Latest Rail News
Work on Caltrain's Grade Crossing Improvement Program, which will enhance safety at 25 grade crossings in San Mateo County, will continue the week of Dec. 14. Throughout the project area, at least one lane of the impacted street will remain open. Flagmen will direct traffic and pedestrians around the construction.

Thirty-nine freight rail companies and users can make upgrades and expand capacity with a $24.5-million state investment from PennDOT's Rail Freight Capital Budget/Transportation Assistance and Rail Freight Assistance Programs, Governor Edward G. Rendell said.

 The American Society of Civil Engineers named the five finalists for the 2010 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement. Established in 1960, the OCEA program recognizes projects for their contribution to the well-being of people and communities, their resourcefulness in planning and design challenges, and their innovative use of materials and techniques.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors approved light rail transit as the Locally Preferred Alternative for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor transportation project. Also, the Board, in approving the Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor Alternative Analysis Study, ordered further study in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report of an extension of Metro Green Line rail service to the proposed Torrance Regional Transit Center in the South Bay area of the region. The light rail alternative will be 8.5 miles from the Metro Green Line Aviation Station to the Expo Line, now under construction, at Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards, with a travel time estimated at 20 minutes. There will be seven new stations plus an option for one more. The final Environment Impact Study/Environment Impact Report could be ready by the end of 2010, with the line scheduled to open in 2018.

(This editorial appeared Dec. 11 in the Miami Herald)
Leadership won the day in Tallahassee with the Dec. 8 passage of the rail-funding bill. That leadership will keep Florida in the running for $2.5 billion in federal stimulus money for a high-speed rail project and create new jobs.

A new station on the Hiawatha light-rail line in he Twin Cities is scheduled to open Dec. 12. Located on 34th Avenue just south of I-494/Hwy 5, American Boulevard Station will serve as the transportation anchor for a future transit-oriented development initiative in the City of Bloomington's Airport South District.

Morris County, N.J., is set to seek bids, and plans to reactivate the long-dormant railroad tracks behind Horseshoe Lake in Succasunna are moving ahead full steam, local media report. In a statement issued on Dec. 1 by the county freeholders, Freeholder Director Gene Feyl said that the Federal Highway Administration has issued its authorization for the Chester Branch Rehabilitation project. The move, according to Feyl, will allow Morris County to seek bids to improve the four-mile active freight line, which passes through Roxbury.

Detroit may be one step closer to a light rail system after the U.S. House passed a provision in a bill Dec. 10 clearing a key funding hurdle for the city, the Detroit News reports. The provision means that $125 million private donors would pay for one part of the $430-million project could be counted toward the match the city has to come up with to get federal funding for a two-part rail system that would run along Woodward from downtown to Eight Mile, said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Detroit.

"I am confident that we will be able to break ground on this project by summer," she said.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing called the action "an important development for the future of mass transit" in the city. "This legislation would allow once and for all a true public-private partnership to be formed for light rail on Woodward Avenue," he said.

The provision, which Kilpatrick secured in a $1.1-trillion omnibus spending bill, was passed by the U.S. House by a vote 221-202.

The plan for Detroit's light rail system would consist of two separately funded sections; one financed by private sources that would run 3.4 miles from downtown Detroit to Grand Boulevard. The second would run from Grand Boulevard to Eight Mile, with 80 percent picked up by the federal government and the remaining 20 percent locally. The cost of the project is an estimated $430 million.

Although there have been no formal announcements about who the private investors might be, the most common names heard are Penske Corp. founder Roger Penske; Peter Karmanos Jr., founder of Compuware Corp; Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza; and Quicken Loans/Rock Financial founder Dan Gilbert.

The railroad crossing on South Pitt Street located between 14th and Wyatt streets in Greenville, N.C., will permanently to facilitate the construction of the new rail connecting track, The Greenville Daily Reflector reports. This section of Pitt Street will no longer be a through street. Area residents and services will be able to use Beatty and Evans streets to access Howell and 14th streets.

The Association of American Railroads today released the 2009 edition of Railroad Facts - the premier industry reference book. Railroad Facts contains more than 80 pages of facts and statistics for 2008, as well as historical data on critical aspects of railroad business, including: finance, operations, plant and equipment, employment and compensation, fuel consumption and costs. Railroad Facts contains a profile of each Class I railroad, Amtrak, the two major Canadian railroads and the two largest Mexican railways.

Copies of the publication are available for non-AAR members for $20.00 for one copy; $17.00 per copy for two to ten copies; and $15.00 per copy for orders over 10 copies. The cost for AAR members is $5.00 per copy. To order copies of the book, visit the AAR web site at and go to Resources - Publications - Online catalog.
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