Northern Lines Railway was honored for its outstanding safety record with a 2018 Jake With Distinction Award by the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association.
Aurizon, Australia’s largest rail freight operator, has contracted with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Trimble Rail Solutions for the company’s R2M remote diagnostic and P2M planning and performance management systems.
Veteran civil engineer William Knapp, P.E., has joined STV as Vice President and Design-Build Director, Western Region. He will be based in STV’s Oakland, Calif. office and manage design-build efforts in the western half of the U.S. for the firm’s Transportation & Infrastructure Division.
Union Pacific’s plan to implement Precision Scheduled Railroading caught the attention of the Surface Transportation Board, which on Sept. 20 sent a letter signed by Chairman Ann Begeman and Vice Chairman Deb Miller to UP chief executive Lance Fritz requesting that the railroad’s senior management engage in weekly calls with the Board’s Rail Customer and Public Assistance office during the implementation process. The purpose of the calls is “to keep the agency fully informed of UP’s operating changes and impacts to customers and others.”
Brian Miller, president of R. J. Corman Railroad Company, LLC, has announced his resignation as he moves on to pursue other interests.
Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. (LORAM) has appointed Stephen Mannix as Managing Director of Loram Pty. Ltd., its Australian subsidiary, with responsibility for the Australasian market.
Robert Zmudzinski has been appointed Vice President and National Rail Systems Engineering Manager in the New York office of WSP USA, with responsibility for leading the firm’s transit and rail systems engineering team and support business development across the U.S.
Mark Fuhrmann, a 25-year veteran of Minneapolis’ Metropolitan Council, has joined HDR as a senior project manager based in the Minneapolis engineering office, with responsibility for projects in the Minnesota and Wisconsin region. His first assignment is serving as program manager for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District West Lake and Double Track projects.
Transport Canada on Sept. 19 issued Protective Direction 39, which accelerates phase-out of non-jacketed (no thermal layer of protection) CPC-1232 tank cars for crude oil service as of Nov. 1, 2018, 17 months earlier than originally mandated. In addition, non-jacketed CPC-1232 and older DOT-111 tank cars will be prohibited from transporting condensates as of Jan. 1, 2019, more than six years ahead of schedule.
In reporting U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 15, 2018, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) noted that nine of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2017. Among them were petroleum and petroleum products, up 4,253 carloads to 13,335; chemicals, up 2,153 carloads to 32,650; and farm products excluding grain, and food, up 1,986 carloads to 16,583. Coal was the only commodity group that posted a decrease, down 3,457 carloads to 85,562.
Perhaps former Congressman John Mica had a point, after all, to claim that Amtrak operates like a relic of the Soviet Kremlin? That, and knowing we have the best politicians money can buy, tells a clear story: Beyond the history of outrageous corporate failures due to illegal manipulation of their financial data, like Enron, is their any other example of a company operating in such an egregious manner as Amtrak that defies Congress, lies to states, and spits in the face of the public interest, all the while scooping up even more taxpayer funding?
News item: Ian Jefferies, 42, currently Senior vice President for Government Affairs at the Association of American Railroads (AAR), will succeed Ed Hamberger as President and CEO on Jan. 1, 2019. Most notably, Jefferies will serve as the railroad industry’s chief congressional lobbyist and spokesperson.
Underlying the ancient aphorism “be careful what you wish for … because you might get it” is the law of unintended consequences.
Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono, writing about the most recent congressional hearing on Positive Train Control, as well as attempts by some Members of Congress to arm-twist the Federal Railroad Administration on granting exemptions, opined, “I’ve said it before many times, but it’s always worth repeating: Politics should not be involved in safety. Why engage in politics at this stage of the game? What is the agenda here? Who or what is behind this?”
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Railroad Subcommittee has scheduled yet another pointless, time-consuming “status review” hearing on PTC. The people actually doing the implementation work—railroads, suppliers, consultants, FRA—get to spend another day getting peppered with pointless questions from clueless politicians who obviously don’t bother reading reports or doing basic research, and delight in wasting valuable people’s valuable time to prop up their huge egos and give the appearance of actually doing something useful.