President Joe Biden on Oct. 25 attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Portal North Bridge in New Jersey. (Photo Courtesy of Craig J. Coughlin, Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, via Twitter)

President Biden Joins in Portal North Bridge Groundbreaking Ceremony

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Oct. 25 helped mark the official start of Portal North Bridge construction in New Jersey.

UTA on Oct. 25 is celebrating the grand opening of the Salt Lake City International Airport station on the TRAX Green Line. (Photo Courtesy of Mike Christensen, Executive Director, Utah Rail Passengers Association, via Twitter)

Transit Briefs: Amtrak/PennDOT; MTA Metro-North; Metrolinx; UTA

Construction of a new Coatesville, Pa., station, serving Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), will soon be under way. In addition, MTA Metro-North Railroad has launched the TrainTime app for Apple Watch; Toronto-area regional transit agency Metrolinx is running a contactless payment option pilot on UP Express; and Utah Transit Authority’s (UTA) TRAX light rail now stops at the Salt Lake City airport.

The last major renovation of the 110-year-old Baltimore Penn Station was in 1984. Pictured above is a rendering of the state-of-the-art redevelopment of the historic station, including its expansion. (Image: Gensler)

Baltimore Penn Station Project Under Way

Amtrak and Penn Station Partners on Oct. 22 held a groundbreaking ceremony for redevelopment and expansion of the historic Baltimore Penn Station on the Northeast Corridor in Maryland.

The LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency—manager of the Pacific Surfliner route between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo, Calif.—is one of three California agencies that have partnered to form an advocacy coalition.

California Agencies Team on Intercity Rail Advocacy

An advocacy coalition has been formed by the three California agencies that manage the Amtrak-operated Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquins intercity rail services.

Portal North—part of the massive Gateway Program, which will eventually double rail capacity between Newark, N.J., and New York—will replace the 110-year-old Portal Bridge, a mechanical-trouble-plagued swing bridge built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1910 as part of its New York Improvements project.

NJ Transit Approves $1.56B Portal North Bridge Construction Contract

Gov. Phil Murphy has announced that the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors approved a $1.56 billion contract with Skanska/Traylor Bros Joint Venture for the construction of the new Portal North Bridge on the Northeast Corridor, crossing the Hackensack River in the New Jersey Meadowlands.

Who Watches Out for the Watchman?

We, the railroads, have established certain principles of safe train operations that we wish were absolute, positive, inviolable. We apply one such principle in the enforcement of train separation: the principle that

Decision Handed Down in UP-Metra Dispute

Judge pronounces common carrier obligation for “commuter rail” dead.

Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 on Sept. 27 began offering new early-morning service from Main Street Station in Richmond to Washington, D.C., and New York. Riders can now choose from three daily departure times—two in the morning and one in the evening.

Virginia Expands Amtrak Service

Virginia has expanded daily Amtrak service from Richmond to the Northeast Corridor as part of its $3.7 billion initiative to improve passenger and freight rail capacity and relieve automotive traffic congestion in the commonwealth.

Above: Artist’s rendering of a MTA Metro-North commuter train crossing Amtrak’s Hell Gate Bridge.

FTA Completes Environmental Review for Penn Station Access Project

The Federal Transit Administration has wrapped up an environmental review of the Metro-North Penn Station (New York) Access Project, issuing on Sept. 24 a formal Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

Pictured: NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg, investigator John Manutes and Investigator-In-Charge Jim Southworth at the scene of the Amtrak derailment near Joplin, Mont. (Caption and Photograph: Courtesy of NTSB, via Twitter, Sept. 27)

Amtrak Empire Builder Derailment Investigation Under Way, Montana Track Reopens (Updated Sept. 29)

Amtrak’s Empire Builder train 7/27 traveling westbound from Chicago to Seattle/Portland on Sept. 25 derailed near Joplin, Mont., at 3:55 p.m. MT. The passenger train was traveling between 75-78 mph, below the 79 mph speed limit, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported on Sept. 27 during its first media briefing.