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"Fall peak" changes for the rail industry, also Surface Transportation Board Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III is discontinuing the practice of sending an annual letter to the railroad industry asking Class I and other railroads to comment on their end-of-year outlook for traffic volumes and operations. The Chairman’s decision “reflects changes that have occurred in the rail industry since mid-2000, and also the weekly reporting of service performance data to the agency by Class I railroads,” STB said.
Alstom lands Amtrak next-gen NEC trainset contract No surprise, thanks to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) very public visit to Alstom’s Hornell, N.Y. manufacturing plant on Sept. 21, 2015: Amtrak, as expected, has contracted with Alstom to supply 28 “next-generation high-speed” trainsets that will replace popular yet aging and technically problematic Acela Express equipment.
AAR: Grain gains, motor vehicle moves up, oil and coal decline The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported for the week ending August 20, 2016, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 531,484 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.4% compared with the same week last year. Grain traffic saw a significant increase and motor vehicles and parts rose, while coal, crude oil and intermodal registered declines.
FRA’s quarterly PTC whip-cracking A quarterly status update released Aug. 17, 2016 by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) “underscores the need for railroads to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) as quickly and safely as possible.” The update also “highlights the Administration’s repeated calls for Congress to provide more significant funding to assist commuter railroads in implementing PTC.”
Sealing tank car manways to prevent NARs Both the rail industry and U.S. Government are seeking to reduce the volume and severity of leaks from railcars. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) began tracking non-accident releases (NARs) in 2001, gathering data on the impact of sealing on industry performance and safety.

Breaking News

massachusetts-rail-car-manufacturing-return-next-stop-china
August 29, 2016
As Massachusetts officials celebrated the "topping off" ceremony of a $95 million new railcar manufacturing plant in Springfield, Mass., last week, the factory's owner—China's CCRC—explained hiring plans: production workers will be hired in October, and sent to China for advance...
marie-schumacher-appointed-to-key-roles-at-wsp-|-parsons-brinckerhoff
August 29, 2016
Two experienced rail transit professionals, Joseph Marie and Dave Schumacher, have been named by WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff to key management positions. Joseph Marie, with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff since 2012, has been appointed Operations Manager of the firm’s Transit &...
north-san-diego-county-ramps-up-rail-trespassing-enforcement
August 29, 2016
The North County Transit District (NCTD) is significantly increasing enforcement activities against trespassers along both the Oceanside to San Diego and Oceanside to Escondido rail corridors. Those crossing the tracks illegally or trespassing on the railroad right-of-way will face criminal penalties...
alstom-lands-amtrak-next-gen-nec-trainset-contract
August 27, 2016
No surprise, thanks to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) very public visit to Alstom’s Hornell, N.Y. manufacturing plant on Sept. 21, 2015: Amtrak, as expected, has contracted with Alstom to supply 28 “next-generation high-speed” trainsets that will replace popular yet aging...
lacmta-ncdot-outline-plans-for-federal-grants
August 26, 2016
Officials on opposite sides of the country outlined plans to enhance safety of local rail systems using recently awarded federal funds. In California, the Rosecrans/Marquardt intersection in Santa Fe Springs, labeled as the most hazardous grade crossing in the state by...

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Blogs and More

pokémon-go-walk-in-front-of-a-moving-train
August 25, 2016
It’s unsettling, and very weird, I tell you. People—children, adults, teenagers—walking around, even driving, oblivious to their surroundings, fixated on their smartphones, looking for goofy little virtual characters called Pokémons (is that short for “poke me in the eye”?).
déjà-vu-once-again-for-intermodal
August 18, 2016
Watching Washington, August 2016 Railway Age: Between the euphoria of achievement and the agony of despair resides intermodal—the rail carriage of trailers and containers that have prior and/or subsequent transport by other modes. It’s no new kid on the block.
so-what-does-the-“x”-in-“csx”-really-mean?
August 09, 2016
Last December, in my From the Editor magazine column (“Time to choose a name,” December 2015), I attempted to explain how CSX was named.
ptc-legacy-train-control-and-vitality
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).
it-can’t-happen-over-there
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.