Federal funding requests have been submitted for planning the return of Amtrak service between Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis, Ind.

Transit Briefs: Amtrak, Bi-State Development, Metra, Metrolinx, Sound Transit

Will Amtrak service connecting Louisville, Indianapolis and Chicago return? Also, Bi-State Development advances the Jefferson Alignment MetroLink Expansion project in St. Louis, Mo.; Chicago’s Metra schedules Operation Lifesaver safety blitzes for 2023; Metrolinx installs traction power substations along Ontario’s future Hazel McCallion Line (formerly known as the Hurontario LRT project); and Seattle’s Sound Transit will receive millions in low-interest loans to support construction of the Hilltop Tacoma Link extension and a station along the Lynnwood Link extension.

CABT photo

CABT Study: ‘Our Bridges Can’t Handle Bigger Trucks’

A new study released by the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT) shows that more than 72,000 bridges nationwide cannot safely handle the heavier truck weights that special interests are lobbying federal legislation to put onto the roads, and that replacing these bridges would cost taxpayers more than $600 billion.


Amtrak Adirondack Returning to the Rails

Amtrak’s New York City-Montreal Adirondack train, the only Amtrak service that was discontinued because of the COVID virus and has not returned yet, is coming back. Its first northbound run from Penn

BAI and Netskrt offer railway operators and passengers affordable onboard video streaming, that reduces the load on the internet bandwidth, and improves overall Wi-Fi performance. (Photo: Business Wire)
  • News

Supply Side: Netskrt Systems/BAI, TransmetriQ, Cummins/Leclanché

Netskrt Systems and BAI Communications (BAI) team up to offer streaming to railway operators in the UK, Europe and North America. Also, TransmetriQ enables detailed railcar lease, health and location insights; and Cummins Inc. and Leclanché S.A (Leclanché) collaborate on lower-emissions solutions for use in rail and marine applications.

U.S. Rail Traffic Still Behind 2022 Levels

For the week ending March 25, 2023, U.S. rail traffic fell 7.5% from the prior-year period, pulled down by both carloads (dipping 0.2%) and intermodal volume (declining 13.9%), according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Screen Grab Courtesy of CSX (via Twitter)

CSX Introduces GPS Shipment Tracking

CSX is taking the “rail customer experience to the next level” by installing GPS tags on its railcars and containers to provide up-to-the-minute location information anywhere on its 20,000-mile network, the Class I announced March 28 via a Twitter post.

(Amtrak Photograph)

Amtrak Releases G&L Annual Report, FY24 Grant Request

Amtrak has issued its Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 General and Legislative (G&L) Annual Report for Congress, in which it seeks $3.65 billion in total grant funding, including $1.70 billion for the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and $1.95 billion for the National Network (NN). This is consistent with the FY24 annual appropriations authorized under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

(Photograph Courtesy of VIA Rail Canada)

Canada’s Auditor General Issues Accessible Transportation Report

While VIA Rail Canada, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and the Canadian Transportation Agency have “taken steps to identify and remove some of the barriers faced by travelers with disabilities, many remain,” concludes a report released March 27 by Canada’s Office of the Auditor General. Transport Canada responds.

In 2022, FCA reported revenues of $364.8 million, up 79.6% from 2021’s $203 million, on deliveries of 3,184 railcars, up 83.9% from 2021’s 1,731 railcar deliveries.

For FCA, ‘Another Strong Year of Transformation’

While FreightCar America (FCA) finished “strong” in 2022, ramping up operations in Castaños, Mexico, and delivering 3,184 railcars, the carbuilder in the fourth quarter “continued to experience margin pressure, primarily due to supply chain issues,” President and CEO Jim Meyer said during a March 27 financial report. “These dynamics will be with us through the first quarter of this year, after which we expect to see further improvement in our financial performance.”

MBTA photo

Transit Briefs: MBTA, LA Metro, NYMTA

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) announces Safety First program for South Coast Rail (SCR). Also, LA Metro approves hiring of Transit Security Officers, law enforcement contract negotiations and policies to improve safety for rail and bus riders; and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive $2 million in federal funds to expand a program that helps visually impaired riders, as well as commuters with limited English proficiency, navigate public transit.

  • M/W

TCU & Shop-Craft Coalition Reaches Tentative Agreement With Amtrak

The TCU & Shop-Craft Coalition, which is comprised of the SMART-Mechanical Department (MD), the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC), National Conference of Firemen & Oilers SEIU 32BJ (NCFO), International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), Transport Workers Union (TWU), American Railway Airline Supervisor Association (ARASA), International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) and the Transportation Communications Union (TCU), announced March 23 that it has reached a tentative agreement with Amtrak to “settle each organization’s respective Section 6 notices for this round of bargaining.”

Sound Transit’s proposed 7.1-mile extension from downtown Seattle to Ballard includes nine new stations between the Chinatown-International District and Market Street and a new rail-only tunnel through downtown Seattle.

Transit Briefs: Sound Transit, WMATA

Seattle’s Sound Transit identifies the preferred alternative for the Ballard Link light rail extension and will conduct Rainier Valley safety improvements in partnership with the city’s transportation department using a $2 million Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Also, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) police department launches a Body-Worn Camera Program.

Phillip Eng, incoming General Manager, MBTA

Phillip Eng to Lead MBTA

Former MTA Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng is heading to Boston. On April 10, he will become the next General Manager of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Massachusetts Gov. Maura T. Healey, Lt. Gov. Kimberley Driscoll and Transportation Secretary Gina Fiandaca reported March 27.

CN Announces Plans for New Calgary Intermodal Transload Facility

CN, Trealmont Transport Inc. (Montship Inc.) and Kaptan US LLC announced March 27 that they have reached an agreement to develop a multimodal transload facility located in the Class I’s Calgary Logistics Park. The new facility is expected to be operational in the third quarter of 2024.