With Railway Age since 1992, Bill Vantuono has broadened and deepened the magazine's coverage of the technological revolution that is so swiftly changing the industry. He has also strengthened Railway Age's leadership position in industry affairs with the conferences he conducts on operating passenger trains on freight railroads and communications-based train control.
U.S. railroads reported 225 fatalities to the Federal Railroad Administration in this year’s first four months, an 8.7% increase compared with the corresponding period last year. Trespasser fatalities increased 14% to 130. Highway-rail grade crossing accidents declined 1.2% to 85. There were seven employee fatalities compared with six in the prior-year period. The FRA data show that 737 reporting railroads recorded a total of 3,421 incidents/accidents in January-April 2011, down 8.3% from last year. The number of collisions increased 17.5% to 47, and derailments increased 5.7% to 479. Yard accidents declined 2.8% to 343.
[Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed the safety figures to the Surface Transportation Board.]
Phoenix Valley Metro on Wednesday began operating a solar-cooled light rail transit stop, located at Third and Washington streets in the state capital. The station structure (pictured below) combines solar power with air to cool the stop for passengers using the station. NRG Thermal LLC, a subsidiary of Phoenix-based NRG Energy Inc., contributed to the installation of the system, which will allow LRT riders to push a button at the station for a dose of air conditioning. NRG is covering all costs of the project and maintenance. The air comes from NRG’s downtown district cooling system, which uses chilled water underground to help cool buildings. Fans at the light rail stop will use solar power to blow the cold air onto riders, operating from May to September each year. The project was timed in part to precede Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, set for July 12 at nearby Chase Field.
Siemens Mobility reportedly is asking Ottawa officials to adjust or alter the city’s domestic content rules so it can rebid on the proposed C$2.1 billion light rail transit project in the Canadian capital. A Siemens consortium was selected by the city to build a project, but the deal fell through when a new municipal government took over in 2006. A lawsuit followed, with the Siemens consortium awarded C$37 million for breach of contract. Siemens says it still seeks the city’s business, but is being thwarted by a 2008 law forcing all Ontario province-funded transit vehicles to contain at least 25% Canadian content, which the company claims gives an unfair edge to competitor Bombardier Transportation. Siemens produces its North American equipment primarily from its Sacramento, Calif.-based plant. A spokeswoman for the provincial transportation ministry said the province had “no plans to change the policy,” but said Siemens and others were welcome to bid on the Ottawa project.
Ottawa on July 4 released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for its LRT project, to run from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Station, as outlined and approved by City Council on May 25. Submissions are expected by September 13, and the city is expected to publish a short list of pre-qualified participants sometime in October. Pre-qualified respondents then will be invited to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP), with the RFP process lasting roughly nine months. The city hopes to sign a final contract by December 2012.