The FRA report found that Amtrak trains experienced approximately 1.3 million minutes of delay during first-quarter 2022, up 9% from the previous quarter. System-wide, first-quarter 2022 train-miles were up 8% from fourth-quarter 2021, coming in at 8,790,595 train-miles, as Amtrak continued to restore service following the pandemic. (Amtrak Photograph)

FRA Issues Amtrak OTP Report Card for 1Q22

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released a report measuring the performance and service quality of Amtrak intercity passenger train operations for first-quarter 2022 (ending Dec. 31, 2021). Among the findings: the Auto Train, Capitol Limited and Sunset Limited were delayed most.

Lee Verhey (left), incoming Executive Director, Railway Supply Institute (RSI) Committee on Tank Cars (CTC); John Bryne, outgoing Vice Chair, RSI CTC.

Verhey to Succeed Byrne at RSI CTC

Lee Verhey will take on the Executive Director role for the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) Committee on Tank Cars (CTC), starting May 23. He succeeds RSI CTC Vice Chair John Byrne, who announced earlier this year that he would retire.

NMB to Rule on Election-Year Rail Shutdown

The National Mediation Board (NMB) has agreed to give the nation’s 12 railroad labor unions, representing some 125,000 unionized rail workers, an opportunity May 24-26 to demonstrate their commitment to a voluntarily negotiated settlement with most of the nation’s railroads over changes in wages, benefits and work rules.

STB on Dec. 15, 2021 approved the Uinta Basin Railway. Its Office of Environmental Analysis last summer issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the project, identifying the 88-mile Whitmore Park Alternative as the environmentally preferred route, one of three analyzed.

Builders Selected for Uinta Basin Railway

AECOM, Skanska-Clyde Joint Venture and Obayashi Corporation have landed the final engineering and construction contracts for Uinta Basin Railway, slated to serve the mineral, energy, agricultural, construction and manufacturing industries in northeastern Utah.

Gulf Coast Battle: An Interim Report

The witness phase of the slugout between Amtrak on one side and CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS) and the Port of Mobile on the other, ended May 12 as its 11th day concluded. It ended not with T.S. Eliot’s oft-quoted “whimper” but truly with a bang.

FRA Launches Corridor ID Program

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has established the Corridor Identification and Development (ID) Program that “will serve as a key vehicle for directing federal investments and technical assistance toward new or improved intercity passenger rail services across the nation.” Amtrak expressed its support.

T&I STB Reauthorization Hearing Deja Vu All Over Again

The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure hearing, “Board Member Views on Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization,” was for the most part a rehash of the topics that the STB has been covering in its own hearings on freight rail service problems, reciprocal switching and other areas the industry has had to address in recent weeks. T&I Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who is not seeking re-election in this year’s mid-terms, and Railroad, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chair Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) chaired the hearing, which in a press release was couched as “The Surface Transportation Board’s Role in Resolving Freight Rail Conflicts.”

“Like many companies in the transportation industry, VIA Rail continued to face the impacts of the various waves of the pandemic,” Chief Financial Officer Marie-Claude Cardin reported. “Nonetheless, as we have always done over the past two years, we found ways to strike a balance between our important public service mandate while proactively managing the financial impacts on our operations.” (VIA Rail)

VIA Rail Releases 2021 Annual Report

“Despite the upheaval caused by the pandemic, we have successfully pursued our strategic plan, including the unveiling of our new fleet and the advancement of the High Frequency Rail project,” VIA Rail Canada Board Chair Françoise Bertrand said upon release of the railroad’s 2021 Annual Report.

Strafford Joins Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Timothy Strafford has been appointed a Partner for Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s Transportation Practice Group in Washington, D.C. He served most recently as Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The Surface Transportation Board on April 5 approved Louisville & Indiana Railroad’s acquisition of Southern Indiana Railway, which served customers until 2020. (Photo Courtesy of LIRC, Railway Age’s 2019 Short Line of the Year.)

LIRC ‘Growing its Footprint’

Louisville & Indiana Railroad (LIRC), a subsidiary of Anacostia Rail Holdings Company, has acquired the assets and operating rights of the former Southern Indiana Railway (SIND).

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