DOT’s Chao calls on railroad industry to improve grade crossing safety

WASHINGTON – The Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration are sounding an urgent warning about grade crossing safety, and asking the industry to collaborate on improvements.

What if Shasta blows its top?

To an industry that routinely faces the aftermath of flooding, mudslides, avalanches, hurricanes and even earthquakes, the concept of service disruption due to an erupting volcano seems almost unthinkable. But according to a recent study, and judging by the not-so-distant history of volcanoes in the U.S., some railroads are in fact quite vulnerable to such disasters, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.

Capitol Corridor nears PTC completion

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), with operating partners Amtrak and Union Pacific, has completed installation and testing of Positive Train Control (PTC) along the 170-mile San Jose-Auburn Capitol Corridor route. On Oct. 24, 2018, the CCJPA got the go-ahead from UP, which approved Amtrak’s PTC plan for the Capitol Corridor, to begin fleet-wide PTC implementation, two months ahead of the federally mandated interim deadline of Dec. 31, 2018. The Federal Railroad Administration had approved UP’s PTC plan in mid-2016.

ESA last big push goes to Skanska

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on Oct. 31 awarded its final major civil construction contract for the Long Island Rail Road East Side Access (ESA) project to Skanska USA Civil Northeast. The contract, valued at $60.2 million, includes two options that, if exercised, would bring the total value to $62.5 million. It’s among the final work needed to begin Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Terminal by year-end 2022.

Abrams to lead S. Florida RTA

Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven L. Abrams was selected Executive Director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA).

Renfe signs for Texas bullet train

Texas Central and Renfe on Oct. 30 signed an agreement that formalizes the relationship of the Spanish railway operator as the Texas high-speed train project’s operator.

Sander gives Bombardier new traction

Bombardier Transportation has appointed Elliot G. (Lee) Sander as President of its Americas Region, effective Nov. 19, 2018. In addition to ensuring that the company “delivers on its commitments in the region,” Sander will oversee all sales and business development activities for Bombardier Transportation in the Americas.

Larry Ellison, what are you thinking?

Have you seen Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business News, where, paraphrasing Elon Musk, he trashes California High Speed Rail, calling it “1960s Japanese technology” that will be “one of the greatest embarrassments in the history of California governance”?

STV elevates Boyle to EVP

Martin Boyle, a member of STV’s Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Division, has been appointed to Executive Vice President of T&I, where he will oversee the division’s operations. He is succeeding William Matts, P.E., who is retiring at the end of the year after a 40-year career with STV.

New impact study for Oregon passenger proposal

Oregon after years of study has released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for proposed passenger service upgrades between Eugene and Portland.