William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

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.

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San Francisco's Transport Workers Union Local 250-A is pressuring MUNI to seek repeal of Proposition G, a voter initiative funding improvements to light rail and bus operations and infrastructure. The union's effort appears aimed at strengthening its bargaining position in upcoming talks.

muni_logo.jpgRepeal of the proposition reportedly could jeopardize $2 billion in federal funding for the capital projects involved. Lawyers for the union, which represents roughly 2,000 MUNI rail and bus operators, complained to the Department of Labor earlier this week that the initiative violates a Federal Transit Act guarantee of fair bargaining rights for employees.

A union spokesman said labor officials could bar MUNI from receiving federal transit funds until it complies with federal labor standards. Such funds comprise the bulk of many MUNI capital projects.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates MUNI, already faces a $2.2 billion shortfall in its capital budget.

In another matter, SFMTA on Thursday said that, effective immediately, folding bicycles are allowed on all MUNI vehicles, except cable cars.
New Jersey Transit will repair or “renew” three grade crossings this summer on its Pascack Valley Line, which traverses eastern Bergen County, according to spokeswoman Courtney Carroll.

njt_logo.jpg“The work includes ripping up the old crossing, replacing ties and rails, resurfacing the track and repaving,” Carroll said. “In addition to the grade crossing work on weekends, we will be doing maintenance elsewhere on the line during the week.”

The work will require the closure of three local grade crossings in Montvale, Park Ridge, and Oradell, each on a different weekend during June. Weekend rail service will not operate during these times.

NJT also says service on the Pascack Valley Line will be curtailed to accommodate maintenance work along the entire line from June 4 to June 26.
Sound Transit’s Board of Directors, under political pressure from Federal Way, Wash., representatives, said Thursday they would seek less-costly options for extending light rail transit to Federal Way.

Board members expressed sympathy to objections by Federal Way that LRT’s arrival would be delayed from 2023 to as late as 2040. “The goodnews for Federal Way is I think we’re going to get there,” said board member and Sumner, Wash., Mayor Dave Enslow, although the mayor added,  “I’m not exactly sure when.” 

Examining an alternate route to Federal Way—elevated lightrail along Interstate 5 instead of state Route 99—could take a year, said Sound Transit planner David Beal.

Board Chairman Aaron Reardon said Sound Transit will try towork with Federal Way as best as it can and as Sound Transit’s finances will permit.

Friday, 27 May 2011 07:48

AAR notes House move on regulation

The White House on Thursday began unveiling what it said would be “hundreds of regulatory changes that could save businesses billions of dollars and tens of millions of hours of work.”

The proposals reduce costs while “maintaining the critical health and safety protections that Americans deserve.”

aar_logo.jpgThe White House announcement led the Association of American Railroads to issue the following statement from President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger:

“We are pleased to see the Administration continues to move forward with its review of federal regulations that stymie U.S. economic recovery and future growth. AAR has been working with the Federal Railroad Administration on its review of various rules, including implementation of positive train control (PTC) technologies as mandated by the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act.

"In March 2010, AAR on behalf of its member railroads filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seeking to change certain aspects of the PTC regulations. On March 2, 2011 the parties asked the court to put the suit on hold while FRA agreed to undertake a review of its final rule. The D.C. Circuit granted the motion.

"A major issue is the scope of the PTC mandate. For example, while Congress clearly stipulated that PTC be installed on main lines used to transport passengers and TIH as of Dec. 31, 2015, FRA required PTC to be installed on lines used to transport passengers and TIH in 2008. This seven-year difference in implementation dates substantially affects the cost—according to AAR estimates by more than $500 million. AAR also estimates that at least 10,000 miles of track that saw TIH movements in 2008 would no longer be used for such movements by Dec. 31, 2015."

Tuesday, 31 May 2011 04:03

Bombardier gets DFW Skylink contract

Bombardier Transportation has signed 10-year contract valued at $165 million with Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport to continue operating and maintaining the airport’s automatic people mover system. Bombardier received an order for the elevated dual-lane guideway system in 2000.


Known as Skylink, it connects Terminals A, B, C, D. and E. “Since it opened in 2005, the Skylink people mover system has helped transform DFW into one of the best connecting airports in the world by offering fast and easy access between all five of our terminals,” said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW International Airport.

“Skylink has dramatically improved the passenger experience at DFW, and we are truly pleased to continue our long-term partnership with Bombardier for the operations and maintenance ofthe Skylink system,” Fegan said.

Ansaldo STS has been provisionally awarded the tender to build Line 4 of the Milan (Italy) Metro, as part of a temporary consortium. The consortium includes Impregilo, Astaldi, Ansaldo STS, AnsaldoBreda, Sirti, and ATM.

ansaldo_sts_logo.jpgAnsaldo STS’s share will be approximately A$340 million (US$363 million).

Milan Metro Line 4 will connect Linate Airport to San Cristoforo railway station using the Ansaldo STS driverless CBTC technology.

Under the contract, Ansaldo STS will design and construct signaling and automation, electric power supply, ticketing and passenger access control, communications with the trains (TETRA and Wi-Fi) an d on-board train communications systems, maintenance equipment, SCADA, and platform-edge doors.
New Orleans’ Regional Transit Authority next week expects to select one of six bids submitted for extending streetcar service along Loyola Avenue to link Canal Street with Union Passenger Terminal.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is scheduled join city officials for a ceremonial ground-breaking on June 7 and, barring complications, RTA officials expect construction of the 1.5-mile, $45 million extension to begin by midsummer. The agency hopes to begin revenue service about 12 months later.

The new route will use surplus streetcars from the Canal Street and Riverfront lines.

Local media report that since the project was announced last year, hotel renovations, apartments, and retail projects have been springing up along the strip.
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 05:26

New name for MTU Detroit Diesel

Tognum America, Inc. made its debut Wednesday, June 1, as the new moniker supplanting MTU Detroit Diesel, Inc. Tognum America is the North American subsidiary of Friedrichshafen, Germany-based Tognum AG, responsible for the sales of service of MTU engines and MTU Onsite Energy distributed energy systems.

The company says Tognum America, based in Detroit, also has offices in Houston,Washington, D.C., San Leandro, Calif., St. Rose, La., Miami, and Mankato, Minn.The company also operates two state-of-the-art production facilities: one inMankato, Minn., for diesel and gas-based generator sets, and one in Aiken, S.C.,where it currently machines parts and builds MTU Series 2000 and 4000 engines.

Tognum employs more than 750 people in North America and, in 2010, 23% of Tognum AG’s revenue came from North America.
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 06:07

Wabtec forms new joint venture in China

Wabtec Corp. announced Tuesday that it has formed a joint venture with Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric Co., Ltd., to manufacture and service brake equipment for Chinese transit systems.

wabtec_logo.jpgPrior to forming the joint venture—Hunan CSR Wabtec Railway Transportation Technology Co.—Wabtec and CSR Times Electric worked together to provide equipment for the Chinese transit market in China.

“We continue to strengthen our presence in China, one of the fastest-growing rail markets in the world,” said Albert J. Neupaver, Wabtec’s president and chief executive officer. “Through this JV and others we have formed, we now provide a range of products in the freight and transit markets, including brake equipment, friction products, couplers, and heat exchangers.”
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 07:11

Rail accidents/incidents down 10% in 1Q

This year’s first quarter saw continued overall improvement in railroad safety, with the total number of accidents/incidents down 10.1% compared with the first quarter of last year.

Train accidents declined 5.3% to 481 and caused one fatality, compared with six in the 2010 period.

Derailments were down nearly 2% to 355, and yard accidents declined 9.7% to 252. The number of collision increased from 28 to 32.

Total rail-related fatalities in January-March this year increased 7.3% to 161, but 155 of these were essentially beyond the railroads’ control. Trespassing fatalities rose 2.5% to 83, and highway-rail fatalities were up 12.5% to 72.

There were four employee fatalities in this year’s first quarter, compared with five in the corresponding period last year.
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