Latest Rail News
Local leaders, as well as representatives of BNSF and UP dedicated the Central Railroad Corridor grade separation project, touted as one of the biggest engineering and time-saving projects in Wichita, Kan., history. The dedication took place on the elevated platform adjacent to the railroad tracks southwest of Union Station.

The $105 million central rail corridor project began in April 2005 and was designed to elevate train traffic above street traffic to reduce accidents. Elements include eight miles of new track, a centralized traffic control system, six new bridges at 1st, 2nd, Central, Murdock, 13th Street and Chisholm Creek Bridge, as well as a widened Douglas Avenue Bridge.

The project frees up routes for emergency vehicles and will save drivers an estimated 2 million hours a year of waiting at the tracks at the Central, Murdock and 13th Street crossings.
Saving energy and keeping the subway going in icy conditions have seen a stimulus injection of $2 million into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, The Epoch Times reports.

The cash injection is to go toward a wireless heating control system on the third rail that should result in a saving of $1.6 million per year for the MTA. The system is slated to be in operation in 2012.

To date, manual activation of approximately 1,000 subway heaters has been required each year in order to prevent icing of the rail exposed at ground level. These heaters remain turned on from fall through early spring regardless of whether icing is expected, thereby generating significant energy waste.

The allocated funds will be used to install approximately 350 wireless control points that will provide New York City Transit with the ability to monitor, power on and shut off third rail heaters in response to actual weather conditions. The heaters will be regulated through remote control at a central location, leading to an estimated saving of 23,000 megawatt hours of energy.

The grant was allocated through the federal Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption of public transportation systems. The project will cost $8.32 million, with the TIGGER funds used to cover part of the labor costs.
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes/IBT, Midwest System Federation membership finalized ratification of its Tentative Agreement with the Iowa Interstate Railroad by an overwhelming margin.

The five-year contract provides for annual wage increases and a number of improvements in work rules. The agreement also requires that Iowa Interstate Railroad enroll its BMWED employees in GA - 2300 and GA - 4600, the National Health and Welfare Plan.

"It's been a struggle to get to this point.Our members recognized the value in this contract and illustrated that with their vote," said Midwest System Federation General Chairman Mark Wimmer. "The patience and support of our members at Iowa Interstate has finally paid off."

The Midwest System Federation represents approximately 700 members of the BMWED who build, construct, inspect and maintain railroad tracks, bridges, buildings and equipment.
The Federal Transit Administration approved Honolulu's request for the city to begin preliminary engineering on a proposed $5.3 billion rail transit project. The 20-mile route would run from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center.

During the preliminary engineering phase, the city will create a more precise construction schedule and updated financial plan. The estimated cost of the project at $5.29 billion, about $117 million more than the city administration's most recent cost estimate of $5.17 billion derived in the past year.

Honolulu's Mayor Hannermann remains hopeful the city can break ground on the project in December. He said the city is awaiting final state approval of an environmental impact statement and then a federal record of decision before ground can be broken.

Trains will operate more efficiently as a result of more than $26 million in track improvements made by Union Pacific to its line between Schuyler, Neb., and Duncan, Neb. When the project is complete, crews will have removed and replaced more than 77,000 concrete ties and 30 miles of rail, spread more than 100,000 tons of rock ballast and replaced the road surfaces at 17 crossings. The project began October 2 and is scheduled to be completed by mid November.

MTA NYC Transit said that work on the Fulton Street Transit Center has entered the next phase with the start of construction work on the AC mezzanine at Broadway-Nassau and the new ADA accessible station entrance at William and Fulton Streets.

Local, state and Vermont Railway officials are exploring the concept of installing a concrete tunnel beneath the railroad bridges at Merchants Row and Main Street in downtown Middlebury, according to the Addison Independent. This new tunnel, officials believe, could provide a perfect fix for the two ailing bridges while allowing enough vertical clearance to accommodate double-stack freight cars that railway officials need to run from Whitehall, N.Y., to Burlington.

Plans for the long-awaited Circle Line, which would link CTA and Metra rail lines in Chicago's growing central area, are a step closer to being realized after the Chicago Transit Authority completed its analysis of options for the project, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Building on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's goals of providing a more customer-friendly experience for the millions of people and businesses who use its transportation facilities, the agency launched a new Website that marries technology and transparency to provide customers with more custom-service tools and information than ever before.

Work has begun to clear up the large logjam on the San Antonio River near the Victoria-Refugio County, Texas, line, the Victoria Advocate reports. Union Pacific is working with the landowner and contractors to do the initial clean up, said Raquel Espinoza, director of media relations for the Southern region of Union Pacific.

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