Regulatory

Tank railcar market continues to evolve

Financial Edge, September 2018: According to the good people at Railinc (a perennial speaker at the annual Rail Equipment Finance Conference, www.railequipmentfinance.com), as of July 1, 2018, 12,581 tank railcars had been retrofit to the DOT117R standard. In the first seven months of 2018, 5,349 tank railcars were retrofit (an average of 764 per month). If retrofits continue at the same pace for the remainder of the year, the total number of retrofit cars completed in 2018 would be more than double the total number of retrofits completed by the end of 2017.

Amtrak’s “faulty route accounting”: RPA

A white paper issued by the Rail Passengers Association, “Amtrak’s Route Accounting: Fatally Flawed, Misleading & Wrong,” contends that Amtrak’s fully allocated cost methodology “grossly exaggerates the cost of operating the national passenger train system. This, in turn, has lead to the conclusion adopted by many elected leaders and other affected stakeholders that abandonment of key long-distance trains will save Amtrak significant sums and lead to a more financially secure national passenger operation.”

From FRA, a $200MM PTC infusion and an upbeat progress report

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded more than $200 million in funds to assist with the deployment of Positive Train Control (PTC), with a second solicitation expected soon for a remaining $46 million. As well, the agency released its second-quarter 2018 PTC progress report, which shows “significant improvement.”

SLSI picks Cotton for key post

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) has named Sam Cotton as Senior Manager, Safety and Operations, replacing Mike Long, who recently accepted a position with the Federal Railroad Administration. Cotton will be responsible for management of SLSI’s Safety Culture Assessment program, a “voluntary, non-punitive and confidential five-to-ten-day onsite process with a rigorous methodology that includes an online survey of staff, discussions with management, and observations of a railroad’s daily practices.”