Vol. 8 No. 25
June 18, 2007

Copyright © 2007
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved

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www.nationalcorridors.org

Destination:Freedom
A weekly North American transportation update

The E-Zine of the National Corridors Initiative Inc.

Publisher - James P. RePass
Editor - Molly McKay
European Correspondent - David Beale
Webmaster - Dennis Kirkpatrick

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

IN THIS EDITION...  In this edition...

  News Items…
“Tunnel to Nowhere” will now be built, connecting
   LIRR with Grand Central Station
East Side Access Project
Fight the Boozman “Kill Amtrak” Amendment
  Events…
Massachusetts Lt. Gov Tim Murray Headlines Six-State Summit
   on Transportation, Cooperation
APT Meets in Boston June 25.
  Off the Main Line…
Connecticut’s unfinished business
  Commuter lines…
NJ Transit: It’s not cheaper to keep aging cars
MBTA to close Green Line branch
Mayor pushes for new LIRR, Metro-North stations
  Selected rail stocks…
  Freight lines…
Suit alleges price-fixing in railroad fuel surcharges
P&W Rhode Island: Construction Underway; Boosts auto by rail
  Across the pond…
New low-cost ticket sale by Deutsche Bahn
  End notes…


NEWS OF THE WEEK... News items...

“Tunnel to Nowhere” will now be built,
connecting LIRR with Grand Central Station

By DF Staff and from Internet Sources

QUEENS, NY, JUNE 11 -- A giant earth-eating machine, which will open the long-awaited path for the Long Island Railroad to connect directly with eastern Manhattan, arrived in New York in pieces on June 12, 2007, ready to be assembled.

The equipment, known as a TBM, or Tunnel Boring Machine, was built and tested in Rome, Italy, before being shipped by sea to New York in May and trucked to the installation site in Queens.

A May 22nd press release by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reported that the 200 ton TBM was tested outside of Rome, Italy, in April and then disassembled. The cutter head and largest components were shipped by boat in pieces. Its trailing gear and the smaller components were shipped separately to arrive at the end of the month. The largest components arrived at Red Hook, N.Y. on Saturday, May 19. Once the shipment had cleared customs, the pieces were taken by truckload to Long Island City, Queens.

With the shipments completed, urban miners, known as “sandhogs,” waited to lower the 32 pieces into the excavation site where they will be assembled, a task that alone will take about two months, said Mysore Nagaraja, the head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s construction arm. “This is a big milestone in the East Side Access project,” said Nagaraja, comparing the device’s arrival to that of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

Tunnel under construction

Two Images - New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Tunnel boring equipment

East Side Access Project

Access to the East Side of Manhattan has long been a dream of LIRR riders who work on the East Side but must now commute into the Long Island Rail Road’s sole current Manhattan terminus at the congested Pennsylvania Station, on the West Side. A 1998 study showed that only 36% of all jobs in Midtown are within walking distance of Pennsylvania Station, while almost 70% are within walking distance of Grand Central Terminal, the other major Manhattan rail terminal. Direct service to the East Side would allow many riders to walk to work and allow other riders to reduce the number of subway and bus transfers they must make in order to reach their jobs. The new LIRR East Side station under Grand Central Terminal will offer new entrances, a concourse, eight tracks on four platforms and a mid-level mezzanine.

 

The components of the 200-ton borer will be pushed from the excavation site in Queens through an existing tunnel under the river to a rock cavern 140 feet below the corner of 63rd Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan.

A portion of this tunnel was built in two levels in 1969, but wasn’t used for service until 1989. The top level was for the subway trains, which only ran a short distance into Queens until 2001 when the tube was connected with subway lines running along Queens Boulevard. The tunnel’s lower deck, built to carry Long Island Rail Road trains to the East Side of Manhattan, was never finished and was mockingly dubbed “tunnel to nowhere.” Even today, it goes nowhere, “a testament to high aspirations and low finances,” comments New York Times writer William Neuman.

Getting the huge components to the section of the tunnel where the machine will be assembled is a major task in itself, described below by Neuman:

“Crews report for work in Sunnyside, Queens, where an elevator carries them eight stories under the ground. There, a rickety set of track runs into the tunnel mouth.

“A low-slung train designed for use in mining operations runs on the track. The workers call it a “man-trip.” It has two cars with two rows of bare wooden benches facing one another. Inside there is room only to sit, not stand, during the 10-minute trip to the Manhattan end of the tunnel.

“Horn blaring, the man-trip catapults through the tunnel with the noise of 500 garbage cans being dragged through an alley. Small mesh-covered windows give glimpses of a hidden realm bathed in tangerine light: a pile of gray rocks, a stream of water pouring from something that looks like a tap in the tunnel roof. Even at the dead end of the tunnel in Manhattan there is graffiti, something familiar in a distant place.

“At its Manhattan terminus, the tunnel is made up of two concrete tubes side-by-side in the earth, each one 19 and a half feet across. A sludge of powdered rock is underfoot. At the end, a rough face of black Manhattan schist glints with bits of mica.

“Already there is a 65-foot-long cavern on one side, where the first machine will be assembled -- a 200-ton robot that eats rock.”

By late summer, the giant drill will start punching through solid rock from Second Avenue to Park Avenue, where it will turn south for 27 blocks -- a little over a mile – to Grand Central, said MTA spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla.

Next year a second tunnel-boring machine will be put in place and will begin cutting a parallel channel under Manhattan. When the $6.3 billion project is completed, one tunnel will carry Manhattan-bound trains and the other will carry trains going to Long Island.

The completed tunnel, scheduled to open in 2013, will carry an estimated 160,000 commuters daily between suburbs in Long Island and Grand Central.

The new connection is expected to reduce a typical LIRR commute by 40 minutes and increase Long Island rail service to Manhattan by 41 percent.

The LIRR tunnel project is one element of a larger plan to expand public transit connections on the city’s East Side. A separate project is the Second Avenue Subway running north and south through the East Side, taking pressure off the century-old Lexington line, New York’s busiest subway.

This 8.5-mile plan has been plagued by false starts and budget shortfalls for over 80 years, but this time, supported by city and state officials, it is finally expected to go forward. It, too, involves the use of giant boring machines.

The transit agency said this project will also provide a connection from Manhattan’s East Side to the AirTrain which goes from Jamaica, Queens, to John F. Kennedy International Airport

The subway project is slated to be completed by 2020.


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Alert to DF Readers:

 

Fight the Boozman “Kill Amtrak” Amendment

 

National Association of Railroad Passenger (NARP), MidWest High Speed Rail Association and our foreign correspondent David Beale all contacted NCI about this bad amendment.

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will “mark up” (consider) H.R. 2701, the Transportation Energy Security and Climate Change Mitigation Act of 2007 (more commonly known as the “climate change bill”). Representative John Boozman (R-Arkansas) will be offering an amendment that would suspend Amtrak’s right of access to the tracks of the freight railroads, thereby threatening the very existence of U.S. intercity passenger rail.

At 75 members, the T&I committee is the largest on Capitol Hill, so chances are good that your Representative is either a member or good friends with one or more members. Please ask your Representative to work against the Boozman amendment.

A full list of T&I members can be found here http://transportation.house.gov/about.

Contact your Representative and a) if they are a member of the committee, urge them to vote against the amendment or b) if they are not a member, encourage them to reach out to their colleagues and oppose the amendment. You do not contact your Senators at this time.

Given that the vote is on Wednesday, June 20, E-mails and letters are not timely (the response time for emails can be up to three weeks). You need to call or fax your Representative.

National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) is offering their toll-free Congressional Action hotline for you to contact your Representative. Call 1-800-679-1581; when prompted, enter our access code: 1189. Please make this call during normal House business hours which are generally 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern Daylight time, Monday-Friday.

You can also access your Representative’s homepage at http://www.house.gov.

The message to your Representative needs to be: “Please vote against the Boozman amendment to H.R. 2701. Removing Amtrak’s right of access to freight railroads will eliminate all Amtrak trains outside of the Northeast Corridor--both short and long distance. Elimination of the trains will be bad--not good--for the environment, the economy and the mobility of all Americans who wish to use rail service.”

( Editor’s note: It is important to contact your congressman to show the opposition to this outrageous amendment. Although it has little or no chance of passing, it is a dangerous amendment because of the mindset it represents - a total lack of regard for ordinary people. This is the same mindset of the people who mishandled the Katrina catastrophe. ) Below is more supplemental information, including text of the amendment and comments from the Committee’s professional staff.

The text of the amendment is below: “49 USC 24308” is legislation that created Amtrak, specifically the section that deals with access to freight railroads):

“49 USC 24308 is amended by adding the following new section:

(f) The provisions of paragraph (a) through (e) of this section shall apply to fully electrified railroads. With regard to non-electrified railroads, the provisions of paragraphs (a) through (e) shall apply only to lines of track where the Secretary first certifies that implementation of such provisions would not result in increased highway congestion, fossil fuel usage, air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.”

As information, Section 24308 provides Amtrak with preferential access to freight rail lines. In sum, the section: authorizes Amtrak to enter into an agreement with a rail carrier or regional transportation authority to use facilities of, and have services provided by, the carrier or authority under terms on which the parties agree. If the parties cannot agree, the section sets forth a process by which the Surface Transportation Board can order that the facilities be made available and the services provided to Amtrak and prescribe reasonable terms and compensation. - allows Amtrak to seek immediate and appropriate legal remedies to enforce its contract rights when track maintenance on a route over which Amtrak operates falls below the contractual standard.

  • provides emergency authority for Amtrak: to facilitate operation by Amtrak during an emergency, such as Hurricane Katrina, the Board can require a rail carrier to provide facilities immediately during the emergency.
  • Allows Amtrak to apply to the Secretary for an order requiring a freight rail carrier to allow accelerated speeds on trains operated by or for Amtrak.
  • Allows Amtrak to apply to the Secretary for an order requiring a freight rail carrier to allow for the operation of additional trains over a rail line.

Note from Committee staff:

“The Boozman amendment would essentially eliminate Amtrak’s preferential access rights to freight lines (as described above) unless the Secretary first certifies that implementation of the provisions would not result in increased highway congestion, fossil fuel usage, air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. Although it would seemingly not increase highway congestion because you are taking passengers out of cars, you could argue that it might increase highway congestion if freight trains are delayed (but that’s a stretch). Any train activity would, however, increase fossil fuel usage, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions so this provision could have significant consequences for Amtrak.”


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EVENTS - MEETINGS...  Events...

Massachusetts Lt. Gov Tim Murray Headlines Six-State
Summit On Transportation, Cooperation

June 22 – Springfield, MA City Hall

SPRINGFIELD, MA ---Senior elected leaders, as well as representatives of the transportation and environmental advocacy and professional communities from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, New York State, and Connecticut, will gather in Springfield June 22 at Springfield City Hall to hear Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, and other leaders address the region’s growing transportation crisis, and how the New England states must work more closely together to solve it.

MASS LT GOV TIM MURRAY

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Tim Murray

The second in a series of regional summit conferences assembled by the National Corridors Initiative (www.nationalcorridors.org) at the request of the Connecticut state legislature’s leadership, the unprecedented six-state transportation summit (CT, R, MA, VT, and NY) is being hosted by Springfield Mayor Charles V. Ryan, and will focus on interstate projects to boost economic development in the region. The conference opens to the public at 10:30 a.m., Room 220 City Hall, with RSVP to NCI at: jprepass@nationalcorridors.org.

The conference grew out of an NCI White Paper calling for a permanent regional New England/New York multistate entity to tackle infrastructure needs on a permanent basis. “Once upon a time, when a day’s horseback ride defined the concept of ‘region,’ the small New England states could get away with silo-based decision-making. Those days are long gone, and we need to work with one another to plan, design, fund, build and operate large infrastructure projects, especially those involving transportation and energy,” stated NCI President James RePass.

“We define ‘infrastructure’ as anything that moves people, goods, energy, or ideas,” said RePass, “and New England and upstate New York, as well as the Eastern Canadian provinces, are challenged because of long-term demographic changes, accompanied by a failure to study and invest in infrastructure in a way that benefits the region as a whole. It’s not about roads, or trains, or air. It’s about systems. There are a lot of brainy people in the region. We need to put them to work, but that work needs to be organized, and it has to survive the changes in the governors’ mansions and legislatures as time goes by. New England, upstate New York, and the Maritimes, are profoundly beautiful places. There is no reason why we should through dereliction allow the Northeast to decline.”

In addition to Mayor Ryan and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, the conference, open to the public starting at 10:30 a.m., includes: Rhode Island Lt Gov Elizabeth Roberts, NCI President & CEO Jim RePass, Lyle Wray, Executive Director Capitol Region Council of Governments (Hartford), CT House Speaker Jim Amann, Office of VT LG Brian Dubie, Bombardier Vice President Robert Furniss, CT Deputy Commissioner for Rail Al Martin, Massachusetts Undersecretary of Transportation Wendy Stern, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Tim Brennan, Patricia Quinn Executive Director, NNE Passenger Rail Authority, Kip Bergstrom Executive Director, RI Economic Policy Council, Office of NY Lt. Gov David Patterson, Peter Picknelly, President, Peter Pan Bus Lines, and John Businger, Vice President for the North-South Rail Link, NCI.

New England Transportation Summit

Springfield at the Crossroads

Friday, June 22, 2007

Historic Springfield City Hall
36 Court Street, Springfield, MA

Agenda:

9:30 a.m.Speakers’ Coffee: Mayor’s Office, Room 221, Springfield City Hall
10:30 a.m.Press Briefing: Mayor’s Office, Room 221, Media
10:40 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.   Conference, Room 220, City Hall: All
- - - - -- - - - -
Speaker Schedule: 
10:30 a.m.Assemble in Room 220
10:40Welcome, Springfield Mayor Charles V. Ryan
10:45Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Tim Murray
10:55Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts
11:05Connecticut House Speaker Jim Amann
11:15New York Office of Lt. Gov. David Patterson
11:25Vermont Office of Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie
11:35Patricia Quinn, Executive Director,
Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority
11:55Break
12:30 p.m.“The Knowledge Corridor” and More ---
Connecticut Deputy Commissioner for Rail
Albert Martin and Massachusetts Undersecretary of Transportation Wendy Stern
1:00Lyle Wray, Executive Director, Capitol Region Council of Governments, Hartford
1:15 Kip Bergstrom, Executive Director, Rhode Island Economic Policy Council
1:30Peter Picknelly, President, Peter Pan Bus Lines
1:45Robert Furniss, Vice President Bombardier
2:00Tim Brennan, Executive Director, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
2:15 Jim RePass, President, and John Businger, VP for the North-South Rail Link, NCI

Directions to Springfield City Hall:

From Enfield, Hartford, and other points south:
Take I-91 North to Exit 6, onto East Columbus Avenue. After the second light, you will see City/Symphony Hall on your right. I-91 South garage on left, Columbus Ctr. garage 2 blocks on right. 

From Holyoke, Northampton, and points north:
Take I-91 South to Exit 7 (Springfield Center). Go through light at end of ramp. Take immediate left into I-91 South garage.

Traveling East or West on Rt.20 or Mass Pike:
Take Exit 4 to I-91 South and follow the Holyoke Northampton directions above


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APT Meets in Boston June 25

 

“Rebuilding New York’s economy & transportation after 9/11”
A promising model for Greater Boston and Massachusetts

The Association for Public Transportation cordially invites you to a special evening with
NY Regional Plan Association President Robert D. Yaro

Robert Yaro

NY Regional Plan Association President
Robert D. Yaro
The Association for Public Transportation Inc. (APT) is pleased to announce its 2007 Annual Meeting with keynote speaker, Robert D. Yaro, President of NY-NJ-CT Regional Plan Association (RPA). Headquartered in Manhattan and founded in 1922, RPA is America’s oldest and most respected independent metropolitan research and advocacy group. New York City’s economy was decimated after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But New York has not only survived the destruction, it has thrived. The entire Northeast region faces challenges as lower cost regions (domestic and international) pursue our businesses, educated population, and established tax base. Adding to the difficulties are crumbling infrastructures, unrelenting traffic congestion, and the potential effects of climate change.

Will Greater Boston and Massachusetts meet these challenges head on, or will the Commonwealth stand idly by while its tax base erodes? How will investment in Intercity Rail increase the region’s competitiveness?

Mr. Yaro, chair of The Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York, holds a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University, and a BA in Urban Studies from Wesleyan University. Join APT and Mr. Yaro at the beautiful Downtown Harvard Club, with its panoramic views of Greater Boston, as these important questions are discussed and debated. The reception will feature hors d’oeuvres, door prizes, and a cash bar.

APT was founded in 1973 with the mission that effective, affordable, and accessible public transportation is critical for the region’s economic prosperity and quality of life. APT publishes the classic survival book “Car-Free® in Boston”, now in its tenth edition.

* * *

Click here for an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) brochure and registration form for mailing.

Additional information is on our Meeting’s Page.


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OFF THE MAIN LINE...  Off the Main line...

Connecticut’s unfinished business

HARTFORD, CT -- Connecticut will head into special session possibly this week to resolve unfinished matters of the budget. Several transit issues, mostly affecting Fairfield County which has the worst congestion and the worst air quality in the state, will be on the agenda, reported the Greenwich Times in an article by Mark Ginocchio.

Initiatives such as a revenue-generating alternative for a $1-per-ride surcharge on all New Haven Line trains, funding for projects like a new Stamford train station parking garage ($35 million) and sound barriers on Interstate 95 ($10 million) are expected to be addressed as part of the legislature’s budget talks. Another matter likely to be examined is a $4.5 million study of congestion-pricing tolls on state highways -- tolls that charge motorists different rates based on peak and off-peak hours.

The package stressed a “fix-it-first” approach to repairing roads and bridges before building new ones, the article states.

An alternative to the $1 surcharge on trains, which some feel is more equitable, is a 1 percent annual increase in fares starting in 2011 and continuing for a period of seven years. Many commuters are worried that this surcharge will not be overturned, but Sen. William Nickerson, R-Greenwich, said he was confident that the bill would pass in a special session. He helped design the alternative plan.

Also included in the transportation package: $43 million to improve bus service, $20 million to establish a transit-oriented development grant program, and free transit for senior citizens on buses and trains during off-peak hours.

Unlike the state budget, the initiatives approved by the legislature’s Transportation Committee earlier this year appear to have bipartisan support, with only a few minor quibbles, said committee member Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford.

Floyd Lapp, Executive Director of the South Western Regional Planning Agency, said the state can’t wait much longer to pass legislation pertaining to congestion pricing and transit-oriented development. “We are already behind many other parts of the country there,” Lapp said. “If we fail to (pass) it again, it will be one more year we’ve written off.”


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COMMUTER LINES...  Commuter lines...

NJ Transit:

It’s not cheaper to keep aging cars

Agency votes to buy 45 more multilevel cars

NEWARK, JUNE 14 -- New Jersey Transit’s board of directors has decided it is more cost effective to buy new rail cars rather than overhauling the old single level Comet III cars that have been in service since 1990.

A story in the Star Ledger by Tom Feeney reports that New Jersey Transit will buy 45 new multilevel rail cars from Bombardier Transportation at a cost of $67.3 million.

The order brings to 279 the number of multilevel cars Bombardier will deliver to New Jersey by 2009.

NJ Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles said that the overhaul of the 49 old cars would cost $1 million each and that, with the favorable price Bombardier offered, it made sense financially to invest in the new multi-level cars.

The multilevels are also more comfortable and have proven popular with riders, he said.

In March, a routine inspection revealed marks on the brake discs. The cars were out of service for three days while the discs were replaced, and there have been no further problems since, said Sarles. The brakes were sent back to Bombardier for inspection.

Bombardier has delivered 23 of the cars, which are being used on the Northeast Corridor.


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MBTA to close Green Line branch
for major infrastructure repairs

By Dennis Kirkpatrick, NCI Webmaster
From Press and Internet reports

It has been in planning for several months and now it is formal. Segments of the MBTA’s “D” branch of the Green Line trolley service will close most of the summer for major repairs.

In a press conference held this past week, the MBTA’s general manager, Daniel A. Grabauskas outlined a plan estimated to cost in the vicinity of $8 Million dollars.

According to reports from MBTA officials, rail ties and power lines along the “D” branch are as much as 35 to 50 years old with failure on the horizon.

“This is unacceptable, and we are taking on an aggressive plan this summer to address much-needed maintenance that is contributing to the irregular service along the ‘D’ branch,” Grabauskas said.

The infrastructure project will start later this week on June 23 and will continue from 7:00 a.m. until dusk for about 10 weeks.

The “D” branch of the Green Line has incurred a 10-mile per hour speed restriction at various locations along the Boston-to-Newton corridor producing frustration for the ridership as one section glides along at 40 miles per hour only to be slowed to 10 miles per hour at another stretch of the line.

Repair crews will replace some 15,000 railroad ties during the line’s closure. About 20,000 have already been replaced over the past few years. Additional work involves brush cutting, cleaning and improving ditches and drainage, rail grinding, surfacing and aligning the track for a smoother ride, cleaning the right-of-way and re-grading the ballast. Workers will also replace 14 miles of 50-year old power cable and 6 miles of 35-year old signal cable.

The project will also allow the MBTA to introduce easy-to-board, low-floor Green Line vehicles in early 2008. The new low-floor units manufactured by Breda already ply the Green line’s other branches.

During the closure, the MBTA will take advantage of the situation and begin the reconstruction of two stations at “Longwood” and “Brookline Village” as well as begin reconstruction of the Hyde Street Bridge in Newton. The stations will remain open to revenue service throughout the construction period, which is slated for completion next summer. The Hyde Street Bridge should be complete this winter.

Post repairs, on-time-performance is expected to improve substantially and travel times of 6-8 minutes will be shaved from many riders trips as areas that were once restricted to 10 miles per hour will operate at 40 and 50 miles per hour. This will be the first time since 1993, some 14 years, that the trains will operate at these speeds.

This project will proceed in two phases during which the MBTA will provide bus replacement service. Phase I between Riverside Station in Newton and Reservoir Station in Brighton will commence on June 23 and run through August 3. Phase II between Reservoir Station and Fenway Station will run from August 4 to 31. Track work will be performed between the hours of 7 AM and dusk – Monday through Friday, however some weekend work will be required.

Sensitive to the rider’s needs, the MBTA plans on operating the “D” branch for the July 4th holiday in order to handle the tens-of-thousands of riders that attend Boston’s annual Boston Pops Concert on the Charles River Esplanade.

Additional efforts will be made to add more service on the “C” & “E” branches of the Green Line which parallel the “D” in places. For the Red Sox baseball fans that travel to and from the Fenway and Kenmore Stations, the MBTA will provide special direct service bus runs from Riverside to Fenway stations on game days. Some 27 ball games will be held in Boston during the summer months.

Progress can be followed at the MBTA’s web site (www.mbta.com).

The project is slated to be complete by Labor Day in September.

One other trolley branch in the MBTA’s service remains closed, that being the Ashmont-to-Mattapan branch, considered an extension of the Red Line service. The Mattapan trolley closed several months ago as the result of a rebuild of Ashmont Station from the ground up which will relocate the trolley turn-around loop. During the closure, Mattapan Station is also getting a new head house, and various track and trolley wire repairs are also being undertaken along the line. Service to this line will resume on completion of the station rebuild several months from now. The Ashmont-Mattapan branch is the only line in Boston still operating Presidents Conference Committee (PCC) era trolleys which have been rebuilt and are maintained at Mattapan. The rebuild is expected to give the PCC cars an additional 20 years of life expectancy.


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Mayor pushes for new LIRR,
Metro-North stations

NEW YORK CITY, JUNE 11 – Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants two new Long Island Rail Road Stations in Queens and two more Metro-North stations in the Bronx, reports Jennifer Barrios, staff writer for Newsday

“Standing outside a coffee shop in the cavernous Grand Central Terminal Sunday,” Bloomberg announced that if his congestion-pricing plan, called PlaNYC, is successful, the new stations can become a reality.

The plan is similar to London’s -- motorists who drive into parts of Manhattan during peak hours would pay a fee of $8.00 The proceeds would go to improve mass transit, including the new stations.

The new LIRR stations would be located in Elmhurst and Corona. The Metro-North stations would be built in Co-op City and Parkchester.

If PlaNYC is implemented, Bloomberg said, the four stations would begin to be built as soon as a year from now.

The plan has received several key endorsements, including that of Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Elmhurst).


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: www.MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week
Burlington Northern & Santa Fe(BNI) 88.3588.78
Canadian National (CNI) 53.4353.34
Canadian Pacific (CP) 71.6470.85
CSX (CSX) 45.0645.00
Florida East Coast (FLA) 83.8783.98
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR) 31.2131.12
Kansas City Southern (KSU) 40.5040.84
Norfolk Southern (NSC) 55.8854.89
Providence & Worcester (PWX) 19.6019.90
Union Pacific (UNP)120.26116.65


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FREIGHT LINES...  Freight lines...

Suit alleges price-fixing
in railroad fuel surcharges

By DF Staff and from Internet Sources

NEWARK --- Five of the largest U.S. railroads are the target of a class-action lawsuit filed this past week in Federal District Court, claiming that fuel surcharges added to freight bills as petroleum prices soared were imposed by collusion.


CSX, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific were named in a suit brought by a shipper of soil additives, Dust Pro Inc., of Phoenix, AZ. The suit asks that the company be allowed to represent all alleged victims of the fuel-surcharge practice.

According to Reuters, the suit claims the alleged price fixing started in mid-2003 and allowed the railroads to curb competition in the market for unregulated rail freight transportation services.

The Wall Street Journal says the suit claims “restrained competition in the market for unregulated rail freight transportation services,” causing customers to be overcharged “billions of dollars.”

The Surface Transportation Board issued a rule in January on the way railroads calculate fuel surcharges, declaring it an “unreasonable practice for railroads to compute fuel surcharges in a manner that does not correlate with actual fuel costs for specific rail shipments.”

Dust Pro Inc. manufactures dust suppressants such as Dustac and Ligtac, used to reduce dust levels.


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A selection from this week’s
Atlantic Northeast Rails & Ports e-Bulletin
By Chalmers (Chop) Hardenbergh, publisher and editor
e-mail: C_Hardenbergh@juno.com
To subscribe go to: www.atlanticnortheast.com

P&W Rhode Island: Construction
Underway; Boosts auto by rail

 

DAVISVILLE, RI --- Auto shipper NORAD and the P&W Railroad have begun to construct new trackage at Davisville.

Now, reported PW General, Counsel Marie Angelini, NORAD is doing site preparation, and then PW workers, supervised by Bernie Cartier and Dick Ross, will build three 1100-foot tangent tracks of concrete ties and welded rail in asphalt.

“The new yard (in addition to existing paved tracks closer to the docks) will be used for pretrip loading/unloading of motor vehicles.”

On 13 June, NORAD’s Mike Miranda reported that the work will end in “four to five weeks. We expect to move railcars out of Davisville in July.” He declined to describe the customer or the route, because the customers he is attracting have existing agreements with other carriers.

Construction begins at Davisville auto import shipping facility

Photo via ANR&P

Construction begins at Davisville auto import shipping facility

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ACROSS THE POND...  Across the pond...

Installments By David Beale
NCI Foreign Correspondent

 

New low-cost ticket sale by Deutsche Bahn

Source: Hannover Allgemeine Zeitung, Business Section

JUNE 5 -- Hannover - Deutsche Bahn (DBAG) will attempt to attract many new customers by offering 750,000 tickets for sale each month at reduced prices between EUR 29 and EUR 69 ( US $39 - $93) for coach class one-way tickets on DB trains up to and including ICE trains for trips within Germany. The tickets will be sold only via DB’s internet site (www.bahn.de) or from certain DB automated ticket vending machines under the marketing name of “Dauer-Spezial” (roughly translated: everyday special). The marketing move mirrors previous low-fare ticket sales conducted by DBAG in the past via untraditional outlets such as Lidl discount supermarket chain and McDonalds fast food restaurants. However, this action is not a one-time event, unlike the actions with Lidl and McDonalds.

These discount tickets will be made available for certain qualifying trains and routes and the ticket must be purchased at least three days in advance of the trip. The fare varies between EUR 29 and EUR 69 depending upon several factors including trip length, departure time, starting point and ending point. The new marketing campaign will replace several on-going intercity ticket sales campaigns such as “Surf & Rail” and “Sommer Spezial.”

The move by DBAG to offer 750,000 low fare tickets per month is the company’s latest attempt to improve load factors on certain intercity trains. While DBAG’s IC, EC and ICE intercity trains are typically sold out during popular travel times such as Monday mornings, Friday afternoons, Sunday evenings and holiday periods, the same trains frequently operate during low demand periods such as weekday evenings or Sunday mornings with load factors often in the single digit range. Taking note from the airline industry DBAG is attempting to improve yield management by filling seats in intercity trains during such low demand periods by selling tickets at a deep discount. With the costs of operating these trains almost completely independent from the number of passengers on-board, financial critics will certainly welcome any move by DBAG to earn additional revenue from many currently under-patronized intercity trains.

German rail advocacy group “Pro Bahn” also welcomed the introduction of “Dauer Spezial.” Pro Bahn chairman Karl-Peter Naumann stated that the low-cost fare offer brings simplicity and more transparency to DBAG’s discount fare structure compared to previous low fare ticket sales and provides a more sensible alternative to reducing individual operating losses on such trains without resorting to outright cancellation.


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