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Dan Smith, CEO, Watco

Watco Again Earns Spot on ‘Most Loved Workplaces’ List

Pittsburg, Kans.-based Watco has been named to Newsweek’s Global Most Loved Workplaces® 2023 list. The integrated freight transportation services provider ranked No. 67 out of 100 top companies that “put respect, caring and appreciation for their employees at the center of their business model and, in doing so, have earned the loyalty and respect of the people who work for them,” according to the magazine.

Transit Briefs: BART, OCTA, NJ Transit, NYMTA

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) launches Phase II of its Not One More Girl initiative. Also, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) invites high school students to apply for its Teen Council; NJ Transit begins website ticketing pilot program for Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL); and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reaches a tentative agreement with Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100.

(Photograph Courtesy of UP, via Twitter)

UP, SMART-TD Ratify Agreement

Union Pacific (UP) and General 953, part of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division (SMART-TD), have ratified a crew-consist agreement, maintaining two-person crews, SMART-TD reported May 31.

EMD® Joule Build Under Way Down Under

Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Company, has begun constructing the BEL, a battery-electric EMD® Joule prototype locomotive for Aurizon, Australia’s largest freight railroad. A rebuild of an existing, Class 4000 GT42CU AC diesel-electric

STB Issues Draft EA for UP’s Proposed Arizona Line

The Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) on May 31 released a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Union Pacific’s (UP) proposed new six-mile single-track rail line in Mesa, Ariz. It analyzes the potential environmental and historic impacts of the line, which would link UP’s Phoenix Subdivision main line to industrial properties southeast of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

GRR received Honorable Mention in Railway Age’s 2021 Short Line and Regional Railroad Awards program.

GRR Enters Asset Purchase Agreement

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on May 25 granted Grenada Railroad LLC’s (GRR) request for a partial waiver of a 60-day advance notice requirement, allowing the short line to enter into an asset purchase agreement and operate approximately 228 miles of rail line in Mississippi on or after May 28, 2023.

Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner earlier this month received the Honorable Ray LaHood Award for 2023 at WTS International’s annual conference in Atlanta, Ga. (Amtrak Photograph)

Transit Briefs: Amtrak, LACMTA, Maryland DOT Maryland MTA, SMART, TTC

WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar) International recognizes Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner for his commitment to advancing women in transportation. Also, the TAP fare card program for 26 Los Angeles County transit agencies, including LACMTA, expands its vendor network; Baltimore (Md.) Metropolitan Council issues a long-range regional transportation plan, which includes capital projects for Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration; Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART) in California is launching an on-demand microtransit shuttle to the airport; and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in Ontario, Canada selects SNC-Lavalin to provide enterprise asset management services.

AAR: North American Rail Volume Down Through 21 Weeks

For the first 21 weeks of 2023 (ending May 27), total U.S. weekly rail traffic dipped 4.1% from the same point last year, according to the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) May 31 report. Both Canada and the U.S. saw declines, while Mexico saw an increase.

PANY&NJ, SLRF See Growth Potential

At the recent FreightWeekSTL 2023 conference in St. Louis, Mo., Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANY&NJ) Deputy Port Director Michael P. Bozza said there is growth potential for the

UP is introducing service between the Barbours Cut Container Terminal at Port Houston and five metropolitan areas on its rail network. “Ocean carriers and Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCO) will have more options to move their containers inland to Union Pacific-served markets,” according to the Class I railroad.

UP Expanding Port Houston Intermodal Service

Union Pacific (UP) on June 1 will launch a new on-dock service at Barbours Cut Container Terminal at Port Houston, Tex., providing international shippers of consumer goods with direct rail access to Denver, Colo.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Oakland and Los Angeles, Calif.; and El Paso, Tex.