Washington, D.C.’s District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has picked a team of companies to design a proposed 37-mile streetcar network, including Portland, Ore.-based Shiels Obletz Johnsen, which will lead the private-sector management team driving the design, construction, and operation of the system. Shiels Obletz Johnsen has worked on streetcar projects in Portland and Seattle, according to DDOT.
Other companies include HDR Engineering Inc., LTK Engineering Services Inc., and Ball Janik LLP.
DDOT’s Request for Proposals, released last March, stated in part, “DDOT recognizes that it does not currently have the capacity or capability internally to deliver this program … It is seeking the advice and support of the private sector to deliverthis program. DDOT anticipates needing support in: Program Management, Planning, Operations, Financial Planning, Legal Counsel, Strategic & Project Communications, Governance & Management, and Procurement.”
The first two streetcar lines within the district, one located in Anacostia (southeast Washington) and the other along H Street Northeast, are currently expected to begin revenue service in 2012, though many doubt the deadline will be met. Those two two lines will cost about $100 million, while the larger system is expected to cost upward of $1.5 billion.
Bombardier Transportation has received an order from Victoria, Australia, for 50 Bombardier FLEXITY Swift low floor trams, with anoption for a further 100. The $293 million contract covers the supply of a mock-up, maintenance equipment, and tram maintenance.
Known locally as FLEXITY Melbourne, the trams carry up to 210 passengers. They will be manufactured by Bombardier at its Dandenong site, with sites in Mannheim and Siegen, Germany, supplying propulsion systems and bogies, respectively. The first vehicles are to be delivered in 2012.
Melbourne’s Tram network is one of the world’s largest, with the FLEXITY Swift tram providing extra capacity to address rapidly growing ridership.
Bombardier is currently delivering 51 two- and three-car VLocity regional trains to the Victorian Government.
More than 1,500 FLEXITY vehicles are already in service. Bombardier now has more than 2,800 trams and light rail vehicles operating or on order in cities across Europe, Australia, and North America.
Hillsborough Area Rapid Transit (HART) officials advancing light rail transit for Tampa, Fla., want LRT to do more than just connect with Tampa International Airport. HART planners Monday suggested an initial LRT could run 1.1 miles north beyond the airport, terminating at Hillsborough Avenue and linking LRT with bus services from northern and western portions of the Tampa Bay area.
HART’s Board of Directors have yet to make a final determination of any initial route, which would occur only if Hillsborough County voters approve a sales tax increase of one cent on Election Day Nov. 2to fund light rail and other transportation projects.
HART’s planning staff is expected to provide ridership projections and other data on two route choices at the board’s next meeting Oct. 18, including modal options such as LRT or buses. The Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization has backed LRT over Bus Rapid Transit due to LRT’s ability to foster economic development, according to a letter from the MPO to HART.
Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio has been an ardent supporter of LRT, as has Tampa Bay Partnership, a non-profit business advocacy group. But opponents to LRT development have grown more strident in recent weeks, targeting the existing 2.3-mile, 12-station TECO streetcar line in downtown Tampa, serving the city’s waterfront, as an example of rail's “misuse” of transportation dollars. Anti-rail partisans also have received counsel from anti-rail “troubadors” who this month visited the city to argue against the mode.
According to information in BNSF’s 10Q quarterly filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company paid a dividend of $250 million to Warren Buffett, its only stockholder.
If the past few months are any indication, the answer is yes. Just ask BNSF.
Current technology is not only more reliable, it’s highly intelligent.
As New York Penn Station marks a century of service, planners are gearing up for the next 100 years.
High performance wheels can offer improved safety and an extended life cycle.
Amtrak Tuesday unveiled an ambitious vision for “Next-Generation High-Speed Rail service” in the Northeast, superseding and complementing its existing Northeast Corridor, designed to dramatically reduce travel times between Boston and Washington, D.C. upon full build-out in 2040.
Speaking from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia during a teleconference, Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman (pictured at left) called the plan “a new vision for Amtrak” and for U.S. passenger rail development, “one that we haven’t seen for 100 years.” Under the plan, trains traveling at top speeds of 220 mph, or greater, would link Washington and New York in one hour 36 minutes, New York and Boston in one hour 24 minutes, and New York and Philadelphia in a brief 38 minutes.
Boardman, along with incoming Amtrak High Speed Rail Vice President Albrecht Engel, noted the new service would require 420 route-miles, most of it dedicated HSR right-of-way, particularly north of New York. About 32% of the new service—almost all of it south of New York—would run in close parallel to the existing NEC; 44% “will be brand new right of way”; and 15% would use existing infrastructure.
The New York-Boston alignment would take an “overland route” often proposed in the past, bypassing the current meandering ex-New Haven Line coastal route in favor of travel through interior Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The alignment offers suggested station stops at White Plains Airport, N.Y., Danbury, Waterbury, and Hartford, Conn., and Woonsocket, R.I.
The overland route would allow an average speed of 148 mph between New York and Boston, with the 84-minute trip time besting current rail travel time by more than two hours, Amtrak said. An average speed of 137 mph would prevail for the 96-minute trip linking New York and Washington.
Noting that “connectivity” with other transportation modes “is critical,” Boardman pointed to the numerous air/rail stations proposed for the route, which include Newark Liberty International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.
In a press release, Amtrak stated that “A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor (NEC),” when implemented in 2040, would provide HSR ridership approaching “18 million passengers with room to accommodate up to 80 million annually as demand increases in the years and decades that follow.” Amtrak estimates the service would generate an annual operating surplus of $900 million. Implementation would cost $4.7 billion each year for 25 years, or roughly $110 billion; Engel said the investment would generate 2.2 times that amount in economic development along the new route, including at or near new station sites in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Hartford.
Asked by Railway Age Editor William C. Vantuono if the new alignment would be accepted by cities excluded, such as Providence, R.I., Boardman replied, “We don’t intend to stop any service to Providence.” Instead, the entire Northeast would benefit from the overlayer of true HSR, complementing current Acela service, conventional Amtrak service, and regional rail operations such as MBTA, New Jersey Transit, and MARC.
Asked whether the vision might be too ambitious, Boardman asserted: “We don’t need a five-year vision to paint highways black; we need a 100-year vision of where we need to go.”
Amtrak officials also stressed that the NEC plan was only the first the railroad anticipated. “This is more than an NEC story; we have intentions beyond the NEC,” Amtrak said.
Boardman, Engel, and other Amtrak sources stressed that the actual HSR alignment, including station stops, “represent only one of a wide range of possible network and service configurations that could be developed.”
The proposal has been endorsed by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), both longtime Amtrak supporters.