Author: David C. Lester

DeFazio, Maloney Release 2020 DOT OIG Report on Chao

On March 3, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) made public a Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT OIG) report on a late-2020 ethics investigation into former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao that both the Trump Administration Department of Justice (DOJ) U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and DOJ Public Integrity Section refused to pursue.

ASCE: Rail Infrastructure Gets Top Grade—B

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awarded U.S. freight and passenger railroads the highest grade—B—of its most recent quadrennial Infrastructure Report Card. That’s compared to an overall C–.

ARM Lands Long-Term ST Contract

Seattle’s Sound Transit has awarded a multi-year, $24 million contract for rail grinding, polishing and engineering inspection services to Advanced Rail Management Corp. (ARM). The contract includes corrugation measurement and track geometry, ultrasonic and eddy current testing as part of the inspection and quality assurance requirements.

Steady as She Goes

RAILWAY AGE, NOVEMBER 2020 ISSUE: Cindy Sanborn, a seasoned railroader who Norfolk Southern Chairman, President and CEO Jim Squires described as “one of the freight rail industry’s leading operations experts,” became the railroad’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer on Sept. 1, 2020. Mike Wheeler, Sanborn’s predecessor, retired on Oct. 1, 2020, after a 35-year career at the railroad.

Plasser American Expanding Chesapeake HQ

Plasser American says “a new era has begun” with signing of a contract to increase manufacturing capacities at its headquarters in Chesapeake, Va. The expansion, the company says, is its “commitment to the Chesapeake facility and products ‘Made in USA,’ as a big family and part of the railroad system” and that “shows our longstanding regional footprint.”

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.