A.W. (Bill) Johnston, who retired as vice president of operations and maintenance for the Association of American Railroads in 1988 and served before that as a Baltimore & Ohio operating officer, died May 16 in Pawleys Island, S.C. He was 85.
Johnston was known industry-wide for representing the railroad industry on the Presidential Emergency Board appointed to handle the explosive "fireman off" issue in the 1960s. He also served on a PEB investigating a shopcraft dispute, and he was a consultant to the Federal Railroad Administration on the Triad Missile Defense System (rail, sea, and air).
Intermodal traffic on U.S.railroads reached its highest level since late 2008, and carload freight traffic also rose, in the week ended May 15, 2010, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. Eighteen of the 19 commodity groups listed by AAR posted gains.
U.S. carload freight rose 16.6% from the comparable week in 2009, still down 11.9% from the comparable 2008 period. Intermodal traffic gained 15.2% from last year but still trailed 2008 by 6.7%. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 16.8% while trailer volume rose 6.9%.
AAR noted that among the 18 carload commodity groups showing increases from last year, 14 experienced significant percentage gains, led by a 140.9% increase in loadings of metallic ores. Loadings of metals were up 82.9%, coke jumped 49%, and waste and scrap rose 31.1%.
Canadian carload traffic rose 36.4% from the comparable period in 2009, and intermodal notched a 20.3% increase. Mexico’s two major railroads reported carload freight increased 14.8%, while intermodal rose 18.9%.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 19 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 9.3% from last year, while intermodal rose 10.7%.
Robert Pattison, a former vice president at Parsons Brinckerhoff and also a former president of the Long Island Rail Road, died May 12 at age 88.
Pattison’s railroad career spanned four decades and included positions in freight and passenger rail operation, administration, and engineering, as well as overseeing the LIRR from 1976 to 1978. At PB, he was the technical director of railway engineering operations, both domestic and international, responsible for technical review for all the firm's rail projects. This review included rehabilitation of railroads, new coal haul railroads, studies of freight rates, sale of railroads and railroad operations, design of rail facilities, structural projects, and several high speed rail projects.
Pattison also served as general manager of the Penn Central-Conrail Railroad from 1972 to 1976, responsible for the operations of the metropolitan region, which included the commuter operation between Grand Central Terminal in New York City and various points in New York State and Connecticut. He began his railroad career with the New York Central Railroad in 1947; from 1961 to 1972 he served as assistant general manager in charge of complete regional railroad operations.
A founding member of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association, Pattison was involved with U.S. HSR efforts initiated by Penn Central’s Metroliner service on the Northeast Corridor.
Pattison earned a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois. His professional affiliations included the American Railway Engineering Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, High Speed Rail/Maglev Association, the MOLES, National Defense Transportation Association, Newcomen Society, New England Railroad Club, New York Railroad Club, Railway Tie Association, Roadmasters and Maintenance-of-Way Association of America, and the Society of American Military Engineers.
In an apparent about-face, New York City’s Department of Transportation, long known for being averse to light rail and streetcar options and opportunities, seeks to choose a consultant this summer to studyrestoration of a streetcar route in the Red Hook waterfront area of Brooklyn. Red Hook, an old manufacturing and shipping district now enjoying a resurgence, is sparsely served by buses, but is generally acknowledged to be “underserved” by rail transit; the nearest subway stop on the F line is more than a mile away.
NYCDOT’s study could also look at extending the proposed one-mile route another half-mile east, directly to New York City Transit’s massive transit hub at Borough Hall in Brooklyn. NYCDOT will fund the study through a $300,000 federal grant appropriated in 2005.
The route has been advocated by the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association, a citizens group, for at least a decade; BHRA’s president, Bob Diamond, has promoted the idea for an even longer period. Diamond says the streetcar project would cost up to $15 million. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), who supports the effort, says she has sought $10 million in additional federal funding for the project.
Railway industry suppliers continue to test and deploy new
systems, even in the face of the "Great Recession," according to a new survey
conducted by the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) this spring.
"While Positive Train Control (PTC) garners most of the
headlines, innovations in information technology, energy conservation, and
refinements in equipment are steadily making rail operations more efficient and
effective," RSI Executive Director Tom Simpson said. "We see progress in electronically-controlled
pneumatic (ECP) brakes, computerized camera inspection systems, fuel efficiency
technologies, and better materials, coatings, monitoring devices, and improved
valves and fittings for tank cars transporting hazardous and toxic materials."
Twenty-eight suppliers responded to the e-mail survey,
identifying themselves as locomotive, freight car, or passenger car builders,
component suppliers, or as working in communications and signaling or
maintenance-of-way (some have multi-discipline research and development
efforts). The survey sought details on research and development budgets and
supplier interaction with their railroad customers.
Nearly half of the respondents said that more than half of
their research and development is driven directly by their customers' requests.
Ten of the respondents are "big spenders" on R&D, laying out more than $1
million a year on new technologies. Five spend more than $5 million annually. Despite
the recession and downturn in operations, only two respondents have reduced
their research and development spending over the past five years, and 11 are
increasing their investments.
"These results are extremely positive," said Bob Pokorski,
Director of Engineering for Miner Enterprises and 2010 RSI chairman. "This
survey was done in February and even then, in a down economy, with the downturn
in car orders, rail suppliers are still optimistic about their future. It
points to a healthy rail supply industry."
Union Pacific’s employee
records show Willie Sandoval to be a boilermaker in a locomotive shop in Fort
Worth, Texas. UP Chairman, President and CEO Jim Young knows Sandoval to be
also “a teacher, coach and mentor who consistently demonstrates
outstanding safety practices and a willingness to share his knowledge with
America's railroads honored
the industry's safety achievements and celebrated railroads with the best
employee safety records at the annual E.H. Harriman Awards. According to the
Association of American Railroads (AAR), 2009 was the safest year ever for
railroads, with significant milestones achieved across the board in reduced
train accidents, employee casualties and grade crossing collisions.
U.S TransportationSecretary Ray LaHood announced proposed new rules May 17 that he said wouldprohibit the use of cell phones or other electronic device by railroad operating employees "if it interferes with thatemployee's or another employee's performance of safety-related duties."
Norfolk Southern CEO Wick
Moorman had good news for his shareholders, at least for the short-term, at
their annual meeting in Williamsburg, Va., last week.