The Association of American Railroads Wednesday said the Railroad Research Foundation (RRF), an AAR-affiliate organization, has been awarded a Railroad Safety Technology Grant from the Department of Transportation for ongoing implementation of a risk management tool necessary for railroads to comply with federal regulations regarding the transportation of hazardous materials.
Funded through the Railroad Safety Technology Grant Program (RSTG), the grant provides $1.54 million for enhancement and ongoing implementation of the Rail Corridor Risk Management System (RCRMS), a web-based software tool used by railroads to analyze the safest, most secure routes for the transportation of certain hazardous materials. The technology is being developed in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). “We are pleased that the Department of Transportation has recognized the Railroad Research Foundation for their important work,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger (pictured at left). “As evidence by our industry’s stellar safety record, railroads are constantly working to ensure the safety of our employees and thecommunities we serve. The Rail Corridor Risk Management System is yet another tool to aid both railroads and our government partners in that mission.”Railroads, as required by federal regulations promulgated by PHMSA in 2008, must conduct ongoing comprehensive risk analyses of the primary routes used to ship certain hazardous materials and any alternative routes over which they have authority to operate. These analyses include a minimum of 27 specific risk factors including input provided by state and local governments. The tool will also take into consideration the presence of train control systems in the risk scores for the routes. The RCRMS tool is critical to the evaluation of these routes, enabling to industry to accomplish the objectives of the PHMSA Final Rule, AAR said.Seven grants totaling $50 million were awarded by DOT through the RSTG Program, which was created by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA). The program requires that selected projects be ready for deployment within 24months of receiving a grant award and that grantees share 20% of the total cost.Based in Washington, D.C., RRF is a non-profit policy research organization devoted to sustaining a safe, secure, technologically advanced, and productive marketplace-driven railroad industry. RRF research efforts focus on improving the safety, security, and efficiency of passenger and freight rail operations.
Greenwich, Conn.-based Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) said Wednesday it has completed the acquisition of the assets of Australia’s FreightLink Pty Ltd., or FL (receivers and managers appointed), Asia Pacific Transport Pty Ltd., or APT (receivers and managers appointed), and the other APT joint venture sellers (together with FL and APT, "FreightLink") for $319 million, plus the assumption of debt with a carrying value of $1.7 million.
FreightLink is the owner and operator of the 1,400-mile Tarcoola-to-Darwin railroad, linking the Port of Darwin to the Australian interstate rail network in South Australia. The rail line is located on land leased to FreightLink by the AustralAsia Railway Corp. under a concession agreement that terminates in 2054. FreightLink commenced operations in 2004, following the construction of the Alice Springs-to-Darwin portion of the rail line.
Bert Easthope, managing director of Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA), said, “The completion of the FreightLink acquisition heralds a new era for rail in South Australia and the Northern Territory. GWA looks forward to delivering quality service to customers in the Adelaide-to-Darwin corridor. The railroad is a strategic asset in the development of the mining industry in the Northern Territory and South Australia. We welcome the opportunity to support and invest in the future growth of our customers.”
Said FreightLink Chairman Malcolm Kinnaird, “The construction of the railway from Alice Springs to Darwin in 2003 has delivered enormous economic benefit to the Northern Territory and South Australia.”
Since 9/11 the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has made it clear it seeks to improve safety and security in all of its operations, including PATH, the bistate railroad the PA operates which also serves New York’s World Trade Center site. PATH’s WTC station was heavily damaged by the attack, which also flooded the tunnel linking the station to Exchange Place Station in New Jersey.
But defense contractors reportedly now are installing reinforced steel metal plates along the interior tunnel walls on the PATH system, along with flood-prevention gates being erected at New Jersey and New York locations affecting PATH’s line to WTC and its uptown branch terminating at 33rd Street in Midtown Manhattan.
The PA reportedly is striving to complete the work before the 10th anniversary ofthe 9/11 attack next September. The PA budget is funding most of the $600 million project, with other funding support from the Department of Homeland Security and the federal stimulus package.
PATH in the past has suffered from flooded tubes due to natural causes, most notably at its Hoboken, N.J., station, which was flooded for several days following a Nor'easter on Dec. 11, 1992.
Princeton, N.J.-based SightLogix said Tuesday Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has deployed the SightLogix® video intrusion detection system to provide perimeter security and prevent vandalism at DART’s Northwest Rail Operations Facility (NWROF). DART selected the SightLogix solution after a full and open competition, and Kratos Southwest LLC won the public bid for the DART contract, SightLogix said.
Together with SightLogix, Kratos worked with a number of groups within DART to meet compliance requirements related to emergency preparedness, IT, and environmental safety.
By deploying long-range Thermal SightSensors, DART was able to complete the project using fewer cameras, reducing the number of poles, power, and communications required. Cost savings allowed DART to procure additional SightSensors within the available budget and extend the security system to cover the entire perimeter.
Thermal SightSensors consist of a thermal imager, lens optics, electronic stabilization, on-board image processing, video analytics software, camera control, and geospatial target tracking within a NEMA 4X nitrogen-pressurized housing. SightSensors detect objects at long range and operate with accuracy in the dark, a key consideration at the DART site.
Further cost savings were realized by deploying theSightLogix system over DART’s wireless network, and running a “green” power system from CDM Wireless that relies on solar energy and standby batteries, eliminating the costs to run power and network lines under nearby railroad tracks.
“Protecting our critical facilities in this manner enables us to run a safe, secure system,” said DART Emergency Preparedness Manager Jill Shaw. “With SightLogix’s automated surveillance technology, DART security personnel can preempt potential security policy violations in real-time to ensure the integrity of our rail system.”
“Rail organizations require security solutions that provide situational awareness over expansive outdoor areas,” said John Romanowich, SightLogix president and CEO. “SightLogix technology was specifically designed to provide situational awareness in these outdoor environments which include vibrations from train activity and lighting variations. We’re pleased to have been selected by DART after their thorough evaluation of our capabilities.”
No longer content with the “static quo,” Amtrak seeks to establish European-style HSR in the U.S. Northeast—and operate other planned U.S. HSR systems.