The National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
Destination:Freedom

A Weekly North American Transportation Update

For transportation advocates and professionals, journalists,
and elected or appointed officials at all levels of government

Publisher: James P. RePass      E-Zine Editor: Molly McKay
Foreign Editor: David Beale      Webmaster: Dennis Kirkpatrick

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April 7, 2008
Vol. 9 No. 14

Copyright © 2008
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved

Home Page: www.nationalcorridors.org

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IN THIS EDITION...   In This Edition...

  Conference Summaries…
Our Transportation Future - Todd Litman
  News Items…
Heroic Engineer Stays At Controls To Save Lives
New Hampshire-Based Pan Am Railroad Indicted
   In 2006 Ayer 900-Gallon Oil Spill
  Commuter Lines…
MBTA Board Advances Bridge Project
Private Rail Company Bidding To Run Commuter Rail
   In Seattle Area
  Off The Main Line…
‘High-Speed Rail Canada’ Citizens Advocacy Group Organizes,
   Sets Up Website For Canadian Rail
National Park Service Trails & Rails Program Seeks
   Summer Volunteers
  Safety Lines…
Bombardier Launches Coded Track Circuit
 
  Business Lines…
Freight-Rail Delays Cost Amtrak $137M In FY06,
   Inspector General Report Says
  Legal Lines…
CSX Told No-Fault Is A No-Go Rail Liability
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Freight Lines…
Henry Succeeds Davis As Genesee & Wyoming SVP,
   Utah Railway President
KCS To Build Intermodal Center In Southeast Texas
New CSX Dispatching Center In W. Virginia
  Events…
Designing Transportation Projects for People and Places
  Obituary…
John F. Deacon
  We Get Letters…
  Publication Notes …

 

NEWS OF THE WEEK... Conference Summaries...

Where Do We Want to Go?

Our Transportation Future

By Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute
At the Carmichael Conference on the Future of American Transportation
January 28, 2008 at St. Louis

 

[ Publisher’s Note: This is the tenth in a series of addresses--- last week’s was by long-time transportation advocate and California transportation leader Rod Diridon --- from the Carmichael Conference on the Future of American Transportation held January 28-29 at the Hyatt Regency, St. Louis, MO.

This presentation by Todd Litman, executive director of the world-renowned Victoria Transport Policy Institute, is a brief but well conceived expostulation of the transportation dilemma we have created for ourselves in North America, and some of the things we might do to work our way out of that dilemma. ]

Biography of Todd Litman
Executive Director
Victoria Transportation Policy Institute

Email: litman@vtpi.org

Todd Litman is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems. His work helps to expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation techniques, and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. His research is used worldwide in transport planning and policy analysis.

Mr. Litman is author of the Online TDM Encyclopedia, a comprehensive Internet resource for identifying and evaluating mobility management strategies. He has worked on numerous studies that evaluate the costs and benefits of various transportation services and activities. He authored Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis: Techniques, Estimates and Implications, a comprehensive study of transport impacts, which provides cost and benefit information in an easy-to-apply format.

Todd has written or co-written several guides and technical manuals dealing with transport and land use planning issues. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops. His presentations range from technical and practical, to humorous and inspirational.

Todd is active in several professional organizations, including the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Transportation Research Board (a section of U.S. National Academy of Sciences) and the Centre for Sustainable Transportation.

In addition to technical writing, Todd has co-authored two travel books (Washington; Off the Beaten Path and Best Bike Rides in the Pacific Northwest) with his wife, Suzanne Kort. They reside with their two children in Victoria, British Columbia.

His Slide Presentation Follows:

Where Do We Want to Go?
Our Transportation Future

By Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute

This is an Adobe Acrobat PDF slide presentation that requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Requests for copies of the original Power Point Presentation may be directed to NCI.

This and other materials from the Carmichael Conference of January 28, 2008 are available at our Conference Archive Section.


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NEWS OF THE WEEK... News Items...

Heroic Engineer Stays At Controls To Save Lives
And Limit Injuries In Canton Crash

NTSB’s Absence From Inquiry Puzzles Industry Observers

By DF Staff

CANTON, MA --- A March 25 freight car-passenger train accident that hurt more than 150 commuters remains under investigation at the Federal Railroad Administration this week, even as industry observers question why the country’s main safety body, the National Transportation Safety Board, which normally investigates transport accidents involving deaths or injuries, has stayed on the sidelines.

Meanwhile Mass Bay Commuter Rail (MBCR) engineer Ronald Gomes, who saw a sudden unexpected red signal appear down the line, was able to stop his train, but saw coming a lumber-laden freight car hurtling toward him, heroically stayed at his controls in an attempt to put the train in reverse and back away from the on-rushing freight equipment car, which had entered the main line from the Dohenny Lumber yard siding nearby.

Gomes’ efforts were thwarted, ironically, by a safety device employed on all trains that traverse the Northeast Corridor, whose traffic includes high speed Acela trains capable of 155 miles per hour, 125-mph Regional trains, fast commuter trains operated for the Mass Bay Transportation Authority by MBCR, and occasional freight trains operating at far lower speeds.

This device, known as ASCES or “Aces” prevents a locomotive engineer from engaging reverse gear unless he reaches and throws an over-ride switch located in the nose well of the MBCR locomotives; this device is supposed to prevent accidental reversal of direction of a train, but in this case delayed the engineer’s ability to back up.

Also in question is the role of a device known as a “de-rail” on the freight siding at Dohenny Lumber in Stoughton. This device is supposed to derail a freight car onto the ground, to prevent it from rolling onto a main line from the siding on which it is parked. Brake settings are also a source of concern, according to the BLET. The freight car had been positioned in place on the siding by CSXT Rail, which serves freight customers along that line.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), which represents the MBCR engineers, is expected to protest the NTSB decision to stay on the sidelines; BLET reports that the head of the local train engineers union said he will protest, with the help of his national union, the NTSB’s decision to decline the Canton crash investigation.

“NTSB is the federal entity with the real expertise,” said George Newman, chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Local 57.

Newman also prefers an NTSB review, he said, because the agency lets union members participate in its fact-finding.

The NTSB acts like the US Supreme Court in selecting the train accidents it reviews. It reviews all air crashes, but only a select number of train, pipeline, marine, and highway crashes. The agency looks for events in which the potential safety recommendations will have the broadest impact, said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

“Outside of aviation, we always have to make a determination of what our resources are and what the safety payback is,” Knudson said.

When the NTSB declines a case, the Federal Railroad Administration becomes the lead investigator.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police are also participating in the investigation. Knudson said the NTSB would continue to monitor the investigation, and may use its findings in recommendations.

Tuesday’s collision happened during rush hour, when a 112-ton runaway freight car traveled an estimated 3 miles from a Stoughton lumber yard and hit a southbound commuter train, which had been stopped by the engineer moments before impact. The freight car picked up speed as it declined about 100 feet, said the BLET.

Newman said the crash raises safety questions: “This could have been a real disaster,” he said. “It was bad enough as it was.”

The Boston Globe in an editorial called for the state, which is negotiating the purchase of some CSXT lines in Massachusetts that the freight railroad would continue to use after sale, to reject the railroad’s position that it should be held harmless post-sale in any accident on those lines; see: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2008/03/27/danger_on_the_tracks

[ See also DF article under Legal Lines.... ]


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New Hampshire-Based Pan Am Railroad
Indicted In 2006 Ayer 900-Gallon Oil Spill

From The Lowell Sun and Internet Sources

AYER -- A Middlesex Grand Jury on Tuesday indicted Pan Am Railways for two counts of covering up a spill of more than 900 gallons of diesel fuel in its rail yard in August 2006, the Lowell Sun reported last week.

“Pan Am’s subsidiaries, the Maine Central Railroad Co., Boston & Maine Corp. and Springfield Terminal Railroad Co., were also charged with two counts each of violating the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act, which requires that the state Department of Environmental Protection be notified of spills or potential spills of oil or hazardous materials. Each charge carries a $100,000 fine if found guilty,” reported the Lowell Sun.

The multiple charges reflect each day that the company failed to notify the DEP of the spill on Aug. 8, 2006. The accident happened in the rail yard between Depot Square and Devens, at the edge of downtown, the Sun reported.

An article by reporter Jack Minch of The Lowell Sun (jminch@lowellsun.com) stated that a “…locomotive idling at the rail yard spilled the fuel, but instead of reporting it within a mandatory two-hour limit, the company said nothing to state officials, according to Coakley’s office.”

The state Department of Environmental Protection did not learn about the spill until the following afternoon, through an anonymous telephone call, the Sun reported.

“The caller indicated that the railroad was alleging the spill was less than the reportable quantity of 10 gallons, but that workers believed the spill was significantly greater,” according to a statement issued by Coakley’s office. “The caller stated that the railroad appeared to be trying to hide the spill and avoid its detection by covering the spill area with fresh ballast.”

“The Ayer Fire Department, the DEP’s emergency-response team and inspectors from the Federal Railroad Administration went to the rail yard late in the afternoon of Aug. 9 and eventually determined that more than 900 gallons of diesel had leaked. The investigation showed Pan Am was well aware of the leak and its extent but failed to report the spill, Coakley’s office said,” reported the Sun

The Board of Health ruled the town’s groundwater wasn’t contaminated by the spill, the Sun said.

A date for an arraignment in superior court in either Cambridge or Woburn hasn’t been set, said Harry Pierre, a spokesman in Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.


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COMMUTER LINES... Commuter Lines...

MBTA Board Advances Bridge Project

From Internet Sources

HAVERHILL, MA, APRIL 4 -- The MBTA Board of Directors has approved a $3 million contract as part of a project to repair and rehabilitate the Merrimack River Bridge in Haverhill. The funding is for design and construction, which is expected to take about four years.

The Merrimack Bridge has a similar deck truss design as the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis last summer.

“This project is a top priority of the T’s Bridge Management Program,” said MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas. “It will ensure the continued safe operation of Commuter Rail service, and will extend the structure’s useful life, reduce future maintenance costs, eliminate speed restrictions, and enhance the structural integrity of the bridge.”

“I am pleased to hear that the MBTA is moving forward with plans to insure the continued safety of commuters who use the Merrimack River Bridge every day,” said Senator Steven A. Baddour, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “We must continue to be vigilant in maintenance and repair of our bridges and roadways to avoid senseless tragedies similar to the one the occurred in Minnesota. I look forward to working with the MBTA throughout the course of this project, and thank General Manager Grabauskas for his continued help and support.”

Commuter trains on the MBTA’s Haverhill Line travel over the bridge seven days a week. “This funding will help maintain the safety of the commuters who rely on it everyday and provide continued rail service to the city of Haverhill,” said Representative Brian Dempsey of Haverhill. “I am pleased that the MBTA has recognized this project as a priority.”


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Private Rail Company Bidding To
Run Commuter Rail In Seattle Area

DF Staff from Seattle Times and other Internet sources

The Seattle area is well-known for its problems with traffic congestion. So how about commuter service from Snohomish County to Bellevue run by a private company? The Snohomish County Council is beginning to think it might support such a proposal.

The private company involved is GNP Railway, whose owner / chairman Tom Payne is proposing six commuter trips from Snohomish to Bellevue weekday mornings and six return trips in the afternoon. Supporters say the figure could someday double to 12 each way.

Payne was recruited to draft plans for commuter train service by a railroad advocacy group called All Aboard Washington.

There’s an opportunity to use the route because the Port of Seattle is close to buying the tracks for $103 million from Texas-based Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF). The tracks run 42 miles from Snohomish to Renton.

The Snohomish County Council voted 4-0 to approve further analysis of the proposed commuter train system. The council agreed to authorize County Executive Aaron Reardon to negotiate agreements with GNP Railway.

“I think this is an important step to indicate our interest and I think it has great potential,” County Council chairman Dave Somers said. “This at least keeps this alive and lets other folks know that we’re definitely, seriously interested in having this option explored.”

The move allows the county and railway company possibly to team up and gain clout with federal railway regulators.

The proposal now goes to Reardon’s office for talks and review.

“It’s an intriguing concept but there’s a lot of work we need to do to fully vet the proposal and understand it,” said Peter Camp, an executive director who advises Reardon on land-use issues.

“If we can come up with an agreement, it will come back to the council.”

Tom Payne – colorful character

A former locomotive engineer who transformed a failing rail line into Canada’s third-largest railroad is the central figure in this commuter rail plan.

Payne, 58, was an engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway when he founded his own company, Central Western Railway, to buy an under-performing rural branch line in Alberta from Canadian National Railways in 1986.

He built up the grain-hauling business on the line, which had been in danger of closing. Over the next decade, he bought more lines until he had more than 2,500 miles of track in five provinces — making it Canada’s third-largest railroad in track miles.

Payne’s company, renamed RaiLink, went public and in 1999 was bought out by RailAmerica for $50 million in cash and $20 million in assumed debt. As 8-percent owner of RaiLink, he walked away with enough money to form his own holding company.

“For a company that started from zero in 1986 with me mortgaging my house and pledging my kids and turning it into a multimillion-dollar company in 10 to 12 years, that’s not bad,” he said.

Payne was inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2002 and moved to Tacoma in 2005 to open a tourist rail line the following year. His train, pulled by a steam locomotive, carried passengers from Freighthouse Square to Frederickson.

Involvement of All Aboard Washington

For months Payne has worked behind the scenes with save-the-rail group All Aboard Washington to put this deal together

With his full gray beard and plain-spoken manner, Payne comes across more like a man who worked his way up from brakeman to engineer than the successful entrepreneur he became. He keeps his old engineer’s hat and coveralls at the ready. “My whole focus in this,” he said, “is let’s do the conventional. Nothing extraordinary here. The simpler the better. Conventional stuff on conventional track.”

Ordinary diesel engines would pull two-level passenger cars, as on Sound Transit’s Sounder trains to Seattle.

Payne and All Aboard Washington are working out the details to present to the Port next month. Until the proposal is complete, they aren’t giving a total cost, but Payne does have some estimates:

Building simple stations with open shelters and putting used diesel trains on the existing tracks with modest improvements would cost “in the range of $40 million. Replacing the tracks to increase train speeds from 30 mph to 40 mph would cost about $40 million more.”

 

(Editor’s note: DF will follow this story and give updates.)


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OFF THE MAIN LINE... Off The Main Line...

‘High-Speed Rail Canada’ Citizens Advocacy Group
Organizes, Sets Up Website For Canadian Rail

From HSR Canada / www.Highspeedrail.Ca

CANADA--- A new national citizens group and website have been formed to promote the implementation of high-speed rail in Canada. The group includes people with a wide scope of knowledge on passenger rail travel in Canada. The organization will focus on the potential Calgary-Edmonton and Ontario-Quebec high-speed rail routes.

Founder of High Speed Rail Canada, Paul Langan states, “Its time for Canada to join the rest of the modern world and utilize high speed rail as a major transportation mode in Canada. High speed rail is good for the environment.”

The website includes the Latest News, Forum, Guest book and sign up for free E-zine on high speed rail.

The web site address is http://www.highspeedrail.ca.

The email address is: highspeedrailcanada@yahoo.ca.

For more information on our group contact Paul Langan at (519) 993-0143 (cell); for interviews in French contact Justin Bur (514) 572 4477.


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National Park Service Trails & Rails Program
Seeks Summer Volunteers

From Internet Sources

“Trails & Rails” is a partnership between the National Park Service and Amtrak to provide on-board education programs. Volunteers will act as tour guides and provide Amtrak passengers with information while aboard certain trains.

For example, on the Heartland Flyer, passengers will be introduced to topics on the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Oklahoma and Texas; the history of the area; the geological story of these areas; descriptions of the Oklahoma and Texas landscape and its animals and plants; the economic story; and the role of the railroad in the areas.

On the Empire Builder, which traverses northwestern North Dakota and northeastern Montana, information will include cultural and natural sites, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, area history and other topics.

The following dates have been scheduled for the 2008 Trails & Rails Program:

April 19, 2008, Saturday
May 17, 2008, Saturday
June 21, 2008, Saturday
July 19, 2008, Saturday
August 16, 2008 Saturday
September 20, 2008, Saturday

If anyone is interested in working as a volunteer this summer and would like further information, please contact: Volunteer-In-Parks Coordinator Susie Staples, 1008 W. 2nd Street, Sulphur, OK 73086. Or you can call (580) 622-7220 for a copy of the position description and application. Approximately eight hours of training is required to participate in the Trails & Rails program.

Last summer, Trails and Rails volunteers from Minot and Williston presented 86 programs to more than 27,000 passengers.


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SAFETY LINES... Safety Lines...

Bombardier Launches Coded Track Circuit

From Internet Sources

MARCH 31 -- Bombardier Transportation Rail Control Solutions launched the new BOMBARDIER EBI Track 400 jointless coded track circuit at the recent Infrarail exhibition in Birmingham, UK. The company notes that the cutting-edge track circuit, which offers unparalleled levels of safety, noise immunity and interoperability, was unveiled to the press and potential customers from all over the world.

Bombardier points out that the EBI Track 400 coded track circuit uses advanced satellite communication techniques and multi-bit coded telegrams to deliver excellent code recognition performance in the noisy track circuit environment. These features significantly enhance the reliability of the track circuits, with exceptional traction immunity far exceeding industry standards, the company notes. An integrated and remote track condition monitoring function enables preventative maintenance before traffic disruption. Benefits of the new technology also include that a train safety case can be made independent of track circuits, since the system is designed to meet forthcoming European interoperability standards.

The circuit was developed in collaboration with satellite communication experts. Bombardier has a patent pending on this coding modulation scheme.


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BUSINESS LINES... Business Lines...

Freight-Rail Delays Cost Amtrak $137M
In FY06, Inspector General Report Says

From Amtrak, the Office of the Inspector General, and By DF Staff

WASHINGTON --- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General has released a report detailing freight-rail delays’ effects on Amtrak, and the cost is high.

Requested in February 2007 by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the report states that the delays cost the national intercity passenger railroad almost $137 million in overtime and fuel costs, and lost revenue in FY2006. The amount is equal to about 30 percent of Amtrak’s federal operating subsidy.

“More than 97 percent of Amtrak’s 21,000 route miles run along tracks owned and maintained by freight railroads. Between fiscal years 2003 and 2007, Amtrak’s On-Time Performance (OTP) for long-distance trains outside of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) fell from an average of 51 percent to 42 percent, and OTP for shorter corridors outside the NEC fell from 76 percent to 66 percent,” the report states. “In comparison, OTP for Acela service — which runs on the Amtrak-owned-and-operated NEC — currently stands at 86.1 percent.”

In October 2007, the Senate passed Lautenberg’s Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2007 (S. 294), which authorize $11.6 billion for Amtrak over a six-year period. The bill includes a provision that enables the Surface Transportation Board to investigate Amtrak delays and issue fines to freight railroads if the OTP of an individual route falls below 80 percent in two consecutive quarters due to “freight interference.”

Freight railroads have maintained that new demands on their capacity caused by massive demand have made it harder to schedule Amtrak trains on their lines; industry observers say the day is coming when a completely new assessment of public investment in freight rail infrastructure is a must.

“The freight railroads are now investing in excess of $8 billion of their own money a year in new capacity,” noted NCI President Jim RePass, “yet the annual taxpayer-funded highway expenditures in America total nearly $150 billion [all sources, state, federal, local]. It is time we found a way to help build rail capacity with public money, in a way that protects the interests of the taxpayer, while expanding the potential of the freight railways to carry a much greater portion of North America’s shipping burden, which is now around 20%. The savings on bridge repairs alone, by the removal of millions of heavily-laden trucks from the interstates – which were designed for far lighter cars and trucks than we use today -- would help pay for the costs.”


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LEGAL LINES... Legal Lines...

CSX Told No-Fault Is A No-Go

Rail liability - An Issue Between Massachusetts and CSX

From Press Reports

APRIL 4 – While CSX Corporation is negotiating with state transportation officials about the sale of their tracks between Worcester and Framingham, a legal matter must first be dealt with, according to a story by Priyanka Dayal of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

CSX wants the same liability arrangement even after the purchase, which will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Massachusetts congressional delegation is threatening legislative action if CSX doesn’t accept a liability policy based on fault.

CSX, the company that owns and controls 21,000 miles of railroad across the country, including 22.8 miles that connect Worcester and Framingham, is demanding a liability policy based on property, not fault. State lawmakers and transportation officials say that is unreasonable because it would force the state to pay for accidents caused by CSX negligence.

Last Wednesday, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation signed a letter sent to CSX President and CEO Michael Ward in Jacksonville, Fla., that says CSX’s conditions “would put taxpayers and fare-payers at undue risk and prevent the MBTA from adequately ensuring safety.”

It was signed by Mr. Kerry, Mr. McGovern, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, and U.S. Reps. John W. Olver of Amherst, William D. Delahunt of Quincy, Edward J. Markey of Malden, Barney Frank of Newton, John F. Tierney of Salem, Michael E. Capuano of Somerville, Stephen F. Lynch of Boston, Richard E. Neal of Springfield and Niki Tsongas of Lowell --- all Democrats.

CSX wants a no-fault policy, the Telegram article continues, in which the company and the state would be responsible for its own property, regardless of who is at fault in an accident. The state says setting that kind of gross negligence standard is unreasonable and irresponsible.

No-fault liability would unfairly hold taxpayers responsible for CSX’s negligence, according to the letter.

If the issue is not resolved soon, the letter states, lawmakers will consider filing legislation that would regulate freight and commuter rail contracts.

“Our hope is we can get the CSX folks to work with the state to avoid congressional action,” Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., said in an interview last Thursday.

At present, each party who uses the tracks is responsible for its own property and passengers. CSX doesn’t want to change that liability arrangement. The purchase would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

“If the state purchases the tracks, of course we have a right to demand that the situation change,” Mr. Kerry said.

A CSX statement, released to the media but not to the congressmen on Thursday, reads: “A no-fault insurance system puts the public first by ensuring that payments are made quickly and efficiently when the need arises, rather than having them tied up in litigation as often occurs in at-fault insurance mechanisms. This is an industry standard used with other commuter and passenger rail systems and between and among the freight railroads when they operate on each other’s systems.”

In an interview yesterday, U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, knocked CSX’s argument that it is simply asking to maintain an industry standard.

“It is bad public policy for the Commonwealth to give no-fault liability to CSX or any other railroad,” Mr. McGovern said.

He pointed to the company’s contracts with Amtrak, which, he said, have forced taxpayers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for liability claims that were caused by CSX negligence.

“CSX is being unreasonable here,” he said. “It’s nuts, it’s crazy to enter into this kind of agreement.”

The track from Worcester to Framingham is one of the only pieces of railroad used for commuter service that is not under state control. Lawmakers say buying that rail is the only way to increase commuter service between Worcester and Boston, in the long-term, to 20 trains in each direction.

CSX’s priority is freight, and freight trains traveling between Worcester and Boston frequently cause delays to existing commuter service.

In a 1985 agreement between CSX and the state Executive Office of Transportation (EOT), liability on the tracks between Framingham and Boston, which are owned by the state, is based on fault. But in 1994, as a trade-off for providing commuter service on the Framingham-Worcester stretch, the state agreed to give CSX complete indemnity.

In Florida, transportation officials recently struck a deal to buy tracks from CSX to provide commuter service. In that negotiation, CSX got their way --- no-fault liability. Several Florida lawmakers have complained about these conditions, which put the taxpayers at risk if an accident is caused by CSX negligence.


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: www.MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week
Burlington Northern & Santa Fe(BNI)95.9491.99
Canadian National (CNI)51.2248.91
Canadian Pacific (CP)66.4665.64
CSX (CSX)57.2956.55
Florida East Coast (FLA)62.5162.51
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)35.4334.56
Kansas City Southern (KSU)40.1339.37
Norfolk Southern (NSC)56.8054.25
Providence & Worcester (PWX)19.3519.15
Union Pacific (UNP)133.66125.02


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FREIGHTLINES... Freight Lines...

Henry Succeeds Davis As
Genesee & Wyoming SVP,
Utah Railway President

From Progressive Railroading on the Internet

Genesee & Wyoming, Inc., has appointed Paula Henry senior vice president of the Rocky Mountain Region and president of Utah Railway Company Genesee & Wyoming, Inc.

She will succeed James Davis, a 40-year rail industry veteran who recently retired. Davis joined GWI subsidiary Rail Link Inc. in 1996 and was responsible for all industrial railcar-switching operations nationwide. He became general manager of Utah Railway after GWI acquired the short line in 2002.

Later, he was named Senior Vice President of the Utah Region, which became the Rocky Mountain Region last year.

Paula Henry joins GWI from the City of Tacoma, Washington, Department of Public Utilities, where she was deputy chief operating officer of Tacoma Rail from July 1998 to December 2005 and chief operating officer since then. She was responsible for overall safety, management, operation and maintenance of approximately 195 miles of track.

Henry is an executive board member of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association and a member of the National Association for Railroad Female Executives, Inc. She earned a B.A. in regional urban planning from Western Washington University.

GWI owns and operates regional and short lines in the United States, Canada and Australia, and owns a minority interest in a Bolivian railroad.


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KCS To Build Intermodal Center In Southeast Texas

Railroad Will Build Distribution Center, Rebuild Rail Line

Kansas City Southern is making a major investment to improve rail service and restore a long-abandoned rail line. A new facility in Fort Bend County, Texas, will include a 636-acre industrial park and an intermodal facility with up to 7.5 million square feet of industrial warehouse space for storing rail and truck containers.

Construction has already started and the first phase could be finished by early May.

Officials say it could eventually create up to 2,000 jobs in the region.

In conjunction with the intermodal park, Kansas City Southern railroad is spending $120 million to rebuild the SP Cottonbelt Line between Rosenberg and Victoria.

The railroad line has been out of operation for decades. It was once known as the “Macaroni Line” because it was originally developed by Italian engineer financier County Joseph Telfener and built by 1,200 Italian workers.

Construction on the $120 million project began late last year and is expected to be completed this spring.

“Our intent, our business plan, is to restore local rail service to south Texas,” said KCS executive vice president Warren K. Erdman. “Because we’re smaller, smaller stops are attractive to us.

“For us, there’s good money to be made on smaller stops,” he said. “For us, a good part of this is restoring local retail service to El Campo, Wharton and Edna - and for that matter, Victoria and Rosenberg.”


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CSX Chairman and CEO Michael Ward

Photo: Lori Wolfe/The Herald-Dispatch  

CSX Chairman and CEO Michael Ward announced that CSX will relocate 80 jobs from Jacksonville, Fla., to Huntington this summer.
New CSX Dispatching Center In W. Virginia

In Huntington, W. Virginia, CSX will hire 80 people to work at a new $4.5 million dispatching center.

Gov. Joe Manchin joined CSX Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer Michael J. Ward at the announcement on April first.

Manchin said in a prepared statement, “CSX has a rich history in the Mountain State and we’re delighted the company is investing in these good jobs in Huntington. This is a partnership for success for both CSX and for West Virginia. The state is offering Economic Opportunity Tax Credits for each job created and is providing up to $2,000 per employee for training.

Ward said most of the new employees will be dispatchers responsible for the movement of trains and the maintenance and inspection of equipment.

Construction is expected to be finished this spring, and the center will open in August.

For more than a decade, CSX Transportation has dispatched its trains from Jacksonville, Fla. Company spokesman Bob Sullivan said the company is decentralizing the dispatching function to Huntington and several other locations. Many of the dispatchers coming to Huntington will likely be transfers from Florida, he said.

Dispatcher jobs typically pay in the vicinity of $75,000 and, with the value of the benefits package added, can total $100,000 or more, Sullivan said.

CSX Transportation is one of the country’s largest railroads. The company’s network spans 21,000 miles and serves 23 eastern states and the District of Columbia.

In West Virginia, CSX Transportation operates and maintains more than 1,500 miles of track. Maintenance and repair facilities are located in Huntington, South Charleston and Parkersburg; and rail-to-truck trans-loading facilities in Clarksburg, Pecks Mill and South Charleston. The company employs more than 3,700 West Virginia residents and has a $135 million annual payroll in the state.

History

CSX and the state of West Virginia have a history that goes back to the Civil War.
Collis P. Huntington of New York, a railroad entrepreneur, financed construction of the railroad through Charleston to Huntington following the War.

CSX Transportation is a unit of CSX Corporation, which also owns The Greenbrier, a luxury resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. CSX Corp. is headquartered in Jacksonville.


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EVENTS... Events...

An invitiation from the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership

Save The Dates!

Plan to attend the STPP/CNT Workshop

Context Sensitive Solutions:
Designing Transportation Projects for People and Places

July 24-25, 2008
Denver, Colorado

STPP and CNT are hosting this workshop to help participants understand what the principles referred to as context sensitive solutions (CSS) are, and how these principles can be used to balance and integrate the needs of travelers and communities in the planning and design of urban transportation systems. The workshop is directed at advocates, local officials, and planning/design professionals in state DOTs, transit agencies, and MPOs and consultants.

The workshop will feature leading transportation experts, land use planners and state and local officials as speakers and panelists. A field trip is included to give participants an opportunity to assess the potential of transforming a major urban corridor or transit station area by applying CSS principles.

STPP’s and CNT’s goal is to give you the tools to work more effectively with your local governments, DOT, transit agency and MPO on the planning and design of multi-modal transportation systems that balance the needs of all users, promote walkable communities, and encourage private investment.

Please plan to join us July 24-25th in Denver.

Look for updates on the workshop program and how to register in the next few weeks. Also, check STPP’s website, www.transact.org or CNT’s website, www.cnt.org for updates.

This workshop is made possible through the support of the Federal Transit Administration, The Oak Foundation, and AARP.

Surface Transportation Policy Partnership
1100 17th Street, NW
10th Floor
Washington, DC 20036


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OBITUARY... Obituary...

John F. Deacon

Medford, MA, March 29 --- Longtime Sierra Club and transportation activist John F. Deacon of Medford, MA, died Saturday March 29, 2008, the Boston Globe reported this week.

A passionate advocate for rail, and for justice, John Deacon is survived by his wife Susan and many friends. Calling hours were held on Sunday April 6 at the George L. Doherty Funeral Home, 855 Broadway (Powder House Sq.) in Somerville, MA; interment will be private. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in John’s memory to the charity of one’s choice. John worked with many community organizations on transportation and planning issues, and was a member of the Sierra Club, the Washington Street Corridor, and other organizations. For more information visit www.dohertyfuneralservice.com.


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WE GET LETTERS... We Get Letters...

Dear Editor,

I have been in a lead position here in the state of Maine in getting the Maine State legislature to pass a bill to fund a rail upgrade for extending the Amtrak, Downeaster rail service to Brunswick from Portland where it currently serves the Boston to Portland Maine corridor. Today the bill (LD 2019 Amended as an Act to Fund capital Improvement in rail roads for Economic Development Purposes) passed the House of Representatives on an 89 to 50 vote. It now goes to the Senate next week and if it passes there, goes to the Joint Appropriations Committee for an up or down vote as it has a fiscal note.

I will keep you informed if you want to follow this progress.

My interest is that of a private developer who is developing railroad station sites in Maine for mixed use, retail, office, and residential purposes.

Nice web site you have.

Tony Donovan
Portland, Maine
TDonovan@Maine.rr.com

[ Ed Replies - Tony, please do keep us informed on progress. The Downeaster is a success story that should be highlighted when opportunity arises. ]


Dear Editor,

With regard to the DOE’s [Department of Energy’s] numbers:

Sure, fuel use divided by passenger miles seems a bit weird - but why would this not be accurate, at least compared to the airlines, where numbers as accurate as Amtrak’s are likely available? Compared to automobiles, it’s not very useful - we don’t know exactly how far every car went and how much fuel it used. Airlines sure know how far their planes go and how much fuel they use.

As for an SUV being 160HP? Sure. But it may not actually put out 160HP all the time (it certainly isn’t, standing in traffic). Thus, a simple power:passenger calculation may not be very useful.

As for Amtrak’s poor showing against airlines? No surprise there - Amtrak’s trains are very very heavy, even on the NEC, and that weight means extra fuel consumption. And don’t expect the existing FRA to help at all. On the flip side, airlines are trying to get rid of their older aircraft ASAP - you don’t see many JT-8Ds under 737s anymore. Remember too, the 727 was made into the 1980’s - you don’t see ANY in US service anymore.

Modern aircraft are actually quite efficient - bypass ratios are creeping up, aerodynamics are still getting better, and engines are getting better all the time. But today, it’s a percent here and a percent there. But those percents add up. If Boeing and Airbus deliver on their promises with their next generation, we may very well see commercial airliners cross below Amtrak in energy use.

Notice I said ‘Amtrak’, and not trains. There’s no doubt - modern rail equipment can do much better. But Amtrak simply doesn’t have access to that equipment, even if they could afford it. A P-42 pulling 3 Amfleets is hardly an optimally efficient solution. As long as the FRA continues to insist on excessively heavy rail equipment, Amtrak will use more fuel than they have to, period.

Finally - aircraft, and jets in particular, are notoriously uneconomic in short haul service. Rail service averaging a decent speed (i.e. 80mph or so), with real airport connections (i.e., walk from the baggage claim to the intercity train platform), could do wonders for improving mobility (not to mention that bastard child, the intercity bus), and the airlines likely wouldn’t be too sorry to see uneconomic short hauls go away. But even in the decently rail connected Northeast, there’s no airport with rail access like you have in Europe - you can’t get off at Newark, walk 100 feet and board an Acela.

As long as the “Us Vs Them” mentality prevails in transportation planning, we’re not going to make any progress in the US. We need a SYSTEM, one that leverages the advantages of every mode of travel. We don’t have that, today.

Philip Nasadowski
at large

Ed - NCI’s David Beale offers the following in response...

Gasoline and diesel fuel consumption of the automobile fleet in the USA is rather well researched, tracked and documented. There are also volumes of statistics available from numerous research organizations and state and federal agencies which provide a quite accurate picture of how much private automobiles are driven in numerous countries including the USA and how many occupants these automobiles carry on the average. Please see the presentation from Mr. Todd Litman in this week’s DF as just one of many examples of the volume of statistical data gathered on the performance of the private automobile fleet.

Regarding the reader’s statement about automotive engine rarely running at its full rating of 160 HP or what ever its peak power rating is, the same is true of engines and motors in trains. Neither are the motors or engine in a passenger train producing their full horsepower rating all the time, only during acceleration from a station, which is a small fraction of the total operating cycle of a passenger train. The rest of the time the traction motors and/or prime mover are either idling or at part power. The calculation I provided is not meant to be accurate to +/- 3%, but it is more than accurate enough to show the order of magnitude difference in energy consumption between automobiles and passenger trains. I stand by my rough estimate, as its result correlates quite well with far more in-depth studies and estimates from organizations cited in my editorial.

Comparing projected energy efficiency of future airliner models still on the drawing boards of Boeing and Airbus with the performance of the present-day under-funded and relatively old Amtrak rolling stock fleet and equally decrepit and under-funded American rail infrastructure network, as the reader does here, is truly an apples to oranges comparison. A more “apples to apples” comparison would be to compare the energy efficiency of such future aircraft to the energy efficiency of Alstom’s AGV high speed train, the latest bullet train models from Japan, or Siemens’ Velaro (ICE-3) trains or their follow-ons. The ratio of energy consumption will most likely remain in the 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 range, with the new airliners still consuming three to four times as much energy per seat-mile as these state-of-the-art trains. Based on this “apples to apples” comparison, the public and key decision makers in government and industry can make informed decisions on where to invest scarce resources for future transportation expansion.


Dear Editor,

Regarding your story on the people from the ATA. Why are they not bringing up things such as the use of “Rolling Highway” operations?

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Highway.

This can save truckers a lot of time and money as well as increase traffic for railroads.

Even right now such a service could be started using existing 89’ flatcars (think of circus style loading) with a locomotive and a passenger car up front.

Amtrak already has the Auto-Train, why not a Truck-Train operation?

In transit, Andrew Dawson
Montreal Canada

[ Ed - An interesting concept. In the US there is container movement, i.e. boxes that are transferred from tractor-trailer to rail car and back again at terminus points. At each end different trucking companies would take on the task of making local movements. Moving the tractors as well may be of interest with the cost of fuel increasing. ]


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