Breaking News

As part of its AutoHaul program, “Rio Tinto is seeking to add a forward-looking capability to its autonomous trains to detect obstacles on and along the tracks,” according to Rail Vision, whose Main Line system will be used to detect different types of obstacles at various ranges as part of a three-month pilot. (Photograph Courtesy of Rio Tinto)
  • News

Supply Side: Hitachi, Humatics, Rail Vision

Hitachi Rail has completed a yearlong pilot evaluating Waltham, Mass.-based Humatics Corporation’s rail navigation system for possible integration with its CBTC (communications-based train control) technology. Also, Ra’anana, Israel-based Rail Vision Ltd.’s track-obstacle detection system will be tested as part of Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s AutoHaul® project in western Australia; Hitachi is the project’s lead technology integrator.

NWT Unity Rail Port Under Way

North West Terminal Ltd. (NWT), an independent farmer/shareholder-owned company headquartered near Unity, Saskatchewan in the Northwest region of the province that owns and operates an inland grain terminal and fermentation facility, is developing Unity Rail Port, a processing and transportation hub.

  • News

TTD to STB: ‘Expand Reporting Requirements to Address Self-Inflicted Service Cuts’

The 37-union-affiliate Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) on July 1 sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board in response to the agency’s “information collection request” regarding Class I railroad reporting requirements. The letter, signed by TTD President Greg Regan, asks the STB to further increase the already stepped-up reporting requirements to include additional employment data.

The Gateway Program will eventually double rail capacity between Newark, N.J., and New York. (GDC)
  • M/W

N.Y., N.J. Sign Funding Agreement for Phase I Gateway

The governors of New York and New Jersey on July 5 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining sources, uses and timing of funding on behalf of the states for the Portal North Bridge and Hudson Tunnel projects.

UTA Selects Xpan to drive workforce development via Rail Apprenticeship Training Programs. Image courtesy of UTA.

Passenger Rail Briefs: UTA, MBTA

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has selected Xpan Interactive (Xpan) to drive workforce development via Rail Apprenticeship Training Programs. Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is awarding nearly $10.3 million to

Rocky Loessin, Strato Inc.; Laura Reeder, TRAC Intermodal
  • News

People News: Strato, TRAC Intermodal

New executives have joined freight rail and transit car parts manufacturer Strato, Inc., and marine chassis provider and pool manager TRAC Intermodal.

LACMTA’s Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project would extend the L Line nine miles from East Los Angeles (at Pomona and Atlantic boulevards) to Whittier, serving the cities of Commerce, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, and Whittier, and the unincorporated communities of East Los Angeles and West Whittier-Los Nietos. (Rendering Courtesy of LACMTA)

Transit Briefs: Amtrak, LACMTA

Amtrak Cascades service to all cities north of Seattle, Wash., including Vancouver, British Columbia, will resume in September. Also, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) has released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the extension of the L Line (Gold), known as the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project.

  • C&S

NYCT: Four Firms Named ‘Signaling Challenge’ Finalists

Four companies—4AI Systems, Alstom, Luminar/Seoul Robotics and Ouster/Lux Modus—have been selected by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Transit Tech Lab as finalists in the global Signaling Challenge competition, part of New York City Transit’s CBTC (communications-based train control) program.

CSX and subsidiary Quality Carriers employees recently assembled 5,000 care packages for U.S. troops stationed in Eastern Europe, who have been mobilized in response to the conflict in Ukraine. (Photograph Courtesy of CSX)

ESG Briefs: CN/CP, CSX, OmniTRAX

CN and Canadian Pacific (CP) have earned spots on the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada list for 2022. Also, care packages from CSX, in partnership with Operation Gratitude, are headed to U.S. active-duty service members in Eastern Europe; and Newburgh & South Shore Railroad (NSR), a managed affiliate of OmniTRAX, presented a community donation to a Cleveland, Ohio-area fire department in honor of Charter Steel.

Commentary

U.S. Rail System Still Deteriorating, On Balance

We’re now in the second half of 2022, when the four major U.S. Class I’s have committed to turning their operations around, but the current state of play is not encouraging. Only Union Pacific has made any progress in recent months, but that has been from a low base and fading somewhat over the past two weeks. We would regard UP and Norfolk Southern as now in a “steady state” and it’s the other two we’re more worried about in terms of trajectory.

Matt Elkott

Cowen: GATX ‘Improving Return Dynamics’

GATX has taken advantage of low interest rates over the past few years to improve its debt profile, which is currently 90% fixed, with an average maturity of 10 years. Meanwhile, spot lease rates are expected to continue their seven-quarter run of sequential growth. This should lead to progressively higher returns for the company, which is now likely to focus on locking into much higher lease terms.

Will SCOTUS Ruling Chill STB, FRA?

Whether the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will suffer from a June 30 Supreme Court (SCOTUS) trimming of regulatory agency authority to interpret their own governing statutes and remedy ambiguities remains to be seen.

Analysis: ‘Big 4’ Revised STB Service Recovery Plans

The four largest U.S. freight railroad companies—BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific—all reported, per the request of the Surface Transportation Board, supplemental information about their efforts to improve service and network fluidity. This is, of course part, of an ongoing STB service investigation with public hearings held back on April 26 and 27 of this year.