The National Corridors Initiative Logo

Dec. 12, 2016
Vol. 16 No. 50

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...

Motorists vs. Transit Riders: The Conflict Is Genuine
  Guest Opinion…
Building Infrastructure For The Future Can
   Bring Country Together
  Public, Private Partnerships…
Lyft Proposes Partnership With MBTA For
   Late Night Service
  Political Lines…
Know Your T&I Committee Senior Staffers
Institutions To Focus On Future Trends Identified
   In Beyond Traffic
Passenger Rail Leads Transportation Board Hearings
  Select Rail Stocks …
  Planning Lines…
Pittsburghers, Amtrak, NS And PennDOT
  Builders Lines…
FRA Completes Environmental Review For
   New B&P Tunnel
  Station Lines…
New Amtrak Station Opens In Niagara Falls
  Across The Pond…
World’s Longest Railway Tunnel Begins Scheduled
   Revenue-Service Operations In Switzerland
Is Bombardier Transportation Closing Its
   Hennigsdorf Plant?
End-Of-The-Line For Video Game Playing
   Train Dispatcher
Berlin Plans Major Light Rail Expansion
ÖBB To Order EMUs From Bombardier
   And Siemens
  Publication Notes …

OPINION... Opinion...  

Motorists vs. Transit Riders:
The Conflict Is Genuine

By David Peter Alan

A rail advocate in New Jersey once told this writer that the only genuine advocates for better transit are people who depend on it for their mobility.  He overstated his case, but only slightly.  In 32 years as an advocate for better transit, including 12 years of experience writing this column, this writer concludes that motorists do not understand what transit-dependent persons must endure, and that the two communities are fundamentally adversarial to each other.  That is not to say that all motorists are mean-spirited and look down on those of us who are relegated to settling for the level of mobility that our local transit agencies will permit us to have.  Rather, motorists simply do not understand what it is like to depend on transit.  There are some motorists who were forced into a situation where they depended on transit for a limited period of time, but there are not many of them.  There are also some who ride transit (usually rail transit) by choice, but they are a small fraction of the millions of motorists.  Most were anointed with mobility (auto-mobility) as teenagers, and they expect to keep that mobility for the rest of their lives.

Earlier this year, a member of the Board of Directors of New Jersey Transit apologized for his late arrival at a meeting at NJT headquarters in Newark, because he got stuck in traffic on the road.  At the following meeting, a rider-advocate who lives on the same rail line as the Board member said that he arrived at the meeting on time because he took the train, and that the Board member would also have arrived on time if he had done the same.  The Board member replied, in essence, that transit is not that good in New Jersey, so you need a car.  If an ordinary motorist had made that comment, it would have been understandable.  When a member of the governing board of the transit agency says it, that is an indication of a serious problem.  

Motorists can avoid using transit, but they can also use it when they wish, because it is there for them.  Some of them commute to a job in the City, or take the train to the City on the week-end to spend the day there.  Some store their automobiles at a park-and-ride lot and take the train or light rail line to their destination.  Light rail and streetcars are growing segments of the transit scene, and they attract discretionary riders; motorists who take transit by choice.  

Much of the transit in this country is provided by buses; the transportation mode that General Motors substituted for the streetcar systems it killed, and which prompted millions of former streetcar riders to buy automobiles and become motorists instead.  A General Motors ad once featured a bus with the words “Creeps and Weirdoes” displayed on the destination sign, rather than an actual destination.
Since few motorists ride buses, they have no reason to expect that bus riders would not fit that stereotype, even though they do not.

The problem, in a nutshell, is that decisions concerning transit are not made by persons who depend on it for their mobility.  Instead, they are made by motorists.  This writer has heard of a few senior transit managers and members of the governing boards of transit providers who actually depended on the transit which they manage or govern, but there are few.  On top of that, funding decisions are made by elected officials, few of whom ride transit, and even fewer of whom depend on it.  The motorists in Congress and the administration in Washington decide how much money the federal government will allocate for transit, while the motorists in the state legislatures and the state administrations make similar decisions within their states.  

The other side of the difficulty is that people who depend on transit are essentially invisible.  They are not likely to rise on the career ladder, since it is more difficult for them to travel for business purposes than it is for motorists.  They also cannot relocate as easily as motorists, since they must live in a place that has sufficient transit to allow them to get around.  Except for downtown offices, there is no transit access to many workplaces.  While a few employers are now providing shuttle vans to train stations and other transit hubs, the schedules for these shuttles are often limited, and employers like the flexibility that motorists have, rather than the strict time constraints under which transit-dependent employees are compelled by circumstances to operate.

In a sense, non-motorists today face the sort of difficulties that other groups of person who were excluded from some of the benefits of American society faced in the past.  It took 100 years for black people, especially in the South, to gain the rights which the supposedly won after the Civil War in the 1860s.  It took women 72 years to get the vote in all U.S. Elections, from the time they first campaigned for it.  It took more than 130 years for organized labor to obtain the right to bargain collectively with management over wages and working conditions; a “right” that has become less-important lately, as the percentage of workers who are union members declines.

The other groups had one small advantage as they fought for advancement.  They had contact with each other, and they had solidarity.  Transit riders are different.  If they depend on transit, their mobility is limited.  There are also different reasons why they depend on transit: age, disability, lack of money for an automobile, and other disparate reasons.  Some live a “car-free” lifestyle by choice, especially in large cities with strong transit, but each group has different interests and concerns.  This disparity prevents transit-dependent persons from having the common experience that could unite them.

Motorists can go wherever they wish, and at any time.  They are not limited by transit schedules or by the span of service on any particular transit line.  If they have always lived that way, it would be difficult for them to imagine the limitations under which transit riders live.  Few transit lines outside New York City run 24-hours-a-day, although every motorist has transportation available at all times.  Some transit lines, especially rail lines, run a full-service day, through late evening.  Many bus-only systems do not.  Typically, they do not run during the evening or on Sundays.  Some small systems do not run on Saturdays, either.  These systems can take workers to a job located near a bus line, or a retiree to the mall or the food store during mid-day hours, but they cannot provide the basis for a lifestyle that is anything but severely limited.  Motorists are not required to live that way, and they do not know what it is like to be forced by circumstances to do so.

It is not fair to say that motorists hate transit riders or have contempt for them.  General Motors does, as demonstrated by the ad cited in this column, but the average person behind the wheel has no reason for animosity toward transit riders.  Perhaps even worse than animosity, the motorist’s attitude toward transit riders is often one of indifference.  They do not know what transit-dependent persons must endure, because they have been spared that fate.  

For the foreseeable future, there is little that transit-dependent persons can do.  In the long run, it may be possible for riders to organize at the local, grassroots level.  With enough organization, they may be able to someday pressure the local transit provider to hire some transit-dependent managers or have at least some transit-dependent members appointed to the Board.  If enough of them organize, they may even accumulate some political clout, so elected officials would listen to them.

It is essential that people who care about better transit organize politically, as quickly and strongly as they can.  The person selected to be the next Secretary of Transportation comes from a place that has little transit and no Amtrak trains.  She has experience at the Heritage Foundation, which has a reputation for opposing Amtrak and local transit.  The next several years portend to be difficult ones for Amtrak, local transit and their riders.  Even if transit riders do not share the sort of common experiences that bind other groups together, they must join forces and advocate strongly for statutes and administrative regulations that can protect them.  Recently, the New Jersey legislature considered a bill that would require New Jersey Transit to give notice to the public before cutting service, in light of the unannounced removal of the last trains of the evening from the schedules on several lines.  Instead of requiring such notice, the legislature instead allowed the agency to cut service by two hours on any line, at any time, without any notice to the riders.  Gov. Chris Christie signed the measure, and it is now law.  It would be unthinkable to impose a similar constraint on motorists, which would entail closing certain highways at certain nighttime hours, so motorists would be stranded until morning.

The number of people who need transit is growing.  More seniors are “aging out” of driving automobiles, there are more people becoming disabled, and there are more low-income people, due to the loss of jobs in this country and rising inequality of incomes.  Despite these trends, funding for transit and for community transportation has decreased significantly in recent years, both at the federal level and in many of the states.  As the disparity between motorists and transit-dependent people becomes worse, so will mobility for those of us who are not sufficiently fortunate to have access to an automobile.

It will require concerted organization and political action by transit riders to keep as much of their limited mobility as possible during the coming years.  Motorists know how to look after their interests.  So do the industries which support, or are supported by, automobile use: oil, highway construction, the  automobile industry itself, and others.  Persons who depend on public transportation may not have much power, but we constitute a sizable segment of the American population.  We need to organize and fight now, or else we could spend some of our remaining years stranded and housebound.

The author has ridden on 255 transit properties in the United States and Canada, including all rail  transit providers and a number of community transit agencies.  The opinions expressed are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of NCI, or any other individual or organization.

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GUEST OPINION... Guest Opinion...  

Building Infrastructure For The Future
Can Bring Country Together

By Former Sec. And Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.)
And Former Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.)
The Hill

As President-elect Donald Trump and the incoming Congress turn to the work of governing, we need opportunities to bring the country together. We need to think big.

And what we do next should be about our future, not the past.

Luckily, there is one legislative issue that is well poised for positive action: Rebuilding America’s roads, bridges, ports, electric grid, water systems, airports, rails and expanding broadband.

It is time to build the kind of infrastructure that can power our economy through the rest of this century and keep us globally competitive.

Everyone is tired of sitting in congestion on our roads or wasting time on our runways. Our mass transit systems are chronically on the verge of breakdown.

No other issue received such unanimous support over the past year, and nothing else can dramatically improve the lives of so many Americans.

As Trump said in his acceptance speech, “[We will] rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”

The need for improvement is overwhelming. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave our infrastructure a D+ grade. Its most recent report found that the gap between what we are spending and what we need to spend could cost the economy almost $4 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) in the next decade, killing 2.5 million jobs by 2025.

The World Economic Forum ranks the competitiveness of U.S. infrastructure as No. 11 — down from No. 1 in 2005. According to the U.S. Travel Association, within 10 years, 25 of the nation’s top 30 airports will suffer “day-before-Thanksgiving” congestion at least two days a week.

Now is the time, while borrowing rates are still low, to take sweeping action and make up for lost years of deferred maintenance.

There have been modest signs of progress lately. Congress approved a $305 billion transportation plan last year. More than 25 states have increased transportation investment since 2013, and 70 percent of the local infrastructure referenda on the ballots this year passed.

But these efforts are like trying to fill a giant pothole one teaspoon at a time.

We are very encouraged by the president-elect’s desire to see a $1 trillion infrastructure plan and an expanded role for private investment. It would be wise for everyone to refrain from rushing to judgment on an infrastructure package before Trump has released any details of what he’d like to see in a plan.

However, we feel that any plan must have a significant funding component and identify long-term revenue sources. Most infrastructure projects will not attract enough private investment alone to bring them to fruition or to a state of good repair. Dedicated funding is critical to making projects a reality.

With that in mind, we offer the following recommendations.

1. We need policies that are forward-looking and address rapidly changing transportation technology.

Smarter roads that communicate with vehicles, and vehicles that communicate with each other, are coming fast. Cities are preparing for autonomous vehicles. In areas with severe congestion, dynamically priced lanes are changing tolls in real-time, based on congestion levels.

Regulation needs to keep up with these advancements, not hinder them.

2. The process of creating policy needs to be more transparent and efficient and must include clear criteria for assessing the economic significance of a project.

With such criteria, we can prioritize projects that can transform a region. There are undoubtedly dozens, if not hundreds, of projects around the country that deserve attention.

Bringing high speed rail to the Northeast Corridor and modernizing the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River are just two examples of potentially transformational projects. We also need to reward innovation with competitive grants that catalyze pilot projects and further streamline the project approval process.

3. We need real progress on paying for these critical investments, in the short and long term.

There are revenue-neutral steps that can make an immediate economic impact, such as renewing Build America Bonds and eliminating federal restrictions on tolling interstate highways. That would help municipalities while Congress considers comprehensive tax reform, including repatriation of profits held overseas.

Repatriation could provide a short-term bridge while long-term solutions are identified, such as increasing and indexing the gas tax, expanding the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), creating a national capital budget, transitioning to a road user charge, establishing a national infrastructure bank that will attract private investment, and encouraging more public-private partnerships.

As a nation, we’ve done big things before. The country desperately needs President-elect Trump and Congress to look at what can unite us, not what divides us.

The one thing that can improve the quality of life for all Americans and improve our economic competitiveness is to meet these challenges head on and build the infrastructure of tomorrow.

Ray LaHood is a former U.S. Transportation secretary and Ed Rendell is a former Pennsylvania governor. Both are co-chairs of Building America’s Future.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

Found at:

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PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP... Public, Private Partnerships...  

Lyft Proposes Partnership With MBTA
For Late Night Service

Lyft Is The Third Business To Pitch Their Services To The MBTA

By Perry Russom
New England Cable Network

For those who work at night in the Greater Boston Area, the lack of service late at night from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) can be an expensive problem. But rideshare service Lyft is now proposing a partnership.

“Lyft looked at this as an opportunity to directly target jobs access and people who needed to get to work and back,” said Tyler George, Lyft General Manager in Boston.

The rideshare company is now the third business to pitch their services to the MBTA. Boston-based Bridj, a private start-up transit company, a group called Transit Matter are also proposing all night services with the MBTA.

“Competition drives productivity,” said MBTA Acting General Manager, Brian Shortsleeve. “It drives creativity.”

Shortsleeve said they’re focused on their riders with the highest need - late night workers.

“What we know from the work that we did back in March on late-night service is that there’s a lot of demand from employers who want to make sure that their employees are able to get home after hours,” said Shortsleeve.

Under Lyft’s proposal, a company would first have to sign up for the service. For example, a hospital or restaurant. They then submit a list of employees and pay $1 toward every ride their employee takes.

The worker would go on the app, request a car, apply the discount and only have to pay $2.75 for each ride. That price is the same as a bus ticket.

The MBTA would pay the rest of the fee which is less than $5.

The driver would be making the same amount of money no matter what.

It’s estimated every year the MBTA would have to shell out $1.28 million for the program as they expect 1,000 people to use the service every night.

“There’s no fixed cost for the MBTA,” said George. “We already have service, we already have drivers that are on the streets giving rides, so it’s not like we have to buy a bunch of assets or put a new train into service.”

The MBTA is waiting on survey results that should be back within the next month or so before making a decision on the three proposals.

From a news item at:

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POLITICAL LINES... Political Lines...  

Know Your T&I Committee Senior Staffers

By William C. Vantuono
Railway Age

The 115th Congress will soon be under way, and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) on Dec. 6 announced several senior staff changes.

These are the people that you need to know on Capitol Hill on the T&I Committee. In many ways, they are more important than even Shuster himself. They are his direct interface. They run interference. They set his schedule. And they play a big role in influencing policy and getting bills passed and signed by the President.

In summary:

Additional background:

Chris Vieson joins the Committee from Public Strategies Washington, where he is a partner in the firm’s government affairs group. Previous to his stint with Public Strategies Washington, Chris held a number of positions on the Hill, most recently as the Director of Floor Operations for Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Before that, he served as a floor assistant and policy advisor on appropriations for Republican Whip Roy Blunt. He was also a legislative analyst for House Republican Conference Chairs Deborah Pryce and Adam Putnam.

Fred Miller has served as the Staff Director of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee since 2015, after first joining the Subcommittee staff in 2011 as Counsel. Fred has worked on a variety of oversight and legislative efforts involving Amtrak and passenger rail services, freight rail transportation, pipeline safety, and hazardous materials regulation, in addition to surface transportation and aviation reauthorization bills. He is a former attorney-advisor of both the Surface Transportation Board and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Holly Woodruff Lyons has served as the Deputy General Counsel for the Committee since 2014. She has previously served as the Aviation Subcommittee Republican Staff Director, and first joined the Subcommittee staff in 2002. She has worked on multiple Federal Aviation Administration reauthorizations, and was the lead House negotiator on the 2012 reauthorization and the “FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016.” Holly is also a former FAA attorney, and has worked in private legal practice. As Aviation Subcommittee Staff Director, Holly will also continue to serve as the Committee’s Deputy General Counsel.

Mary Phillips has served as Senior Professional Staff on the Committee for two years, a post she also held with the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, where she handled surface transportation issues for Senators McCain and Thune. During the George W. Bush Administration, Mary was the Associate Administrator for Policy and Governmental Affairs at the Federal Highway Administration. She also has prior experience in the freight transportation industry in marketing, sales, strategic planning, and governmental affairs.

Geoff Gosselin has served for 16 years as a staff member in the House or Representatives. He has served on the Committee staff for six years as Senior Professional Staff on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, and as Professional Staff on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee. He also has a decade of experience working in the personal offices of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Members.

Chris Brown previously served as the Staff Director of the Aviation Subcommittee since 2014. Before joining the Committee, Chris worked in the private sector as well as in the executive branch, serving two years as the Assistant Administrator and Deputy Assistant Administrator for Government and Industry Affairs at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Brown also worked previously as counsel for the Aviation Subcommittee.

From an article appearing at:

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Institutions To Focus On Future Trends
Identified In Beyond Traffic

Press Release From USDOT

WASHINGTON – Building on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s future-focused “Beyond Traffic” draft report outlining upcoming trends of the next 30 years, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced today a solicitation for applicants to be designated as U.S. DOT Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers.  These Centers will be capable of driving solutions to the challenges identified in Beyond Traffic through research, curriculum, outreach, and other activities. Some of the challenges outlined in Beyond Traffic include 45 percent more freight on the roads and 70 million more people living in the United States by 2045.

“Beyond Traffic launched a national conversation about how our country will change in the next 30 years, often in ways that seriously test our transportation system. Our educational institutions are critical to helping us solve these challenges,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These designations will create a community of forward-thinking researchers, students, and thought leaders who will play an important role in ensuring our economy continues to grow, as we protect our planet and the American people through a safe, strong and sustainable transportation network for decades to come.”

With the nation’s transportation system experiencing repeated impacts due to population growth, changes in climate, a stressed freight network, and inaction to address these impacts, such a discourse could not come at a more crucial time. Beyond Traffic was developed by a team of Departmental experts, with input from the public, to conduct a comprehensive examination of our Nation’s transportation system. In the fall of 2015, Secretary Foxx and his team traveled to eleven emerging mega-regions to solicit feedback on the draft report. Specifically, communities provided feedback on the gaps in opportunity exacerbated by disparities in transportation access and past infrastructure decisions.

The designated U.S. DOT Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers will help to continue this conversation in their respective mega-regions through, for example, curriculum, workforce training, outreach events, or research focused on the future of our transportation system.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on December 21, 2016. For more information and details on how to apply, please visit

Contact Info:
Washington, DC.   20590

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Passenger Rail Leads Transportation
Board Hearings In VT.

By CB Hall
Vermont Business Magazine

The Vermont State Transportation Board has wrapped up its annual fall series of public forums in mid-November, and this year’s theme for the sessions – Vermont’s railroads – has sparked considerable interest in a mode of transportation that, some Vermonters say, is very much underused. Each year, the autumn events focus on a different aspect of transportation in the state. This year, according to the board’s executive secretary, John Zicconi, attendance at the seven forums was “above our normal attendance in the last five years.”

Vermonters “do believe a healthy rail network is good for the economy,” he said. “We noted a general support for getting as many trucks off our roads as possible, and how rail is a piece of that puzzle.”

In announcing the series in September, the board listed passenger rail expansion, life with railroads as neighbors, rail safety, rail-side development, truck traffic through villages and town centers, and commuter rail prospects for Burlington and Brattleboro as key topics for consideration.


Three Graphs - VT Business

In passenger rail development, plenty is happening in Vermont, and passenger rather than freight issues appeared to dominate the discourse at the forums. Both of the state-sponsored Amtrak services – the New York City-to-Rutland Ethan Allen Express and the Washington, DC-to-St. Albans Vermonter – are slated for extension.

The Ethan Allen will shift its northern terminus from Rutland to Burlington in early 2021, Agency of Transportation (AOT) rail program director Dan Delabruere anticipated in an interview for this article. He was less certain about when the Vermonter’s terminus will move north from St. Albans to Montreal. That depends on when the federal government passes legislation allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to work on foreign soil – at a customs pre-clearance facility in Montreal which is a crucial element in extending the Vermonter’s route.

“We really don’t have any control over that,” he said. “There’s still a lot to do.”


Both moves are expected to attract substantial new ridership, but the finance questions are less clear. Delabruere hesitated to put a price tag on any possible increase that the extensions would occasion in the state’s subsidies for Amtrak. Currently the state pays about $7.3 million annually to support its two Amtrak trains.

The state is meanwhile investigating the feasibility of commuter rail service linking St. Albans and Montpelier with Burlington. Zicconi said that “people in general are supportive of the concept, but people want to see the details” meaning, in particular, “how much bang for the buck.”

The AOT is charged with submitting its feasibility study to the Legislature in January. Boston-based consultant HDR is currently wrapping up work on the analysis.

The idea carries with it the possibility of a commuter rail stop at the GlobalFoundries plant in Essex, where some 3,000 people work. The potential exists for coupling a commuter stop there with a rail-industrial park, according to an analysis undertaken by the Vermont Rail Action Network (VRAN), an advocacy group, in 2014. VRAN worked with environmentalists and the state’s railroads to identify rail-adjacent parcels of five acres or more throughout the state that were not prime agricultural land or wetlands, said Lee Khan, who chairs the group’s board of directors. That search identified the Essex tract as a “perfect location” for light industry – it’s zoned for such - with hundreds of acres of available property adjacent to the railroad, she said.

She emphasized, however, that the initiative had yet to move beyond the conceptual stage.


George Tyler, president of the Essex Junction Board of Trustees, said there had been “some discussion” of the rail-industrial park idea, and confirmed that the concept had not advanced to details. However, he said that a specific allowance for the possibility constituted “one of the revisions we want” in the village’s building and zoning code, which is currently undergoing a rewrite. The current code does not provide specific guidance on the idea, he said.

“But the planning commission would have to look at and pass on at any specific plan” for the project, he cautioned.

David Blittersdorf, CEO of Williston’s AllEarth Renewables, which manufactures solar-energy equipment, liked the idea. He looked forward to moving to “a business park where my employees can get to work without driving and use mass transit, whether it’s rail, bus, walking, or riding their bikes.”

But for him it’s more than a matter of his employees getting around. “We move our merchandise out of Vermont and around the country. I’m looking for a way to move our product by rail rather than trucks. It saves money and it’s less carbon.”

Essex Junction already has an Amtrak station, but it’s on the wrong side of the rail junction where a commuter train from Montpelier would turn towards Burlington. The state’s commuter rail study is therefore proposing a new station, “Essex South,” to serve that traffic more conveniently. The village has been seeking funding to improve the existing station, but had not been consulted by the authors of the commuter rail study on any coordination of local plans, Tyler reported.

“I’d strongly advise the state to include us in any further conversations about commuter rail development,”  he commented.

According to a small-scale map in a draft of the study posted on the AOT website, the Essex South station would be at least very close to the GlobalFoundries plant.

GlobalFoundries did not respond to email inquiries about the possible commuter station and the rail-industrial park.

Veteran rail activist Carl Fowler, of Williston, had reservations about a presentation given about the draft study at a November 16 meeting of the Vermont Rail Advisory Committee in Montpelier.

He termed it “a very limited study” that has not, for example, considered the use of diesel multiple units – essentially rail coaches with engines below their floors – as an economical alternative to a locomotive hauling conventional coaches.

The presentation pegged the upfront costs of the Montpelier-Burlington-St. Albans commuter system at $305-365 million. The trains would serve Essex South, Richmond, Winooski, downtown Montpelier and downtown Burlington stations, in addition to existing Amtrak stops along the route.

“Nobody’s going to bite on that in Vermont,” he reacted to the projected price tag.

Like other studies of the sort, the analysis has confined itself strictly to a legislative mandate that said nothing about the system’s larger geographical context, including, for example, suburbs south of Burlington. Fowler also noted that the study has completely ignored a far cheaper scenario in which the Ethan Allen train would be extended past Burlington to Montpelier, serving the two cities at times conducive to commuter travel. That could test the waters for patronage of a fuller commuter service.

The Burlington commuter rail idea made the agenda for the Transportation Board forum held in that city November 14, but the forum held in Brattleboro November 9 addressed instead the potential for commuter rail linking Brattleboro with population centers to the south in Massachusetts. That idea has received some discussion in rail circles, but faces a long incubation, whatever attention the board’s forums gave it. A recent study of commuter rail prospects by the Springfield, Mass.-based Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Commission at no point mentions any connection with Brattleboro.

That study came out in 2015, however, and the AOT has been pursuing the Brattleboro-Massachusetts possibility since then. Zicconi said that attendees of the Brattleboro forum “were very supportive that the AOT have knocked on Massachusetts’ door and said, ‘Can this happen?’ And those discussions are now happening.”

While passenger rail dominated the discourse in Burlington, for example, freight rail issues took center stage elsewhere, as in Vergennes, where heavy truck traffic passing through the heart of the city on Route 22A led attendees to ask how the semis might be diverted.

More broadly, Zicconi said, “people were very understanding of rail as an economic tool. . . . They would like the state to explore more options.”

“We did hear quite a bit about how rail is underutilized here in Vermont, and hopes that it could be used more often.”

The state rail plan released last spring takes a clear position in favor of freight rail, making it public policy, for example, to “provide incentives for new and existing businesses to use rail [and] support the development of transload facilities.”

While truck traffic through urban centers such as Vergennes provides an impetus for greater use of the rails as an alternative, rail continues to have its downsides.

“People believe a healthy rail network is good for the economy, but they also want the railroads to be good neighbors, and they want their safety to be assured. And none of that surprised us,” Zicconi said.

Railroad issues have raised hackles recently in Shelburne, where a new Vermont Railway transload facility now on the verge of commencing operation has encountered stiff resistance from the select board and citizens; in Charlotte, where residents have objected to the storage of tank cars – of the sort that carry petroleum products - near their properties; and in Middlebury, where wrangling continues over a planned replacement of two deteriorating bridges over the rail line in the village center.

Still, with the presidential election just behind us, the moment may be propitious for rail all across the country. “I believe that, with president-elect Trump suggesting that there will be a huge infrastructure commitment from his administration, our new Republican governor should be focused on rail infrastructure,” VRAN’s Khan said.

Found 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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PLANNING LINES... Planning Lines...  

Pittsburghers, Amtrak, NS And PennDOT

By Ben Vient
Railway Age

“I think it’s one of the first times that Amtrak, PennDOT and Norfolk Southern were all at the same table answering questions from legislators on this issue,” says Lucinda Beattie, Vice President of Transportation for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, a business advocacy group focused on the revitalization of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Beattie refers to the Aug. 23, 2016 hearing at Pennsylvania’s House Transportation Committee, on one of Pittsburgh’s developing transportation issues: restoring passenger rail service to western Pennsylvania.

Until 1969, 12 daily Pennsylvania Railroad (after 1968, Penn Central) intercity trains connected Pittsburgh eastward. By 2005, service had been reduced to one daily train: Amtrak’s current Pennsylvanian, created in April 1980, with current average speeds of 45 mph.

Following the Great Recession of 2008, Pittsburgh risked losing its one daily passenger rail connection to eastern Pennsylvania. “We had to speak up about that,” Beattie recalls. Those discussions spurred the transportation focus within the Pittsburgh business community’s Downtown Partnership. “It really helped many of us to gather and realize how important transportation issues are to the success of a business community,” she says. Now, discussions focus on increasing frequency to three daily trips, over the freight-dense Norfolk Southern (former PRR, then Penn Central, and then Conrail, prior to the latter’s acquisition by NS and CSX in 1999) main line that connects Harrisburg to Pittsburgh.

In 2014, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership produced a report advocating to increase rail service, entitled “On Track to Accessibility,” emboldened by the fact that Pennsylvanian ridership increased 14% between FY 2010 and FY 2015. The report estimates the additional service would cost between $10 million to $13 million per year. On Feb. 26, 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), responsible for funding the service under section 403 (b) of the Rail Passenger Act of 1970, wrote to Amtrak:

“as we continue to get comments submitted on the Keystone West, we’d like to have Amtrak provide PennDOT with a high-level cost estimate for the addition of one to two trains a day to/from Harrisburg. This estimate should include operating and capital costs.”

“We know that, ultimately, in order to make this happen, we would need to work with Norfolk Southern and Amtrak to identify timing for the potential trains, get trainsets ordered, and work through proposed labor to run the trains.

“At this time . we only need a high-level estimate. Before we take on any of those bigger picture steps, we need an order of magnitude cost of what it would take to fund an additional one to two trains a day on the Pennsylvanian.

“Could you let us know how quickly Amtrak could get us this estimate?”

To date, there has been no answer to this February 2015 request, says PennDOT.

“It’s really become now a question of democracy,” Beattie explains. “Are we being listened to on these transportation issues?”

At the Aug. 23 hearing, Norfolk Southern Vice President Government Relations Rudy Husband referred to the 204-mile main line between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh as a “premiere corridor” for rail freight between the East Coast and Midwest: “We will coordinate the operational feasibility study. We will provide estimated costs to the sponsoring public agency, but these studies, they’re not cheap, and they take time, at least a year or probably more.”

Over two dozen civic groups submitted letters of support for increasing the frequency of Pennsylvanian service:

From Allegheny County’s Congress of Neighboring Communities: “Our residents now have fewer transportation options within a 500-mile radius than they have had in the past 40 years.”

From Pittsburgh’s Green Building Alliance: “Increased passenger rail service has the potential to eliminate nearly 73,000 automobile trips and more than 16 million vehicle-miles from Pennsylvania , which directly reduces CO2 emissions, criteria air pollutants, and non-source point pollution.”

From Henry Pyatt, Pittsburgh’s Small Business and Redevelopment Manager: “The American Lung Association currently rates Johnstown, Altoona, and Pittsburgh as among the worst 25 metropolitan areas for year-round airborne particulate matter of the 430 metropolitan areas in the nation. Increased passenger rail service cannot only reduce emissions per passenger-mile, but it can induce activities in urban cores.”

From AARP Pennsylvania: “Passenger rail is a mobility option for midlife and older people who travel both within congested regional corridors and between cities separated by longer distances.”

From the Greater Pittsburgh Hotel Association: “This investment will provide huge benefits to the region, with more people visiting and exploring our city.”

From Sue Etters, PA Committee for People with Disabilities: “I and other members of the disabled community use the Amtrak train as our number one means of transportation to Harrisburg. We want to continue to build and improve the communities in which we live.”

From the Oakland Planning and Development Corp.: “Educational and medical institutions are some of the main drivers of Pittsburgh’s new economy. They make Oakland a regional and national destination. Improving passenger rail service . will provide . the necessary connections to continue to thrive as an economic hub going forward.”

From Visit Pittsburgh: “Traveling by train has become increasingly more popular to younger generations, including millennials.”

From Sustainable Pittsburgh: “Increased service for western Pennsylvania will bring material benefits serving the social, economic and environmental needs here and for the Commonwealth as a whole.”

From the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group: “Adding two more trains to the highly efficient Pennsylvanian route has practically no downside.”

Joining in the support: commissioners from Allegheny, Westmoreland, Cambria and Mifflin counties; and the mayors of Johnstown and Pittsburgh.

No letters were submitted in opposition, says Eric Bugaile, Executive Director of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives Majority Transportation Committee. “The people of western Pennsylvania have built momentum for this and are voicing their support.”

“We’re trying to find the middle ground with Amtrak and Norfolk Southern,” says Mark Spada, board member of Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail. “We believe a large number of passengers are not being served.”

Pennsylvania’s House Transportation Committee adopted Resolution 1103 on Oct. 24, 2016: “To conduct a study of the feasibility of providing two additional passenger rail trips daily between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg and its impact on existing freight rail service... Resolved, that the committee issue its report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives within nine months from the date of adoption of this resolution.”

The people of Pittsburgh wait for the resolution to be revisited at the start of the 2017 legislative session, in their city with a history museum named after their late Senator John Heinz. Engraved on a museum wall, one of his principles: “What makes a society thrive are citizens determined to see shared ideals realized—realized not just for the select few, but as our pledge says, ‘for all.’”

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BUILDERS LINES... Builders Lines...  

FRA Completes Environmental Review
For New B&P Tunnel

Source: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
Via MassTransit Magazine

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has finished the environmental review (final environmental impact statement, or FEIS) to replace the Civil War-era Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) Tunnel. The FEIS includes review of the route (Alternative 3B) for a new tunnel and incorporates changes sought by communities and neighborhoods in Baltimore during more than two dozen meetings held over the last two years.

“Rebuilding the B&P Tunnel is a significant undertaking along the Northeast Corridor,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “I am encouraged by the input provided by the communities, and that much of that input led to changes to make this project better for everyone involved.  This is a great example of the value that public engagement and community involvement bring to the transportation planning process.”

In response to the input provided by communities and leaders in Baltimore, FRA relocated the ventilation plant location to West North Avenue to preserve a community garden, reduced the number of land parcels and historic properties impacted, decreased proposed relocations, and maintained the proposal to rebuild a larger and ADA-compliant West Baltimore MARC station.


Proposed routes

Source:  FRA

The review includes proposed mitigation measures to address the impacts created by the route.  These measures include establishing several grant funds to support community development and recreation facilities, providing project-related job training and hiring preferences for local workers of social and economic disadvantage, implementing construction noise and vibration mitigation plans, and establishing a grant fund for historic preservation.

The new tunnel would be about 100 feet underground, compared to the existing tunnel’s 20-foot depth. The deeper placement would nearly eliminate any noticeable vibrations from passing trains.

“This project is better because communities provided input on how a new tunnel could be built with as little impact as possible, and where there was an impact, how we can reduce it,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg.  “The new tunnel will keep trains moving along the Northeast Corridor and create jobs in Baltimore.”

The federal government has invested $60 million for the preliminary design and environmental review for this project. The state of Maryland estimates the project could create or support 7,000 jobs a year, over seven years, with more than 50 percent of those jobs in construction.

The new route will smooth out existing curves, enabling trains to double their speeds. About 140 Amtrak and MARC passenger trains and several Norfolk Southern freight trains currently travel through the existing tunnel daily, which is part of the Northeast Corridor, the nation’s busiest rail corridor.  The new route will allow 388 trains to use the new tunnel daily.

In December 2015, the FRA presented three proposals for replacing the Civil War-era tunnel in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). This past April, FRA revised those options following further feedback from Baltimore residents during public hearings held in February. While Amtrak owns the B&P Tunnel, FRA leads the environmental review process in cooperation with Maryland’s Department of Transportation.

Compared to Alternative 3A and Alternative 3C, Alternative 3B (the Preferred Alternative/new route) best meets the project’s purpose and need while minimizing environmental impacts.  It provides high-level platforms for a newly rebuilt West Baltimore MARC Station, involves only minor impacts to the P. Flanigan & Sons asphalt plant (a major local employer), preserves two historic buildings that would be demolished by Alternative 3C, and improves average train travel time.

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STATION LINES... Station Lines...  

New Amtrak Station Opens In Niagara Falls

By Steve Brown

The City of Niagara Falls is celebrating the grand opening of the new Amtrak train station on the city’s north end.

The $43 million facility on Depot Avenue West served its first passengers last Tuesday morning. The facility features a new waiting room, customs and border offices along with an Underground Railroad Museum and retail space.


Image Steve Brown - WGRZ

Amtrak arrives at the platform at Niagra Falls Station on December 6

The station was completed a few months ago, but it took some time for the city and Amtrak to agree to a lease. As part of that 20 year deal, the railroad will have to pay to lease the station as well as part of the maintenance and operating costs.

Right now it’s estimated that about 31,000 passengers pass through the Falls annually. Niagara Falls officials hope that this will bring more train traffic to the Cataract City.

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

Installments By David Beale
NCI Foreign Editor

World’s Longest Railway Tunnel Begins Scheduled
Revenue-Service Operations In Switzerland

Gotthard Base Tunnel Starts Daily Work After Two Plus Decades Of Going From Theory And Concept Phases
To Approval, Detailed Design, Heavy Construction And Finally To Outfitting, Commissioning And Testing.

Via Multiple Internet Sources

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has received the green light to start operating scheduled train services through the Gotthard Base Tunnel on Sunday, the 11th of December.  This date, in the second full weekend in December, is the annual general train and bus revision or update across Europe and the UK.  More localized and limited schedule changes can take place throughout the year, but the second weekend in December is the traditional time for more widespread changes to train schedules, for example a major new piece of rail infrastructure goes on line   The Swiss Federal Transport Office (BAV) gave its authorization last Monday, it said in a statement.


Photo:  SBB – Swiss Federal Railways

Out Of The Darkness – no, this is not a Star Trek sequel to the movie “Into The Darkness” but a Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) ETR 610 high speed electric multiple unit (EMU) intercity train emerging from the north portal of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel during the opening ceremonies in April 2016.  The new tunnel is configured, as is the rest of the standard gauge Swiss rail network, for left hand traffic on double track rail lines, similar to France, U.K., Italy, Belgium and some rail lines in Austria.  In the background in this photograph the tracks to the classic 130 year-old Gotthard route can be seen.

The 12.2 billion Swiss franc (US$ 12.0 billion) tunnel, the longest and deepest rail tunnel in the world, was handed over to SBB in June 2016 after an opening ceremony that made global headlines for its curious depictions of alpine culture.  Since then SBB has carried out a series of tests within the tunnel with the goal to start scheduled services this weekend.  Around 5,000 ‘test’ trains have passed through the tunnel in the past six months, said BAV.

Decades in the making, the 57-kilometer (35 mile) Gotthard Base Tunnel is part of a New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA) including two other base tunnels – Lötschberg and Ceneri.  The new Gotthard base tunnel line will bypass part of the historic Gotthard tunnel railway line between the cantons of Uri and Ticino.  Able to bear longer, heavier trains, the new base tunnel will increase the capacity and speed of both freight and passenger trains.  

Originally the plan was for passenger trains to run up to 250km/hr through the tunnel, however BAV has restricted that to 200km/hr for the time being.  “It’s usual that works as complex as this will be subject to operating restrictions,” BAV said.  Finishing touches at Rynächt, to the north of the tunnel, are still ongoing, meaning trains will travel at just 80km/hr in that region for now, it added.  These speed restrictions will be lifted in the coming months, it said.  There were be no repercussions for customers, as services will be able to maintain the previously stated travel times and capacities, added BAV.

Around 50 passenger trains and up to 260 freight trains in both directions will travel through the double-track tunnel every day, cutting the journey time between Zurich and Milan by around 40 minutes.  The start of scheduled services through the tunnel requires a timetable change across the country that will come into effect on the aforementioned Europe-wide train and bus schedule change planned for 10th – 11th of  December, stated SBB in a press release.

The classic 135 year-old Gotthard Rail Tunnel and its famous winding and steep approaches – hundreds of meters above the new underground base tunnel – will remain in operation indefinitely, but with obviously far fewer train movements.  SBB intends to start running special panoramic trains on the classic Gotthard route from April to October each year.  A number of local and regional passenger and freight trains will continue to operate on the classic route throughout the year.  Passengers on the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ will travel from  Lucerne to Flüelen by boat before boarding a panoramic train for the journey to Ticino.

In other rail news, the Swiss federal government has agreed a 13 billion Swiss franc boost for Swiss railways over the next three years.  The budget, already approved by the Swiss upper house of parliament, was passed by the lower chamber on Tuesday, news agencies reported.  Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) will receive 7.6 billion and privately owned railways 4.9 billion.  The majority will be dedicated to improving infrastructure, while the rest will go toward operating costs.  Switzerland, with a land area slightly more than the combined land area of the three lower New England states in the USA and slightly fewer residents than those three New England states combined, has allegedly the highest amount of active rail lines (including narrow gauge rail lines, tram lines and light rail lines) per capita population of any country in the world.  

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Is Bombardier Transportation Closing
Its Hennigsdorf Plant?

Bombardier Announces Plans To Shut Part Of Its Sprawling EMU / DMU Train Assembly Plant
In The Berlin Suburbs, Production Moving To China.

Via Lok Report And Taggesspiegel Newspaper

Berlin – At a recent internal meeting between Bombardier Transportation’s senior management and the company’s employees and the employee’s advisory committee at Bombardier’s large engineering and production facility in Hennigsdorf , Bombardier’s management announced that it plans to end production of diesel- and electric multiple unit (DMU and EMU) train sets at the Hennigsdorf location including the popular “Talent” series of self-propelled trains used in a variety of regional and commuter operations in a number of countries ranging from Germany, where it is in the most widespread use, to Austria, Switzerland, Norway Hungary and Slovakia.  Bombardier Talent DMU train sets built in Hennigsdorf were also in operation as “light rail” on the O-Train light rail system in the Ottawa (Canada) area until 2006, when the vehicles were replaced by Alstom LINT DMUs.  The Talent series of trains are definitely not classified as “light rail” in Europe, rather as standard passenger rail rolling stock.  

According to management statements to the employees at the Hennigsdorf plant a week ago, production of passenger trains as well as production of wheel truck assemblies and the frames for those wheel trucks will end in Hennigsdorf by the end of the year 2018, at which point transfer of this work to Bombardier plants in China and a Bombardier Transportation plant in Bautzen, Germany (near to the borders of Poland and Czech Republic) should be complete.   Design engineering work and construction of certain kinds of prototype models and demonstrator trains will allegedly remain in Hennigsdorf.  Industry observers say that the chances of long-term survival of the Hennigsdorf facility is very questionable after passenger train assembly and production are gone.  The number of jobs which will be lost by the transfer of train and wheel truck production out of this town in the northwestern suburbs of Berlin to China and to Bautzen, Germany is not yet been publicized but is believed to be on the order of 1000 – 1500 full time employees.

The Hennigsdorf train production complex is nearly a century old, dating back to the World War One era.  During the Cold War era, Hennigsdorf, inside the former DDR in East Germany, became a center for production of electric locomotives for Deutsche Reichsbahn, the state railroad of communist East Germany, and also exported electric locomotives to other Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe.  After the DDR / East Germany reunited with West Germany at the start of the 1990s, the Hennigsdorf train production complex became part of AEG, a large West German conglomerate, which was once a big player in the locomotive and train building business in Germany.  AEG went bankrupt a few years later and the train building business of AEG was combined with ABB and soon became ADTranz, which was majority owned by car, truck and bus maker Daimler-Benz.  ADTranz moved locomotive engineering and production work out of Hennigsdorf to other existing plants in Kassel and Mannheim, Germany and consolidated its DMU and EMU passenger train production in Germany to the Hennigsdorf complex.  Bombardier plants in Crespin, France, Derby England, as well as in Sweden, Poland, Italy and Spain continue to produce EMU and DMU train sets for various regional markets within Europe.

In the early 2000s Bombardier bought ADTranz from Daimler, including the Hennigsdorf train production complex.  Bombardier, which had been on a massive buying spree of European-based train builders and rail transportation technology companies during the late 1990s and early 2000s, decided to place a new world headquarters office complex for its radically expanded Bombardier Transportation subsidiary in central Berlin, about 20 km (13 miles) from the Hennigsdorf train manufacturing facility.  

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End-Of-The-Line For Video Game Playing
Train Dispatcher

Follow-Up To Article In Destination: Freedom Volume 16, Number 46

By David Beale

The train control / dispatcher, who carelessly set track signals to green for two regional passenger trains heading towards each other on a single track rail line in Southern Germany back in February 2016 was sentenced last week, thus concluding the court case brought against him by state prosecutors.  Michael Paul, 41 years old, was sentenced in district court to 3 1/2 years of detention in prison, after he pleaded guilty to charges of criminal gross negligence resulting in bodily harm and loss of life.  He escaped more severe sentencing on charges of criminal manslaughter.  Mr. Paul admitted that he was distracted and not attending to his official duties at the time of the collision, which killed 12 and serious injured about 30 passengers and crew on the two trains, because he was playing an internet video game on his privately-owned smart phone in a clear and obvious violation of rail company rules and code of conduct.

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Berlin Plans Major Light Rail Expansion

By Keith Fender
International Railway Journal

The recently-elected Berlin City “Red-Red-Green” coalition government comprising the SPD or Social Democrats, “Linke” party and the Greens has concluded a wide-ranging coalition agreement covering all aspects of the city’s government, including a major expansion of the tram network.

BerlinStrategie 2030 sets ambitious targets for the construction of new light rail infrastructure, expansion of cycling and pedestrian options, cancelling some road building schemes, a city-wide 30km/h speed limit, and removal of most traffic from Unter den Linden in central Berlin.

Expansion of S-Bahn services and the reopening of some regional lines are also proposed. Given the poor state of its finances, the City of Berlin will depend on successful lobbying of the German federal government to gain the additional funds necessary for some of its plans. Existing funds of ?60m per annum will be allocated to the tram expansion project. No funds exist for additional trams so it seems likely some older vehicles will be retained at least in the short to medium-term.

Four tram projects already under development by Berlin Transport (BVG) will be prioritized for construction with work beginning as early as next year. These comprise:

In addition, five more tram lines will be developed in detail to enable construction to begin by 2021; these will see trams return to parts of the inner-city in the former West Berlin for the first time since the 1960s as well as expanding the already dense network in the eastern part of the city. The proposed routes include:

The new city government also intends to carry out planning work for a further major expansion of the tram network for construction between 2021 and 2026. This comprises six routes which, if built, will give the western half of the city centre an extensive light rail network. These comprise:

S-Bahn To Nauen

Increased frequencies on the S-Bahn suburban rail network, including a five-minute frequency for the Ring services are also part of the new coalitions’ priorities. Plans for expansion of S-Bahn services west from Berlin Spandau via Falkensee to Nauen are supported. This plan also has strong backing from the neighboring state of Brandenburg, although costs are estimated at ?250m.

The coalition wants to take steps to give future administrations greater autonomy from DB Regio for S-Bahn operation and plans to create a rolling stock company to take ownership of the S-Bahn rolling stock fleet from 2028 onwards.

In addition, Berlin wants DB Networks to double-track the numerous remaining stretches of single track on the S-Bahn network and speed up the construction of the second and third phases of the Line S21 project which links the Ringbahn with Berlin Main Station, which would eventually connect with other S-Bahn lines south of Potsdamer Platz. The new government also supports the construction of the proposed Perleberger Brücke station north of Berlin Main Station, omitted from the current S21 project on cost grounds.

Regional Re-Openings

Support for reopening of regional lines for passenger services is also part of the new coalition’s transport policy. These include the NEB-owned Basdorf - Berlin Wilhelmsruh (- Berlin Gesundbrunnen) Heidekraut Line, much of which remains in use for freight traffic and the Berlin Schönholz - Hennigsdorf section of the Kremmener Line, which would enable the operation of through services to Gesundbrunnen and Berlin Main Station. This largely single -track line is currently used by S-Bahn trains but not regional services towards Pritzwalk.

The new city government wants to see better connections to major cities in neighboring countries specifically Szczecin and Wroclaw in Poland and Prague in the Czech Republic.

From an item at:

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ÖBB To Order EMUs From Bombardier
And Siemens

Written By  Erwin Reidinger
International Railway Journal

The Administrative Court in Vienna has rejected an appeal by Stadler against Austrian Federal Railways’ (ÖBB) decision to award Bombardier a framework contract for up to 300 EMUs.

Stadler had sought to overturn the decision because it believed Bombardier had miscalculated the lifecycle costs in its bid.

The court’s decision enables ÖBB to place an initial firm order for 21 100m-long Talent 3 EMUs, which will be delivered by 2019 for use on the Vorarlberg S-Bahn system. Further trains will be ordered for Tyrol when a new public service obligation (PSO) contract has been concluded with the province.

ÖBB has also confirmed it order 64 additional Cityjet EMUs from Siemens to replace class 4020 trains on the Vienna S-Bahn network. So far ÖBB has ordered 101 Cityjets from a framework contract for up to 200 trains.

This means that the new Bombardier Talent 3 EMUs will not be used around Vienna. One reason is that it would not be economic to use one more EMU type on S-Bahn services, which are currently operated by a mixture of class 4020s, class 4024/4124 (Talent 1), Class 4746 (Cityjet) and push-pull sets.

If ÖBB had opted for Talent 3s for Vienna, delivery could only have started after the completion of the trains for Vorarlberg and Tyrol. This would have forced ÖBB to extend the life of the class 4020s with costly overhauls.

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PUBLICATION NOTES...  Publication Notes...

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