New York City’s Department of Transportation and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) announced late Thursday a $295,000 study to evaluate a longstanding proposal to reintroduce streetcar service in Brooklyn, specifically designed to bolster transportation in Red Hook district, a neighborhood now enjoying an economic resurgence.
San Francisco-based URS Corp. will conduct a five-month evaluation of the proposed route, currently envisioned to link an Ikea store in Red Hook with either Borough Hall or to the Brooklyn Bridge waterfront. Funding comes from a federal grant Rep. Velazquez helped secure in 2005.
“A streetcar system in Red Hook has the potential to reconnect this neighborhood with the rest of the city and greatly improve transit options for residents,” Velazquez said. NYCDOT plans to meet with local groups to explore how a streetcar route would impact the neighborhood.
The project has been delayed for numerous reasons for decades, despite its being championed by the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association, which at one point received approval to move ahead with portions of the project. Several industry observers—and even a few NYCDOT staffers interviewed by Railway Age in recent years (though not for attribution)—have suggested that NYCDOT has been hostile to streetcar restoration in general.
Some, however, note that the city’s current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has been less averse to exploring streetcar options. And in a statement Thursday, NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said, “Once ubiquitous in New York City's streetscape, streetcars remain part of the transportation mix in cities from Toronto to Melbourne, and we need to consider all options toimprove transit access in underserved neighborhoods like Red Hook.”
Rep. Velazquez reportedly has requested $10 million in funds for construction of a Red Hook route, with funding currently being considered by the House.
Hill International said Thursday a joint venture of Hill, Systra Engineering, and Gannett Fleming has received a contractfrom the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PA) to “provide expert professional planning, project management, and related services on a call-in basis” in connection with the $4.1 billion capital program of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rail system.
The contract has a one-year base period and up to sevenone-year option periods, Hill said. The amount of the contract was notdisclosed.
PATH a bistate service with 13 stations, links terminals in Newark and Hoboken, N.J., with end points in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.
SCI Verkehr, the German railway and logistics consultancy, has released a new edition of its World Market for Railway Technology that calls for global railway investment to increase from a currently estimated $168 billion to approximately $205 billion in 2015. Of the total, 53% is expected to come from after-sales.
Describing its new findings in the September issue of International Railway Journal, the sister publication of Railway Age based in Falmouth, England, SCI Verkehr said it timed its updated forecast to coincide with the giant railway exhibition, InnoTrans, in Berlin this month.
North American annual spending is expected to grow to $25 billion by 2015, a 5% increase. But China will be the champion investor.
"For the first time ever, China leads the top ten [country] rankings in terms of investment in railway technology," says the report. "Major projects in the United States, India, and the countries of South America as well as in the Arabian economic area are stimulating further growth. However, it is the Chinese railway technology manufacturers who are increasing their turnover and market share at a breathtaking speed, and more recently outside the domestic market."
The regional forecasts put total investment in Western Europe in 2015 at $50.6 billion, up 23.3%; in Asia, $43.7 billion, up 4.3%; in the former Soviet Union, $17.5 billion, up 4.9%; in Eastern Europe, $12.29 billion, up 2.9%; in Africa and the Middle East, $7.2 billion, up 5.6%; in Australia/Pacific, $3.7 billion, up 2.3%.
The Association of American Railroads Thursday said U.S. weekly rail carload freight volume set a new 2010 record for the second consecutive week, with carloads for the week ended September 4 up 6.9% over the comparable week one year ago.
Moreover, carload freight was “at comparable levels to the same week in 2008,” AAR said, noting the 2008 comparison week included the Labor Day holiday while the corresponding weeks in both 2010 and 2009 did not.
Thirteen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009, with metallic ores and metals and metal products continuing to post significant increases, up 57.1% and 32.4%, respectively. Nine carload commodity groups posted an increase over the 2008 comparison week.
U.S. intermodal traffic was up 18% from the same week in 2009, and also up 18% compared with 2008.
Canadian freight carload volume rose 19.6% for the week compared with last year, while intermodal gained 13.8%. Mexican freight carload volume advanced 24.7% from 2009 levels, while intermodal rose 14.1%.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 35 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 10% from 2009, while intermodal was up 15%.
Cincinnati city officials Wednesday said Vine Street willhost the $128 million streetcar route from Over-the-Rhine to the Uptown areanear the University of Cincinnati. A route along West Clifton Avenue was theother choice being evaluated in recent days after the two were selected from alarger list.
City officials chose Vine Street because it will be lessexpensive, and because the street is straighter and is not as hilly as West Clifton. “Our directionfrom City Council has always been to 'connect the dots,' but to do so in a waythat is fiscally responsible,” said City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr.“The Vine Street route accomplishes that.”
Vine Street also offers betteropportunities for future expansion, officials said.
On the lower, relatively flat portions of the line, the streetcars will cover aroute that resembles an elongated, twisted figure eight through Over-the-Rhineand Downtown. The streetcars will travel primarily along Main and Walnutstreets from Downtown’s riverfront through the Central Business District, thenmove several blocks to the west to run up and down Race and Elm streets inOver-the-Rhine before proceeding into Uptown on Vine.Cincinnati has secured roughly 90% of the projected $128 million construction cost. It has applied for another $35 million federal grant to cover the remainder. Preliminary construction on the streetcar line is expected to start before year’send, with service scheduled to begin in spring 2013.
Portland, Ore.’s TriMet says the Portland Streetcar will be suspended for two weeks, beginning Sept. 13, to allow construction to connect the new eastside streetcar line to the existing westside line in the Pearl District. TriMet will provide shuttle bus service along the westside line from Sept. 13 to 26.
The agency had weighed continued service, but found construction work would prevent the individual streetcars from being returned to their maintenance yard in Northwest Portland for storage every night. That would require the hiring of security guards to protect them overnight, a TriMet spokesperson said. And shuttle buses would still be required to move passengers along the closed portion of the route.
When completed, the eastside line will carry passengers over the Broadway Bridge through the inner eastside to Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI). A new (non-auto) bridge over the Willamette River connecting OMSI to South waterfront is planned aspart of the Portland to Milwaukie MAX light rail line. It will also carry streetcars to the southern end of the westside line, creating a compete loop through west and east Portland.
Russian Railways Vice President and Federal Passenger Company General Director Mikhail Akulov said Wednesday plans are set to launch high speed rail service between St. Petersburg and Helsinki, Finland’s capital, in December.
Allegro trains will cover the 443-kilometer (275-mile) route in 3 hours, 30 minutes, down from the current travel time of 6 hours, 18 minutes; travel time within Russia itself will be reduced from 3 hours 11 minutes to 90 minutes. Allegro trains will stop at Vyborg and Vainikkala—the latter on the Russian-Finnish border—as well as Kouvola, Lahti, Tikkurila, and Pasila in Finland.
The shorter journey time is due to the more technically advanced trains, quicker border checkpoint formalities, and greater traveling speeds, Akulov said. The Allegro trains will be able to reach 200 km/h (about 125 mph) on Russian territory, and 220 km/h (135 mph) within Finland.
Initially, two return trips will be made daily. The Allegro service from Helsinki to St. Petersburg will depart at around 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., with service from St. Petersburg to Helsinki departing at or near 6:40 a.m. and 3:25 p.m., Akulov said.
Once Allegro service begins, Finland’s Sibelius train and Russia’s Repin service will cease to run between St. Petersburg and Helsinki. The Russian overnight train Lev Tolstoy will continue to operate between Moscow and Helsinki.