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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September 21, 2009
Vol. 10 No. 40

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

Home Page: www.nationalcorridors.org

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

  News Items…
Senate Passes Record $11 Billion THUD Appropriation
   For Public Transit In FY 2010
  Stimulus Lines…
Transit Systems To Receive More ARRA Investments
Joliet Center Part of Statewide Rail Push
  Environmental Lines…
Lahood, Jackson, Announce Carbon Emissions, Fuel Economy Plan
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Events…
2009 Annual Meeting - American Public Transportation Association
New England Governors Set Goals For Renewable Energy
 
  News From Amtrak…
Amtrak Adding A Stop In Leavenworth
  High-Speed Lines…
U.S. High-Speed Rail Sparks Interest From Canada
SNCF Proposes Development Of HSR In Four U.S. Corridors
  Across The Pond…
Region Hannover Issues RFP for S-Bahn Network Operation Concession
  Publication Notes …


NEWS OF THE WEEK... News Items...  

Senate Passes Record $11 Billion THUD Appropriation
For Public Transit In FY 2010

From Passenger Transport and other Internet Sources

On September 17, the Senate passed its Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010 (beginning October 1), which contains a record $11 billion for public transportation. The measure passed by a roll-call vote of 73-25.

Provisions for transportation:

Federal Railroad Administration:

Title I of the bill would provide $3.1 billion for the FRA, which is $331 million more than the President’s budget request and is $1.23 billion more than the Fiscal Year 2009 enacted level, excluding $9.3 billion in emergency appropriations.

For Amtrak:

The railroad must submit a business and long-term financial plan 60 days after the enactment of the bill.

Funding must be dedicated for hiring an inspector general.

$553 million would be allocated in operating grants, $1.001 billion in capital and debt service grants, and $1.2 billion in intercity and high-speed rail grants.

[ The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is responsible for planning, developing, and administering programs to achieve safe operating and mechanical practices in the railroad industry. ]

Federal Transit Administration.

Title I of the bill would provide $11.065 billion for the FTA, which is $730 million more than the President’s budget request and is $934.4 million more than the enacted Fiscal Year 2009 level, excluding $8.4 billion in emergency appropriations.

Title I would include $150 million in grants for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as authorized by the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, for capital and preventive maintenance expenses and $100 million for grants to public transit agencies for capital investment that will reduce the energy consumption or the greenhouse gas emissions of their public transit systems.

[The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) assists in the development of improved mass transportation facilities, equipment, techniques, and methods.] 

The bill must next go to a House-Senate Conference committee before being submitted for the president’s signature, possibly next week.


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STIMULUS LINES... Stimulus Lines...  

Transit Systems To Receive
More ARRA Investments

From Passenter Transport On Internet

SEPTEMBER 18 -- Milwaukee County Transit Services will receive $25.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the purchase of 45 40-foot buses, a vehicle annunciator/passenger information system, spare bus parts, and computer hardware.

The Greater Lafayette (IN) Public Transportation Corporation will receive $2.4 million for replacement of three 40-foot buses, two support vehicles, hardware and software for fare collection, bus shelters, a phone system, and electrical system upgrades.

Riverside, California, Transit Agency will receive $700,000 for an automated fare box system for 26 vehicles in their fleet.

The Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, KY will receive $240,000 to purchase four 20-foot para-transit buses.


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Joliet Center Part of Statewide Rail Push

From the State Journal-Register, Springfield, Illinois

JOLIET, ILLINOIS, SEPTEMBER 16 --- The Midwest is poised for greatly increased rail service. “Springfield’s concerns with high-speed rail service and increased freight train traffic are part of a much larger rail-improvement push in Illinois involving hundreds of millions in state and federal dollars,” writes Tim Lands, reporter for the State Journal-Register.

The biggest push, by far, is in the Chicago region.

The Joliet Intermodal Terminal, a $370 million project just started by Union Pacific Railroad, promises to create 6,900 to 7,400 full-time jobs and an increase in annual freight capacity equivalent to 500,000 cargo-ship-sized containers.

Some of that increased freight traffic would use the Third Street corridor in downtown Springfield.

“Right now, there’s probably about 2,000 trades-people out there working. There’s probably more earth-moving machines on that property than any project in the Midwest,” said John Greuling, president and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development.

Greuling said the Will County group first learned of the Union Pacific construction about four years ago, though the goal of making Joliet a hub for one of the nation’s largest “inland ports” is part of much more ambitious long-term plan.

Photo courtesy of Union Pacific.  

An aerial photo taken July 29 shows construction crews grading the 785-acre site of Union Pacific Railroad's new Joliet Intermodal Terminal while other crews begin laying track The view is looking south at the facility. The intermodal terminal is scheduled to open in June. Photo courtesy of Union Pacific.
“We are marketing ourselves as part of the global supply chain. … It’s a pretty aggressive plan we’ve been working on for eight years,” said Greuling, who added that six other major rail carriers will use the Joliet facility.

Groundbreaking who’s who

Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Union Pacific chairman and CEO Jim Young, Federal Railroad Administration administrator Joseph Szabo and members of the Illinois congressional delegation were among the dozens of dignitaries to gather for the ceremonial groundbreaking this month.

Durbin praised the development as a step toward making Joliet and Illinois “a major crossroads of America’s economy.”

Quinn signed Legislation that Governor Quinn signed in August. The Intermodal Facilities Promotion Act will encourage similar development along freight lines in Illinois.

It will set aside state income taxes from jobs attributed to the Joliet facility to promote similar developments. The money also will be used to reimburse developers of the Joliet facility for road and other support costs.

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce chairman Mike Houston said that using income tax funds for reimbursements to developers could be worth up to $3 million a year over six years.

“I’ve heard of a lot of different types of incentives, but I’ve never heard of those before,” said Houston.

The Joliet project’s major financial backer is California-based CenterPoint Properties, a global developer and manager of industrial and transportation properties. The company has pledged $200 million toward development of the Union Pacific terminal at Joliet.

“They are a heavyweight. I’m amazed how much weight they carry at the federal and state levels. They can open doors,” said Jim Haller, director of community and economic development for the city of Joliet.

How much and when

The first phase of the Joliet terminal is scheduled to open in the summer of 2010. Mark Davis, spokes person for Union Pacific, said increases in freight will depend on customer demand. The company’s projection that up to 22 additional freights a day will come through Springfield is “many years down the road,” he added.

The freight traffic would be in addition to as many as 18 passenger trains as part of high-speed rail improvements. The UP currently operates four freights daily on the Third Street corridor.

Joliet’s multi-modal plan

The city of Joliet this week applied for $55 million in federal stimulus funds to construct a downtown transportation center that would combine facilities for high-speed Amtrak service, bus, taxi, commuter trains, and even bicycles and pedestrians in a single location.

There is not significant concern in downtown Joliet about increased rail traffic, both freight and high speed. The downtown tracks there were elevated in 1908. In Springfield, on the contrary, there is considerable concern.

Like Springfield, however, the idea of consolidated transportation services has kicked around for about 30 years with the city of Joliet. The federal stimulus money simply jolted the process, said Mr. Haller, one of the town’s business leaders.

“You have a lot of the decision-makers in Washington who have Illinois ties,” he said. “It’s how the moon and the stars have aligned. I’m personally of the opinion, if we can’t do it now, we never will.”

Tim Landis can be reached at 788-1536.

About the Union Pacific Joliet Intermodal Terminal

* Estimated cost: $370 million; joint project of the UP and CenterPoint Properties, a California-based investment company that specializes in development of industrial real estate and transportation projects.

* Location: 785 acres five miles south of Interstate 80 and seven miles east of Interstate 55.

* Construction schedule: First phase scheduled for completion in June 2010. Facility then will expand based on demand.

* Capacity: Annual capacity equivalent to 500,000 ocean-going containers; four 8,000-foot tracks capable of handling 107 “double-stack” rail cars; six 8,000-foot tracks to sort cars by destination; six tracks in a car staging area; more than 3,400 parking spaces for trailers and containers; four cranes and two mobile-packers to load and unload freight cars.


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ENVIRONMENTAL LINES... Environmental Lines...  

Lahood, Jackson, Announce Carbon Emissions, Fuel Economy Plan

From Passenger Transport

WASHINGTON, SEPTEMBER 15 – In the spirit of providing a national federal program to curb carbon emissions, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson on September 15 proposed a new joint program a new joint program to improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases.

[ See http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/522D0A809F6B7F9C8525763200562534]

Under the proposed program, which covers model years 2012 through 2016, automobile manufacturers would be able to build a single, light-duty national fleet that satisfies all federal requirements as well as the standards of California and other states. The proposed program includes miles per gallon requirements under NHTSA’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE) program and the first-ever national emissions standards under EPA’s greenhouse gas program. The collaboration of federal agencies for this proposal also allows for clearer rules for all automakers, instead of three standards (DOT, EPA, and a state standard).

Specifically, the program would:

  • Increase fuel economy by approximately five percent every year
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 950 million metric tons
  • Save the average car buyer more than $3,000 in fuel costs
  • Conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil

Increase Fuel Economy and Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions:

The proposed national program would require model year 2016 vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. Under the proposed program, the overall light-duty vehicle fleet would reach 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in model year 2016, if all reductions were made through fuel economy improvements. If this occurs, Congress’ fuel economy goal of 35.0 mpg by 2020 will be met four years ahead of schedule. This would surpass the CAFE law passed by Congress in 2007, which required an average fuel economy of 35 mpg in 2020.

Reduce Greenhouse Gases:

Climate change poses a significant long-term threat to America’s environment. The vehicles subject to the proposed rules announced today are responsible for almost 60 percent of all U.S. transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. These will be the nation’s first ever national greenhouse gas standards. The proposed standards would require model year 2016 vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile under EPA’s greenhouse gas program. The combined EPA and NHTSA standards would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the light-duty vehicle fleet by about 21 percent in 2030 over the level that would occur in the absence of any new greenhouse gas or fuel economy standards. The greenhouse gas emission reductions this program would bring about are equivalent to the emissions of 42 million cars.

Save Consumers Money:

NHTSA and EPA estimate that U.S. consumers who purchase their vehicle outright would save enough in lower fuel costs over the first three years to offset the increases in vehicle costs. Consumers would save more than $3,000 due to fuel savings over the lifetime of a model year 2016 vehicle.

Conserve Oil and Increase Energy Security:

The light-duty vehicles subject to this proposed National Program account for about 40 percent of all U.S. oil consumption. The program will provide important energy security benefits by conserving 1.8 billion barrels of oil, which is twice the amount of oil (crude oil and products) imported in 2008 from the Persian Gulf countries, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration Office. These standards also provide important energy security benefits as light-duty vehicles account for about 60 percent of transportation oil use.

Within the Auto Industry’s Reach:

EPA and NHTSA have worked closely to develop this coordinated joint proposal and have met with many stakeholders including automakers to insure the standards proposed today are both aggressive and achievable given the current financial state of the auto industry.


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E.P.A. Admin Lisa Jackson

Tranp. Secretary Ray LaHood

STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week
Burlington Northern & Santa Fe(BNI)83.9184.69
Canadian National (CNI)51.0250.10
Canadian Pacific (CP)49.0349.02
CSX (CSX)45.2646.93
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)32.2731.86
Kansas City Southern (KSU)28.1127.56
Norfolk Southern (NSC)46.3448.68
Providence & Worcester (PWX)11.3010.75
Union Pacific (UNP)62.4062.55


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EVENTS... Events...  

There is still time to register for the 2009 APTA Annual Meeting in Orlando.

The Disney Institute will lead sessions on quality service and leading in turbulent times.

In addition, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff will attend.

 

 

2009 Annual Meeting
American Public Transportation Association

October 4 – 7, 2009

JW Marriott & Ritz-Carlton, Grand Lakes Orlando, Florida

APTA’s Annual Meeting, the premier event of the industry, is a must-attend for all public transportation professionals.  This October, transit professionals from throughout North America will come together to learn, network, discuss influential topics and find solutions.

Understanding that these are challenging times, APTA has designed its 2009 Annual Meeting to satisfy the needs of you, the transit professional, as you cope with today’s volatile business environment.

For more information and registration:

http://www.apta.com/mc/conferences/90days/2009annual/Pages/default.aspx


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New England Governors Set Goals
For Renewable Energy

DF Staff And /Prnewswire-Usnewswire

Canadian Provinces
SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK, SEPTEMBER 15 – Governors from New England and Canadian premiers from the five eastern provinces convened in St. John, New Brunswick, last week for their 33rd annual conference, (NEG/ECP) where resolutions are passed to work together as a region on major issues. This year the focus was on energy and land conservation. The leaders adopted a bold regional vision for supporting development of renewable energy resources in and around New England and Eastern Canada.

The NEGC adopted the New England Governors’ Renewable Energy Blueprint, which addresses mechanisms to help advance the development of New England’s vast renewable resource potential. The Blueprint provides the Governors options for accessing New England’s regional resources as well as opportunities for additional supplies of cost-effective, low-carbon renewable energy from Eastern Canada. This includes the potential for the states to synchronize their power procurement and long-term power contract activities and to coordinate reviews of proposed interstate transmission facilities needed to reach renewable resources that are distant from population centers.

The Blueprint also emphasizes the importance of a partnership between the federal government and the New England states to help promote the shared goals of the New England Governors and federal government. Both have strong interests in increasing the availability of renewable power, reducing carbon emissions and reducing reliance on foreign fossil fuel.

Gov. John Baldacci, Chair of the NEGC, noted, “New England has what it takes to help bring cost-effective, low-carbon resources to the market. We have abundant natural resources, technical analysis to inform decisions, and specific ways we can work cooperatively to assist development of resources that emerge in competitive processes as the best way forward for our customers.”

The Governors also received and adopted the report of their Blue Ribbon Commission on Land Conservation (CLC), chaired by Richard Barringer of Maine. The Commission’s report indicates that New England today faces profound challenges to its land and natural resource base from the negative impacts of climate change, sprawling development, and the demand for coastal property. The Commission calls for a high-priority, New England-wide land conservation effort with measurable benefits for the region’s farms and forests, climate change mitigation, alternative energies, bio-diversity, outdoor recreation and education, and sustainable economic development.

“This is the most ambitious land conservation effort that has ever been put forward for all New England,” said Gov. John Baldacci. “For more than a century New England has been a national leader in maintaining and renewing the human benefits of land conservation. These carefully coordinated initiatives are timely and necessary if we are to pass these benefits along to future generations of New England citizens.”


Photo: www.negc.org

(Above) At the 32nd Conference in Bar Harbor, Maine in September 2008 were (l. to r.) Gov. Donald Carcieri, RI; Gov. Jodi Rell, CT; Premier Jean Charest, PQ; Gov. Jim Douglas, VT; Gov. Deval Patrick, MA; Gov. John Baldacci, ME; Premier Shawn Graham, NB; Gov. John Lynch, NH; Premier Danny Williams, Nfld. & Labrador; Premier Rodney MacDonald, NS; and George Webster, Minister of the Environment, PEI, representing Premier Robert Ghiz

This year, at the 33rd Conference in St. John, New Brunswick, present from New England were: Gov. Don Carcieri, RI; Gov. James Douglas, VT; Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, MA; Gov. John Baldacci, ME; and a representative from Gov. John Lynch’s office, NH;

From Eastern Canadian Provinces: Premier Shawn Graham, NB; Premier Robert Ghiz, PEI; Premier Danny Williams, NFLD/Labrador; Premier Jean Charest, Quebec; Premier Darrell Dexter, NS.

Although transportation was not specifically on the agenda, many participants on both sides of the border expressed their concern for better transportation choices, specifically rail. Stuart Jamieson, Director of Tourism in New Brunswick, told NCI President Jim RePass that he wants to restart train service from St. John to Portland, Maine. “It’s a must for the success of tourism here,” he said. It’s too far to drive and air fares are exorbitant.”

Christopher Sauer, who heads the Ocean Renewal Power Company in Portland, Maine, said rail service from Portland to Calais would be a huge help to his business. Barbara Mackennon, a PhD scientist who works for the Canadian Lung Association, said, “They’ve taken away our trains. We had service here into the 1980’s. Now we have nothing. I wish they would bring them back.”

The NEGC established the Transportation and Air Quality Committee at their meeting in 2008. Rail and transit advocates are working with those committee members to keep the governors and premiers focused on the importance of a balanced transportation system. Improving rail service is one of the most effective ways of reducing carbon emissions and also preserving open land.

About the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers

The Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers was established in 1973. The Conference’s many accomplishments over the years include:

At their conferences, generally held annually, the Governors and Premiers discuss issues of common interest and concern, and enact policy resolutions that call on actions by the state and provincial governments, as well as by the two national governments. During the year, the Conference convenes meetings of state and provincial officials, organizes roundtables and workshops, and prepares reports and studies of issues of regional import.

Copies of the New England Governors’ Renewable Energy Blueprint and the report of the NEGC’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Land Conservation are available at the NEGC’s website at www.negc.org.


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

Two Images: www.iciclestation.com  

Amtrak Adding A Stop In Leavenworth

 

From Seattle Transportation Watch

 

WASHINGTON STATE ... Put on your lederhosen and hop aboard the train.

Starting Sept. 25, Amtrak’s Empire Builder will stop in Leavenworth at the Bavarian-themed town’s new Icicle station, Amtrak announced Thursday.

The first train to stop in Leavenworth will be heading eastbound from Seattle to Chicago. The first westbound train will return to Leavenworth the following day.

The town’s Chamber of Commerce has worked for several years with Amtrak and Burlington Northern Santa Fe to build the station and return passenger rail service to the popular tourist destination in the Cascade foothills.

In two market studies, conducted in 1992 and 2002, almost 30 percent of respondents in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties said they were “very likely” to take a train to Leavenworth if rail service was available, according to the Icicle station’s Web site.

[ See: http://www.iciclestation.com/schedules-fares.shtml ]

Fare and schedule information doesn’t appear to be available yet on Amtrak’s Web site, but you can call 1- 800-USA-RAIL or visit the Icicle Station web site per above.

Offered by Scott Gutierrez of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Platform under construction.


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HIGH-SPEED LINES... High-Speed Lines...  

U.S. High-Speed Rail Sparks Interest From Canada

ASCE SmartBrief and Daily Commercial News

SEPTEMBER 18 -- High-speed rail service in the U.S. may influence how Canada develops its rail systems. Next week, a delegation from all four parties in the House of Commons will visit Washington, D.C. and New York City to ride Amtrak’s Acela Express, discuss plans for a Canadian high-speed rail system and explore the possibility of linking U.S. corridors with Canadian corridors.

Specifically, Canada is planning to build high-speed rail along corridors that point to Vancouver, Windsor, Toronto and Montreal. It would be nice, many think, if those American corridors didn't end at the border, but linked with high-speed corridors in Canada.

With Chicago planned as a hub for the American system, a high-speed line between Quebec City and Windsor could simply carry on to Chicago, where passengers could transfer to points west, southwest and south. A Vancouver line could carry on through Seattle and on down the coast to San Francisco and Los Angeles. A Montreal line could connect with the Acela Express in Boston.


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SNCF Proposes Development Of HSR
In Four U.S. Corridors

French organization submits detailed proposals for 220 mph train operation.

From Transport Politic on the Internet

In December of 2008, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and Congressman John Mica (R-FL) announced that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would be accepting "expressions of interest" to build high speed rail in the federally designated HSR corridors.

Blogger Yonah Freemark recently reported in Transport Politic that the French national railroad operator, SNCF, has recently sent a detailed letter laying out their proposal to build high speed rail in four of the corridors: the Midwest, Texas, Florida, and California.

[ SNCF has become famous for their development of the TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) which has traveled at a record breaking speed 574.8 km/h or 357.2 mph in a test run in 2007. Average point to point speeds between cities have ranged from 279.3 km/h or 173.6 mph to 306 km/h or 190 mph. ]

Freemark reports that apparently SNCF’s proposal is the only extensively detailed plan even though several other infrastructure companies -- Vinci, Spineq, Cintra, Global Via, and Bouygues -- sent letters of interest with vague plans. This could be because there is no funding associated with this announcement-- -- it is not related to the stimulus money.

An SNCF high-speed power unit at the platform.


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

Installments by David Beale
NCI Foreign Correspondent

 

Region Hannover Issues RFP for S-Bahn Network Operation Concession

Regional Government Looks to Marketplace to Reduce Costs

Via Hannover Allgemeine Zeitung (HAZ) newspaper

Hannover, Germany – With notification placed in the Official Register of the E.U., the Region of Hanover has now launched the public tender for the entire S-Bahn commuter rail network in the state capitol of Lower Saxony and its surrounding suburbs. The region is looking for a railway company, which will operate as of December 2012 the seven existing S-Bahn commuter rail lines in the greater Hannover area. Bidders must deliver their final proposals by the end of February 2010 to the Hanover Region. The winner of the tender will not be known probably until summer 2010.

The Region Hannover has prepared the tendering process together with the neighboring contract partners, the transit corporation of the state of Lower Saxony (LNVG) and the transport authority of Westfalen-Lippe (NWL) in the neighboring German state of North Rhine Westphalia. The Region Hannover has a stake of just under two thirds of the S-Bahn services and thus has the lead in the tender decision and award process.

The RFP encompasses a commuter rail network of EMU train-sets, which operates annually 8.5 million kilometers in the greater Hannover area, with two of the seven existing lines operating much further to two cities (Paderborn and Minden) in the neighboring State of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW). The Region expects intense competition between bidders which should provide attractive public transport at an affordable price. “With the current funding cut-backs and tight budget in the Hannover regional government, this RFP provides us with a chance to lower costs while maintaining existing services or even to add services”, stated Georg Martensen, the Transport Minister in Region Hanover.

Hans-Joachim Menn, managing director of LNVG, drew particular attention to increasing expectations and requirements: “The quality of services provided by Deutsche Bahn is already quite good. However starting in December 2012 there will be even more staff on-board the trains. In addition, all of the S-Bahn trains will be equipped with video cameras to improve safety and security.”

Of the currently operating 59 vehicles (a mixture of ET 424 and ET 425 four-car train sets), 53 are funded by the State of Lower Saxony and 6 by the State of North Rhine Westphalia. All 59 train-sets will remain in operation in the greater Hannover Region, regardless of whether the DB Regio AG will continue to operate the trains, or another company assumes duties over daily Hannover S-Bahn operations. The maintenance of the vehicles can either continue in the DB maintenance depot in Hannover-Leinhausen or in some other possibly new workshop.

Key Phrase “Region Hannover”

Not unlike counties in the United States, Germany also has a level of government in between the town or city government and the state government. The usual form of this level of government in Germany is called “Landkreis”. This level of government in Germany has several functions and responsibilities usually including local road and highway maintenance (outside of town or city limits), coordination of public transit services, coordination of regional development and zoning (including issuing building permits), trash collection, vehicle registration and drivers license issuance, licensing and inspection of bars and restaurants, operation of certain hospitals and clinics, and partial administrative control over public schools (although the state government provides the funding as well as the majority of the oversight over the public education system).

The city of Hannover and its surrounding suburbs made-up the geographic area of “Landkreis Hannover” (not unlike how the city of Los Angeles and numerous other southern California cities are within Los Angeles County) and were under the jurisdiction of the “Landkreis” government. Due to reasons mostly to do with a desire to make the area sound more international and increase its marketing appeal, the regional government of “Landkreis Hannover” in cooperation with the various town and city governments within its jurisdiction decided to legal change the name to “Region Hannover”, the adopting the more international sounding word “region” and dropping the rather German sounding word “Landkreis” beginning in 2002. The word “region” has nearly identical meaning in German, English and French.


NCI file photo by David Beale

Soon Under New Management? An ET 424 EMU train-set of the Hannover S-Bahn network pauses in Haste in May 2005 while underway from Hannover to Minden. These trains are staffed and maintained by DB Regio GmbH under the existing contract with Region Hannover and the State of Lower Saxony expiring at the end of 2012

Concept “S-Bahn” and “Request For Proposal”

As described numerous time in previous articles in “Destination: Freedom”, the term “S-Bahn” is a German language phrase for a commuter rail / train system which serves several or more stations in the base city and nearby suburbs and neighboring cities. In the USA the electrified portions of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Railroad, NJ Transit, Philadelphia’s SEPTA commuter rail and Chicago’s METRA resemble to some degree S-Bahn rail systems in Germany.

After the rail reform and open access legislation in Germany became law in the early 1990s, German cities and regional governments gained full commercial and administrative control over their S-Bahn networks, and therefore were given the right to award operation of their transit systems to the bidder which provided the city or region the best overall package deal. At the time Hannover did not have a formal S-Bahn network, but the city was already beginning plans for the 2000 World Expo. A central part of the plans for Expo 2000 included major upgrades to the region’s highway and public transit infrastructure, including a new S-Bahn network. With open access regulations still more or less in infancy and a lack of any other passenger rail operators with a proven track record and experience, Hannover awarded the S-Bahn contract to Deutsche Bahn’s newly formed regional / commuter rail unit DB Regio for a seven year contract period, which was extended later for an additional five years as part of the agreement to extend the Hannover S-Bahn network to Hildesheim, southeast of Hannover.

Approximately 15 years after Germany enacted open access legislation for the rail network, the field of competent passenger rail operators has grown dramatically. Some of the companies are familiar in other countries, foremost among them is Veolia (formerly Connex) but many others are also active in Germany. Although incumbent rail operator DB Regio continues to dominate the German regional and commuter business, its one-time 100% share of the market is now down to 60% and continues to be attacked by competitors each time an RFP is announced, as is now the case in Hannover. DB Regio also has a consistent record of being one of DBAG’s more profitable divisions with a established record of hitting its financial and operational targets each year, although the ongoing crisis with its Berlin S-Bahn unit may undo this past record of success.

The State of Lower Saxony, of which Hannover is the capitol, has been particularly aggressive in awarding contracts to DB Regio’s numerous competitors. Local observers and government officials believe that Hannover paid a very high price when it signed with DB Regio in the mid 1990s to get the S-Bahn system up and running. They now see that the regional and state governments will likely benefit from a substantial price reduction for the continuation of S-Bahn services in late 2012 and beyond, regardless who the winning bidder is. In fact the state and regional governments are counting on a major cost reduction with the new S-Bahn contract, and are already planning to use the savings to continue rail transit services elsewhere in the state, which are under constant threat of cancellation due to ever increasing budgetary pressures in both the state and regional governments.


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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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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.

Destination Freedom is partially funded by the Surdna Foundation, and other contributors.

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