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 Destination:Freedom 

A Weekly North American Transportation Update

Publisher:  James P. RePass
Editor:  Molly N. McKay
Foreign Editor:  David Beale
Contributing Editor:  David Peter Alan
Managing Editor & Webmaster:  Dennis Kirkpatrick
 
For transportation advocates and professionals, journalists,
and elected or appointed officials at all levels of government

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January 13, 2014
Vol. 14 No. 2

Copyright © 2014
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 14th Newsletter Year

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

  Editorial…
Howard Permut
  Conference Summaries…
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee Calls
   For Better Regional Collaboration To Achieve
   ‘Better And Safer Rail Service’
  News Items…
Train Carrying Crude Oil And Propane Derails And
   Catches Fire In New Brunswick, Canada
  Service Lines…
Old Man Winter Delivers Knockout Punch To Amtrak,
   As Advocates Keep Each Other Informed
  Commuter Lines…
Washington Metro Unveils New 7000-Series
   Rail Cars
Bombardier Wins Additional Order From
   San Francisco BART
  High-Speed Lines…
TxDOT, Federal Government, Launching Study On
   DFW To Houston High-Speed Rail Line
  Builders Lines…
New Texas Transportation Board Deals With Same
   Challenges Building Tex Rail
 
  Business Lines…
Keolis To Take Over MBTA Commuter Operations
   In MA/RI
  Safety Lines…
Train Speeds Lowered On Key Points On
   Metro-north Line To Port Jervis
Metro-North President Permut Steps Down
Joseph Giuletti To Replace Him
  Expansion Lines…
Will Commuter Rail Return To Bourne?
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Across The Pond…
Shanghai Opens Two More Metro Lines
Latvia And Lithuania To Cooperate On
   International Operations
Arriva Abandons Prague Suburban Services
  Events…
Rail Users Network - May 2014 - Save The Date
  Publication Notes …



EDITORIAL... Editorial...  

A Personal Note From The Publisher

 

Howard Permut

Elsewhere in this issue of Destination:Freedom you will note an article regarding the resignation of Howard Permut as President of Metro-North Railroad, one of the country’s busiest --- and most difficult --- operating rail transit properties.

Readers of D:F, and the general public, will be familiar with the ghastly year that Metro-North, a large and critically important division of New York City’s MTA, has experienced, the most recent event being the tragic Hudson division wreck killing four people and injuring many others that occurred when a Metro-North engineer, on a new (to him) work shift --- for most of us, an unthinkably before-dawn schedule --- failed to notice that he was entering a 30 miles-per-hour curve at more than 80 miles per hour: an absolutely sure-thing derailment, which is what of course happened.

The NTSB will of course conduct its investigation, as it should, and the Federal Railroad Administration has already weighed in, as it should and must.

But Metro-North President Howard Permut, a transportation professional who has done a magnificent job for that embattled rail system under daunting financial circumstances, is not the culprit here. He has, as would be expected for someone in his position, taken responsibility for all that has happened, and fallen on his sword.

That does not make it right.

Until this nation funds public transportation --- commuter rail, Amtrak, urban subway systems, bus transit, and so on --- with the same commitment it has given to highways --- random albeit predictable disasters will continue to happen.

Howard Permut has taken the fall for Metro-North. That makes me sad, and angry: the systemic failures that public transportation, and rail transportation in general, continue to experience, has nothing to do with him. Indeed --- and I want his children, and grand-children, to read this --- he was and is one of the very best in the business, and made Metro-North better, not worse. I hope we have not seen the last of him, in public life, because we need good people, like Howard Permut. Indeed, we need more of them.

James P. RePass
Publisher
Destination:Freedom


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CONFERENCE SUMMARIES... Conference Summaries...  

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee
Calls For Better Regional Collaboration
To Achieve ‘Better And Safer Rail Service’

[Presented by Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI) December 13 at “We Are All In This Together:
Regional Rail: A New England/Eastern Canadian Renaissance In The Making” chaired by former
Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis, and organized by the National Corridors Initiative]

UMASS-LOWELL --- I am honored to be here with Former Governor Dukakis, and all of the leaders in business, government and nongovernment who are passionate and advocate for better and safer rail service. Thank you to Jim RePass for putting together this conference.

A Canadian business executive and author (Don Tapscott) once said: “Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.”

When he says this, he is simply cajoling us to create partnerships and work together --- because that is how good things happen! The best way to plan for the future is through collaboration, and he tells us that if we want to be up-to-date with the goings-on in the world, we need to work together. Through cooperation, we are guaranteed a well-planned future.

I thought of this quote when I saw the theme of the National Corridors Initiative’s 2013 Transportation Conference, which is “We Are All In This Together.” I do indeed believe that there is a New England/Eastern Canadian renaissance in the making, and that rail is a part of that future. As one example, I want to mention the Prince Rupert great-circle route and its significance for our region.

With the opening of the new Panama Canal in 2015, it is expected that Asian freight heading to the East Coast may ship to Prince Rupert in Canada. The most direct route to the United States’ Northeast markets would be by train. Long Beach, California, will no longer be the conduit between sea-land transports because sea freight will go through the canal to ports in North and South America and Europe. We need to be prepared for that here in the Northeast.

Gov. Linc Chaffee

Photo: NCI File

Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI) Speaks at the NCI Conference in Lowell, MA. in December 2013.

I have always had an interest in rail as an economic driver in the New England area. In the 1980s, Rhode Island and Massachusetts formed the first intrastate regional rail partnership called the Pilgrim Partnership, where limited MBTA trains were extended to Providence a few years after the new Providence Station opened.

At that time, there were 10 stops per weekday and about 200 people riding each train. Today, there are 32 stops per day, including 18 stops on the weekends, and over 2,200 riders per day, making Providence Station one of the top two or three stations in the entire MBTA system.

As part of this Partnership, Rhode Island has funded major capital projects for the MBTA in exchange for service, including the $15 million Pawtucket Layover Facility, which today is the base of operations for the MBTA’s Providence line. MBTA service has been extended further into Rhode Island, serving a growing TF Green Airport and Wickford Junction in North Kingstown.

And, my advocacy for rail is not new. As Jim RePass is always amused to tell you, I worked more than 20 years ago as Jim’s executive director at NCI, when working with former Rhode Island Governor Garrahy and former Public utilities chair the late Eddie Burke on regional matters.

In fact, we went to the White House in 1990 and 1991 to persuade President George Bush (I) to reverse his position opposing rail; we wanted the release of the funds he was embargoing to finish the electrification of the Northeast Corridor.

I can tell you that I remember that we were all skeptical. But we did it. We got it done. The money was released. Today, the only place in America you can take a train that goes more than 155 miles per hour is in Rhode Island, on the Northeast Corridor – where the Acela that our work enabled hits top speed.

I am proud to have been a part of that, and am glad people like Jim RePass are working hard in this arena

Recently, I joined a group of dignitaries from Rhode Island and Massachusetts to tour the rail corridor through Rhode Island to just outside of Worcester. Jim RePass generously organized the trip, which included two vintage passenger coaches owned by the Providence and Worcester Railroad, so we could all improve our appreciation of how we can strengthen freight rail in both of our states.

We examined five freight rail bridges on P&W’s Blackstone River line. The bridges were built in the 1890s to a weight bearing standard of 55,000 lbs. The present national standard is 286,000 lbs. These substandard bridges are an impediment as they affect the economic competitiveness of New England states.

During the ride, we were able to form relationships and discuss many issues that are of a concern to all of us. We all want the same thing because we know improving rail service will bring economic rewards and help our economies thrive.

My tour of the bridges dovetailed with the Rhode Island Office of State Wide Planning, in cooperation with RIDOT – another great collaboration – releasing a close-to-final draft of the first Rhode Island State Rail Plan update in more than a decade.

This effort utilized an Advisory Committee comprised of diverse representation of public and private stakeholders including – the Office of the Governor, Statewide Planning,

RIDOT, RIPTA Amtrak, P&W, QDC and the Seaview Railroad, FRA, FTA, FHWA, MBTA, two (2) of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Massachusetts, and a geographic representation of entities throughout the State with an interest in rail. All participants were actively engaged and brought the spirit of cooperation to this process.

The plan provides a great overview of freight and passenger rail services and facilities in Rhode Island and outlines a vision for the State’s rail future.

It includes a series of goals, implementation actions, and specific projects that the state can work together with its partners to move forward to implement the vision, improving the freight and passenger rail system for the State. Through partnerships, we can examine more fully our interdependence on rail and how best we can grow the infrastructure.

This is especially important for “Gateway Cities,” whose ports and harbors are often-underutilized. Just yesterday, the NEC Advisory Commission met in Providence to discuss the issues of how to allocate the costs of the NEC operations between the states/commuters and Amtrak – all required by statute.

In September, one of the roundtable discussions at CONEG includes a discussion among the Governors on federal changes in surface transportation and intercity passenger rail policy. By working to understand our interdependence on rail we can make informed and strategic decisions about investments in transportation infrastructure.

At this conference, you will be hearing a lot more about how high-speed commuter rail service has expanded and brought key development. In Rhode Island, the InterLink at Green Airport has seen a resurgence of travel from Eastern Connecticut through Providence to Boston.

I know other places also have seen the benefit improved rail service. My message to you today, is that we must cooperate and work together on transportation systems across state lines. I know there are people in this room from business, government, the private sector, and individuals, who care about this.

So, let’s work together. Let’s get America going again!

[Publisher’s Note: We will continue to publish the proceedings of our December 13 conference on regional rail, “We Are All In This Together”, as it has created a major positive reaction in governmental and non-governmental circles alike, in both the United States and Canada, supporting the notion that collaboration on transportation planning and other essential elements of infrastructure development is indeed required for our region to create the economic renaissance that will benefit us all. The conference proceedings as published will also be archived in a special section of our website, and designated for easy reference.]


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NEWSITEMS... News Items...  

Train Carrying Crude Oil And Propane Derails
And Catches Fire In New Brunswick, Canada

Emergency Crews Near Site

Photo Via wagmtv.com

Emergency crews have blocked off roads leading to the scene of a train derailment in northwestern New Brunswick.

Compiled From Chicago Tribune, Reuters,
The Globe And Mail & DF Staff

A Canadian National Railway (CN) train carrying propane and crude oil derailed and caught fire on Tuesday, January 7, in northwest New Brunswick, Canada. It is the latest in a string of train accidents that have put the surging crude-by-rail business under heavy scrutiny.

No one was injured in the derailment and subsequent fire, but about 45 nearby homes were evacuated near the village of Plaster Rock.

The accident occurred at about 7:00 PM (2300 GMT) according to local officials and railroad spokespersons.

The train originated in Toronto and was headed to Moncton, New Brunswick, which is about 300 km (186 miles) east of the site of the accident, said Jim Feeney, director of public and government affairs at CN.

Fire officials say the cars appear to have been mostly empty except for some propane residue, said Sharon DeWitt, the emergency measures coordinator for Plaster Rock.

Volunteer firefighters in the village of Plaster Rock, not far from the Quebec boundary, were faced with a huge fireball and an ominous plume of dark black smoke as they responded to the derailment. It is believed that there was a problem with a set of wheels on the train before the derailment occurred, damaging nearly 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) of track.

Of the 122-car CN consist, a total of 17 cars derailed, according to a CN spokesperson, including five crude oil cars and four that were carrying liquefied petroleum gas. There were a total of four locomotives on the train, a conductor and a brakeman. The train crew has given statements to CN and was apparently not injured.

The safety of Canada’s railways has been under scrutiny since last July, when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Que., killing 47 people. In the USA a similar accident just weeks ago took place on the outskirts of the town of Casselton in North Dakota. Both accidents are fresh in the minds of regulators and governments who are now looking at rail safety and how it relates to the transportation of hazardous materials, and more-recently the boom in the transportation of crude oil from shale fields.

The crude involved in the Lac-Mégantic and Casselton crash had been drawn from the Bakken formation, which straddles North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Crude from that region is believed to be more flammable than other types of crude oil.

CN spokesman Jim Feeney said the Plaster Rock train was carrying crude oil from Western Canada, but he could not say where, specifically, it was drawn from.

Samantha Robinson, a spokeswoman for Irving Oil, confirmed that some the crude oil on the train was destined for the company’s refinery in Saint John, N.B. Ms. Robinson said Irving was informed about the accident Tuesday evening. The company sent firefighting foam to the scene and offered to assist CN in dealing with the accident if needed.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board has begun investigations.


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SERVICELINES... Service Lines...  

Old Man Winter Delivers Knockout Punch To Amtrak,
As Advocates Keep Each Other Informed

By David Peter Alan

Last week, we reported on a projected blizzard in the Northeast that did not reach its full potential. There was snow, but not a blizzard’s worth, and transit providers in the region did well, managing to operate most of their scheduled service.

The weather forecasts from those days called for frigid temperatures for the first part of last week, generally from Monday through Wednesday. The weather lived up (or is it down, since that is where the temperatures went) to those expectations, and most of the nation was covered by Arctic air that brought the mercury down to levels not experienced for several years. Some places recorded the coldest temperatures since the mid-1990s. Before last week’s cold spell, the New York area experienced mild weather on Sunday, with rain that washed away some of the snow that had fallen the previous week. Monday also started out mild with rain, but temperatures plummeted 50°F or 30°C in many locations before the evening was over. Old Man Winter had been operating on Central Time since Sunday, and Chicago and points west were in the deep freeze. Monday’s high in Chicago was 8°F or 23°C BELOW ZERO.

Meteorologists blamed the cold on a Polar Vortex, a cyclone-like formation near the North Pole. Weather maps on Monday and Tuesday showed the Jet Stream blowing far south of its usual habitat, apparently sucking frigid Arctic air into unfamiliar reaches.

Against this cold backdrop, Amtrak admitted defeat, particularly on the Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, some Empire Service trains and other trains that were scheduled to originate in Chicago. Some local rail transit providers experienced service disruptions due to the weather, as well.

Under normal circumstances, it takes slightly less than three days, or about 70 hours, to go from New York City to Seattle or Portland on the Lake Shore Limited and the Empire Builder, with a four-and-one-half-hour layover in Chicago. If all goes according to schedule, you leave New York at 3:40 pm, change trains in Chicago the next day, and arrive about 10:00 on the morning of Day 4. That did not happen last week, as those two trains that traverse the northern latitudes of the nation either spent hours stopped in their tracks or, on certain days, did not run at all.

New York rail advocate Gary Prophet, who is Vice-Chair of the Empire State Passengers’ Association (ESPA) and Treasurer of the Rail Users’ Network (RUN), tracked the progress of these two trains throughout the cold spell. So did Ohio advocate William Engel, also a RUN Board member. Engel noted the progress of the Lake Shore Limited at Cleveland, on its way to Chicago or New York.

The problems for the Lake Shore began as early as Friday, January 3rd. While New York City had a mild week-end coming, the western part of the state was pounded with a blizzard. On Friday evening, Prophet reported to his colleagues at RUN: “for the first time I ever heard of, New York State has overnight service across the great State of NY in BOTH directions” (emphasis in original). Train #49 had left Penn Station, New York six hours late, and Train #48 was reported 13 hours late. Prophet continued: “And the race is on to Utica, as at about 2:30 am, both #48 and #49 will arrive at Utica!!!!” The same day, Engel reported that all trains were several hours late at Cleveland, but added “Still, all of these trains are running, compared to several thousand canceled airline flights. And I hear Greyhound has canceled a number of runs.” Saturday’s westbound Lake Shore ran about eight hours late.

Prophet reported on Saturday evening that the Lake Shore would not leave Chicago until after 4:00 AM on Sunday morning (scheduled departure time is 9:30 pm), because the crew had “gone dead” and needed to rest before going out again. The eastbound Lake Shore arrived in New York so late that the train set normally assigned to the Cardinal (Train #50) was sent out instead, with #50 originating in Washington, D.C. with Superliner equipment. At that time, the weather on the East Coast was still mild.

On Sunday, the Empire Builder was canceled in both directions, between the Minnesota’s Twin Cities and Spokane. Prophet relayed a report that the Builder was “out of crews and out of equipment.” That was not the first time our nation’s Northwestern train faced that situation; several runs were canceled in December, due to delays caused by massive oil shipments on BNSF and particularly harsh winter weather along the route. Prophet also reported on Sunday that the eastbound Lake Shore was running eight hours late, and noted that both the eastbound and westbound Lake Shore were sold out, which would have added to the difficulties if Amtrak had decided to annul or cancel either train. Sunday marked the official end of the holiday season, when long-distance trains are often sold out.

Monday’s would-be travelers were not so lucky, especially if they were going to or from Chicago on Amtrak. Prophet commented to his RUN colleagues:

So, after an ND derailment, too many freight trains in ND, Viewliner sleepers that work fine in Florida, Amfleet doors that freeze easily, a CSX freight train going through a red signal which “froze” or stopped all trains near Buffalo for hours, several broken rails, several CSX freight trains with engine failure, inability to keep equipment warm in either New York City nor Chicago, and a 5 hour delay when a rail bridge on the west side of Manhattan would not close properly in cold weather, and no crews available due to long hours of delayed trains, etc, Amtrak finally gives up.

Amtrak explained it this way in a press release, issued at 6:00 Central Time on Sunday:

Due to severe weather conditions and anticipated decreased travel demands in several states where travel advisories have been posted by the National Weather Service and state officials, Amtrak plans to operate modified service to and from Chicago on Monday, Jan. 6. Alternate transportation is not available.

Amtrak had announced the cancellation of about half the trains on each of its Chicago Hub services, including corridors to such places as Detroit, Milwaukee and St. Louis. The Lake Shore would not run in either direction, and the Builder would only run between Whitefish, Montana (a winter resort) and Seattle. There would be a bus substitution between Spokane and Portland.

Misfortune again made its presence known on Monday. Both units pulling the westbound Lake Shore (Train #49) broke down near Buffalo, New York. That was the area that was bracing for three feet (nearly one meter) of snow. Prophet commented: “And the pain will simply not end.” It was not only the trains that were pounded by the weather; Engel said that the Weather Channel had reported that the New York State Thruway was closed between Buffalo and the Pennsylvania State Line; a highway that runs parallel to the route of the Lake Shore. There was also a service disruption on the Northeast Corridor (NEC); the electrical system had failed north of Baltimore, due to freezing.

Tuesday was the coldest day in the Northeast. On Monday night, Prophet made this report:

If anyone wishes some true excitement, take the Lake Shore Limited tomorrow (Tuesday). Here is the issue, tomorrow’s Train 49 is completely sold out!!!!! All seats and sleepers are taken, so Amtrak does not want to cancel. They are going to operate Train 49 from a frozen NYP into a frozen upstate NY and a blizzard warning tomorrow into Wednesday with THREE to FOUR FEET of snow expected in the area from Rochester to Dunkirk, 40 mph winds, temps below zero, and wind chill inconceivable. [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo just called in the National Guard for Western NY, New York State Thruway was just closed from Buffalo west and will remain closed for the next 2 days. And Amtrak is going to operate Train 49 tomorrow, after already giving up and not operating today?? We will see if it actually departs NYP or not. Or worse, they get 49 and 449 to Albany and then decide to cancel. The adventure begins at 3:45pm in Penn Station (emphasis in original).

While some of the Empire Service trains were canceled on Tuesday, Chicago service began to recover, as temperatures in the Windy City inched up toward the zero mark. Not all of the Midwestern corridor trains were back, but some had returned to operation. There was a new cancellation, however. In a press release, Amtrak reported that Train #58 from New Orleans to Chicago would not operate on Tuesday. Even the normally-warm Crescent City reported sub-freezing temperatures on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Much of Chicago was shut down on Tuesday, along with some of the trains. Part of BNSF’s railroad west of Chicago became impassible, as three trains became stuck near Mendota, about 80 miles (128 km) west of Chicago on the historic Burlington mainline. The eastbound Southwest Chief (Train #4), California Zephyr (Train #6) and Carl Sandburg (Train #382, from Quincy) were all stuck in the extreme cold for several hours. Passengers were eventually rescued with buses that were sent to the scene. Engel reported that Cleveland was not immune from the effects of the cold on Tuesday, either. He noted local news reports that passengers were stuck at the Greyhound bus station for two nights as highways conditions kept buses from moving, and that the local electric utility was having difficulties. Ironically, Prophet noted that, despite the cancellations of the Lake Shore Limited and single-tracking on the NEC, Albany trains were doing very well. He reported that several trains between Albany and New York City were running on or close to schedule.

By Wednesday, the long-distance trains, including the Lake Shore Limited and the Empire Builder, were back. The westbound Lake Shore, Train #49, left New York two hours late. One Empire train was canceled between Niagara Falls and Albany, and approximately half of the Chicago hub trains on the Midwest corridors were operating. The Lake Shore was still running late on Thursday, leaving New York nearly eight hours late, as temperatures in the East continued to climb to customary winter levels. Many long-distance trains left Chicago or arrived there several hours late, as well.

Local rail transit did better than Amtrak’s long-distance trains or Midwest corridors. There were delays, and some trains were canceled. A Hudson River ferry operated by Metro-North got stuck in the ice and could not continue to operate. Still, the New York subways and other local transit kept going somehow. Andrew Albert, Chair of the MTA Transit Riders’ Council and Vice-Chair of RUN, credited subway managers with storing equipment on express tracks in the system, rather than leaving it out in the cold.

Friday was warmer, but Amtrak’s troubles were still far from over. Engel reported significantly late trains at Cleveland again, with the eastbound Lake Shore due to arrive there after noon, about eight hours after its scheduled middle-of the-night time. Later in the day, he reported that the eastbound Lake Shore had made it to Cleveland at 12:13 pm, more than six hours late. He also reported that Train #49 (westbound Lake Shore) was shown on Amtrak’s web site as “service disrupted” without an arrival time reported. As of late Friday night, Amtrak’s web site again reported only a “service disruption” for Train #49, with no details. Locally, he reported that a water leak at Tower City, the downtown terminal for local rail on Cleveland’s RTA, had halted light rail service in the city. Service was restored later on Friday.

Engel’s report for Friday had a different tone to it, complete with irony:

Wonder of wonders, #49 was reported as only two minutes late leaving NYP today. Maybe they borrowed equipment from the Silver Service? The picture there is not as good.
#91 left NYP 1 hour late.
#97 due out at 3:15 PM has not departed as of 5:40 when I checked the website.
My friends who departed CLE on #30 this AM were bussed PGH-WAS and made their connection to #91. The fact that #91 was an hour late leaving NYP surely helped.

Engel had reported that the Lake Shore did better leaving New York than the train headed to sunny Florida. #91 is the Silver Star, which is scheduled to connect with Train #30, the Capitol Limited from Chicago, at Washington, D.C. Train #97 is the Silver Meteor, which takes a somewhat different route.

As our copy deadline approached, Engel filed his last report to his RUN colleagues early Friday evening. He wrapped up the day on Amtrak, from his perspective:

#29 left WAS 15 minutes late
#30 has no report for leaving CHI
#48 is showing “service disrupted”
#49 is estimated :59 late at Utica, NY
#91 left NYP 1 hour late
#97 has not left NYP (!!) estimated for 9:30 PM. The scheduled departure is 3:15 PM. In the case of the two Silver Service trains, I guess there was no rush to get them out as they will be turning at Jacksonville tomorrow with bus substitution beyond JAX due to Sunrail construction.
The Amtrak website has a press release with Joe Boardman’s remarks to the National Press Club in Wash. DC today suggesting a Transportation Trust Fund to replace the Highway Trust Fund.

For its own part, Amtrak reported on Friday afternoon that Chicago service would slowly return to normal operation. The Amtrak news release said that two round trips between Chicago and St. Louis and one round trip between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois would be canceled. Other lines would be back to full service by Saturday.

In addition to the cancellations on Saturday, Train #7 left Chicago one hour and fifty minutes behind schedule, and Train #8, which had left Seattle and Portland on Thursday, was due into Chicago after 7:00; more than three hours late. Not to be outdone, Train #49 did not make it to Chicago until 2:16 PM, even though it was due at 9:45 in the morning. Train #48 left Penn Station only 12 minutes behind schedule, so there is reason to believe that the situation is improving. There are other reasons to hope for improvement as well: Amtrak did not announce any Chicago cancellations for Sunday.

Prophet did not file any reports on Saturday. Engel did file one: that Train #48 left Cleveland more than four hours late because it had to wait at Toledo for a bus carrying its passengers from Chicago and points in-between. The train that left New York on Thursday short-turned at Toledo, and passengers were taken to Chicago and intermediate stops by bus on Friday. They were also bussed from Chicago on Friday night to the waiting train at Toledo. Engel also reported that other trains were doing well, so there is reason to hope that, by the time you read this, Amtrak will have recovered from last week’s weather-related disaster.

Temperatures are back to normal (Chicago reported above freezing on Saturday), and even on the mild side, with New York reporting balmy temperatures for this time of year, with heavy rain.

Still, Old Man Winter’s knockout punch last week was too much for Amtrak. To keep the damage in perspective, there were also 11,000 airline flights canceled, and 21 fatalities were attributed to the storms and the cold. Trains may not get through in all weather like they did during the “Golden Age” of railroading, but local transit did well, and Amtrak did better than the airlines, or the buses that could not make it onto impassible highways.

Perhaps equally important, the rider advocates were on hand to keep us informed through it all. If information is power, the advocates, including those from RUN, helped to empower their colleagues by keeping us informed in a manner that the commercial media and Amtrak itself did not.


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COMMUTER LINES... Commuter Lines...  

Washington Metro Unveils New
7000-Series Rail Cars

By Paul Duggan - Washington Post
And Internet Sources

The Washington Metro formally unveiled its subway cars of the future last Monday — four shiny, stainless-steel conveyances representing the most significant changes in engineering and industrial design in the transit system’s 37-year history.

The four new cars — the first of 748 due to be delivered by 2018, and at a cost of about $2 billion — are a technological and aesthetic break with the past for Metro. From the mid-1970s through 2008, the agency acquired six batches of subway cars (1,134 cars in all), most of which continue in use. Each batch was designed to be compatible with the others, mechanically and stylistically, so that they could be grouped together in trains.

The new cars of the 7000 series, however, will run as separate trains, apart from the older cars.

Metro Interior

Photo: Robert Thomson – The Washington Post

New Metro car. A view from the center to the end of the new rail car shows the new floor, rails and seats.

At a ceremony attended by an array of elected officials — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; Maryland’s two U.S. senators, Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin; D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and others — the four cars rolled out of a rail yard and into the nearby Greenbelt Metro station, where the officials were given a tour. The cars, built in Lincoln, Neb., will be tested on Metro’s track for several months before being put into revenue service.

With a blue interior color scheme, improved safety features, more standing room, digital information displays and enhanced audio systems, the cars are a radical departure from the brushed-aluminum, earth-toned, less technologically advanced subway cars that Washington-area commuters have long been accustomed to.

The 748 cars built by Kawasaki will constitute half of Metro’s rail fleet by the time the last one arrives in 2018 and nearly 400 0lder cars have been retired, the agency said.


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Bombardier Wins Additional Order
From San Francisco BART

Number Of New Rail Cars On Order Rises To 775 - “Fleet Of The Future”
To Offer Highest Levels Of Quality, Performance And Reliability

From A Bombardier Press Release

Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation has announced that the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) confirmed an order for 365 additional rail cars for its “Fleet of the Future.” The order, valued at approximately $639 million US ($681 million CDN, 470 million euro), is part of a contract originally signed in June, 2012. Bombardier now has firm orders for 775 cars with a total value of approximately $1.5 billion US ($1.6 billion CDN, 1.1 billion euro).

“BART is very pleased to be partnered with Bombardier for this important project to bring a new and improved fleet to the Bay Area,” said BART General Manager Grace Crunican. “We look forward to the successful delivery of 775 innovative, reliable, safe and comfortable rail cars.”

Raymond Bachant, President, Region Americas, Bombardier Transportation, added: “This new order is indicative of BART’s satisfaction with our partnership and progress in the design of this new generation of metro cars. The cars will incorporate state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly technologies and include input from Bay Area citizens who had the opportunity this summer to tour a mock-up of the car and learn about proposed improvements to the interior.”

These improvements include a reconfigured interior layout designed to maximize seating, openness, and comfort; more priority seating for seniors and people with disabilities; wheelchair areas at the end of each car; and bicycle racks in every car. Other new features include more comfortable seats; interior and exterior digital displays showing passenger information; a better quality public address system, including automated announcements; more doors to make boarding faster and easier; energy saving lighting; and energy-efficient propulsion and regenerative braking.

Bombardier will assemble the cars at its manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh, New York. The Plattsburgh facility is Bombardier’s center for rolling stock production in the United States. In operation since 1995, it has produced more than 3,300 passenger rail cars and locomotives now in service across the United States.

Ten pilot cars are scheduled to be delivered in the spring of 2015, followed by comprehensive testing of the pilot cars on the BART system. The delivery of the 765 remaining production series cars is expected to follow between early 2017 and 2021.

Bombardier is transforming how people get around every day. Worldwide, more than seven billion trips are taken on Bombardier metro cars every year in cities including Boston, New York, Montreal, Toronto and Mexico City as well as London, Paris, Berlin, Delhi and Shanghai. Bombardier’s current metro car orders in North America include 714 new cars for Chicago, 468 cars for Montreal, 420 cars for Toronto and 300 cars for New York.

About Bombardier Transportation

Bombardier Transportation, a global leader in rail technology, offers the broadest portfolio in the rail industry and delivers innovative products and services that set new standards in sustainable mobility. BOMBARDIER ECO4 technologies - built on the four cornerstones of energy, efficiency, economy and ecology - conserve energy, protect the environment and help to improve total train performance for operators and passengers. Bombardier Transportation is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, and has a very diverse customer base with products or services in more than 60 countries. It has an installed base of over 100,000 vehicles worldwide.

About Bombardier

Bombardier is the world’s only manufacturer of both planes and trains. Looking far ahead while delivering today, Bombardier is evolving mobility worldwide by answering the call for more efficient, sustainable and enjoyable transportation everywhere. Our vehicles, services and, most of all, our employees are what make us a global leader in transportation.

Bombardier is headquartered in Montréal, Canada. Our shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD) and we are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indexes. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012, we posted revenues of $16.8 billion. News and information are available at www.bombardier.com or follow them on Twitter @Bombardier.


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

TxDOT, Federal Government, Launching Study
On DFW To Houston High-Speed Rail Line

From KETK News - Reagan Roy Online Editor/Reporter
www.ketknbc.com

According to the Texas Tribune, United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has confirmed the government will team up with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas Central High-Speed Railway to perform a study on a Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston high-speed rail line.

Texas Central High-Speed Railway is a private, for-profit Texas company, working to bring high-speed, high-tech rail to Texas with a route between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston sometime in the next ten years with a travel time of about 90 minutes. These bullet trains will move at speeds over 200 miles-per-hour. Texas Central is working closely with JR Central, an internationally-respected high-speed passenger rail leader, to utilize the N700-I Bullet Train system, according to Texas Central’s website.

Today, thousands of Texans are traveling between Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth face a ten-hour round-trip drive, or a combined five hours navigating airport security and flying. Neither scenario offers first class amenities or an Internet connection for the entire journey. The truth is, travel between the two most robust economies in Texas doesn’t have to be that way.

According to TxDOT, they are looking to complete a study concerning the Texas-Oklahoma passenger rail by the end of 2014. It will document the costs, benefits and impacts of potential rail service alternatives compared to a no-build service-level environmental impact system.

High-speed passenger rail has also been under consideration in Texas since the late 1980s. In the 1990s, a private consortium was awarded a franchise to design, build and operate high-speed rail in the state. Although demand appeared to support the development of high-speed rail, a lack of funding and other obstacles prevented the project from moving forward. Since then, other proposals for high-speed passenger rail in Texas have been submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), with each proposal showing revenues that exceed operating expenses but requiring some amount of funding to build.

Researchers from The University of Texas at Arlington conducted a study in November 2013 providing benefits of high-speed trains along major Texas highways.

The university gathered information on four separate proposed corridors:

A promotional video was produced in 2012 on this concept and it can be viewed at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6igUibrfwc


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BUILDERS LINES... Builders Lines...  

New Texas Transportation Board Deals
With Same Challenges Building Tex Rail

By Gordon Dickson, Star-Telegram.com

FORT WORTH — It has been nearly a year since all nine Fort Worth Transportation Authority board members were summarily dismissed by city and county leaders unhappy with delays on building the TEX Rail commuter line.

Mayor Betsy Price and other leaders also said they were skeptical about whether the transportation authority, commonly known as the “T,” could evolve from a bus company into a 21st-century transportation provider.

But how much progress has been made since then?

“The new board is doing a great job,” Price said last week, adding that she expects the City Council to get a full briefing from the new T board in the next couple of weeks. “There’s a steep learning curve for any board.”

The new chairman of the T board, Scott Mahaffey, says the agency is close to signing a handful of agreements that are crucial to ensuring that the first phase of the proposed TEX Rail project, a 27-mile rail line from downtown Fort Worth to Grapevine and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, gets built by 2017 — or shortly thereafter.

“We’re hoping to have some good news in the next few weeks,” said Mahaffey, a Fort Worth businessman. “There’s still some points of negotiation going on, [but] all the deal points are pretty much together.”

It hasn’t been an easy first year since the Fort Worth City Council replaced eight of the nine T board members back on Feb. 5, 2013, after weeks of discussion. The T board’s ninth member, who is appointed by Tarrant County, was also replaced days later.

Less than six months after the overhaul, on July 31, T officials announced their plans to indefinitely postpone development of the southern 10 miles of TEX Rail, from downtown to the city’s medical district and TCU, so they could instead focus on getting the northern 27 miles of the route to Grapevine and DFW Airport built.

Yet the T still hasn’t signed an agreement with Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which owns most of the tracks that would be used by TEX Rail from DFW Airport to the Stockyards area. Also, the T still hasn’t inked a deal with Union Pacific Railroad to build a bridge over the Trinity River so the line can reach downtown.

Finally, a deal to allow Amtrak to run on the Trinity Railway Express line instead of the Union Pacific line in Arlington also hasn’t been signed. That deal became part of the TEX Rail project after Union Pacific, which doesn’t want Amtrak on its busy freight lines, requested it as a bargaining chip in the TEX Rail negotiations.

Meanwhile, the T itself also has lost personnel in several key positions.

The agency’s president, Dick Ruddell, announced his retirement in September, and a search for his replacement could continue through March, Mahaffey said.

“They’re getting a new director, and that will make a big difference,” Price said. “The interviews are promising. They will start very soon.”

Also, Trinity Railway Express (TRE) chief operating officer Bill Farquhar resigned Jan. 7, 2013, after a disagreement with T officials over what kind of rail car to use on the proposed TEX Rail line. Sal DeAngelo, TRE chief mechanical officer, was laid off in September in what T officials say was a cost-cutting move.

Candidates are still being identified to replace Farquhar, said Rob Harmon, T chief financial officer and vice president of commuter rail. Whoever gets the job will be asked to perform both Farquhar’s and DeAngelo’s duties, which are being consolidated.

The original plan was to extend TEX Rail 10 miles beyond downtown to southwest Fort Worth, but the T couldn’t reach an agreement with Fort Worth & Western Railroad to use its tracks through the area. That portion of TEX Rail has now been put off to a future phase.

The T’s experience has shown leaders that it may not be wise to plan a transit system on property that isn’t owned by the entities that wish to run it. It’s one reason why those leaders are enthusiastic about an unrelated proposal to build a high-speed rail line on Interstate 30 right-of-way, which is already owned by the Texas Department of Transportation.

For the full story see:
http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/01/04/5460479/still-on-track-a-new-t-board-deals.html?rh=1


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BUSINESS LINES... Business Lines...  

Keolis To Take Over MBTA Commuter Operations
In MA/RI

MBCR Expresses Concern They Were not Fully Vetted

From the Boston Globe, Martine Powers
DF Staff, And Internet Sources

[Ed Note: We follow-up on this story from a late-breaking insertion in last week’s edition.]

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s board of directors has unanimously voted to accept the Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority’s (MBTA) recommendation that Keolis, a France-based rail company, take over operation of the state’s commuter rail system, winning the state’s largest operating contract in history.

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott recommended Keolis as the winning bidder, after the board listened to roughly two hours of public comments.

Last Tuesday, state officials revealed the price tag for the contract: $2.68 billion over eight years, with the possibility for additional two two-year extensions that could bring the total price to $4.3 billion.

That would make the base deal, the largest operating contract in Massachusetts state history, about $335 million per year, higher than the $214 million a year initially paid to the current operator, the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. (MBCR), when it was first awarded the contract a decade ago.

Keolis is the largest private sector French transport group operating a variety of railways, tramways, bus networks, funiculars, trolley buses, and airport services. The company, based in Paris, is majority-owned by Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF), the French state rail operator. It is the largest provider of public-transportation services in France. They currently maintain office space on Boston’s Federal Street in the downtown district.

In the USA, Keolis presently operates the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC.

The MBCR is a consortium made up of Veolia Transportation, Bombardier, and Alternate Concepts, a Boston-based firm which includes several former MBTA executives. Veolia, a majority holder of the MBCR, operates the City of Boston’s school bus service that provides transportation to the city’s school children. In late 2013 the company came under scrutiny by City of Boston government when employee job actions erupted unannounced amidst charges that they were not honoring union contracts inherited from the prior company.

Sour Snowballs?

Days after the press story broke last week regarding the competition between the MBCR and Keolis, the cold weather started to take its toll at Boston’s North Station.

Extreme cold impacted “Tower A” at North Station, which in turn affected train movements to and from the station platforms and through the North Station rail yards where several branch lines converge and cross a 4-track draw bridge over the Charles River.

Scott Farmelant, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co., which runs commuter rail service for the MBTA, said at least twenty 10- to 15-minute delays and four canceled trains were reported between 7:45 and 8:45 AM, the station’s peak service hours last Monday morning.

Problems were reported on the Haverhill, Fitchburg/South Acton, Lowell, and Newburyport/Rockport lines.

The delays prompted speculation in the public sector that this may have been sour grapes at the MBCR over recent press leaks regarding ongoing contract negotiations with the MBTA, but the interlockings at North Station are complex and have been subject to cold weather issues in the past. At least 12 tracks which feed 3 branch lines, a maintenance facility, and yard storage tracks converge here and narrow to 4 tracks over an active draw bridge, then expand back out again to 10 tracks for the 10 passenger platforms at North Station.

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott explained to the board that the new contract contains more potential penalties — $12 million per year versus $3 million per year under the current contract.

Keolis had been the only bidder to challenge the MBCR for the new contract, and according Scott, Keolis underbid MBCR by 6 percent; MBCR’s profit margin was higher, which made up much of the difference between the two companies’ proposals, Scott said.

The MBCR had complained that the T conducted parts of the procurement process unfairly, including being given a single sit-down meeting with T officials.

Jim O’Leary, head of MBCR, addressed the board during public comments, and described the last 10 years of running the commuter rail. “We never say no to requests from the MBTA,” O’Leary said.

“After all that, we had a sum total of a 45-min interview,” he continued. “We can only conclude that our bid was never taken seriously.”

But Scott told the board that written conversations were conducted with each bidder, and that the MBTA responded to more than 1,000 questions from both.

Last Wednesday’s MassDOT meeting was conducted before a full house; the audience included Bernard Tabary, the Keolis CEO of international operations, who flew from Paris for the meeting. About 30 people offered public comments to the board, including Steve Townsend, president of Keolis America, who told the board that Keolis is committed to maintaining collective bargaining agreements, and strongly values diversity.

Unions representing commuter rail workers spoke favorably of MBCR, saying they worried that switching contractors at the same time that new coaches are arriving could be disastrous. But Scott told the board that the new contractor is mandated to hire the current commuter rail workforce and keep existing labor agreements in place.

Earlier, segments of the MBCR bid had made its way to the press, showing the MBCR plan included the possibility of building a new rail maintenance and training facility in the Hyde Park section of Boston at its southern-most tip in an industrial park that is adjacent to the Northeast Corridor. The facility would have been near Readville Station (Junction) where the NEC meets and intersects the MBTA’s Franklin and Fairmount branches.

Keolis’ plan did not include such a facility but did include construction elsewhere in the city.

The full details of the Keolis plan have yet to be published.

The MBCR can challenge the contract award to federal authorities if it feels it was not fully vetted in the process.

Under present terms, Keolis will phase-in and take control of the MBTA’s commuter rail operations on July 1, 2014.


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SAFETY LINES... Safety Lines...  

Train Speeds Lowered On Key Points On
Metro-north Line To Port Jervis

Speeds Reduced After FRA Scrutiny In Wake Of Spuyten Duyvil Accident

By Judy Rife, RecordOnline.com

PORT JERVIS - Metro-North Railroad has adjusted speed limits on the Port Jervis line in the wake of last month’s fatal derailment in Spuyten Duyvil.

“Our goal is to have uniformity throughout our system, and we’re working with NJ Transit toward that end,” said Marjorie Anders, a Metro-North spokesperson.

The maximum allowable speeds along the 65-mile long line have been reduced wherever the differential in speed limits changed by more than 20 miles an hour. Anders said New Jersey Transit (NJT), which operates Metro-North’s trains on this side of the Hudson, has briefed its crews on the new policies.

The changes were made voluntarily, since the speed adjustment directive that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued after the Dec. 1, 2013 derailment at Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx, only applied to Metro-North’s east-of-Hudson operations, on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines.

West-of-Hudson operations have been exempt from the post-derailment reviews because NJ Transit uses its own crews, dispatchers and communications systems, rather than Metro-North’s.

MTA Station Platform

Photo: RtecordOnline.Com<

Passengers stand by as an MTA train arrives for pick up

The National Transportation Safety Board identified speed as a factor in the derailment almost immediately. The board’s investigators determined that the train was travelling at 82 mph when it left a 70 mph zone and entered a 30 mph zone on a sharp curve just outside of the Spuyten Duvil station. Four people were killed and 59 injured.

The investigation, and the FRA’s top-to-bottom review of the railroad, are ongoing, but the lawyer for the train’s engineer has attributed his client’s failure to apply the brakes in a timely manner to “highway hypnosis.” The engineer, William Rockefeller of Germantown, has been suspended without pay.

Anders said the maximum allowance speed, as high as 79 mph along some sections of the Port Jervis line, was reduced in 12 locations – and by only 5 mph in most of them. For example, areas where the speed went from 79 to 55 mph now go from 75 to 55. The speed limit on the Moodna and Woodbury viaducts remains at 30 mph.

Metro-North’s locomotives and cab cars on the Port Jervis line are already equipped with alerters that emit noises if engineers are inactive at the controls for a brief period, and begin to apply the brakes if they remain unresponsive – a protection that wasn’t in the rear-facing cab car of the derailed train.

About one-third of the railroad’s east-of-Hudson fleet is now being retrofitted to include alerters.


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Metro-North President Permut Steps Down
Joseph Giuletti To Replace Him

From the CtPost.Com Online
Martin B. Cassidy

After a trying year that brought two derailments and other major missteps, Metro-North President Howard Permut announced his resignation as president of Metro-North Railroad last Monday, said Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders.

Permut will stay until the end of the month to assist with the transition to new leadership, Anders said. Permut was not available for comment Monday night.

Howard Permut

Photo: BK Angeletti, ctpost.com

Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut seen here answering questions during a hearing on the September 2013 Metro North power outage, at Bridgeport (CT) City Hall on Oct. 28, 2013.

Permut’s announcement comes after a nightmarish 2013 for the nation’s second-largest railroad, including the derailment of one train and collision with a second in Bridgeport, CT. on May 17, 2013.

Two weeks later, a veteran foreman for the railroad was struck and killed in West Haven, CT. by a train travelling 70 mph, when a rookie rail control operator mistakenly opened a section of track that was supposed to have been closed for maintenance work.

In late September, railroad service was crippled for 13 days after an electric power feeder cable in New York failed without a backup source, severely limiting service through Oct. 8.

After a derailment in the Bronx, N.Y., on Dec. 1 which killed four people, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) began an in-depth investigation of Metro-North’s operations and safety practices, and issued new directives to ensure that engineers operate trains at safe speeds.

Former Connecticut Rail Commuter Council Chairman Jim Cameron said Permut’s departure had been somewhat expected, given the difficulties of 2013.

“It is not surprising that Mr. Permut is stepping down as president of Metro-North,” Cameron said, “especially after the past year of deadly accidents and operational issues at the railroad.”

Politico (politico.com) has reported that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was expected to name Florida rail official Joseph Giuletti to take Permut’s place.

Giulietti helped found Metro-North in 1983 and was a senior executive at the railroad for 15 years.

He spent the last 14 years as executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority.


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EXPANSION LINES... Expansion Lines...  

Will Commuter Rail Return To Bourne?

Bourne, MA Residents Will Be Able To Weigh In During January 16 Forum.

From The Cape Cod Day - Wickedlocal.Com
The Bourne Courier, And DF Staff

Massachusetts State Rep. David Vieira, (R-Falmouth,) will host a Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Forum on January 16 from 6:00-7:30 PM in the Main Street Community Center in Bourne, MA. The public is invited.

Vieira planned the session after meeting with officials from the Town of Wareham late last year after learning that the neighboring community is welcoming – and planning for – an extension and resumption of commuter rail service to that town from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

Bourne selectmen, meanwhile, have not taken a commuter-rail return stand, but members directed their Transportation Advisory Committee to investigate all aspects of the issue, especially as they relate to traffic tangles, parking concerns and business prospects at Main Street’s west end near the train station.

Commuter trains departed Buzzards Bay station for good in the early 1960s. Efforts to restore the service faltered over the past four decades, even with subsidies. The rail-switching yard off Main Street was converted into the Buzzards Bay Park in the 1990s.

Last year, the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority partnered with the MBTA to establish new weekend-only service from Boston to Hyannis on Cape Cod. The train, known as the Cape Flyer operated initially from Memorial Day in late May, through Labor Day in September, but proved so successful that service was extended through October. Established plans will see this service run again in 2014. The apparent success of the summer weekend Cape Flyer service from Boston to Hyannis – in terms of rider-ship – has galvanized rail-return enthusiasts.

Bourne's Town Administrator Thomas Guerino said commuter rail “remains a good idea” as he headed to a meeting about the issue with the Canal Chamber of Commerce.

Guerino acknowledged the point that commuter rail return has long remained a romantic notion of sorts, but he added that Bourne should benefit in some fashion if it is going to be forced to pay an annual fee to the MBTA because the town would become a neighboring community to a rail stop planned in the neighboring town of Wareham.

Read more at:
http://www.wickedlocal.com/bourne/news/x407166606/Commuter-rail-return-to-Bourne-Good-idea-Romantic-notion#ixzz2poWgU9s1


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

 
Title
 
Ticker
This
Week
Previous
Week
Berkshire Hathaway B (BNSF)(BRK.B)114.97117.57
Canadian National (CNI)54.4856.50
Canadian Pacific (CP) 153.25149.87
CSX (CSX)28.8828.47
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)93.6197.02
Kansas City Southern (KSU)115.70120.11
Norfolk Southern (NSC)91.6191.62
Providence & Worcester(PWX)18.9719.51
Union Pacific (UNP)169.89166.85

* Stocks last reported on December 23, 2013. Please see that edition.


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

[Ed Note: Foreign editor David Beale is presently phasing in new technology.
We expect his return to these pages will be soon as the comfort level increases.
In the meantime, we offer these stories on the Euro-Asian scene.]

Shanghai Opens Two More Metro Lines

Written By Keith Barrow
International Railway Journal

Shanghai has added two more lines to its metro network, taking the system to more than 500km just 20 years after the opening of the first line.

Running entirely in the district of Pudong, Line 16 is a suburban metro line linking the Line 11 station at Luoshan Road with Dishui Lake with a journey time of 50 minutes. The 52.9km line has just 11 stations and with a minimum distance of 2.6km between stops trains reach speeds of up to 120km/h, making Line 16 the city’s fastest metro line.

The second phase, which will extend the line north to an interchange with metro Lines 2 and 7 and the Shanghai Airport Maglev at Longyang Road is due to be completed by the end of this year.

The initial 19km section of Line 12 between Tiantong station in Zhabei and Jinjing Road in Pudong was also opened on December 29. The 15-station line is expected to carry around 90,000 passengers per day.

The opening of these lines takes the total length of the network to 538km with 329 stations. On December 31 the network carried a record 8.9 million passengers.


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Latvia And Lithuania To Cooperate
On International Operations

Written By Keith Barrow
International Railway Journal

Latvian Railways (LDZ) president Mr. Ugis Magonis and the CEO of Lithuanian Railways (LG) Mr. Stasis Dailidka signed a series of agreements in the Latvian capital Riga last month aimed at improving and expanding cross-border operations between the two countries.

The two railways have agreed to look at the possibility of introducing a new international passenger service between Riga and Siauliai in Lithuania, and they will also study the establishment of a joint venture to operate freight services between Asia and Europe.

“It is no secret that LDZ and LG are interested in pursuing opportunities for freight services from the Black Sea ports and attracting containerized freight from Kazakhstan and China to Europe to rail,” says LDZ chairman Mr. Guntis Macs. “Currently we each have our own activities in this area, but it makes sense to join forces and develop a single offer.”


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Arriva Abandons Prague Suburban Services

Written By Quintus Vosman
International Railway Journal

Arriva’s Czech rail subsidiary Arriva Vlaky withdrew its open-access suburban service between Prague Masarykovo and Kralupy nad Vltavou on December 13, 2013, just three months after the start of operations.

Arriva Vlaky started operations on September 23, 2013 on its own initiative and took on all financial risk for the service with the aim of convincing Prague transport authority PID that the service was viable. However, passenger numbers were disappointingly low and the lack of financial support meant the losses were too large for Arriva to sustain.

Arriva operated eight return services per day on the 27km route, offering a regular two hour frequency. A single class 628 two-car diesel multi-unit (DMU) provided by Arriva’s parent company German Rail (DB) was used for all trains, and was equipped with passenger Wi-Fi.

Despite the failure of the Prague suburban service, Arriva Vlaky still plans to continue developing its rail business in the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, Czech newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reports that British bus and train operator National Express has established a Czech subsidiary, National Express CZ, which plans to bid for public transport concessions or franchises.

About IRJ

The International Railway Journal (IRJ) is owned by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, one of the oldest, most-respected, and privately-owned B2B publishers in the United States. More than 200,000 executives around the world count on Simmons-Boardman Publishing’s media products to help them make key strategic decisions about their businesses every day.

Simmons-Boardman publishes North America’s leading rail industry magazines: Railway Age, the world’s oldest railway magazine, and Railway Track & Structures. Simmons-Boardman also has a conference division, a specialist railway book division and the Railway Education Bureau. In addition, Simmons-Boardman publishes a broad range of non-rail titles including Marine Log, ABA Banking Journal, Sign Builder Illustrated, and Bar Business.

http://www.railjournal.com


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EVENTS... Events...  

Save the Date!

 

Rail Users Network (RUN) Conference - May 2 - PA

RUN to Philadelphia on Friday, May 2nd for this year’s conference sponsored by RUN, the Rail Users’ Network, in cooperation with the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

The theme of the conference will be: How Rail Contributes to Economic Vitality.

If you are a planner, real estate professional, rail advocate, environmental activist, or anyone else who is interested in learning more about how trains and rail transit improve Philadelphia and other cities, you should attend.

The conference will take place on Friday, May 2nd in Philadelphia, with an optional tour of the interesting and varied transit in the area on Saturday, as well as other events and activities.

The fee for the conference is $60.00 if you register on or before March 31st, and it includes lunch and refreshments.

To learn more, please check the RUN web site at: www.railusers.net.


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PUBLICATION NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2014 National Corridors Initiative, Inc. as a compilation work and original content. Permission is granted to reproduce content provided acknowledgements to NCI are given. Return links to the NCI web site are encouraged and appreciated. Color Name Courtesy of Doug Alexander. Content reproduced by NCI remain the copyrights of the original publishers.

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

We try to be accurate in the stories we write, but even seasoned pros err occasionally. If you read something you know to be amiss, or if you have a question about a topic, wed 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, NCIs 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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