Amtrak Thursday announced it has hired Albrecht P. Engel to head up its new high speed rail department so that Amtrak can expand its HSR opportunities. Engel, an ardent supporter of U.S. high speed rail, comes to Amtrak from AECOM.
“Engel has more than 40 years of experience in the rail transportation business and over that time has been active in the study, advocacy, and development of high speed rail projects,” said Amtrak. Engel was involved in the launch of the highly successful Acela service on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor 10 years ago.
Engel (pictured at left), currently vice president and high speed rail director with AECOM, also serves on the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) board of directors. He also has served as chairman of the High Speed Ground Transportation Association.
“Al has considerable expertise, is a dedicated proponent for public transportation, and shares our conviction that Amtrak plays a vital, leading and necessary role in expanding and operating high speed rail service across the country,” Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman said.
Said Engel in a statement, “Amtrak is an integral part of America’s high speed rail future as highways and aviation networks reach capacity in our urban areas. … I am very enthused to have this opportunity to work for Amtrak and with national and regional leaders to help implement a new balanced transportation vision for the U.S.”
U.S. intermodal freight traffic for the week ending September 18 marked a record for the year, and rose 16.9% when measured against the comparable week in 2009, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. Intermodal also gained 2.4% over the comparable week in 2008.
Within the intermodal sector, U.S. container volume gained 18.8% for the week over 2009, and was up 11.4% for the week compared with the 2008 period.
U.S. freight carload traffic also gained when compared to the 2009 period, up 8.1%, though it still trailed 2008 levels by 2.4%. Seventeen of the 19 carload commodity groups listed by AAR increased from the comparable week in 2009 with only waste and scrap and non-metallic minerals, both down 3.3%, posting declines. Metallic ores, up 94.6%, led those commodity groups with increases from 2009. Compared with 2008, only six commodity groups registered gains, including farm products excluding grain, up 23.8%; chemicals, up 23.5%; and grain, up 20.5%.
Canadian freight carload traffic rose 10.9% for the week compared with 2009, while intermodal advanced 14.4%. Mexico’s two major railroads reported freight carload traffic up 11.7% over the comparable week in 2009, while intermodal rose 10.6%.
Combined North American freight carload volume for the first 37 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 9.8%, while intermodal notched a 15.1% increase.
Germany’s Deutsche Bahn AG has signed a cooperation agreement with High Speed 1 Ltd., the owner of the right-of-way linking London with the Channel Tunnel, opening the possibility of direct rail service between the United Kingdom and Germany, beginning in 2013.
The pact could allow DB to run Siemens AG’s InterCity Express trains through the tunnel in competition with Eurostar Group Ltd., which operates from London to Paris and Brussels. DB seeks to connect London with cities in western Germany, the company said Wednesday. But DB still must win authorization from the French and British governments to run passenger trains via Eurotunnel.
“We can now focus on joint working to ensure all safety, technical, and commercial requirements are met prior to operation,” Ulrich Homburg, Deutsche Bahn’s board member for passenger services, said in a statement.
Direct trains from London to Frankfurt might take about five hours, DB said, suggesting such travel time could be competitive with air travel given the increasing security measures and overcrowding at airports.
Deutsche Bahn will begin safety tests through the tunnelwith Siemens ICE rolling stock on Oct. 19. The European Union last January introduced rules requiring track owners to grant access to new operators for cross-border services.
Last month DB was one of several bidders submitting a plan to operate over the High Speed 1 route, seeking a 30-year franchise.
Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group has issued a report stating that construction of “the proposed high speed rail line” running from Chicago to Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., would create 15,000 new jobs in the Badger State.
The overall Midwest region, according to the report, would see the creation of 57,000 new jobs.
“Building a high speed rail network will also boost the economy by creating construction, manufacturing, and operations jobs," the report said. "The Midwest is well positioned to see growth in rail-related manufacturing capacity.”
The rail would also be accessible to the majority of people in Wisconsin, according to WISPIRG. "The new high speed service created under the plan would place stations within 15 miles of 52% of Wisconsinites’ homes; 58% of the state’s workers would have a station within 15 miles of their workplace," the report said.
Efforts to promote higher speed rail in Wisconsin have encountered opposition from some officials as this year’s Election campaigns grow in intensity.
Harsco Corp. Wednesday announced two follow-on orders in its Harsco Rail track maintenance business group valued at more than $15 million.
The first order is a follow-on equipment sale in Germany, where the unit will join a growing fleet of Harsco rail grinders that provide precision rail grinding of complex switch and crossing rail surfaces throughout the German railway system. Delivery is scheduled for the latter part of 2011.
A second contract addresses similar switch grinding work in the U.S. but under a contract service relationship in which Harsco owns, operates, and maintains the equipment on the customer's behalf. This latest renewal covers a five-year contract period.
Russian Railways announced Wednesday it has signed a contract with Siemens AG and Siemens Russia for 16 electric trains for suburban passenger transport, with the start of localized production in Russia.
The contract was signed Tuesday by Russian Railways President Vladmir Yakunin, Siemens Mobility CEO Hans-Jorg Grundmann, and Siemens Russia President Dietrich Möller.
The contract follows pre-existing agreements between the companies.
Under the contract, 16 electric trains will be supplied. Their production will be partially localized in Russia (at least 20%). The new rolling stock will be used for suburban services in central and southern Russia.
In December 2009, Russian Railways ordered 54 suburban trains from Siemens AG. A contract was later signed for 38 Desiro-class trains, which will be produced at the Siemens plant in Krefeld, Germany.
Sumitomo Corp. of America, in conjunction with carbuilder partner Nippon Sharyo, has won a $560 million contract to supply 160 bi-level electric cars to Metra, the Chicago-based Northeast Illinois regional rail system. Sumitomo said they will be similar to the 26 Gallery-Type bi-level electrics that were delivered in 2005-2006. They will replace fleets in use since the 1970s. Delivery will take place from late 2012 through mid-2015.“During execution of past Metra contracts, Sumitomo Corporation of America and Nippon Sharyo, Ltd. have consistently met Buy America requirements and used contents and the work force of Illinois, thereby supporting the creation of local area oriented works,” said Sumitomo. “For this contract, Sumitomo and Nippon Sharyo are committed to a continued enhancement of such contribution to local employment.”In announcing the new contract on Wednesday, Sumitomo noted that the Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo team have delivered 900 passenger cars in the U.S. market since 1980s. The order includes 479 Gallery Type bi-level passenger cars and 26 Gallery Type bi-level electrical passenger cars delivered to Metra and all rolling stock used by Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (85 cars).As prime contractor, Sumitomo has also developed, managed, and delivered regional rail transit systems to the Maryland Department of Transportation, California’s CALTRANS Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, the Los Angeles County MTA, and the Virginia Railway Express, plus Automated People Mover (APM) systems for the Washington Dulles International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Miami International Airport’s new North Terminal.Sumitomo’s global network has been involved in building various types o ftransit systems around the world, including light rail systems in Manila, Philippines, and APM systems at Hong Kong’s new airport at Chek Lap Kok, and other systems in Japan.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), seeking to maximize revenue, has announced that it will employ “novel” forms of advertising on New York City Transit and the Long Island Rail Road.
Beginning this week, the inside and outside of a train serving the 42nd Street Shuttle in Midtown Manhattan (the S train) will befully wrapped with advertisements promoting TBS’ exclusive coverage of Major League Baseball's 2010 postseason division series and league championship series. MTA acknowledges that subway car wraps have become increasingly popular with advertisers, but notes this campaign will be the first to make use of moving images through video screens.
The screens, inside the subway cars, will show replays ofthe previous night’s baseball highlights during the postseason, highlights which almost certainly will include games involving the hometown New York Yankees for at least the initial division series.
And for what MTA believes is the first time since railroading began in the New York City region in the 1830s, the exteriors of its regional trains will display advertising. Specifically, 50 of the Long Island Rail Road's 836 M-7 train cars will display ads that begin at the level of the doors’ floors and extend up to the bottom of the cars’ windows. These cars will travel through the most heavily used portions of the Long Island Rail Road. Theads, promoting Cablevision’s Optimum WiFi, will be visible to customers boarding the trains on platforms as well as passing motorists and pedestrians.
If the three-month trial of LIRR exterior advertising is successful, the MTA and LIRR will consider extending the program to more LIRR cars with the help of advertising contractor CBS Outdoor.
“The MTA earns more than $100 million per year from sales of advertising space, mostly through traditional print media, but this traditional advertising has suffered as a result of the recession,” said MTA Chairman Jay Walder. “Our uncertain finances mean that we have to think creatively to maximize the value of our physical assets. One way we are doing that is by creating more dynamic advertising opportunities.”
ALK Technologies, Inc. Tuesday announced the successful certification and integration of PC*MILER® 24 and PC*MILER|Tolls 24 by strategic alliance partner TMW Systems.
PC*MILER’s 24th annual edition includes critical map dataupdates such as truck restrictions and truck-specific toll costs. Princeton, N.J.-based ALK plans to demonstrate PC*MILER 24 beginning Wednesday at the TMW Systems TransForum User Conference and Exhibition at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Tex.
Cleveland-based TMW Systems, a software provider tologistics firms, trucking, construction, utility, and municipal fleets, has certified the new PC*MILER release to ensure its customers take advantage of the new enhancements.
“Given the current economic climate, businesses continue to look for ways to improve cost management and transactional velocity,” said TMW Systems President and CEO David Wangler.