The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) is releasing its second project-level Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the 49-mile project that would provide service between the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco and the San Jose Diridon Station. The document for the Northern California project section will be available for public comment starting Friday, July 10.
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Transit Innovation Partnership launched a new “COVID-19 Response Challenge” in an effort to engage the private tech industry and rapidly evaluate and deploy innovative technologies that make public transit safer, healthier and more responsive to customer and workforce needs in light of the global pandemic.
Spot rates in the trans-Pacific trade continue to reach epic new heights, leading to talk of price gouging. “Container lines have done well during the global pandemic, but are they profiteering from the crisis?” asked U.K.-based consultancy Drewry.
Few will forget that horrific day, July 6, 2013, when a crewless, runaway Montreal, Maine & Atlantic crude oil train with five locomotives and 75 loaded DOT-111 tank cars carrying volatile Bakken crude rolled into Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and derailed. The resulting fireballs and explosions (contrary to popular belief, the derailed cars did not explode; their contents ignited after the tanks had been breached) killed 47 people, and a large section of the downtown area was destroyed. The tragedy’s aftermath, as well as accidents involving other CBR trains in the U.S. and Canada, led to a long regulatory process resulting in the stronger DOT 117 tank car as well as several changes to CBR operating regulations.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ended July 4, 2020, and, although traffic declines were still evident, things appear to be getting better.
The League of Railway Women (LRW) has extended the deadline for a pair of scholarships—the Connie Sumara Memorial Scholarship and the Future of Railroading Scholarship—to July 20, 2020.
Fitch Ratings has assigned a rating of “A+” to approximately $600 million of Transportation Revenue Bonds (TRB) Series 2020D (Mandatory Tender Bonds) and a rating of “F1” to $500 million of transportation revenue Series 2020B Bond Anticipation Notes (BANs) to be issued by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The bonds and BANs will be sold via negotiation; the sale date and principal amount are both subject to market conditions. Proceeds will finance existing approved transit and commuter projects. Fitch has affirmed at “A+” approximately $24.4 billion of outstanding TRBs. The Rating Outlook is Negative.
OmniTRAX, an affiliate of The Broe Group, is bringing its Rail-Ready Sites program to the Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad (STE).
TekTracking LLC announced a new order as part of the continued rollout of Gate Light (GLM) and Safety Light Monitors (SLM) at grade crossing locations on a Class I railroad in western Canada.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded $528,028 in Railroad Trespassing Enforcement Grants to 11 projects in six states in an effort to support life-saving trespass abatement.
I’m all in favor of cost effective, well-planned system expansion projects, providing we bring our existing transit assets up to a state of good repair first. But we need to stop wasting millions on transportation feasibility studies for future system expansion projects that may never happen in our lifetime.
There are things the regulators don’t tell you about marshaling and storing freight cars, such as how to detect rail head wear. Most railroad executives would not know how to do this. This commentary will include a few pointers that your favorite Class I railroad salesperson won’t typically pass on as business intelligence. Bad things can and do occasionally happen in rail yards. Therefore, it is prudent risk management to consider these matters ahead of time.
In my most recent Railway Age article entitled “U.S. Railroads Resurgent With Digitization at Just the Right Time,” I described how the railroads were the driver of U.S. growth, expansion and prosperity. They provided the spine for the economy to flourish.
This writer began working on this series on June 19. It was Juneteenth, the day an increasing number of Americans of all colors and heritages now view as an occasion to celebrate freedom. Part of the freedom that many Americans treasure is the freedom to travel, as stated in the First Amendment of the Constitution. The “right to travel” is one thing, in the sense that government cannot unduly restrict travel (as questionable as that assumption may appear these days), but there is also the issue that this sacred “right” can be limited if access to mobility is also limited. Millions of Americans who depend on Amtrak for part of their travel are about to lose a significant portion of the mobility they have today.
If I had a $100,000 for every time the rumor mill shouted out that Kansas City Southern was on the auction block, I’d be a multi-millionaire with a collection of exotic cars rivaling that of Jay Leno, and racing a Corvette C8.R in the IMSA Series, with my son Craig as crew chief. (I wouldn’t own a private railcar, because Amtrak wouldn’t want to haul it around the country, and if they did, they’d probably overcharge me. But that’s another story.)