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.

Website URL:

Tuesday, 02 August 2011 11:00

A milestone in NYMTA's 9/ll recovery

Rising from the destruction inflicted by the 9/ll 2001 terrorist attack, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s new, $1.4 billion Fulton Street Transit Center in lower Manhattan reached a milestone Tuesday with the opening of the 135 William Street entrance.

The Center is more than 50% complete and on schedule for a June 2014 completion. When finished, it will connect five subway stations and eleven subway lines, improving access for more than 300,000 daily riders.

“We have reached yet another significant milestone as we move forward to complete what will become a landmark transportation facility,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder. “Once complete, this complex will provide our customers with a more seamless experience at this major downtown hub. The Transit Center will improve travel for hundreds of thousands of daily commuters and Lower Manhattan residents and visitors while providing a modern and convenient retail location.”

MTA said other elements of the complex continue to progress. Superstructure steel for the transit center building is slated for completion this fall. The southbound Cortlandt Street platform will reopen on or before Sept. 11. Station rehabilitation on the 4/5 lines continues and the Dey Street Concourse is structurally complete. Restoration of the historic Corbin Building is continuing inside the 1888 landmark and is expected to be complete in late 2012.

Wednesday, 03 August 2011 06:23

East Penn

Short line holding company Regional Rail LLC on Aug. 1 commenced operations in southeastern Pennsylvania on the York Industrial Track, which it has leased from Norfolk Southern. The York Industrial Track, which runs from York to Stony Brook, Pa., is now operated as part of Regional Rail subsidiary East Penn Railroad LLC, which serves southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. The new operation connects to NS and York Railway at York.

east_penn_locos.jpg“We want to thank Norfolk Southern for its efforts and support in achieving a seamless start of our operations in York, and we look forward to working with NS to grow the business on this new line,” said Regional Rail President and CEO Bob Parker. Added Regional Rail Vice President Al Sauer, “We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of new business opportunities that customers have shared with us already. East Penn’s operation of the York line is off to a nice start. ”

Regional Rail LLC, based in Kennett Square, Pa., is also the parent company of the Middletown & New Jersey Railroad LLC, which owns and/or operates four short lines in southeastern New York State.

Thursday, 04 August 2011 08:16

Greenbrier railcar orders top 18,000 units

In the past two months, the Greenbrier Companies has received orders for 3,700 new railcar platforms valued at approximately $285 million. Combined with orders received since September 1, 2010 (the beginning of Greenbrier's fiscal year), Greenbrier’s cumulative number of railcar orders order now exceeds 18,000 units.

The latest orders are primarily for doublestack intermodal platforms, boxcars, covered hopper cars, and tank cars for the North American market, and various car types for the European market. Delivery of these orders is anticipated to occur principally in calendar 2012.

Greenbrier opened an additional new railcar production line in July and expects to open another in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, “in order to accommodate the increased demand in North America,” the company said. “In addition, production rates for tank cars are expected to increase on an existing production line in North America in late calendar 2011 to accommodate the expanding customer base for this type of railcar.”

Amtrak Tuesday said it projects 30 million riders for fiscal year 2011, ending Sept. 30, the first time it has carried such a number in its 40-year history.

amtrak_logo.jpgThe national passenger railroad bases its projection on strongJune ridership numbers and expected ticket sales for July, August, and September, as well as accumulated ridership in its first eight fiscal months. Comparing the first nine months of FY11 (October through June) to the same time period in FY10, national Amtrak ridership is up 6.4% so far. June 2011 was the best June on record, with more than 2.6 million passengers for the month, and marked 20 consecutive months of year-over-year ridership growth, a streak that began in November 2009, Amtrak said.

The company also noted its continued ridership gains are part of a long-term trend that has seen Amtrak set annual ridership records in seven of the last eight fiscal years, including more than 28.7 million passengers in FY10.

“We are having a very strong year because people around the country arechoosing the convenience, efficiency and hassle-free environment of Amtrakto meet their travel needs," said President and CEO Joe Boardman. "Amtrakhas wisely invested the federal funding we have received to improveinfrastructure and equipment. Continued investment in Amtrak and passengerrail will support the further growth of this increasingly vitaltransportation option."
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 11:01

Tax credit boosts crosstie market

The short line tax credit will drive small railroad crosstie purchases to an estimated 4,063,0009 in 2011 compared to 2,878,000 in 2010, according to an updated forecast by the Railway Tie Association.

rta_logo.jpgThe tax credit is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, and unless it is renewed short line/regional tie purchases will drop back to around 3,555,000 in 2012, says RTA.

Class I railroad crosstie purchases are now estimated at 16,184,000 for 2011, compared to 16,379,000 last year. Total purchases this year are estimated at 20,247,000, up from 19,256,000 in 2010. RXTA expects total purchases to rise slightly to 20,924,000 in 2012.
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 06:26

Miami port rail link construction set

Construction will begin this Friday to restore Port of Miami on-dock rail capability courtesy of the Florida East Coast Railway. The $50 million project will rehabilitate a bridge damaged and by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, while construction of the Intermodal Rail Yard on Dodge Island will enable Miami to accommodate super cargo ships scheduled to arrive in 2014 with the expansion of the Panama Canal.

fec_logo.jpgThe ceremonial groundbreaking Friday is expected to include Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and other elected officials.

Funding includes a $22.8 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from DOT, along with funding from Florida’s Department of Transportation, Florida East Coast Railway, and Miami-Dade County.
Private equity firm Fortress Investment Group, based in New York, is the parent of Jacksonville, Fla.-based FEC, which recently joined the Association of American Railroads.
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 06:39

KCS settles hurricane insurance claim

When Hurricane Alex made landfall in central Mexico on June 30, 2010, Kansas City Southern de Mexico experienced severe flooding and loss of revenue. Parent Kansas City Southern announced Wednesday that it has settled its insurance claim for lost profits, property damages, and related expenses for $66 million, before the related self-insured retention of $10 million.

kcs__logo.jpg“Still to settle is KCS’s general liability claim related to third-party damages,” said the railroad company. “Settlement on this claim is expected to occur during the third quarter of 2011. As a result of the settled claim, KCS will record in the third quarter of 2011 a $19.8 million pre-tax gain.

“It is expected that the final cumulative earnings per share impact of Hurricane Alex will be a loss of approximately ($0.05), which is consistent with guidance the company has provided since its third quarter of 2010 earnings conference call,” KCS said.
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 06:45

Amtrak safety video wins awards

Amtrak said Wednesday a video depicting the importance of railroad safety has been recognized by two independent awards programs for creative excellence.

amtrak_logo.jpgThe Amtrak film, “Cheating Death,” received two Silver Communicator Awards from The International Academy of Visual Arts and two Bronze Telly Awards in the categories of Public Safety and Video Editing.

The film aims to warn teenaged drivers of the dangers and consequences of failing to obey highway-rail grade crossing signals. It was developed in response to several grade-crossing deaths of teenagers in Lakeland, Fla.

Included in the 12-minute piece are interviews with police, medical professionals, and family members of teenagers who died as a result of not obeying crossing signals. A condensed six- minute version of the video can be viewed on the Amtrak Youtube channel.

Amtrak says it will use the film as a training tool both internally for Amtrak personnel and externally for state driver’s education associations, school groups, civic organizations, and transit agencies.

More than 1,100 copies of the film have been distributed to Operation Lifesaver, a national organization dedicated to preventing railroad-related deaths and injuries.

“Cheating Death” was produced by the Amtrak Police Department, Donnabrant Productions, and DogHouse Media.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 07:07

MPL Technology introduces SpillX

MPL Technology, Inc. Wednesday introduced SpillX®, a new locomotive fueling system, to North American railroads that meets many of the 2000 AAR fueling committee’s goals for improved locomotive fueling processes.

The company says the SpillX system connects to the existing fueling infrastructure in a similar manner as the current equipment, yet it enables significantly higher fueling rates up to 600 gallons per minute, greater operator safety, and reduced environmental risk from spilled or leaked fuel. SpillX benefits from the proven technology currently used to fuel large commercial aircraft with its high flow rate with nearly zero spillage.

During the last five years, in developing SpillX, MPL worked with the Advanced Manufacturing Institute at Kansas State University and with Meggitt Control Systems, an industry-leading aircraft fueling products manufacturer. While under development, SpillX was tested in cooperation with three Class I railroads and a short line, demonstrating its potential as a safer, faster and environmentally sound fueling system.

MPL Technology President Michael Mitrovich said, “Our idea was to apply the technology used with large commercial aircraft, which use large volumes of fuel in a clean, safe, spill-free environment on the tarmac at airports around the world. Our development process was based around designing a system that meets the quality requirements of this rigorous operational environment, is simple to install, and provides the railroad industry with a number of cost saving benefits.”

New Jersey Transit’s Board of Directors Wednesday approved a “second and final phase” of construction for its Pennsauken Transit Center, establishing a transfer point between the company’s Atlantic City Line passenger rail service and its RiverLINE diesel light rail transit (DLRT) operation.

njt_logo.jpgThe Board authorized a $13.8 million contract with Terminal Construction Corporation of Wood-Ridge, N.J., for construction of platforms, a parking lot, drainage improvements, and customer amenities. The transit center is being built in where the ACRL crosses above River Line tracks in Pennsauken, N.J., east of Philadelphia.

NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein said the “new facility will enhance the interconnectivity of the overall NJ Transit system, as customers may connect from the RiverLINE in Trenton to Northeast Corridor rail service to New York and points in between.”

Phase I, under construction, currently ongoing, included construction of a 200-foot platform with 60-foot canopy to protect customers boarding RiverLINE DLRT trains. In Phase II, two 300-foot-long, high-level platforms will be built on either side of the elevated ACRL tracks, with a 100-foot canopy on each platform. Two sets of stairs will be constructed, as well as two elevators to provide access to customers with disabilities. The second phase also includes construction of a 280-space parking lot, a dedicated bus drop-off/pick-up area, drainage improvements, installation of a passenger communication system, and a restroom facility.

Construction of the overall project is expected to be completed in late 2012 and open for service in early 2013.
Page 295 of 314