The board of Denver’s Regional Transportation District agreed Tuesday to pay BNSF Railway $144 million for land, relocation, and engineering services to clear the way for FasTracks passenger rail projects.
The price includes $102.7 million for property in a BNSF freight corridor from Union Station to West 71st Avenue in Westminster, and in another corridor from Sheridan Boulevard and West 58th Avenue to the city of Golden, Colo.
The Denver Post noted that while RTD’s planned Gold Line service to Arvada and Wheat Ridge has a terminal station at Ward Road near West 49th Avenue, the agency is acquiring property to Golden for a potential extension.
The BNSF will operate freight trains on separate tracks.
In a letter addressed to company employees, Amtrak President Joe Boardman announced the creation of a High-Speed Rail Department, to be led by a vice president reporting directly to Boardman himself.
L.B. Foster Co. and Portec Rail Products, Inc. have each received a formal second request for additional “information and documentary material” from the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice regarding the Agreement and Plan of Merger dated Feb. 16 in which L.B. Foster proposed to acquire Portec. As a result, the waiting period during which the Antitrust Division is permitted to review the proposed transaction has been extended until the 10th day after L.B. Foster's compliance with the second request.
“L.B. Foster and Portec expect to promptly respond to the second request, and to continue to work cooperatively with the Antitrust Division as it conducts its review of the proposed transaction,” said L.B. Foster in a statement Tuesday. “As a result of the second request, L.B. Foster presently intends to extend the expiration time of the tender offer from time to time if the waiting period has not expired. L.B. Foster does not have the right under the Merger Agreement to unilaterally extend the expiration time of the Offer beyond June 15, 2010.”
Wabtec Corp. said Tuesday its Wabtec Rail subsidiary in Doncaster, England, has been awarded a $26 million contract to overhaul 286 electric multiple-unit (EMU) transit cars for Angel Trains. The project is expected to run through 2014. The Class 465 and 466 EMUs are currently leased by Angels Trains to London South Eastern Railway.
Work will be performed at Wabtec Rail’s facility in Doncaster.
“This project builds upon our already strong and successful relationship with Angel Trains,” said Albert J. Neupaver, Wabtec’s presidentand chief executive officer.
Wabtec Rail provides overhaul and refurbishment services for both passenger and freight vehicles to British train operators and rolling stock leasing companies.
The numbers are small and the percentage improvement is almost infinitesimal, but they both headed in the right direction: up. That's the Class railroad employment picture that emerges from statistics just posted on the Surface Transportation Board website.
They show that between mid-January and mid-February thisyear, Class I railroad employment rose from 145,609 to 146.308, an increase of 699 jobs or 0.48%, though the total remained 6.81% below February 2009. This brought the railroad employment index (using 1957 levels as 100) up from 23.7 in January to 24.0 in February, the highest it's been when June 2009, when it was also 24.0.
In the key category of transportation (train and engine)—operating crews—the railroads added 489 joss during the period, with the total number increasing from 55,876 in January to 56,355 in February, up 0.86% but down 8.12% from a year ago.
In other employment groups, this was the mid-February picture, compared with the previous month: executives, officials, and staff assistants, 8,977, down 11.43%; professional and administrative, 13,266, down 2.76%; maintenance of way and structures, 32,833, down 4,53%; maintenance of equipment and stores, 28,066, down 7.4%; and transportation (other than train and engine), 6,811, down 5.07%.
Texas’ state capital joined the ranks of U.S. cities with rail service Monday as Austin’s oft-delayed 32-mile Capital Metro Red Line opened for service. An observer on the first train reported approximately 40 “real” people (other than dignitaries and media) boarding the morning’s first train out of Leander, Tex., bound for Austin.
RMI, a leading provider of railroad information services based in Jacksonville, Fla., announced Monday that Lester Hightower will assume the role of vice president, RailDOCS Solutions.
“In this new role, Lester will assume responsibility for overseeing the RMI Client Services and Plan Logistics/Customer Support groups, as well as the general office administration for the RMI Jacksonville facilities,” said RMI. “He will continue to have responsibility for leading the development and maintenance of the RailDOCS product lines as well asother strategic products that may be introduced into the RMI RailDOCS brand.
“We are very excited about Lester’s new role,” said Pete Kleifgen, chairman and CEO of RMI. “He has played an important role in growingthis business into a very customer focused organization. Based on Lester’s background, knowledge, and experience, we are confident RailDOCS will continue its success as the railroad industry’s leading C&S solution for engineering and maintenance.”
RMI said that effective April 9, Mike Wilson will be stepping down as president RMI–Jax (RailDOCS). “Mike was a big part of growing and leading this business for RMI,” said Kleifgen. “We will miss his engineering and maintenance knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit at RMI.”
The U.S. Senate has passed H.R. 4213, the American Workers, State and Business Relief Act of 2010. The bill includes a one-year extension of the infrastructure investment tax credit for short lines, regionals, switching/terminal railroads, and contractors. House action is still required. The language approved by the Senate is as follows:“Expenditures for Maintaining Railroad Tracks. The bill extends for one year, through 2010, the railroad maintenance credit that provides Class II and Class III railroads (generally, short line and regional railroads) with a tax credit equal to 50% of gross expenditures for maintaining railroad tracks that they own or lease. This credit is allowable against the AMT. This revision is effective for expenses paid or incurred in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009. This proposal is estimated to cost $165 million over ten years.”
After a series of meetings attended by 2,500 concerned customers, the New York MTA is sticking with most of the service cuts that stirred up such a ruckus when they were announced earlier this year and for the time being at least it is not withdrawing he most controversial change of them all—a proposal to eliminate free rides for students.
The MTA did ease some of its proposals, but in a statement Friday acknowledged that little has really changed as it prepares to submit its budget balancing plan to the MTA board next Wednesday.
MTA said its revised cuts “reduce the savings achieved by the service cuts from approximately $101 million annually to $93 million, adding $8 million to the approximately $400 million budget shortfall not yetaddressed by cuts. A related proposal to phase out student MetroCards will be taken up later in the spring to allow more time for the State and City to fund that program.”
MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder commented: “While our budget deficit forces us to move ahead with most of the cuts, we were able to take a number of the most painful cuts off the table based on what we heard from our customers.”