Regulatory

When Warnings Aren’t Enough

It’s not often that I find myself in agreement with the National Transportation Safety Board. Not only is it infrequent, it’s downright uncomfortable. Truth be told, nothing worries me more than finding myself in agreement with a government agency, or a panel of experts, or the vice president operations of whatever railroad I happen(ed) to be working for at the time.

Does Rebuilding Locomotives Beat Buying New?

Ever check out the list prices of brand-new main line diesel-electric locomotives? They are expensive, about $3 million each. Are you mesmerized by the horsepower quoted? Nah! You want tractive effort. Hauling heavy, long freight trains is the North American business model. You need to purchase tractive effort.

“IN PANDEMIC FIGHT, PUBLIC TRANSIT IS PART OF THE SOLUTION, NOT THE PROBLEM”

OK, I’ll give you one guess as to who said this. Hints: It’s not APTA or the Eno Center for Transportation. It’s not one of the giant public transportation agencies like the New York MTA or NJ Transit or CTA or WMATA or Los Angeles Metro. It’s not one of the huge engineering consulting firms like WSP USA, AECOM or Parsons. It’s not a transit car builder like Alstom, Siemens or Bombardier. It’s not even Contributing Editor David Peter Alan, whose passion for rail transit has generated tens of thousands of words for the Railway Age website. Give up?

Brake Defects Plague Canada’s Aging Grain Cars

Hard-to-detect braking system defects have rendered Canada’s aging fleet of grain hoppers a safety hazard, says a former director of derailment investigations for the country’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB), the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. NTSB. Ian Naish, who retired from the TSB in 2009, in a CBC interview posted May 15, declared, “The grain car fleet overall is quite defective.”

FRA: PTC at 98%

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) first-quarter 2020 update on railroads’ self-reported progress on fully implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) by the Dec. 31, 2020 deadline shows that, as of March 31, 2020, the job is 98% complete. Nearly all railroads subject to the statutory mandate are operating their systems in revenue service or in advanced field testing, known as revenue service demonstration (RSD), with PTC technology remaining to be activated on only approximately 1,100 required route-miles.