The National Corridors Initiative Logo

Oct 24, 2016
Vol. 16 No. 43

Copyright © 2016
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 16th Newsletter Year


A Weekly North American Transportation Update For Transportation
Advocates, Professionals, Journalists, And Elected Or Appointed Officials,
At All Levels Of Government.

James P. RePass, Sr.
Molly N. McKay
Foreign Editor
David Beale
Contributing Editor
David Peter Alan
Managing Editor / Webmaster
Dennis Kirkpatrick

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

  Guest Opinion…
Investments In Public Transportation Aren’t Wasteful,
   They’re Lifelines To Economic Progress
  Transit Lines…
“SMART” Launch Likely To Be Delayed
DC Transportation Agency Urges Metro To Restore
   Late-Night Service
  Commuter Lines…
Governor: MBTA Made ‘Right Decision’ Forgiving
   Part Of Keolis’s Winter Fines
SunRail Saturday Service To Start In November
  Expansion Lines…
Arcadia Valley To Welcome Amtrak Service
   Next Month
DART Readies To Open Blue Line Extension To
   South Oak Cliff Area
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  High-Speed Lines…
Sec. Foxx Tours CaHSRA Rail Project
  Builders Lines…
Hudson Train Tunnel Between NY, NJ Gets
   Fast Environmental Review
  Labor Lines…
SEPTA Workers Vote To Authorize Strike,
   Contract Ends Oct. 31
  Freight Lines…
Florida East Coast Railway Sale Should Drive
   Strong Interest From CSX And Norfolk Southern
  Across The Pond…
Fuel Cells Power Alstom’s Coradia iLINT
  Publication Notes …

GUEST OPINION... Guest Opinion...  

Investments In Public Transportation
Aren’t Wasteful, They’re Lifelines
To Economic Progress

Press Release From The Transportation Trades, AFL-CIO

What happens when America fails to invest in its public transportation and commuter rail systems?

If you guessed “Zombiepocalypse,” you aren’t far off.

Just check out last week’s New York Times article “New Jersey Transit, a Cautionary Tale of Neglect,” which connects the dots between failing to invest in public transportation (and the infrastructure needed to support it) and regional economic decline.

While the Times story focuses on budgetary deficits and financial crisis faced by the nation’s third-busiest commuter railroad, the problems created when public transportation is consistently short-changed are not unique. Not the fare hikes paired with cuts to service at a time when agencies are experiencing record ridership. Not the safety or maintenance issues. Not even the shocking tale of a college librarian with two master’s degree who is considering taking a retail job closer to home because her commute has become so dreadful.

For years, we have seen an orchestrated attempt by extremists to demonize the public sector as inefficient and to paint public providers of transportation as poor stewards of taxpayer dollars. The result is predictable: Funding for commuter rail, city transit and other forms of transportation that working Americans rely on gets placed on the chopping block. The most recent example of this is in the GOP platform, which calls for an end to federal funding for mass transit programs.

There are serious flaws with this way of thinking.  

When we starve our public transportation systems of the funds they need to operate, it isn’t just frontline transportation workers and passengers who suffer. The effects are felt by millions, ranging from school students who can’t make it to class on time to business owners who rely on public transportation to bring them both employees and customers. That’s because these systems don’t just take people from point A to point B. They prop up entire economies.

Cutting funding to public transit and commuter rail systems might be billed as a cost-savings measure, but the consequences are eerily similar to unleashing a deadly zombie virus. The damage spreads quickly and creates a ripple effect that can take decades to repair.

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TRANSIT LINES... Transit Lines...  

Expansion Lines

“SMART” Launch Likely To Be Delayed

By Derek Moore
The Press Democrat

The much-anticipated launch of passenger rail service on the North Coast [of California] increasingly appears that it will be pushed back to 2017, a setback for rail agency officials and residents who’ve been eagerly waiting to board the green-and-gray trains.

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) officials have expressed confidence for more than a year that passenger service along the 43-mile route from north Santa Rosa to downtown San Rafael will start no later than December 2016, with the most optimistic forecasts calling for service by Labor Day.

But that timeline appears to be out the window as testing on the complex rail system continues. David Rabbitt, a Sonoma County supervisor and SMART director, said passenger service is unlikely to start by the end of the year.

“I think it will creep into next year,” Rabbitt said Thursday.

Jake Mackenzie, Rohnert Park’s vice mayor and a SMART director, said Thursday it will be difficult for the rail agency to complete the requirements necessary to begin service by the end of the year.

“Clearly, we’re starting to push the timeline at the moment,” Mackenzie said.


Image:  Ken Porter / Press Democra

A SMART Transit car at the Cotati Train Depot for an official unveiling in April of 2015.

Farhad Mansourian, general manager of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, did not respond to several emails and texts this week seeking comment.

SMART officials earlier this year said they were hoping to begin simulated fare service along the route by mid-summer. That has yet to occur.

The rail agency announced Sept. 26 that it was only then beginning to ramp up speeds on the rail cars during safety testing. But with 11 weeks left before the new year, officials have not pegged when the cars will be tested at their fullest capabilities. The 80-ton slope-nosed cars, called Diesel Multiple Units, run in pairs and are set to reach top speeds of 79 mph outside cities.

The ramifications of a delayed launch were not immediately clear. (*)

Sonoma and Marin voters in 2008 approved Measure Q, a sales tax funding the rail service. Anticipation is now palpable as the rail cars make daily test runs up and down the line. The cost of the service, in the meantime, has now eclipsed $428 million.

Testing is being conducted from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends.

The rail cars are equipped with Positive Train Control, which is supposed to automatically monitor speed to reduce the risk of collisions and derailments.

One main challenge is getting warning signals at 63 crossings along the route to function properly. Each crossing is equipped with a predictor that tracks speed and location and activates warning devices at the crossing. However, there have been almost daily reports of the warning systems not functioning as intended.
In one Sept. 15 incident witnessed by a Press Democrat employee, an apparent crossing gate malfunction at West Third Street near Wilson Street in Santa Rosa nearly resulted in a gate coming down on an SUV before the vehicle had crossed the tracks.

On other occasions, the same employee said, gates at the crossing stayed down for at least 15 minutes with no train in sight.

More recently, Rabbitt witnessed a crossing malfunction in Petaluma. He said similar reports have been forwarded to him from Petaluma City Council members on behalf of their constituents.

( Editor Note:  Among the issue causing the delays is a lack of federal approval of operating rules and safety procedure which has yet to be obtained, as well as possible mechanical issues with the diesel engine.  Similar engines used in trains elsewhere are under scrutiny.  Occasional grade crossing signal failures, as noted, are another issue to be resolved.)

From an item at:

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DC Transportation Agency Urges Metro
To Restore Late-Night Service

By Melanie Zanona
The Hill

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in Washington DC is calling on the region’s Metrorail system to drop its proposal to permanently end late-night train service.

The DDOT urged residents last Monday to demand that Metro keep the subway system open past midnight on weekends, tweeting that “Metro is crucial to the area’s transportation network and riders depend on it.”

The call comes ahead of a public hearing Thursday, when Metro officials will hear feedback on whether — and how — they should permanently cut late-night service.

The contentious proposal has put the region’s transit system at odds with Washington’s mayor and community leaders. The D.C. Council backed an emergency resolution last week urging Metro to restore late-night weekend service.

Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has also called for an exemption process for special events, after Metro officials refused to keep the system open later for Major League Baseball playoff games this month.

“A one size fits all, blanket prohibition is wrongheaded,” Bowser tweeted last week.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has maintained that adjusting the operating hours would give workers 20 percent more track access, or an extra eight hours per week, to keep up with long-term maintenance and repairs.

Metro has been dogged by a string of safety issues and is now implementing a massive repair plan that crams three years’ worth of deferred maintenance into one year.

Metro has already opted to end weekend service at midnight instead of 3 a.m. during the course of the project.

Under one of the permanent options now being floated, Metro would keep weekday hours the same — currently 5 a.m. to midnight — but close down the subway at midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Another scenario would have weekday and Sunday service ending at 11:30 p.m., with Metro closing at midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Yet one more option would allow the subway to stay up until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, but service wouldn’t start until 9 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.

Community leaders have blasted the proposals, arguing that ending late-night service would hurt local businesses and low-income residents who tend to work more late-night shifts.

“Scaling back service on a system in which the public has all but lost confidence, without looking at workable alternatives, could cause Metro to wither and take our growing regional economy with it,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), ranking member on the House Highways and Transit subcommittee.

“The permanent late-night service reduction would also disproportionately hurt lower-income residents, who work late-night shifts, and particularly those commuting home to parts of the region where late-night bus service is unavailable.”

From an article at:

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COMMUTER LINES... Commuter Lines...  

Governor: MBTA Made ‘Right Decision’
Forgiving Part Of Keolis’s Winter Fines

By Nicole Dungca
Boston Globe

Governor Charlie Baker (R-MA), who in the record-breaking winter of 2015 told the MBTA’s commuter rail operator he was “done with excuses,” said Monday that he believes the MBTA “made the right decision” in forgiving nearly half of that winter’s fines against Keolis Commuter Services.

The Globe reported last Sunday that the MBTA had quietly waived some penalties for poor service in February and March 2015, when thousands of commuters were stranded because of canceled and delayed trains. In December 2015, the MBTA paid Keolis back about $839,000 of the $1.7 million in fines that had been collected, according to the MBTA.

Speaking to reporters Monday after an appearance at Suffolk University Law School, Baker defended the decision, referring to a provision in Keolis’s contract that allowed the MBTA to forgive fines for extreme weather or “acts of God.”

“It’s pretty hard to argue that the winter of 2015 wasn’t an act of God,” he said. “I had no intention, nor did the MBTA, of waiving any of their fines with on-time performance. They paid those fines and they should have, because those are the ones that most disrupted the traveling public.”

“But [with] the fines associated with some of the more technical stuff associated with the operating agreements that were tied more directly with the issues around the weather, I think the T made the right decision,” Baker added.

( Editor Note:  The epic winter in January and February of 2015 dropped as much as 9-feet of snow on the Greater Boston area and surrounding communities that brought all forms of transportation to a stand-still.  The MBTA’s subway and commuter rail systems were not exempt.  Unfortunately, the transit and rail system was not equipped to deal with such a “100-year storm” event of this magnitude and the system limped along at reduced capacity for weeks after.  More-recently other rail systems in the southeastern sections of the USA have invoked provisions of “force majeure” or “acts of God” in their contracts to deal with system shut-downs that were the result of flooding from recent coastal hurricanes.)

For the full story see:

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SunRail Saturday Service To Start In November

Hurricane Matthew Delayed Start Of Trial SunRail Saturday Service

From WKMG News

SunRail in Florida planned to roll out a four-month test of Saturday service, but then Hurricane Matthew hit, canceling the debut.

After Matthew delayed the start of Saturday SunRail service on Oct. 8, the next available start will be on Nov. 5, Florida Department of Transportation officials said.

Service on select Saturdays is based on the need for transportation to major event venues and on the availability of staff, said Jessica Ottaviano, FDOT public information specialist.

SunRail officials said it was a community effort to get the idea off the ground, and that funding has been the only thing standing in the way of weekend service.

SunRail will be looking into adding additional staff to make Saturday service possible.

A public-private partnership launched the four-month pilot project, which will cost nearly $250,000.

Weekend service has long been a goal for many riders since the commuter rail first launched in 2014. SunRail extended its hours with night service later that year, but dropped it after ridership numbers declined.

Found at:

( Editor Note: SunRail Saturday service is presently only planning Saturday service for special events.)

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EXPANSION LINES... Expansion Lines...  

Arcadia Valley To Welcome
Amtrak Service Next Month

By Kevin R. Jenkins
The Daily Journal

If a clearance inspection goes well, the “track” will finally be cleared for Amtrak service to come to the Arcadia Valley in just a matter of weeks.

“There will be a stop going south at around 10:30 at night and then another going north at around 4:30 to 5 in the morning,” said Carol Kelsheimer, Our Town Tomorrow president and the one who has spearheaded the project since its inception in 2011. “It starts in Chicago, Illinois, and ends in San Antonio, Texas. The Texas Eagle only has three stops in Missouri — St. Louis, here and Poplar Bluff.”

“Amtrak has already had a meeting with all of the departments. After the platform railing and signage is up, then John Bender — who has been my main contact in Washington, D.C. for Amtrak — has to come down and do an ADA inspection and to make sure the signage is correct and where it’s supposed to be — that everything is done right.”

And making sure that everything is done right can get pretty expensive.

“Just one Amtrak sign costs $1,900,” Kelsheimer said. “It’s hard to have a budget when every time you turn around, somebody else comes in and says, ‘OK, you’ve got to have three instead of two and that’s another $2,000.’ Another thing we want to do, but we may have to wait on because of the cost is resealing the parking lot, adding some more parking in front of the caboose and striping.”

While nothing has been set in stone quite yet, Kelsheimer believes Amtrak’s “Texas Eagle” will make its first stop sometime around the middle of next month.

“We’re shooting for Nov. 18 to have the grand opening,” she said. “That will be the first stop for the southbound train at 10:30 p.m. We’re probably going to be having some activities, including the ribbon cutting, during the day and have everything lead up to that night when the first train arrives. We want this grand opening to be something that’s really big and I’m working on that now by seeing what other places have done.”

According to Kelsheimer, there is a group that has already made plans to be on that first Amtrak passenger train when it finally arrives at the train station which is located in the town of Arcadia.

“We have a railroad group, Railroad Enthusiasts, out of St. Louis that’s booking the first train that’s going to stop,” she said. “They’re having a motor coach come down and then they’ll ride the train down and get off, tour the museum and then go back.”

What’s exciting many in the community is the possibility of economic growth coming to a part of the state that’s been in an economic slump for years.

“We’ve just had the Iron Mule restaurant open over the weekend and then we’ve got another restaurant that we just signed a contract with,” said Sandy Francis, director of Partnership Development for Iron County Economic Partnership. “We have one company — they haven’t actually submitted their bid yet — but they’re going to be working on getting a rental car agency that we need here.

“Things are moving and the other communities are really anxious for it to start, too. People from Fredericktown, Farmington and all over are just really eager for this stop to become a reality.”

Kelsheimer agreed, saying, “A businessman in town has a shuttle service that he’s going to try for a year when Amtrak stops here that will take people to local motels and then bring them back. He’s also opened up a tour company and he’s already set up a website and I think he has maybe four tours planned. One is a battle tour and one is a wine tour that takes you to Caledonia and back. One of Elephant Rocks State Park and one that’s just a general Arcadia Valley tour that takes in a lot of the historic sites downtown.”

She noted that many of the vacant buildings in town have been sold — many of which have been sitting empty for years.

“I think once people see that it’s happening, there will be a lot more come onboard,” she said.

“When you travel and see the other stops, they’re nothing compared to us. It has been a long time coming and I’m glad it’s coming to fruition.

“I can see why at the onset they told me it would take five years — and I said no, we’re going forward, but it did take five years. We just hope and pray Friday that this inspection passes and everything’s in compliance and then we can start getting ready to party.”

From an item at:

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DART Readies To Open Blue Line Extension
To South Oak Cliff Area

From Rail, Track, And Structures

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Blue Line will add three miles and open two new stations Oct. 24.

DART currently operates the longest electric light-rail system in the nation, with 93 miles and 64 stations. The transit agency opened the first section of the Blue Line’s southern corridor with the launch of DART Rail in 1996, adding a three-mile extension the following year. The Oct. 24 extension completes the alignment and the entire rail network outlined in DART’s 1995 Transit System Plan.

“Residents along this section of the line have improved access to the region. The new rail connection and enhanced cross-town bus service make this area more attractive to potential developers and residents,” said DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas.

Connecting an area referred to as the Education Corridor to downtown by light-rail will provide more riders with access to area universities and colleges, representatives say.

Thomas says the extension will offer the community enhanced transportation options, noting it may enable young residents to pursue a college education in the area without taking on the burden of car ownership.

“Southern Dallas is our city’s greatest opportunity for growth,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “That’s not just because of the inventory of land available for development, but also the quality of the people who live, work and learn there. This extension is a critical piece of the GrowSouth vision, as we continue to better serve the people of southern Dallas.”

The DART line also connects to Dallas Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, as well as major medical centers and employment hubs, officials say.

From an item at:

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STOCKS...    Selected Rail Stocks...
BRKB – Burlington Northern Santa Fe

CNI – Canadian National

CP –  Canadian Pacific

CSX – CSX Corp

GWR – Genessee & Wyoming

KSU – Kansas City-Southern

NSC – Norfolk Southern

PWX – Providence & Worcester

UNP – Union Pacific

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

Sec. Foxx Tours CaHSRA Rail Project

By Mischa Wanek-Libman
Rail, Track, And Structures

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined local officials and workers for a tour and discussion of the California high-speed rail project.

Secretary Foxx was accompanied on the tour by California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly and California High-Speed Rail Authority (CaHSRA) CEO Jeff Morales and met with CaHSR staff, as well as Fresno, Calif., Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA-16).

The group toured project sites including the Fresno River Viaduct near Madera, as well as the San Joaquin River Viaduct and the Tuolumne Street Bridge in Fresno. Approximately 119 miles of construction is underway in the Central Valley from Madera County to Kern County. Secretary Foxx’s visit was concentrated in Construction Package 1, which has eight active construction sites within a 32-mile stretch.

Secretary Foxx was able to view the first freestanding structure of the system, the Fresno River Viaduct. The 1,600-foot aerial structure will carry high-speed trains over the Fresno River and State Route 145. Work on this site began in June 2015 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2016. Secretary Foxx also visited the San Joaquin River Viaduct, a 4,740-foot structure that will span the San Joaquin River in North Fresno and Union Pacific tracks parallel to State Route 99.

Secretary Foxx also learned about the steps being taken to build the system as a carbon-neutral project. CaHSRA requires its design-build contractors to recycle all concrete and steel and use the newest, cleanest diesel engines. The project has used more than 200 tons of 100-percent recycled steel in columns and structures. The project has recycled or stockpiled more than 19,800 tons of concrete, steel and other mixed construction materials. In the coming weeks, workers will be planting trees to offset any construction emissions.

Found at:

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BUILDERS LINES... Builders Lines...  

Hudson Train Tunnel Between NY, NJ
Gets Fast Environmental Review

By Hilary Russ; David Gregorio
Reuters Via NY Times

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and other officials last Friday said the federal government would expedite the environmental review for a new train tunnel between New York and New Jersey underneath the Hudson River.

A faster review could save significant money for Amtrak’s $24 billion Gateway project, which includes the tunnel. The review process is expected to take two years or less, compared to many years for past big infrastructure projects.

A draft report of the environmental review is due in mid-2017. The public will be able to comment on the draft before the review is finalized.

By adding the Hudson tunnel to what is called the President’s Permitting Dashboard, officials will be able to stick to the fast-tracked timeline already established. The dashboard helps streamline permitting and review for big infrastructure projects.

Construction would begin in 2019, New York Senator Charles Schumer said at a press conference with Foxx and other officials inside New York Pennsylvania Station.
The existing tunnel could begin to fail in as soon as seven to 10 years, Schumer said. Construction on the new tunnel is slated to start in 2019.

Proponents say Gateway is essential to the economic viability of the region, which generates at least 10 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
The existing tunnel, built in 1910, transports nearly 90,000 commuters into Manhattan each day via NJ Transit alone. It was badly damaged in 2012 when Super-storm Sandy flooded the rails and concrete encasements with salt water and left behind corrosive residue.

In addition to a new tunnel, the overall Gateway project includes new bridges, track and upgrades to train stations in Newark, New Jersey, and Manhattan.

Officials have previously urged reforms of the nation’s environmental review process for infrastructure projects in order to cut costs due to bureaucratic delays.

An 18-month delay in permitting could cause project construction costs on the Hudson tunnel to soar by $1.8 billion, according to a report by Common Good.

Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by David Gregorio)

Found at:

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LABOR LINES... Labor Lines...  

SEPTA Workers Vote To Authorize Strike,
Contract Ends Oct. 31

By Jeannette Reyes And Bob Brooks

Workers for the  Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have voted to authorize a strike next month if an agreement isn’t reached on a new contract.

Officials of the Transport Workers Union Local 234 said members overwhelmingly gave strike authorization Sunday. A union representative said leadership and members made it clear “that there would be no extension.”

“It shouldn’t come to this, but it’s the way it is around the country,” said Larry Dickson, TWU 234 member.

Union members met in South Philadelphia Sunday for the latest on contract negotiations.

What they heard from President Willie Brown they didn’t like.

The union says issues include pensions, health care and safety issues.

“They wanna take away our benefits. If they didn’t touch management, why would they wanna touch ours?” said Shelley Taylor, TWU 234 member.

Some of the additional demands from the union are an increase in the cap at which pensions are calculated from $50-70,000 - plus they want higher wages.

President Brown says they voted to strike at the end of their current contract if those demands aren’t met.

“We’ve been negotiating for a couple years now, and it appears SEPTA is not taking us seriously so we have to do what we have to do,” said Brown, TWU 234 president.

If they do strike, there’s a possibility it could still be in effect on the Nov. 8 Election Day.

“Yes we will! Yes we will! That’s leverage for us,” said Taylor.

The possibility of a strike shutting down the nation’s fifth-largest rapid transit system already has some riders thinking of a backup plan.

“It’s going to be a really hard time for people getting to work,” said Tyrell King of West Philadelphia, adding he would probably have to walk all the way to work.

“Well I mean that’s how I get to work in the morning so that would be terrible. Walking probably. It’s like 30 blocks. It’s a little far,” said Jen Crow of West Philadelphia.

“I’m very dependent on SEPTA. I take SEPTA every morning to Center City,” said Mark Scott of North Philadelphia.

A two-year pact in 2014 averted a threatened walkout by bus drivers, subway and trolley operators, cashiers and mechanics.

If ongoing negotiations fall through and employees make good on their threat, it would be the 10th strike in SEPTA’s 50-year history - the most of any transit agency in the country.

The current contract covering more than 5,700 Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority workers expires at midnight on Oct. 31. Any walkout wouldn’t begin until Nov. 1, and wouldn’t affect Regional Rail lines.

This latest issue comes just weeks after the agency was forced to pull a third of its rail fleet out of service.

SEPTA released the following statement to Action News:

Taking a strike vote in advance of contract expiration is not out of the ordinary. As you know, both parties exchanged proposals on July 13 and have continued to meet in negotiations since that time. We remain hopeful as we work to bargain an agreement in the best interest of our employees, riders and the public.

Caught in the middle of it all, and desperately hoping for a resolution are riders like Paige Pettaway, a mother of two.

“It’s bad, but it’s like people can’t work for free, so you know I understand a little bit,” said Pettaway of Southwest Philadelphia.

Still, Pettaway says the people who are ultimately paying for this are riders.

“Think about your customers, too, before you know you make a drastic move like that. And it’s cold now so it’s like you picked a fine time to decide you want to go on strike,” said Pettaway.

From an item at:

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FREIGHT LINES... Freight Lines...  

Florida East Coast Railway Sale Should Drive
Strong Interest From CSX And Norfolk Southern

By James Sands

On October 13, 2016, it was reported by Bloomberg that Fortress Investment Group LLC, (FIG) was looking to sell Florida East Coast Railway Corporation, (FECR). Not much information was provided aside from Barclays and Morgan Stanley being involved in an advisement role, and the fact that Florida East Coast Industries, Inc. (FECI), the holding company of FECR was taken private in 2007 by funds managed by Fortress in a transaction valued at around $3.5 billion.


Image from Google via SeekingAlpha.Com

An FEC Freight unit on the job

Since this deal, the fund has spun off the railway operations into a separate company, (FECR), leaving the real estate, logistics and telecommunications assets under the FECI umbrella. It is unclear as to the portion of valuation specifically tied to FECR.

FECR is a 351-mile freight rail system located along the east coast of Florida, and is the exclusive rail provider to South Florida’s seaports and connects with other railway systems to move freight throughout the country. Services provided include intermodal and carload solutions.

For the full story go to:

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

Fuel Cells Power Alstom’s Coradia iLINT

By William C. Vantuono
Railway Age

Fuel cells—a technology originally developed for NASA’s Gemini and Apollo space programs in the 1960s—are powering an Alstom main line passenger trainset.

Alstom’s Coradia iLINT, described as the world’s first CO2-emission-free train, debuted at the InnoTrans show in Berlin in late September. Its fuel cell drive system combines hydrogen with oxygen; the chemical reaction produces electricity, which is stored in lithium-ion batteries, and steam and condensed water—the train’s only emissions. Hydrogen is stored onboard in tanks in liquid form; it’s combined with oxygen drawn from the atmosphere. (Spacecraft fuel cells carry liquid oxygen on board.)

With a top speed of approximately 90 mph, the Coradia iLINT can operate up to 500 miles on a single fueling and carry up to 300 passengers. Alstom says it’s the world’s first fuel-cell-powered passenger train that can regularly operate long-distance. It’s also low-noise.


Image via Railway Age

An Alstom Coradia iLINT trainset

“Despite numerous electrification projects in several countries, a significant part of Europe’s rail network will remain non-electrified in the long term,” Alstom notes. “In many countries, the number of diesel trains in circulation is still high—more than 4,000 DMUs (diesel multiple-units) in Germany, for instance. Alstom is among the first railway manufacturers in the world to develop a passenger train based on [hydrogen fuel cell] technology. To make the deployment of the Coradia iLINT as simple as possible for operators, we offer a complete package, consisting of the trainset and maintenance, as well as the whole hydrogen infrastructure, thanks to help from partners.”

The Coradia iLINT’s launch follows letters-of-intent signed in 2014 with the German states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, and the Public Transportation Authorities of Hesse for use of a new-generation, emission-free train equipped with fuel cell drive. Alstom is testing the trainsets throughout 2017, and expects to begin revenue service in late 2017 or early 2018 on the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Assembled at Alstom’s Salzgitter, Germany, plant, the Coradia iLINT is based on the Coradia Lint 54 DMU. Though its price is yet to be announced, Alstom anticipates its operating costs will be similar to those of a DMU.

The Coradia LINT is a single- or two-unit articulated railcar The acronym LINT is short for the German “Leichter Innovativer Nahverkehrstriebwagen” (light innovative local transport rail vehicle). It was originally designed by Linke-Hofmann-Busch (LHB), which Alstom acquired in 1996.

Found at:

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PUBLICATION NOTES...  Publication Notes...

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We try to be accurate in the stories we write, but even seasoned pros err occasionally. If you read something you know to be amiss, or if you have a question about a topic, we’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail the editor at Please include your name, and the community and state from which you write. For technical issues contact D. Kirkpatrick, NCI’s webmaster at

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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