Tacoma, Wash.’s City Council is scheduled to be briefed Tuesday on a plan to add a streetcar stop to its Link service on Commerce Street between south 11th and 12th Streets. Link is operated by Sound Transit, which has been apprised of the plan.
According to a report issued by Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson, the Public Works Department has worked on a design for the new station which would be smaller and less expensive than the other Link stops.City engineer and assistant public works director Jim Parvey said engineers from the Public Works Department met with Sound Transit representatives lastspring to walk the affected rail line, take measurements, and see if Sound Transit was onboard with the idea. That meeting led his staff to begin drawing up plans for the station.“It's just a simple design at this point,” said Parvey earlier this year. “It does not show any architectural treatment.”“If Tacoma decides to pursue the possibility of an additional stop, SoundTransit will work with the City and other affected parties to explore options and any construction and service implications,” said Sound Transit spokesman Andrew Schmid.
Harsco Corp. said Monday it has received new orders totaling $13 million for its Harsco Rail unit, including orders from Bangladesh and Liberia, reflecting the company’s expansion into the international market.
Harsco will construct a new Mark VI railway ballast tamper for the Bangladesh Railway system, a 1,700 mile network that serves as a primary backbone of Bangladesh’s transportation infrastructure. The new unit willsupport the country’s continuing track improvement and expansion programs. The unit will be constructed in Harsco Rail’s U.S. production facilities and is scheduled for delivery in 2011.
The Liberian order calls for the sale of a Harsco Rail Grinder to perform ongoing rail maintenance of industrial railway operationswhich transport heavy materials by train. Its delivery will also be in 2011. Harsco’s rail grinders re-profile rail surfaces to extend rail life, provide smoother travel, and to correct surface damage that could lead to rail fractures.
Within the U.S., Harsco received new orders from three railroads for its new Drone Tampers, which incorporate two-way wireless Ethernet technology to work behind a conventional lead tamper as an unmanned, fully automated chase vehicle that can tamp track roadbed without an operator on board. The units are scheduled for delivery beginning later this year and continuing into early 2012.
“These latest orders reflect our focused efforts for maintaining a strong and balanced pipeline and expanding both our international reach and technological capabilities,” said Harsco Rail President Scott Jacoby.
The Surface Transportation Board announced Monday that it will hold oral argument Oct. 26, Washington, D.C in a closely-watched case involving a train routing complaint filed by Entergy Arkansas, Inc. and Entergy Services, Inc.
STB said the complaint asks the board to prescribe an alternative through route for the movement of coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to a generating plant near Newark, Ark., that is owned jointly by Entergy and intervener Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. and is directly served by the Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad Co.
“The alternative through route sought by Entergy would involve the movement of Powder River Basin coal that would originate on mines served by the BNSF Railway Co. and be interchanged from BNSF to MNA (or from BNSF to the Union Pacific Railroad Co. should UP subsequently replace MNA as the carrier directly serving Entergy’s plant) at either Lamar or Aurora, Mo. Entergy’s current service involves the through movement of coal that originates at Powder River Basin mines served by UP and is interchanged from UP to MNA at Diaz Junction, Ark, for an 8-mile movement to Entergy’s plant. The relief sought by Entergy is opposed by UP, MNA, and BNSF,” said STB.
STB said it is scheduling the oral argument to clarify the record “in this complex proceeding,” and the parties may not submit or discuss new evidence.
MTA York City Transit will host a two-day meeting of the SmartCard Alliance Transportation Council in New York City Sept. 22-23. The highlight of the meeting will be a tour of the New York/New Jersey Contactless Fare Payment Trial, which began June 10.
The meeting is open to all Smart Card Alliance members, Transportation Council members, and non-member transportation agencies.
“This is an ideal time and place for our members and transportation industry professionals to meet, learn, and share knowledge about the latest innovations in transit and payments,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance.
The New York/New Jersey Contactless Fare Payment Trial involves MTA New York City Transit, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and New Jersey Transit. In the trial, commuters use a contactless MasterCard® PayPass™ or Visa® payWave® card or device to pay directly for fares with their credit or debit card accounts.
MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder commented: “We are happy to give our colleagues a demonstration of the New York/New JerseyTransit Trial. The technology that we're testing will make life easier for our customers and help reduce our cost of doing business at the same time. By using an open network, we’ll break down regional barriers and let people travel across the region with a card that’s already sitting in their wallets.”
The council said it has also invited representatives from transit agencies in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Paris, London, and other cities to “discuss how they can enable customers to access commuter rail, light rail, subways, and buses using contactless payment cards, stickers, and mobile devices for fare payment.”
Balfour Beatty Rail, Inc. said Monday it had acquired Reuel, Inc.’s Traction Power Division. Goldsboro, N.C.-based Reuel manufactures electrical components and equipment; its Traction Power Division is a 28-person team specializing in power systems and components for the public transit industry.
Balfour Beatty Rail said its new Traction Power Group will report to Transit Division Vice President Joe Reed, and will be led locally by Tom Young, general manager–Traction Power.
“The acquisition fulfills an important goal for Balfour Beatty Rail—to strengthen our transit capabilities and become a one-stop provider of rail services, whether it is track, communications, signals, power, or even civil construction,” said Reed. “Adding traction power to our in-house portfolio of services will help us meet the growing demand for mass transit construction opportunities around the U.S. and will add value to existing and future contracts.”
Balfour Beatty Rail says the new Traction Power Group will give it the capability to manufacture custom power control centers, circuit breakers, controls, substations, and both AC and DC switchgear.
Atlanta-based Balfour Beatty Rail is part of London-based Balfour Beatty plc, an international engineering, construction, services, and investment company.
Kansas City Southern looks to its new international intermodal corridor for sustained growth.
An elder statesman among the growing crowd of U.S. transit properties, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority—the “T”—holds to its vision: expand its service area and service options.
PTC’s cost, technical challenges, and tight time frame are giving the railroads headaches. Suppliers are working feverishly to provide relief.
Track time is a precious commodity. Suppliers of high-productivity m/w machines enable railroads to make the most of it.
The Surface Transportation Board announced Friday that is has scheduled a meeting of the National Grain Car Council for Sept. 16 to discuss the readiness of U. S. railroads to move export grain to ports in quantities far higher than earlier expected.
The agenda includes “a report by railcar manufacturers and lessors on current and future availability of various grain-car types; presentation and discussion of developments regarding Positive Train Control; discussion of export grain in intermodal containers; and an open forum on BMNSF Certificates of Transportation for Processors; weather's effect on supply/demand of equipment; and export market impact on U.S. grain car supply.”
While Friday's STB announcement did not allude to it, expectations for a significant increase in world demand for U.S. wheat were examined in the latest monthly Wheat Outlook, released Aug. 16, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.
“This month's changes,” said the report, “feature a dramatic 13.5 million-ton reduction in wheat production forecast collectively for Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan, three companies that together produce more than 85% of ESU-12 wheat. Wheat production for EU-27 for 2010-11 is projected down 4.3 million to 13.5 million.”
What this means to U.S. wheat exports and the need forgrain-carrying railroad cars or containers is this, says the USDA report: “U.S. exports are expected to reach 33.0 million tons for July-June marketing year 2010/2011, up 6.0 million from last month’s projection. This forecast is 8.8 million tons, or 36.5%, more than U.S. exports in the 2009/10 year. The main U.S. competitors in the lower protein wheat market are the EU-27 and the three countries of the FSU 12 ... With all of these main competitors’ wheat projections down this month, and with the announcement of the Russian export wheat ban, U.S. export prospects soar.”