Rail Safety Week Under Way: Sept. 18-24 (Updated Sept. 21)

Operational Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), Operation Lifesaver Canada, and the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF) is leading Rail Safety Week 2023 across North America on Sept. 18-24.


TD Cowen: Still Searching for Positives in Near-Term

At TD Cowen, we are lowering our rail estimates ahead of third-quarter earnings reports to reflect a very challenged environment. Leaders in the rail and logistics market who attended our latest Railroad Happy Hour” called the current outlook “bleak,” with growing uncertainty in 2025.

FRA Publishes Four New Technical Reports

The Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Office of Research, Development and Technology (RD&T) recently published four new technical reports that cover a variety of topics, including concrete crossties; the Operational Performance and Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability (RAM) Analysis (OPRAM) software tool; moving block train control systems; and vehicle dynamics simulations.

The North Platte Nebraska Volunteer Fire Department on Sept. 14 at 4:25 p.m. reported via social media platform X that “NP Fire & Hazmat are on scene with UPRR. The incident is contained at this time. They are monitoring the situation and the weather, adjusting their tactics and evacuations to keep responders and citizens safe. Stay alert to any changes that may come.” (Photograph Courtesy of NPVFD, via X)

Report: Explosion at UP’s Bailey Yard in Nebraska (Updated Sept. 20)

The Sept. 14 explosion from inside an intermodal container loaded on a railcar at Union Pacific’s (UP) Bailey Yard was contained within hours, allowing yard operations to resume. An investigation is under way.

FRA Questions UP on Rolling Stock Safety Compliance (Updated)

Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose on Sept. 8 sent a letter to Union Pacific “to express serious concern about specific and significant risk to rail safety.” “Compliance of the rolling stock (freight

NTSB Opens Public Docket for Ongoing Investigation of Fatal UP Collision (Updated with Commentary)

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has opened a public docket for its ongoing investigation of the Sept. 8, 2022 accident near Imperial County, Calif., involving a Union Pacific (UP) freight train

Parallel Systems plans to start “platoon demonstrations” of second-generation autonomous battery-electric railcars later this year. According to the company, each railcar is individually powered and can “form platoons of up to 50 cars to reduce energy consumption and efficiently use rail network capacity” or split off to multiple destinations while en route. (Rendering Courtesy of Parallel Systems)

Watch: Parallel Systems Debuts 2nd-Gen Autonomous Battery-Electric Freight Car

Los Angeles, Calif.-based Parallel Systems on Sept. 12 introduced its second-generation autonomous battery-electric freight car, which it plans to pilot test on existing U.S. and international rail networks.

FRA Issues Safety Bulletin Following Switching Accident

Following a Sept. 1 switching accident, which resulted in the amputation of a crew member’s leg, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a safety bulletin to “remind railroads of the importance of ensuring switching operations are conducted safely.”

More than 300 people rode Amtrak’s Gulf Coast Inspection Train (pictured) from New Orleans to Jacksonville, Fla., in February 2016, as part of an ongoing effort to restore passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast, which was disrupted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and never resumed. (Marc Glucksman, Amtrak)

Transit Briefs: Amtrak, NJ Transit, OC Transpo, TransLink

Amtrak and Southern Rail Commission (SRC) officials share updates on three passenger rail projects spanning Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Also, New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) continues its school safety education programs; Ottawa’s OC Transpo launches a credit card fare payment system for all buses and O-Train Line 1 stations; and metro Vancouver’s TransLink is conducting a survey to measure regional travel patterns.

Image Courtesy of Amtrak

Amtrak Awards Two Contracts for Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program

Amtrak on Sept. 11 announced that it has awarded two contracts for the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program in Baltimore, Md. According to the news release, Amtrak has selected Clark Construction/Stacy and Witbeck Joint