Breaking News

CHSRA Releases Draft Environmental Document for N. California Project

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.

MTA, Transit Innovation Partnership Debut COVID-19 Response Challenge

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.

Bypass Build Slated for Lac-Mégantic

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.

Fitch Ratings for NYMTA: TRBs “A+”; BANs “F1”; Outlook “Negative”

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.

Opinion

Defining Private Railcar Storage Best Practices

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.

First in a Series: Has Amtrak Declared War?

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.

KCS Isn’t For Sale. Quit Salivating

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.)