Rail freight continues to benefit from tight trucking capacity as spot market demand for highway haulage exploded this month.
All politics is local, the saying goes, and U.S. railroads are taking their case for favorable public policy directly to the country’s local political influencers.
Amtrak, working with BNSF, will the week of June 11 implement Positive Train Control (PTC) on BNSF-owned subdivisions that host the Southwest Chief and California Zephyr, marking the first activation on host-owned territory used by Amtrak. Full PTC activation on BNSF routes that host these two long-distance trains is expected by the end of August.
The CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) partners—Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), Cook County, Association of American Railroads (AAR), Metra, Amtrak and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)—have received a $132 million U.S. Department of Transportation INFRA (Infrastructure For Rebuilding America) Grant for the $474 million 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (CIP). This project will grade-separate several freight and passenger rail lines in Chicago’s Englewood, Auburn Gresham and West Chatham neighborhoods that currently intersect, creating significant delays and congestion.
The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) on June 11 appointed Marc Brazeau President and Chief Executive Officer, effective July 3, 2018. Brazeau succeeds Michael Bourque, President and CEO from April 2012 to November 2017. Gérald Gauthier has been running RAC in the interim.
CN is investing C$400 million in new capacity this year, primarily in western Canada and the Edmonton-Chicago corridor. Projects currently in progress include 60 miles of double track, 11 new sidings or siding extensions, and eight yard expansions. All should be completed in November.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will hold three symposia in Washington, D.C., throughout the summer to answer questions and address best practices surrounding the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC). The first
Kansas City Southern is expanding its energy-related U.S.-Mexico crossborder service.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) awarded $241 million to 23 state freight projects on June 5.
Canadian Pacific plans to invest more than a half-billion dollars in nearly 6,000 new high-capacity grain hopper cars, and expects to place more than 500 in service before the end of 2018, increasing capacity of its unit grain trains. National Steel Car, Hamilton, Ont., has received CP’s initial order for 1,000 units.