High Performance

The Fiscal Year 2020 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program will fund projects that address safety at highway-rail grade crossings (and deter illegal trespassing), and expand, upgrade or rehabilitate railroad track, switches, and yard and station facilities to increase performance and service delivery.

U.S. DOT Awards $320.6 Million for Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Projects (Updated)

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that it is distributing $320.6 million to 50 projects that improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of freight rail and intercity passenger service in 29 states.

Rail Safety Week and Infrastructure Investments Go Hand in Hand

As a lifelong railroader, I’m especially pleased to join Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) and others across the nation in observing Rail Safety Week (RSW). In addition to Canada, this year we also welcome our colleagues in Mexico in helping all of us in North America to raise the profile of rail safety awareness.

The North Carolina DOT (pictured) has received a grant to purchase right-of-way that will help it provide future high-speed rail service to the Southeast. It is one of many recently announced as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Another Step Closer to North Carolina/Virginia HrSR

A $47.55 million grant has been awarded to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the purchase of CSX’s S-Line rail corridor from Raleigh to Ridgeway, N.C., near the Virginia state line, which will eventually contribute to higher-speed rail (HrSR) service to the Southeast.

Rail Safety Week Kicks Off—Virtually

Social media and virtual messaging is spreading the word for Rail Safety Week (Sept. 21-27) due to the pandemic. The #STOPTrackTragedies campaign is encouraging safe behavior near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way, and raising awareness of the need for rail safety education.

The proposed $20 billion, 240-mile rail line connecting Dallas (potential station pictured) and Houston has completed key regulatory processes.

Is Texas High-Speed Rail Ready for Construction?

Private high-speed rail developer Texas Central is another step closer to starting construction of a $20 billion, 240-mile line connecting Dallas and Houston. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released the final Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and Record of Decision (ROD) that establish federal safety standards for operation and give environmental clearance for the selected alignment, respectively.

Community outreach is often conducted in person, but COVID-19 has moved much of it online. HDR hosts web-based live chats and telephone town halls, for instance.

How to Build Equity Into Transportation Projects—From the Start

Reaching out to communities early and following up throughout the transportation project planning process is key to building equity. That’s among the takeaways from HDR’s latest “Experts Talk” interview, in which Cathy LaFata shares insights on the environmental justice process and strategies for improving community engagement. She is the Northern California Transportation Planning Section Manager and a Professional Associate at HDR.

Fourth in a Series: Amtrak’s Impossible Demands

Time is running out for daily operation of Amtrak’s long-distance trains. It could also be running out for the very concept that a train could provide reliable transportation between far-flung communities every day, with same-day connections to other trains, at least in this country. With various exceptions, this has been the basis of Amtrak’s long-distance train network for the first 49 years and five months of its corporate existence, as well as for nearly 140 years before Amtrak began operations in 1971.

Rail Group on Air: CHSRA’s Troubling Rail Bridge

Railway Track & Structures’ Editor-in-Chief Bill Wilson talks to William Ibbs, a professor of civil engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, to get a feel for how the QC/QA process is supposed to work on bridge construction projects. Construction on the Road 27 bridge, owned by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, has been on pause since late last year after high-strength steel strands snapped.