Author: William C. Vantuono

With Railway Age since 1992, William C. Vantuono has broadened and deepened the magazine's coverage of the technological revolution that is so swiftly changing the industry. He has also strengthened Railway Age’s leadership position in industry affairs with the conferences he conducts, among them Next-Generation Train Control, Light Rail, and Rail Insights. He is the author or co-author or editor of several books, among them All About Railroading; John Armstrong’s The Railroad: What It Is, What It Does; Railway Age’s Comprehensive Railroad Dictionary; and Planning, Engineering, and Operating Light Rail, With Applications in New Jersey.

It’s Official: Gardner Named Amtrak President

Amtrak Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating and Commercial Officer Stephen Gardner has been appointed President, effective Dec. 1, 2020, succeeding Bill Flynn, who will remain as CEO and continue to serve on the company’s board of directors. Gardner’s appointment, Amtrak said, “is part of a broader set of actions taken under Flynn’s leadership, working with the Board of Directors, to ensure that Amtrak is well-positioned for success in fiscal year 2021 and beyond.”

Hans von Lange, 1923-2020

Hans von Lange, an iconic figure in the global railway maintenance-of-way supply industry, died Nov. 16, 2020. He was 97. Son Michael Lange, one of nine children and head of Exton, Pa.-based Globe-Connect LLC, provided the following memorial for his father, who he says “lived a life full of adventure, challenges, dangers, failures and successes”:

New Jersey: London Bridge is Falling Down (Updated)

Several “project stakeholders” in New Jersey’s passenger rail network—Governor Phil Murphy, U.S. Senators Menendez and Booker (both Democrats), NJ Transit and Amtrak—have expressed “strong reservations” about the feasibility of proposals in an independent report prepared by London Bridge Associates Ltd. (LBA) and released Nov. 23 by the Gateway Program Development Corporation (GDC) on the Hudson Tunnel Project portion of the Gateway Program. Basically, they are saying that one new tunnel must be constructed and placed in service prior to shutdown and rehab of one of the two existing, 110-year-old tunnels.Interestingly, two of the stakeholders are GDC officials.

STB: Now (Finally) There Are Five

Robert Primus and Michelle Schultz, whose confirmation as the fourth and fifth members of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board have been on hold for months, were confirmed by the U.S. Senate late on Nov. 18. They are expected to be sworn in shortly, giving the STB its full complement of five members, a number set by the 2015 Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act.

Intermodal Registers Double-Digit Gain: AAR

For the week ending Nov. 14, 2020, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 527,462 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.2% compared with the same week last year, based on a double-digit intermodal gain, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on Nov. 18. Total carloads were 232,146, down 3.1% compared with the same week in 2019, but U.S. weekly intermodal volume, at 295,316 containers and trailers, rose 12.9% compared to 2019.

PTC: 0.4% To Go (!)

The “magic number” is 100%, and as of the end of third-quarter 2020 (Sept. 30), the railroad industry had reached 99.6% of fully implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) systems by the Dec. 31, 2020 federal deadline, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s quarterly status update on railroads’ self-reported progress.

CN IPO: 25 Years, C$100B Market Cap—and Six Locomotives

Twenty-five years ago, Nov. 17, 1995, the Government of Canada put CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) shares up for sale to investors. At C$2.25 billion, it was the biggest IPO in Canadian history. “At the time, CN was the largest and oldest Crown Corporation in Canada,” CN said in a statement marking the anniversary, which it also celebrated with six road locomotives painted in heritage schemes. “Today, CN is a world-class transportation leader and trade-enabler.”