A Hard Sell and a Long Shot

In October, I reported on three events that took place within three days, all of which concerned the possibility of more Amtrak-operated state-supported trains in the Midwest. The events are now over,

Calling All ‘Fast Trackers’ Nominations!

Railway Age is now accepting entries for our 2022 “Fast Trackers” 20 Under 40 awards, in which we will profile 20 individuals under the age of 40 who have made an impact in their respective fields or within their company. The deadline is Jan. 7, 2022.

What’s in the Infrastructure Package for Passenger Rail? (Updated)

It’s the big news in Washington and everywhere else in the country. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for which the Biden Administration had fought so hard and made so many deals finally made it through Congress on Nov. 5, and President Joe Biden signed it into law on Nov. 15.

STB Schedules Hearings on Three ‘Significant’ Matters

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) in first-quarter 2022 will hold public hearings on three “significant” pending matters: CSX’s merger application to acquire Pan Am Systems, Amtrak’s application to operate Gulf Coast service, and proposed reciprocal switching regulations.

Tier 4, ‘All Notches, All the Time’

Fullerton, Calif.-based technology company Rail Propulsion Systems LLC (RPS), partnering with the North Carolina DOT, the North Carolina State Clean Tech Center and the Federal Highway Administration, has demonstrated what it’s describing as “the first diesel passenger locomotive in the United States with combined in-use emissions lower than the current EPA Tier 4 standard.”

Starting Nov. 18, 2021, a total of eight trains—including Amtrak Cascades and Coast Starlight—will use the Point Defiance Bypass between Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., each day “with additional trains added in the months ahead as COVID restrictions ease,” Amtrak said. In addition, operations in Tacoma, Wash., will move to the new Tacoma Dome Station (pictured), near Sound Transit’s Sounder commuter rail and light rail stations on East 25th Street.

Amtrak Service Returning to Point Defiance Bypass

Amtrak will resume Cascades service on the Point Defiance Bypass between Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., on Nov. 18, nearly four years after an overspeed derailment stopped service there.

The California High Speed Rail Authority will get the chance to approve the Burbank-to-Los Angeles preferred alternative in January. (CHSRA)

Second California High-Speed Rail Segment Waiting To Be Cleared

The California High-Speed Rail Authority released the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIR/EIS) for the approximately 14-mile Burbank-to-Los Angeles Project Section in southern California, moving CHSRA one step closer to approving its fourth environmental document in two years.

2021 Elections: Little About Transit; VA, NJ Leave Future Unsettled

The election of 2020 was one of the most dramatic in recent times. That included the transit scene, where Bay Area voters agreed to chip in to keep Caltrain going and Austinites voted to expand their rail transit. But voters in Portland, Ore., voted down a tax on employers that would have financed a new light rail line, and Gwinnett County residents in the Atlanta suburbs voted again to keep a MARTA rail line out of their county.

On Nov. 1 Chicago Transit Authority debuted a special train wrap to honor the Chicago Sky, its hometown 2021 WNBA Champions.

Transit Briefs: Brightline; CTA; Metrolink; NJ Transit

Brightline has partnered with TransitScreen to provide real-time multi-modal transportation information in stations. In addition, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is honoring the Chicago Sky, its hometown 2021 WNBA Champions; Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) is working with Moovit to help riders calculate the best routes for their trips; and New Jersey Transit is adding 22 weekday trains to align with rider demand and 14 weekend trains to improve service frequency.

Rocky Road

RAILWAY AGE, NOVEMBER 2021 ISSUE: The three most important words to a railroad chief engineer are (pardon the alliteration; I’m sure you’ve heard this before) drainage, drainage and drainage.