Short Lines & Regionals

Hyundai Motor Group expects to begin construction of its new electric vehicle and battery manufacturing plant at the Bryan County (Ga.) Megasite in January 2023, with full production expected in early 2025.

Hyundai to Launch EV, Battery Plant in Georgia

Seoul, South Korea-based Hyundai Motor Group will invest $5.54 billion to open its first dedicated full electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturing plant in the United States. It will be located in Bryan County, Ga., and served by Genesee & Wyoming’s Georgia Central Railway (GC).

To accommodate growth, Watco has more than doubled the size of its Safe Performance Center, boosting the number of employees who can receive on-site training there each day from 40 to 150.

Small-Road Briefs: Watco, FGA

Watco has completed a $3 million expansion of its Fairfield, Ala.-based training center. Also, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has awarded $3.2 million to Okaloosa County to expand roads, rail lines and utility infrastructure at the Shoal River Ranch industrial mega site, to be served by the Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad (FGA).

FRA reported on May 19 that more than 70,000 inspections were conducted in FY 2021 to assess railroad compliance with regulations and laws that govern track, motive power and equipment, operating practices, signal and train control, hazardous materials, grade crossing signal system safety, industrial hygiene, and safety management systems.

FRA Issues FY21 Safety Enforcement Report

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released its annual enforcement report summarizing the regulatory compliance inspections and audits conducted in the past fiscal year by FRA or state inspectors participating in FRA’s rail safety program, as well as the civil penalty enforcement actions arising from them.

AAR to STB: No ‘Quick Fix’ to Service Problems

“The Class I railroads recognize that their recent service performance has not met many customers’ expectations,” the Association of American Railroads (AAR) wrote in a May 18 filing to the Surface Transportation Board (STB). But while the STB’s May 5 decision to release updated, more-comprehensive rules for reporting performance and employment metrics “reflects an understandable desire for quick action,” it was “not issued in a vacuum,” AAR pointed out.

U.S. Traffic Downturn 12 Weeks and Counting

U.S. carloads and intermodal units for the week ending May 14, 2022, were each down about 5% from the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads’ figures released May 18. It’s the 12th consecutive week of declines from the prior-year period.

Rail Insights 2022: Oberman, Itzkoff to Talk Freight Service

At Railway Age’s Eighth Annual Rail Insights Conference, to be held virtually June 23, Surface Transportation Board Chair Martin J. Oberman will cover freight railroad service, reciprocal switching, supply chain congestion, labor shortages and Amtrak access—among the controversial issues the Board has been addressing during recent hearings.