The National Corridors Initiative, Inc.

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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September 8, 2009
Vol. 10 No. 38

Copyright © 2009
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 10th Year

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

  News Items…
Key Hearing On North-South Rail Link Set
   For Massachusetts Legislature Sept. 10
  TOD Lines…
Transit Oriented Development Seen As Key To Boosting
   Downtown’s Quality of Life
  Safety Lines…
New England Truck Safety Group Warns Region
   On Truck Weight Increase
  Commuter Lines…
Twin Cities Light-Rail Corridor Advances
  Amtrak News…
2009 President’s Service and Safety Awards (PSSA);
   Recipients Announced
  Selected Rail Stocks…
AREMA 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition
  Across The Pond…
Deutsche Bahn Signs Agreement With State Of California
Trans-Asian Railway, More Expensive Due To Rail Bridges
  Guest Editorial…
Aircraft vs. Trains
Editor’s Note from David Beale
  Publication Notes …

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

Key Hearing On North-South Rail Link Set
For Massachusetts Legislature Sept. 10

By DF Staff

BOSTON --- A key hearing on the planned North-South Rail Link in Boston, which will close the last gap in Amtrak’s Richmond-to-Maine Northeast Corridor line, and creates a regional rail network in coastal and parts of inland, New England, in the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, is scheduled for 11 a.m. September 10 at the State House in Boston, State Rep. Mary Grant has announced.

The Rail Link, which was originally included in the so-called “Big Dig” highway project that buried the old “Green Monster” elevated highway under Boston’s business district, was derailed in the early 1990’s by the Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Transportation and Development, which claimed that the grades required for the tunnel between North and South station, a distance of just over a mile, would be too steep for passenger trains to negotiate. Rail advocates led by former state rail executive Guy Rosmarin, with the support of then-Governor William Weld, proved that statement to be false, but by then the damage was done and delay had set in, exacerbated a few years later when the EOTC, a largely highway-oriented bureaucracy despite the presence of Massachusetts’ [neglected] commuter rail system, concocted a new, high estimate for the project, in order to diminish political and public support for it.

This effort largely succeeded until two years ago, when the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) re-asserted his long-time support for the project, and made sure funding was restored in order to do the engineering work needed to move the project forward, which is now being advanced by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in the Senate and Congressmen Stephen Lynch (D-MA) in the U.S. House of Representatives.


At Left - Concept “spider” map of the revised rail system with the North-South connector in place.

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TOD LINES... TOD Lines...  

Photo: WikiPedia

Antioch Anti Oak Village - The Metra train station near downtown.
Transit Oriented Development Seen As Key
To Boosting Downtown’s Quality of Life

From the Chicago Daily Herald and By DF Staff

ANTIOCH, IL --- “They could have stayed home to watch the Bears game, but about 50 people came out to hear about revitalization plans for downtown Antioch Thursday night,” reporter Vincent Pierri of the Daily Herald Staff wrote this past week.

“Urban planners from Chicago-based Lakota Group and Antioch village officials presented details from an ongoing $100,000 study centering on ‘transit oriented development.’ The consultants were hired by the Chicago Regional Transit Authority which paid for the majority of the study’s cost,” reported the Daily Herald.

“This is about visualizing what you want your downtown to look like,” said Lakota project manager Kevin Clark. “And then you develop a zoning code on how to get there,” reported the paper.

Transit Oriented Development is a new name for a very old concept, that the introduction of, or improvement to, railroad service leads to economic growth. It is also the basis for the newly articulated notion of “Value Capture” to support for the long term the operating costs and capital replenishment requirements of the rail system, which are never covered in their entirety by ticket sales alone, just as highway maintenance and renewal is not fully covered by the Federal and state taxes imposed on gas sales. “Value Capture” is a way of ensuring that some the economic gain resulting from a new or improved rail system is recovered and pumped back into the corridor.

“Moving through a nearly 45-minute slide show, Clark spoke about the importance of implementing intelligent zoning regulations that would work to maintain the quaint and historical character of the business district, especially around the Metra train station. When and if future development comes, he said village officials should make sure it’s not done in a ‘hodgepodge’ way. He stressed the need to be consistent in standards that enhance the town’s character,” reported the Herald.

Dustin Nilsen, Antioch’s head of planning and zoning, said at the meeting that it is important the village hears ideas from business owners and residents: “It’s very much an opportunity to shape downtown for the future,” Nilsen said. “You can shape this process and be a part of it. It’s your village and it’s only as good as the people behind it,” reported Pierri.

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SAFETY LINES... Safety Lines...  

New England Truck Safety Group
Warns Region On Truck Weight Increase

From Internet Sources

MAINE ---The Truck Safety Coalition’s New England grassroots coordinator is urging New England voters and their representatives to oppose a bill pending in Congress that would exempt Maine interstates from Federal weight limits.

In a letter that the TSC is circulating throughout New England, in opposition to Section 194 of the Senate Appropriations Bill, which provides a one-year exemption for all Interstate highways in Maine from the present 80,000 pound federal truck size and weight limits, Stephanie Maltz,

The New England Grassroots Coordinator of Truck Safety Coalition warned that “…this provision is only a pretext for permanently raising the weight limit to 100,000 pounds on the last portion of Maine’s interstate.”

“Every year, nearly 5,000 people are killed and tens of thousands more sustain severe, crippling and costly injuries in truck crashes. This special interest exemption directly threatens the lives of everyone using Maine’s Interstates and, if enacted, will have regional and nationwide ramifications leading to increased deaths and injuries and accelerated destruction of our nation’s infrastructure,” she wrote.

Calling for immediate action to block the provision exempting Maine interstates from the law, she asked to be informed at of any organization’s support blocking the exemption, by September 10th.

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COMMUTER LINES... Commuter Lines...  

Twin Cities Light-Rail Corridor Advances

DF Staff From Progressive Railroading And Other Internet Sources

MINNEAPOLIS, AUGUST 31 -- Minnesota’s second light rail line project took a giant step forward last week when community leaders found ways to fund at least one, and perhaps as many as three, University Avenue stations. St. Paul committed to put up $5.2 million for one station. In exchange, the Metropolitan Council will purchase an $8 million downtown property along the corridor which would allow trains to make an easier turn. Originally, St. Paul would have been responsible to foot the bill.

The Federal Transit Administration [FTA] had recently approved the project as it was described in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and agreed to pay 50 % of the cost of relocating underground public utilities in downtown St. Paul. This is contingent, however, on the FTA’s approval of a Full Funding Grant Agreement next year. The FTA also awarded a $24.75 million grant to the Metropolitan Council to advance the corridor’s design and engineering work.

Photos and Drawing: Metro Transit

A simple glass-and-steel design rendering for Central Corridor stations.

Utility relocation crews will be doing preliminary work along the Central Corridor line that will connect the Minneapolis and St. Paul downtowns.

With above commitments in place, the City Council voted to approve a budget of $941 million for the project.

“Today, [August 26] we are stepping up to the plate and making real our commitment to the people who live along the line and the neighborhoods that will prosper because of it,” said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman in a written statement.

“Officially, the project does not have it (a new station) included, yet there is every reason to believe that it will happen. My message is very clear to the community and the Federal Transit Authority: We have located the funding,” said Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell.

By November 15, the city must have the funding in place, but they do not appear worried. One “tailor made” source, said the mayor’s policy director Nancy Homans, is a “scatter-site TIF [tax increment financing] district, which includes areas along the Central Corridor and currently has a cash balance “somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million, the last time I saw a document on it.”

[Editor’s note: TIF or “Value Capture” is one of the most important concepts promoted by NCI President and CEO Jim RePass, because it provides the basis for supporting the operating costs and capital replenishment requirements of a rail system, costs that cannot be covered by ticket sales alone.]

Funding for the two other new stations is still up in the air, but included in the City Council’s vote were two important provisions: 1) money from a capital reserve can be used for the stations and 2) anyone who bids on the project will be required to include the two extra stations as an option. Proponents see this as a firm acknowledgment of the extra stations’ importance.

Metro Transit Map

“That’s huge,” said Anne White, chair of the District Councils Collaborative of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “We’re very gratified that everybody recognized the need to build the three stations. ... This is something that we’re going to have to keep the pressure on.”

Central Corridor LRT, which will link downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis and connect with the already successful Hiawatha light rail line and Northstar commuter service, will create a 60-mile passenger rail network in the greater Twin Cities area, terminating at the new Minneapolis Multimodal Station adjacent to the new Minnesota Twins stadium at the western edge of downtown Minneapolis.

Construction will start next year and the first trains should start rolling in 2014.

The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Central Corridor Management Committee, which includes the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis, commissioners from Ramsey and Hennepin counties, and the University of Minnesota, provides advice and oversight.

Central Corridor LRT is projected to have 42,000 daily riders in 2030.

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AMTRAK NEWS... Amtrak News...  

2009 President’s Service and Safety Awards (PSSA); Recipients Announced

From Amtrak

On September 2, Amtrak announced the recipients of the 2009 President’s Service and Safety Awards (PSSA). Each year, the company honors employees and external partners who have made exceptional contributions to Amtrak during the previous calendar year. The following award winners will be honored (Oct. 8); Chicago (Oct. 12); Beech Grove, Ind. (Oct. 13); Providence, R.I. (Oct. 27); New York (Oct. 28); Washington, D.C. (Nov. 3); Philadelphia (Nov. 9); and Jacksonville, Fla. (Dec. 3).

Also being honored at the events are employees who have completed 30 and 35 years of service in 2009.

Richard J. Brodecki, Jr.
Gilbert E. Isaac
Christopher J. Madden
Jamison Sorensen

Project Excellence
John J. Raila
High Speed Rail Service Engineer Team

David P. Byrne
Tudorel Caliga
Sithseng Chan
George Chavesta
Anthony Cheeyou
Saluka N. Kulasinghe
Yevgeny Kuroschepov
Paul C. Marin
Randy L. Scott
Kenneth A Viera
George A. Warner
Robert L. Wilhelm
New Bank Deposit Structure Team
Jeffrey R. Carnicelli
Kevin J. Dant
Keith Warchol

State Partner
Jeffrey D. Knueppel*

Norman W. Nicholson
Lamb/Johnson Team

Shane E. Johnson
James C. Lamb

*External Nominee

Business Diversity
Renee A. Strolis

Environmental Achievement
Esposito/Liddle Environmental Team
Gary P. Esposito
Justin S. Liddle

Safety Achievement
William H. Bates
Susanne J. Gilmer

Safety Committee of the Year
Wilmington Maintenance Facility
J. Robert Duncan
DeWitt C. Foster
Walter J. Green
Gary F. Kravitz
Christopher J. Lento
Frank J. Lombardo
Richard J. Pantalino
Michael J. Reilly
William T. Steward
David K. Swain
Linda J. Turcol

Champion of the Rails
Robert Wilbur*
Texas Eagle Marketing
and Performance Organization

Christina Anderson*
Will Bozeman*
Steve and Susan Dauenhauer*
Ray Dunbar*
Matt Fels*
Dennis and Betty Glaze*
Glenn and Alta Jones*
Peter LeCody*
Joe Littlejohn*
William Pollard*
Fred and Dale Springer*
Trails and Rails Volunteers
Coy Grainger*
Fern Harrington*
Charlie and Lou Lane*
Adolpho Reyes*
Patricia Warren*
Sustained Excellence
Merlin D. Blevins
Jeanine M. Boggs
Sandra L. Brown
Samuel P. Calicotti
Fred A. Calinsky
Loretta Carr
Maria V. Castro-Leon
Cynthia A. Cole
Justin A. Collins
Robert J. Connell
Douglas A. De Lia
Douglas A. Diedrick
Sue G. Dwelle
Michael J. Frazier
Karen M. Geter
Danny J. Gregg
Lino Gutierrez
Barbara A. Hanna
Robert L. Hayhurst
Gail A. Hendrix
Terrence J. Henry
Patrick Hershkowitz
Everston L. Ifill
David C. Irish
Shreal A. Jackson
Michael P. Jerew
Janice Kavanagh
John D. Kennedy
Darryl A. Kent
Robert D. Klein
Marc O. Lambert
Carmen R. LaSanta
Farrel J. LeCompte, Sr.
David K. Lee
David Lloyd
Amy Lo

Sustained Excellence
Joseph F. LoPresti
MaryAnn Lorimer
Milton F. Lundy
John J. McCann, Jr.
Gerald D. McDonald
Geneva F. McLeod
Anne A. Merritt
Nancy J. Miller
Sherman Mitchell, Sr.
Mitchell W. Moore
Kyong Y. Park
Alan B. Phillips
Donald A. Reilly
Harold D. Richie
Melvin E. Rodgers, Jr.
Charles B. Roebuck, III
Yong A. Roop
Dianne V. Ross
Roy T. Runkles
Robert L. Ryan
Astrid J. Schettini-Rodriguez
Roger S. Seitzinger
Lawrence A. Shimko
James F. Simpson
Eugene Stewart
Susan A. White
Edward H. White, Jr.
Christopher Worley

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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...


Burlington Northern & Santa Fe(BNI)84.2384.03
Canadian National (CNI)49.6249.39
Canadian Pacific (CP)48.5750.07
CSX (CSX)45.2943.73
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)31.1631.43
Kansas City Southern (KSU)26.0024.99
Norfolk Southern (NSC)47.9646.91
Providence & Worcester (PWX)11.3511.15
Union Pacific (UNP)62.0460.63

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EVENTS... Events...  

Back to Chicago in 2009!
Save the Date for the AREMA 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition
September 20-23, 2009 - Chicago, IL
New Location - Hilton Chicago

Dear Rail Industry Professional Trade Associations:

I would like to announce our upcoming AREMA 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, September 20-23, 2009 in Chicago, IL.

We have a great line-up of 66 technical presentations in the following areas:

  • Communications & Signals
  • Engineering Services
  • Maintenance
  • Passenger & Transit
  • Structures
  • Track

The AREMA 2009 Exposition has sold out and there will be more than 130 companies exhibiting.

There will be 5 seminars in conjunction with the Conference including:

  • Introduction to Practical Railway Engineering - September 18-20
  • Intermodal Facility Design - September 19
  • Derailment Cause Finding & Derailment Prevention - September 19-20
  • FRA 214: Roadway Work On-Track Safety Workshop - September 12
  • Track Alignment Design - September 23-25

Please click on the following link for more information on these seminars:

Please click on the following link for more information:

AREMA would appreciate your help in promoting our Annual Conference and future events to your members by including our event on your industry calendar or monthly newsletter.

Please click on the following link for more information on future events:

Please call or email me if you have any questions.

Thank you in advance!
Have a wonderful and safe day!

Lisa M. Hall
Manager of Marketing & Program Services

10003 Derekwood Lane
Suite 210
Lanham, MD 20706

Phone: +1.301.459.3200 ext. 705
Fax: +1.301.459.8077

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

Installments by David Beale
NCI Foreign Editor


Deutsche Bahn Signs Agreement
With State Of California

German High-Speed Train Know-how for the Golden State

Via press release from the German Ministry of Transport

Sacramento – Deutsche Bahn – German Railways – entered an agreement with the State of California last Friday (28th August) to provide technical and business consulting services to the state for the planned high speed rail network. “The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation regarding high-speed trains is an excellent foundation upon many years of experience with high-speed rail trains of Deutsche Bahn AG and the German railway industry for planning the project in California,” said the State Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Prof. Dr. Engelbert Daldrup, at the signing of a (MoU) between the Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs and the California High Speed Rail Authority on the 28th of August in Sacramento, California.

The planned “California-Corridor” Project is part of a larger program of the US Government for the realization of a total of eleven high-speed rail projects in the USA. It shall connect the cities of San Francisco / Sacramento and Los Angeles / San Diego with one another. Much of the route will be built on all-new right-of-ways.

Dr. Daldrup added: “German high-speed rail train projects are for more than15 years very successful, not only in Germany, but also in many other countries such as Spain, China and Russia. We therefore have a very strong interest in making available this outstanding technology and the expertise also to California. Of particular interest is the idea of a so-called “zero emission train” for the California Corridor. For the operation of such trains, the energy is generated entirely from renewable energy sources.”

Images by NC3D. - Artist’s concept images of future high speed train system in California.

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Trans-Asian Railway, More Expensive
Due To Rail Bridges

Trans-Asia Railway Network To Link China With Southeast Asia

Via Xinhua Press Agency Release

Hanoi – The Trans-Asian Railway feasibility study commissioned by China Railway Group has revealed the fact that the project would require further investments to cover costs, which are higher than expected. The study refers to the 225 km long segment connecting the Vietnamese and the Cambodian networks. The necessity for higher investments comes from the need to build a large number of bridges that would have to be built across the Mekong Delta and its many tributaries. The feasibility study put the final cost at between US $500 Million and US $600 Million. According to the Preliminary Technical Study Report, the 1,000-meter long bridge crossing of the Mekong River and 1,500-meter bridge over the Tonle Sap would be the big-ticket items with a combined $262 Million, while the construction of smaller bridges along the line will rise to $120 Million.

The project will have to find additional funding and given that it will benefit the entire region, it might find support from the Asian Development Bank or the World Bank. The line will transform Cambodia into a railway hub of significant importance, providing links with China, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.

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GUESTE DITORIAL... Guest Editorial...  

Aircraft vs. Trains


View From The Aviation Industry

Reprinted with permission from Aviation Industry News
By Philip Tozer-Pennington, Managing Editor, Ubm Aviation

London – The UK has announced plans for a north to south high speed rail network this week, which will in effect bring the passenger door-to-door more quickly, easily and comfortably than any airline can currently manage. The proposed rail links will run between London and Glasgow and Edinburgh, with stops on the way for Birmingham and Manchester. Travel times from London to Scotland will be cut to two hours 16 minutes, with travel times between London and Manchester cut to just over an hour.

This news is bad for the UK’s major domestic carriers including British Airways (BA) and bmi (formerly British Midlands International Airlines). They will over time, if the rail development goes ahead, be outclassed and taxed out of the market for routes covered by the rail line.

Normally any major infrastructure project in the UK suffers from mad planning laws and disjointed communication, but worryingly for the UK domestic-air-carriers this time the UK government has ensured that everyone is on the same page. British Airways, for example, might look at this rail link and assume that they will be fine because of the transfer traffic from Heathrow to Scotland – not so! British Airport Authority (BAA) and Network Rail have today issued a release stating that the two organizations agree that for the rail link to work it must be integrated with London Heathrow (LHR).

The UK it seems is thinking the same as the rest of the EU: in that linking airport hubs across the continent will be the key for reducing emission from air travel. Good news for the environment and travelers, but what of the aviation industry? The future is far from certain, but it could well be that little bit greener, that is unless aircraft switch to fuel derived from sustainable sources. In that instance it is the rail network which will be the enemy, as aviation takes the “green option” mantle. What a strange world!

Photo: Deutsche Bahn AG.

Airline killer . . . or . . . Lufthansa flight 8875 from Frankfurt to Berlin? High speed trains such as this ICE-1 en-route to Berlin seen here east of Wolfsburg in summer 2004 will likely assume more and more passenger hauling duties from shorter range airline flights as oil prices continue to rise and the pressure to reduce CO2 emissions increases. Some airlines will enter the business of operating high-speed trains or at least start booking and selling tickets on high speed trains.


Editor’s Note from David Beale

The recent news stories out of the U.K. about replacing domestic airline flights within Great Britain with new high speed rail lines and trains caused a large stir within the European aviation industry news media world, much of it based in Britain. The aviation industry in Britain is large, the country is home to Rolls-Royce, one of the three big jet engine manufacturers of the world, and Britain continues to be a major partner in the Airbus consortium with significant sections and components of Airbus commercial airliners manufactured in the U.K. As recently as the mid 1990s the U.K. was one of the few countries in the world where commercial jet aircraft were assembled, the others being France, Germany, the USA, Russia, Canada and more recently Brazil and China. British Airways (BA) was for many decades the largest commercial airline in Europe, although in the last decade Lufthansa and Air France-KLM have passed by BA in terms of both fleet sizes and passenger volumes. Britain is also home to the hubs of several large low cost airline such as EasyJet and Ryanair.

The attention the aviation news media has given the recent government statements about high-speed rail in the U.K. reflect a growing concern in the commercial aviation industry that there are tough times ahead due to ever increasing focus on carbon emissions and usage of kerosene from non-renewable fossil fuel sources. Europe plans to subject airlines to a mandatory carbon trading system that will surely obliterate all of their cost advantages over railroads regarding energy supplies, especially the current tax-free status of jet fuel compared to highly taxed diesel and electric power for railroads. But it is more or less impossible for airlines to escape the laws of physics and thermodynamics, which result in airliners consuming between two and four times the energy per person than modern trains consume from point A to point B. As airports become increasingly more crowded and security checks more time consuming, the speed advantage airlines enjoy over TGV and ICE high speed trains melts away, especially on trips shorter than 500 miles, which is the approximate length of Great Britain.

On the alternative fuels front, the news for aviation looks murky. A number of tests with bio-fuels in jet liners have proven that the engines can indeed operate on bio-fuels without technical problems and without expensive modifications, but the search for a reliable and ecologically friendly source of bio-jet fuel in the massive quantities required for commercial aviation remains a huge challenge. And unlike electrically powered high speed trains, there is no practical way to convert wind power and solar generated electricity into kerosene for airliners.

The medium and long term solution for forward-thinking airlines may be the motto: if you can’t beet them, then join them – at least on the short to medium length routes. Currently several airlines operate „code share flights” on selected high-speed trains in France, Germany and Belgium. Rumors continue to circulate that Air France – KLM are looking for a rail industry partner in order to offer high-speed train services in competition against existing services offered by SNCF, Deutsche Bahn, Eurostar and Thalys. And more recently the airline Virgin Atlantic Airways signed an agreement with Eurostar, the high speed train operator between London, Paris and Brussels, thus allowing Virgin Atlantic airline passengers to continue their trips via Eurostar on their Virgin Atlantic ticket when going to or from London.

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END NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2009 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.

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