predecessor, the original Genesee and Wyoming Railroad, which his great grandfather founded in 1899. He has since served as Chief Executive Officer for 30 years and Chairman for 40 years. Throughout his tenure, he demonstrated an unwavering focus on growth and laid the foundation for the Company’s Core Purpose – to be the safest and most respected rail service provider in the world. “I am proud of all that the G&W team has accomplished over the years,” Fuller said. “The commitment of our remarkable employees, exceptional, industry-leading safety performance and the strength and depth of the organization today is more than I ever imagined in 1977. The transition to a new generation of leadership has been a seamless process, and I’m confident G&W will continue to create value for all stockholders in the years to come,” said Mr. Fuller. Following the Staggers Act deregulation of the U.S. rail industry in 1980, Mr. Fuller led growth by acquisition, through an initial public offering in 1996 and expansion into the Australian and Canadian rail markets in 1997. The Company’s disciplined acquisitions continued in those three markets and recently expanded to the UK/Europe. Many of G&W’s executive leadership joined on Mr. Fuller’s watch. Turning 75 in mid-May, Mr. Fuller’s retirement is consistent with the Company and Governance Committee guidelines established by the Board of Directors. “Through the execution of Mort’s extraordinary vision for his family business, G&W has grown from a 14-mile short line railroad in upstate New York with 1977 revenues of $4.4 million to a portfolio of 122 freight railroads worldwide with 2015 revenues of $2 billion,” said Jack Hellmann, G&W’s Chief Executive Officer and Director. “On behalf of our railroads, employees around the world and our Board of Directors, I would like to express sincere gratitude for Mort’s lifelong commitment to the organization and its people. It is an honor to carry on the core values, entrepreneurial spirit and ethical business practices that were instilled by Mort and have distinguished G&W for the past four decades.” G&W’s CEO and Board Member, Jack Hellmann, will be appointed Chairman of the Board following Mr. Fuller’s retirement in May 2017. Upon Mr. Hellmann’s appointment, Oivind Lorentzen will be appointed as G&W’s Lead Independent Director. (G&W - posted 2/03)

PRIVATELY OWNED U.S. FREIGHT RAIL INDUSTRY TO SPEND MORE THAN $22 BILLION ON NETWORK IN 2017: U.S. freight railroads are projected to spend an estimated $22 billion to maintain and upgrade the nation's private rail network in 2017, sizeable investments the industry says will strengthen an essential transportation system. "This year's private network spending, a combination of capital expenditures and maintenance, is part of a continued trend of remarkable proportions, including more than $630 billion since the industry was partially deregulated," said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. "As the House of Representatives convenes today to discuss a '21st Century Infrastructure' and policymakers continue bipartisan discussions with the Trump administration, we hope these leaders realize how important America's private freight rail network is in moving raw and finished products, supporting the U.S. manufacturing sector, providing a foundation for commuter and passenger rail and lessening deterioration of this country's public infrastructure." The projected $22 billion in private spending in 2017 – or approximately $60 million a day – covers upgraded track and locomotives, as well as technological advancements needed to meet demand and make a safe network even safer. Freight railroads spend six times more of revenues on capital expenditures than the average U.S. manufacturer. The most recent statistics available also show freight railroads created nearly $274 billion in economic activity, generated nearly $33 billion in state and federal tax revenues and supported nearly 1.5 million jobs nationally in 2014 alone. "We pay so taxpayers do not, an undeniable benefit to the U.S. economy," Hamberger said. "Our role in moving the country's freight is critical and we look to be a productive part of a bipartisan infrastructure debate." While comparatively less than 2016 spending as the industry continues to retool around a changing customer market and shifting traffic patterns – most notably the massive decline of coal production – the investment figures are still quite significant. The freight rail industry attributes much of its ability to spend towards the smart regulatory framework enacted nearly 40 years ago allowing greater autonomy for business operations. "Unlike most other transportation modes, we do not have a hard 'ask' of policymakers other than to remain free to do what we do best: safely, affordably and efficiently move goods and earn the revenues needed to continue this massive investment," Hamberger concluded. (AAR - posted 2/02)

METRO-NORTH ANNOUONCES OPEN HOUSE FOR PROPOSED PORT JERVIS LINE INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS: MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced that it will hold an Open House in Goshen, N.Y., on February 15 to share details on a proposal for capital improvements that will enable enhanced train service on the Port Jervis Line. The Open House will be held at the Harness Racing Museum, 240 Main Street in Goshen, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Metro-North staff will be available to explain Metro-North’s proposal and answer questions. Staff will make presentations at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Each presentation will be followed by an opportunity for dialogue between the public and railroad officials, who will be seeking input on the proposal. After an extensive study to find ways to improve transit mobility and accessibility between Orange County and New York City, Metro-North identified locations along the Port Jervis Line to build passing sidings for trains as well as a new train yard mid-way along the line, and details of those proposed investments will be the subject of the Open House. The Port Jervis Line is primarily a single track railroad for 65 miles in New York State between Sloatsburg and Port Jervis. This means it operates primarily as a “one-way street,” with limited opportunity for trains to pass each other along the Line. The line’s sole passenger train yard is located in Port Jervis, 95 miles from the Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey, meaning Metro-North has no available yard between these points for storing and servicing trains. These constraints limit the number of trains Metro-North can operate during the peak, off-peak and reverse peak periods. The Port Jervis Line currently carries 10 trains to Hoboken between 3:50 a.m. and 1 p.m., but just two trains are able to operate in the reverse direction during this time. After 1 p.m., the reverse dynamic is in place, with 11 Orange County-bound trains operating between 1 p.m. and 3:10 a.m. and just three trains operating in the reverse direction. The addition of a mid-point yard and passing sidings is envisioned to allow for more frequent peak and off-peak service, and will also introduce reverse commute service. The capital improvements are expected to allow Orange and Rockland County residents to further benefit from longer term capital projects, such as a future trans-Hudson crossing, which could provide the opportunity for a future one-seat ride to New York City and improved transit connections to Stewart Airport. (MTA - posted 2/01)

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES RAPID GROWTH IN SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY RIDERSHIP SINCE OPENING DAY: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced initial ridership figures for the Second Avenue Subway, underscoring the new line’s immediate success in attracting customers and reduced ridership on the crowded Lexington Avenue Line. Since the line opened on January 1 with three new stations and a new entrance at 63rd Street, ridership has grown steadily by approximately 8,000 daily riders per week, hitting 155,000 daily riders on Friday, January 27th. “The Second Avenue Subway has already become an integral part of the Upper East Side and these ridership figures show just how important this expansion project is to the neighborhood and our economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project is proof that government can still get big things done and these early ridership numbers send a clear message that when we deliver on our promises New Yorkers respond.” The Second Avenue Subway expansion is part of the Governor Cuomo’s sweeping statewide initiative to redevelop and rebuild New York’s aging infrastructure from the ground up. The comprehensive plan includes a new LaGuardia Airport, a transformational renovation of JFK Airport, completely redesigned Penn Station, the LIRR 2nd and 3rd Track projects, the New New York Bridge, a major expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Center, as well as a complete overhaul and upgrades to the MTA's seven bridges and two tunnels in the metropolitan region. The ridership includes customers entering and leaving 72nd Street, 86th Street and 96th Street, and the new entrance at 3rd Ave and 63rd Street as well as customers transferring from the F Subway line to Q Subway line at 63rd Street. The MTA also released figures for the nearby Lexington Avenue Line, a notoriously crowded line in New York City, which has reduced weekday ridership in four key stations, 68th Street, 77th Street, 86th Street and 96th Street. According to new ridership figures, the number of daily riders entering and exiting the four Upper East Side Lexington Avenue Line Stations declined by an average of 27 percent on weekdays and as much as 46 percent during peak morning rush hours of 8 - 9 a.m., as compared to the same period last year. “The opening of the Second Avenue Subway was a singular event, and New Yorkers have been quick to embrace the new line, with ridership climbing quickly,” said Ronnie Hakim, MTA interim Executive Director. “The fact that so many daily riders are using the new line has also helped to ease crowding during the morning rush at key stations on the Lexington Avenue line, making commuting easier, faster and better for thousands of New Yorkers.” (MTA - posted 2/01)

DARRYK C IRICK NAMED ACTING PRESIDENT OF MTA NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT: Interim MTA Executive Director Ronnie Hakim has named Darryl C. Irick Acting President of MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) as a nationwide search is underway for a permanent MTA Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer. During the temporary post, Irick, the current NYCT Senior Vice President Department of Buses and President of MTA Bus Company, will oversee the MTA agency that operates subways, buses, and paratransit services. He will serve as Acting NYCT President while Ms. Hakim, the President of NYCT since 2015, serves as Interim MTA Executive Director. Current MTA Vice-Chairman Fernando Ferrer will serve as Acting Board Chairman. MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast retired yesterday after 25 years at the MTA. A 7-member committee is tasked with finding and recommending candidates for a permanent MTA Chairperson and CEO to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “I rely daily on Darryl for his judgment, advice and incredible depth of knowledge and I know with Darryl leading Transit, I can focus on the broad mission at hand assuring the entire MTA network provides the service our customers deserve while we search for a permanent Chairperson,” Hakim said. Irick joined the MTA in 1986 as a bus operator at the Kingsbridge Depot in Manhattan, moving to progressively senior positions in operations and planning. His father also was a NYCT bus operator and maintainer. Irick was named NYCT Senior Vice President of Buses and President of MTA Bus Company in 2011. Irick views the delivery of services as a business model and has overseen improvements such as Select Bus Service, security cameras on buses and the rollout of MTA Bus Time and GPS tracking, which provides real-time bus location information. As part of the MTA’s ongoing commitment to improving safety across all agencies Irick is currently overseeing the installation and testing of pedestrian turn warning and collision avoidance systems and under his leadership, his team devised new approaches to winter storm response with the creation of an Incident Command Center resulting in a much improved, coordinated and efficient delivery of service and customer information during inclement weather. “It is a great honor to be asked to lead New York City Transit, an agency that has been part of my family and my life for as long as I can remember. I look forward to working with my colleagues at Transit to face the challenges ahead as we work together to provide our customers with safe, reliable service,” Irick said. (MTA - posted 2/01)

MTA ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF OWEN MONAGHAN AS CHIEF OF MTA POLICE DEPARTMENT: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that Owen J. Monaghan has been appointed as the new Chief of Police of the MTA Police Department. Chief Monaghan succeeds Chief Michael R. Coan, who led the MTA Police Department for eight and a half years, the longest serving police chief in department history. Chief Monaghan joined the MTA in March of 2015 as Vice President of Security for MTA-New York City Transit. His appointment was effective January 7. Prior to that he had a distinguished career spanning over three decades at the NYPD, holding several senior leadership roles there rising to the rank of Assistant Chief. He commanded the 13th precinct of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South before becoming Executive Officer of the Transit Bureau and held Commanding Officer positions at the 109th Precinct, Transit District’s 1 & 34. Chief Monaghan, 57, has a Master of Public Administration from Marist College and is a graduate of Columbia University’s Police Management Institute. Originally from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, he now resides in Suffolk County. The MTA Police Department is responsible for patrolling the stations, tracks, trains, railroad crossings, shops, and yards of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and Staten Island Railway. Its jurisdiction spans a 5,000 square-mile territory across 14 counties in New York and Connecticut. (MTA - posted 2/01)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR JANUARY AND WEEK ENDING JANUARY 28, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for January 2017. Carload traffic in January totaled 996,573 carloads, up 2.9 percent or 28,341 carloads from January 2016. U.S. railroads also originated 1,021,068 containers and trailers in January 2017, down 1.8 percent or 18,553 units from the same month last year. For January 2017, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,017,641, up 0.5 percent or 9,788 carloads and intermodal units from January 2016. In January 2017, 9 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with January 2016. These included: coal, up 11.9 percent or 35,798 carloads; grain, up 5.2 percent or 4,570 carloads; and waste and nonferrous scrap, up 20.9 percent or 2,546 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in January 2017 from January 2016 included: petroleum and petroleum products, down 19.5 percent or 9,751 carloads; chemicals, down 3.6 percent or 4,456 carloads; and stone, clay and glass products, down 10.9 percent or 2,904 carloads. Excluding coal, carloads were up down 1.1 percent or 7,457 carloads in January 2017 from January 2016. "January rail traffic paints a mixed picture, with some commodities exceeding expectations, while others remained flat or down," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "For most of last year, coal carloads were down sharply, but for the past couple of months, including January, they've been the major force behind rail carload gains. We can probably expect continued uncertainty in energy markets going forward, but we're hopeful that improving macro-economic fundamentals will drive improvement in rail volumes for many commodity categories this year." Week Ending January 28, 2017 Total U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending January 28, 2017 was 529,696 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending January 28 were 259,708 carloads, up 4.3 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 269,988 containers and trailers, up 2.4 percent compared to 2016. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They included coal, up 12.8 percent to 87,208 carloads; nonmetallic minerals, up 7.7 percent to 31,955 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, up 7.0 percent to 21,227 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 12.6 percent to 10,167 carloads; forest products, down 4.2 percent to 10,149 carloads; and chemicals, down 3.9 percent to 30,734 carloads. North American rail volume for the week ending January 28, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 356,206 carloads, up 5.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 345,019 intermodal units, up 2.6 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 701,225 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.2 percent. North American rail volume for the first 4 weeks of 2017 was 2,663,073 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.2 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 79,900 carloads for the week, up 14.0 percent, and 64,152 intermodal units, up 3.6 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 4 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 544,807 carloads, containers and trailers, up 6.0 percent. Mexican railroads reported 16,598 carloads for the week, down 3.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,879 intermodal units, up 2.8 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 4 weeks of 2017 was 100,625 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 8.2 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 2/01)

AMTRAK WELCOMES ABOARD U.S. SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION ELAINE CHAO: Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia and President and CEO Wick Moorman issued the following statements: “Amtrak congratulates Elaine Chao on her confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Transportation. We also welcome Secretary Chao to the Amtrak Board of Directors where we look forward to working with her as we continue to strengthen Amtrak,” said Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia. “As a former deputy secretary of transportation, Secretary Chao understands the importance of mobility and high-quality infrastructure to the American people and our economy. We are eager to work with Secretary Chao and the department on ways to advance these goals,” said Amtrak President & CEO Wick Moorman. (Amtrak - posted 1/31)

KEITH CREEL BECOMES CEO OF CANADIAN PACIFIC: Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP) (CP) today announced that Keith Creel has assumed his new role as president and chief executive officer, becoming the 17th person to lead the company since 1881. "I am humbled, honoured and blessed to be leading CP," Creel said. "I look forward to working closely with employees, customers, shareholders, government and community leaders, and other key stakeholders as we continue to build the iconic CP brand – a brand built on service, safety and doing what we say we will do." Creel was appointed president and chief operating officer in February, 2013 and joined the CP Board of Directors in May of 2015. Creel previously served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Canadian National Railway Company. "This transition has been planned since Keith's arrival back in 2013 and we are confident in his abilities to lead the company," said Andrew F. Reardon, Chairman of the Board. "Under Hunter Harrison's leadership, CP built a strong foundation for future success; that foundation, together with Keith's passion for railroading, operational expertise and commitment to customer service and safety, positions the company well for many years to come." For 11 consecutive years, CP has been the safest Class 1 railroad in North America, measured by train-accident frequency. "As a result of our dedication to safety, in 2016 we celebrated our lowest train accident frequency ever," Creel said. "Still, we acknowledge that one incident is too many and we will continue to hold ourselves and others accountable when it comes to safety." Under Creel's leadership, CP will continue to find safer, more efficient ways to connect customers to domestic and global markets, and will continue to play a prominent role in connecting communities in both Canada and the U.S. "To be leading such an iconic company as Canada celebrates its 150 anniversary, is truly special," Creel said. "CP has a proud history and I am privileged to stand alongside today's railroaders to build an even brighter future. I am excited to connect with employees, customers and communities across the continent as we continue to safely move the North American economy." (Randy Kotuby, CP - posted 1/31)

AMTRAK OFFERS UPGRADED HIGH-SPEED WI-FI AT BALTIMORE PENN STATION: Travelers at Baltimore Penn Station can now enjoy improved high-speed broadband Wi-Fi, with enhanced connectivity and reliability. The newly-implemented Wi-Fi solution involves the replacement of technology that has been in service since 2010. Baltimore Penn Station is one of two stations across Amtrak’s national network, including Chicago Union Station, chosen to pilot these upgrades. “These improvements are a much-anticipated boost for our customers as the wireless connectivity in-station should be similar to what customers experience on their home networks, and will ensure they stay connected throughout their journey,” said Jason Molfetas, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. “Baltimore Penn is the eighth busiest station in our national network so it was a natural fit to pilot the Wi-Fi improvements to the city’s thousands of daily commuters and local students.” Launch of the upgraded in-station Wi-Fi also includes two new high-top work space tables in the station’s main hall. The 30-inch tables include charging outlets and will allow Penn Station customers to work with greater ease while waiting for their trains and connections. In addition, customers will see a custom AmtrakConnect website featuring relevant Baltimore Penn Station content such as real-time arrivals and departures and information on local transit connections and parking. The site will also provide customers with information about neighboring restaurants and tourism opportunities. Accessing In-Station Wi-Fi To access the complimentary service, customers simply select AmtrakConnect from the list of options on their smartphones, tablets or laptop computers. Once selected, customers must agree to the terms and conditions to gain access to the service. To see a full list of wireless-enabled stations and train routes across the Amtrak national network, please visit: https://www.amtrak.com/journey-with-wi-fi-train-station. (Amtrak - posted 1/31)

IOWA PACIFIC HOOSIER STATE TRAINS 850 AND 851 WILL TRANSITION TO AMTRAK EQUIPMENT: The Hoosier State, which operates four days per week between Indianapolis and Chicago, will transition to railcars, locomotives and on-board services supplied by Amtrak beginning Wednesday, March 1, 2017. No action is required from ticketed customers. The Indiana Department of Transportation and communities along the route will continue to fund the service, which will include Wi-Fi and Business Class seating. Once contracts with Amtrak are amended, Amtrak will advise booked customers of available on-board services prior to their travel date. Indiana is one of 18 states that contract with Amtrak to provide short-distance, intercity passenger rail services. Under the amended agreements, Amtrak will continue to provide train crews, ticketing and reservation services, and also coordinate with the private freight railroads that own the tracks over which the Hoosier State operates. Intermediate stops will continue to be Crawfordsville, Dyer, Lafayette and Rensselaer. Train 851 will continue to run north on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, with Train 850 operating south on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. On the other days, the communities along the route will be served by the Cardinal (Trains 50 and 51), which operates between New York City and Chicago. Together, the Hoosier State and the Cardinal provide daily Amtrak service between the important Midwestern cities of Indianapolis and Chicago.(Amtrak - posted 1/30)

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES VERONIQUE HAKIM WILL SERVE AS INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MTA: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that Veronique Hakim will serve as the interim Executive Director of the MTA while a seven-person committee conducts a nationwide search for a permanent Chair and Chief Executive Officer. Hakim is a lifelong transportation professional who has spent more than 24 years at the MTA, including serving as President of New York City Transit since December 2015. MTA Vice Chairman Fernando Ferrer will serve as Acting Chairman during the search for a permanent replacement. Current MTA Chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast is retiring from public service tomorrow after a 25-year career at the MTA. The members of the search committee will be reviewing and recommending candidates to the Governor in the coming weeks. The search committee is comprised of:
  • Tom Prendergast, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Joseph Lhota, Senior Vice President and Vice Dean, Chief of Staff of NYU Langone Medical Center and Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Fernando Ferrer, Vice Chairman of the MTA Board
  • Kathryn Wylde, President and Chief Executive Officer of Partnership for NYC
  • Scott Rechler, Chairman, Regional Planning Association and former Vice Chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
  • John Samuelsen, Executive Vice President of the Transport Workers Union
  • Rodney Slater, Former United States Secretary of Transportation
“Ronnie Hakim is ready to embrace the challenge of running the nation’s largest transportation network during this transition. She is a true transportation professional who has dedicated her life to improving the commute for millions of New Yorkers and I am confident that in this new role she will continue doing that as we reimagine and modernize the MTA for the 21st century,” Governor Cuomo said. “Under the leadership of Tom Prendergast, the MTA has made dramatic progress - most recently with the successful opening of the long-awaited Second Avenue Subway – and I have directed the search committee to identify candidates who will build on his record of accomplishments. I look forward to receiving their recommendations.” “Governor Cuomo rightly recognizes that the MTA will be in good hands with Ronnie Hakim,” said Tom Prendergast. “Ronnie has a deep understanding of our regional transportation network from her exemplary stewardship of New York City Transit to her time leading regional commuter rail and highway agencies. I wish her the best of luck and I look forward to serving on the search committee that will choose the next permanent leader of this agency.” “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for entrusting me with this incredible responsibility and Tom Prendergast for the fine example he set during his years leading the MTA,” said Veronique Hakim. "The MTA has been my professional home for more than two decades. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as interim Executive Director leading the dedicated men and women who keep this region moving day in and day out.” "The MTA is vital to the functioning of New York and it is the economic engine behind this region’s incredible growth,” said Fernando Ferrer. “Tom Prendergast set a high bar for leadership during his distinguished career at the MTA and it has been an honor to work with him. I am looking forward to assuming the Acting Chairman role and partnering with Ronnie Hakim while we conduct this search." Hakim has served as President of New York City Transit since December 2015. Prior to that she served as the Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT for a year and a half, which operates 12 commuter rail lines, three light rail lines, 261 bus routes and Access Link paratransit service across the state of New Jersey. She previously served nearly four years as Executive Director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (MTA - 1/30)

CANADIAN PACIFIC AND PARKS CANADA SIGN PLAN TO HELP PROTECT GRIZZLY BEARS NEAR THE RAILROAD: Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and Mr. Glen Wilson, Assistant Vice-President Environmental Risk, Canadian Pacific (CP), announced the completion of the joint Parks Canada-CP Grizzly Bear Research Initiative to help reduce railway related risk to grizzly bears. In 2010, CP and Parks Canada signed a five-year Joint Action Plan aimed at reducing grizzly bear mortality on the rail line in Banff and Yoho national parks. While a reduction in grizzly mortalities within Banff and Yoho national parks has been observed since the start of this joint research initiative, this research shows there is no simple solution to this issue. By working collaboratively since the launch of this initiative, Parks Canada, CP, and research teams from the Universities of Alberta and Calgary learned about the complex factors that influence grizzly bear behaviour along the rail line in Banff and Yoho national parks. Between 2010 and 2015, at any given time, a minimum of 11-13 grizzly bears with GPS radio-collars were being tracked by researchers. The data collected showed specialists where, when and sometimes why bears were using the railway. Based on the recommendations from the research initiative and in keeping with the Canada National Parks Act and Banff and Yoho Park Management Plans, Parks Canada and CP will implement measures on and off the railway to help reduce the risk of grizzly bear train collisions including the use of prescribed fire, development of alternative travel routes for bears, targeted vegetation management, and a pilot exclusion fencing program near railway greasing stations. The results of the research and subsequent action from CP and Parks Canada will reduce the likelihood of bear-train collisions and further protect this iconic species for present and future generations. (CP- 1/30)

KEOLIS ENDS 2016 WITH IMPROVED MBTA COMMUTER RAIL PERFORMANCE AS 91% OF TRAINS ARRIVE ON TIME IN DECEMBER; 89% FOR YEAR: Performance on the MBTA Commuter Rail system continues to show improvement with on-time-performance at 92% over the last 30 days, Keolis Commuter Services General Manager David Scorey told the MBTA’s Fiscal Management Control Board yesterday. MBTA Commuter Rail finished 2016 with an 89% OTP across all lines. When adjusted for delay factors beyond Keolis’ control, such as trespassers or police activity, OTP was at nearly 94% for 2016, its best annual performance since Keolis began operating the network in July 2014, and a significant improvement over 2015 when a series of snow storms impacted the transit system for several days. Keolis officials said the performance improvements were due in part to the addition of new staff on the mechanical and transportation teams and adjustments made to the new schedules. Keolis also created specialized Rapid Action Teams that have been focused on resolving issues that were causing certain sections of the system to underperform, including the Fitchburg, Haverhill and Worcester lines. “We know that our passengers are counting on us to provide a safe and reliable commuter rail service each and every day,” said Keolis Commuter Services General Manager David Scorey. “While we are pleased that our performance strengthened in 2016, leading to higher customer satisfaction, we remain focused on proactively tackling issues and finding innovative ways to ensure that we continue to deliver a superior passenger experience on a consistent basis.” The improving performance had a favorable impact on commuter rail passenger satisfaction which, according to an MBTA survey, rose in December to their highest levels in six months, exceeding satisfaction rates reported for the rest of the MBTA system. “The on-time performance rates have been trending in the right direction, but work remains to be done,” said Acting MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve.  “We’ll continue to work closely with our Commuter Rail partner to improve reliability, and deliver the consistent levels of service our customers expect and deserve.” December 2016 OTP was 91% (unadjusted) and 94% (adjusted), marking the network’s best monthly performance since April 2016, when OTP was at 92.37% (unadjusted) and 95.57% (adjusted). Between May and November 2016, network performance had been adversely impacted by several factors, including the largest schedule change in system history, tie replacement work on the Worcester Line, rolling stock equipment shortages due to inspection backlogs, and seasonal slippery rail conditions. (Keolis- posted 1/27)

SEPTA BOARD APPROVES SECOND-GENERATION SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM: SEPTA has reaffirmed its commitment to a sustainable future, with the Board's approval today of a second-generation Sustainability Program Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2020. Entitled "SEP-TAINABLE 2020", the plan is a core part of SEPTA's Five-Year Strategic Business Plan. It implements a triple-bottom line approach - economic, social and environmental - to all of SEPTA's efforts. The plan establishes a goal of "budget neutrality," requiring projects to meet a rigorous financial standard of paying for themselves through grants, revenue, or cost savings. "SEPTA's Sustainability Program has helped the Authority save millions of dollars in operating costs," said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon. "It has also been extremely valuable in positioning SEPTA to be competitive in grant programs for new initiatives, and we expect that will continue in the coming years." "Sustainability is a core principle for SEPTA in our everyday operations, and as we continue efforts to rebuild our system and grow it for future generations," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. "SEP-TAINABLE 2020 will play a key role as we continue to advance critical improvements throughout the SEPTA system." The first-generation Sustainability Program Plan, "SEP-TAINABLE", was adopted in January 2011. Notable achievements include:
  • An Energy Action Plan, published in 2012, which has charted a course to implement innovative energy projects such as facility retrofits, wayside energy storage, and battery-electric buses.
  • A Climate Adaptation Plan, published in 2013, which served as the foundation for an $87 million grant award from the Federal Transit Administration to implement an "Infrastructure Resiliency Program".
  • A Cycle-Transit Plan, published in 2015, which has been used as a framework for installation of strategic bike infrastructure at rail stations to encourage ridership growth.
  • An Environmental & Sustainability Management System (ESMS) for the Berridge Shop, which was certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) under its globally recognized standard for environmental management.
The proposed second-generation Sustainability Program, SEP-TAINABLE 2020, aims to build on these successes, and adopts aggressive performance targets. Plans include:
  • A Recycling Program refresh, in which SEPTA has begun to strategically install recycling receptacles at employee facilities and passenger stations to increase waste diversion rates and reduce costs associated with a multi-year hauling contract.
  • A Renewable Energy Plan, building off an existing solar proposal to explore budget-neutral opportunities for adoption of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • A Stormwater Management Plan, which would seek cost-effective opportunities to reduce fees associated with impervious surfaces through a partnership with the Philadelphia Water Department and strategic implementation of green infrastructure.
  • An expanded ISO-Certified ESMS program to include the Wayne Shop as well as implementation of an "ISO Lite" program to introduce environmental management best practices at all SEPTA facilities.
As with the first-generation plan, the SEP-TAINABLE 2020 program plan has been developed through extensive input, including stakeholder roundtables, a public open house, peer agency benchmarking through APTA, and collaboration with key regional planning partners from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, City of Philadelphia and Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. (SEPTA - posted 1/27)

LIVE STEAM COMES TO THE AMHERST TRAIN SHOW THIS WEEKEND: For 2017, the Boothbay Railway Village will be bringing a live steam engine to the Amherst Railway Society's annual train show, being held this weekend in West Springfield, Massachusetts . The locomotive was built by the H K Porter Company in Pittsburgh in 1925 for the Raritan Copper Company in New Jersey. H K Porter specialized in industrial locomotives, and the Boothbay locomotive was one of eleven owned by Raritan Copper. The 2-foot gauge engine will be set up outdoors at the Railroad Hobby Show, operating on approximately 100 feet of track under its own steam power. Boothbay Railway Village operates a fully certified boiler shop and completed restoration of the H K Porter locomotive in 2014. For more information about the train show, visit http://www.amherstrail.org/ARS/news-BoothbaySteam.php. (Amherst Railway Society - posted 1/26)

READING & NORHTHERN ENJOYS RECORD-BREAKING YEAR: At the close of 2016 Reading & Northern Railroad (R&N) had more employees, more track, more locomotives, more freight cars, more facilities and more customers than at any point in its history. Fueling this unprecedented period of growth was yet another excellent year of both freight and passenger traffic. R&N grew its merchandise traffic by 16 percent in 2016 with almost 20,000 carloads. Its tourist operations handled well over 100,000 visitors, the second time in its history that it reached the 100,000 passengers mark. Owner/CEO Andy Muller, Jr. noted that it has always been his strategy to reinvest in the company. “Business has been very good the last few years and in order to keep growing we invest in the railroad ahead of the demand. That is why this year we bought more locomotives and freight cars and did an unprecedented amount of trackwork.” The facts are:
  • R&N added 10 miles of new track to its system in 2016, which includes the acquisition of the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazleton, PA and over 3 miles of new track construction.
  • R&N forces and contractors installed over 15,000 ties, replaced over 20,000 linear feet of rail and built a dozen new switches.
  • R&N acquired 6 4-axle locomotives, which was a 20% increase to the locomotive fleet.
  • R&N acquired 162 additional freight cars (a 16% growth) increasing the fleet to 1179 railcars.
  • R&N began or completed construction of six additional facilities
  • R&N added over a dozen new customers, most with the Humboldt acquisition, and
  • R&N added 21 new employees.
“It takes well-trained employees operating well-powered trains over well-maintained tracks to deliver the high quality service that our customers have learned to expect from Reading & Northern.” said Wayne Michel, President of R&N. “We offer our customers guaranteed service windows and provide additional service at no cost to help them with their demands. Taking care of the customers is Job 1 at the Reading & Northern.” Muller remarked that the past growth is merely a precursor to an exciting future. “I expect our railroad to grow. I expect our superior service will help our customers grow and as they grow we will benefit. I expect our reputation to encourage more businesses to locate along our lines. We will always take care of our customers and our employees. That is the cornerstone of our success.” said Muller. (Reading & Northern Railroad - posted 1/26)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FACILITATED $4.0 BILLION IN INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT ALONG RAIL LINES IN 2016: Norfolk Southern assisted 71 industries in locating or expanding their businesses along its rail lines in 2016. The 58 new and 13 expanded industries represent an investment of $4.0 billion by Norfolk Southern customers and are expected to create more than 4,600 new jobs in the railroad's service area, generating more than 50,000 carloads of new rail traffic annually. “We were pleased to see a steady stream of manufacturing projects and a markedly stronger portfolio overall near the end of the year, and that is an encouraging indicator for activity in the coming year,” said Jason Reiner, assistant vice president industrial development. “Sixteen manufacturing-related projects contributed nearly $2 billion in new investment by customers and 3,000 new jobs during 2016.” Norfolk Southern works with state and local economic development authorities on projects involving site location and development of infrastructure to connect customers to its rail system and provides free and confidential facility location services, including industrial park planning, site layout, track design, and supply chain analysis. During the past 10 years, NS’ Industrial Development Department has participated in the location or expansion of 945 facilities representing an investment of over $60 billion and creating more than 43,000 direct new customer jobs in the territory served by the railroad. (Norfolk Southern, Randy Kotuby - posted 1/26)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS FOURTH-QUARTER AND FULL YEAR 2016 RESULTS: Norfolk Southern Corporation today reported fourth-quarter and 2016 financial results. Net income for the quarter was $416 million, a 15 percent increase compared with $361 million during the same period of 2015. Diluted earnings per share were $1.42, up 18 percent compared with $1.20 diluted earnings per share in the fourth quarter last year. Norfolk Southern announced Tuesday that it increased its quarterly dividend to $0.61 per share, reflecting a 2 cent, or 3 percent, increase over the previous quarter’s dividend. For 2016, net income was $1.7 billion, up 7 percent compared with $1.6 billion in 2015. Diluted earnings per share increased 10 percent to $5.62 compared with $5.10 per diluted share in the prior year. Results for 2015 included restructuring expenses that reduced fourth-quarter 2015 net income by $31 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, and lowered 2015 net income by $58 million, or $0.19 per diluted share for the full year. “2016 was a pivotal year as Norfolk Southern began implementing its new Strategic Plan. We delivered $250 million of productivity savings and recorded our best ever operating ratio, notwithstanding challenging business conditions,” said James A. Squires, Norfolk Southern chairman, president and CEO. “With the dedication and support of Norfolk Southern’s talented employees, we improved service for customers while positioning the company for further growth in 2017 and beyond. We are poised to continue building on our success and deliver an additional $100 million of productivity savings in 2017 on the way to our goal of $650 million of annual savings by 2020. We remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering superior shareholder value through the execution of our Strategic Plan.” FOURTH-QUARTER SUMMARY
  • Railway operating revenues of $2.5 billion declined 1 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2015, reflecting lower merchandise and coal traffic volume, as well as reduced fuel surcharges. These declines were offset in part by intermodal volume growth that eclipsed the effects of the 2015 Triple Crown restructuring.
  • General merchandise revenues were $1.5 billion, 1 percent lower than the same period last year. Volume was 3% lower overall, as growth in steel and agriculture was offset by declines in energy markets, vehicles, and paper and forest products. Norfolk Southern’s five merchandise commodity groups reported the following year-over-year revenue results: Agriculture: $399 million, up 4 percent; Chemicals: $395 million, down 7 percent; Metals/Construction: $296 million, up 6 percent; Automotive: $237 million, down 5 percent; Paper/Forest: $177 million, down 5 percent
  • Intermodal revenues increased to $583 million, a 4 percent gain compared with fourth-quarter 2015. Volumes increased 7 percent, with growth in domestic and international traffic offsetting the Triple Crown restructuring.
  • Coal revenues declined 7 percent to $403 million compared with fourth-quarter 2015. Volume fell 4 percent with an increase in export coal softening the decline in the utility market.
  • Railway operating expenses declined $147 million, or 8 percent, to $1.7 billion compared with same period last year due to targeted expense reductions and the absence of last year’s restructuring costs.
  • Income from railway operations was $761 million, an increase of 19 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2015.
  • The composite service metric, which measures train performance, terminal operations, and operating plan adherence, was 80 percent, a 200 basis point improvement compared with 78 percent in the same quarter last year.
  • The railway operating ratio, or operating expenses as a percentage of revenues, was 69.4 percent, a 510 basis point improvement compared with 74.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.
  • Railway operating revenues were $9.9 billion, 6 percent lower compared with 2015. The decrease was driven by a 3 percent volume decline due to reductions in energy-related markets and the Triple Crown restructuring, as well as reduced fuel surcharges.
  • General merchandise revenues were $6.2 billion, a 2 percent decrease compared with the prior year. Volume declined 2 percent, primarily due to reduced demand in energy markets, and fuel surcharges were lower.
  • Intermodal revenues totaled $2.2 billion, 8 percent lower compared with 2015, reflecting the Triple Crown restructuring, as well as reduced fuel surcharges. International and domestic growth more than offset the volume decline from the Triple Crown restructuring.
  • Coal revenues were $1.5 billion, down 18 percent year-over-year. Reduced utility volumes combined with a weak global export market lowered total volume by 16 percent.
  • Railway operating expenses declined $813 million, or 11 percent, to $6.8 billion primarily due to targeted expense reduction initiatives, lower fuel expenses, the absence of last year’s restructuring cost, and service improvements.
  • Income from railway operations was $3.1 billion, a 7 percent increase compared with the previous year.
  • The composite service metric was 80 percent, an 800 basis point improvement compared with 72 percent last year.
  • The operating ratio for the year was a record 68.9 percent, a 370 basis point improvement compared with 72.6 percent in the prior year.
For 2017, Norfolk Southern plans to invest $1.9 billion to maintain the safety of its rail network, enhance service, improve operational efficiency, and support growth opportunities, which is consistent with Norfolk Southern’s total capital investment of $1.9 billion in 2016. (Norfolk Southern, Randy Kotuby - posted 1/25)

MTA BOARD KEEPS BASE FARE FLAT: APPROVES LOWEST FARE, TOLL INCREASES SINCE 2009: New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board today voted to keep the base fare flat for another two years in approving the lowest fare and toll increase since 2009, when the MTA committed to a biennial schedule for regular increases. The plan approved today increased fares and tolls over the next two years by 4 percent – or less than 2 percent annually and less than the rate of inflation. The MTA was able to hold the necessary increases below inflation as a result of the agency’s continued discipline in keeping costs down. The new fares, which take effect March 19, will allow the MTA to continue to provide safe and reliable service. “The MTA is focused on keeping our fares affordable for low-income riders and frequent riders, and on how we can keep necessary scheduled increases as small and as predictable as possible,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said. “Keeping fares and tolls down was possible because of the continued operational efficiencies and ways we have reduced costs while adding service and capacity along our busiest corridors, most recently with the opening of the new Second Avenue subway.” The MTA Board approved increases that keep the base fare for subways and buses at $2.75 and to keep a pay-per-ride bonus, making the effective fare with the bonus $2.62. The 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard, which is heavily used by lower-income and frequent riders, will increase by only a dollar to $32; the 30-day Unlimited Ride MetroCard will increase from $116.50 to $121. Both of these options were the same under the two proposals presented to the MTA Board. The Single Ride Ticket remains at $3. The cash fare for Express Buses remains at $6.50, making the effective fare with the bonus $6.19. (MTA - posted 1/25)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING JANUARY 21, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending January 21, 2017. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 530,299 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending January 21 were 262,496 carloads, up 10.7 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 267,803 containers and trailers, up 5.8 percent compared to 2016. Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They included coal, up 22.4 percent to 90,786 carloads; grain, up 16.3 percent to 24,485 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, up 12.7 percent to 10,052 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 were petroleum and petroleum products, down 17.7 percent to 10,217 carloads; and forest products, down 5 percent to 9,726 carloads. For the first 3 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 736,865 carloads, up 2.5 percent from the same point last year; and 751,080 intermodal units, down 3.2 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 3 weeks of 2017 was 1,487,945 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 0.5 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending January 21, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 359,088 carloads, up 11 percent compared with the same week last year, and 342,843 intermodal units, up 5.8 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 701,931 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.4 percent. North American rail volume for the first 3 weeks of 2017 was 1,961,848 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.2 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 79,951 carloads for the week, up 16.2 percent, and 63,635 intermodal units, up 7.2 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 3 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 400,755 carloads, containers and trailers, up 4.9 percent. Mexican railroads reported 16,641 carloads for the week, down 4.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,405 intermodal units, down 0.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 3 weeks of 2017 was 73,148 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 10.5 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 1/25)

FMCB APPROVES BLUE HILL AVENUE STATION ON THE FAIRMOUNT LINE: The MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) today approved a recommendation of MBTA managers to execute a contract for construction of the brand new Blue Hill Avenue Commuter Rail Station between Blue Hill Avenue (Route 28) and Cummins Highway on the Fairmount Line. The contract will be executed with McCourt Construction Company for $16.97 million. Placed in a primarily residential community, Blue Hill Avenue Station will be constructed as the ninth station for the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line and provide a direct ride to downtown Boston in 20 minutes with no transfers needed. The station will be located approximately six-and-a-half miles from South Station and a quarter mile from Mattapan Square, connecting the community to other neighborhoods along the corridor. The station design includes one center-island platform between Blue Hill Avenue and Cummins Highway located below the street level measuring approximately 768 feet as well as two covered, fully accessible pedestrian ramps from both Cummins Highway and Blue Hill Avenue. The station will also include canopies, warning strips, benches/windscreens, closed circuit television (CCTV) security cameras, new lighting, new messaging signs, train approach warning systems, and historical graphic panels. The MassDOT Board of Directors and FMCB previously authorized funding for the project on September 2, 2015, in the amount of $26.55 million. The project was advertised in December 2016 with seven bids received. After completion of a bid analysis, the lowest bid of $16.97 million from McCourt Construction Company was chosen. Blue Hill Avenue Station is expected to be open along the Fairmount Line for boarding and disembarking in 2019 after a two-year construction period. On a daily basis, approximately 1,300 customers use the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line. Wachusett Station on the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line was the last station to open in September 2016 with Boston Landing Station on the Framingham/Worcester Line scheduled to be open to passengers in April 2017. (MASSDOT - posted 1/24)

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAISES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND: Norfolk Southern Corporation announced that its Board of Directors today voted to increase the regular quarterly dividend on the company's common stock by 3 percent, or 2 cents per share, from 59 to 61 cents per share. "The dividend increase reflects our board's confidence in the company's strategic plan and demonstrates our commitment to deliver long-term value for our shareholders," said Norfolk Southern Chairman, President and CEO James A. Squires. The increased dividend is payable on March 10 to stockholders of record on Feb. 3. Since its inception in 1982, Norfolk Southern has paid dividends on its common stock for 138 consecutive quarters. (Randy Kotuby, NS - posted 1/24)

CANADIAN NATIONAL REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER EARNINGS: Luc Jobin, president and chief executive officer, said: "Despite facing difficult winter conditions in December, CN delivered very strong fourth-quarter results and throughout 2016 demonstrated once again its ability to perform well in a mixed economic environment. "We saw weaker volumes during the year, but quickly adjusted as our dedicated team of railroaders maintained its focus on operational efficiency, while continuing to provide quality service to our customers and improve our safety performance."
  • 2017 outlook, increased dividend: Jobin said: "Overall, the economy remains challenging, but we remain optimistic and expect to see moderate volume growth in 2017." CN expects to deliver EPS growth in the mid-single-digit range in 2017 over adjusted diluted EPS of C$4.59 in 2016. (1) CN will continue to invest in the safety and efficiency of its network, with a 2017 capital investment program of approximately C$2.5 billion, which includes increased spending for Positive Train Control technology in the United States. The Company's Board of Directors today approved a 10 per cent increase to CN's 2017 quarterly cash dividend.
  • Fourth-quarter 2016 revenues, traffic volumes and expenses: Revenues for the quarter increased by two per cent to C$3,217 million. Revenues increased for grain and fertilizers (14 per cent), automotive (four per cent), and intermodal (one per cent). Revenues declined for metals and minerals (six per cent), coal (six per cent), petroleum and chemicals (five per cent), while revenues for forest products remained flat. The revenue increase was mainly attributable to higher volumes of Canadian grains and U.S. soybeans, refined petroleum products, finished vehicles, and petroleum coke; as well as freight rate increases. These factors were partly offset by lower volumes of crude oil, U.S. thermal coal, and drilling pipe; and lower applicable fuel surcharge rates. Carloadings for the quarter increased three per cent to 1,369 thousand. Revenue ton-miles (RTMs), measuring the relative weight and distance of rail freight transported by CN, increased by four per cent, while rail freight revenue per RTM, a measurement of yield defined as revenue earned on the movement of a ton of freight over one mile, decreased by three per cent. Operating expenses for the quarter increased by one per cent to C$1,822 million. The increase was primarily due to higher casualty and other expenses, and higher depreciation and amortization expense, partly offset by lower pension expense and lower costs resulting from operating productivity gains, including cost-management initiatives.
  • Full-year 2016 revenues, traffic volumes and expenses: Revenues for 2016 decreased by five per cent to C$12,037 million. Revenues increased for automotive (six per cent), forest products (four per cent), and grain and fertilizers (one per cent), but were more than offset by revenue declines for coal (29 per cent), metals and minerals (15 per cent), petroleum and chemicals (11 per cent), and intermodal (two per cent). The decrease in total revenues was mainly attributable to lower volumes of crude oil, coal and frac sand; as well as lower applicable fuel surcharge rates. These factors were partly offset by the positive translation impact of the weaker Canadian dollar and freight rate increases. Carloadings declined five per cent to 5,205 thousand. RTMs decreased by five per cent. Rail freight revenue per RTM remained flat compared to 2015, driven by lower applicable fuel surcharge rates and an increase in the average length of haul; offset by the positive translation impact of a weaker Canadian dollar and freight rate increases. Operating expenses for 2016 decreased by eight per cent to C$6,725 million. The decrease was mainly due to lower costs resulting from operating productivity gains, including cost-management initiatives and decreased volumes of traffic; lower pension expense; and lower fuel prices, partly offset by the negative translation impact of a weaker Canadian dollar on U.S.-dollar-denominated expenses. The operating ratio was 55.9 per cent in 2016, an improvement of 2.3 points over the 2015 operating ratio of 58.2 per cent.
  • Foreign currency impact on results: Although CN reports its earnings in Canadian dollars, a large portion of its revenues and expenses is denominated in U.S. dollars. As such, the Company's results are affected by exchange-rate fluctuations. On a constant currency basis (1) that excludes the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, CN's net income for the three months and year ended December 31, 2016 would have been lower by C$3 million (unchanged per diluted share) and C$85 million (C$0.11 per diluted share), respectively
(Randy Kotuby, CN posted 1/24)

MTA ANNOUNCES FIRST NEW STATION ISLAND RAILWAY STATION TO OPEN IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroads are seeing record ridership numbers, with LIRR carrying 89.3 million customers in 2016, a 1.9% increase over last year and the highest ridership since 1949. Metro-North Railroad carried approximately 86.5 million in 2016, the highest ridership in Metro-North’s history. The LIRR’s growth continues recent trends in which the LIRR has registered a 1.97% average growth per year over the past 5 years. The railroad’s ridership has grown 10.2% over five years, from 81.0 million in 2011. Metro-North’s ridership for 2016 surpasses the previous record of 86.3 million, set last year. Metro-North’s total ridership has more than doubled since the railroad was founded in 1983. The ridership figures come at a time when Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed a major capacity increase to the LIRR by expanding the Main Line from two tracks to three between Floral Park and Hicksville and as the LIRR is building a second track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma. Governor Cuomo has also announced the re-envisioning of Penn Station, which is expected to host some Metro-North New Haven Line service, via four new stations in the Bronx to be built in the coming years. “The ridership figures underscore the importance of the LIRR and Metro-North capacity expansion projects that are underway or proposed,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast.
  • Changing Economic Patterns Point to Further Growth for LIRR: Underlying economic and demographic trends portend ridership growth continuing into the future, as a generation now entering the workforce shows a greater reliance on the railroad than older generations. A detailed demographic and travel analysis of LIRR customers shows an increasing reliance on the LIRR on the part of younger generations, and the beginnings of a reverse-travel market segment that the MTA expects would be expanded if Governor Cuomo’s proposed Main Line Expansion project is built as expected. The study showed that millennials, defined as those born between 1981 and 1997, have lower levels of access to automobiles than older New Yorkers, and are more likely to reach their local station by walking, bus, or being dropped off by others. “Our data reinforces what we’ve seen elsewhere that millennials are more likely to opt for the railroad as matter of choice, and to embrace a lifestyle built around downtown activities and living than previous generations,” said William Wheeler, MTA Director of Planning. “We know that habits that are developed early in one’s adult life tend to stick with them through their entire working lives. So the trend bodes well as a long-term positive for LIRR ridership.” The survey of LIRR customers found that for weekday travel via LIRR, 65% of trips were made to Manhattan for work, 14% were for westbound work travel elsewhere, 9% were for non-work travel to Manhattan, and 11% were for eastbound travel for work or non-work. “These results will be very valuable to the railroad as we make decisions regarding service planning, capital program expenditures and marketing in the years ahead,” said LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski. “There is an intrinsic demand for reverse-peak travel to the Island that today is very difficult for the LIRR to accommodate as a two-track railroad. This data shows that if and when the Main Line is expanded to a third track, our reverse-commute service would fill an immediate unmet need.”
  • Ridership Records on Metro-North’s Harlem, Hudson and New Haven Lines: All three of Metro-North’s East of Hudson Lines surpassed records. The Harlem Line and the Hudson Line beat last year’s record by over 125,000 each, with 27.7 on the Harlem Line and 16.6 million rides on the Hudson Line. The New Haven Line, Metro-North’s busiest, had another exceptional year, with 40.5 million annual rides, surpassing last’s year’s record by approximately 20,000. East of Hudson ridership numbers are strong for both customers commuting to and from work and non-commuters. Annual commutation ridership is 0.6% above 2015. Non-commutation ridership for 2016 remains consistent with 2015’s increase of 2.3% West of Hudson annual ridership, which was negatively impacted by September’s Hoboken Terminal train accident, dipped to 1.7 million, down 61,368 from last year. More customers took advantage of Metro-North’s connecting services in 2016. Combined ridership on the Railroad’s three connecting services – the Hudson Rail Link, Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry and the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry – grew by about 577,000, up 3.8% from 2015. Ridership increased by 10.8% on the Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry, by 4.3% on the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry, and by 1.5% on the Hudson Rail Link. “We’ve worked diligently to improve service for our customers by providing more frequent train service and enhancing service reliability, and we’ve accomplished these goals while maintaining the highest safety standards,” said Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti. “We’ve delivered technological advancements that make service even more convenient, including eTix and the expanding availability of real-time information. We’re pleased and grateful that customers are responding to our efforts. But this record isn’t an end point for Metro-North, and we’ll continue to strive to improve service for our customers.”
(MTA - posted 1/23)

SEPTA TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE ON FISCAL YEAR 2018 CAPITAL BUDGE & 12 YEAR CAPITAL PROGRAM: PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTA is inviting riders, residents and stakeholders to learn about the Authority's Capital Program during two open house sessions on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The open house sessions, which will focus on the development of the Fiscal Year 2018 Capital Budget and 12-Year Capital Program, will include two sessions, from noon to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Both sessions will be held in the SEPTA Board Room on the mezzanine level at SEPTA Headquarters, 1234 Market Street. SEPTA officials will also provide a progress update on work related to the "Rebuilding the System" Capital Program. Presentations will start at 12:30 p.m. during the first session, and 5 p.m. during the second session. SEPTA embarked on its "Rebuilding the System" plan following the November 2013 passage of Act 89, the state's comprehensive solution for transportation capital funding. SEPTA has launched a number of projects to catch up on its $5 billion backlog of critical capital projects, such as bridge replacements, station improvements, power substation overhauls and new vehicle purchases. For more information on Rebuilding the System, visit hhttp://www.septa.org/rebuilding/index.html. Public comments on the development of the Fiscal Year 2018 Capital Budget and 12-Year Capital Program can be given during the open house, or submitted in writing. Written comments should be sent to SEPTA's Capital Budget and Grant Development Department, 1234 Market Street, 9th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107, or submitted online at http://www.septa.org/notice/fy2017-capital-budget-open-house.html SEPTA will hold public hearings on the capital budget and program plan in April, after the proposal is drafted. (SEPTA- posted 1/23)

MTA ANNOUNCES FIRST NEW STATION ISLAND RAILWAY STATION TO OPEN IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the upcoming opening of the new Arthur Kill station, the first new Staten Island Railway (SIR) station built by the MTA since the private rail line was incorporated into the MTA network in 1971, which opens Saturday morning. The Arthur Kill station and its new parking lot, located on Arthur Kill Road between Lion Street and Barnard Avenue in the Tottenville area, replaces the Nassau and Atlantic SIR stations that will be demolished. The Nassau station primarily served the Nassau Smelting factory, which closed in the 1980s. The two older stations were small, with short platforms that did not adequately accommodate the railway’s modern fleet. The MTA 2015-2019 Capital Program includes $386 million of investments and improvements to Staten Island Railway. They include replacement of the car fleet and three new power substations to increase supply to the line, allowing for service flexibility and reliability. Capital investments also include rolling out countdown clocks at all SIR stations, track replacement, radio system enhancements, and station repairs. More than 16,000 customers ride the Staten Island Railway on an average weekday, which has 29 miles of tracks linking 22 communities on the borough, from the southern shore in Tottenville to the northern terminus at St. George that connects to the Staten Island Ferry. “The new Arthur Kill station offers more transportation options to Staten Island residents by giving motorists the choice to leave the driving to us and take Staten Island Railway,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “This station reinforces the Governor’s commitment to all parts of our transportation network. We know our customers here want more choices, and we are working hard to improve their options.” The new station is compliant with the American Disabilities Act and serves as a park-and-ride stop for customers who can leave their vehicles in a new 150-spot parking lot across the street or as a transfer point for connections to the S78 bus route. The station platforms accommodate SIR’s fleet of four-car trains and allow boarding at all doors, as compared to single-door boarding at the Nassau and Atlantic stations. In addition to the new parking lot, the Arthur Kill station has customer amenities such as benches, surveillance cameras, Customer Assistance Intercoms, and bicycle racks. “This new station has been a long time coming but it well worth the wait,” NYC Transit President Ronnie Hakim said. “The new station allows us to move Staten Island transportation another step into the future along with other major projects like the rehabilitation of the St. George Terminal, the recent reopening of the improved Grasmere station, new rail cars and bringing real-time train arrival information to all stations.” The station’s design maintains the historic feel of the neighborhood yet incorporates the color scheme and architecture of the Staten Island Railway. The overall design emphasizes use of resilient materials and simple structural forms. The northbound and southbound platforms are connected by an overhead structure that is accessible via platform staircases and ramps and both towers of the structure and the connecting overpass are covered by canopies and enclosed with windscreens, providing shade and protection from inclement weather. New LED fixtures provide brighter and environmentally friendly lighting to supplement natural lighting through transparent windscreens. The artwork in the windscreens at the top of both towers and in the overpass was designed by artist Jenna Lucente and commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. “Tottenville Sun, Tottenville Sky,” consists of 28 large-scale laminated glass panels featuring a mix of wildlife and landscape scenes that are unique to the area’s geography and community. The towers’ glass panels are laminated blue with foreground images of indigenous wildlife and framed with an intricate design that pays homage to neighborhood architecture. The background of each panel features a landscape, either natural or urban, of the neighborhood. These narrative scenes include the southern shoreline of Staten Island, the Outerbridge Crossing and historic area buildings. The blue color represents the sky and the evening commute. The glass panels that line the overpass form four sets of triptychs laminated in yellow, which represents sunlight and the morning commute. One set forms a view of the Outerbridge Crossing from Arthur Kill Road with egrets in the foreground; another features the historic Conference House. Altogether, the panels represent the past, present and future of Tottenville and all that call it home. “Staten Island’s first new train station in two decades deserves a delightful piece of art that elevates it beyond a station stop, and Jenna’s artwork is a thoughtful interpretation of the area’s natural beauty and a study of its historic significance, ” said Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design. “A commuter waiting for his train can look up at the towers or the overpass, and depending on the time or the angle of the sun, see something that he may not have seen the day or an hour before. Each scene in each panel is a reminder of the nature around us and also what we are capable of creating.” Designing the station artwork was particularly poignant for Lucente, an artist and educator who grew up in the Castleton Corners section of Staten Island. Lucente earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Syracuse University (N.Y.) and a master of fine arts degree from Queens College, City University of New York. She was born in Brooklyn and currently lives in Delaware. “Staten Island will always be home to me, and the artwork at the new Arthur Kill Station has great personal significance. My understanding, interpretation and connection with Staten Island will always be here through this artwork. It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to share this vision with the public, and my fellow Staten Islanders,” Lucente said. In preparation for the station, New York City Transit relocated eastbound and westbound stops on the S78 bus route to locations directly in front of the station and the parking lot, allowing for quicker and better access for transferring customers. New bus pullouts at the curbs were also created for easier and safer loading. Funding for the $27.4 million project was provided in the 2010-2014 MTA Capital Program. Lessons learned after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 resulted in design changes to improve storm resiliency that added to the construction timeline. Resiliency-related infrastructure enhancements include raising and improving the tracks, storm-proofing storage facilities and the electrical distribution and communications systems, and installing a heavier-duty drain system with underground detention tanks and perforated drain pipes for controlling water runoff and limiting soil displacement. The landscaping included native plants such as grasses, trees and shrubs, and permeable features to reduce storm runoff. Fencing, concrete curbs and gravel berms were installed to control soil erosion. (MTA - posted 1/20)

PATH UPDATES ON POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL (PTC) AND SLEEP APNEA PROGRAMS: PATH is continuing to implement a series of critical safety protocols for riders and agency staff in addition to its on-track signal system replacement program, which has PATH on pace to complete installation of Positive Train Control, the federally mandated safety enhancement, by the end of 2018. PATH is using rigorous industry-leading sleep apnea screening and evaluation programs for train engineers entrusted with customer safety. The Port Authority's Office of Medical Services has been at the forefront in devising evaluation programs and in testing current and prospective employees for sleep disorders that may compromise train safety and affect job performance. There are currently no specific regulations or laws in effect relative to train engineers. The agency screens all PATH engineers for potential sleep apnea during the pre-employment process, and annually during regular physical exams. Engineers believed to be at risk for sleep apnea are referred for evaluation, and if confirmed are held out of service until cleared by medical professionals following in-depth, overnight sleep analysis. These employees must undergo treatment and are regularly monitored for compliance. "PATH's number one priority remains the safety of our passengers and employees," said PATH Director/General Manager Michael Marino. "While we perform rigorous safety checkpoints on a regular basis throughout the system, given recent events we're going the extra mile to enhance our safety programs as an added precaution." PATH has been a leader in the installation of Positive Train Control (PTC) and is on target to meet a federal deadline to have PTC in place and operational by the end of 2018. About 91 percent of PATH employees have been trained in PTC. As part of PATH's overall Communications-based Train Control (CBTC) program, CBTC equipment has been installed on 216 of 230 passenger cars through the end of December. These efforts to mitigate sleep disorders and provide PATH personnel with the latest in safety training are just some of the elements of the agency is applying to ensure rider and employee safety. PATH also is increasing the number of inspections it conducts under an existing rule that mandates engineers approaching bumping blocks should be traveling 8 miles per hour or less. In 2016, PATH examiners conducted nearly 140 observational tests through the rule, with 100-percent compliance. In 2017, PATH will use data recorded in the cars to gauge compliance with this safety requirement, while relying on additional observational techniques to help measure compliance. (The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey- posted 1/19)

MTA TESTING PROTOYPE PORTABLE VACUUM SYSTEMS IN ORDER TO KEEP TRACKS CLEAN: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that it is testing two prototypes of powerful – but portable – track vacuum systems that can be quickly deployed, operated from platforms, and moved easily from one station to the next. The new units are part of the MTA’s ongoing Track Sweep initiative, which is a multi-pronged plan to dramatically reduce the amount of trash on subway tracks, in the process improving the station environment, and reducing track fires and train delays. “Testing these new technologies is a key part in our plan to get the tracks cleaner, and keep them cleaner over the long haul,” said MTA New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim. “Once we’re sure that these units are effective we’ll be ordering additional units to deploy across the system.” The first unit is currently being tested, while the second will be deployed within the next two weeks. The prototype units are both powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries with a battery management system that protects the batteries and load from over current, and both can be moved from station to station on a conventional revenue train. The tests are scheduled to last approximately 30 to 45 days. Assuming the successful completion of the tests, the MTA will move aggressively to acquire and deploy additional units. (MTA - posted 1/19)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING JANUARY 14, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending January 14, 2017. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 516,229 carloads and intermodal units, up 2 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending January 14 were 253,223 carloads, up 4.4 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 263,006 containers and trailers, down 0.3 percent compared to 2016. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They included metallic ores and metals, up 17.6 percent to 21,979 carloads; miscellaneous carloads, up 17.3 percent to 9,895 carloads; and coal, up 13.3 percent to 85,133 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 14.7 percent to 10,960 carloads; forest products, down 5.8 percent to 9,492 carloads; and chemicals, down 5.8 percent to 29,864 carloads. For the first two weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 474,369 carloads, down 1.6 percent from the same point last year; and 483,277 intermodal units, down 7.5 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first two weeks of 2017 was 957,646 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 4.7 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending January 14, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 343,773 carloads, up 4.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 334,207 intermodal units, up 0.5 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 677,980 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.6 percent. North American rail volume for the first two weeks of 2017 was 1,259,917 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.9 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 75,862 carloads for the week, up 10.5 percent, and 60,227 intermodal units, up 3.6 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first two weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 257,169 carloads, containers and trailers, up 1.3 percent. Mexican railroads reported 14,688 carloads for the week, down 13.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,974 intermodal units, up 2.6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first two weeks of 2017 was 45,102 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 14.6 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 1/18)

CSX CORPORATION ANNOUNCES FOURTH QUARTER EARNINGS AND FULL YEAR 2016 EARNINGS: CSX Corporation today announced fourth quarter 2016 net earnings of $458 million, or $0.49 per share, versus $466 million, or $0.48 per share, in the same period of last year. The fourth quarter of 2016 included an operating property sale and a debt refinancing charge, both of which were $0.08 per share and offset each other in the quarter. In addition, the fourth quarter included an extra accounting week resulting from the company’s 52/53 week fiscal reporting calendar, which benefitted earnings per share by $0.03 per share. Including the extra week, fourth quarter revenue increased 9 percent and expenses increased 2 percent. Operating income for the quarter was $1 billion, which included the $115 million gain from the property sale and the $62 million benefit from the extra week. For the full year 2016, the industry continued to face headwinds from low global commodity prices and strength of the U.S. dollar. In this environment, CSX generated $11.1 billion in revenue as volume declined 5 percent overall with a 21 percent decline in the company’s coal business. Even with these ongoing challenges, CSX delivered earnings per share of $1.81, operating income of $3.4 billion and an operating ratio of 69.4 percent. “In an environment where the company lost almost $470 million of coal revenue and experienced weakness across most of its markets, CSX delivered nearly $430 million of productivity savings in 2016, while improving customer service,” said Michael J. Ward, chairman and chief executive officer. “With business conditions gradually improving and the ongoing transformation into the CSX of Tomorrow, we will continue to deliver sustainable shareholder value.” The CSX of Tomorrow strategy drives profitable growth in its merchandise and intermodal markets as the company progresses towards a mid-60s operating ratio longer-term. (CSX - posted 1/17)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CELEBRATES GROUNDBREAKING OF GOLD LINE PHASE II STREETCAR SERVICE IN CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA: On January 14 U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx participated in a groundbreaking for the Charlotte Area Transit System’s (CATS) second phase of the CityLYNX Gold Line Streetcar system that will improve transit options in the greater Charlotte area and offer faster, more convenient access to downtown. Secretary Foxx was joined by Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles, and other state and local officials. “The Charlotte Streetcar investment comes at a critical time for Charlotte,” said Secretary Foxx. “As the community seeks to reconnect areas of the city, expand job creation into historically underserved areas and bring the entire city together, this project has the potential to do so. This project can be more than a transportation asset; it can be a community builder.” The second phase of the 2.5-mile expansion will improve circulation and transit connections; support economic revitalization; provide access from economically diverse neighborhoods to Uptown Charlotte; provide more efficient transit options; and connect key activity centers and facilities including Johnson C. Smith University, Johnson and Wales University and the Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. When completed, the CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar project will extend to four miles, from the original 1.5-mile phase I section that opened for service in July 2015. “The Federal Transit Administration is proud to partner with CATS to expand streetcar service in Charlotte, which is an important part of the region’s commitment to expand and modernize public transportation for hard-working families,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “When completed, the newly expanded streetcar line will make a huge difference for thousands of commuters who need and deserve reliable transit service.” The CityLYNX Gold Line Phase II project will include 11 new stops, modifications to six existing stops, and the purchase of six modern streetcars. FTA is contributing $75 million in funding to CATS through a Small Start grant under the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant Program. FTA’s Small Starts grant comprises approximately 50 percent of the project’s total cost of $150 million. The remaining cost is being covered by the city of Charlotte, NC. The extension is expected to be completed by summer 2020. (USDOT - posted 1/17)

SUPREME COURT DENIES REVIEW OF BLET VICTORY ON TOW PERSON TRAIN CREWS: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) has secured another significant victory for rail workers — this time from the highest court in the United States — in the Union's ongoing campaign to protect two-person train crews. On January 9, the United States Supreme Court denied a petition filed by the Wheeling and Lake Erie (W&LE) asking that the nation's highest court review and set aside the 2015 finding by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that the railroad's use of managers in place of union conductors was a major dispute under the Railway Labor Act. In September 2013, BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce authorized a strike by W&LE conductors over the W&LE's repudiation of collective bargaining agreements that cover the locomotive engineer and trainmen operating crafts. Specifically, the carrier ignored longstanding crew consist agreements and operated single-person operations, refusing to assign available conductors, in an effort to eliminate trainmen. When W&LE challenged the strike, a federal district judge issued an injunction on the ground that the dispute was "minor" and had to be arbitrated. BLET never wavered in its position that the refusal to call conductors was an outright contract abrogation warranting a strike, and appealed that ruling. In April 2015, a unanimous three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed with BLET and reversed the lower court. The panel found that W&LE's "claim that the trainmen agreement allowed it to man trains without union conductors is frivolous or obviously insubstantial, and the dispute is major." The Court of Appeals vacated the injunction and remanded the case back to the District Court with instructions to dismiss W&LE's complaint. The carrier then tried unsuccessfully to get the entire Court of Appeals to vacate that decision. Most recently, and in a last ditch effort to gain the right to ignore its agreements with BLET, W&LE petitioned the Supreme Court to take the case. BLET filed a brief in opposition, supporting the decision of the Court of Appeals, and on January 9th, the Supreme Court rejected W&LE's petition. Consequently, the "major dispute" holding stands, vindicating the Union's position that if W&LE wants to change the rule, it must accomplish the change at the bargaining table, not by unilateral action. "I must first thank our members on the W&LE for helping us fight to preserve the conductor's job and for standing strong against the carrier's attempts to implement one-person trains," President Dennis Pierce said. "When the decision was made to strike the W&LE, our members were united in their resolve and stood shoulder to shoulder on the picket line," he continued. "This final decision by the highest court in the land reminds us all of the importance of strong contract language, followed by strong union activism to protect our contracts. The now unimpeachable decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is not only important for our W&LE members, but for all operating employees and rail labor in general. The nationwide fight over operating crew size is far from over, but this victory helps to ensure that union contracts requiring two crew members are enforceable by the union, even to the point of a strike. "I also want to thank General Counsel Mike Wolly and his team for preserving this critical court victory on behalf of our members," President Pierce added. (BLET, Randy Kotuby - posted 1/17)

SIX PUBLIC HEARING THIS WEEK FOR THE LIRR THIRD TRACK EXPANSION PROJECT: There will be six public hearings this week on the LIRR Expansion Project, a new proposal to improve service options and reliability for hundreds of thousands of customers, reduce automobile traffic congestion, and improve safety and quality of life for people in the project corridor. Experts will be on hand to outline the benefits of the project and the public is invited to give their feedback. The proposed project is completely different from prior proposals to expand track capacity on the LIRR’s Main Line. This project will include:
  • No residential property acquisitions
  • Eliminating all grade crossings within the 9.8 mile project corridor
  • Building sound walls to reduce noise
  • Station upgrades
  • Additional parking
  • Increased reliance on private construction industry expertise to minimize construction duration, impacts and cost
  • Unprecedented level of public outreach to engage local officials, homeowners and other stakeholders and use their input while the project is being planned
“When Governor Cuomo first announced this much-needed new project to enhance LIRR service, he promised an unprecedented level of public engagement to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the community and riders,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said. “We have kept that promise and have also made numerous other significant commitments in response to public input - all to minimize impacts to local neighbors. We are continuing to listen to the public and I encourage regional commuters and local residents alike to come out to our hearings.” This is the second round of public hearings for this project and an opportunity for the public to learn more about and comment on the project’s draft environmental study, which was published in November 2016 and is available on the project website at www.aModernLI.com. The hearing schedule is as follows:
  • Jan. 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Yes We Can Community Center 141 Garden Street, Westbury
  • Jan. 18, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Mack Student Center at Hofstra University
  • Jan. 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. The Inn at New Hyde Park
At these hearings, the public can speak to experts from the LIRR and New York State Department of Transportation, and enter their spoken or written comments about the project and its draft environmental study. ADA-accessible shuttle buses to the hearing sites will be provided on a continuous loop between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. from Hicksville Station (south side of station building) on Jan. 17, and Mineola Station (near eastbound waiting room) on Jan. 18 and 19. About the LIRR Expansion Project? The LIRR Expansion Project will add a third track to 9.8 miles along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville, and eliminate all seven street-level train crossings within the project corridor, among other customer and community benefits. With up to 40 percent of the LIRR’s 308,000 daily passengers going through the Main Line, which serves as the main corridor through which many branches of the LIRR travel, the proposed project will improve service for more than half a million passengers per week. The elimination and modification of all seven train crossings within the project area will reduce road traffic and pollution from automobiles idling at crossing gates; will eliminate noise from train horns, crossing bells and honking cars; and will greatly improve safety by removing areas where vehicles and pedestrians can collide with trains. Right now, trains are required to blow their horns as they pass through grade crossings, and additional noise comes from bells that alert nearby drivers, who idle in long lines as they wait for trains to pass and honk their horns when gates open. The Department of Transportation will oversee the grade crossing component of the project. The project will also result in significant noise reduction throughout sections of the project corridor from proposed retaining walls and sound attenuation walls along the railroad’s right-of-way. While these structures will reduce noise from existing train traffic, they will have an even greater impact after the significant service increases from the future East Side Access Project go into effect in a few years. The project also includes major track infrastructure upgrades like new switches, signals and power equipment, as well as station upgrades like new, longer platforms to accommodate full-length trains, removing delays and safety issues associated with passengers needing to move between cars on shorter platforms. The project also proposes more than 2,000 additional parking spots to address future ridership growth. These and other proposed components of the project are the result of months of direct consultation with local elected officials and community members, as well as analysis by experienced transportation engineers. Other environmental benefits from the project, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions, derive from reduced automobile trips as a result of additional and more reliable rail service. The LIRR Expansion Project is part of a broader, ongoing effort by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to improve transit and transportation throughout New York State. On Long Island, projects like the Double Track Project between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, the Jamaica Capacity Improvements Project, and the East Side Access Project to bring LIRR to Grand Central Terminal, will all bring better service to LIRR customers and help ease congestion on clogged local streets and highways such as the Long Island Expressway, Northern and Southern State Parkways, and Grand Central and Belt Parkways. Other Ways to Comment on the Project: Those who cannot attend the hearings have numerous other ways to learn about and comment on the project and its draft environmental study: Visit the project website, http://www.aModernLI.com Email info@aModernLI.com Visit the Project Information Center at Mineola Station. The Center is staffed five days a week (hours at http://www.aModernLI.com ) Write to:? Edward M. Dumas, Vice President Market Development & Public Affairs ?Long Island Rail Road Expansion Project? MTA Long Island Rail Road? MC 1131 Jamaica Station Building? Jamaica, NY 11435 The deadline to submit comments on the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement is Feb. 15, 2017 at 5 p.m. The deadline was originally Jan. 31, but was recently extended by Governor Andrew Cuomo in response to public requests for more time. Even before the extension, the comment period for this document was longer than those for much larger recent projects, such as the 2nd Avenue Subway and new Tappan Zee Bridge. All comments received by the deadline will be considered before the completion and publication of the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement. The Project Information Center, website, and email address will continue to be available to the public who wish to engage with project officials after the deadline. (MTA - posted 1/16)

30TH STREET STATION DISTRICT PLAN WINS PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL AWARD: The 30th Street Station District Plan has been honored with the architecture industry’s most prestigious award – a 2017 Institute Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design from the American Institute of Architects.  The District Plan was selected from more than 500 submissions from around the world. The award underscores the importance of the collaboration among the project Principals (Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT and SEPTA) in developing the Plan, with guidance from a coordinating committee and input from members of the public. “On behalf of the 30th Street Station District Plan partners, we gladly accept this award and appreciate the endorsement it represents of the hard work that went into developing the Plan,” said Natalie Shieh, Project Director.  “We are enthusiastically moving forward on implementation, to take this inspiring vision and realize its great promise to transform the 30th Street Station District into Philadelphia’s next great neighborhood.” “The District Plan beautifully reimagines one of Philadelphia’s greatest assets at the center of a world-class urban district,” said Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Director Kristopher Takács, AIA. “SOM is honored to have led an extraordinary team of professionals, future-leaning institutions, and committed citizens to envision a pivotal transformation.” The District Plan is a comprehensive vision for the future of the area surrounding 30th Street Station in the year 2050 and beyond. In the near term, Amtrak and its partners are strategically advancing key projects to activate all four sides of the station and build a foundation for future growth and development.  In November 2016, Amtrak issued a Request for Proposals to lease and develop a roughly 32,500 square foot tract of land and associated air rights adjacent to 30th Street Station. The Plan ultimately envisions 40 new acres of open space and 18 million square feet of new development, including an entirely new mixed-use neighborhood anchoring the District atop 88 acres of rail yards along the western bank of the Schuylkill River.  With a proposed $2 billion investment in roads, utilities, parks, bridges, and extension of transit services, the Plan has the potential to unlock $4.5 billion in private real estate investment with robust and widespread economic benefits.  An estimated $3.8 billion in City and State taxes and 40,000 new jobs would be created. This is the second of Amtrak’s major development projects to receive recognition from the American Institute of Architects in the past several years.  In 2014, the Washington Union Station Master Plan received honorable mention in Urban Design/Master Planning from the AIA Washington Chapter. (Amtrak - posted 1/13)

AAR SUMBITS REPLY COMMENTS TO SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD OVER PROPOSED FORCED ACCESS REGULATION: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today responded to comments filed by a group of shippers pushing the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for a new regulation that would force railroads to turn their traffic over to competitor railroads. In its reply comments , the AAR outlined to the STB how the shipper comments "…do nothing to contradict the conclusion that the Board's proposed reciprocal switching rules are unlawful…" and "…the shippers are using the proposed rule as a means of circumventing existing rate regulation standards." The filing also states: "…The narrow self-interest of certain shippers in a revenue transfer in their favor – based on government intervention that they would never tolerate in their own industries – cannot offset the multiple flaws in the Board's proposal." The AAR contends the shipper comments underscore the need for the STB to terminate the proceeding and withdraw its forced access proposal because it violates the STB's governing statute, principles of sound economics, and longstanding policy without any coherent rationale. AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger said forced access is an ill-conceived approach that compromises the efficiency of the entire network: "This proposed regulation represents a sweeping reversal of the market-based approach favored by Congress over the last three-plus decades," he said. Hamberger pointed out railroads are capital intensive, and they must spend massive amounts of money on rail infrastructure and equipment so that taxpayers do not have to – a huge public benefit considering the crumbling state of many taxpayer-funded transportation enterprises. "The impact of the STB's proposed changes would be far reaching, touching consumers, businesses and passenger rail lines from coast to coast," said Hamberger. "The government intervention into railroads' business and operations will inhibit their ability to invest sufficient funds back into the nation's rail networks to expand capacity, while they also meet the needs of a growing economy or further improving safety." Hamberger again noted existing STB regulations already protect rail shippers as railroads voluntarily switch traffic under the current system, and by law, if freight can get from its origin to final destination only if it is carried by two or more railroads, railroads must cooperate to move the shipments. (AAR - posted 1/13)

U.S. DOT LAUNCHES NEW RAILROAD CROSSING SAFETY AD: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today launched the “Stop! Trains Can’t” ad targeting young male motorists and encouraging them to act cautiously at railroad crossings. The campaign is the latest in a two-year effort by DOT to reduce accidents and fatalities at railroad crossings around the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have partnered in the nationwide effort. Watch the ad: https://youtu.be/szaQ3hXvzfw “The message is simple: Ignoring railroad crossing signs or attempting to race or beat a train can have deadly consequences,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Hundreds of lives could be saved each year by simply following the rules.” Although rail incidents have declined over the last 10 years, railroad crossing fatalities spiked in 2014. Last year alone, 232 people died in railroad crossing accidents, and approximately every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States. The $7 million media buy will target male populations aged 18 to 49 years old in states with the nation’s 15 most dangerous crossings, as well as in states where 75 percent of the crossing accidents occurred in 2015. Male drivers are involved in nearly 75 percent of all railroad crossing accidents. The ad will run heavily in the following states: California, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Mississippi, New Jersey, Arkansas and Arizona. “Your life is worth more than a few saved minutes, and trying to outrun a train isn’t worth the risk,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “When a train is coming, the only choice is to stop. Trains can’t.” By law, trains always have the right of way because they cannot swerve, stop quickly or change directions to avert collisions. A freight train travelling at 55 miles per hour takes a mile – the length of 18 football fields or more – to come to a stop once the emergency brakes are applied. “Education is key here – sometimes a driver is distracted, or in an unfamiliar area. Other times, the state highway department has not done enough to warn drivers they are approaching a crossing,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “We must do everything we can to give drivers the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe – and this ad helps us do just that.” For more information on the “Stop! Trains Can’t” campaign, visit . www.transportation.gov/stop-trains-cant (FRA - posted 1/13)

MAYOR EMANUEL, AMTRAK AND OTHER UNION STATION PARTNERS ANNOUNCE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN DESIGNATED AS USDOT EMERGING PROJECT: The City of Chicago’s ambitious plans to modernize and transform Chicago Union Station and the surrounding West Loop area received a major boost today with the announcement by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Amtrak, Metra and the RTA that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Build America Bureau and the City of Chicago are entering into an Emerging Projects Agreement (EmPA), under which Chicago can work closely with USDOT with the ultimate goal of seeking up to $1 billion in federal funding for the project. “Today marks a major step forward both in the future of Union Station, and in the economic life of our city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “This modernization effort will improve the experience for everyone who travels through Union Station and tap the potential that the station has to serve as an anchor for further economic development of the West Loop and surrounding neighborhoods. I want to thank Secretary Foxx and the Build America Bureau for acknowledging the significance of this project and for all of our partners who have been working for the past several years to help get us to this point today.” “The Build America Bureau makes it easier for big multimodal projects like Chicago’s Union Station to move forward. This project will serve as a vital hub for rail and transit and connect the entire region,” said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. “I’m confident that the Bureau will continue to be a great partner for Chicago and cities across the country to build seamless, modern transportation networks in the years ahead.” “Union Station is a key transportation hub and vital economic driver for the City of Chicago and region. Yet, for too long the station has been operating at or near capacity, threatening its ability to sustain ridership and economic growth,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said. “The Emerging Project Agreement announced today moves us closer to a 21st century Union Station – one with an improved passenger experience and less congestion. I’m pleased to see Chicago, Amtrak, and Metra working together to ensure this project succeeds, and I will continue to provide federal support for improvements that will impact commuters and visitors for decades to come.” “Union Station’s master plan and surrounding commercial development will play a critical role in increasing capacity, efficiency, and accessibility, while reinforcing Chicago’s place as an important regional and national crossroads,” said Rep. Quigley, who serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development. “I applaud today’s announcement that confirms the Department of Transportation’s commitment to the rehabilitation of Union Station, and I look forward to working in Congress to ensure DOT has the resources it needs to properly assist in the planning of the Redevelopment project, which will spur increased economic activity in the region.” “This is another milestone in all of our efforts to improve Union Station to make it a world-class transportation facility for a world-class city,” said Ray Lang, Amtrak Senior Director, National State Relations. “All of this is happening because all of us are working together as partners.” The EmPA allows USDOT to offer enhanced technical assistance on complex, large scale projects seeking low-cost federal credit through the Build America Bureau’s innovative programs, including TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) Program and RRIF (Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing). TIFIA has provided more than $26 billion in credit assistance around the country, including loans for the CTA and Chicago’s acclaimed Riverwalk; RRIF has provided $5 billion in loans for projects around the country. The EmPA announcement comes as the City and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) are working with Amtrak, Metra, the RTA and the Illinois Department of Transportation on the design of near term improvements that will upgrade passenger capacity by renovating and expanding the concourse and platforms. Also addressed in a Master Plan process are service, safety/environmental, accessibility and mobility issues around the station. Amtrak is also in the final stages of evaluating proposals for a Master Developer to lead the redevelopment of Union Station and surrounding Amtrak-owned property and air rights. The Union Station Redevelopment plans envision a public-private partnership to implement both transportation-related improvements as well as transit-oriented developments surrounding the station. The three main goals are:
  • To expand and renovate the station to be an architecturally significant transportation terminal that both preserves and builds upon its existing architectural heritage.
  • To allow a growing number of passengers and other visitors to use the station facilities in the most efficient, safe, and pleasant manner possible.
  • To create a vibrant commercial center and civic asset that welcomes and serves travelers, neighborhood residents, and downtown workers alike, while further enhancing the economic vitality of the City of Chicago and the region.
Among the improvements that could be funded under the agreement are the following:
  • Renovation of the Canal Street Union Station Lobby.
  • Rehabilitation of the Great Hall skylight and dome structure.
  • Renovation and expansion of the Adams Street and Jackson Street entrances.
  • Expansion of the Union Station Concourse.
  • Widening of platforms.
  • Improvement of ADA accessibility throughout the station, including installation of an elevator at the Canal Street Headhouse.
  • Reconstruction of the Canal Street and Harrison Street viaducts.
  • Construction of pedestrian tunnels connecting Union Station to Metra’s Ogilvie Station and to the CTA Blue Line stop at Clinton Street.
Transit-oriented development, including commercial/residential development of the air rights over the Headhouse and commercial/office/retail uses surrounding Union Station. “CDOT is looking forward to working with USDOT to line up financing for this critically important project,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “The EmPA Agreement is another example of how the administration of Mayor Emanuel is using all the means at our disposal to fund the type of infrastructure improvements that are needed to keep Chicago’s economy moving AND thriving in the 21st Century.” “Metra is excited by this important step in the redevelopment of Chicago Union Station,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “This Emerging Project Agreement puts the redevelopment of the station in position for financing opportunities that could allow the work to proceed more quickly and at a lower cost. These improvements will provide relief to the 55,000 Metra riders who use Union Station each weekday and allow the station to accommodate growth in the future.” “I understand the critical nature of work on Union Station as both RTA Chairman and as a rider,” said RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard. “I take Metra in and out of Union Station daily so I understand its importance as a key transit site for regional riders. We are pleased this agreement will help restore this iconic building to its former glory and to assure the safety and comfort of our customers and tourists. Chicago is the nation’s transportation center and Union Station is a vital, major and symbolic piece of America’s infrastructure”. Chicago Union Station (CUS) handles more than 300 trains per weekday carrying approximately 120,000 arriving and departing passengers, a level of passenger traffic that would rank it among the busiest airports in the nation. CUS is a hub of the Amtrak national network, handling most of its long-distance trains, and more than 30 regional trains sponsored by state transportation departments. In addition to Amtrak service, Metra operates six commuter rail routes with 271 weekday arrivals or departures from Chicago Union Station. The station operates at or near capacity during peak periods, threatening its ability to sustain ridership and economic growth. (Amtrak - posted 1/12)

BRIGHTLINE REVEALS FIRST COMPLETED TRAINSET, FULL OF INNOVATONS SET TO REINVENT TRAIN TRAVEL IN THE U.S.: Brightline, the only privately-funded express passenger rail system in the country, today showcased its first trainset, BrightBlue. Comprised of two locomotives and four coaches, the trainset is housed at its new railroad operations facility, Workshop b, in West Palm Beach, Florida. Today provided the first opportunity to see the many innovations throughout this first trainset that was manufactured by Siemens in their Sacramento, California facility and is 100 percent Buy America compliant, using components from more than 40 suppliers across more than 20 states. "We are excited to welcome our first Brightline trainset to Florida and provide a preview of the entire train," said Mike Reininger, president of Brightline. "Our trains are among the most innovative in the United States and the world, with every detail having been designed and built from the guest's perspective, making it easy, convenient and comfortable to ride. We are looking forward to the launch our new express, inter-city service this summer. South Florida is very close to experiencing the future of train travel, a new travel alternative as an option to private cars on crowded roads."
  • Innovation in Action: Innovations abound with Brightline, beginning with boarding. Brightline is the first fully accessible train, exceeding ADA compliance standards and providing effortless access from end-to-end. To do this, Brightline trains feature level boarding and utilize automated retractable platforms that are integrated into the train car door systems. Prior to the doors' opening, the platforms extend up to 12 inches from the train and pivot to create a flush surface for passengers to cross from platform to train, making it easy for those with mobility challenges, pushing strollers or rolling luggage to board. Brightline's interior aisles are 32 inches, wider than any other train, providing ample space for wheelchairs and strollers to easily glide throughout the coach with access to all areas, including the restrooms. Interior vestibule doors also slide open and close automatically, so guests can seamlessly move between coaches. On each trainset, there is one Select and three Smart coaches. With both options, riders can reserve specific seats when booking tickets through Brightline's mobile application, website or station kiosks. Each product will offer a range of amenities and pricing. Riders will also be able to add additional items, such as parking and ground transportation to their booking to further complete their travel experience, making it connected from door to destination. In the Select coach, the custom-designed ergonomic leather seats are 21 inches wide and, in the Smart coach, the seats are 19 inches wide, both wider than most other transit seats, with in-seat recline, sliding down and back so not to compromise legroom of fellow passengers. The Select coach features 49 seats in a configuration of two seats across the aisle from a single. There are two quad seating groups and two single groups with a table in the middle for those who wish to converse or work together during the trip. In each of the Smart coaches, there are 66 seats (except for the end car that has 58), with double seats across the aisle from each other and eight quad configurations with a table. Single and double seats feature a drop-down multi-task tray that serves a dual purpose. An inner small table can be used alone for a smartphone or glasses and a larger table can be added for items such as laptops, books and food. Brightline is offering complimentary, powerful Wi-Fi, powered by multiple antennas on every train, so guests can bring their own devices and have instant connectivity. To power those devices, there are numerous built-in power outlets and USB connections (under the armrests, in the seat pedestals), and in pop-up style table units, so that guests have easy access. Large windows have been designed and aligned with all seats to offer unobstructed scenic views. High ceilings and open luggage shelves create a welcoming and inviting ambiance. Every aisle seat has an ergonomic metal grip handle for guests that are walking through the train or placing bags in the overhead space. For checked baggage, there is a compartment at the end of the last Smart coach. There are luggage towers in each coach for larger carry-on bags, as well as overhead luggage racks and under-seat storage for small personal items. To encourage more car-free transportation, Brightline also welcomes bikes. There are bike racks on every train, so guests can ride their bike to the station and bring it onboard with them. For those that can't leave home without their pets, Brightline is pet-friendly. Small pets can be placed in carriers under the seat and special carriers will be available for larger animals. Each coach includes a spacious restroom that is ADA accessible and features a touchless environment. The toilet has a touchless flush, guests just wave their hand to flush it. For those who forget to flush, it will automatically take care of that when the door is opened. The sink is integrated into the vanity area that also includes a large back-lit mirror. Each restroom also includes a Dyson faucet that both dispenses water and dries hands from the same fixture, eliminating water dripping onto the floor.
  • Workshop b: Workshop b is Brightline's new 12-acre railroad operations facility in West Palm Beach that serves to repair, maintain, clean and store Brightline's trains. There are four tracks within the facility, two of which are covered by an 800-foot long canopy. The easternmost inside track has a 500-foot long maintenance pit, located underneath the train tracks, where required inspections and service will be conducted daily. A 15,000 square foot building features offices for train personnel, a multipurpose training room and crew facilities; additional warehouse facilities will house spare parts and supplies, along with a custom fueling station that is being constructed. Once Brightline service begins, this facility will serve as the on-duty location for Brightline's train crews. A total of approximately 120 employees will work from this facility. Siemens will also be providing the full service and maintenance for the Brightline trainsets, supporting full-time employment for approximately 70 Siemens employees. These positions will be highly-skilled roles that require a deep knowledge base in order to keep the advanced locomotives and coaches running smoothly. Siemens is also planning to create training and workforce development programs locally to ensure these employees have the most advanced skill sets in the rail maintenance and service industry.
  • Additional Trainsets: Four additional trainsets are being built by nearly 1,000 employees at Siemens 60-acre rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento. Brightline expects delivery of these trainsets by spring in four hues: BrightPink, BrightRed, BrightOrange and BrightGreen. The first trainset is expected to begin testing on a 10-mile test track south of Workshop b next week. Construction of Brightline's train stations in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami is rushing toward completion. Brightline is scheduled to begin express inter-city service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach this summer.
(Brightline, Randy Kotuby - posted 1/11)

CSX CUSTOMERS ANNOUNCE $9.5 BILLION IN 2016 INVESTMENTS: CSX worked with its customers in 2016 to announce 114 new or expanded facilities to be located on the company’s rail network or connecting short lines. These new projects represent $9.5 billion in customer investments that are expected to generate approximately 8,100 new jobs in areas served by CSX. “The substantial capital investments announced by our customers last year included a new automotive plant and an ethane cracker facility to further leverage abundant domestic natural gas supplies,” said Derrick Smith, vice president-strategic business development. “We also saw strong activity that generated other energy projects as well as facility construction or expansion to support agriculture and intermodal markets. These projects rely heavily on the teamwork among CSX and the local, county and state economic development professionals who ensure these projects are completed successfully. We thank them for that collaboration.” Once these facilities are fully operational, they are projected to generate more than 136,000 new annual carloads for CSX. In addition to these projects that will be built over the next several years, more than 100 customer facilities on CSX began operations in 2016. Since 2000, CSX customers have invested more than $51 billion in rail-served facilities, creating more than 70,000 jobs at those plants, distribution centers and other enterprises across the company’s 23-state network. To support rail-oriented industrial development, CSX’s Select Site program pre-certifies properties that are suitable for manufacturing use. These sites meet rigorous criteria to increase development probability and reduce time and costs for CSX customers. Customers considering a new or expanded facility can learn more about CSX Select Sites at http://www.csxselectsite.com or at www.csxindustrialdevelopment.com. CSX provides service via an extensive network that connects to nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population and serves more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports. CSX can move a ton of freight an average of nearly 450 miles on a single gallon of fuel, and one train can carry the equivalent load of 280 trucks, reducing carbon emissions and wear and tear on public roads. (CSX - posted 1/11)

AAR REPORTS WEEKLY RAIL TRAFFIC FOR THE WEEK ENDING JANUARY 7, 2017: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending January 7, 2017. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 441,417 carloads and intermodal units, down 11.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending January 7 were 221,146 carloads, down 7.7 percent compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 220,271 containers and trailers, down 14.9 percent compared to 2016. Two of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016. They were metallic ores and metals, up 5.4 percent to 20,403 carloads; and grain, up 0.9 percent to 21,476 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 32.1 percent to 8,903 carloads; farm products excl. grain, and food, down 18.4 percent to 13,802 carloads; and forest products, down 15.3 percent to 9,034 carloads. For the first week of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 221,146 carloads, down 7.7 percent from the same point last year; and 220,271 intermodal units, down 14.9 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first week of 2017 was 441,417 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 11.4 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending January 7, 2017, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 302,333 carloads, down 6.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 279,604 intermodal units, down 14.6 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 581,937 carloads and intermodal units, down 10.6 percent. North American rail volume for the first week of 2017 was 581,937 carloads and intermodal units, down 10.6 percent compared with 2016. Canadian railroads reported 69,926 carloads for the week, up 1.9 percent, and 51,154 intermodal units, down 12.6 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first week of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 121,080 carloads, containers and trailers, down 4.8 percent. Mexican railroads reported 11,261 carloads for the week, down 26.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 8,179 intermodal units, down 16.5 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first week of 2017 was 19,440 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 22.6 percent from the same point last year. (AAR - posted 1/11)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ANNOUNCES FEDERAL FUNDING TO IMPROVE RAIL TRANSIT IN CHICAGO: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced approximately $1.07 billion in federal grant funds to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for the first phase of the Red and Purple Modernization Project. The project will reconstruct a section of the rail lines on the north side of Chicago in order to expand capacity on one of the busiest corridors of the CTA system. “For the past eight years, the Obama Administration has been committed to investing in transportation infrastructure projects that will help more Americans access jobs and new opportunities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “That’s why we are proud to support the Red and Purple Modernization Project, which will bring better transit service to thousands of Chicagoans who take the train to work, school and other destinations throughout the region.” The project involves construction of track improvements north of the Belmont Station to relieve a bottleneck at the junction of the Red, Purple and Brown lines; reconstruction and expansion of four stations to better accommodate current and projected demand; upgrades to the power, track and signal systems; and the purchase of 32 new railcars. “FTA is awarding highly competitive grant funds for this project because there is a clear need for transit improvements in this busy, crowded corridor,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “When completed, this project will make a big difference for CTA riders with increased service, less crowding aboard trains, and better waiting conditions at larger reconstructed stations.” FTA Acting Administrator Flowers made the announcement to commit the funds during a ceremony today with Senator Dick Durbin, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, representatives from CTA, and other local officials. DOT is contributing approximately $1.07 billion toward the $2.067 billion project. Federal funds include a core capacity construction grant agreement for $956.61 million through FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, and approximately $116 million through the Department’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program. The CIG funds will be provided over the course of nine years on an annual payment schedule, subject to Congressional approval during the annual appropriations process. The CIG Program is the nation’s primary grant program for funding major transit capital investments. (USDOT - posted 1/10)

FMCB AWARDS CONTRACT FOR MBTA WAREHOUSE OPERATIONS: The Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) today unanimously approved a five-year contract with Management Consulting, Inc., (Mancon) to manage the MBTA's warehouse operations with a projection of $64.2 million in total savings and avoided costs. The shift is estimated to allow a 34 percent increase in the MBTA’s inventory accuracy and improve mechanic productivity, service, and efficiency. A 24/7, 10-hour delivery guarantee of standard requests to maintenance facilities is projected to reduce the MBTA’s current response times by 58 hours, or 2.5 days, compared to the current eight-hours-a-day and weekday-only service. “The MBTA should and will continue to be in the business of moving our customers more efficiently, and modernized warehouse and logistics operations will both reduce costs and wait times for servicing our fleets,” said MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve. “This contract will allow us to increase the productivity of our maintenance operations and management of our inventory, improving response and repair times and the reliability of our vehicles for the riders who depend on the MBTA each day.” The total warehousing and logistics operating budget for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY ’17) is allocated at $8 million with the totally loaded budget (including warehousing costs, cost of mechanic labor, cost of retiree healthcare, and pension costs) exceeding $12 million annually. The estimated annual cost based on a five-year contract with Mancon (including the current scope of services, an expanded scope of services, and MBTA administration costs) is $7.4 million. The Mancon contract is anticipated to help ease a forecasted FY ’17 $80 million operating budget deficit and reduce wait times for disabled vehicles, which accounted for more than one in every five dropped trips in FY ’17 to date. The MBTA is projected to avoid $16 million in capital costs to improve its current warehouse facilities and recover $39 million by better managing and divesting of unneeded inventory. Mancon, which contracts with transit agencies in Ohio, Virginia, and London, was chosen for its extensive and superior performance in managing spare parts operations for public sector entities, including bus and train operations. Mancon proposed a dedicated Operations Manager and team working exclusively with the MBTA as well as the best Transition Plan, fixing the Central Warehouse’s issues sooner than other proposed vendors with modern techniques and industry-best practices. Mancon will use its own facilities, labor, vehicles, software, management systems, and equipment in managing the MBTA’s warehousing operations. The MBTA’s contract management team will also closely monitor the contract with performance-based, industry-standard penalties and bonuses with daily, weekly, and monthly reviews. Current MBTA warehouse employees will have the opportunity to apply for other jobs at the MBTA due to “bump back” rights. Today’s action is the second effort by the MBTA to contract out and streamline service reliability, following the awarding of a contract to Brinks Incorporated last year to privately manage cash-collecting operations. Analyses by warehousing and supply chain experts found major systemic operational and financial inefficiencies with the MBTA’s main warehouse facility, including warehouse inventory inaccuracies (~61 percent), a delivery time of 68+ hours from warehouse to base locations (compared to the industry standard of 12 hours), and poor productivity of parts collections at 90 percent below the industry standard, resulting in delays servicing disabled vehicles in need of repair. (MBTA - posted 1/09)

MBTA WILL NOT RENEW CONTRACT WITH KEOLIS COMMUTER SERVICES: Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack has confirmed that the MBTA does not plan to extend its contract with Keolis Commuter Services. Keolis currently has the contract to operate MBTA's commuter railroad system. The current commuter rail contract with Keolis will expire on June 30, 2022. MassDOT stated that it will work with Keolis to provide excellent service to its commuters for the duration of the contract. (posted 1/08)

GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO ANNOUNCES CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY IN UNDERGROUND SUBWAY STATIONS ONE YEAR AHEAD OF SCHEDULE" Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that cell phone coverage in underground subway stations will be available a full year ahead of schedule, with all four carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, present across underground stations as of Monday, January 9th. In addition, Wi-Fi has been installed in underground stations a full two years ahead of schedule. The MTA’s early delivery was in response to the Governor’s directive at the beginning of 2016 to accelerate the project. Today’s announcement represents another important step in the Governor’s ongoing campaign to modernize the MTA, and comes shortly after he presided over the on-time opening of the new Second Avenue Subway, which includes three new, state-of-the-art stations, as well as a new entrance at the existing Lexington and 63rd Street Station. “By bringing Wi-Fi and cell service underground ahead of schedule, we are reimagining our subway stations to meet the needs of the next generation,” Governor Cuomo said. “This will better connect New Yorkers who are on-the-go and build on our vision to reimagine the country’s busiest transportation network for the future. I thank all of our partners.” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said, "With the on-time opening of the Second Avenue Subway, we already had a lot to celebrate. And now, after working closely with the Governor’s office and our partners at all four major carriers, we’ve been able to fulfill Governor Cuomo’s mandate to dramatically increase connectivity at underground stations, delivering cell service from the major carriers a year early, while at the same time giving our customers Wi-Fi two years ahead of the deadline. Connectivity is a big deal for our customers, and we're thrilled to be delivering these vital services so far ahead of schedule.” Transit Wireless has a long term agreement with the MTA to design, build, operate and maintain cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in the underground subway stations. The company has invested well over $300 million into this infrastructure project and is sharing revenues derived through the network’s services with the MTA. The project was being built at no cost to taxpayers or subway riders.
  • MTA Partnership with Transit Wireless: Transit Wireless has a 27-year partnership agreement with the MTA to design, build, operate and maintain cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in the underground subway stations. The company is investing well over $300 million into this infrastructure project and is sharing revenues derived through the services with the MTA. The project is being built at no cost to taxpayers or subway customers. Within this project, MTA and Transit Wireless are working together on the deployment of specific communications technologies to enhance public safety, including a dedicated 4.9 GHz public safety broadband network and the highly visible Help Point Intercoms. These instant communication kiosks offer immediate access to E911 assistance and information with the touch of a button. To date, Transit Wireless has built the infrastructure for more than 3,000 Help Point Intercoms in 175 underground MTA stations. This network now provides thousands of MTA employees, contractors, and first responders connected capability as never before.
  • Underground Connectivity: Almost every underground station has already been completed and the final station, Clark Street on the 2, 3 line in Brooklyn, will go live on Monday, January 9. Four stations which are either under renovation (South Ferry) or about to start a renovation (Prospect Ave., 53rd Street and Bay Ridge) will come online immediately upon conclusion of their renovation. The construction of the wireless, Wi-Fi and public safety network began in 2011 with the connection of six underground stations in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, and was slated for completion in 2018. However, at the direction of Governor Cuomo, the process was accelerated, with Wi-Fi connectivity in underground stations scheduled for the end of 2016, almost two years ahead of the original schedule.
New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim said, "As of Monday our customers can text or call from our underground stations, staying in touch with their families, keeping up with work, and staying connected. That’s a major step forward for the MTA, and for our customers, and we thank the Governor and the major carriers for moving this project along at such a rapid pace.” William A. Bayne, Jr., CEO of Transit Wireless said, “To accomplish such a complex endeavor, it took almost unprecedented cooperation between Government agencies, public companies, and private companies to make it happen. Specifically, teams from the MTA/NYCT, the Governor's office, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and several NYC agencies joined forces to expedite these critical communication services nearly two years early. It has been an exciting challenge to build a modern technology infrastructure within a subway system that is over 100 years old, on behalf of the Transit Wireless organization, we are proud be part of such a unique accomplishment. Marissa Shorenstein, New York State president of AT&T said, "When the MTA and Governor Cuomo came to AT&T back in 2011 with the idea of providing free, 24/7 wireless service to subway riders, we were thrilled to immediately sign on - and we were one of the first two wireless carriers to do so. Since then, we have watched as demand for this service has grown, which is why it is so exciting to see it fully implemented in every underground station in New York City today. AT&T looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the MTA on using the latest technological tools to improve the lives of New Yorkers.” Mark Walker, Sprint Regional Vice President, Network said, “Providing wireless consumers with end-to-end network coverage while traveling through the city’s underground subway stations every day is part of Sprint’s commitment to our customers in New York. Provisioning this type of uninterrupted wireless service throughout 281 underground stations so quickly is both a huge accomplishment and investment that will significantly benefit the public.” Tom Ellefson, Senior Vice President of Engineering at T-Mobile said, “New Yorkers spend a lot of time on the subway and we’re delighted that T-Mobile customers are now connected with America's fastest LTE network in underground subway stations. We’re excited to complete this major project ahead of schedule to benefit our customers.” Leecia Eve, Verizon Wireless, Vice President, State Government Affairs said, “Providing wireless service in subway stations is just one example of our continuous efforts to provide our customers with New York City and the Tri-State Area’s #1 Network. We continue to lead the industry with network enhancements like LTE Advanced, which provides 50% faster peak speeds to our customers here in New York and in over 460 markets around the country, covering 90% of the population.” (MTA - posted 1/06)

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