Switching & Terminal

U.S. Rails Monitoring Canadian Crude

The derailment of two separate oil trains roughly two months apart near Guernsey, Sask., each spilling more than 300,000 gallons of crude onto the ground and one igniting into a smoldering inferno, plus the resulting 30-day mandatory speed limit on such trains imposed by Transport Canada (20 mph in urban areas, 25 mph elsewhere), have raised questions about not only the cause of those derailments, but also about the durability of the tank cars, and the volatility of the crude they were carrying. It should also raise questions, and awareness, about the transport of Canadian crude on the U.S. rail system.

Creel to Trudeau: “The Time For Rhetoric Has Passed”

Canada’s railroads, and by extension the Canadian economy, are suffering from the blockades that First Nations peoples have been imposing since early February in protest of planned natural gas pipelines. The effect on the Canadian economy runs in the hundreds of millions of dollars per day, according to calculations by railroad economist and Railway Age Contributing Editor Jim Blaze (see below). Canadian Pacific President and CEO Keith Creel has called upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to honor First Nations leadership’s request to engage in a dialogue.

Bentley Opens Nominations for Year in Infrastructure 2020 Awards

Bentley Systems Inc. recently announced its call for nominations for the Year in Infrastructure 2020 Awards program. The awards, which are judged by independent juries of industry experts, recognize infrastructure projects for digital innovations that improve project delivery and/or asset performance. The deadline for nominations is May 1, 2020.

BNSF Announces new Logistics Center

BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) recently announced its newest logistics center, Logistics Center North Houston at Cleveland. Once completed, the rail-served development is aimed at helping businesses increase their reach and speed to the densely populated Houston market and surrounding area.

Rail Union Ordered to Bargain on Crew Consist

This is about a railroad labor union committed to serving its dues paying members, and a rail industry losing its core revenue traffic—coal—and now facing off against omnipresent low-cost, non-union truckers for the trailers and containers comprising much of the railroads’ future traffic base. It’s about new technology—the product of knowledge that for centuries has transformed the nature, quality and quantity of work. In this instance, the technology is Positive Train Control (PTC), a safety overlay system substituting artificial intelligence for engineer inattention or distraction. PTC, as does most new technology, creates job redundancies.