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U.S. freight carload traffic for the week ending August 7 notched “only moderate gains” of 3.5% compared with the same week in 2009, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. Traffic was down 13% compared with the same week in 2008, AAR said.

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Sixteen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009, with metallic ores, up 61.2%, and metals and metal products, up 37.8%, posting strong increases. All 19 commodity groups continued to trail 2008 levels.

U.S. intermodal traffic continued to fare better, up 18.6% from the same week in 2009, and down a modest 1.25% compared with 2008. Container volume continued to be a pacesetter, up 19.8% for the week compared with 2009 and up 6.8% from 2008 levels.
   
Canadian freight carload traffic for the week gained 27.3% from the comparable year-ago period, while intermodal rose 29.7%. Mexico’s two major railroads reported freight carload traffic up 19.8% for the week compared with last year, and intermodal up a similar 18.6%.
 
Combined North American rail volume for the first 31 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads up 10.1% from last year, while intermodal rose 14.3%.

--> U.S. freight carload traffic for the week ending August 7 notched “only moderate gains” of 3.5% compared with the same week in 2009, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. Traffic was down 13% compared with the same week in 2008, AAR ...

Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) Thursday said it has issued the official Notice to Proceed to Denver Transit Partners (DTP) with the FasTracks Eagle P3 Project’s first phase, a 22.8-mile East Corridor Commuter Rail Line to Denver International Airport.

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RTD gave the notice in conjunction “with financial close in New York on $397.8 million in private activity bonds for the innovative Eagle P3 public-private partnership.” Groundbreaking is scheduled for Aug. 26 on the south lawn of DIA’s Jeppesen Terminal.

The Notice to Proceed is for Phase 1, which includes the East Corridor, a new maintenance facility, provision of the trains that will provide service on the project, and final design work on the FasTracks Gold Line and Northwest Rail Electrified Segment.

Fluor Enterprises Inc. will lead the design-build team during the six-year design-build phase of the Eagle P3 Project. Fluorwill also form part of the team that will operate and maintain the project’s regional rail lines for the 28-year operating period.

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“The RTD staff has worked diligently for more than two yearsto bring this innovative public-private partnership to a reality,” said RTD Board Chairman Lee Kemp. “We said in 2007 that we would explore all avenues to keep FasTracks moving ahead, and this is a prime example. We are keeping that pledge today with closing on the private financing for the Eagle P3 Project,” He added, “We continue to forge ahead on securing funding for the rest of the program.”

DTP will now work on the final design for the project. It expects to begin early construction work such as site-clearing and utility relocation along the East Corridor in the coming months. The East Corridor is scheduled for completion in January 2016.

“It is gratifying that the success of our public-private partnership has been watched with great interest by transportation and finance entities all over the world,” said Phil Washington, RTD general manager. 

--> Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) Thursday said it has issued the official Notice to Proceed to Denver Transit Partners (DTP) with the FasTracks Eagle P3 Project’s first phase, a 22.8-mile East Corridor Commuter Rail Line to Denver ...

Fairport, N.Y.-based RailComm said Thursday it has been contracted by HNTB and Kiewit-Western to provide the design and materials for an expansive Yard Automation System for Amtrak’s Chicago Union Station.

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RailComm will design its system to meet the challenging requirements present within the existing rail infrastructure, which includes tight clearances. The automation system will be commanded by RailComm’s DOC® (Domain Operations Controller) server-based central control platform. The system operator will be in control of more than 100 GETS Hydra-Switches, plus dozens of power derail devices, blue flag indicators, switch heater locations, and two diesel generators.

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Additionally, the system will utilize RailComm’s RADiANT™ data radios to communicate between the office system and the network ofcontrolled devices. Amtrak personnel will operate the automation system from two tower locations, and the system is planned to be operational before year-end. 

--> Fairport, N.Y.-based RailComm said Thursday it has been contracted by HNTB and Kiewit-Western to provide the design and materials for an expansive Yard Automation System for Amtrak’s Chicago Union Station. ...

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority Wednesday officially unveiled an online dashboard that tracks the fiscal and physical progress of the agency’s numerous capital projects. The information will include every item in the 2010-2014 capital plan, and also includes some projects, recently completed or still in progress, listed in the 2005-2009 plan.

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Individuals using the dashboard can review project proposals, related budgets or budget estimates, and project schedules. MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder, citing the dashboard as another technological means to make the agency more transparent and accountable—and less vulnerable to sniping by state elected officials leveraging MTA’s operational woes to score political points—said, “The Dashboard provides an unprecedented level of detail and information on our capital projects.”

“From station improvements to the purchase of equipment, signal improvements to updates on the Second Avenue Subway, the Dashboard will allow anyone to monitor the MTA’s new approach to capital projects designed to keep the 2010-2014 Capital Program on schedule and on budget—all with a few clicks of the mouse,” Walder said.

“I believe the MTA has taken a significant step in providing MTA managers, public officials, and the public itself a more user friendly tool to track the progress, in dollars and time, of capital projects,” said MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger. “I am particularly gratified that MTA has accepted the recommendation made in our Dashboard Report to make it a more transparent and useful reporting tool to the public.”

 

--> New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority Wednesday officially unveiled an online dashboard that tracks the fiscal and physical progress of the agency’s numerous capital projects. The information will include every item in the 2010-2014 cap ...

Association of American Railroads Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs Jennifer Macdonald has been appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to a Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding, specifically as a representative of the freight rail industry.

Established by bills in the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate, the state commission will examine alternative funding mechanisms for the state’s transportation trust fund. Macdonald will serve with 22 other business, transportation, labor, and environmental leaders.
 
“This is an honor, for not only AAR but also for the railroad industry. Jennifer has deep knowledge and expertise in transportation legislation and funding, and will well represent the railroad industry perspective on the commission,” said Edward R. Hamberger, AAR president and CEO.
 
Macdonald, a nine-year veteran with AAR, previously was chief policy and legislative advisor for Arizona’s Department of Transportation under then-Secretary Mary Peters. 

--> Association of American Railroads Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs Jennifer Macdonald has been appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to a Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding, specifically as a representative of the fr ...

john-p-fishwick.jpgJohn P. “Jack” Fishwick, president of the Norfolk & Western from 1970 to 1981 and a chief architect of the merger that created Norfolk Southern, died Aug. 9 at the age of 93.

In 1980, Fishwick initiated talks with Southern Railway, which led two years later to its consolidation with N&W into Norfolk Southern Corp. in 1982. He was a member of the NS board from its formation until retiring in 1989. 

“All of us in the Norfolk Southern family are saddenedby Jack Fishwick’s passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said NS CEO Wick Moorman. “He was a visionary leader and a principal architect of today’s Norfolk Southern. Our company would not have become the premier railroad it is today without his strong leadership and continuing wise counsel."

Fishwick joined the N&W law department in 1945 following Navy service in World War II. He became senior vice president and was elected to the Norfolk & Western board in 1963. He was named chairman and chief executive officer of the Erie Lackawanna Railway in April 1968, and president of the Delaware & Hudson Railway later the same year. Both were affiliated with N&W at the time. He became president and CEO of N&W in 1970.

David R. Goode, who joined N&W in 1962 and served as NS chairman, president, and CEO from 1992 to 2005, told the Roanoke Times, “I came to the railroad because I met Jack on a Saturday morning in his office, smoking a pipe and planning a railroad merger. That was typical of Jack. He was always thinking about strategy and how to make the right move to strengthen the company.”

 

 

 

--> John P. “Jack” Fishwick, president of the Norfolk & ...

Despite warning of fiscal shortfalls for long-term capital projects throughout the year, Dallas Area Rapid Transit appears determined to advance Orange Line light rail access to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The airport/LRT link is a highlight in a revised 20-year financial plan DART officials presented to the DART Board of Directors Tuesday.The 20-year plan also would allow an extension of the Blue Line to southern Oak Cliff, Tex., by the end of the decade, though that project might compete with plans for a second downtown Dallas rail line, either LRT or streetcar, that have been postponed.

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DART spokesman Morgan Lyons told Railway Age Wednesday that the Board is scheduled to vote on the proposed revised plan at its meeting September 28. He added, “The current 37-mile light rail expansion, which includes the completion of the Green Line from Pleasant Grove to Carrollton and the new Lake Highlands Station in December, the Blue Line extension from Garland to Rowlett, and the first two sections of the Orange Line from Bachman Station in Northwest Dallas to Irving in 2012, are not affected by the projected shortfall.

The proposed 20-year financial plan includes $4.7 billion in capital project funds for rail expansion and other projects such as the planned purchase of new buses and other items required to maintain the agency’s state of good repair,” Lyons said.

A draft budget for 2011 calls for trimming 87 full-time jobs at DART, which DART expects to address through attrition. DART does anticipate some reduced bus and rail services, including having light rail trains run through downtown Dallas every 15 minutes instead of every 10, employed by other U.S. transit operators this year, but one DART has resisted.

Chief Financial Officer David Leininger told board members Tuesday that revenue projections had improved markedly in the past six weeks as his staff re-examined projected spending and revenue. “We are not out of thewoods yet in knowing what our sales-tax and fare-box revenue estimates really will be,” Leininger said. “But we believe that we have bottomed and will return to normal. The question is, ‘What will normal be like when we get there?’ So our ability to forecast the numbers, in some respect, is still suspect.”

 

--> Despite warning of fiscal shortfalls for long-term capital projects throughout the year, Dallas Area Rapid Transit appears determined to advance Orange Line light rail access to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.The airport/LRT ...

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has awarded Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. a contract worth up to $15 million to provide on-call construction management services in support of the agency’s capital improvement program and other projects.

Jacobs will furnish construction management services for five years including resident, field, and office engineering; inspection services; constructability analysis; hazard analysis and safety certification; surveying; material testing; noise and vibration monitoring and data analysis; independent quality assurance oversight; project communication/recordkeeping; cost and schedule management; coordination with other agencies; progress reporting and project closeout; and claims management.

 

--> Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has awarded Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. a contract worth up to $15 million to provide on-call construction management services in support of the agency’s capital improvement program and other projects. ...
AECOM Technology Corp. has agreed to acquire Davis Langdon, a global cost and project management consultancy firm, in a transaction valued at $324 million. ...

Patriot Rail Corp. announced that it has agreed in principle to buy the six short line railroads operated by Weyerhaeuser Co., with more than 160 miles of track in four states. The lines currently handle approximately 60,000 carloads of freight annually. The acquisition is subject to closing conditions that include Patriot’s due diligence and regulatory approval. It’s expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Patriot Rail would acquire:

* The DeQueen and Eastern Railroad Co., consisting of tworailroads—the DeQueen and Eastern and the Texas, Oklahoma & Eastern railroads, which operate over a total of 87 route miles in southeast Oklahomaand southwest Arkansas;

* The Columbia & Cowlitz Railway, which operates over8.5 route miles in southwest Washington;

* The Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad, which operates over 30 route miles in southwest Washington and connects directly to the CLC;

* The Golden Triangle Railroad, which operates over 13.3 route miles in central Mississippi; and

* The Mississippi & Skuna Valley Railroad, which owns 21 route miles in Mississippi.

 

Each of the railroads interchanges traffic with Class I carriers. The railroads primarily source Weyerhaeuser and International Paper mills, move finished products, and serve some third-party customers. They employ approximately 120 people.

“Once the transaction is completed, these railroads will double the rail portfolio of Patriot Rail,” said Gary O. Marino, chairman, president, and CEO. “They are very attractive railroads with appealing growth opportunities and are a key step in our company’s strategic growth process. After closing and integration of the railroads, Patriot Rail’s goal is to expand the rail business by providing customers with first class rail service focused on safety, productivity, and service reliability.”

Patriot Rail Corp., a holding company based in Boca Raton, Fla., owns and operates six short line freight railroads totaling 331 miles in eight states. Patriot also recently signed an agreement to lease and operate the 13-mile Piedmont & Northern Railroad in Gaston County, N.C.

--> Patriot Rail Corp. announced that it has agreed in principle to buy the six short line railroads operated by Weyerhaeuser Co., with more than 160 miles of track in four states. The lines currently handle approximately 60,000 carloads of freight annually. The ...
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