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Rail Safety Week Initiatives Accelerate (UPDATED)

As Rail Safety Week (RSW) (Sept. 19-25), a collaborative effort among Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), state OLI programs and rail safety partners across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, continues to be observed, North American carriers and organizations are mobilizing to raise awareness about rail safety and to help stop track tragedies during this annual week-long event. Here is a roundup of the week’s initiatives.

STB Sets 4Q22 Rail Cost Adjustment Factor

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has adopted for fourth-quarter 2022 the rail cost adjustment factor (RCAF), defined as “an index formulated to represent changes in railroad costs incurred by the nation’s largest railroads over a specified period of time.”

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People News: IntelliTrans, RATP Dev USA, STV

IntelliTrans’ Karen Howlett earns a Women in Supply Chain Award. Also, RATP Dev USA appoints a new CEO and Deputy CEO, and STV adds five transportation and infrastructure executives to its roster.

Brightline on Sept. 17 posted on Twitter: “See you next year, Orlando. Construction is 83% complete & our Orlando Station is taking shape!” The station is located in Orlando International Airport’s new Terminal C, which opened to the public on Sept. 20. (Photograph Courtesy of Brightline, via Twitter)

Transit Briefs: Brightline, MBTA, WMATA, LACMTA, Metro Transit

Brightline’s 170-mile passenger rail extension to Orlando, Fla., is nearing completion. Also, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) are addressing budget shortfalls; Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LACMTA) GoPass Program will be extended for all 21 community colleges in LA County; and Metro Transit in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., has signed a new advertising contract.

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USDOT Seeks SDB/DBE, Infrastructure Connectivity

The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) have announced a partnership program “to help small and disadvantaged businesses improve their access to capital, resources and relationships … to ensure that everyone can benefit from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

Receiving grants are: Metrolink operator Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA; $12.5 million); Tri-Rail operator Southern Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA; $12.9 million); New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Metro-North Railroad ($4.4 million); NYSDOT and MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) ($14.9 million); and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA; $15 million).

USDOT Awards $59MM for Commuter Rail Grade Crossing Improvements

Five commuter rail agencies will receive a total of $59 million in grants for highway-rail grade crossing improvements in California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The awards are part of round two of the Commuter Authority Rail Safety Improvement (CARSI) Grants Program.

Wabtec, KTZ Sign $600MM MOU

Wabtec and Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ, Kazakhstan National Railway) have signed a $600 million memorandum of understanding (MOU) for 150 FLXdrive™ battery-electric switchers and modernization work to transform the KTZ main line diesel-electric fleet into NextFuel™ liquified natural gas-powered (LNG) locomotives.

Report: CSX Seeks Transfers to N.Y., Mass.

To address crew shortages, CSX will temporarily relocate T&E workers to Buffalo, Syracuse, and Selkirk, N.Y., as well as West Springfield, Mass., and Philadelphia, Pa., according to NewYork News.

Biofuel Facilities Eligible for USDA Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $100 million in grants through its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program to expand infrastructure for renewable fuels sourced from U.S. agricultural products (biodiesel, ethanol, etc.).

OmniTRAX Seeks to Acquire SLRG

OmniTRAX, the short line railroad holding company that owns and operates more than 20 Class III railroads in the U.S., has signed a letter of intent to purchase the bankrupt San Luis

Commentary

Cheap At Twice the Price

“Better to be lucky than good” is usually attributed to legendary New York Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez. I don’t believe it, the aphorism, most of the time. What I do believe is

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Hub of the Midwest

RAILWAY AGE SEPTEMBER 2022 ISSUE: Chicagoland is the nation’s freight rail hub, a status that also holds true for passenger rail. Amtrak, Metra, NICTD and the CTA have a symbiotic relationship in

A Rich Rail Transit History

RAILWAY AGE SEPTEMBER 2022 ISSUE: In his on line article Happy 75th, CTA!, Contributing Editor David Peter Alan makes reference to CTA’s Skokie Swift, now known as the Yellow Line, as the

SkyTrain in front of the King George Hub. (TransLink)

Transit Briefs: TransLink, CTA, MBTA, NJ Transit, City of Lexington

TransLink announces partnership with PCI Developments to study the benefits of providing subsidized transit at new King George Hub development. Also, the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Bryn Mawr Red Line Station wins People’s Choice Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chicago; the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) announces that closure of the Green Line D Branch will begin Sept. 24 for infrastructure upgrades; NJ Transit unveils art project at New Brunswick Station; and the City of Lexington in North Carolina prepares to kick off the construction phase of its passenger service project.

Commentary

The RLA Did Its Job. Time Now for Next Steps

When President Biden met with the railroad and union leaders in the Oval Office after a deal was struck, he characterized the tentative agreement reached by the parties as “an important win

The memorial at the San Bruno BART Station plaza based on a Dorothea Lange photograph of Mochida sisters departing for incarceration at Tanforan. (Photograph and Caption Courtesy of BART)

BART: Power of Art in Times of Tragedy

“It’s incredibly important to keep this history alive because, even though it happened 80 years ago, with Executive Order 9066, it’s still a history not everyone knows. It hasn’t been covered extensively in the history books. This exhibition is a place for remembrance and acknowledgement, education and healing.” —Na Omi Judy Shintani, Curator, “Tanforan Incarceration 1942; Resilience Behind Barbed Wire”