Latest Rail News

HJ Skelton (Canada) Ltd. was award a contact from Stacey & Witbeck for the supply of all the special trackwork and associated switch machines for the Portland Streetcar Loop Extension. Encompassing a total of 3.3 miles and serving the Eastern half of Portland Central City, this extension will utilize a combination of Ri59/59R1 and the low profile R152/51R1, rail sections.

Beginning October 4, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will reach another milestone as it begins the pre-revenue testing phase before the opening of the six-mile extension of the Metro Gold Line to East Los Angeles, which is expected this fall.

Residents, commuters and businesses in Chicago's West Loop, which has undergone a transformation from primarily a manufacturing district 15 years ago to a vibrant neighborhood with condos, town homes, arty shops and hip bars, are looking forward to a new elevated train station, the Chicago Tribune reports. Allyson Holleb, owner of a handbag shop near the proposed Chicago Transit Authority station at Lake and Morgan Streets, hopes it will bring even more people to the neighborhood. Construction could be a nightmare, she said, but it would be worth it to get a station.

A $659-million railway-tunneling contract has been won by a joint venture comprised of Granite Construction Northeast, Traylor Bros. and Frontier-Kemper Constructors, according to International Construction.

The contract was awarded by New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Capital Construction company and involves building the Queens bored tunnels and structures for Long Island Rail Road's East Side Access project in New York.

An inaugural train set to usher in new intercity rail service in Virginia will stop Sept. 30 in Manassas, local media report. The train, billed as taking a whistle stop tour, will leave Washington's Union Station at 8:30 a.m. bound for Lynchburg. It is scheduled to arrive in Old Town Manassas at 11:40 a.m.

In just 96 hours recently, the BNSF engineering team completed several projects on the Lafayette Subdivision in Louisiana, according to the company newsletter. Considered an engineering "blitz," the team aimed to maximize track work and minimize disruption for community members, all while making sure safety was a top priority. The work window was granted from 6 a.m. Monday, Sept. 21, through 6 a.m. Friday, Sept. 25.

L.B. Foster Company of Pittsburgh has been awarded a contract to supply direct fixation fasteners and bonded insulated joints for the first phase of the new Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Orange Line from the city center of Dallas to Irving, Texas. L.B. Foster is coordinating product shipments to the Northwest Corridor Expansion project to meet the scheduling requirements of the general contractor joint venture, Kiewit/Stacy and Witbeck/Reyes/Parsons Corporation.

Iowa Governor Chet Culver joined Congressman Bruce Braley in Waterloo to reopen the Iowa Northern Railway bridge, a freight line that was damaged when the Cedar River flooded in 2008. The reconstruction project is funded through $1 million in Culver/Judge I-JOBS funds, and $2.1 million in federal railroad funds, secured by Congressman Braley. The bridge is completely repaired except for the laying of the tracks.

The OneRail Coalition last week sent a letter (see below) to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patty Murray urging increased support for railroad investment in H.R. 3288, the FY2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.

Doug Smith's article ("Metrolink system's toll: 244," 9/25) regarding the history of incidents and fatalities on the Metrolink rail network was long on damning rhetoric and data but short on reporting progress on a critical national matter - improving the safety of a rail system that is shared by freight trains, Amtrak and commuter trains. Railroad safety is a shared responsibility of regulatory agencies, railroad owners and operators and the local jurisdictions with streets that cross tracks.

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