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.
As the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held the latest in a growing collection of hearings on Positive Train Control, the Association of American Railroads reiterated its oft-repeated message that the industry is fully committed to PTC, despite facing a year-end deadline that many—including some key members of Congress—agree cannot be met.
In 2014, BNSF Railway customers, working with the railroad and state and local economic development organizations, invested close to $1.5 billion in 138 new or expanded rail facilities. This marks the fourth consecutive year they invested more than $1 billion in rail projects to support business growth. These investments are expected to generate more than 1,200 new jobs.
For the week ending June 6, 2015, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 550,037 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.2% compared with the same week last year, as carload traffic dipped and intermodal grew, the Association of American Railroads reported on June 10.
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) on June 9, 2015 signed a $106.7 million contract with Stadler Bussnang AG (Stadler) for eight four-car articulated GTW DMUs for the TEX Rail commuter line in a ceremony at The T’s Intermodal Transportation Center.
Testifying at a June 10, 2015 Surface Transportation Board hearing on the shipment of grain by rail, representatives from the Association of American Railroads legal and economic policy departments said that calls to create new grain-specific regulations are “simply unjustified.”
National Transportation Safety Board investigators examining Amtrak’s May 12, 2015 derailment on the Northeast Corridor have ruled out distraction caused by cell phone use on the part of engineer Brandon Bostian as a contributing factor, deepening the mystery of what caused the accident.
Under a contract valued at $32 million, Brookville Equipment Corp. will supply six of its Liberty Modern Streetcars for Detroit’s new Woodward Avenue line, which is being built by M-1 RAIL, a public-private venture claimed to be “the first major transit project led and funded through collaboration between private businesses and philanthropic organizations working in partnership.”
Jerome Marullo has joined the Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp. Railway Division as Eastern Regional Advertising Sales Manager, with responsibility for Railway Age, Railway Track & Structures and International Railway Journal. He replaces Mark Connolly, who retired on May 22, 2015 after nine years with the company.
The first annual Rail Insights conference, which kicks off June 17 at the Millenium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago, will feature several prominent people in rail industry leadership positions who, with Railway Age’s experienced team of editors, will engage in an interactive dialogue to explore the challenges, issues and trends affecting the North American rail market.
Following the June 2, 2015 oversight hearing of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on Amtrak’s May 12 fatal derailment of Northeast Regional Train 188 (which according to many observers had very little to do with discussing the accident itself and its possible cause—see David Schanoes’ blog), Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ed Hamberger commended Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman “for reinforcing his passenger railroad’s firm commitment to safety.”
Norfolk Southern’s Bellevue, Ohio yard, the largest classification yard on the NS system, will be renamed “Moorman Yard” in honor of Charles W. “Wick” Moorman, who retired June 1, 2015, as CEO after a 45-year career and has assumed duties as Executive Chairman of the railroad’s board of directors.
Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) is expanding its intermodal rail service into Central Florida to include next-day service to Fort Pierce on weekends. Previously, FECR provided next-day service to Fort Pierce six days per week.
MTA New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco has announced his retirement, effective Aug. 1, 2015. In his time as president, Bianco “transformed the agency’s organizational culture to align management strategies, enhance safety and improve customer service,” the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority noted.
The Surface Transportation Board has announced the speakers for the Board’s June 10, 2015 public hearing, Rail Transportation of Grain, Rate Regulation Review, Docket No. EP 665 (Sub-No. 1), to explore the issue of making the Board’s rate-case process “more accessible to railroad shippers of grain.”
In reporting weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for May 2015 and the first five months of 2015, the Association of American Railroads revealed that U.S. carload traffic in May dropped nearly 10%, while intermodal continued to beat last year’s numbers, with a gain of nearly 4% for the month.
At Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, Norfolk Southern dedicated its latest commemorative locomotive, an SD60E painted in a vibrant red, white and black livery with gold accents and insignia recognizing police, fire, and emergency services, honoring first responders. Numbered 9-1-1, the locomotive will enter general revenue service on NS’s 22-state network.
The Railway Supply Institute Committee on Tank Cars (RSI-CTC) says it has moved to intervene in pending litigation in three federal courts to support the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recently issued Final Rule covering transportation of flammable liquids by rail.
Following Amtrak’s tragic wreck of Northeast Regional train 188, the news media, as expected, sprung into action, filling the airwaves and cyberspace and newspapers with speculation, analysis, sensationalism—and even some accurate, straight and unbiased reporting, which doesn’t occur too often where railroads are involved. The dumbest thing that aired was an “investigative report” conducted by CBS-2 New York in which the reporter, using a cell phone app and a radar gun, clocked the speeds of NJ Transit commuter trains and, without consulting an employee timetable, said they were going too fast.
In 2013, the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad (A&M) substantially improved its locomotive fleet by acquiring three EMD SD70AC3 road units. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on May 29, 2015 issued a $6.8 million Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan to the A&M for refinancing the locomotives.
John Harrison Marino Sr., 76, career railroader, professional engineer and co-founder of RailAmerica, died May 19, 2015, at home.