Breaking News

Kuziak Appointed Keolis VP Business Development North America

Keolis North America has named Kim Kuziak as Vice President of Business Development in North America, responsible for “continuing Keolis’ strategic growth objectives and expanding its portfolio through new partnerships with public transit agencies across the United States and Canada,” the company said.

Gulf Coast Battle, Rounds 7-8

The slugfest between Amtrak on one side and CSX, NS, and the Port of Mobile on the other, has been long. It has lasted for ten full days plus an afternoon so far, and reached its originally scheduled conclusion on Thursday, May 11. That was the half-day, following the morning appearance of Chair Martin J. Oberman and other members of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) before the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee.

  • C&S

Trainyard Tech Lands a Sweet Deal

Trainyard Tech, LLC is the winning bidder for the upgrade of the U.S. Sugar Corp. rail facility in Clewiston, Fla., with a Routemaster™ control system. The facility consists of two leads with 34 switches feeding a dumping facility for processing raw sugar cane, an operation that must take place within eight hours of harvest to avoid spoilage.

FTA: TOD Planning Grant Applications Welcome

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is providing approximately $13 million in FY 2022 grant funding through its Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning. Applications will be accepted through July 25, 2022.

The TriMet Board has approved a $1.93 billion FY 2023 budget.

Transit Briefs: Metrolinx, SEPTA, Shore Line East, TriMet, Valley Metro

Metrolinx selected Ricardo Certification to perform safety assessments for the GO Expansion project in Toronto; SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) released three options for its Reimagining Regional Rail project; Connecticut’s Shore Line East commuter rail is now operating M8 Electric Multiple Units (EMU); the Board of Directors for Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) approved the FY 2023 budget; and Valley Metro launched its Tempe (Ariz.) Streetcar system.

Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Transportation tweeted: “IDOT joined our @CREATE_Chicago partners to present $200,000 in education funding as part of the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project, giving local students more access to STEM-focused programs. It represents an opportunity to bring real equity to a transportation project.” (Photograph Courtesy of IDOT via Twitter)

Rail Briefs: CREATE, OmniTRAX

The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program partners are bolstering STEM education in the Chicago, Ill., area with donations totaling $400,000. Also, Stockton (Calif.) Terminal and Eastern Railroad, a managed affiliate of OmniTRAX, presented a community donation to the Waterloo-Morada Fire District in honor of Pacific Northwest Oil.

Pictured: Dottie Watkins, incoming interim CEO of Capital Metro (Houston, Tex.), and Daniel Comorre, Senior Project Manager of Urban Engineers (Los Angeles, Calif.).

People News: CapMetro, GCRTA, Urban Engineers

Capital Metro (CapMetro) of Austin, Tex., named Dottie Watkins interim CEO. Also, Greater Cleveland (Ohio) Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) elevated Janet Burney to Deputy General Manager, Legal Affairs/General Counsel, and consultancy Urban Engineers appointed Daniel Comorre as Senior Project Manager.

AAR: North American Rail Volume Down Through 20 Weeks

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) now has 20 weeks of rail traffic data for 2022 (ending May 21). Total North American carload and intermodal traffic dipped 3.8% from the same point last year—falling 3.6% in the U.S. and 6.4% in Canada, and rising 3.2% in Mexico.

‘Big 4’ Submit Service Recovery Plans to STB

BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS) and Union Pacific (UP) have answered the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) call to submit service recovery plans—identifying the steps they will take to clear congestion and improve service plus the metrics they will use to evaluate progress over the next six months.

Gulf Coast: Class I’s, Port Seek Mediation, Again

CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS), and the Alabama State Port Authority and its Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks division (collectively, the Port) are again requesting Surface Transportation Board (STB)-sponsored mediation as they “continue to believe that an amicable resolution is possible—one that facilitates a prompt and orderly commencement of Gulf Coast passenger service while protecting the customers and shipping partners that rely on quality freight rail service.”

Aerial view of the San Pedro Bay Port Complex in California. (Photograph Courtesy of Port of Los Angeles)

San Pedro Bay Ports Set April Records

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., handled 887,357 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) and 820,718 TEUs, respectively, in April 2022. Volumes are expected to grow this summer once COVID-19 lockdowns end in China.

Wabtec is providing a total of 2,304 doors to Alstom for the 36 eight-car Metropolis trainsets it is building for São Paulo (Brazil) Metro under a July 2021 contract.

Supply Side: Wabtec, Shift5

Wabtec has landed a contract to supply on-board doors for São Paulo (Brazil) Metro trainsets, to be built by Alstom. Also, Shift5 has been selected as a cybersecuity award finalist by CyberRisk Alliance.

Commentary

Rail Service Problems: Politicians Pile It On

A group of politicians from both sides of Washington’s great divide have joined the parade of people and organizations professing before the Surface Transportation Board the perils of poor railroad service, painting the carriers and PSR as a prime accelerant of U.S. economic problems, everything from inflation to high fuel prices to undernourished cows.

Greenbrier: Order Activity Remains Healthy

We hosted virtual investor meetings and a group call with Justin Roberts, Greenbrier’s Vice President Corporate Finance and Treasurer. North American demand remains solid, and the production ramp-up appears set to occur without additional disruptions. In Europe, the Ukrainian conflict seems to have caused transitory headwinds, which, we believe, could create noise. We remain constructive but are slightly cautious in the near term.

Threat Lurks to STB’s Independence

Once upon a time, conservative jurists were the best friends to federal regulatory agencies such as the Surface Transportation Board (STB). When those agencies pushed the boundaries of their decision-making independence, federal courts considered them experts in their field and accordingly deferred to their interpretations of the statutes they administered.