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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

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...
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...
August 26, 2016
Huber & Suhner signed a five-year contract with Bombardier to be its main cable supplier. Bombardier will equip existing and new rolling stock around the world predominantly with Huber & Suhner Radox EN and GKW cables. The two companies signed their first...
August 26, 2016
Canadian Pacific announced August 25 that it welcomes the release of the full proceedings from the Transportation Safety Board's (TSB) recent Transportation Safety Summit and urges government officials to take action on Locomotive Video and Voice Recorders (LVVR). CP says it...
August 25, 2016
The Indiana Rail Road (INRD) and Venture Logistics on Aug. 24, 2016 officially opened the new Venture Rail Warehouse, decribed as “the first rail-served mega-warehouse constructed in Marion County in decades.” The 406,000-square-foot facility, located on Indianapolis’ south side at 1102...

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Blogs and More

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”?).
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.
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.
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.