One of the North American railway industry’s most valuable assets is the vast amount of institutional knowledge held by its people. Railroading, freight or passenger, is a complex undertaking, from many angles. We owe these young people, and countless others like them, the best of who and what we are. Railway Age and Nick Little, Director of Railway Education at Michigan State University’s Center for Railway Research and Education, have selected our Fast Trackers–10 Under 40 honorees. These rising industry stars are making an impact in their respective fields, and represent the “best of the best.”
WATCHING WASHINGTON, MARCH 2019 – Amtrak seemingly operates in the shadow of a Bat Signal over Gotham—that specially modified searchlight displaying the emblem of a bat, and intended, when lighted, to summon superhero Batman. Rather than Batman, the Amtrak sentinel, with a passenger train emblem, summons self-appointed management surrogates—hopefully helpful railfans; well-intentioned but cash-strapped lawmakers from federal, state and local government; and, surely, the snoopy press corps.
Thomas Jenkins, P.E., has joined HNTB Corp. as a national transit/rail consultant.
Passenger rail in the United States has fallen a long way since it was the dominant mode of long-distance transportation. In a world of competition among cars, planes and trains, the point-to-point functionality of automobiles and the speed of planes means that most trains with existing technologies cannot compete.
Joseph H. Boardman, former Amtrak President and CEO and Federal Railroad Administrator, and Railway Age’s 2014 Railroader of the Year, died March 7, 2019, of a stroke while vacationing with his family in Florida. He was 70.
Two of the railroad industry’s most experienced attorneys, Kevin Sheys and Ed Fishman, have joined the Washington D.C. office of law firm Hogan Lovells, in the Global Transportation Regulatory practice.
Work on Toronto’s 12-mile (19-kilometer) Eglinton Crosstown LRT project, the city’s largest, is heading toward the last lap. The line is scheduled to open in September 2021.
“HOW SAFE ARE AMERICA’S RAILROADS? Lesley Stahl reports on a recent string of crashes on U.S. railroads and the delay in implementing life-saving technology that could have prevented them.” Oh brother. I think you know what CBS 60 Minutes reported on March 3. It’s not pretty. But in my humble opinion, the rail industry can take most of the responsibility for what turned out to be a damaging report, because no one in the rail industry wanted to go on camera. More on that later. Here, after the fact unfortunately, is my attempt to shed light on some of the misconceptions and negative picture of our industry the 60 Minutes program perpetuated.
New Jersey Transit announced Feb. 27 that it will restore service on the Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL) and the “Dinky”—a short shuttle line between Princeton Junction on Amtrak‘s Northeast Corridor (NEC) and a point close to downtown Princeton—but riders will still have to wait 85 more days to get their trains back.
Chicago’s Metra has awarded a $70.9 million contract to Progress Rail for 15 remanufactured and repurposed diesel-electric locomotives to modernize its ageing fleet. The contract includes options for up to 27 additional units, which will be purchased if funding becomes available.