Intercity

Thermal Rail Stress and Undergrade Bridges

When consideration is given to track engineering and maintenance, many newcomers to the railroad industry don’t realize what massive amount of effort is put forward to properly manage thermal rail stress by track engineering and track maintenance professionals. A concept even more difficult to grasp is the relationship of thermal rail stress to undergrade bridges.

Part 7: A Misleading Analysis of Delays, A New Commission, and A New Obstacle to Funding

When we published the sixth article in this series last month, we promised continuing coverage of the Gateway saga. What we did not know at that time was that so much news would come to us so quickly. At a Board meeting of the Gateway Program Development Corp. on July 22, a Gateway spokesperson presented an analysis of delays that he attributed to the existing Portal Bridge and the existing Hudson Tunnels (also known as the North River Tunnels) on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) and criticized the plan currently under way to rehabilitate the Canarsie Tunnels in New York City. Both analyses omitted facts that indicate that Gateway’s Hudson Tunnel and Portal North Bridge projects are not as cost-effective or necessary as he made them appear. Later that day, the Gateway Corporation became a “Commission” with questionable fundraising authority. Despite that change, a former offer by New Jersey Transit (NJT) to impose a surcharge on future rail trips to and from New York has been scuttled, raising the question of how New Jersey can replace the money that would have come from the surcharge.

Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2019 Finalists Announced

Bentley Systems Inc. has announced the finalists for its Year in Infrastructure 2019 Awards program, which honors “the extraordinary work of Bentley software users advancing infrastructure design, construction, and operations throughout the world.” Twelve independent jury panels of industry experts selected the 54 finalists from 571 nominations submitted by more than 440 organizations in more than 60 countries.

Remembering the Hoosier State (1980-2019)

Amtrak’s Hoosier State train, Nos. 850 and 851, died on Sunday, June 30 at Indianapolis, after a long illness. She was 38. The immediate cause of death was removal from life support by Indiana state officials. During her lifetime, she ran between Chicago and Indianapolis, but her later life was difficult and plagued by ever-increasing weakness, except during one brief period in 2015-17. She is survived by Amtrak’s Cardinal, which traverses the same route on its journey between Chicago and New York, but only three days per week.

What Happened to Stop, Look and Listen?

The news on July 26, 2019 of the derailment at speed of Amtrak 393 at University Park, Ill., due to a careless truck driver created a PTSD-like reaction for me. Instantaneously, I thought back to the derailment of Amtrak 59 at Bourbonnais, Ill., the night of March 15, 1999. Despite denials, this wreck was due to the overt negligence of a driver attempting to beat fully functional grade crossing warning devices with a truck loaded with 22 tons of steel pipe. Regrettably, the driver’s reckless behavior resulted in 11 people killed; much equipment was destroyed in the ensuing fire.

Wabtec Offering Additional GE Shares

Wabtec Corp. recently filed a 20,485,156 share offering of GE, and expects to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2,048,515 shares. Wabtec said it will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the shares in the offering.