West Sacramento, Calif., surprised many political analysts on Election Day 2008 by voting to tax itself in order to establish a 1.2-mile streetcar line, designed in part to link to larger neighbor Sacramento’s light rail transit system. But the small city failed to secure any of the $130 million awarded by the federal government July 8 for streetcar development.
West Sacramento officials say they will continue their efforts to build a streetcar line connecting to Sacramento over the Tower Bridge despite failing Thursday in a bid for federal funds. Still, “This is terribly disappointing,” Mayor Christopher Cabaldon acknowledged.
Federal officials have indicated they may offer streetcar grants again next year, and West Sacramento officials said they are likely to apply. The city had sought $25 million (the maximum awarded by the Federal Transit Administration under the Urban Circulator Grant Program) for its initial line, which would run from West Sacramento City Hall down West Capitol Avenue, over the Tower Bridge, and terminate near Old Sacramento.
FTA and the Department of Transportation awarded $130 million in streetcar grants to five cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, Tex., St. Louis, Charlotte, N.C., and Cincinnati. They were among 65 cities, including West Sacramento, that had applied for the money.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and
with equipment, materials, and crews to complete the track work as soon
water levels subside,” said the advisory. “At this point, we estimate
section of main line could be out of service for another few days. A more precise estimate is completely
dependent on the pace at which the water recedes, which is a factor
completely outside of our control.”
The railroad said it would continue to work on
detour options with connecting railroads, adding: “The force majeure and
embargos at Laredo, Matamoros, and Monterrey will remain in place. We
it will take approximately two weeks to clear all of the trains that are
due to the service disruption.”
This year, InnoTrans willsee a significant increase in the numbers of exhibitors from North and SouthAmerica in particular, as well as from Asia. More countries are making theirdebut each time this event is held. The United Arab Emirates, which will beattending in Berlin for the first time, plans to invest several billion U.S.dollars in transport projects over the next few years.
Kansas City Southern deMexico, S.A. de C.V. appointed Eugenio Vargas Chavez as assistant vicepresident human resources.
Norfolk Southern shares were up 3.52% to $53.79 in late afternoon trading Friday following an upgrade from “neutral” to “overweight” by J. P. Morgan analyst Thomas Wadewitz. At the same time, Wadewitz downgraded Canadian National from “overweight” to “neutral.” CN shares were up 0 27%. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.45%.
The prospect of an upturn coal traffic was a main factor in the NS upgrade. The J. P. Morgan analyst pointed out that NS gets 28% of its business from coal.
Noting that NSX shares have lagged those of some other railroads this year, Wadewitz said in a research note, “Our sense is that there is room for Norfolk Southern to do better than the rail group over the next 12 months.” He is holding to his yearend 2010 price target of $68 a share for NS.
The number of fatalities on U.S. railroads reached 217 in the first four months of this year, up 10.2% over the same period in 2009, according to preliminary statistics for January-April posted on the website of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis.
Primarily responsible for the increase was a 26.1% jump in grade crossing fatalities, from 69 in the 2009 period to 87 this year. Trespasser fatalities added up to 112 this year, the same as in the corresponding 2009 period. Employee fatalities also remained at he same level as last ear—seven.
A total of 728 railroads reported 3,486 accidents/incidents in this year’s first four months, down 3.8% from last year.
Train accidents declined 7% to 596 in the 2010 period, with collisions down 20.8% to 38 and derailments down 3.6% to 429.
Track causes were blamed for 198 train accidents, down 4.3% from last year; human factors for 190, down 6.9%; equipment causes for 106, down 20.8%; signal cases for 17, down 10.5%; and miscellaneous causes for 107, down 1.9%.
The number of yard accidents declined 1.8% to 319 in the 2010 period.
Kansas City Southern said Thursday that a week after Hurricane Alex made landfall in Mexico, it was still “too early in the recovery process to estimate the financial impact of the repairs and business interruption which KCS and KCS de Mexico currently expect will be reflected primarily in their third-quarter financial results.”
The company said the storm caused “significant track damage around the Monterrey and Saltillo areas as well as on the lines to Laredo and Matamoros,” and “there have also been multiple track related incidents due to the hurricane.”
KCSM has issued freight embargos at the U.S.-Mexico border and into Monterrey while the damage is repaired. It could take up to two weeks to clear congestion and move trains currently parked as a result of the service disruption.
KCS as been sending equipment, track materials, and workers into Mexico from the U.S. as KCSM worked with connecting carriers on movement and staging of trains so that when lines reopen service it can return to normal as quickly as possible.
The company said it maintains insurance to cover such events with self-insured retention amounts ranging from $5 million to $10 million.
Germany’s Deutsche Bahn said Thursday it has dismissed several midlevel executives for paying bribes in Greece and at least two African nations, Algeria and Rwanda.
Allegations of the bribes were first reported several months ago to authorities, but DB has not moved on the matter until now. DB said the activity took place through DB International, its actively growing international business that provides expertise to nations that are building or upgrading their passenger rail and rail transit services.
DB itself was first to make the scandal public, but it declined tosay how many employees were involved. It did note it was ending contracts with several consultants also suspected of illegal activity. German federal authorities said at least 10 individuals were involved.
The bribes allegedly involved passed back to purchasing managers and public officials in the customer country, often designated as consultant’s fees.