The National Transportation Safety Board Monday issued a safety recommendation to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) calling for enhanced safety redundancy of its train control system. The call follows the June 22 accident on the Metrorail Red Line between Fort Totten and Takoma stations, which according to NTSB shows the Metrorail train control system is susceptible to a single point failure, which did not “stop a train when detection of a preceding train was lost.”
The NTSB recommendation says WMATA should evaluate track occupancy data on a real-time basis in order to detect losses in track occupancy and automatically generate alerts to prompt such actions as immediately stopping train movements or implementing appropriate speed restrictions to prevent collisions.
NTSB also made a second recommendation to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) urging the agency to advise all rail transit operators with train control systems capable of monitoring train movements to evaluate their systems for adequate safety redundancy.
"While the NTSB is still in the very early stages of its investigation into this tragic accident here in our nation's capital, we have concerns about the failure of WMATA's train control system to prevent this collision," said Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. “By calling upon WMATA to take swift action to upgrade the safety redundancy of its system and by urging FTA to alert other transit agencies of the hazards of single point failures such as the one experienced by WMATA, we hope to prevent something similar from happening again."
Per NTSB protocol, the letters were issued to the heads of both agencies with a request for a response from each organization within 30 days, addressing the actions taken or planned in response to the Board's recommendation.
The safety recommendation letter to WMATA may be found here.
The safety recommendation letter to the FTA may be found here.
Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific announced Monday the launch of new expedited intermodal service between Los Angeles and Atlantafor refrigerated trailer shippers.
They said the new service, the fastest East-West service available, offers shippers the option of having their refrigeration units serviced in El Paso, Tex., "significantly reducing the of protective service failure during transit."
"New rail customers will find this premier service a seamless shift from over-the-road transportation by providing truck-like speed (more than 500 miles per day) and reliability," said the announcement.
The Anaheim City Council and the Orange County Transportation Authority have selected the Los Angeles office of the global architectural firm HOK and Parsons Brinckerhoff to design the $180 million first phase of the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center. HOK said the 60,000 square-foot structure will feature an 180-foot archway offering "expansive skyline views and will stand out as a landmark through the region."
The two firms are dedicated to delivering the "world-class and iconic structure" sought by Anaheim, said HOK Los Angeles Principal Riccardo Mascia.
Groundbreaking will take place next year and the structure is to be completed in 2013.
The center will serve the Anaheim Convention Center, Angel Stadium, Disneyland, and the Honda Center.
Los Angeles HOK said the project gives the design team the opportunity "to incorporate innovative technologies and sustainable features into the building such as solar panels, ETFE cushions--a highly-insulated enclosure system one-tenth the weight of glass--and a solar water heater built into the roof to reduce energy use, water use, solid waste production, and carbon emissions."
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, which operates Houston’s METRORail light rail, marked groundbreaking for two new light rail lines Monday with three distinct ceremonies.
Groundbreaking for the METRORail North Line was held early Monday morning at the Northline Mall on Fulton Street, while a second ceremony, scheduled to occur simultaneously, was held for the Southeast Line at The PalmCenter on Griggs Road. A third, joint ceremony at roughly 10:30 a.m. marking the start of construction for both lines took place at Union Station in Minute Maid Park.
The North Line will run from the existing University of Houston Downtown Station, current northern terminus of the existing Red Line LRT service, to North Line Mall. The Southeast Line will run from downtown (linking with the Red Line) toTexas Southern University and the University of Houston.
“What this is all about is connecting communities,” said METRORail spokesman George Smalley. “It’s making it easier for people to get to a job, a medical facility or get to school. So, it is going to change the look of Houston and the feel of Houston and how we move about.”
Houston METRORail’s 7.5-mile Red Line, which opened on Jan. 1, 2004, currently handles about 39,500 weekday riders. After all five LRT lines (existing and proposed) are in operation, METRORail estimates ridership of 129,000 per day by 2030.
Responding to a July 10 New York Times article by Elisabeth Rosenthal entitled “Buses May Aid Climate Battle in Poor Cities,” Lyndon Henry, a data analyst for Austin, Tex.’s Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also a technical consultant with Light Rail Now!, wrote the following. As of July 13, the Times had not yet published the response.
Responding to a July 10 New York Times article by Elisabeth Rosenthal entitled “Buses May Aid Climate Battle in Poor Cities,” Lyndon Henry, a data analyst for Austin, Tex.’s Capital Met ...
Conceptual route alternatives for a streetcar operation in downtown Los Angeles have been released by Los Angeles Streetcar, Inc. (LASI), a nonprofit group charged with giving the City of Angels a streetcar by 2014. The routes all serve three distinct areas.
"Part of the logic behind defining this Core ServiceArea was to transport people to/from areas they want to get to today, like the LA Live/Staples/Convention area and Bunker Hill/Civic Center, but also route them through the locations they might not have known about or seen previously, like a Broadway corridor or Pico Blvd," said Executive Director Dennis Allen.
"This is all part of the two-pronged approach that streetcar systems need to take, as a local circulator and transportation solution, and as one of the best economic development tools to surface in recent times," Allen said.
The plan utilizes north and south tracks running on separate streets for some portions of the route(s), and “mini routes” such as a South Park loop.
LASI will hold a community open house at the Bradbury Building on July 29 for public input.
The Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled that the proposed construction and operation of a passenger rail service between Toronto's Union Station and Lester B. Pearson International Airport does not fall under federal jurisdiction. Union-Pearson AirLink Group (UPAG), the primary proponent of such a link, therefore will not be required to obtain an agency-issued certificate of fitness, nor will it have to seek federal approvals under the Canada Transportation Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for the proposed railway line.
The CTA found that the new passenger rail service would not be functionally integrated with the operations of the federally regulated Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Pearson International Airport. Italso noted that the proposed facilities would not be an essential or integral part of the GTAA's activities.CTA's decision of the jurisdictional status of UPAG's project is based on evidence provided by the applicant, and could be revisited should the project not be developed as presented.
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine Friday joined Port Authority of New York & New Jersey officials in marking the official launch of PATH’s PA-5 fleet. PATH scheduled ceremonies at PATH’s hub at Journal Square in Jersey City, N.J., subsequently offering a ceremonial PA-5 consist from Journal Square to Hoboken.
All 340 PA-5 cars are expected to be in service by 2011, replacing existing PA-2, PA-3, and PA-4 cars currently in service. PATH awarded a contract in April 2005 to Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., for the new cars now being placed in service. Kawasaki’s Yonkers, N.Y., assembly plant is involved in the manufacture of the fleet.
Delivery to PATH began in the latter half of 2008, and a small number of PA-5 cars have been running during the first half of 2009 in revenue test operations throughout the bistate system.
Canadian Pacific and Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. will share $571,107 in stimulus funds, funneled through the state of Wisconsin, for the installation of devices to reduce diesel emissions for 40 locomotives.
Milwaukee-based Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., winner of Railway Age’s 2009 Regional Railroad of the Year Award, will install the devices on 34 switch locomotives. Wisconsin’s grant to CP will help the Class I railroad install devices on six locomotives.
The Wisconsin project aims to reduce emissions from switch locomotives at rail yards and address the energy efficiency of rail fleets by installing automatic start/stop devices to control idling.
Idle reduction devices will reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 50% to 70%, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said in announcing the funding.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources which, in turn, will direct the funds to the railroads.