New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s declared intention to slash $32.7 million from New Jersey Transit’s state operating support could drive train and bus fares up 20% to 30% and exact severe service cuts, according to labor leaders who have met with NJT officials to protest the plan.
The cutbacks, if enacted, would take place in June. Public hearings would be held across the state prior to the move.
NJ Transit said it would announce more specifics following the regular monthly meeting of its Board of Directors Wednesday. “We expect the executive director to talk in detail about NJ Transit’s budget challenges for fiscal year 2010 and 2011,” an NJ Transit spokeswoman said. “The budget plans have not been finalized and there will be a process for public input on how to balance the budget.”
Even before the governor’s announced intent, fare increases already were being contemplated due to a projected $200 million gap in NJ Transit’s fiscal year 2011 budget. New Jersey’s fiscal year begins on July 1.
Management changes at CN continue under the new administration of President and CEO Claude Mongeau. The most recent changes have taken place in CN’s marketing group, where Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest has announced the appointments of six senior officers. • Vee Kachroo, vice president, industrial products. Kachroo, based in Montreal,“has extensive experience in forest products and metals and minerals marketsand was most recently assistant vice-president, sales, for these two groups atCN, ” said Ruest.• James Cairns, vice president, petroleum and chemicals. Cairns is based inCalgary, “a growth area for CN. Cairns developed innovative products in hismost recent position as assistant vice-president of CN domestic intermodal andground transportation, and previously spent three years working as director ofmarketing for CN's petroleum and chemicals unit.” • Andy Gonta, vice president, bulk. Gonta, based in Edmonton alongside thecompany's Network Operations Centre, will be responsible for CN’s grain,fertilizers, sulphur, and coal businesses. “Gonta was a successful vice presidentof automotive sales and marketing prior to undertaking the CN Railroad MBAprogram to enhance his railroading skills. He has held a number of seniorpositions in operations since completing the program in 2005.” • Paul Waite, vice president, intermodal. Waite, based in Toronto, will overseeboth domestic and international intermodal services. “He has wide experience inrail intermodal and was instrumental in developing CN's industry-leading IMX(Intermodal Excellence) model.” • Keith Reardon, vice president, supply chain solutions. Reardon, based in Chicago,will be responsible for CN’s non-rail transportation activities intransloading, freight-forwarding, warehousing, vessels, docks, and a smallgroup of supply chain experts serving all business units, as well as marketingactivities for the company's automotive business. “Reardon has developedleading-edge skills in non-rail and supply chain activities, and will play akey role in leveraging CN's rail franchise and developing new growthopportunities.” • Doug MacDonald, vice president, corporate marketing. MacDonald, based inMontreal, will oversee marketing planning, e-business innovations, andstrategic account planning activities, “areas in which he has several years ofexperience. MacDonald will also lead the regional sales groups that focus onthe growth of small accounts.”
CN also announced that Stan Jablonski, most recently senior vice president, sales, hasagreed to serve as senior advisor to the company through the organizationaltransition of the marketing group “after several years of exceptionalcontribution to CN,” said Ruest.
Greenbrier Management Services, LLC (GMS), a full-serviceprovider of railcar management services and a wholly-owned subsidiary of TheGreenbrier Companies, is providing railcar management services to RailAmerica,Inc. GMS services include processing for car-hire payables and receivables, andcar repair payables.
GMS began processing car-hire payables on railequipment that is interchanged onto RailAmerica's network of 39 regional andshort line railroads in late 2009, as well as car-hire receivables generated byRailAmerica’s railcar fleetTo date, implementation of payables and receivablesprocessing has been completed for three of RailAmerica’s five regions. Finalimplementation is expected to be completed early in 2010, ahead of schedule.
GMS utilizes its proprietary Enable™ car accountingprocessing system to perform these services. “Enable is a robust, web-enabled,proprietary product, with patent pending, that integrates the processing ofcar-hire payable and receivable data,” GMS said. “The system allows customers toproactively manage their car-hire by processing data daily and gives customersan unmatched combination of functionality, scalability, and value backed by GMS’sstrong commitment to customer service. Enable is appropriate for deployment byrailroads, shippers and lessors of all sizes and complexities, including ClassI’s. Clients are assured their data remains confidential through rigorousannual third party audits.”
In addition to car-hire processing, GMS is providingcar repair payables processing for RailAmerica utilizing its proprietaryEntrust™ maintenance management system. As part of this service, GMS isproviding Association of American Railroads and shop billing audits plus backoffice administration to meet RailAmerica’s railcar repair requirements. Theweb-based Entrust system “provides accurate invoice audits, shop estimate andrepair processing, bad-order disposition and wreck management, plus maintenancecost analysis reporting,” said GMS.
GMS customers include Class I’s, short lines andregionals, major operating lessors, industrial shippers and financialinstitutions, and investors. GMS provides rail asset management systems and/orservices to more than 70 railroads and 223,000 railcars. Services include auditingrepair invoices, managing AAR repair billing, performing ongoing maintenance ofrailcars, compiling maintenance data, and servicing damaged equipment.
The New York
Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s “countdown clocks” are designed to
bring next-train information to passenger platforms. One system, tested on the
L (Canarsie) line (pictured), New Yorks first line equipped with CBTC, was recently deployed
to several Bronx stations on the No. 6 line.
project on the A and C lines, announced today, signals a new and less costly
approach as technology is developed for the lettered subway lines. “While plans
are in place to activate customer information signs at all of the stations on
the numbered subway lines by next year, the same technology does not exist on
the lettered lines, requiring innovative solutions to provide the same
information to customers,” said MTA in statement. “The PA/CIS (Public
Address/Customer Information Screen) pilot in operation along a northern
segment of the Eighth Avenue Line utilizes previously installed electronic
signs in four stations, tying them in with existing infrastructure. This method
eliminates the need for major capital construction and related service
disruptions while allowing it to be up and running as quickly as possible. The
initial phase of the pilot will provide next train arrival information at
181st, 175th, 168th, 163rd, 155th, and 145th Street Stations. While audio
announcements will be available at all six stations, Customer Information
Screens will be up and running at the four southernmost stations only.”
another part of the initiative to offer real-time train arrival information to
our customers,” said NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast, “but here we
are going about it in a different manner using existing infrastructure rather
than waiting for the installation of an entirely new communications system. We
looked at the equipment that was already in place and we have designed a pilot
that responds to MTA Chairman Jay Walder’s call to find affordable ways to make
customer improvements as quickly as possible.”
MTA said that,
unlike the more advanced system on the numbered lines, which receives its
information from the scheduled data provided by ATS (Automatic Train
Supervision), the simpler system identifies train location using the signal
system’s track circuits and sending this information to existing equipment. Due
to the limitations of the information transmitted by the signal track circuits,
the demonstration pilot will provide information on train movement on a
specific track only and cannot identify specific trains as the ATS system is
able to do. In
stations equipped with screens, the information will transmit how many stations
away the train is, along with the estimated length of time to arrive. For
example: “Train 2 stations away. Approximately 2 minutes.” Information for the
express track begins transmission to stations downtown as the train approaches
181st Street. Local track information transmission begins at 168th Street.
Blue Anchor, N.J.-based ProTran1 LLC is co-host to “the Atoms Family,” a team of teens and pre-teens honored as New Jersey State Champions that will compete in an international robotics competition in Atlanta. The group, also co-sponsored by the Georgia Institute of Technology, has adopted train safety as its theme.
The robotics competition has four parts: the “Robot Score,” where a robot performs a variety of tasks for points on a timed basis; robot design; teamwork; and a “research presentation.” The competion’s research topic, “Smart Move,” mandates a “presentation of a real-life transport problem and the team’s potential solution.”
The Atoms Family members, in researching the topic, discovered that an estimated 18,000 train-to-automobile-related accidents occur annually in the U.S. Seeking to mitigate that problem, the team created the Train Stopper 3000, a wireless device using sensor pads on the tracks. They warn conductors via radio frequency about potential hazards on train tracks, sending an advisory alarm when an object, such as an automobile, is on railroad tracks for more than 20 seconds.
Upon learning that a comparable device hadn't been patented on the market, to their best knowledge, the team sought a provisional patent that might give their invention a platform for another company to develop and help save lives.
The Atoms Family will be competing against teams from 40 other countries. Prior to the competition, however, the team will be presenting its new technology and program to Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J., and to both Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, as well as the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.
Members of the team (pictured, left to right) include Jacob Bartek, Peter
Bartek, Jon Rodriguez, Lauren Shultz, Luke Smith and Sam Colabella; the
team is coached by Christine Shultz (lower center in photo), while
Peter Bartek Sr. and Chris Colabella served as adult mentors for the
Though still trailing 2008 levels, U.S. freight carload traffic during the week ended Feb. 6 rose 1.4% compared with the same week in 2009, the Association of American Railroads reported. That still left traffic down 14.7% from the comparable week in 2008.
U.S. intermodal traffic showed similar relative strength, up 5.1% from the same week a year ago but still down 10.7% from the comparable 2008 period.
Fourteen of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were up in comparison with the same week last year, led by a 50.8% rise in metals and products movements. Other increases included nonmetallic minerals, up 40.1%; farm products other than grain, up 32%; coke, up 25.7%; and motor vehicles and equipment, up 19.9%. Notable declines include crushed stone, sand, and gravel, down 12.7%, and pulp, paper, and allied products, down 10.3%.
Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Feb. 6 was an estimated 29.2 billion ton-miles, up 2.5% from 2009 levels but down 11.8% from 2008 figures.
Canadian railroads reported traffic volume up 9.3% from last year, with intermodal up 2.4 %. Mexico’s two major railroads reported carload traffic was up 11.4 % compared with 2008, while intermodal notched a 19.5% gain
Combined North American rail volume for the first 5 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 3.2% from the comparable 2009 period, while intermodal also rose, 3.8%, compared with the same period.
Construction of a rail freight spur in Riverhead, N.Y., could begin this March, indicative of a slow but steady revival in rail freight activity on Long Island, often associated only with heavy passenger rail activity courtesy of the Long Island Rail Road.
Riverhead's town board has awarded a $3.49 million contract to Railroad Construction Co., of Paterson, N.J., to activate a rail spur off LIRR’s Ronkonkoma Branch, once used by Northrop Grumman Corp. The project is being paid largely through federal stimulus funding.
Freight service will be provided by New York & Atlantic Railway, which provides freight service on LIRR’s rail network. New York & Atlantic is owned by Anacostia & Pacific Co., Inc., based in Chicago.