Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the award of just over $300 million in federal loans to the Denver Union Station project, which will include a light rail terminal consisting of three tracks and two platforms for existing and planned routes and an intercityand regional rail facility with eight passenger tracks and platform.
The DOT announcement said the loans will be made through “an unprecedented and historic innovative financing arrangement using the Department of Transportation’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program.” The project for the first time combines loans from both programs.
The loans are being awarded to the Denver Union Station Project Authority (DUSPA), a non-profit, public benefit entity formed by the city in July 2008, through a partnership with the Regional Transportation District (RTD), City and County of Denver, Colorado Department of Transportation, Denver Regional Council of Governments, and Denver Union Station Metropolitan District.
Together the TIFIA and RRIF loans constitute approximately 58% of all funding sources for the project. An RTD bond as well as tax increment revenues pledged to DUSPA will be used to repay the debt.
Kansas City Southern’s Mexican subsidiary, Kansas City Southern de Mexico, reopened the flood-damaged Anahuac Bridge lateSaturday and said it expected to operate 25 to 30 trains over the Nuevo Laredo gateway by late Monday. It removed service embargoes established July 3 in the aftermath of Hurricane Alex.
“We are very pleased to have the Nuevo Laredo gateway opened again for cross border traffic,” said KCS President and COO Dave Starling.“Given the magnitude of the damage to this bridge, coupled with the difficult conditions under which our crews had to work, it is a great accomplishment that we were able to put the Anahuac Bridge back into service this weekend and plan to lift the embargoes tomorrow night.”
“The disruption of service caused by Hurricane Alex has been very significant; however, our team has worked very hard to restore service to our customers as quickly as possible,” said KCSM Presidentand executive representative Jose Zozaya. “We will continue to work very closely with each of our customers to resume the normal flow of traffic to their facilities.”
MTA New York City Transit announced that the final units of a 1,662-RF160 car order have now been delivered by the joint venture of Alstom and Kawasaki and are in service on the system’s lettered lines. The high-tech cars were unloaded from flatbed trucks in May and rolled into the 207th Street Maintenance Facility. They were moving riders along the system's lettered lines about a month later.
The cars were funded in the New York MTA's 2005-2009Capital Program with money provided by the Federal Transit Administration.Deliveries began began nearly five years ago and since then, said NYCT, “the fleet has earned a reputation for high reliability, recently operating an average of more than 370,000 miles between mechanical failures.”
The new cars have digital information boards and the Flexible Information Notice Display (FIND) system, which incorporates a video screen, scrolling station names as the train progresses, and a route map that can be changed if a train switches to another line. Like the R142 cars that have been in service since late 2000 on the numbered lines, the R160s have an advanced heating and cooling system designed to be easier to maintain than the units in older cars.
Operating ad maintenance features include computer-monitored throttles and speedometers for better control and smoother ride and an onboard, computerized diagnostic system that allows quicker repair when a failure does occur.
Now retired are 1,500 subway cars in service more than 40 years. Most of these cars have been stripped, cleaned, and placed on the Atlantic seafloor where they joined more than 1,000 redbirds as artificial reef material. A few have ended up as exhibits in the MTA’s New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn.
Fairport, N.Y.-based RailComm said Monday it has provided the Track Warrant Control (TWC) system for the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. RailComm’s state-of-the-art Domain Operations Controller (DOC®) train control system is accessed through a web-enabled Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model.
RailComm’s SaaS offering provides a “pay-as-you-go” model, thus eliminating capital equipment procurement constraints. Through the SaaS delivery system, trains are remotely dispatched by Milwaukee-based Wisconsin & Southern wherever an internet connection is available. Therefore, it ispossible to relocate the dispatchers to alternative locations as required. Additionally, railroad management can log in from an office, home, or even from a hotel and directly view dispatching activity and management reports.
The DOC® control application resides on servers withinRailComm’s managed data center in Rochester, N.Y., reducing a railroad’s requirement for local IT support.
Wisconsin & Southern has twice been named Railway Age Regional Railroad of the Year, honored in 2001 and in 2009.
The Surface Transportation Board announced Friday that its Section of Environmental Analysis has issued the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed construction, operation, and reactivation of a 20-mile rail line between Wallaceton and Gorton, Pa. by R.J. Corman Railroad Co. Pennsylvania Lines Inc.
Corman plans to build a new 10.8-mile line over abandoned right-of-way and reactivate a connecting 9.3-mile rail-banked line. Corman says the resulting line could serve a new landfill, quarry, and an industrial park as well as “several other interested shippers.” Two unit trains daily are envisioned.
On Sept. 14, SEA and cooperating agencies will hold a public meeting in the proposed project area to receive comments on the Draft EIS. Written comments on must be postmarked by Sept. 28, 2010.
Mitigation measures in the DRAFT EIS are mainlythose voluntarily offered by the applicant and covering grade crossing delay,rail operations safety, land use, energy resources, air quality, noise, threatened and endangered species, wetlands and watercourses, parks and recreation facilities, geology and soils, hazardous waste sites, and historic resources.
Bombardier Transportation announced in Berlin Friday that along with consortium partner Vossloh Kiepe it has won an order from the Krakow, Poland, for 14 low-floor FLEXITY Classic trams valued at $76 million. Bombardier’s share is worth approximately $50 million. Bombardier will build the trams at its plant in Bautzen, Germany.
Bombardier also announced an order for 40 metro cars worth about $55 million from India's Delhi Metro Rail Corp. Ltd. The deal adds to last month’s $101 million order by Delhi Metro for 74 cars. Once the order is filled in 2011, Delhi Metro will be operating a fleet of 538 of Bombardier’s MOVIA metro cars.
Bombardier signed its first contract with Delhi Metro in July 2007 and opened a manufacturing plant in Savli, Gujarat, in November 2008. Once an expansion of the Delhi Metro is complete, the system will carry 2.5 million passengers a day and cover 165 kilometers in the city of 16 million inhabitants.
“We applaud the leadership of Senators Lautenberg, Murray, and Cantwell in advancing the nation’s freight policy and promoting public-private partnerships that enable the safe and efficient movement of goods by rail,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger (pictured at left).
“This bill recognizes the importance of rail in that national policy—as the safest, most fuel efficient and highly cost effective way to move both people and goods,” Hamberger said. “Freight railroads can move one ton of freight 480 miles on a single gallon of fuel and provide the vital link between American businesses and the global marketplace. Freight rail is well positioned to help meet the goals envisioned by the Senators, and outlined in this bill.”
Lautenberg, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said Senate bill S. 3629 would direct the Department of Transportation to develop and implement a National Freight Transportation Strategic Plan. In addition, it would create an Office of Freight Planning and Development to target grant money enhancing freight rail routes, ports, and multimodal infrastructure. Some observers noted a lack of any focus on truck-specific items.
In a statement, Lautenberg (pictured at right) said, “We are long overdue in establishing a national freight transportation policy that will meet the economic and mobility demands of the 21st century.” He added, “Poor planning and underinvestment in our transportation infrastructure has led to increased congestion at our ports, highways, airports, and railways, and increases the cost of doing business. If we want to help U.S. businesses succeed and create new jobs, we need a freight transportation system that works better and can grow with the changing needs of the global economy. This bill would put us on that path.”
CN’s operating ratio also was robust, improving by 6.1 percentage points to 61.2%. The improvement came despite the strength of the Canadian dollar relative to its U.S. counterpart, which hindered earnings from operations in the U.S.
“We’ve had very, very strong first-half results and we expect the economy to continue on its gradual course of recovery,” Luc Jobin, CN chief financial officer, said during a conference call. “We do expect the pace of growth to be lower in the second half ... [but] we do not expect a double-dip economic scenario at this point.”
Aided by an $83 million TIGER grant secured last spring, full funding for the first phase is in place. An additional $110 million in other federal funding, $35 million from New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, $14 million from New York State, and $10 million from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is also in place. Construction is expected to begin in October.
Phase 2, estimated to cost well more than $1 billion, would involve construction of a train hall in the Farley Building. The U.S. Postal Service has moved much of its heavy operations from the site in recent years, but has pledged to retain its retail sales services on site.
Designed by the famed architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the Farley Building was built in 1912, closely following the opening of the original Pennsylvania Station in 1910, also designed by McKim, Mead & White. The original Penn Station was demolished in 1964, eventually prompting landmark preservation legislation within New York City that, among other things, helped preserve Grand Central Terminal.