Latest News Continued

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.

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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.

--> 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. ...

Harsco Corp. Friday said its Harsco Rail unit has been awarded a new $6 million order from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for production of Utility Track Vehicle (UTV) prime movers.

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Deliveries will begin next January and continue into the second quarter of 2011. The all-purpose UTVs will be used to power work trains for a broad range of railway maintenance-of-way requirements, including snow removal, repair and replacement of rail, and the supply of power for hydraulic and pneumatic tools.

The units will be built at Harsco Rail's modern railway track maintenance engineering and production facilities in Columbia, S.C.

 

--> Harsco Corp. Friday said its Harsco Rail unit has been awarded a new $6 million order from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for production of Utility Track Vehicle (UTV) prime movers. ...

The first of the four double-ended PCC streetcars operated by San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) has left the city for rehabiliation work by Brookville Equipment Co. at the company’s  facility, located in Brookville, Pa.

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Car No. 1008 is the third of 16 PCCs covered by a MUNI contract with the company. But the four double-end cars to be rehabilitated are considered especially useful because of their large capacity, and because their ability to operate from either end makes them essential for initial operation of the long-planned E-Embarcadero line between Mission Bay and Fisherman's Wharf, which lacks a turning facility for single-end cars at its south end.

Brookville is scheduled to complete upgrading all 16 cars by the end of 2011.

 



--> The first of the four double-ended PCC streetcars operated by San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) has left the city for rehabiliation work by Brookville Equipment Co. at the company’s  facility, located in Brookville, Pa. ...

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) late Wednesday reported U.S. carloads for the month of January were down 0.7% at 1,056,684 carloads, compared with the same month last year, and down 17.7% compared with 2008.

January’s intermodal traffic was up 2.5% to 803,275 units compared with January 2009, but still down 11.2% compared with the same month in 2008.

aar_logo.jpgThe Rail Time Indicators report, available at www.aar.org, comprises monthly rail traffic data framed with other key economic indicators to show how freight rail is tied to the broader U.S. economy.

Thirteen of the 19 commodity categories tracked by AAR saw year-over-year gains from January 2009, with nonmetallic minerals seeing the highest gain, up 65.9%. The motor vehicles and parts category also saw a significant monthly boost, up 65.7% compared with January last year.  However all commodity categories, with the exception of grain mill products, were down in January when compared with the same month in 2008.

For the first time, AAR also is providing seasonally adjusted U.S. rail traffic in the Rail Time Indicators report, using January 1988- December 2009 as the basis for the seasonal adjustment. Seasonally adjusted carloads in January were up 2.6 percent from December 2009, and were the highest of any month in the past 11 months.

"Seasonal adjustment is designed to improve month-to-month comparisons and eliminate seasonal components that can mask underlying trends," said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray. "While our seasonal adjustment process is subject to further refinement, we're confident that seasonally adjusted rail traffic figures will be a useful complement to our other data and will help further illustrate the importance of railroads to the broader economy."

 

--> The Association of American Railroads (AAR) late Wednesday reported U.S. carloads for the month of January were down 0.7% at 1,056,684 carloads, compared with the same month last year, and down 17.7% compared with 2008. ...

BNSF Thursday said its shareholders had voted overwhelmingly in favor of the company's acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Preliminary results show that approximately 70% of BNSF issued and outstanding shares not owned by Berkshire or its affiliates were voted in favor of the transaction, solidly above the 66-2/3% required.

bnsf_logo.jpgAdditionally, holders of at least a majority of the issued and outstanding shares of BNSF voted in favor, BNSF said. Both of these votes were required under Delaware law to adopt the merger agreement and were reported at a shareholder meeting held today at BNSF headquarters in Fort Worth., Tex. Representatives of Innisfree M&A Incorporated tabulated the votes and acted as independent inspectors.berkshire_hathaway_logo.jpg

 

“Tomorrow begins the first century of ownership of BNSF by Berkshire Hathaway. I’m looking forward to every day of it as our railroad does its part to ensure the future prosperity of the country,” said Warren E. Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Added  BNSFChairman, President, and CEO Matt Rose, “We are at an important milestone in our 160-year history. . . . This is a vote of confidence in BNSF and the future of freight rail, and it demonstrates how well our business model is aligned with our new parent company. By providing cost-effective and energy-efficient transportation that also benefits the environment, we are moving the goods that are crucial to consumers and our economy as our nation powers its way out of the recession.”

The merger is expected to close on Feb. 12.

 

--> BNSF Thursday said its shareholders had voted overwhelmingly in favor of the company's acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Preliminary results show that approximately 70% of BNSF issued and outstanding shares not owned by Berkshire or its affili ...

Chicago Transit Authority’s Board of Directors Wednesday approved issuing up to $550 million in revenue bonds to complete its planned purchase of 406 cars from Bombardier Transportation, with an option to acquire an additional 300 cars if funds become available.

cta_logo.jpgThe new cars, ordered in part to replace the existing fleetthat in some cases dates back to 1969, will be equipped with security camerason board, officials said, as well as electronic maps and destination signs. Seatsalso will be both stain- and bacteria-resistant.

CTA has been testing 10 prototype train cars on the system since last year.Officials system since last year. Transit officials want to continue evaluatingthe equipment, spanning all four seasond, before finalizing the order. A decisionis expected by the fall.

"The new cars are much needed as CTA looks to upgradeits fleet," CTA President Richard Rodriguez told the board. --> Chicago Transit Authority’s Board of Directors Wednesday approved issuing up to $550 million in revenue bonds to complete its planned purchase of 406 cars from Bombardier Transportation, with an option to acquire an additional 300 cars if funds become available. ...

More than three-fourths of the Hawaii House of Representatives has signed a pro-rail letter addressed to Gov. Linda Lingle, urging her to review and accept a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed $5.5 billion Honolulu urban rail transit project.

The FEIS has yet to be released by the Federal Transit Administration, but supporters note the project is the only one in the state that is “shovel ready,” and fear any delay could jeopardize federal funding.

For her part, Gov. Lingle has questioned the cost of the project, and has also questioned the preference for an elevated urban transit system, as have critics of the plan, including pro-rail forces arguing that light rail transit would be a more desirable and cost-efficient option.

Supporters of the current plan say the need to provide construction jobs to aid the state economy should be a major consideration. --> More than three-fourths of the Hawaii House of Representatives has signed a pro-rail letter addressed to Gov. Linda Lingle, urging her to review and accept a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed $5.5 billion Honolulu urban rail transit proj ...

Still struggling to launch its first rail service after months of delays, Austin, Tex., nonetheless is also weighing a commitment to light rail transit or streetcar services, including the building of a rail bridge over Lady Bird Lake.

cap_metro_logo.jpgCity Transportation Director Robert Spillar said the bridge could be built farther east or west, and not necessarily over the lake. Austin and its consulting engineers are settling on a preferred route and are scheduled to unveil it Feb. 25 to the City Council. Spillar says the upcoming map will not specify a route across Lady Bird Lake, instead leaving as possibilities existing bridges at Congress Avenue or South First Street or a new bridge.

Voter approval of such the overall plan is required, and a referendum could be offered to the voters this November. Anti-rail partisans in the state capital, still feasting on the woes of Capitol Metropolitan Transportation Authority to initiate regional rail service on a 35-mile starter line, are expected to oppose any additional rail plan.

 

--> Still struggling to launch its first rail service after months of delays, Austin, Tex., nonetheless is also weighing a commitment to light rail transit or streetcar services, including the building of a rail bridge over Lady Bird Lake. ...

The Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association has announced the the availability of five undergraduate scholarships for tuition assistance in 2010. “This year, we are offering a $5,000 REMSA President's Scholarship Award and four individual scholarships at $2,000 each,” the organization notes.

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The REMSA undergraduate scholarship program is open to REMSA member companies only. Information and applications are sent to the REMSA representative of each member company, usually at the beginning of eachcalendar year. Representatives are responsible for disseminating REMSA scholarship program information to employees, and students are invited to call REMSA directly, (703) 341-8514, to request scholarship information.

To be eligible for consideration, an applicant must: be a full-time employee or the spouse, son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter of a current full-time employee of a a REMSA member; be enrolled and in attendance at the time of application as a full-time college student at an accredited two-year college offering an associate's degree or an accredited college or university offering a bachelor's degree; and demonstrate successful completion of the previous year of study and a willingness to continue.

 

--> The Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association has announced the the availability of five undergraduate scholarships for tuition assistance in 2010. “This year, we are offering a $5,000 REMSA President's Scholarship Award and four individual ...

San Francsico officials, including representatives from the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency (SFMTA), Wednesday marked the start of construction of the Central Subway, Phase II of the city’s Third Street Light Rail Project.

The 1.7-mile, $1.6 billion extension of the existing LRT line, tunneling under Chinatown, “represents adramatic investment in San Francisco´s transportation future," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "Tens of thousands of residents and visitors will use this environmentally friendly subway to get to work, school, and to see their families and friends."

"It is incredibly gratifying to see construction begin on the Central Subway," said SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. "We appreciate the tremendous amount of support from federal, state, and local officials and the incredible efforts of so many community partners who are helping to make this project a reality."

The extension is slated to open for service in 2018.

--> San Francsico officials, including representatives from the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency (SFMTA), Wednesday marked the start of construction of the Central Subway, Phase II of the city’s Third Street Light Rail Project. ...
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