Latest News Continued
Metra Executive Director Philip A. Pagano, who has been under investigation for financial misconduct, was struck and killed by a Metra train in Crystal Lake, Ill., Friday morning.  ...
The North American Section of the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE-NAS) isholding its Annual General Meeting and Mini Conference on Monday, May 17, beginning at 1:00 p.m., in Omaha, prior to the opening reception of the RSSIC&S Exhibition in Omaha. There is no c ...

Alstom Transportation, Inc. President Roelof van Ark has been named the new chief executive officer of the California High Speed Rail Authority.

roelof-van-ark.jpgSeveral industry sources say Van Ark, 58, an unabashed supporter of high speed rail and its potential in the U.S., was chosen in part to address the image problems the proposed $44 billion, 700-mile California system has acquired in recent months. Those problems were highlighted in a report released last month by the California state auditor, claiming the HSR program “risks delays or an incomplete system because of inadequate planning, weak oversight, and lax contract management.”

Van Ark’s appointment is backed by those who note he has served both Alstom and Erlangen, Germany-based Siemens AG, major potential suppliers for any U.S. high speed rail effort. Critics, however, suggest those very qualifications could put van Ark at a disadvantage, possibly a conflict of interest, should either of the two companies be considered for the project.

Van Ark succeeds Mehdi Morshed, who stepped down from his role as executive director in March after spending 11 years to advance HSR in California. According to a CHSRA news release, his $375,000 annual salary is “substantially less than his current compensation in the private sector.”

“California is leading the nation in high speed rail,” van Ark said. “I have seen how high speed rail projects transform the places where they have been built, creating incredible new opportunities by connecting the world s great cities. As someone who has devoted his career to this industry, there’s no doubt in my mind that California is the place to be, and I'’m honored to be given the opportunity to work with all partners to move California's high speed train project forward."

Van Ark has been president at Alstom Transportation Inc. for the past five years, and he previously served as president of Aviation Security for Invision Technologies Inc. Prior to that he spent more than 20 years as an executive, managing director, general manager, senior technical manager, and senior project engineer for Siemens, manufacturer of Germany’s ICE high speed trains. While with Siemens, van Ark worked in Germany, South Africa, and most recently in Sacramento, where he served as president and CEO of Siemens Transportation Systems from 1999-2002. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

 

 

 

--> Alstom Transportation, Inc. President Roelof van Ark has been named the new chief executive officer of the California High Speed Rail Authority. ...

Efforts to establish streetcar or light rail service in Wisconsin’s largest city, stymied for years by state and county opposition, got a boost Thursday when a Milwaukee study committee, in a 3-1 vote, approved preliminary engineering on a $95.8 million streetcar for downtown.

--> Efforts to establish streetcar or light rail service in Wisconsin’s largest city, stymied for years by state and county opposition, got a boost Thursday when a Milwaukee study committee, in a 3-1 vote, approved preliminary engineering on a $95.8 million s ...

Carload and intermodal rail traffic continued to gain ground in all three reporting North American nations for the week ended May 1, 2010, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. AAR noted the rise was across all freight commodity categories.

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U.S. carload freight rose 16.3% from the comparable week in 2009, though it still trails the 2008 period by 11.6%. U.S. intermodal traffic rose as well, up 13.2% compared with the year-ago period, still down 5.4% from 2008 levels.

Total U.S. volume was estimated at 32.9 billion ton-miles, up 16.7% from last year but still down 6.5% from 2008.  

Pacing the carload freight gains were a rise of 333.1% in metallic ore loadings. Loadings of metals were up 109.2%, scrap was up 67%, and coke gained 43.8%. Motor vehicles rose 25.8%.

Canadian railroads reported carload freight volume up 29.4% from the comparable week in2009, and a 15% increase in intermodal as well. Mexico’s two major railroads reported carload freight rose13.3% from the comparable week in 2009, while intermodal advanced 11.7%.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 17 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 8.2% from last year, while intermodal gained 10.2%.

--> Carload and intermodal rail traffic continued to gain ground in all three reporting North American nations for the week ended May 1, 2010, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday. AAR noted the rise was across all freight commodity categories. ...
--> On May 5, a cadre of crusading railroad customers led by CURE (Consumers United for Rail Equity) and enjoying the rapt attention of a cabal of Washington legislators determined to re-regulate the rail industry—Rockefeller, Oberstar, Kohl, Dorgan, Klobuchar, Conyers, Baldwin, and Walz—tru ...
The third annual National Train Day, hosted by Amtrak, kicks off on Friday, May 7, with a ceremony at New York’s Penn Station. Actor and railroad enthusiast Taye Diggs (star of “Private Practice”) will turn on an “edible trainscape made from elaborate confections and movin ...
The BlueGreen Alliance and the Economic Policy Institute have released a new study, “Full Speed Ahead: Creating Green Jobs Through Freight Rail Expansion,” which states that continued investment in freight rail “can create thousands of green jobs, while reducing carbon emissions ...

The North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division has installed the state’s first solar-powered highway-rail grade crossing warning system. Consisting of lights, bells, and gates, the system, designed and installed by C&S Signaling of Pewee Valley, Ky., is located on the Yadkin Valley Railroad in theStokes County town of Pinnacle on Surry Line Road.

 

Most crossing warning systems operate off battery power, withbatteries charged via commercial electricity. This system uses solar panels tocharge the batteries. “Usually, battery capacity generated from the solarpanels can accommodate a minimum of 48 to 72 hours of crossing signals and gateoperation for the number of daily trains expected,” said NCOT. “This comparesequally to crossing signals and gates using non-solar technology to generateelectricity. The solar array has a back-up generator for emergency use. Beyondthe use of the solar panels to charge the batteries and operate a couple oflow-draw electric items, such as an interior light, vent fan, etc., thecrossing signals and gates will operate like any other crossing automaticwarning system connected to the power grid. It also looks like any other signaland gate crossing warning system except for the mast-mounted solar panels atopthe crossing signal’s control panel.” 

“This is an outstanding opportunity to use renewable, cleanenergy,” said NCDOT Rail Division Director Pat Simmons. “While the crossingwill operate as effectively as any other to help keep motorists safe, we cantake pride in knowing that it’s also energy efficient.”

 

“We appreciate partnering with NCDOT and being the front runner atgoing green in this effort,” said Todd Burchette of the Yadkin Valley Railroad. 

 

The Rail Division said it “has plans for at least one other solarpanel signal and gate crossing and will continue to encourage the further useof this green technology.”

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Norfolk Southern has awarded 46 customers its 14th annual Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award for 2009 “in recognition of their safe handling of hazardous chemical products.” The award is earned by a company or facility that ships more than 1,000 carloads of hazardous material without incident for the year. In 2009, 38 corporations and eight plants attained that achievement.  Altogether, they safely shipped more than 120,000 carloads ranging from industrial chemicals and petroleum products to sulfur and related chemicals.

 

Customers earning the award for 2009 are:

■ Airgas Carbonic Inc.

■ Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc.

■ American Ecology Corporation

■ The Andersons, Inc. Ethanol Division

■ ArcelorMittal USA

■ Aventine Renewable Energy, Inc.

■ BASF Corporation

■ BP

■ Cargill Biofuels

■ ConocoPhillips

■ The Dow Chemical Company

■ Eastman Chemical Company plant at Kingsport, Tenn.

■ ERCO Worldwide

■ ExxonMobil

■ Finnchem USA Inc.

■ Glacial Lakes Energy LLC

■ Global Ethanol

■ Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc.

■ Hawkeye Gold

■ Heartland Grain Fuels

■ Husky Marketing and Supply Company

■ INEOS USA LLC

■ INVISTA S.à.r.l.

■ Koppers Inc.

■ Linde LLC

■ Lyondell Chemical Company

■ Marathon Petroleum Company, LLC

■ Marquis Energy

■ Olin Corporation Chlor Alkali Division plant at Nixon, Ga.

■ Olin Corporation Chlor Alkali Division plant at Charleston, Tenn.

■ Nucor Corp.

■ NuStar Marketing LLC

■ One Earth Energy

■ PCS Phosphate plant at White Springs, Fla.

■ Platinum Ethanol

■ POET Ethanol Products

■ Rhodia Inc.

■ Sunbelt Chlor Alkali Partnership

■ Sunoco, Inc. (R&M) plant at Toledo, Ohio

■ Sunoco Chemicals, Inc., plant at Frankford, Pa.

■ Targa Transport, LLC

■ Tennessee Valley Authority

■ Transmontaigne

■ Valero Marketing & Supply plant at Paulsboro, N.J.

■ Valero Marketing & Supply plant at Reybold, Del.

■ WRB Refining LLC.

 

“We are pleased to recognize these valued customers for their outstanding industry leadership in chemical safety,” said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. “By their unrelenting commitment to safe practices, they demonstrate on a daily basis the value of rail transportation as the safest, most reliable way to move their product. We salute these customers for partnering with us to make safety the No. 1 priority, and for their efforts to help make Norfolk Southern the safest railroad in North America.”

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