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 26, 2010
Vol. 11 No. 18

Copyright © 2010
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 11th Newsletter Year

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

  News Items…
Atlantans Rally To Prevent Transit Cuts
  Business Lines…
Phoenix Partners Get Boost From Federal Grant For TOD
  News From Amtrak…
Chief O’Connor Testifies Before Senate Committee On Security
  Environmental Lines…
Telling The Story Of Public Transportation’s Positive
   Environmental Impact
  Ridership Lines…
Riding Public Transit Saves Individuals $9,293 Annually
 
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Freight Lines…
Railcars Removed From Canyon
  Across The Pond…
Deutsche Bahn To Buy-Out Competitor Arriva
ICE-3 High Speed Train Loses Door En-route
  Announcement…
Stakeholder Outreach Schedule
  Correction…
  Publication Notes …


NEWS OF THE WEEK... News Items...  

Atlantans Rally To Prevent Transit Cuts

By David Peter Alan

ATLANTA, APRIL 20 -- A misty drizzle did not stop hundreds of Atlantans from rallying on Tuesday, April 20th to prevent planned cuts in transit service. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) sponsored two rallies at its hub station, Five Points, that day at 10:00 a.m. and during the afternoon commuting peak. The events were planned in cooperation with Local 732 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents bus drivers and other employees. MARTA plans significant service cuts due to funding difficulties; a story familiar to many transit managers and riders across the nation. MARTA operates two heavy rail lines with two branches, along with an extensive bus network.

MARTA is supported by a 1% sales tax in Fulton and DeKalb Counties, but receives no state funding. MARTA management is deeply concerned that the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1st, will not provide enough money to keep Atlanta’s transit going at anywhere near its current service level, so MARTA and its supporters organized the rallies to demonstrate the need for more funding from the State.

MARTA management played an active role in promoting the rally and publicizing it to their riders, with flyers, as well as announcements on buses and trains; in marked contrast to other transit properties which implemented fare increases and service reductions without protest by management. MARTA CEO Beverly A. Scott endorsed the practice, saying: “The people own us, and we’re proud of that. It’s up to us to fight for our transit.”

Photo: Atlanta Journal Constitution  

The proposed cuts are severe, estimated at 30% of total MARTA service. Sixty-two bus routes are slated for elimination, while only six (including the #110 on Peachtree Street, the city’s main street) would be spared from service reductions. On the rail side, peak-hour headways would be widened from 12 to 15 minutes, while evening service would also be reduced. Trains on week-ends would run only every 30 minutes, rather than the current 20. Hours of service may also be cut; all service would end at 12:00 rather than the current 1:00, and week-end service may not begin until 7:00 a.m.

The rally had the style of the Civil Rights demonstrations of the 1960s, such as the ones led by Dr. Martin Luther King, a native of Atlanta. Benita West President of ATU Local 732, kicked off the event by saying that the union was putting aside the customary “tug-of-war with management” to work together to save Atlanta’s transit. She interrupted her own speech to lead the attendees in a walk around the block in single file, saying “Walking will be natural if the Legislature doesn’t come up with the money before the service is reduced.” Marchers carried signs that said “Save Our MARTA” and “No Transit = No Jobs” and tied balloons which also said “Save Our MARTA” around their wrists. After the participants returned to the rally site, West said that the union was planning “a stroll to the Capitol.”

Sam Massell, who was Mayor of Atlanta when MARTA began rail operations in the 1970s, invoked President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” from World War II. He said that the Fifth Freedom is Freedom of Mobility and added: “Transit makes the city available to the citizens.”

Other speakers represented a broad-based alliance, including the NAACP, the Green Coalition for Urban Neighborhoods and the Georgia Conservancy. John Evans of Operation Lead invoked the memory of the Montgomery bus boycott that King led in the 1950s, and which eventually led to desegregation of transit in Montgomery and elsewhere in the South. He said that the counties elsewhere in Georgia “don’t want to deal with Atlanta, but we’ll show them they have to deal with US.” Atlantans have traditionally complained that they have been under-represented in the Georgia Legislature; a claim validated by Georgia political history.

Speakers and attendees alike know what they face if the proposed service cuts are implemented. Xavier Ross, an education major at Morehouse College, recently lost much of his mobility when suburban Clayton County recently discontinued all of its bus service. Now he must rely on his mother or on fellow students to get a ride to the MARTA rail terminal at the Airport. Decatur resident Sean Williams drives a truck for a moving company, but does not own an automobile. The #96 bus, which Williams uses to get to work, is slated for elimination, even though it currently runs seven days a week. Williams said:” It’s a heavily-traveled line, so I can’t see why they put an ‘X’ on it.” Many MARTA buses and railcars are now sporting a big red “X” on their sides to signify the potential service reductions.

As in many cities and states, the issue is political. MARTA CEO Beverly Scott, who holds a Ph.D. degree in political science, said “The public gets it. It’s not a partisan issue.” Still, the flyers distributed by MARTA urged riders to contact Gov. Sonny Perdue and their legislators about state funding for the transit agency. Every one of the officials listed on the flyer had an “R” after his or her name. Given the current political climate, it is clear that MARTA and the transit riders of Atlanta face a hard fight, but no harder than the one Martin Luther King and his supporters faced fifty years ago.


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BUSINESS LINES... Business Lines...  

Phoenix Partners Get Boost From Federal Grant For TOD

Phoenix Business Journal

PHOENIX, APRIL 21 -- The city of Phoenix, Arizona State University, and Arizona Public Service Co. have teamed up in a public/private partnership to build and retrofit a green development along the Metro light rail corridor in Phoenix, reports Patrick O’Grady in a story for the Phoenix Business Journal.

The project, called “Energize Phoenix,” will get started with the help of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Starting with a $25 million stimulus grant and approximately $190 million in private-sector funds, the partners will “transform a swath of land along the rail corridor into energy-efficient homes and businesses.”

“This game-changing grant will create more than 2,000 jobs, save our residents’ money, and help the environment,” said Mayor Phil Gordon in a statement.

The funds are part of $452 million in grants announced by the Obama Administration last week, and the Phoenix project is among the highest funded.

The plan calls for 3,500 homes and several million square feet of industrial and office space which can be retrofitted for energy efficiency.

A major objective of the project is to educate the home and business owners about being more energy conscious. Because they can’t get enough funding for every building, the partners are hoping the education effort can change people’s behaviors to reduce energy use, said Rob Melnick, executive dean and chief operating officer of the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU.

Phoenix’s Public Works Department will coordinate the grant and put together a program to help property owners in applying to access to the grants.

The money is expected to be available this fall, and jobs will start early next year. There is an urgent push to involve other local players, including businesses and schools that can provide training to get workers up to speed quickly, said Tammy Perkins, executive assistant to the Phoenix city manager.

“We’ll be evolving very fast to make sure the jobs are going on as soon as possible,” she said.

“The project is part of a larger Green Phoenix initiative,” the story continues, “that was designed by ASU for Phoenix. The plan seeks to develop 17 steps to make the city environmentally sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint.”

“Energize Phoenix” is designed to perpetuate itself because we know of other opportunities for grants and private partnerships down the line,” said Melnick.


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NEWS FROM AMTRAK... News From Amtrak...  

Chief O’Connor Testifies Before
Senate Committee On Security

Special Employee Advisory

Amtrak must focus its efforts on defeating and deterring the most dangerous and likely terror tactics, Vice President and Chief of Amtrak Police John O’Connor told members of a Senate Committee on Wednesday, April 21.

O’Connor was invited to appear before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation as part of a panel to provide expert testimony on securing rail and surface transportation networks.

Citing attacks on train systems in Madrid, London, Mumbai and Moscow in recent years, O’Connor stated that future attacks on surface transportation modes would likely occur with the use of an Improvised Explosive Device on a train or in a station, or an active shooter. Accordingly, Amtrak is focused on a growth strategy to address security goals and to make it harder for terrorists to use their preferred strategies to attack stations, trains and passengers.

The plans include strengthening the bomb-detecting K-9 operation, which includes “vapor-wake” teams that can detect residual fumes; increasing the number of baggage screening teams; and bolstering partnerships with federal authorities, including expanding the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) program with the Transportation Security Administration. The company is also advancing its corporate security goals by using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to assess and fortify vulnerabilities, utilize Station Action Teams and continue to train employees to remain vigilant.

“We are enthusiastic about programs that help us to bring more people, technology and animals to bear on the task of keeping our stations and trains secure,” said O’Connor.

Describing the merging of the former Office of Security Strategy and Special Operations and the Amtrak Police Department, O’Connor stated that the new integrated Amtrak Police Department organization would eliminate some duplication of functions and allow better use of personnel and assets, yielding a blend of “customer-oriented policing and robust counterterrorism efforts.”


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ENVIRONMENTAL LINES... Environmental Lines...  

Telling The Story Of Public Transportation’s
Positive Environmental Impact

American Public Transportation Association

Reprinted with permission

“It can be as simple as riding the bus or the subway to work, making your home more energy efficient, or organizing your neighbors to clean up a nearby park.”  (President Barack Obama’s challenge to action for Earth Day, April 13, 2010)

From using hybrid buses and solar bus shelters to saving carbon emissions and reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil, U.S. public transportation is doing its part to help the environment, improve air quality, and help our country reach energy independence as the country celebrates the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

“Everyone who cares about the environment should care about public transportation,” said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President William Millar.  “The tens of millions of Americans who support and ride public transportation, are helping this country combat climate change and should be applauded.”

Public transportation has a proven record of making a difference in regard to a region’s carbon emissions.  Today the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that its carbon emissions had been audited by the Climate Registry. Using this data and working with APTA, the MTA has announced that it saved 17.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions a year. 

“I agree with President Obama’s challenge to everyone to do something good for the environment, like riding a bus or a train,” said Millar.  “Earth Day is a chance to make positive contributions to the environment and show your support for public transit at the same time.”

April 22 is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and public transportation agencies across the country are joining in the celebration with a variety of green initiatives and activities aimed at raising awareness and improving the environment. Some public transit systems like San Joaquin Regional Transit District (Stockton, CA), Citibus (Lubbock, TX), and the Regional Transit System (Gainesville, FL) have used the 40th anniversary Earth Day Show us your “E”  ads on their buses.  Seven Chicago-region transportation agencies are convening a first-of-its-kind Transportation Summit to improve coordination among the region’s transportation leaders.  Nearly 100 leaders have been invited to participate, including Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

“Going green has been a focus of public transportation systems nationwide for several years,” said Millar.  “Every year U.S. public transportation use reduces our country’s carbon footprint by 37 million metric tons of carbon emissions and saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline.”

As of 2008, hybrid buses, natural gas buses, and biodiesel fueled vehicles were common among public transit systems and made up nearly 30 percent of all transit buses. Listed below are examples of the diversity of bus fleets across the country in small, mid-sized, and large systems, including some Earth Day bus events and announcements regarding new buses.

Other green activities taken by public transit systems that make a difference:

For the complete list go to: http://www.apta.com/mediacenter/pressreleases/2010/Pages/100421_EarthDay.aspx


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RIDERSHIP LINES... Ridership Lines...  

Riding Public Transit Saves Individuals $9,293 Annually

Cost Per Gallon Increases 13 Cents Since Last Month

American Public Transportation Association

Washington, DC – Individuals who ride public transportation can save on average $9,293 annually based on the April 5, 2010 national average gas price and the national unreserved monthly parking rate. On a per month basis, transit riders can save on average $774 per month. Over the past month the cost per gallon of gas has increased 13 cents.

The Transit Savings Report, released monthly by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), calculates the average annual and monthly savings for public transit users. The report examines how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car.

The savings amount is based on the cost of the national averages for parking and driving, as well as the April 5 national average gas price of $2.83 per gallon for self-serve regular gasoline as reported by AAA.

Taking public transportation provides a safe and affordable way for individuals and families to cut costs, according to APTA. In addition, local public transit offers a travel option that has an immediate positive impact in reducing an individual’s overall carbon footprint while helping reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.

The national average for a monthly unreserved parking space in a downtown business district is $154.23, according to the 2009 Colliers International Parking Rate Study. Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,850.

The top 20 cities with the highest transit ridership are ranked in order of their transit savings based on the purchase of a monthly public transit pass and factoring in local gas prices for April 5, 2010 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*

Top Twenty Cities – Transit Savings Report

Rank
 
      City
 
Monthly
Savings
Annual
Savings
1New York$ 1,149$13,784
2Boston$1,032$12,380
3San Francisco$1,015$12,185
4Chicago$955$11,457
5Seattle$938$11,252
6Philadelphia$928$11,141
7Honolulu$894$10,733
8Los Angeles$839$10,068
9San Diego$827$9,918
10Minneapolis$826$9,917
11Denver$804$9,653
12Portland$803$9,639
13Cleveland$803$9,636
14Baltimore$786$9,437
15Washington, D.C.  $757$9,087
16Miami$754$9,053
17Dallas$736$8,836
18Atlanta$724$8,684
19Las Vegas$719$8,626
20Pittsburgh$681$8,174

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 4/5/10

Methodology

APTA calculates the average cost of taking public transit by determining the average monthly transit pass of local public transit agencies across the country. This information is based on the annual APTA fare collection survey and is weighted based on ridership (unlinked passenger trips). The assumption is that a person making a switch to public transportation would likely purchase an unlimited pass on the local transit agency, typically available on a monthly basis.

APTA then compares the average monthly transit fare to the average cost of driving. The cost of driving is calculated using the 2009 AAA average cost of driving formula. AAA cost of driving formula is based on variable costs and fixed costs. The variable costs include the cost of gas, maintenance and tires. The fixed costs include insurance, license registration, depreciation and finance charges. The comparison also uses the average mileage of a mid-size auto at 23.4 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline as recorded by AAA on April 5 at $2.83 per gallon. The analysis also assumes that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year. The savings assume a person in a two-person household, lives with one less car.

In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2009 Colliers International Parking Rate Study for monthly unreserved parking rates for the United States.

To calculate your individual savings with or without car ownership, go to www.publictransportation.org.


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week (*)
Burlington Northern & Santa Fe (BNI)

**

**

Canadian National (CNI)62.9061.97
Canadian Pacific (CP) 59.5257.67
CSX (CSX)56.8254.44
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)38.6537.12
Kansas City Southern (KSU)38.2838.18
Norfolk Southern (NSC)60.8859.47
Providence & Worcester(PWX)12.6412.35
Union Pacific (UNP)77.1075.95


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FREIGHT LINES... Freight Lines...  

Railcars Removed From Canyon

Great Falls Tribune On The Internet, Staff Writer John S. Adams

HELENA, MONTANA, APRIL 21 - The vast landscapes of Western United States provide residents and visitors some of the most stunning views in the world. But during this recent recession, when Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) didn’t need all their cars, they stored thousands of them on 32 miles of track in Montana along the Missouri River.

Now the economy is picking up; more freight cars are needed, and BNSF workers have begun to move some of the long-idled railcars between Great Falls and Helena.

Residents, especially those who live in view of the Missouri River, are relieved. They considered the cars an eyesore and knew it wasn’t good for tourism either. “They’re all graffitied-up and ugly,” Great Falls fishing guide Kris Keller said last Tuesday in Craig, after spending the day on the river. “You bring a client from New York in and instead of just seeing the beautiful willows and trees, they see these ugly railcars.”

BNSF Railway officials said that the company is putting about 1,100 railcars back to work.

Some of the cars have been sitting on the rail line for up to three years because of the global economic downturn. “About 100 rail cars can be stored on one mile of track, depending on the type of car,” said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas.

He said about half of the cars in Wolf Creek Canyon will soon be removed and used for hauling in the next two or three weeks.

A state legislator from Great Falls, Anders Blewett, introduced a bill banning the freight companies from using track for storing rail cars. But the bill died in committee.

“We hope to see those railcars hauling freight instead of cluttering the canyon with railcars,” Blewett said. “Hopefully, BNSF avoids dumping its railcars in the Missouri River corridor the next time the economy tanks.”

He was happy to hear that some cars were being removed, but he’s not giving up on pressuring BNSF to find another way of storage. “The residents of central Montana are eager to reclaim the Missouri River corridor,” Blewett said. “The dumping of these cars hurts tourism, reduces property values and compromises a spectacular landscape.”

At the peak of the weakened economy, about 87 miles of track in Montana were covered in idle railcars. Last January, BNSF was storing 28, 247 of its North American fleet in Montana. [The total fleet is about 100,000 cars in Montana.]

The cars are stored between Helena and Great Falls, between Big Sandy and Havre, and near Moore and Circle.


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ACROSS THE POND... Across The Pond...  

By David Beale
NCI Foreign Editor

 

Deutsche Bahn To Buy-Out Competitor Arriva

Anti-Competition Concerns Raised By Various Local And Regional Governments

Via Hannover Allgemeine Zeitung (HAZ)

London – Deutsche Bahn – German Railways – continued its buying spree of other rail, bus and logistic firms last week with the announcement on the 22nd of April that it had agreed terms to acquire British-based passenger rail and bus operator Arriva Plc. The cash offer for the UK-based rail and bus operator with commuter rail and bus operations in nearly a dozen European countries, including Germany, was approved by the DB AG supervisory board the previous day and has been accepted by Arriva’s corporate board.

DB has offered GBP 7.75 (US $11.65) per share, which values Arriva at GBP 1.59 billion (US $2.4 billion). DB has acquired a number of rail freight operators in various countries, including rail freight operator EWS in the U.K. but its only major passenger purchase has been Laing Rail, which holds the Chiltern Railways franchise in the UK and a half stake in the London Overground operating concession. The intention is that Arriva would be acquired by DB Holding (UK) Ltd, and remain a stand-alone business retaining its headquarters in the city of Sunderland., England.

The offer won the approval of the German transport ministry, DBAG’s sole shareholder; although it was debated by the Bundestag transport committee last Tuesday amid concerns that DBAG’s international expansion was diverting attention from problems at home. However last month Transport Minister Dr Peter Ramsauer said that DB should continue to seize opportunities in the international market as they arose.

The news of DBAG’s take-over of Arriva did not go over well with a number of state and regional governments within Germany. Arriva has been, up to this point, a direct competitor to DBAG’s DB Regio division for various contracts and concessions to operate various regional and local rail and bus routes, where DB Regio already enjoys a near 60% market share in Germany. Several state transport ministers appeared to be preparing challenges to the merger in order to force Arriva to divest its German operations to another company or investor prior to the completion of the take-over by DBAG. Danish railway operator DSB stated on Friday that it was interested in buying the German and Danish operations of Arriva. DBAG has indicated to the European Commission that it is prepared to divest Arriva’s entire German activities if necessary.

The takeover by DB is subject to approval by both German and EU competition authorities. Arriva owns the second-largest rail network in Germany, and has a large portfolio of regional operating contracts turning over more than EUR 400million a year, plus further franchises due to start in 2010-12. Arriva expanded aggressively in Germany during the past 15 years since open-access became official policy on the German rail network.

In 2009 Arriva reported sales of GBP 3.1 billion although its profit was just GBP 121.7million. Arriva has recently introduced cost-cutting measures, and has been seeking a strategic partner for awhile. The group was in discussion with SNCF about a possible merger with Keolis, but these talks ended in January with no agreement. The two companies have set a target deadline for completing the deal by December 2010.

Key-phrase “Open Access”

All across the European Union (EU) the term Open Access continues to pop-up regarding the rail network every day. But what is Open Access? Unlike in the USA, railroads in most European countries have been (and some still are) part of the national government. In some cases the national government itself built and grew the rail network a century or more ago, analogous to the way various governments have also built road and highway networks. In other European countries, railroads were previously private or stock-held enterprises similar to railroads in the USA, but became nationalized state-owned enterprises during the upheavals that swept across Europe and the U.K. starting with the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914 and continuing through to the end of World War 2 and the division of continental Europe into “East” and “West”.

The EU central government voted in the mid 1990s to begin breaking up national control of railroads in member countries and introduced legislation that ushered in “open access” rules. Essentially “open access” rules in the EU aim to separate the fixed rail network (including stations, rail freight yards and electrification/ track power) from the control of the incumbent rail operator and allowing any technically competent rail operating company to offer freight or passenger train services on the existing rail system. In theory the rail network becomes a neutral public asset, similar to a highway or toll road, where anyone can operate a train. Similar legislation has been enacted for other public infrastructure such as telephone, electric power lines, natural gas distribution, and cable TV networks.

With the introduction of open-access on the rail network in Germany, the separation between incumbent rail operator and rail infrastructure has not been quite completed. DB Netz, a DBAG subsidiary, has control over the rail network infrastructure, although DB Netz is under close observation and scrutiny by both the government and numerous competitors to maintain neutrality in assigning train paths and charging fair rail access fees. Other EU countries have moved much further towards total separation of the incumbent rail operator and its former rail network division. France, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Great Britain are perhaps examples where the division has been most clear, while other in countries, especially in Eastern Europe, this legally required division remains quite blurred.

In the USA the concept of open-access is mostly theoretical, and not in common practice. Rail lines remain in the hands of the private railroads which built or bought them, or in the case of Amtrak, the rail lines of long-defunct railroads were transferred in the early 1970s to Amtrak, which has full control over deciding who can operate trains on its NEC rail lines. The only possible parallel to be made to open-access is when Norfolk Southern, CSX, BNSF, etc. grant paths and permission to other rail companies to operate trains on their tracks, as is the case with Amtrak in most of the USA outside of the NEC.

With the advent of open access in Germany, both freight and regional / commuter passenger train operations have been fully opened up to competition. In the case of commuter and regional passenger trains, the primary customers are state or regional government transit authorities. These customers have been quite active in the past decade in running competitive bidding programs and tenders in order to find and select a train operator which will provide the best deal and service quality for the transit users in the affected city or region. Under open-access, a significant number of independent rail operators, such as Arriva, have been successful in Germany and in several other EU countries in winning contracts from various city, regional and state governments to operate commuter bus networks and regional rail routes.


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ICE-3 High Speed Train Loses Door En-route

New Problem Pops-Up In The Flagship Fleet Of Germany’s High Speed Trains

Frankfurt – Yet another potential problem surfaced last week with the ICE-3 high speed train fleet when one of the high-speed EMUs enroute from Amsterdam, Holland to Basel, Switzerland lost a passenger entry door while traveling at approximately 300 km/h (190 mph) near Montabaur, Germany on the Frankfurt – Cologne (Köln) high-speed corridor last Saturday morning (17th April). The door hit an on-coming ICE-3 like a missile and caused significant impact damage, thereby causing minor injuries to six passengers on-board the Munich (München) – Dortmund express. Both train sets had to be removed from service for investigation and repairs for the remainder of the weekend, over which Europe’s train network was under extraordinary demand caused by massive airspace closures and resulting airline flight cancellations from the Icelandic volcano eruption.

The incident resulted in a nearly 10 hour long closure of the heavily-used high speed rail corridor while police and railroad personnel cleaned up debris and searched for the separated door, which was finally found in one of the many tunnels along this route. Many trains were re-routed along the ‘classic’ Rhine valley rail corridor, thus adding well over an hour travel time, or were canceled completely.


NCI file photo by David Beale.

An ICE-3 EMU high-speed train winds its way into Düsseldorf’s main train station in May 2009, in the background is a conventional locomotive-hauled IC train leaving towards Essen.

Later investigators determined that an incorrectly installed locking nut in the door’s guide track assembly had caused the door to partially open while the train was underway. Aerodynamic forces, especially strong in tunnels and when another train passes in the other direction caused the door to open fully and separate from the guide track assembly. A special one-time inspection was ordered for the doors on all 50 train sets of the ICE-3 series, which is expected to be finisher by early May. Until then the trains are placed on a restricted maximum speed of 220 to 250 km/h (depending on the route).

The ICE-3 fleet has suffered a number of technical problems since introduction to service a decade ago including most recently cracks which developed in the wheel axles. Other past problems included issues with the air-cycle refrigeration systems in the train’s air conditioning, brake problems, leaking windows and software problems with the propulsion controls.


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ANNOUNCEMENTS... Announcement...  

Stakeholder Outreach Schedule

The Federal Railroad Administration is pleased to announce it will hold five public outreach meetings to solicit input to support development of the nation’s first National Rail Plan. The meetings will be held in several locations throughout the United States. Additional details regarding specific times and venues will be provided shortly. You can also check the FRA website at www.fra.dot.gov where current information will be posted. To assist interested stakeholders with advance planning, the dates and locations for the meetings are as follows:

19 May – Kansas City, MO
20 May – Atlanta, GA
26 May- New York, NY
3 June – Salt Lake City, UT
4 June – Portland, OR

Background information

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) requires that the Federal Railroad Administration develop a National Rail Plan.

A preliminary plan was submitted to Congress in October, 2009, which is a springboard for discussion.  That document is available here-

http://www.fra.dot.gov/Downloads/RailPlanPrelim10-15.pdf

Comments are due on this no later than June 4, 2010, and should be received no later than May 3, 2010, to be considered in the critical stages of plan development.

The request for public comments is here -

http://www.thefederalregister.com/d.p/2010-04-05-2010-7543


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CORRECTION... Correction...

We have an error from one week ago in an item from David Peter Alan.  In that article it is stated that the Austin TX light rail line is the first application for Stadler’s DMU vehicle family in the USA. That is not true.  Stadler DMUs have been running on the “River Line” of New Jersey Transit in the Camden, NJ area for a number of years now. - Ed.


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END NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2010 National Corridors Initiative, Inc. as a compilation work and original content. Permission is granted to reproduce content provided acknowledgements to NCI are given. Return links to the NCI web site are encouraged and appreciated. Color Name Courtesy of Doug Alexander. Content reproduced by NCI remain the copyrights of the original publishers.

Web page links as reproduced in our articles are active at the time we go to press. Occasionally, news and information outlets may opt to archive these articles and notices under alternative web addresses after initial publication. NCI has no control over the policies of other web sites and regrets any inconvenience experienced when clicking off our web site.

We try to be accurate in the stories we write, but even seasoned pros err occasionally. If you read something you know to be amiss, or if you have a question about a topic, we’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail the editor at editor@nationalcorridors.org. Please include your name, and the community and state from which you write. For technical issues contact D. Kirkpatrick, NCI’s webmaster at webmaster@nationalcorridors.org.

Photo submissions are welcome. NCI is always interested in images that demonstrate the positive aspects of rail, transit, intermodalism, transportation-oriented development, and current newsworthy events associated with our mission. Please contact the webmaster in advance of sending large images so we can recommend attachment by e-mail or grant direct file transfer protocols (FTP) access depending on size. Descriptive text which includes location and something about the content of the image is required. We will credit the photographer and offer a return link to your web site or e-mail address.

In an effort to expand the on-line experience at the National Corridors Initiative web site, we have added a page featuring links to other transportation initiative sites. We hope to provide links to those cities or states that are working on rail transportation initiatives – state DOTs, legislators, government offices, and transportation organizations or professionals – as well as some links for travelers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. If you have a favorite link, please send the web address (URL) to our webmaster.

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