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PTC vs. Legacy Train Control Redux The title of Larry Light’s “PTC vs. Legacy Train Control” article in the June 2016 issue of Railway Age (full text follows this article) promised a balanced discussion of the differences between newer and older versions of train control. In reality, the article focused on why he believes that legacy train control systems need to be maintained.
STB proposes “forced access” regulations The Surface Transportation Board On July 27, 2016 proposed new regulations “to improve the availability of reciprocal switching,” an action the railroads have been anticipating for more than a year. The proposed rules “allow a shipper to gain access to another railroad if the shipper makes certain showings,” STB said.
AAR: Total weekly rail traffic down 5.3% For the week ending July 23, 2016, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 528,070 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.3% compared with the same week last year, according the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
First Metrolink F125 locomotive unveiled in Los Angeles Southern California locomotive commuter rail operator Metrolink unveiled its first EMD F125 diesel locomotive at Los Angeles Union Station on July 18. The F125 is compliant with the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 emissions standards and will reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 85%.
CN operating ratio: 54.5% In the midst of what CN President and CEO Luc Jobin called “a very challenging volume environment” that saw second-quarter declines in revenues and operating income, the railroad posted an operating ratio of 54.5%—a second-quarter record and an improvement of 1.9 points over the prior-year quarter.

Breaking News

July 29, 2016
PATH ridership in June reached its highest monthly total ever, with nearly 7 million people entering the turnstiles system-wide – a 3.6% increase over June 2015, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced on July 28th. Additionally, PATH...
July 29, 2016
Norfolk Southern is bringing its Train Your Brain public safety campaign to Indiana to encourage motorists to be smart and safe when crossing train tracks. Billboards, with messages such as “Your fan club is waiting” and “He looks up to you,”...
July 29, 2016
Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced on July 26 Protective Direction 38, which accelerates the phasing out of DOT-111 tank cars for crude oil service to November 1, 2016. The accelerated timeline will phase out unjacketed legacy DOT-111 tank cars six...
July 28, 2016
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) released two decisions on July 28 related to its oversight of Amtrak’s operations under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA). First, the Board decided that it would consider on-time arrival and departure...
July 28, 2016
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on July 28, 2016 proposed regulations to implement passenger rail-related dispute resolution provisions of Title XI of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015. The FAST Act added to the Board’s existing passenger rail...

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Blogs and More

July 26, 2016
Steve Ditmeyer’s article “PTC vs. Legacy Train Control Redux” is very thought-provoking. Yes, Congress did define PTC by functionality, not technology. No, PTC need not be tied to fixed wayside block signals (interlockings are a whole other issue).
July 18, 2016
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard or read or been told how much safer rail transportation is in Europe than it is in the United States.
July 08, 2016
News items: A convoy of self-driving trucks recently traversed Europe. Driverless trucks are undergoing public-road testing in California and Nevada. And Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx supports development of vehicles “that can drive themselves better than a human.” Baby boomers may be skeptical, but not digital-native...
July 08, 2016
Three years ago, in the early hours of July 13, a runaway oil train exploded in the then-idyllic lakeside town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.
June 22, 2016
At a time when polemics is delivering knockout blows to civil discourse and collaboration, a 78-year-old former amateur boxer—still punching above his weight—has advice on peaceful dispute resolution that lawmakers, regulators, rail executives and labor leaders would do well to read, mark and inwardly digest.