MaaS Appeal: Urban Transport’s Near or Distant Future?

INTERNATIONAL RAILWAY JOURNAL, MARCH 2020 ISSUE: (MaaS) Mobility as a Service has been touted as the natural next step in the advancement of urban and intercity transport. But while strides have been made in the development of many of the integral aspects needed to make MaaS a reality, implementation is still lacking. Why this is the case, and what needs to change?

Fitch: Five Transit Agencies on “Rating Watch Negative”

Fitch Ratings has placed the ratings of five large U.S. public transit agencies on “Rating Watch Negative.” Fitch said it “expects widespread and sharp declines in transit ridership and fare revenues to create significant near-term stress in the U.S. public transit sector with the [agencies] identified here at the greatest risk. Some transit agencies in major urban areas that have already been impacted by the pandemic are reporting ridership declines of as much as 70% to 90% amid efforts at social distancing, a widespread shift to telecommuting and shelter-in-place orders.”

A “Sully” Moment For Amtrak’s Anderson

As America increasingly is sheltering in place, losing unprecedented numbers of jobs and retirement savings, fearful of COVID-19, and facing a stress level unfamiliar except to those who have endured war zones, Amtrak and its workforce face only unpleasant choices if the railroad and their jobs are to survive. Fare-paying passengers have vanished—almost entirely on Northeast Corridor Acela trains; significantly on all others.

“Saving America”

A Union Pacific locomotive engineer based in the Pacific Northwest who had just received his notice of exemption from travel restrictions proudly told Railway Age Contributing Editor Bruce Kelly, “We’ve gone from building America to saving it.” This UP field employee in Train & Engine Service has embraced his railroad’s slogan, “Building America,” and his heartfelt statement takes it to a higher level—from motto to mantra.

Metro-North’s Harlem, Hudson Lines Fully PTC-Equipped

MTA Metro-North Railroad President Cathy Rinaldi announced that as of March 14 Metro-North’s full Harlem and Hudson lines are operating in Positive Train Control (PTC), bringing Metro-North’s total of PTC-equipped route miles to 189, which represents 68% of its mileage.

New Jersey Remembers “The Seashore’s Finest Train”

On Saturday, Feb. 22, history buffs and railfans from around New Jersey gathered in a repurposed and still-beautiful former railroad terminal to celebrate a train that, during its short life, was an iconic and luxurious one that the Garden State could call its own. That train was the Blue Comet on the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ). It was New Jersey’s all-time premier train, which set the standard for décor and service at reasonable prices during an era when not many people could afford even a coach ticket. Few of the people who actually rode that train are alive today, and probably fewer still have vivid memories of the trips they took, but the fast and luxurious train that whisked riders through the countryside and the Pine Barrens of South Jersey to Atlantic City lives on in the DNA of New Jerseyans who remain tired of living in the shadows of New York and Pennsylvania, and who cling to memories of experiences of the past that their state could claim as its own.

Part 10: Portal North Gets Passing Grade; Hudson Tunnel Flunks Again

Proponents of the Gateway Program split a double-header on Feb. 10, 2020, when the Federal Transit Administration released its ratings for projects for which grant applications were filed through the New Starts, Small Starts and Core Capacity Improvement Programs.

FRA to Administer $248.5MM in Grants

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the recipients of $248.5 million in grant funds under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program, for a wide variety of state and local railroad infrastructure projects. The grants will fund 32 projects in 27 states, and will be administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

S-B Rail Group Staff Report: UPDATED MARCH 30—Global Railway Industry Response & Impacts, COVID-19 Pandemic

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, a pandemic, and the U.S. has declared a National Emergency. The global railway industry has been responding. Following is a staff report from the editors at Railway Age, Railway Track & Structures and International Railway Journal that will be continuously updated with the latest developments, the most significant posted up top.

Big Data Journey: From Collection to Analysis to Predictive Use

RAILWAY AGE, MARCH 2020 ISSUE: The December 2019 Big Data in Railroad Maintenance Planning Conference, held at the University of Delaware, continued to highlight the advances the railroad industry is making in addressing the growing volume of data from inspection and other systems, and learning how to apply it. This was clearly shown in the keynote address, where the keynote speaker, Jeffrey D. Knueppel, P.E., now retired as General Manager of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) presented how his agency is already using a range of data collection, data analysis and data management tools in the everyday running of SEPTA. In fact, he titled his presentation “SEPTA’s Journey Into Big Data” and presented a range of Big Data applications that are currently implemented or being implemented on SEPTA.

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