Latest Rail News

Mayor Paul Winfield returned to Vicksburg, Miss., from a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., where he visited local delegates in a continued effort to wrest from federal sources nearly $4 million to get the stalled Washington Street bridge replacement under way, according to the Vicksburg Post.

The city of Lincoln, Neb., is moving closer to closing J Street railroad crossings in the South Salt Creek Neighborhood at Second and Third streets, the Lincoln Journal Star reports. Closing the crossings would please Burlington Northern Santa Fe, with which the city is negotiating to buy a railyard near the Haymarket for a new arena, if voters approve building one in the spring.

Work on Caltrain's Grade Crossing Improvement Program, which will enhance safety at 25 grade crossings in San Mateo County, continues in Atherton and Menlo Park. Work will take place Dec. 5 and Dec. 7 - 10 between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. at Fair Oaks Lane and Watkins Avenue in Atherton and Ravenswood and Oak Grove avenues in Menlo Park. Work also will be done from 10:00 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 to 1:00 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Broadway crossing in Burlingame.

The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Company (CRANDIC) will receive $6.965 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation for repair of the CRANDIC railroad bridge in Cedar Rapids.

The bridge sustained substantial damage during flooding of the Cedar River in 2008, resulting in the disruption of freight shipments in the area.

CRANDIC's infrastructure sustained $11 million in damage from the spring floods. Of that, the CRANDIC bridge suffered $9 million in damages. The grant is designed to cover 80 percent of the total cost of the project. The award will rebuild a portion of the bridge, repair or replace damaged signals and repair the main line infrastructure.

Funding comes from the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act 2009 for the Railroad Rehabilitation and Repair competitive grant program. The award requires a $1.741 million match by the Iowa DOT.


Utah Transit Authority's TRAX light rail system will celebrate 10 years since its launch on Dec. 4, 1999.

The light rail system began with a single 15-mile north-south line connecting Sandy City to downtown Salt Lake City with more than 600,000 riders during its first month of operation. To date, TRAX has provided more than 110 million rides and now averages between 40,000 and 50,000 riders every weekday.

A second light rail line from downtown Salt Lake City to the University of Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium opened in December 2001, just prior to the 2002 Winter Olympics. During the two weeks of the Olympics, UTA carried more than four million Olympic riders. Additional light rail extensions opened to the University of Utah Medical Center in 2003 and Salt Lake Central station in 2008. UTA also introduced its first commuter rail line, FrontRunner, in 2008, which runs 44 miles from Salt Lake City north to Pleasant View.

As part of the FrontLines 2015 program, UTA will expand its passenger rail network more than 70 miles by 2015. Three new TRAX lines are currently under construction-to the Salt Lake International Airport, South Jordan,and West Valley City-with a fourth project to extend the north-south TRAX line further south into Draper, currently in the environmental study phase. UTA is also extending FrontRunner commuter rail 45 miles south from Salt Lake City to Provo.

In other milestone news, BNSF Powerder River Division employees celebrated the Orin Line's 30-year anniversary in honor of the first unit-coal train that traveled the 116-mile rail line across the Wyoming prairie on Nov. 6, 1979.

"For the last 30 years, we've seen incredible growth on the Orin Line," said Tom Albanese, general manager, Powder River Division. "Moving 40 trains per day in 1979 was considered a 'busy day.' Today, it's normal to handle more than 100 trains during a 24-hour period. Employees who were there on Day One were at the celebration, sharing stories about the many changes they have seen over the years and the impact the line will have for years to come."

The Maryland Transit Administration began rehabilitation of 17-1/2 miles of the state-owned freight rail line from Massey to Worton in Kent County. The $1.5 million project, awarded to Bullock Construction of Easton, began in mid-September and is scheduled for completion in early May 2010. As of the end of November, 40 percent of the work is complete.

The project includes the replacing rail, more than 6,000 ties and installing new ballast. According to MTA, the improvements will improve safety along the line and will reduce the level of maintenance needed.

The line is leased by the State of Maryland to the Maryland & Delaware Railroad, which carries lumber, soy meal, corn, wheat and barley and dry fertilizer supporting the poultry industry on the Eastern Shore.

The Shaw Group Inc. has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide project management oversight services to the Federal Transit Administration for the fifth consecutive time. Under the five-year, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract, Shaw will be issued task orders to evaluate and oversee the execution of selected federal transit projects across the country.

Shaw has managed many infrastructure projects for the FTA, including the Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, Pa., and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, Texas. With its current contract, Shaw's scope of services will include continuous review and evaluation of FTA processes for transit project grantees to ensure compliance with statutory, administrative and regulatory requirements, as well as monitoring of projects to ensure they are progressing on time, within budget and in accord with approved grantee plans and specifications.

The strike by locomotive engineers at CN will end immediately as a result of an agreement to resolve the parties' contractual disagreements through further negotiations and, if necessary, binding arbitration. The union began its strike Nov. 28 and the agreement came after Ottawa introduced "back-to-work" legislation on Monday to end the strike.

CN and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference have agreed to continue negotiations to resolve all issues related to wages, benefits and work rules. If there is no agreement, the parties' wages and benefits offers will be subject to final, binding arbitration.

The key issue leading up to the strike was CN's decision to increase engineers' wages by 1.5 percent and raise its monthly mileage cap to 4,300 miles from 3,800 miles. TCRC-represented conductors currently have a 4,300-mile monthly cap and TCRC-represented engineers have a 3,800-mile monthly cap. Under the new rule, both groups working in a cab would be held to one consistent standard.

As part of this process, CN will roll back the monthly mileage cap for locomotive engineers to the previous 3,800 miles from the 4,300-mile cap initiated Nov. 28, and withdraw its plan to apply a 1.5 per cent wage increase to TCRC members. The union's current contract expired on Dec. 31, 2008.

The parties can also agree to submit work-rule issues to binding arbitration but only if they mutually agree on the ones that should be subject to arbitration. If there is no agreement, the issues in dispute will not be subject to arbitration.

E. Hunter Harrison, president and chief executive officer, said, "CN is pleased that an agreement has been reached to end the strike by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference immediately and to move forward with a process that gives the parties flexibility to negotiate issues further, but also ensures finality through binding arbitration of issues that remain in dispute. We have always sought, since starting negotiations 14 months ago, to achieve a settlement with the TCRC through negotiations or binding arbitration."

If the American Public Transportation Association and House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar are correct, the answer to the nation's jobless rate and economic woes is funding for transit. APTA wants $15 billion for public transportation, while Oberstar wants $69 billion for highway and transit projects.

APTA called on Congress to invest at least $15 billion in public transportation citing it's recently completed survey of public transit systems nationwide, which identified more than $15 billion in public transportation capital projects that can be started in 90 days. It is estimated that this investment in public transportation would support and create more than 450,000 jobs. The vast majority of public transit systems also identified additional needs beyond $15 billion for federal assistance to avoid employee layoffs and service cuts.

According to APTA, research has shown that new jobs in public transportation provide jobs to American workers in industries, which have been hit hardest by the economic downturn, particularly construction and manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Mr. Oberstar (D., Minn.) called for a second stimulus bill to provide at least $69 billion for highway and transit projects. About $48 billion was secured for highway, transit and rail projects in this year's economic stimulus package. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Oberstar said stimulus spending on transportation has directly sustained 21,000 jobs and supported an additional 130,000 indirectly.


The Central Alabama Intermodal Container Transfer Facility in Bessemer, Ala., has been operating since September, but had its official opening on Dec. 1. The $6 million hub operates on 25 acres, with an option to develop 25 additional acres, has 5,000 feet of working track, parking for 1,000 stacked 40-foot containers and 307 40-foot containers on truck chassis. The facility can move more up to 40,000 containers annually.

According to CSXT, initial demand should be about 10,000 to 15,000 containers per year, but the railroad is pursuing additional business.

Start Prev 951 952 953 954 955 956 957 958 959 960 Next End
Page 955 of 1025