Officials in Gaston County, N.C., and Patriot Rail Corp. subsidiary Piedmont & Northern Railway seek to re-establish freight service linking Gastonia and Mount Holly, N.C., by this autumn on a local short line, though they believe actual resumption may not be achieved until January.
Boca Raton, Fla.-based Patriot Rail has created a subsidiary, Piedmont & Northern Railway, to operate the line. P&N Assistant General Manager Bill Bartosh says the company is making progress upgrading the line. “We have several customers we’re working with between Ranlo and Mount Holly,” he said. “A lot of people are taking a wait-and-see approach. But the reality is sinking in that the line will soon be open.”
The 13-mile P&N interchanges with CSX at Mount Holly, N.C., and with Norfolk Southern at Gastonia. The right-of-way was purchased in 1991 by the North Carolina Deparatment of Transportation. Gaston County acquired a $5 million state grant to help reopen and restore the line, and the state signed a five-year contract last year with Patriot Rail to operate the line.
FOX Business Network reporter Dagen McDowell on Tuesday, May 17, got a behind-the-scenes look at Union Pacific and the business of freight railroading—something most people rarely see or understand—as a part of the network’s American Icon series.
McDowell spent the day at UP’s Omaha headquarters, speaking with top executives about rail industry issues as well as the company’s future. Union Pacific senior staff members interviewed included Chairman and CEO Jim Young, Executive Vice President and CFO Robert M. Knight, Operations Executive Vice President Lance M. Fritz, Marketing and Sales Executive Vice President Jack Koraleski, and Car and Locomotive Engineering General Director Michael Iden.
View all the segments by accessing these links:
FBN’s Dagen McDowell with an inside look at America’s largest railroad.
Union Pacific’s Lindsay Lanoha and Matt Bosch explains why they went to work for a railroad.
FBN’s Dagen McDowell with Union Pacific's Mike Iden, on the Genset locomotive an how it operates.
Union Pacific Operation EVP Lance Fritz on managing and moving trains through a network and rail yard.
Commodity Prices and Union Pacific.
The commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday outlined planned improvements to joint U.S.-Canada operations, including streamlined radar operations to detect low-flying aircraft and establishing customs clearance for Amtrak’s Adirondack in Montreal’s Central Station. Commissioner Alan Bersin referred to the potential changes at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing chaired by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Schumer has voiced frustration with current customs procedures for the Adirondack, which has the train stop at the U.S.-Canada border for up to two hours. (On a trip last October, Railway Age Managing Editor Douglas John Bowen recorded waiting times of 49 minutes northbound, clearing Canadian customs, and 1 hour 45 minutes southbound, clearing U.S. customs, on a New York-to-Montreal round trip.)Bersin said his agency is exploring the possibility of opening an inspection facility in Montreal that would serve Amtrak passengers traveling to New York State locations, including New York City. Customs and Border Protection operates in such a matter in Vancouver, British Columbia, served by Amtrak’s Cascades trains.
During the hearing, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) urged Customs and Border Protection officials to work with Vermont state officials to help restore New York-Montreal Amtrak service routed through Vermont, which could offer potential economies of scale to any new Customs inspection plan for Amtrak Montreal service. Amtrak’s Montrealer was discontinued in 1995.Bersin replied, “The difficulty in the Montreal-Vermont-New York corridor is that, unlike Vancouver-Seattle, there are many stops along the way, which complicates the notion of pre-clearance because you can't then segment the traffic when it arrives in New York.” But the commissioner added, “We are certainly willing to explore the options.”
Wabtec Corp. announced that it has signed a contract valued at about $12 million to provide braking equipment to Bombardier Transportation Canada, Inc., for 100 new passenger rail cars on order from New Jersey Transit.
The contract, which also includes draft gears and bench test equipment, includes an option to supply Bombardier for up to 79 additional cars.
New Jersey Transit awarded the car order to Bombardier in 2010.