U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Monday that DOT is awarding North Carolina the first installment, $20.3 million, of the $545 million that President Obama granted the state in January for high speed rail corridor development.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will use the initial founding to refurbish passenger coaches and locomotives to expand rail service across the state.
“We’re improving North Carolina’s transportation infrastructure while putting people back to work,” said Secretary LaHood (pictured at left).
Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo said North Carolina “has planned well and is set to build a world-class transportation network that will link the Tar Heel State to Washington, D.C. and the Northeast through high speed rail.”
Gov. Bev Perdue commented that “North Carolina has been a leader nationally in restoring passenger rail as a viable transportation alternative and we look forward to pursuing that goal in partnership with the federal government, beginning right now with this grant.”
CSX late Monday announced second-quarter earnings of $414 million, or $1.07 per share, compared with $305 million, or 77 cents per share, in the comparable quarter of 2009. CSX said higher traffic volume and efficiency measures contributed to the earnings increase. Revenue also rose, by 22%, to $2.66 billion.
The results beat analyst consensus expectations on anticipated revenue of $2.63 billion. Dahlman Rose & Co. Director-Equity Research and Railway Age Contributing Editor Jason Seidl called the performance “a high note,” noting CSX beat “both our and street estimates of $0.99 and $0.96, respectively.” Seidl also noted “an improved operating ratio of 71.2%, which is better than our estimate of 71.6%.”
Seidl noted, “The strong top line is largely attributable to a 13% year-over-year increase in total traffic, driven primarily by robust intermodal growth (up 18%), strong auto and metals volumes (up 63% and 44%, respectively), and solid increases in chemicals, emerging markets, and fertilizers. CSX reiterated its optimism about the ongoing freight recovery, stating that, while the economy remains dynamic, the company continues to see improvement in the market and maintains its positive outlook.”
West Sacramento, Calif., surprised many political analysts on Election Day 2008 by voting to tax itself in order to establish a 1.2-mile streetcar line, designed in part to link to larger neighbor Sacramento’s light rail transit system. But the small city failed to secure any of the $130 million awarded by the federal government July 8 for streetcar development.
West Sacramento officials say they will continue their efforts to build a streetcar line connecting to Sacramento over the Tower Bridge despite failing Thursday in a bid for federal funds. Still, “This is terribly disappointing,” Mayor Christopher Cabaldon acknowledged.
Federal officials have indicated they may offer streetcar grants again next year, and West Sacramento officials said they are likely to apply. The city had sought $25 million (the maximum awarded by the Federal Transit Administration under the Urban Circulator Grant Program) for its initial line, which would run from West Sacramento City Hall down West Capitol Avenue, over the Tower Bridge, and terminate near Old Sacramento.
FTA and the Department of Transportation awarded $130 million in streetcar grants to five cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, Tex., St. Louis, Charlotte, N.C., and Cincinnati. They were among 65 cities, including West Sacramento, that had applied for the money.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and
with equipment, materials, and crews to complete the track work as soon
water levels subside,” said the advisory. “At this point, we estimate
section of main line could be out of service for another few days. A more precise estimate is completely
dependent on the pace at which the water recedes, which is a factor
completely outside of our control.”
The railroad said it would continue to work on
detour options with connecting railroads, adding: “The force majeure and
embargos at Laredo, Matamoros, and Monterrey will remain in place. We
it will take approximately two weeks to clear all of the trains that are
due to the service disruption.”
This year, InnoTrans willsee a significant increase in the numbers of exhibitors from North and SouthAmerica in particular, as well as from Asia. More countries are making theirdebut each time this event is held. The United Arab Emirates, which will beattending in Berlin for the first time, plans to invest several billion U.S.dollars in transport projects over the next few years.
Kansas City Southern deMexico, S.A. de C.V. appointed Eugenio Vargas Chavez as assistant vicepresident human resources.
Norfolk Southern shares were up 3.52% to $53.79 in late afternoon trading Friday following an upgrade from “neutral” to “overweight” by J. P. Morgan analyst Thomas Wadewitz. At the same time, Wadewitz downgraded Canadian National from “overweight” to “neutral.” CN shares were up 0 27%. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.45%.
The prospect of an upturn coal traffic was a main factor in the NS upgrade. The J. P. Morgan analyst pointed out that NS gets 28% of its business from coal.
Noting that NSX shares have lagged those of some other railroads this year, Wadewitz said in a research note, “Our sense is that there is room for Norfolk Southern to do better than the rail group over the next 12 months.” He is holding to his yearend 2010 price target of $68 a share for NS.
The number of fatalities on U.S. railroads reached 217 in the first four months of this year, up 10.2% over the same period in 2009, according to preliminary statistics for January-April posted on the website of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis.
Primarily responsible for the increase was a 26.1% jump in grade crossing fatalities, from 69 in the 2009 period to 87 this year. Trespasser fatalities added up to 112 this year, the same as in the corresponding 2009 period. Employee fatalities also remained at he same level as last ear—seven.
A total of 728 railroads reported 3,486 accidents/incidents in this year’s first four months, down 3.8% from last year.
Train accidents declined 7% to 596 in the 2010 period, with collisions down 20.8% to 38 and derailments down 3.6% to 429.
Track causes were blamed for 198 train accidents, down 4.3% from last year; human factors for 190, down 6.9%; equipment causes for 106, down 20.8%; signal cases for 17, down 10.5%; and miscellaneous causes for 107, down 1.9%.
The number of yard accidents declined 1.8% to 319 in the 2010 period.