While technology is driving the new era of railroading, the need for a rock-solid foundation is paramount. The foundation of the railroad industry is training. Just like the Roman Pantheon, an ancient building with a solid foundation and large round pillars that support the stone roof, the pillars of empowerment, compensation and technology must hold up the “roof” of railroading goals that support the desired outcomes like car-count, safety and velocity.
BNSF announced in December 2017 that it had fully installed and was operating under Positive Train Control (PTC) on all mandated subdivisions in advance of the Dec. 31, 2018 interim federal deadline. However, on June 13, it submitted a request to the Federal Railroad Administration for an alternative schedule, a two-year extension to Dec. 31, 2020, because “full implementation status cannot be achieved until all non-BNSF trains and/or equipment operating on its PTC-equipped lines are also PTC-compliant.”
I am a frequent flier. Since very few commercial airliners crash, I naturally assume that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the airlines themselves are doing everything possible to ensure that flight crews are medically fit to fly commercial airplanes.
Amtrak, working with BNSF, will the week of June 11 implement Positive Train Control (PTC) on BNSF-owned subdivisions that host the Southwest Chief and California Zephyr, marking the first activation on host-owned territory used by Amtrak. Full PTC activation on BNSF routes that host these two long-distance trains is expected by the end of August.
The CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) partners—Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), Cook County, Association of American Railroads (AAR), Metra, Amtrak and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)—have received a $132 million U.S. Department of Transportation INFRA (Infrastructure For Rebuilding America) Grant for the $474 million 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (CIP). This project will grade-separate several freight and passenger rail lines in Chicago’s Englewood, Auburn Gresham and West Chatham neighborhoods that currently intersect, creating significant delays and congestion.
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NYMTA) is partnering with Waze, a popular smart phone and tablet computer navigation app, to improve safety at Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad highway/rail grade crossings.
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association President Linda Darr on June 5 announced her resignation, effective July 27, from the organization she has led since late 2014. She has accepted the CEO position at the American Council of Engineering Companies, a trade association described by ASLRRA Chair Judy Petry as “a considerably larger organization and industry.” Twenty percent of ACEC members are companies that do business is the railway space.
Operation Lifesaver, Inc. Interim President Wende Corcoran announced new State Coordinators for the nonprofit rail safety education organization in three states. Jeffrey Pitcher now leads Maine Operation Lifesaver (ME OL); Alan Stouder leads Ohio Operation Lifesaver (OH OL); and Kathy Zander is Operation Lifesaver of the Dakotas (ND/SD) leader.
CSX Corporation today announced that James Schwichtenberg, a recognized leader in rail safety, is joining CSX as vice president and chief safety officer.
Union Pacific (UP) has released its 2017 Building America Report, the railroad’s ninth installment of its yearly sustainability report.