Bolingbrook, Ill.-based Wi-Tronix, LLC marked its five-year anniversary August 23 as a supplier of mobile asset monitoring technology for the rail industry.
The company was founded in 2004 by Larry Jordan and Michael Heilmann, adding two more principals in 2005: Lisa Matta, vice president of Product Development, and Duane Hong, vice president of Customer Service.
Wi-Tronix currently employs more than 40 full-time employees, servicing rail, maritime, and mining operations requiring the monitoring of high-value mobile assets.
The Northstar Commuter Rail line will begin revenue service Monday, Nov. 16, with five inbound trips each weekday linking Big Lake, Minn., with downtown Minneapolis, and five outbound trips from downtown Minneapolis each evening. Interim stops include Fridley, Coon Rapids, Anoka, and Elk River.
The final schedule for the service has not been finalized, but the Metropolitan Council says trains will be timed to arrive in time for commuters to arrive at work as early at 6:30 a.m. Return trips are expected every half-hour beginning at 3:45 p.m.
Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell said in a statement that the rail line, Minnesota’s first commuter rail service, is one of many public transit improvement projects in the Twin Cities metro area.
Bell cited the extension of the Hiawatha light rail transit service in Minneapolis to link with Northstar service at the Downtown Minneapolis Ballpark Station, and plans to commence construction on the Central Corridor LRT line, linking downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul, beginning next year.
Portland, Ore.’s seeming magic touch with rail transit startups is missing from its launch six months ago of WES Commuter rail—at least so far. Average daily ridership is 1,200, just half of the line's projected first-year target, though observers point out that the line still has six months to reach that estimated ridership level.
The service has received good reviews from patrons, but some riders note the commuter schedule–with no trains running between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.–limits options for many people, including some who ride when they can.
Washington County Chairman Tom Brian, who helped spearhead the project in its decade of development, said he's heard people ask for midday service. "One of the things people are concerned about is if they go to work, if they're working part time, or if one of the kids has a problem at school, how do they get home?" Brian said.
The struggling economy also is blamed for lagging ridership. A WES conductor said he lost 60 riders from one company's layoffs earlier this year. "This service is targeted to commuters, and with record high unemployment, obviously the ridership is lower than we had anticipated and growing more slowly," said TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch. "As the economy begins to rebound, we will restart our outreach efforts."
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., officials, racing to comply with a September 15 deadline set by the U.S. Department of Transportation, are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a motion to seek federal stimulus funding for the city’s $124.3 million, 2.7-mile light rail project.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., officials, racing to comply with a September 15 deadline set by the U.S. Department of Transportation, are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a motion to seek federal stimulus funding for the city’s $124.3 million, 2.7-m ...
The Association of American Railroads reported Thursday that U.S. rail traffic "continues to show slight improvement with rail carloadings at their highest level since early March."
Carload traffic for the week ended Aug. 22 totaled 279,478 originated cars, down 16.1% from the corresponding week in 2008. Loadings were down 14.22% in the West and 18.9% inthe East.
U.S. intermodal volume totaled 193,207 trailers or containers , down 16.2% from last year. Container volume was off 10.2% and trailer volume was down 38.2%. Total volume for the week ending Aug. 22 was estimated at 29.8 billion ton-miles, down 15.6%.
All 19 freight commodity groups were down except the nonmetallic mineral category, which eked out a 1.3% increase. Declines ranged from 5.7% for petroleum products to 49.3% for metallic ores.
Canadian railroads reported 64,267 originated carloads for the latest week, down 15.3%, and 41,971 trailers or containers, down 19.2% from 2008.
Mexican railroad reported originated volume of 11,461 carloads, down 1.4% from last year, and 6,279 trailers or containers, off 3.1%.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 33 weeks of 2009 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 11,063,767 carloads, down 19.6% from last year, and 7,642,421 trailers and containers, down 17.1%.
Contrary to assertions made by opponents of high speed rail, the 800-mile, $44 billion HSR proposal for California is not imperiled, says Mehdi Morshed, executive director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
Morshed reaffirmed HSR’s potential despite a court ruling ordering the Authority to revisit and possibly rewrite portions of its environmental impact statement for the Bay Area.
Morshed also asserted that Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny generally affirmed the agency's choice of Pacheco Pass as the preferred alternative for the rail line, countering suggestions made by the non-profit Planning and Conservation League that an alternate route over Altamont Pass was the clear-cut preferred option.
“Fundamentally, the judge agreed with our environmental work and our selection of the Pacheco Pass," he said. “The things the judge asked us to take a look at are relatively small items that we can accommodate." The judge found that the Authority "studied a reasonable range of alternatives and presented a fair and unbiased analysis" before it chose Pacheco Pass, which includes the Caltrain route in the Peninsula.
The court ruling also found that the Authority should have recirculated the environmental report following Union Pacific’s declaration to oppose any sharing of its right-of-way.
But Morshed said the Authority has already been operating under that premise, and has been evaluating options, including the use of properties adjacent to UP right-of-way.
British rail operator Network Rail says it plans to cut 1,800 maintenance jobs by April 2011. "We are discussing our plans withour people and their union representatives and no final decisions have been made,” said a company spokesman quoted by the Times of London.
Network Rail, which runs Britain's rail network and its largest train stations, employs 33,000 people.
The news follows the company’s announcement of plans for a high speed rail link from London to the north of Britain that would halve travel time to Scotland to just over two hours.