The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority has learned that its plan to make drastic service cuts to meet a funding shortfall would violate terms under which the Federal Transit Administration granted the agency $256 million toward the cost of adouble tracking project completed in 2006.
That came to light May 22 asSFRTA's board met to consider--and, as it turned out, approve--the plan to slash the number of daily trains and eliminate weekend service. To keep Tri-Rail running full strength and avoid federal penalties, SFRTA Chairman Josephus Eggelletion asked the state for $10 million in stop-gap funding until the legislature can reconsider its recent turndown of the agency's funding request.
When traffic returns to the railroads in a post-recession economy, it may not come from the old familiar places, suggests CP Rail Chief Executive Fred Green.
Talking with reporters following the company's annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 22, Green said changes in public policy as well as in the financial markets may require a re-examination of long-term investments in railroad infrastructure.
As examples, he mentioned the possibility that the volume of container imports (a greatpre-recession source of revenue for intermodal carriers) may find new shipping lanes. He also said that shifting mandates in how energy is provided could affect such proposals as that to build a new coal-hauling line into the Powder River Basin coalfields (an option that CP acquired with its purchase ofthe Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern, which had won regulatory authority for sucha buildout but not the necessary financing).
If changes occur, said Green,"I wouldn't predict that there will be a net negative to the company, but jus ta net difference to the company ... it's something we have to keep oureyes wide open for." For instance, he said, a change in trade patterns between North America and China "could cause a completely different set of logistical needs: We'll still be involved, but in a different lane, a different corridor."
Metrolinx, the authority charged with overseeing public transport in the greater Toronto metropolitan area, announced Tuesday its intention to study the electrification of the entire GO Transit rail system. GO Transit currently employs diesel locomotives throughout its system.
Metrolinx, the authority charged with overseeing public transport in the greater Toronto metropolitan area, announced Tuesday its intention to study the electrification of the entire GO Transit rail system. GO Transit curre ...
Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. says it has been honored with the 2009 Minnesota Governor's International Trade Award. Hamel, Minn.-based Loram was one of seven companies recognized for developing and continuing to grow a significant part of their business in foreign markets, for increasing or maintaining jobs in Minnesota that support international sales, and for developing novel approaches for competing globally.
A luncheon honoring the award winners was held last Friday at the IDS Center in Minneapolis. Loram representatives in attendance included: President and CEO Phil Homan; Director of Business Development Tom Smith; Chief Engineer in OEM Services Ken Range; Manager of International Operations Andrew Hense; Manager of Production Rail Grinding Luke Olson; International Contract Manager Jeanne Fondell; International Services Coordinator Kaizen Yang; Chief Engineer in OEM Services Roger Luedke, and also Andrew Tompkins, Geoff Michel, and Richard Kopka.
"Minnesota companies sold a record $17.3 billion in manufactured exports last year," said Tony Lorusso, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. Loram's international sales grew from 24% of revenue in 2006 to 31% of revenue in 2008. Loram has customers in more than 30 countries.
U.S. Class I railroad employment declined 6.27%, to 154,263, in the year ended in mid-April 2009, according to the Surface Transportation Board. The biggest job losses continued to be among train operating crews.
In the category of transportation (train and engine), employment dropped 14.22% to 58,806. There was a 5.57% increase, to 6,992, in the transportation (other than train and engine) group, and a seasonal increase in maintenance-of-way employment, which edged up 0.23% to 35,377.
All other job categories showed declines: executives, officials, and staff assistants, down 0.32% to 10,041; professional and administrative, down 1.79% to 13,432; and maintenance of equipment and stores, down 2.43% to 29,615.
Ansaldo STS USA Friday announced it has been awarded a $13 million subcontract agreement with Pittsburgh-based Wellington Power Corp. for the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s North Shore Connector project, an extension of the city’s LRT system 1.2 miles, which includes a tunnel underneath the Allegheny River.
The contract involves the design and implementation of a system interlocking and wayside signal system for the new relay rooms at Allegheny Station and North Side Station, and modifications in the existing Gateway Station relay room and the Wood Street Station interlocking relay room.
Ansaldo STS USA said it also will deliver a communications subsystem that includes fiber optic transmission, variable message signage, digital video surveillance, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). It will design modifications for the existing Authority Operations Control Center (OCC) to support the added facilities and equipment.
“We are proud to partner with Wellington Power on this local effort,” said Dr. Alan E. Calegari, president and CEO of Ansaldo STS USA. “We have been involved in the initial development and operation of the OCC contract, and the Stage I and II contracts, and we will continue to support Allegheny County Transit Authority’s commitment to safety for their passengers, employees, and community.”
The $13 billion in federal stimulus money over a five-year period to advance U.S. high speed rail should be focused on one project to best demonstrate HSR’s value, according to BNSF CEO Matthew K. Rose, addressing the Austin (Tex.) Economic Club Thursday.
Detroit’s Department of Transportation and private-sector interests in the Motor City have reached agreement on a $125 million, 3.4-mile lightrail line planned for Woodward Avenue, known at M1 Rail.
The plan adopted will advance curb-side passenger access, a marked difference from DDOT’s proposed $371 million “Detroit Transit Options forGrowth,” which envisioned light rail occupying the center of the street. ButM1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen emphasized, “This is in no way competition,” while citing the accord between the parties.
M1-Rail acquired state legislative approvals and stateoperational funding mechanisms last January, as legislators were informed ofthe $125 million in financial support from private industry supporters andother backers. That support includes roughly $30 million in private donations and station sponsorships, $9 million from Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority, and $35 million from the Kresge Foundation.
Denver-based Xcel Energy, a U.S alternate energy company, wants to install solar panels along St. Paul’s planned Central Corridor light rail line to demonstrate solar energy’s usefulness to both the rail mode and the surrounding community,
Xcel CEO Richard Kelly made the company’s concept public while addressing an annual shareholders meeting Wednesday in St. Paul’s Brooklyn Center. "You'll see it; we'll be bringing it up here pretty soon," Kelly said.
For the Central Corridor, Xcel's concept is to mount solar panels on catenary poles along a portion of the University Avenue route, which would serve as charging stations for plug-in electric hybrid vehicles parked onthe street, according to David Sparby, president of Xcel's Northern States Power Co. Sparby said the concept could be applied to other existing and planned LRT systems in North America.
Xcel’s current role as a solar energy provider is limited to Colorado, and the company has more experience in providing wind-powered energy, including within Minnesota.
The 11-mile Central Corridor light rail line will link downtown St. Paul with downtown Minneapolis, joining the existing Hiawatha Line in Minneapolis near Downtown East/Metrodome Station.