Canadian National Tuesday announced the appointment of four executives to leadership positions in operations, effective immediately.
CN said Gordon Trafton (pictured), senior vice-president, Southern Region, is now senior vice-president, Strategic Acquisitions and Integration, charged with overseeing the continued, successful integration of the former Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co. into CN’s network. Trafton is based in Chicago.
Jim Vena moves from senior vice-president, Western Region, into Trafton’s previous slot as senior vice-president, Southern Region; he, too, is based in Chicago.
Mike Cory, most recently senior vice-president, Eastern Region, has been appointed senior vice-president, Western Region; Cory, who joined CN in 1981, will be based in Edmonton, Alberta.
Jeff Liepelt, who was vice-president, Operations, Southern Region, has been promoted to vice-president, Eastern Region. Liepelt, who joined the former Illionis Central in 1978, will be based in Toronto.
All four officers will report to Keith Creel, CN executivevice-president, Operations.
"I am pleased to announce these appointments as they demonstrate CN's outstanding depth of skilled leaders," said E. Hunter Harrison, president and chief executive officer of CN. "The combined operations expertise of these experienced railroaders gives me great confidence in the continued success of our organization."
Ontario provincial leaders have introduced legislation to merge GO Transit, the transit system serving metropolitan Toronto, with Metrolinx, the regional planning agency charged with growing public transit in the Greater Toronto Area.
Robert Pritchard, former CEO of Toronto–based newspaper and book publisher Torstar Corp., will oversee the merger process. Metrolinx Chairman Rob MacIsaac and GO Transit Chairman Peter Smith also will serve on the transitional board of directors, which will consist of 15 members.
No sitting politicians would be appointed to the new board, which is to be made up of planning and transportation experts. That move cuts off Toronto Mayor David Miller, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCAllion, and other area municipal leaders from continued participation on the Metrolinx board. Miller, in particular, has criticized Metrolinx’s C$11.5 billion regional transit planning severely, among other reasons for not strongly supporting efforts to expand Toronto’s own C$10 billion “Transit City” light rail transit expansion plan.
The provincial government says the proposed merger would help get shovels in the ground faster on new transit projects, promoting and expediting more construction jobs in the future.
"Metrolinx has done an excellent job building the agency and preparing a regional transportation plan," Transportation Minister Jim Bradley said in a statement. "By bringing Metrolinx together with experienced transit-builder GO, we will be able to take transportation plans off the drawing board and into service more quickly."
The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has named Robert D. Jones, vice president of RailAmerica’s West Region, as the 2008 “Safety Person of the Year.”
Jones was cited for his dedication to safety and innovative leadership, not only in his region, but also across all of RailAmerica. In 2008, all eight railroads in the West Region achieved an injury-free year. RailAmerica’s West Region comprises 250 employees and nearly 1,800 miles of track across Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington.
Jones will be recognized at the ASLRRA’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Nev., on April 27.
In addition to his work within the West Region, as head of RailAmerica’s Cross-Regional Safety Team, Jones led the company to its safest-ever year in 2008. In 2007, Jones customized a program developed by David Sarkus and outlined in his book, “The Safety Coach: Unleash the 7Cs for World-Class Safety Performance,” to a railroad environment. Jones ingrained the 7Cs–caring, coaching, correcting, confirming, collaborating, clarifying, and conciliating–into the West Region’s safety culture, emphasizing a caring, positive approach to safety. Jones subsequently implemented the 7Cs model across all of RailAmerica’s properties. In 2008 personal injuries were reduced by 35%, and the company’s FRA frequency index (the number of injuries per 200,000 man hours) was reduced to 1.64, the best in RailAmerica’s history.
“Due to Bob’s leadership and vision, we have established an affirmative safety culture throughout RailAmerica thatemphasizes positive reinforcement and compassion for the individuals who workat our railroads,” said RailAmerica CEO John Giles. “Bob personally taught the 7Cs to RailAmerica’s five other regions, impacting more than 400 employees and demonstrating that a culture of caring can produce tremendous results.”
“I am truly honored and humbled by this award,” Jones said. “RailAmerica’s safety record is a team effort. From our senior management, which provides necessary resources and a supportive environment, to our front-line employees who never compromise on safety, everyone contributes to the strong safety culture at RailAmerica.”
Washington sources said Monday that railroads and shippers are expected reach agreement on so-called "re-reg" legislation within about two weeks following intense and highly confidential negotiations involving all the key players: carriers, "captive shippers," legislators (especially Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.), and labor interests.
"There should be a shipper/railroad consensus bill by mid-April," said one source, who added that the Association of American Railroads board had agreed earlier this month to compromise on shipper issues.
The legislation has to do with the railroads' remaining antitrust immunity and perceived competitive abuses.
Goldman Sachs analyst David Feinberg advised clients in aresearch note that he expects railroads to experience a turnaroundbeginning in this year's secondhalf, though he now believes their loss of volume during the year will be as high as 13.3% vs. his earlier forecast of 10.8%. He also expects the industry to maintain prices 4% higher than lastyear.
Among specific carriers, Feinberg upgraded BNSF to "buy" and droppedUnion Pacific's rating from "buy" to"neutral." Taking note of BNSFs "superior" intermodal franchisee, he said BN has recently been takingvolume away from rival UP.
Alton & Southern Railway Co. has expanded its existing RailComm Domain Operations Controller (DOC®) System by adding 14 remotely controlled power switch machines at the Bowl and Crest sections of its yard. The 14 switches were added to the existing DOC® system and eliminated handthrow switches.
A point-to-multipoint wireless data communications network was established utilizing RailComm’s RADiANTTM Data Radio technology.
Alton & Southern, a switching operation based in East St. Louis, Ill., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Union Pacific.
Frederick N. Houser, Jr., a distinguished railway technical writer who worked for Railway Age (as an associate editor) and Railway Locomotives & Cars (as editor) from 1955 to 1974, died March 26, in Stoneboro, Pa. In addition to his work on the two Simmons-Boardman periodicals, he was a contributing editor to the Car Builder's Cyclopedia and author of the Railroad Electrification Section: Student Handbook for Electrical Engineers.
Born 84 years ago in Stoneboro, Houser earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. He worked as a special engineer for the Bessemer & Lake Erie before joining the Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp.
After leaving Simmons-Boardman, Houser worked for the National Transportation Research Board in Washington as manager of mass transit research information services.
Los Angeles is seeking public input, beginning Monday, to consider a proposal to connect its Blue and Gold light rail lines through downtown. At present, each line terminates at a station on the city’s Red Line subway, requiring transfers for passengers between Metro Center and Union Station.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will hold four meetings to gather public comment as part of an environmental review analyzing different possibilities for building the proposed two-mile link to simplify the process.
“By providing continuous through service between these lines, the regional connector will improve regional mobility, minimize transfers, reduce station crowding, and improve access to both local and regional destinations," a Metro statement says.
LACMTA officials, and rail transit advocates, estimate the connector could reduce one-way trips across the county by 10 to 30 minutes.
Veteran New York City Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler (pictured), a longtime advocate of a freight tunnel under New York Harbor, will be joined by a newly minted Democratic Congressman from Connecticut, Jim Hines, in a push to include funding for the tunnel in a new five-year Surface Transportation Infrastructure Reauthorization Act. The current Act expires in September.
They argue that a freight tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York would shift millions of tons of freight from truck to rail and relieve congestion throughout the area. Trucks now handle about 95% of all freight moving between the two states.
"There is basically 50 years of catching up to investment in rail freight in the whole area that needs to be done over a period of time," says Nadler. "Clearly, in terms of congestion on I-95, it would be very important to Connecticut, but it won't help much if someone in Connecticut doesn't look at what the options for a rail freight terminal up there are."
"It is a very high priority for me," says Hines. "The people in Fairfield County pay too high a psychological and economic burden from congestion in the state."
According to the Stamford Advocate, a 2004 environmental study found the underwater route could eliminate up to 1 million vehicle trips from New York City's roads a year, and similar numbers in Connecticut and Long Island, N.Y.