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Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board has unveiled a proposed new six-year transportation plan that contains earmarks $2.1 billionfor rail and public transportation, and $5.6 billion for highways.The board posted the $$7.7 billion Working Draft FiscalYears 2011-2016 S ...

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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."

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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 others.”

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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.

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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."

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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.

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The Canadian UrbanTransit Association recognizes Bombardier's achievement for 60-day streetcardemonstration project in Vancouver, Canada. At the CUTA 2010 Annual Conferenceheld in Ottawa, Canada, Bombardier Transportation received an award for theOlympic Line in the category "Exceptional Performance and OutstandingAchievement" under CUTA's National Transit Corporate Recognition Award Program.

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Cattron Group International™, a lglobal manufacturer of remote control products and professional services for the industrial, mining, commercial mobile and railroad markets, has contracted with TTechTrain SA de CV to represent the company in Mexico. They will handle all brands for the Industrial and Rail markets. Andres Duncan and Susana Duncan, along with their colleagues, have a combined experience of 86 years providing service to the railroad industry in the Americas.


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