Vol. 7 No. 44
Copyright © 2006
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Political leaders at all levels of government
In this edition...
Photo: NCICT Gov. Jodi Rell announces Connecticut: Green and Growing, at Windsor , CT train station this past week to highlight her new green growth initiative. Executive Order 15 will require state departments to work together to reduce the growth of sprawl. See DF October 16.
Connecticut Governor issues Executive Order
championing responsible growth
WINDSOR, CT OCT 6 In a sweeping plan aimed at halting sprawl in Connecticut, Governor M. Jodi Rell today issued an Executive Order creating an Office of Responsible Growth to coordinate state initiatives to control rampant, ill-conceived development that threatens Connecticuts special character.
The new office, part of the state budget and policy department, will review state funding that has an impact on the development of Connecticut and promote a future that is well-planned, economically strong and environmentally sound.
Today, we are charting a new course for Connecticut, Governor Rell said. Think about the times we have shaken our heads in disbelief at the sight of another beautiful green field or hillside torn apart while nearby land well-suited for development goes unused. My order aims to prevent sprawling development patterns from forever changing the character of our communities.
If left unchecked, sprawl will continue to fragment the landscape, impair our ability to remain economically competitive, consume precious natural resources, waste energy, and pollute our air and water. This is an issue that has been talked about by state and local officials for years. It is time we tackled the issue head on. It is time to lead our state in a more responsible direction.
The governor continued with some alarming statistics obtained from a land use analysis by the University of Connecticut. Here are a few:
In 17 years between 1985 and 2002:
These statistics should be alarming to every Connecticut resident, Governor Rell said. The time has come to act with vision today so we can preserve our state for tomorrow. The time has come to plan intelligently for the continued growth of Connecticut so that we have the jobs, housing and amenities we need while protecting the landscapes, the forests, and the rivers that make this state unique.
The Office of Responsible Growth will include commissioners and executive directors of state agencies that have an impact on land use decisions, such as - Economic and Community Development, Environmental Protection, Transportation, Agriculture and Public Health agencies will serve on the Council, as will officials from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and the Connecticut Development Authority.
Only by bringing everyone to the same table can we create lasting, positive change, Governor Rell said. I want to see real, comprehensive planning. We have the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for future generations. We need to do this right.
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Photo: Amtrak Ink; Bill TarvinFlooding on the Mohawk Subdivision of CSX track in Upstate New York in July resulted in the temporary suspension of service between Albany and Niagara Falls. The flooding was the worst in memory and also resulted in temporarily closing the New York Thruway.
July results beat Amtrak budget
Despite some major operational challenges in July, Amtrak closed the month beating its ridership and ticket revenue budget targets with 2.2 million passengers and $127 million.While East Coast flooding and poor long-distance train ontime performance affected service, strong ridership on a number of short-distance services helped sustain positive results.
Northeast Corridor ridership was in line with the budget, but ticket revenue fell slightly below (1 percent) in July. Despite increased ridership on Acela Express (better than forecast by 3 percent), ticket revenues didnt do as well (off by 9 percent). This may have been in part a reaction to higher fares and the timing of this years Fourth of July holiday, which resulted in many business travelers taking four-day weekends with the holiday falling on a Tuesday.
Regional service ridership was 1 percent below the budget, but ticket revenue surpassed the target by 6 percent.
Like previous months, sustained high gas prices helped drive passengers to rail travel in July. Short-distance train ridership and ticket revenue were both favorable to forecast by 6 percent, reflecting gains across the system. In the Pacific Northwest,Amtrak Cascades service gained 7 percent more riders and 11 percent more revenue than expected. In the Midwest, the Wolverine and Illini services earned double-digit gains against the budget.
However, flooding in upstate New York, freight railroad track work and congestion across the system resulted in some losses. For example, that flooding and the ongoing Union Pacific track work on the Kansas City/St. Louis corridor cost the railroad an estimated $500,000 in lost ticket revenue.
Poor on-time performance over many freight railroads affected a number of long-distance trains in the height of the summer travel season. The Silver Star, Sunset Limited, Lake Shore Limited, Coast Starlight and California Zephyr, each of which suffered extremely low OTP, contributed to long-distance train results falling short of the budget for both ridership and ticket revenues. Overall, long-distance ridership and revenue were unfavorable by 4 percent and 1 percent, respectively. On the whole, longdistance on-time performance was 23 percent in July; 4 percentage points worse than last July.
Year to date, with the help of the July results, Amtrak ridership was 3 percent ahead of the budget with more than 20 million trips recorded.With $1.1 billion collected, Amtrak was 1.5 percent ahead of its ticket revenue budget.
[ NCI plans a series of stories focusing on transit-oriented development, livable pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly cities in states throughout America. Ed. ]
Transit-oriented development and livable communities
NYC transportation commissioner Iris Weinshall
At a transportation conference last week convened by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and held at Columbia University, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly environments for the city got a big boost from New York Citys Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall. The commissioner proposed an array of measures that would soften impacts of heavy traffic on city streets and begin to reclaim the sheer urban acreage given over to automobiles.
Here are some of Weinshalls reform steps:
Stringer invoked the experience of London with congestion pricing and of Copenhagen in turning space for cars into space for bicycling, and said that these experiences had to be part of the discussion here. He said the debate had to be citywide, mentioning the impact of mega-development at already-clogged Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn, the dangers of Queens Boulevard and creeping buses in the Bronx.
Keynote speaker of the conference was Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogota. He artfully connected Bogotas experiences with bus rapid transit and cycling and pedestrian infrastructure with the potentials in New York, while acknowledging the cities differences. Today, we arent just talking about transportation. What we are really talking about is: What kind of city do we want? There has to be a collective decision about how do we want to organize our lives. NYC, a long time ago, explicity or implicitly decided that much of the citys space would be dedicated to cars. This was a decision. Its not some sort of natural law. Tomorrow we can change this. This is something that we have to decide. Transportation is not a technical matter. It is a political matter, said Peñalosa
Off the main line...
During an emergency responder drill in Washington, a District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services crew plans its strategy to rescue victims aboard a train while others on the platform are evaluated before being sent to triage. The full scale training exercise held in August at Washington Union Station provided Amtrak and a wide range of federal and local emergency response agencies the opportunity to test established policies, procedures, equipment and the effectiveness of communications as a coordinated multi-agency response effort.
This was one of the most well orchestrated events I have ever seen, said Emergency Preparedness Officer Larry Beard. A lot of people put a great deal of work into this drill and now the real work begins evaluating the results and determining what we should change.
Evaluators will compile their comments on the exercise and provide recommendations for improvements to response procedures and for future training endeavors.
- Source & Photo: Amtrak Ink
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First new train station in 100
years now taking shape
ORANGEVILLE, ONTARIO --A new Canadian Pacific train station in Orangeville to replace one destroyed by fire will have the unique architectural features of its predecessor of 100 years ago - a turret and pointed roof.
When passenger service was abandoned in the 1970s, the old station was sold and moved to downtown Orangeville, where it is now the Train Station restaurant. The new station will provide a home for the Credit Valley Explorer tour train and its operator, Cando Contracting Ltd. As such, it will replace the sole remaining structure on the once-busy Orangeville railway yards, which was destroyed by fire last March.
Two Photos: Orangeville CitizenAbove: The original station. At right, the new turret under construction
Gary Kocialek, then general manager of the Orangeville Railway Development Corporation, said the work would be part of plans to revitalize the rail yard area, which once included freight sheds, a roundhouse and other rail-related structures.
The new station will include a waiting room, rest rooms and a ticketing office, the latter being located in the turret.
The original station was built in the heyday of railroads when both passenger and freight shared the lines allowing CPR to run passenger service on its own rails from Toronto to Western Canada. A spur line allowed it later to divert its steamship service to Thunder Bay from Owen Sound to Port McNichol. That ended an era when steamboat express trains ran regularly.
CPR ended freight service north of Orangeville in 1998 and announced plans to tear up the remaining tracks between Orangeville and Streetsville, but the Town of Orangeville opted to purchase the remaining line in 2000.
Initially used only for the occasional freight train, the line now also hosts a spectacularly successful tour train in the three-coach Credit Valley Explorer. Just how successful the venture has been can be shown by the fact this years planned fall colour excursions were all sold out.
For information on fall train tours and a possible Christmas train, see the website www.creditvalleyexplorer.com.
Selected Rail Stocks...
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NCI covers InnoTrans 2006
Berlins InnoTrans 2006 lights Europes rail future;
All Photos: David BealeAt the beginning of the forum on Europe Asia rail corridors. The main speakers were Hartmut Mehdorn, chairman and CEO of Deutsche Bahn, the German transport minister, the Polish minister of transportation, and the president of Russian State Railways (RZD).
BERLIN--- InnoTrans is a railroad and rail transit industry fair that takes place once every two years in Berlin, Germany. It is the largest industry convention and trade fair of its kind in Europe. This was your correspondents second visit to InnoTrans.
This years exhibitors covered the entire range of railroad and transit equipment on the vibrant European scene, including locomotive manufacturers Vossloh, EMD, Bombardier, Siemens, Alstom, and Voith; rolling stock builders Bombardier (international), Siemens (Germany/Austria), Alstom (France, Germany, U.K.), Stadler (Switzerland/Germany/Poland), Dessau (Germany), Skoda (Czech Republic), Talgo (Spain), Kawasaki (Japan), PESA (Poland); Greenbriar (international), Rotem (Korea) and several others; signaling and communication makers GE, Siemens, General Signal, Motorola, Alcatel, Smith Industries, Nortel, EADS, and more; and operating railroads Dutche Bahn Germany; PKP Poland RZD Russia; ÖBB Austria; SBB Switzerland; Arriva Denmark, U.K; CD- Czech Republic; SNCF France; DSB Denmark; and many others.
A view of an EMU train set built by Polish train builder PESA. This OEM has followed Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier and Stadler in use of articulated train sets with wheel trucks shared between cars which permits low floor height for easier boarding by handicapped persons at stations without high-level platforms.
This is a EMU train set from Swiss manufacturer Stadler. Stadler offers this model of multiple unit train set in various sizes: 2 car up to 6 car lengths. It is also available with diesel engine power.
Also represented were rail service companies RSM Group, NedTrain, Arriva, Angel Trains, many others; diesel engine manufacturers MTU, Cummins, MAN, Caterpillar, EMD, GE, ABC; infrastructure suppliers of track components, rail ties, fasteners, structures, train station structures and facilities, ticket machines, video surveillance, and so on; component suppliers of cables, controls, door systems, seating systems, HVAC systems, lighting, fuel, exhaust, interiors, wheels, brakes, traction motors, transmissions, suspensions, cooling, blowers, pantographs, information displays; and electrical distribution system makers of insulators, circuit breakers, transformers, power converters, controls, switches.
Finally, included also were maintenance vehicles, equipment and tools makers of train repair/overhaul, right-of-way, rail replacement, grinding, measurement, and refurbishment equipment; Personnel training companies (simulators, software, consultants); and publishers of reference books, manuals, and industry news magazines.
In short, InnoTrans 2006 was a huge display of the robustness and breadth of the European rail industry, a sharp contrast to the United States where rail and transit investment, until recently, has been an afterthought to highway congestion.
A view of one of the prototype S103 high- speed EMU trains for Spain. This is a Siemens product and is very closely based on the ICE-3 EMU train set already in operation in Germany. It is planned to go into operation in Spain in 2008 at regular in-service speeds of 330 km/h (205 mph). Unlike the classic rail network in Spain, nearly all the newly built high-speed trains and corridors in Spain are standard track gage (1435 mm). The classic rail lines in Spain are broad gage.
An Alstom Prima diesel locomotive. The electric versions of the Prima look nearly identical to this diesel-electric model. It has the same MTU 16V-4000 diesel engine as the diesel version of the Bombardier TRAXX locomotive and the Siemens Euro Runner locomotive.
An Alstom CITADIS electric / diesel dual mode light rail vehicle. It is already operation in west central Germany. It can operate either from roof mounted diesel engines or from 700 VDC overhead power common to most urban and suburban light rail lines.
An interior view of a CITADIS coach
European passenger rail companies are aggressively obtaining new Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) for local and regional passenger rail services. In some cases DMUs have been introduced to premium intercity services. In most cases around Europe new DMU vehicles are replacing locomotive hauled coaches or older generation DMUs (1960s and 70s vintage), but in some instances they are being introduced on entirely new routes or on routes where passenger trains were withdrawn from service two or more decades ago.
Rail companies in Great Britain are perhaps the most active users of DMUs and have gathered a huge amount of operational experience and data in the past decade. There are two reasons for this:
After this major turnover in British passenger rail vehicles within about a six-year period of time, the U.K. now enjoys one of the youngest passenger train fleets in Europe, and much of it consists of intercity and regional DMUs from Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier.
DMUs share a number of common features:
An electric multi-system TRAXX locomotive from Bombardier. TRAXX is the trade name Bombardier has given to a common series of electric and diesel locomotives which it is marketing. They share a common body, chassis, wheel trucks, cab layout and controls and other components. The other big locomotive OEMs Siemens and Alstom have developed similar common platforms for their electric and diesel locomotives. This particular locomotive can operate from 1500 VDC, 3000 VDC and 15 kV AC (16.7 Hz) electric power and has cab signaling and train control equipment for Germany, Holland, Belgium and Austria. The TRAXX electric locomotive, similar to electric locomotives from Siemens and Alstom as well as EMU train sets from many suppliers, comes standard with regenerative braking. Regenerative braking means that the locomotive generates electric power during deceleration or braking, for example when descending down a grade in a hilly area, and returns the electric power back into the power grid via the overhead catenary. Thanks to significant advances in electric power switching electronics and the use of AC asynchronous traction motors, this feature works both in countries with AC railroad electrification such as Germany, Denmark and Switzerland and countries with DC railroad electrification such as Italy, Poland or Belgium. The energy savings from this feature are quite significant.
The main differences between the various DMU models shown at InnoTrans is interior configuration, number of cars per train set, and arrangement of the propulsion systems. The majority of the newer DMUs on the market have under-floor diesel engines from Cummins, MAN or MTU. There are typically two engines per train set. Exceptions are several models from Stadler which have just one engine. The engines are typically coupled to the driving wheels via a six speed automatic transmission, drive shafts and differential gears similar to larger highway trucks and busses. The exception again is Stadler, which in several of its DMU models the engine drives a traction generator, which in turn drives axle-mounted traction motors.
Here is the cab of the TRAXX this is the cab of the electric version. This is the so-called European Drivers Desk which is becoming a standardized layout for the Bombardier (and other OEMs) locomotives and trains. The idea here is to keep things as simple and standard as possible for the train driver.
The only dual mode rail vehicle which was on display at InnoTrans was an Alstom Regío CITADIS light rail vehicle for urban/suburban use in Germany, similar to many urban light rail lines in the United States such as Denver, Boston Green Line, and Dallas DART. This particular model is in service in west central Germany near Kassel. It normally operates from 700 VDC overhead electric power as do most urban light rail vehicles and trams in Germany. But on a couple of sections of rail right-of-way where there in no overheard catenary, it gets power from a roof-mounted diesel powered generator, which provides electric power to the traction motors and to the lighting and HVAC systems inside the vehicle during operation on non-electrified track.
The dual electric / diesel CITADIS rail vehicle has a maximum service speed of 100 km/h (63 mph) regardless of whether operating on electrified rail lines or from diesel power on non-electrified rail lines. The Alstom representative started the engine for me so that I could hear how loud it was. Although from inside the vehicle with the doors closed there was no mistaking that the engine was running, it was not intrusive. The engine noise was far less than what I can hear in several DMUs currently in operation around Hannover. Outside the engine had a similar noise level as a modern city bus. As the engine is an 8-cylinder MAN diesel engine also used in large city buses and some marine applications, that is to be expected.
A close-up of the traction motor on one axle of the multi-system TRAXX locomotive.
In the United States there are two rail systems using the new generation of DMUs:
In both cases the DMUs are more or less off the shelf designs already in use in Europe. NJ Transit operates the Stadler DMUs on rail lines where no freight trains operate at all. The rail line in Oceanside, CA is used by the Siemens DMUs for a fixed time over normal working and business hours and the rest of the night and early morning hours the line is exclusively used by freight trains, the DMUs are not permitted on the right of way.
(Next week: Leasing/Financing/Maintenance of rolling stock, and technical trends, at InnoTrans 2006 and more sample images of the trains on display.)
Stamford Advocate on Amtraks new president
In an editorial entitled, Theres a new hand on Amtrak throttle and were hopeful the Stamford Advocate expresses guarded optimism about what Amtraks new president might be able to accomplish for better rail service in America. Distressed by the firing of David Gunn who had made great strides in improving Amtrak despite administration opposition, the editors are encouraged by Alexander Kumments professional experience in railroading and his commitment to run the long-distance trains more efficiently and to strengthening the infrastructure of the Northeast Corridor.
A good omen for rail transportation Alexander Kummant comes to the job with a railroading background. Lately he has been executive vice president and marketing of Komatsu America Corp., a leading manufacturer of heavy construction equipment. Before that, however, he was regional vice president of the Union Pacific Railroad.
The newspapers concern mainly is the administrations negativism toward the importance of a world-class national rail service for this country. [The problems of the Northeast Corridor] are the result of an administration that refuses to see the value in mass transit, especially as exemplified by long distance rail travel. While a Senate bill has increased the roads federal subsidy, in the past President Bush has given it short shrift, even proposing at one point giving it no funds at all.
They understand how crucial it is to bring our transportation system into balance. While they acknowledge the great accomplishment of the national interstate system started under Eisenhower, they clearly get the picture of how devastating over-investment in one mode was to the rail system.
There is no more efficient means for moving large masses of people or tons of cargo than by rail. While we applaud the national highway program begun under President Eisenhower, it was done at the expense of an aging rail system.
Weve got to repair that.
[ In reference to How misleading statements propagate across the news media spectrum DF October 2, 2006 ]
I too am frustrated by the money-losing-Amtrak phraseology that turns up in even ostensibly positive passenger rail stories.
It takes a bit of hunting, but if one combs through the US DOT website, a table of annual domestic passenger figures can be found that, when compared to Amtraks figures, reveals that Amtrak is the seventh-largest intercity passenger carrier in the country. Not bad for a money-losing subsidy-sucking failure.
The 43 powercar is a 16V not a 20V!
The erroneous text in the January 9 D:F newsletter, which stated that the new engine retrofitted to the British class 43 HST locomotive was a 20 cylinder engine, was reproduced from a typo in an original press release from the manufacturer. These locomotives are in-fact getting a V-16 version of the MTU 4000 series diesel engine during the retrofit program, not the V-20 version.
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