Kansas City Southern de Mexico says it expects to reopen its Nuevo Laredo gateway and the mainline to Saltillo sometime this weekend with the completion of the Anahuac Bridge repairs. Service embargoes imposed July 3 as a result flooding caused by Hurricane Alex are expected to be lifted early next week.
“I have just completed my third inspection of the area and am pleased to report that very significant progress has been made,” said David L. Starling, Kansas City Southern Corp. president and chief operating officer, in a statement late Tuesday from Mexico.
KCSM’s Matamoros to Monterrey “F” line, a secondary route that was used to divert limited crossborder traffic, was closed temporarily on Friday as authorities in Reynosa prepared to open flood gates at the Falcon Dam where the water level was at 128% of capacity. As a result, the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande and Salado rivers overflowed and washed out track at two locations near Reynosa on Sunday afternoon.
KCSM said continues to monitor water levels in various areas around the “F” line.
Railroads are calling train crews back to work at a steady pace. Transportation (train and engine) employment reached 59,641 in June, up 7.59% from June 2009 and 0.86% higher than in May 2010.
Total Class I railroad employment climbed to 151,527 in June, 1.28% higher than in June 2009 and 0.41% above the May 2010 figures.
Maintenance of way and structures employment was 34,954 in June, down 1.21% from June 2009 and up 0.59% from May 2010. Maintenance of equipment and stores employees totaled 28,059 in June, down 1.96% from June 2009 and down 0.64% from May 2010.
The number of executives, officials, and staff assistants employed in June was 10.66% below the June 2009 figures and 0.03% below May 2010.
Professional and administrative employment rose slightly to 13,382, up 0.80% from June 2009 and up 0.62% from June 2010.
In addition to providing real-time tracking and tracing of rail equipment and shipments, Railinc’s RailSight™ CLM (Car Location Message) service now offers historical trace capabilities for multiyear analysis.
Railinc said in an announcement Tuesday that the service also now integrates with web services and SAP® supply chain software for “seamless connections to rail fleet and rail event data.”
Among RailSight users are equipment owners, shippers, third-party logistics companies, and transportation management software (TMS) serving the freight rail industry.
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell has announced a public information meeting July 29, in Hartford, the state capital, to discuss environmental issues surrounding planned higher-speed rail (HrSR) proposed for Amtrak right-of-way linking New Haven and Hartford, Conn., and Springfield, Mass. Hartford’s Union Station will host the meeting.
This session will deal with a draft assessment of the project’s environmental impact as well as a more detailed discussion of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield segment of the plan to provide improved rail service (via Vermont) between New York City and Montreal.
“The plans for a high-speed rail line serving commuters and businesses throughout the central ‘spine’ of our state—and eventually connecting with the rest of New England and Canada—are moving full-speed ahead,” Rell said. “This project has tremendous economic development potential for Connecticut and will go a long way to ease congestion on heavily traveled Interstate 91. We want the public to be up-to-date on each step of ou rprogress, which is why these meetings are so important.”
Rell said transportation officials from Vermont and Massachusetts would be present, joining Connecticut Department of Transportation representatives.
The project has been granted $40 million in federal stimulus funds, expected to expand double-tracking along the route. Connecticut has designated $26 million in state bond funds as its share of the double-tracking project; it also is expected to apply for additional money in the next round offederal HSR funding.
Florida officials say they will not seek funding to link Tampa, Fla.’s international airport with the Tampa-to-Orlando high speed rail line, now under preliminary construction. Downtown Tampa will remain the western termination point, at least for now.
According to Nazih Haddad, chief operating officer of Florida Rail Enterprise at Florida’s Department of Transportation, the state will apply next month for $1 billion in additional federal funds, but the application will not include an airport link. “It would take three more years to plan an extension,” said Haddad. Florida received $1.25 billion in federal funding in January for the HSR project, estimated to cost $2.7 billion for the initial leg. An extension from Orlando to Miami is in the planning phase.
Work began Monday along the Interstate 4 median corridor in preparation for laying track, which was defined as “geotechnical exploration.”
Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio believes light rail, not HSR, would be a better fit for any airport link with downtown Tampa, saying LRT could serve any HSR station downtown while also better serving local transport needs.
The warmly debated proposal of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway to abandon 233 miles of line in Maine’s Aroostook and Penobscot counties reached another milestone Monday with the release of the Final Environmental Assessment prepared by the Surface Transportation Board's Section of Environmental Analysis. These were its major findings:
* “The proposed discontinuance of service ... would notsignificantly affect the quality of the human or natural environment if the board imposes recommended mitigation measures.”
* “When considering the average size of the shipmentsof all shippers on the rail segments proposed for abandonment, the majority of freight (more than 90%) transported by these shippers already moves by truck. Although some shippers have questioned that conclusion, statewide data shows that freight rail in Maine carries approximately 10% of total tonnage in the state ... This statistic does not necessarily reflect the situation of individual shippers ... But this does not mean that truck transportation is not—or could not be—available to transport the vast majority of shipments at issue in this case.”
* "The increased truck traffic for the worst case scenario ... would have minimal impact on overall highway safety in the region.”
Proposed mitigation measures are designed to minimize impacts to threatened and endangered species and other resources.
The STB board will make its final decision based on the Environmental Assessment plus testimony received at a public hearing on July 9.
Los Angeles Metro announced that its rail ridership in June was up 7.5% over June 2009 with 326,663 average weekday boardings.
The Gold Line recorded 37,270 average weekday boardings in June vs. 24,219 in June 2009, due mainly to the opening of the Eastside Extension between Union Station and East Los Angeles.
Metro posted an 0.2% gain in bus ridership in June with 1,156,866 average weekday boardings.
Wabtec has delivered an MP14B model ultra-low emission, gen-set switcher to GATX’s railcar repair facility in Colton, Calif. The 1,400-hp locomotive was manufactured in Boise, Idaho by Wabtec subsidiary MotivePower, Inc.
“It is a high priority for GATX to be an industry leader in the areas of safety, health and environmental responsibility, and especially to be a good neighbor in the communities in which we operate,” said Jim Earl, GATX’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “The addition of this clean, efficient locomotive is an excellent example of our strong commitment to these goals.”
GATX’s new switcher is expected to reduce emissions of NOx by at least 80% and particulate matter by at least 70%, while providing fuel savings of up to 35%.
The global market for light rail transit vehicles could reach $7.5 billion by 2015, according to a report released by San Jose, Calif.-based Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
The report, titled “Light Rail: A Global Strategic Business Report,” provides a review of light rail market, outlook, growth drivers, number of light rail installations, and recent corporate developments. The study analyzes market data and analytics in the global market in terms of dollar sales for the years 2006 through 2015, breaking the picture into four markets: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of World.
The company identified 66 companies actively involved in the production of LRT vehicles and related equipment, with key players including Aecom Technology Corp., Alstom SA, Ansaldo STS SpA, AnsaldoBreda Inc., Balfour Beatty Plc., Bombardier Transportation, Invensys Plc, MTR Corp. Ltd., Siemens Transportation Systems Inc., Solaris Bus & Coach S.A., and Veolia Transportation, Inc.
More details are available at http://www.strategyr.com/Light_Rail_Market_Report.asp.
The Carbon Capture and Storage Deployment Act of 2010, introduced Thursday ;by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D- W.Va.) and Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), has won the support of the Association of American Railroads, whose members deliver 70% of all U.S. coal shipments.
“Senators Rockefeller and Voinovich are to be commended for their leadership in ensuring that clean coal technology can be deployed and implemented as soon as possible,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R.Hamberger (pictured at left). “Domestic coal is abundant, affordable, and if this bill is passed will be even cleaner. It is affordable coal-based electricity that helps power the nation’s economic recovery and supports our global competitiveness.”
“Rail’s inherent fuel efficiency makes our industry a natural part of the climate change solution—a train can carry a ton of freight 480 miles on a single gallon of fuel,” said Hamberger. “Support for measures like this, ;which ensure the future use of coal, also supports the health of America’s railroads and the vital link for businesses all across the country to the global marketplace.”