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CABT Report: Bigger Trucks a Bad Idea

The threats to public safety, the environment and the nation’s infrastructure created by allowing trucks larger than the current federal limits have been quantified by a new study released by the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT). “Increasing the size and weight limits of trucks on the nation’s highways would divert a potentially huge amount of goods from rail to roads, further damaging the nation’s infrastructure, causing greater environmental harm and undermining highway safety,” the study says.

Takeaways From Cowen’s 2Q20 Rail Shipper Survey

“Shippers expect rail price increases of 2.3%, up 40bps sequentially, above rail cost inflation, but well below the survey’s average. Economic expectations are all higher sequentially; some remain below the survey’s average while some are very positive indicators. With PSR cost-cutting, growth opportunities and the ability to capitalize on supply chain near-shoring, Kansas City Southern remains our top rail pick.”

FRA RD&T Aims to Assist First-Responders

FRA’s Office of Research Development & Technology (RD&T) is sponsoring a research project titled “Assessing the Safety Benefits of a Real‐Time Railroad Crossing Blockage Information System for Emergency Responders.” As part of the project, the agency has contracted Winnipeg, Manitoba-based TRAINFO to develop a model to identify the risk of first responders being exposed to active rail crossings and to quantify benefits of live rail crossing data in the overall emergency response process.

Metro-North: Forgot Your Mask? Need Hand Sanitizer? No Problem, We’ll Sell It To You

MTA Metro-North Railroad has reconfigured vending machines at 12 stations throughout its commuter rail system to allow customers to purchase PPE (personal protective equipment) KN95 masks, bottled hand sanitizer and gloves at the machines starting July 10, though “free masks and hand sanitizer are still being distributed at stations and on trains for any rider that needs them,” the agency said.

NJT: Goodbye, Ticket Punch. Hello, Scanner

The manual ticket puncher has been a railroad conductor’s stock-in-trade tool for generations. On legacy systems like New Jersey Transit, which traces its roots to fallen flags like the Pennsylvania Railroad and Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, paper tickets are still in use, though they are fast being replaced with mobile phone apps. NJT has now begun a program to equip conductors with high-tech handheld mobile devices that scan and validate both paper and electronic tickets and passes.

GBX Fiscal 3Q2020: “Liquidity Target Achieved, Backlog Provides Forward Visibility” as Furman Postpones Retirement

The Greenbrier Companies, Inc., in its third fiscal quarter ended May 31, 2020, achieved its $1 billion liquidity target and generated operating cash flow in excess of $220 million, with a backlog of an estimated value of $2.7 billion. Concurrently, the company reported that Bill Furman will remain as Chairman and CEO for another two years.

CHSRA Releases Draft Environmental Document for N. California Project

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) is releasing its second project-level Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the 49-mile project that would provide service between the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco and the San Jose Diridon Station. The document for the Northern California project section will be available for public comment starting Friday, July 10.