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The Jake Awards are named for the late Lowell S. "Jake" Jacobson, President and General Manger of the Copper Basin Railway. (Photograph Courtesy of ASLRRA)

ASLRRA Honors 385 Railroads With Jake Awards

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) on May 29 reported selecting its annual Jake Award recipients, recognizing a “record” 385 member railroads for their above-industry-average safety performance in 2023;

AAR: Carloads Down, Intermodal Up for Week 21

U.S. rail traffic for the week ending May 25, 2024 (Week 21) was up 1.2% from the prior-year period, as intermodal gains offset carload losses, according to the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) latest report.

Pictured, left to right: Railway Association of Canada Board Chair Janet Drysdale (CN Photograph); HNTB’s Jeff Watson (HNTB Photograph); and HNTB’s Dominic Spaethling (HNTB Photograph).

People News: RAC, HNTB/WTS

Railway Association of Canada (RAC) appoints Janet Drysdale of CN as Board Chair, succeeding Jeffrey J. Ellis of Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC). Also, HNTB’s Jeff Watson earns the WTS Man of the Year Award, and WTS Utah names HNTB the Employer of the Year.

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Commentary

RUN Conference Calls for More Amtrak L-D

When Amtrak began operations in 1971, two-thirds of the long-distance and corridor-length trains that had previously run in the United States were discontinued. Amtrak’s original long-distance network consisted of only 14 routes.

The BNSF Ottumwa, Iowa, maintenance-of-way team recently achieved nine years injury-free. (BNSF Photograph)

Class I Briefs: BNSF, CSX, UP

A BNSF maintenance-of-way team in Iowa marks a safety milestone. Also, CSX joins Blue Star Families to ring the Nasdaq opening bell; and a Union Pacific (UP) Dispatching Director earns the “military-friendly” Patriot Award.

Transit Briefs: Project Connect, OC Transpo, Sound Transit, VTA

Austin’s Project Connect enters the development phase. Also, debit card payments are now available on OC Transpo; Sound Transit’s Federal Way Link Extension (FWLE) project earns an Envision Platinum Sustainability Award; and the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) receives regional funding to move transit-oriented development (TOD) projects forward.

Commentary

Does South Dakota Really Need Amtrak?

In his May 16, 2024 Railway Age commentary, South Dakotan Dan Bilka is proud to say “People Live Here” when referencing his home state. And as such, according to his reasoning, South Dakota should

Mike Schwark (Photograph Courtesy of Mike Schwark)
Commentary

CN-IANR Merger Proposal: ‘Value Add’ for Ag

To be competitive and profitable, agricultural producers across the country are focusing on their cost of production, managing margins, and being forward-thinking on their grain and livestock marketing. In Iowa, and most any state, a piece to the puzzle that literally links all of these is rail. 

People News: NS, AITX, CN

Norfolk Southern (NS) names Claude Mongeau Chair of the Board of Directors. Also, American Industrial Transport, Inc. (AITX) promotes Ed Kaminski and Jerry Finan to Senior Vice Presidents of Commercial Leasing; and CN announces Cassandra Mullee as its new Vice-President, Network Operations.

Alstom is supplying six additional SkyTrain Mark V trainsets to TransLink. (Photograph Courtesy of Alstom)

For SkyTrain, Another Six Trainsets on Order

Alstom on May 28 reported landing an approximately C$123 million contract from British Columbia’s TransLink for an additional six five-car Mark V trainsets, which will run on the SkyTrain automated rapid transit system in metro Vancouver. The contract was booked in the 2023/24 fiscal year, according to the manufacturer.

(FTA Image)

FTA Awards $343MM for Station Accessibility Projects

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on May 28 reported that eight transit systems in eight states will share $343 million to make their rail stations “more accessible and in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards” by installing elevators, renovating platforms for level boarding, improving signage, and improving visual and audio systems.

Contactless fare payment is slated for rollout at MBTA this summer on subways, buses and any above-ground Green Line trains, according to Boston’s WBZ-TV, a CBS affiliate. (MBTA Photograph)

Transit Briefs: CTA, LACMTA, MBTA

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) unveils under-the-track development plans as part of the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One project. Also, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) logs its 17th consecutive month of year-over-year ridership growth in April; and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority anticipates rolling out its contactless fare payment system this summer.

In 1975 Dale Dannewitz had a three-week stint on the railroad, then began his locomotive engineer career in 1978. (Caption and Photograph Courtesy of BNSF)
Commentary

After Nearly 50 Years of Service, BNSF Engineer Dale Dannewitz Retires

It was 1976, a year when there was a resurgence of leisure train travel with the start of Amtrak, when Class I railroads in the Northeast joined to form Conrail, and railroads across the nation debuted patriotic livery paint schemes in honor of America’s bicentennial. And in Minot, N.Dak., a young Dale Dannewitz started his railroading career that would span nearly a half century.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank has reached financial close on a C$150 million loan to Prince Rupert Port Authority for the first phase of CANXPORT, a new export logistics hub that will expand rail-to-container transloading at the CN-service Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia. (CNW Group/Canada Infrastructure Bank)

Intermodal Briefs: Port of Prince Rupert, UIPA

The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) advances an export logistics hub project that will expand rail-to-container transloading at the CN-served Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia. Also, Utah Inland Port Authority’s (UIPA) industrial park in Cedar City earns Union Pacific’s (UP) Focus Site program designation for “shovel ready” sites.

Transit Briefs: Metrolinx, LA Metro, Sound Transit, Jacobs, CTA

Metrolinx reaches a major vehicle testing milestone on the Finch West Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. Also, LA Metro’s Board votes to approve certification of the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project; Sound Transit introduces a new fare inspection process; Jacobs is selected to provide program management services for Broward County Transportation’s first public transit expansion; and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) unveils renderings for the rehabilitation of the Western Brown Line Station.