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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 20, 2014
Vol. 14 No. 3

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

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

  News Items…
London’s Newest Rail Tunnel Shows The World
   How It’s Done
  Commentary…
Amtrak’s Winter Difficulties:
   A Rider’s View
  Guest Commentaries…
Wisconsin Should Get On Board
Move Forward With Plan To Bring Metro-North
   Service To The Bronx
  Funding Lines…
FY14 Appropriations Good For Tiger, Amtrak
House Committees To Hear Testimony On Surface
   Transportation Reauthorization, And
   California High-Speed Rail
Secretary Foxx Outlines Transportation Vision Focused
   On Overcoming Infrastructure Deficit
  Transit Lines…
APTA Reports: Transit Ridership Up In
   3rd Quarter, Year-To-Date
  Expansion Lines…
Patrick Administration Releases Five Year
   Transportation Plan
 
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Freight Lines…
DOT To Issue Stronger Tanker Car Regs In 2015
  Safety Lines…
B&M Baked Beans Plant Fights Petition To
   Stop Rail Service
Plans To Monitor Train Crews On Video Move Forward
WABTEC Lands MARC PTC Contract
NTSB On Metro-North Derailment; Cost Of Accident
   Estimated At $9 Million
  Across The Pond…
European Railways’ Safety Improves Further
New Subway Trains Too Wide For Berlin’s Tunnels
China Plans Yuan 630bn Rail Investment In 2014
Construction Starts On Semmering Base Tunnel
Former Deutsche Bahn Chief Filed Lawsuit
   Against… Himself
  Events…
Last Chance To Register For This Week’s 10th
   Annual Southwestern Rail Conference
  Publication Notes …



NEWS ITEMS... News Items...  

London’s Newest Rail Tunnel
Shows The World How It’s Done

Found at: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2014/01/digging-londons-newest-tunnel/8128/

LONDON --- London’s $25 billion public transit project (Europe’s largest) is now halfway done. Crossrail, a 73-mile addition to the city’s rail network, will connect Heathrow airport to Essex, adding an estimated 10 percent in ridership capacity.

Witnessing workers and machines build massive tunnels 80 feet underground since 2009 has been an interesting sight on its own. But the project also ended up being quite the archeological opportunity. An incredible range of remains -- from an ancient Roman road to graves of Black Death victims -- have been unearthed. 

Construction has proceeded with few hiccups so far, and the mega-transportation project still on track for a 2018 completion.

Below, peek at the progress:

CrossRail Progress

REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Work on the new Crossrail and London Underground station at Tottenham Court Road continues as traffic moves down Oxford Street in central London September 30, 2013.


AP Photo/Ben Stansall, Pool

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, fourth left, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, third right, visit a Crossrail construction site underneath Tottenham Court Road in central London, on Thursday Jan. 16, 2014.


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A worker uses a blow torch on part of a conveyor at Crossrail’s Stepney site in east London September 25, 2013.


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Workers stand in the mouth of one of the tunnels at Crossrail’s Limmo Peninsula site in east London December 14, 2012


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

An archaeologist digs out skeletons from the site of the graveyard of the Bethlehem, or Bedlam, hospital next to Liverpool Street Station in the City of London August 7, 2013.


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

An archaeologist digs out a skull from the site of the graveyard of the Bethlehem, or Bedlam, hospital next to Liverpool Street Station in the City of London, August 7, 2013.


AP Photo/Alastair Grant

A member of the archaeological team from the Museum of London points to the present day position of London’s Liverpool Street Station on a 16th century map of the city, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Workers line up rails for the tunneling machine at Crossrail’s Stepney site in east London September 25, 2013


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A worker rides a train car taking him out of the Crossrail tunnel being built from Paddington towards Farringdon under central London March 13, 2013.


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A worker surveys a tunnel entrance at Crossrail’s Stepney site in east London September 25, 2013


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A technician sprays concrete to support caverns built to house the converging railway tunnels at Crossrail’s Stepney site in east London December 14, 2012


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A worker stands on the tunnel boring machine creating the Crossrail tunnel being built from Paddington towards Farringdon under central London March 13, 2013.


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A worker emerges after the tunneling machine has made the breakthrough into the station structure at Canary Wharf, in east London June 11, 2013.


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Concrete shatters as a tunneling machine makes the breakthrough into the station structure at Canary Wharf, in east London June 11, 2013.


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Workers look on after a tunneling machine made the breakthrough into the station structure at Canary Wharf, in east London June 11, 2013.


REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A diver prepares to enter the water to work on support structures at Crossrail’s Albert Dock site in east London March 27, 2013.

REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A member of the crew of a bulk freighter prepares his ship to receive tons of earth generated by the construction of Crossrail, at a jetty on the Thames in east London, December 17, 2013.


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COMMENTARY... Commentary...  

Amtrak’s Winter Difficulties: A Rider’s View

By David Peter Alan

Two weeks ago, most of the nation was in the deep freeze. Temperatures in some places were as low as they had been in twenty years. They were often twenty or thirty degrees (Fahrenheit) below normal, and flirted with the zero mark in places where a nighttime low below freezing is considered a very cold occasion. Although the snow that fell three weeks ago in the Northeast did not seem to faze Amtrak or local transit (see D:F edition of January 6th), the cold spell of two weeks ago stopped Amtrak in its tracks, sometimes literally. A number of Chicago trains were canceled, both long-distance trains and on the Chicago-hub corridors. Even the City of New Orleans, Train #58, was canceled on one occasion.

The two trains that were hit hardest were #48 and #49, the Lake Shore, and #7 and #8, the Empire Builder. Together they comprise the Northern route across the country. Under normal conditions, it takes slightly less than three days to make the entire trip. A person who leaves New York at 3:40 pm on Day 1 (Sunday, for example), has a layover in Chicago for a few hours the next day and arrives in Seattle or Portland about 10:00 on the morning of Day 4 (Thursday in the same example). In the First Golden Age of Railroading (the Second Golden Age or Railroading will probably not happen for a long time into the future), that schedule was reliable, and passengers could count on it, at any time of year.

That was not the case two weeks ago. As we reported last week, the severe cold made the Lake Shore and the “Builder” extremely late on several occasions, or kept them off the rails entirely on other days. We relayed e-mail reports from advocates Gary Prophet and Bill Engel to their colleagues on the Board of Directors of the Rail Users’ Network (RUN) about the status of these and other trains.

After last week’s edition went to press, the weather became milder (at least for the middle of winter), and the trains began to run more normally. Engel had reported on the progress of all trains at Cleveland during and after the extraordinary cold snap, and he sent his final report on the matter last Monday:

Amazing what milder temperatures can do to reliability!
This morning at Cleveland:
#29(12) Dep :26 late (Had dep PGH OT)
#30(12) Dep 1:14 late
#48(12) Dep OT
#49(12) Dep 1:22 late (Had dep NYP :34 late).

It should be noted that the (12) after each train number indicates a departure on Sunday, January 12th. The eastbound Lake Shore had not lost any time from Chicago and, although the other three trains ran late, their performance was not extraordinarily bad, or even abnormal for warmer times of the year.

Putting aside any chronic lackluster on-time-performance by Amtrak (which is not always Amtrak’s fault), it could have been worse. According to long-time Chicago advocate and journalist F.K. “Fritz” Plous, it was much worse during the Blizzard of 2000. Plous said that, during that time, essentially nothing ran into or out of Chicago on Amtrak. It was also much worse on other modes of travel two weeks ago. Thousands of airline flights were canceled, while buses could not navigate the impassible highways any better than private automobiles could. Engle had reported receiving news reports of passengers who were stranded for two nights in the Cleveland bus terminal.

Despite the fact that other modes did worse, the question remains of why Amtrak trains did not do better. When rail travel was king, trains got through in all weather. They may have needed more time in very bad weather, but they eventually got to their destinations. There was in incident in history when a train did not. In 1952, the Union Pacific’s City of San Francisco was stuck for six days, due to a blizzard. That catastrophic event was so unusual that people still talk about it today. When this writer was an undergraduate, traveling on the New Haven Railroad’s Merchants Limited between New York and Boston during the 1960s, the crew members talked about their “foul weather friends”; the riders who showed up only when the weather was sufficiently inclement to keep the airlines from running.

While many rail travelers today choose Amtrak because they like to travel by train, even “foul weather friends” of rail can be disappointed in the winter, due to a service disruption. These days, Amtrak does not always get through, sometimes giving up and waiting for better weather. In this writer’s opinion, Amtrak bears some of the responsibility for these service disruptions, but there are other causal factors outside Amtrak’s control.

Before the Amtrak era, the trains got through, even in a harsh winter environment. James J. Hill, the original “Empire Builder” who built the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railroads, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, who headed the New York Central (home of the original Lake Shore Limited), were tough, determined and stubborn. They and others of their ilk may have disdained their customers who could not afford to ride in a sleeping car, but they were also determined to be sure their trains always completed their assigned trips. It was a matter of pride; the railroad’s name was on the cars, and the public respected a moving train more than one that was stalled or broken down on account of the weather.

The situation is different today. Amtrak is now an unwelcome tenant on the tracks of the freight-carrying railroads. It is not unusual for an Amtrak train to be relegated to a low priority, when a higher-priority freight train must be moved. The people who are going somewhere must stand aside for the cargo and wait. Until last year, there were rules that required the freight-carrying railroads to give Amtrak trains a higher level of priority. The D.C. Circuit Court struck those rules down, so the “Class I” railroads who own the track can do essentially whatever they wish with Amtrak trains. The “Builder” carries some of the workers who extract crude oil from the frozen ground, but it is the long trains filled with that oil that have the priority. If the railroad is so congested with freight trains that the Amtrak train can’t make its schedule, it is “just too bad” for Amtrak and the people on that train. Some Amtrak trains have been delayed so severely by freight congestion and weather conditions that runs were canceled, so the next day’s train could leave its point of origin on time. That happened to the Empire Builder three times in December, and it happened to both the Empire Builder and the Lake Shore two weeks ago.

If the company that owns the tracks also ran the trains, it would have more incentive to make sure that the trains run on schedule, or as close to schedule as possible, in all weather. This is precisely the incentive that was removed when Amtrak was created in 1971, mostly at the urging of the railroads, which wanted to get rid of their passenger trains.

Because Amtrak does not have enough equipment, there are not enough spare cars available to keep a train set in reserve in places like Chicago and Seattle, in case a train is expected to arrive too late for its equipment to be turned and sent out again quickly. So the train cannot keep its schedule in the other direction, either. Substituting another train set for the one that is regularly-assigned does not help, either. For example, if Amtrak runs the Lake Shore from New York with equipment that would have been assigned to the New Orleans run, the Chicago train operates, but the New Orleans train does not. Amtrak and its supporters place much of the blame for the lack of available equipment on successive Administrations in Washington and successive Congresses. While they are on solid ground, Amtrak’s equipment utilization practices and maintenance practices may aggravate the equipment shortage.

This writer took the Lake Shore from New York to Chicago during this time of year, over ten years ago. Conditions were somewhat similar to two weeks ago. It was the coldest night that upstate New York had experienced in twenty years, and the entire railroad in the region came to a standstill, because of a broken rail near Syracuse. It took hours for a track crew to get to the affected area and repair the track, in sub-zero cold. The train lost more and more time, until it finally arrived in Chicago at 10:05 p.m., not a.m.; over twelve hours behind schedule. The crews did the best they could throughout the trip, and they performed well under highly adverse conditions. There was no food left on the train, but Amtrak had some subs delivered, to feed the hungry passengers and crew. There was blowing snow underfoot in the vestibules. The toilets did not work, because the water lines froze. Fortunately, the train stopped long enough at each station to give everybody “bathroom breaks” during the extra-long trip.

Amtrak was not responsible for the broken rail, or the time it took to repair it. Amtrak also did what it could to provide some emergency rations when the regular food was gone, and Amtrak deserves credit for doing that. The other problems came with the equipment: diaphragms between cars with space that allowed blowing snow to enter, and water lines in the restrooms that froze because they were exposed to the cold.

It is now at least ten years later. The equipment has not changed, although it has gotten older. There is still room for blowing snow to get into the vestibules on the Amfleet II long-distance coaches, and there are still complaints about restrooms that must be bad-ordered when the water lines freeze. Nobody deserves the blame for these equipment failures except Amtrak. It should not be terribly difficult to retrofit cars with improved diaphragms or insulation to keep water lines in the restrooms from freezing. It may not be possible to do that on all of the long-distance cars in the Eastern fleet this year, but it should be possible to add these modifications to each car when it is taken into the shop for an overhaul. Amtrak has known for at least ten years that these deficiencies exist, and that they degrade the quality of a trip severely. There is no reasonable excuse for these deficiencies to continue to exist for this long.

It appears that Amtrak’s eastern trains get a winter vacation. There is a major maintenance shop in Hialeah, near the Amtrak Miami station. That does not seem to be sufficient reason to maintain cars so far from New York, where all trains that use this equipment originate. Could it be that Amtrak wants to thaw the cars out, so it sometimes assigns them to the Silver Service trains, just to get them there? That leads to the question of why Amtrak cannot maintain these train sets at Wilmington, Delaware, which is a relatively short deadhead ride from New York on the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor (NEC). Is Amtrak indicating that it cannot keep Amfleet cars running for long distances in the cold?

There are other questions, too. Can the Chicago maintenance base keep its varied array of cars running through the cold Chicago winter? Are the Amfleet cars which are used for the Lake Shore and other long-distance trains that originate in New York sufficiently winterized? The same question also applies to the Horizon and Amfleet cars that operate from the Chicago hub to places like Detroit and St. Louis.

Amtrak cannot control winter weather or the overcrowding on host railroads that results from freight congestion, but it can control its maintenance practices and equipment utilization. Amtrak owes it to its customers to make sure that its management and maintenance practices live up to reasonable standards for the environment in which the trains operate. If Amtrak does that, we can all be sure that any winter-related cancellations or delays are not Amtrak’s fault. In that event, it will be time to look elsewhere, maybe toward the host railroads, for a solution.


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GUEST COMMENTARY... Guest Commentary...  

Wisconsin Should Get On Board

By Howard Learner
Via the Journal Sentinel –
www.jsonline.com

Milwaukee is at the forefront of a quiet revolution in car use and vehicle technologies that is fundamentally changing transportation needs and traditional financing structures.

Milwaukee is second among the nation’s 100 largest cities for declining driving miles per capita (a 21% decrease), and Madison is third (an 18% decrease) from 2006 to 2011, according to the WISPIRG Foundation. As driving patterns change and gas tax revenues decline, Wisconsin should prioritize smart investments in transit and rail, which are gaining passengers, and “fix it first” when it comes to highways and bridges.

Let’s start by advancing long-delayed higher-speed passenger rail connecting Milwaukee to Madison and Chicago and the suburbs and “exurbs” in between. Modern high-speed rail can improve mobility, create jobs, spur economic growth and opportunity, and reduce pollution. This is a good time for Gov. Scott Walker to reconsider his rejection of passenger rail upgrades. Those fast trains already could have been whisking people from Madison to Chicago.

People are driving less with fewer, more fuel-efficient cars that use less gas. There’s more transit and rail use. The combined impacts: lower gas tax revenues. Future mobility and transportation efficiency requires recognizing these changes and adjusting planning to fit this new reality.

Who’s driving less? Car ownership is expensive, moderate-income people are squeezed and vehicle miles traveled are declining. Younger people moving into cities need cars less. People under age 35 now drive fewer miles annually than in 1990. Nationally, the average annual vehicle-miles traveled by 16- to 34-year-olds dropped 23% during that time, according to the National Household Travel Survey. Driving rates are down among younger Americans, who are using transit options and saving money on car maintenance and gasoline.

There are lifestyle and cultural changes. Bikes are cooler and healthier. The growing “sharing economy” is attractive. Traffic congestion is frustrating and boring. My 21-year-old son and his friends don’t own cars, didn’t get driver’s licenses until after high school, use public transit and ride bikes. They share or rent cars when needed. They’d rather spend disposable income on new tech devices.

Affordability matters. Buying, owning and driving a car is expensive. Gas prices are high, and parking costs are rising. Insurance is pricey. The combined $95 annual Wisconsin state registration fee and Milwaukee wheel tax is less than in Illinois but still adds to car-owning costs.

Cleaner cars and less driving means lower gas tax revenues. The average fuel economy of new vehicles is now 25 mpg, up by about 5 mpg since 2007. Federal standards require a fleet-wide average for new cars of 35 mpg in 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025. Cleaner, more efficient cars save us money at the gas pump, reduce carbon pollution and improve national security by cutting foreign oil imports. More fuel efficiency and less driving, combined with technological innovations in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, means lower gas tax revenues.

The Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission projects a growing transportation funding shortfall, but the voting public doesn’t support raising gas taxes. The reality: Less public funds available for bridges, highways, rail, roads and local transit. We need to prioritize more than ever.

Prioritize transit, rail and “fixing it first.” Improving transit is a vital need for the Milwaukee region and other Wisconsin cities. The commission recommended legislation to allow regional transportation authorities to raise funds through a one-half-cent maximum sales tax, with voter approval, for transportation purposes. This could be an important step forward.

Amtrak is achieving record-high ridership. Let’s modernize rail service from Milwaukee to Madison and to the Chicago-hubbed Midwest higher-speed rail network. Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Illinois’ Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn are moving high-speed rail forward. Speeds are already faster, tracks and crossings are being upgraded, and new intermodal train stations are attracting riders and serving as development hubs. New locomotive engines will be built in Indiana, and 130 modern new railcars are being built in Illinois.

That’s good for jobs, good for economic growth, and good for our environment. Wisconsin is missing this train. It’s time for Wisconsin to reverse course and get on board.

Howard Learner is executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, a Midwest-based environmental and economic development advocacy organization, with offices in Wisconsin, Illinois and other Midwestern states.

Read more from Journal Sentinel:
http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/crossroads/wisconsin-should-get-on-board-b99180513z1-239696821.html#ixzz2qbJtsSWJ


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Move Forward With Plan To Bring
Metro-North Service To The Bronx

From AMNewYork
http://www.amny.com

A much-needed plan to bring Metro-North commuter service through the eastern Bronx and into Penn Station is finally building momentum, thanks to a timely jump-start from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The idea has always seemed like a no-brainer.

Metro-North trains would use a stretch of the Amtrak northeast corridor, which runs from Penn Station under the East River to Queens, over the Hell Gate Bridge to Wards Island, and up the eastern side of the Bronx to New Rochelle and points north.

Metro-North would build stations at Hunt’s Point, Morris Park, Parkchester and Co-op City in the Bronx.

Thousands of Bronx commuters would trade an hour-long express-bus ride for a 30-minute train ride. Thousands of riders from Westchester and other northern suburbs would love to have direct service to Manhattan’s west side. And an army of housing and retail developers would like to see the eastern side of the burgeoning Bronx become less isolated from Manhattan.

Then there’s the matter of preparedness. Cuomo rightly pushed that selling point last week as he touted the plan in his State of the State address. The project would make sure Metro-North stays connected to Manhattan should a Sandy-sized super-storm knock out the Harlem River lift bridge -- the railroad’s only link today.

There is one catch. Penn is already the busiest station in America -- accommodating 1,200 trains and 650,000 riders each day. It is jammed impossibly tight. No new service can happen there before 2019 -- when the Long Island Rail Road starts running trains into Grand Central Terminal and freeing up platform space at Penn.

But don’t worry. It’s very hard to imagine that the MTA will build four Bronx stations and do other Metro-North upgrades before the end of 2019.

The MTA thinks the whole project could cost around $1 billion and intends to include it in next year’s capital plan. This week’s state Court of Appeals decision upholding the MTA payroll tax could help free up some money for it.

The MTA needs to keep this train rolling.


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FUNDING LINES... Funding Lines...  

FY14 Appropriations Good For Tiger, Amtrak

From Railway Age, By Douglas John Bowen

Congressional conference committee members cobbling together an actual fiscal year 2014 federal budget have reportedly agreed on budgetary numbers fairly favorable to Amtrak and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) programs. Federal high -speed rail funding, however, is omitted entirely.

Amtrak’s FY14 budget numbers include $340 million for operations, and $1.55 billion for capital (including debt service); up to $50 million in capital can be “reassigned” to operating needs if necessary.

The appropriations bill does mandate Amtrak “policy reforms,” including limits on employee overtime and the ban of federal support for Amtrak routes offering a discount fare of 50% or more of the regular cost, except for when states or other fiscal supporting entities cover the difference.

TIGER funding, used for Small Starts and New Starts projects, increases 20% from FY13 to $600 million.

No federal money is budgeted for any U.S. high-speed rail efforts, including California.

About $53.5 billion in “non-discretionary obligation limitation” funding” is identified for highways, transit and safety, and airports, based in part on expected receipts from the federal Highway Trust Fund, giving states and agencies some leeway in modal investment.

The bill also includes $185 million for the Federal Railroad Administration to hire 45 more employees to help increase track inspections, a measure sought by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in reaction to the Metro-North derailment last month in the Bronx, N.Y., which killed four and injured 76.

“For the first time since 2011, no mission of our government will be left behind on autopilot,” said Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) in a statement Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.


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House Committees To Hear Testimony
On Surface Transportation Reauthorization,
And California High-Speed Rail

From Progressive Railroading

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will meet to hear testimony related to the reauthorization of the federal surface transportation programs.

Representatives from the National Governors Association, Caterpillar Inc., U.S. Conference of Mayors and Amalgamated Transit Union are scheduled to testify.

Congress most recently reauthorized federal surface transportation programs in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21, which is set to expire on Sept. 14.

Meanwhile, the committee’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials will hold a hearing on Wednesday on the status of the California High-Speed Rail project, which is the largest high-speed rail project currently administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

“Recent state court actions have raised new concerns regarding the availability of funding to complete the project,” committee officials said in a meeting notice.

Among witnesses invited to testify are FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo; California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard; and Alissa Dolan, a legislative attorney for the Congressional Research Service.


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Secretary Foxx Outlines Transportation Vision
Focused On Overcoming Infrastructure Deficit

From a US DOT Press Release - DOT 08-14

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx today outlined his top priorities for the Department of Transportation, highlighting America’s infrastructure deficit and identifying ways for the Department to use innovation and improved planning to stretch transportation dollars as effectively and efficiently as possible. Secretary Foxx also discussed his vision for multimodal transportation providing greater economic “ladders of opportunity” to all Americans and reiterated the Department’s commitment to safety.

“If we’re going to tackle our backlog of repairing and rebuilding, then there’s another part of the equation we have to tackle, too – and that’s cost,” Secretary Foxx said. “But what if we could make that funding equal more projects – and better ones?”

With the Highway Trust Fund set to run out of money as early as August, Secretary Foxx announced today the Department will begin posting monthly on its website exactly how much money the Highway Trust Fund has left, and update that number every month until the fund can sustain itself or until it runs out. While the Department has long provided this figure to Capitol Hill, Secretary Foxx said providing it to the public would increase transparency and accountability.

In a speech before the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, Secretary Foxx touted the Department’s Every Day Counts initiative and other cost-saving best practices as examples of how transportation dollars could be spent more effectively, citing a study from McKinsey & Company that found nations can “obtain the same amount of infrastructure for 40 percent less” just by adopting best practices. He also encouraged representatives from various modes of transportation to work together in a reflection of how travelers use the system, rather than acting as individual silos, proposing the first national transportation plan in more than 70 years.

“We need a plan that takes our roads and rails and ports and links them together,” said Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Linking them together remakes the finest, most elaborate system of transportation that the world has ever known into its 21st century incarnation.”

The vision outlined by Secretary Foxx builds on significant progress the Department has made under the Obama Administration. The Department has constructed or improved 6,500 miles of rail corridors, and under the Recovery Act helped improve nearly 42,000 miles of roads, over 2,700 bridges, and helped purchase or rehabilitate over 12,220 transit vehicles. Additionally, the Department has implemented an across-the-board effort to streamline its approval process and cut Government red tape. The Department has expedited the review and permitting of 50 major projects, including bridges, transit projects, railways, waterways, roads, and renewable energy. In just one example, Federal agencies recently approved the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project in New York, saving up to three years on the timeline of a multi-billion project that will help put Americans back to work.

See the original and more at:
http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/us-transportation-secretary-anthony-foxx-outlines-transportation-vision-focused-0


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TRANSIT LINES... Transit Lines...  

APTA Reports: Transit Ridership Up In
3rd Quarter, Year-To-Date

From A Railway age Article
By Douglas John Bowen
And DF Staff

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) says Americans continue to turn to public transit in increasing numbers, totaling 2.7 billion trips in the third quarter, up 1.5% from the comparable period in 2012.

Light rail transit continued its strong performance trend, up 3.1% in the third quarter of 2013 measured against the comparable quarter in 2012. Rapid rail (such as subways) rose 2%. Regional rail ridership rose 1%. Urban bus system ridership advanced 0.7%.

According to APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy, “Public transportation ridership continued to grow across the country in large, medium, and small communities during the third quarter of 2013. This continued demand for public transportation demonstrates the value of public transit to individuals and the communities they live in, no matter their size.”

Melaniphy said public transit ridership has increased in nine of the most recent 11 quarters spanning 2011, 2012, and most of 2013.

APTA has expressed concern over the failure by Congress to renew a $245 per month pre-tax set-aside for public transit users in 2014; the amount has fallen to $130, while comparative pre-tax offerings to auto users rose by $5 to $250 as 2014 began.


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EXPANSION LINES... Expansion Lines...  

Patrick Administration Releases
Five Year Transportation Plan

From an MBTA Press Release
And DF Staff

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) today released the first draft of a five-year MassDOT Capital Investment Plan (CIP) for FY2014-FY2018. The $12.4 billion program makes long-term investments that will create growth and opportunity for residents across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and represents the first unified, multi-modal capital investment plan covering all MassDOT highway and municipal projects, regional airports, rail, and transit, including the MBTA and Regional Transit Authorities.

“We invest in our transportation infrastructure because roads, rail and bridges create a foundation that supports private sector investment and expanded opportunity for all our residents,” said Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA). “This plan makes investments across the entire state, is flexible, and spends wisely while creating thousands of jobs over the next several years.”

“This five-year plan will invest in critical projects identified in The Way Forward and reflects the Governor’s priorities in mobility, equity, environmental stewardship and economic development,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.

HSP46

Photo MBTA

The HSP46 is a four-axle AC-traction diesel-electric locomotive designed and assembled by Motive Power, Inc. of Idaho. The locomotive meets EPA Tier 3 emissions standards. The new design is the first of this series by Motive Power with the MBTA its first customer. Seen here, the first unit is in the Somerville rail yard outside the Boston Engine Terminal. It is presently in static (non-moving) testing and training at the facility. Two additional units are under more rigorous physical testing elsewhere.

The five-year CIP includes funding for the following initiatives:

MassDOT will host six public meetings across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to receive feedback on the draft CIP plan, which is expected to be delivered to the MassDOT Board of Directors for consideration in February of 2014.

The public meetings are scheduled as follows:

To see the plan, it is available on the website, http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/InformationCenter/DocumentsPresentations.aspx. Several items including a downloadable PDF are available.

About MassDOT

In 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) was created to unify the state’s various transportation agencies. MassDOT now includes the Highway Division, the MBTA and Rail Transit Division, the Aeronautics Division, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. MassDOT is committed to providing a safe and reliable transportation system to all those who travel in the Commonwealth and works to deliver excellent customer service. MassDOT has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to transportation, including the Accelerated Bridge Program, the “Where’s My Bus and Train?” apps and “Fast 14” work. For more information, visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

 
Title
 
Ticker
This
Week
Previous
Week
Berkshire Hathaway B (BNSF)(BRK.B)115.07114.97
Canadian National (CNI)53.3754.48
Canadian Pacific (CP) 149.98153.25
CSX (CSX)27.2328.88
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)92.7093.61
Kansas City Southern (KSU)116.31115.70
Norfolk Southern (NSC)88.8391.61
Providence & Worcester(PWX)19.6418.97
Union Pacific (UNP)167.84169.89


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FREIGHT LINES... Freight Lines...  

DOT To Issue Stronger Tanker Car Regs In 2015

By Peter Sullivan, thehill.com
And DF Staff

New regulations requiring stronger rail cars for carrying oil will be finalized in 2015, according to a schedule released by the Department of Transportation.

The new regulations come after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has for years called the current rail car model, known as DOT-111, too weak.

The issue was thrust further into the spotlight when a train carrying oil derailed in North Dakota at the end of December. Of the 20 tank cars that derailed, 18 were punctured, spilling more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil, according to the NTSB.

The regulation would require significant upgrades to rail cars. Only 15 percent of the current fleet of 92,000 DOT-111s used to transport flammable liquids meets industry safety standards, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The American Association of Railroads (AAR) said it supports new regulations for rail cars carrying flammable liquids.

“The committee’s standards today exceed the federal requirements, with DOT-111 tank cars used for moving crude oil and ethanol ordered after October 2011 being built to the higher AAR-Tank Car Committee standards,” the association said in a fact sheet.

Possible improvements include a thicker shell for the rail cars and extra protection for the joints.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/195511-dot-to-issue-regs-for-stronger-tanker-rail-cars-in-2015#ixzz2qbIRdofP

Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook


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Beans!

 

B&M Baked Beans Plant Fights Petition
To Stop Rail Service

Meanwhile, The State Sides With St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railway’s Claim
That Volumes Are So Low It’s Losing Money On The Line.

By Tom Bell    tbell@pressherald.com
And DF Staff

The owners of the B&M baked beans plant in Portland, ME, are fighting a railroad’s attempt to discontinue the service that brings in deliveries of dried beans to its manufacturing plant, arguing before a federal board that the move will harm the iconic factory’s business. Freight cars bring in the pea beans used at the B&M plant in East Deering.


Photo Portland Press Herald

A St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railway spur runs into the B&M plant area. The railroad is asking the U.S. Surface Transportation Board for permission to discontinue freight service on the 24-mile line .

The St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railway, though, says it can no longer afford to serve its only customer south of Auburn. The railroad is asking the U.S. Surface Transportation Board for permission to discontinue freight service on the 24-mile line, which runs between the Auburn city line and Portland, ME.

The federal board is scheduled to make a decision by the end of February.

In a written statement, B&M said the railroad’s petition is based on information that is incomplete and misleading, and in some cases false. The railroad substantially understated the level of shipments made to the factory and the factory’s dependence on rail service, B&M said.

B&M also said the railroad filed the petition without any advance notice, and without attempting to address its claimed revenue shortfall by revisiting its compensation arrangements with connecting carriers or working with B&M factory managers.

In a Dec. 27 filing, the railroad said it has tried for years to talk to B&M about ways to reduce costs or increase revenues, but the bean company has never shown interest. B&M has an opportunity under federal law to provide the railroad with financial assistance to subsidize the service, the filing said.

Without rail access, B&M would be forced to rely on trucks, which are more expensive than rail.

B&M has been making baked beans in its five-story brick factory on the waterfront since 1913. The business itself began as Burnham & Morrill Co. in Portland in 1867.

The factory employs several dozen people who prepare the beans in giant pots, mixing in molasses, sugar and mustard. They then bake the pots in large brick ovens. Others work canning and packaging the product, which is shipped by truck to grocery stores around the nation.

Formerly the Grand Trunk Railway, the line traveled to India Street in downtown Portland until 1984, when a fire damaged a bridge over Back Cove. That made the B&M plant the end of the line.

To protect industries and jobs, the state has in the past opposed plans to abandon railroads elsewhere in Maine, but in this battle, the state is siding with the railroad rather than the baked beans factory.

Nate Moulton, director of the industrial rail access program for the Maine Department of Transportation, said he agrees with the railroad’s contention that volumes are so low that it’s losing money on the line.

“We will fight the good fight when we think there is an economic case to be made, but based on what we’ve seen, we understand why the railroad couldn’t make money doing this,” Moulton said.

In its most recent filing to the Surface Transportation Board, B&M said it would bear the burden of discontinuing the line, which would be “particularly significant,” considering that the railroad received $6.8 million from the state of Maine, which purchased the right-of-way.

Moulton said the state intends to preserve the right-of-way for future uses such as passenger rail, so the railroad has no obligation to continue subsidizing the delivery of beans.

St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad President Mario Brault agreed, and declined to make further comment. Managers at the factory also declined to comment. Neither B&M’s parent company B&G Foods nor its law firm agreed to a request for interviews.

The Surface Transportation Board receives several dozen requests a year from railroads seeking to abandon or discontinue freight operations. The request by the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railway is unusual because it has an existing customer on line, according to a Surface Transportation Board official who declined to provide his name because he is not authorized to speak for the agency.

In the railroad’s petition, filed Nov. 8, specific information about the number of train trips to the bean factory was redacted. Chalmers “Chop” Hardenbergh, editor of Freeport-based trade publication Atlantic Northeast Rails & Ports, said he estimates that the railroad makes a couple of trips a month to the bean factory.

The bean shippers, not the factory, pay for the shipments.


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SAFETY LINES... Safety Lines...  

Plans To Monitor Train Crews On Video
Move Forward

By S.A. Miller And Amber Sutherland
From The New York Post And DF Staff

Video cameras that monitor train crews inside the control cab and the tracks outside could soon be standard equipment on US locomotives, potentially preventing accidents such as the deadly Metro-North derailment last month in the Bronx.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has taken a major step toward requiring inward- and outward-facing cameras on all trains, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced recently at Grand Central Station.

The senators have pushed for the new safety measure in the wake of last month’s train derailment at the Spuyten Duyvil community in the Bronx that killed four passengers and injured dozens more.

Schumer said the cameras would help stop the widespread bad behavior by crews on the Long Island Rail Road. The Post revealed that there were nearly 900 rule infractions by LIRR workers in the last five years, including sexting while taking tickets, playing video games while driving and letting a passenger take the controls.

“Once they are installed, it won’t happen,” declared Schumer. “It’s hard to imagine that playing Angry Birds while driving a train would not lead to an accident.”

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended cab cameras in 2008 after a passenger train and freight train collided in California, killing 25 people.

“They [NTSB] just sat on those recommendations,” Schumer said.

The Federal railroad Administration (FRA) now has begun the rule-making process that could make the cameras mandatory.

Cab video might also provide potentially important information following an accident

Currently, only Amtrak locomotives and California’s Metrolink commuter trains have outward-facing cameras that record signals and gate crossings.

Schumer said they wanted to “salute” FRA for responding to pressure and taking action.


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WABTEC Lands MARC PTC Contract

Written By Douglas John Bowen, Railway Age
And DF Staff

The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved a $13 million contract with Wabtec Corp., a subsidiary Wabtec Railway Electronics, to install Positive Train Control (PTC) equipment on MARC regional passenger railcars.

The contract, announced earlier this month, includes the installation of PTC hardware on 32 MARC locomotives and 30 cab cars, as well as maintenance of the equipment through 2017. Cab cars are passenger coaches that allow the train to be driven from the rear of the train when the locomotive pushes the train from behind.

“We’re all for it,” John Hovatter, MARC’s director, told local media. “Anything to make our trains safer for our passengers and for the railroad, that’s what we want to do.”

MARC

Photo: Ryan Stavely via Wikipedia

Two EMD AEM7s lead a MARC Penn Line service into BWI in 2012.

MARC operates over the Brunswick Line, linking Washington, D.C. with Frederick, Md., and with a separate leg terminating in Martinsburg, W. Va., and the Camden Line, linking the nation’s capital and Baltimore. Both rail routes operate over a rail right-of-way owned by CSX Corp. MARC’s Penn Line moves over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) from Washington through Baltimore, then to Perryville, Md. Amtrak’s Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) is already active on much of the NEC, and Amtrak says the entire corridor will be covered by ACSES by the congressional set deadline of Dec. 31, 2015.

For its own part, “Our goal here at MARC was to beat that deadline with the part that we had to take care of, and we’re going to do that,” Hovattaer said.

Amtrak and MARC plan to build a test track north of Perryville, to test MARC equipment’s compatibility with ACSES at speeds above 79 mph, using a $700,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration, Hovatter said.


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NTSB On Metro-North Derailment;
Cost Of Accident Estimated At $9 Million

From WABC News, Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
And DF Staff

NEW YORK - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB has released its preliminary report into last December’s Metro-North train accident in the Bronx that killed four people and injured 58 others.

The NTSB found that the train was travelling at a speed of 82 miles an hour in a 30 mph zone. No problems were found with the train’s signaling systems, brakes and mechanical equipment, or with the track.

The southbound train derailed in the Spuyten Duyvil section of the railroad on Dec. 1 as it was headed from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Terminal.

A lawyer and union leader for the derailed train’s engineer, William Rockefeller, have said he briefly nodded or experienced a daze at the controls.

The NTSB finding may bolster allegations that train engineer was to blame for the crash. Investigators say Rockefeller told them he “zoned out” as the train sped through a curve at 82 miles per hour, (132 km per hour), nearly three times the speed limit.

The report does not draw any conclusions about what caused the wreck. An NTSB spokesman says new information and a conclusion are probably months away.

At the same time, the cost of the accident has been estimated at some $9 million dollars, according to the NTSB.

While the new information in the report adds evidence that human error may have caused the derailment, the MTA could still be held liable for the negligence of its employees under a common-law doctrine known as “vicarious liability,” legal experts said shortly after the crash.

Michael Lamonsoff, a lawyer who represents 10 people injured in the derailment who have given legal notice they plan to sue, said the accident could have been prevented if an alert system had been properly installed.

“All these people were assuming they were traveling safely, but they were playing Russian roulette with the possibility of a human error that could have occurred,” Lamonsoff said.

While the train was equipped with an alerting system in its locomotive, the train operator was running the train from a “control cab” at the other end of the train which was not so equipped.


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ACROSSTHEPOND... Across The Pond...  

Installments By David Beale
NCI Foreign Editor

 

European Railways’ Safety Improves Further

Report From UIC Shows Long Term Downward Trend In Railway Related Fatalities

Via Lok Report

Paris - The international railroad organization UIC published its analysis of fatal railway-related accidents and incidents in 21 member countries in Europe for the year 2012 just after the start of the year 2014. The statistics for 2012 show the continuation of a multi-year long decline in fatalities in railway operations in Europe, with 1011 recorded deaths in 2012 versus 1095 fatal injuries in 2011.

The statistics show that the vast majority of fatalities in railroad operations in Europe came from two factors: deaths of pedestrians trespassing on or adjacent to rail tracks, as well as collisions between trains and pedestrians and highway vehicles at track / road grade crossings, with these two categories representing about 90% of all railroad related fatalities. Deaths of railway staff and passengers made about 7% of the fatalities. Not displayed in the UIC’s statistics was the portion of death of trespassers due to the troubling phenomenon known as “suicide by train,” whereby a person intentionally walks or jumps into the path of a train. Some industry observers say that nearly 10 people per week across the EU commit suicide in this manner. If that is accurate, then perhaps 80% of the fatalities of railway trespassers could be attributed to this problem.

Chart

Source: UIC

UIC statistics on railway fatalities in 2012 in graphical form.

A similar data bank and analysis of road and highway deaths and injuries maintained by GD MOVE shows that in 27 EU countries the number of fatalities in 2012 came to about 28,000 persons, a factor nearly 28 times more than railways, although the number of passenger-km moved by highways and roads in 2012 is not quite five times the number of passenger-km moved by trains.

Technical failures and human factor problems played a role in the cause of 21% fatal incidents on European railroads, but as the high-speed derailments in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and Bronx, New York in 2013 (human factors) or Brétigny-sur-Orge, France (technical failure) have shown, the possibility for high numbers of injuries and fatalities in incidents from these root causes remains quite significant.


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New Subway Trains Too Wide For Berlin’s Tunnels

Welcome To The Wide Body Era In Urban Transport

Via BZ newspaper, Tagesspiegel And Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Stretches of Berlin’s U-Bahn subway network will have to be rebuilt after the city bought new trains too wide for the tunnels, although the Berlin transport authority BVG claim the work needed doing anyway.

Train Mock Up

Photo: BZ newspaper.

Wide ride – a partial mock-up of the new Stadler subway trains for Berlin transit operator BVG on display in Berlin.

Two new train-sets from Stadler Rail were designed to be roomier for passengers, but these extra 10 cm (4 inches) of wiggle-room are proving a logistical nightmare, as the trains do not fit in older, narrower, stretches of the underground rail network. Safety regulations state that there has to be at 50 cm gap between the train and the wall of the tunnel, in order for people to be able to escape in an emergency, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Thursday.

A section of the U2 line between Wittenbergplatz and Bismarckstraße will be widened, meaning passengers will have to take replacement buses from the middle of August to the end of November 2014 during the week after 9 pm.

Other lines will be affected but these have not yet been confirmed, the Tagesspiegel said. Tunnels on newer lines such as the U5 and the U9 were built with more room, meaning they can take the new trains.

U-Bahn network operator BVG plans on ordering 24 more of the trains from Stadler by 2015 – costing around €158 million (US $205 million) total. A spokeswoman for BVG said the cost of widening the tunnels was included in the company’s maintenance budget.

She said: “Even without the new trains we would have to rebuild the walls [of the tunnels] because in these places we have already reached the set safety distance,” the BZ newspaper reported.


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China Plans Yuan 630bn Rail Investment
In 2014

By Keith Barrow - Railway Age

Chine Railways Corporation (CRC) has announced plans to invest Yuan 630bn ($US 104.2bn) in fixed assets in 2014, a reduction of more than Yuan 30bn on its investment budget for 2013.

China’s state news agency Xinhua reported on January 9 that around 6000km of new lines are expected to open this year, quoting CRC general manager Mr. Sheng Guangzu. CRC says the country’s railway network grew to more than 100,000km last year, including more than 10,000km of high-speed lines. The government aims to expand the network to 120,000km by 2020.

CRC expects to carry 2.27 billion passengers in 2014, compared with around 2 billion last year, while freight volumes are projected to increase by 2% to 3.28 billion tons.

CRC’s debt-to-asset ratio reached 63.2% by the end of the third quarter of last year, with debts of Yuan 3.06 trillion – up from Yuan 2.66 trillion at the end of 2012 – and assets of Yuan 4.84 trillion.


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Construction Starts On Semmering Base Tunnel

From The International Railway Journal, By Erwin Reidinger

Following a period of preparatory works, main construction began on Austria’s 27.3km Semmering Base Tunnel on January 7.

The tunnel between Mürzzuschlag and Gloggnitz on the Vienna – Villach/Graz main line is divided into three contract sections. The 13km central section is now under construction, and two TBMs have been launched in a pit at Fröschnitzgraben to excavate the parallel single-track bores.

Cutaway

Image IRJ

Cut-away concept image for the planned construction

The central section is being built by a joint venture of Swietelsky Tunnelbau and Implenia under a €623m contract. The second contract, which covers the 7km eastern (Gloggnitz) section of the tunnel, is currently being tendered and construction will start at the beginning of 2015. Construction is expected to start on the remaining 7km western section in 2016.

The tunnel is due to open in 2024 and will reduce the Vienna – Graz journey time from 2h 30min to around two hours.


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And Finally…

 

Former Deutsche Bahn Chief Filed Lawsuit
Against . . . Himself

Mr. Mehdorn Deals With A Law Suit He Filed While At His Former Employer Against
His New And Current Employer – The New BER Airport In Berlin

Via Deutsche Presse-Agentur and Spiegel Magazine

Hartmut Mehdorn, new boss of Berlin’s delayed new international airport known as BER is facing compensation claims filed in court by Air Berlin against the airport - filed when the CEO of the airline was . . . Hartmut Mehdorn.

However there is little likelihood of Mehdorn running from one side of the courtroom to another, to defend Berlin’s long-delayed international airport, BER, and then lead the attack for Air Berlin, although with his reputation for tough talking such a spectacle would be highly entertaining.

The court arguments are all being made by lawyers, as Air Berlin sues BER - the new airport – for damages connected with the still-delayed opening, which the airline says has cost it €48 million (US $62 million). Mr. Mehdorn is not expected to appear in court at all as the case is argued.

Hartmut Mehdorn first rose to international prominence when in 1999 he was appointed head of the board of Deutsche Bahn – Germany Railways, with the mission to prepare the huge government-owned railroad for partial privatization. Until that time he held various engineering and management positions in one of the predecessor aerospace companies, which later merged into Airbus Industrie, based in Toulouse, France and the main competitor to Boeing in the USA.

The no-nonsense manager went about significantly reducing the workforce at the railroad, cutting tens of thousands of jobs and slashing expenditure at Deutsche Bahn. But as the global recession hit in 2008 and melted what little public and political support for the privatization there had been, the idea was abandoned, leaving a much slimmer Bahn arguably struggling to cope.

Mehdorn’s departure in the following year was sparked by a spying scandal at Deutsche Bahn (DB) which covered more than half its staff between 2002 and 2003. He and four other board members stepped down in the wake of the outrage. Mehdorn’s name is still invoked when problems connected with low staffing or reduced investment arise - such as last year’s crisis at Mainz train station which was closed for several weeks due to lack of signaling staff.

A couple of years after leaving DB, Mehdorn joined Air Berlin as temporary CEO, an airline run by his friend Joachim Hunold, as Air Berlin reeled from over expansion high overhead expenditures, labor issues and remaining difficulties from back-to-back acquisitions of long haul charter airline LTU and new low fare airline DBA under Hunold’s management. Air Berlin had also been counting on the planned opening of the BER airport in spring 2012 in order to build a hub at the new airport for both intra-European and intercontinental flights for its expanding fleet. Air Berlin’s existing base at Berlin Tegel airport is overcrowded and not built to support an airline hub operation.

Mr. Mehdorn initiated what many regarded as a severe savings program and got spending under control at the struggling airline and reducing the number of aircraft - but provoked strikes by pilots dismayed at poor pay. He also boosted ties between Air Berlin and UAE based Etihad Airways, which provided Air Berlin desperately needed financial support.

Despite initially promising to stay for at least 18 months, he left in January 2013 after just 16 months, and two months after that, took over the reins of BER, the hugely troubled Berlin airport. Mehdorn is the third top manager chosen to lead the airport project since revelations of massive problems in the airport terminal began emerging back 2011.

His determination, optimism and intractable nature was perfectly illustrated in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine last June. When asked about a report suggesting there were tens of thousands of problems with the airport, Mehdorn said most of them were unimportant and could be fixed easily. He quipped that there is more risk of person being drowned by the airport terminal’s fire suppression system, if that person lit a cigarette, than a fire getting out of control in the building.

When passengers will get the chance to test this promise remains almost completely open, with a date for BER’s operating start still undecided, the opening date is not expected before summer of 2015.


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EVENTS... Events...  

Last Chance To Register For This Week’s
10th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference

Found At: Re:  http://www.TexasRailAdvocates.org/conference

From Texas Rail Advocates:

The 10th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference is coming up this next Thursday and Friday, January 23rd and 24th.  This is your last opportunity to register for this conference.  Our focus this year is “Texas and the Southwest: The Hot Spot for Rail Growth”.  We are holding our conference in conjunction with the Texas Short Line and Regional Railroad Association meeting on Thursday.  The Southwestern Rail Conference is hosted by Texas Rail Advocates.

We have many important presenters including:

The conference is being held in Dallas at the Holiday Inn - SMU/Park Cities across from the George W. Bush Presidential Library.  The hotel web site is: http://www.dallasparkcitieshotel.com

The conference is close to capacity and when we reach the limit, registrations will close. We have more people registered at this point than ever in the past 10 years.  Registration is $195 for the Friday conference.  The optional dinner and speaker on Thursday evening is $100.  Coming to both is $295.  You can register online by going to the conference web page at http://www.TexasRailAdvocates.org/conference

We appreciate the many sponsors who help keep the cost down for attendees and for sharing important information about their businesses.  Our sponsors include:

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Don’t miss two panel discussions at the rail conference:
Connecting the Dots - Our panel discusses how various modes of transportation are being tied together to form a seamless connection in Texas.

Transportation Writers Roundtable - Your transportation writers from the print and electronic media discuss transportation issues.

www.TexasRailAdvocates.org/conference


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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.

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