Major train derailments and collisions can be spectacular. Their economic and environmental consequences are considerable, and they kill and injure people. In response, over the past 40 years, pressed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Congress (by statute in 2008) the railroads have been implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) systems to reduce the potential for these crashes.
Exhibit space and sponsorships are now open for sale at Railway Interchange 2019, the largest railway exhibition and technical conference in North America. Indoor and outdoor exhibits will be available at the Minneapolis Convention Center and BNSF Railway’s Northtown yard, respectively. Exhibits will be open September 22-24.
BNSF Railway Co. Executive Chairman Matthew K. Rose will step down and retire from the railroad in April of 2019, after 26 years of service. At the end of his tenure, Rose will have been Executive Chairman for six years, and BNSF CEO for the prior 13 years. He also served in senior marketing and operations positions at BNSF before assuming the CEO role in 2000.
A new report from Oxford Economics has found that the railway supply industry’s total contribution to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 was $74.2 billion, which highlights the industry’s significant economic impact, said industry stakeholders.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials held its second hearing of the year on Sept. 13 on implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC).
Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono, writing about the most recent congressional hearing on Positive Train Control, as well as attempts by some Members of Congress to arm-twist the Federal Railroad Administration on granting exemptions, opined, “I’ve said it before many times, but it’s always worth repeating: Politics should not be involved in safety. Why engage in politics at this stage of the game? What is the agenda here? Who or what is behind this?”
Testifying on Sept. 13 at a House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials hearing on Positive Train Control, Amtrak Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek said—in contrast to what President and CEO Richard Anderson has stated in previous hearings—that the railroad will not discontinue long-distance train operations on freight railroad routes that lack fully functioning PTC by Jan, 1, 2019, and will apply to the Federal Railroad Administration for an alternative schedule with a Dec. 31, 2020 deadline.
Chicago’s Metra will not raise fares in 2019, but could cut services beginning in 2020 if it doesn’t receive state funding.
The Federal Railroad Administration is making available the remaining $46.3 million of $250 million in Positive Train Control (PTC) Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program grant money. FRA on Sept. 12 issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), to solicit applications.
Pacific Harbor Line (PHL), an Anacostia & Pacific switching and terminal railroad, has promoted Stephane Perri to General Superintendent. He will be directing all transportation operations in his new role.