Breaking News

WSDOT to retire Talgo trainsets

In the wake of the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report on the 2017 Amtrak Cascades train 501 wreck on the Port Defiance bypass near DuPont, Wash., that killed three and injured 57, WSDOT (Washington State DOT) said it “will work with Amtrak to follow the NTSB recommendation to remove the [Cascades service] Talgo Series 6 trainsets from service as soon as possible.”

Dealing with disaster

As long as railways have existed, the threat of disaster has never been far away. But as trains have become faster and more sophisticated, the techniques, methods and systems put in place to prevent and mitigate potential disasters have also become more complex. International Railway Journal’s David Burroughs looks at how railways around the world are building resilience and recovery measures into their networks.

FRA NPRM Aligns Engineer, Conductor Certification

The Federal Railroad Administration recently announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to update the regulation that governs locomotive engineer qualification and certification to make it consistent with the corresponding regulation for conductors. The proposed rule would adopt the conductor certification regulation process established in 2012 by making conforming amendments to the engineer certification regulation, which was first issued in 1991 and last amended in 2000.

NS doles out 58 chemical safety awards

Norfolk Southern (NS) recently awarded 58 chemical customers its 2018 Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award, a long-standing initiative to promote safe rail-shipping practices in communities the railroad serves.

New from Bentley for transit: OpenBuildings Station Designer

Bentley Systems Inc. has released OpenBuildings Station Designer, described as “a new multidisciplinary application for the design, analysis, visualization, and simulation of new or operating rail, metro or other transit stations. Advancing beyond generic BIM (Building Information Modeling) applications, OpenBuildings Station Designer was developed specifically for rail and transit station modeling, with asset-specific content and workflows. It streamlines and automates design collaboration design between architectural, mechanical, electrical and structural disciplines sharing modeling, clash resolution and documentation capabilities.”

New from Bentley: OpenSite Designer

Bentley Systems Inc. has released OpenSite Designer, described as “an integrated application for civil site and land development workflows across conceptual, preliminary, and detailed design phases. OpenSite Designer advances BIM (Building Information Modeling) through comprehensive 3D site design, spanning reality modeling of site conditions from drone imagery and scans, geotechnical analysis, terrain modeling, site layout and grading optimization, stormwater drainage modeling and analysis, underground utilities modeling, detailed drawing production and enlivened visualizations.”

Opinion

Rail labor may rue its crew-size strategy

News item: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced May 23 that it is cancelling an April 2014 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to mandate a minimum of two crewmembers on every freight train. Additionally, the agency is preempting, as it may under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution giving the federal government dominion over interstate commerce, all state laws mandating crew size within state borders.

Amtrak: Freedom From Responsibility is Illusory

THE FINANCIAL EDGE, MAY 2019 – In a recent TED talk, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey suggested that, in an attempt to combat abusive speech and harassment, Twitter would consider moving from threads written by individuals to topic threads. Dorsey suggested these interest networks would be easier to monitor for Twitter code of conduct breeches.

Requiem For a Heavyweight

FROM THE EDITOR, MAY 2019 – By the time you read this, the largest steam locomotive ever built will have thundered her way from Union Pacific’s Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyo., to Ogden, Utah, to take part in ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike, which completed the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.

Shipper Frustration Turns Contemptuous

WATCHING WASHINGTON, MAY 2019 – Oh, the contempt that drippeth from a judicial petition of the Western Coal Traffic League (WCTL), whose members ship and receive by rail some 175 million tons of coal annually. It accuses the Surface Transportation Board (STB) of impersonating a regulatory agency by not acting on long-pending rulemakings, and asks a federal court to order the STB to do as its statute instructs—timely decide cases brought before it.