Latest Rail News

Major U.S. freight railroads and their advocates have argued for years that government investment is needed in the country's rail system to take freight off congested highways and keep the economy moving, Reuters reports. But supporters say rail investments have been largely ignored by Congress, suggesting political support is lacking, despite warnings action must be taken sooner rather than later.


Sullivan City, Texas, Mayor Rosendo Benavides traces his finger along a line on the map leading from Monterrey to South Texas, The Monitor of McAllen, Texas, reports Abruptly, right before it crosses the Rio Grande near his small town of 4,000, it jags straight east - running near the river before heading into the United States near Brownsville. That line - a Kansas City Southern railroad track that stops just across the river from Sullivan City - offers the best chance his city has to secure an international bridge, he said.


Allen Jones has found out that no matter how sophisticated the world is, working for the railroad still requires the use of a sledgehammer and a switch broom, the Morning Sun of Blue Springs, Mo., reports. These two hand tools are still the most frequently used implements when doing track work. The sledgehammer, of course, is for driving steel, pushing rails wider and setting flags. The switch broom has a hoe-like end for removing rocks from between the rails at railroad switches. The broom end of this tool is used to sweep dirt, leaves and snow from between the rails.


An announcement will be made August 13 as to whether a deal has been inked between Huron Central Rail and its stakeholders to keep the rail line operational for at least another year, the Sault Star reports. Meetings have been taking place throughout the week with those stakeholders, including large users Essar Steel Algoma and Domtar, the provincial and federal governments, municipalities, and the rail line.


Joe Fratesi, the city's CAO, who chairs a committee to broker a deal between Huron Central Railway and the interested parties, said he's "encouraged" by the continuing meetings.


"This all needs to be pulled together by the end of the day Thursday," Fratesi said. "Huron Central Rail has made it clear that there will be no extension of the deadline that has been set and unless a deal is reached that it's comfortable with and concludes before the 15th, all things set in motion to stop the line will continue."


Mayor John Rowswell said the federal government has sweetened the pot with an offer to consider "at great speed," a $1.5-million application to FedNor to contributed to a short-term fix for the Sault-to-Sudbury line.


MPP David Orazietti said earlier this week the province would be "supportive of considering short-term financing," for the ailing railway to the tune of "several million" dollars.


"Now, it's a matter of city council saving the day," said Rowswell.


The mayor said council will be asked tonight to temporarily "backstop," a total of $3 million in pending federal and provincial funds, so that work on the railroad can begin "now, this summer, this fall."


Council has called a special meeting for 4:30 p. m.


"There are implications for many communities if the railway shuts down, but (there are) more immediate and larger ones for Sault Ste. Marie and its industries," Fratesi said.


Rowswell said saving the rail line is crucial to the city's future, including the its ambition to turn itself into a multi-modal transportation hub.

The Chicago Transit Authority Board voted to adopt the locally preferred alternatives proposed for the Red, Orange and Yellow Line extension projects. Following the steps required by the Federal Transit Administration in order to apply for funding, the CTA studied all of the potential options available for each of the projects, and has narrowed it down to one viable option for each proposed extension.


Norfolk Southern will construct a new intermodal terminal in Greencastle, Pa., to serve the Mid-Atlantic region, as part of the railroad's multi-state Crescent Corridor initiative to establish a high-speed intermodal freight rail route between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast. The $95-million facility, at which freight moving in containers and trailers will be transferred between train and truck, will occupy a 200-acre site adjacent to the planned Antrim Commons Business Park and is expected to open in late 2011.


Squabbling in Congress over how to pay for transportation could mean no federal cash in the near future to fix Chicago's freight train bottleneck, a top official warned, the Daily Herald reports. At a forum on freight rail, representatives from the U.S. and Canadian governments and the business community emphasized that trains are cheaper and more fuel-efficient than trucks to move goods. Transport Canada official Kristine Burr said the public and private sectors were investing $2 billion in freight rail projects there.


Canadian National Railway is inching closer to transporting jet fuel from Flat Rock, Mich., to Toronto, according to local newspapers.

 On June 22, the city's Planning Commission approved the company's plan to open a jet fuel transfer station at its rail yard on the north side of Vreeland Road, just east of Peters Road.

 Company officials are working on obtaining permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said Patrick Waldron, Canadian National spokesman.

Virginia will apply for $72 million in federal stimulus money this month to build a third set of rails between Prince William and Stafford counties, Inside reports. The state is expected to file for the money Aug. 24, and if approved, it will go to fund a third set of train tracks between Powell's Creek in Dumfries and the Widewater area of Stafford County.


Funding for two area bridge projects is now in place, according to state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, local newspapers report. Work is expected to begin shortly on both the Pony Farm Road Bridge in Oneonta, N.Y., and the Brooker Hollow Road Bridge in East Worcester, N.Y., Seward said in a media release. The projects each have an estimated cost of about $600,000.


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