For House Rail Subcommittee, an Earful on Multiple Matters

“Examining the Surface Transportation Board’s Role in Ensuring a Robust Passenger Rail System” was the topic of a virtual Nov. 18 hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

PTC: 0.4% To Go (!)

The “magic number” is 100%, and as of the end of third-quarter 2020 (Sept. 30), the railroad industry had reached 99.6% of fully implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) systems by the Dec. 31, 2020 federal deadline, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s quarterly status update on railroads’ self-reported progress.

The final rule requires Amtrak and its hosts to certify Amtrak schedules, and sets an on-time performance minimum standard of 80% for any two consecutive calendar quarters.

FRA Releases Final Rule on Amtrak Performance Metrics

After nearly 10 years of a contentious battle involving Amtrak and its host freight railroads that twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has published a final rule establishing metrics and minimum standards for measuring the performance and service quality of Amtrak’s intercity passenger trains.

(CN/Bentley Systems)

No Longer Atypical

RAILWAY AGE, NOVEMBER 2020 ISSUE: CN’s Autonomous Track Inspection Program (ATIP) uses railcars equipped with sensors and artificial intelligence that automatically scan and analyze tracks while operating in revenue-service freight trains.

RSI: Three New Board Members; Brewin Appointed to RSAC

The Railway Supply Institute has elected Tricia Charles, Jeff Lytle and Harrison Wadsworth to its board of directors for three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2021. As well, RSI Vice President Government and Public Affairs Nicole Brewin was appointed to the Federal Railroad Administration Rail Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC).

Association News: ASLRRA Connections Convention a ‘Virtual’ Success; MARS Awards 17 Scholarships

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s (ASLRRA) Virtual Connections Convention held earlier this month drew nearly 600 attendees with more than 130 speakers and 40-plus exhibitors. Additionally, the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) has awarded scholarships to 17 college undergraduates as part of an annual program.

FRA Publishes Track Safety, Rail Integrity Final Rule

The Federal Railroad Administration has published its Final Rule revising regulations governing minimum safety requirements for railroad track.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are managing this year's safety campaign, which is reaching audiences via radio, digital and social media platforms.

Safety Briefs: U.S. DOT Launches $6.6MM Crossing Campaign, OLI Offers Virtual Education Resources

Following Rail Safety Week, the U.S. Department of Transportation is running a $6.6 million “Stop. Trains Can’t” public awareness campaign through Nov. 8. In addition, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) has made available online versions of its most popular highway-rail grade crossing safety materials for children.

FRA RD&T: Using AI TO Improve Safety

RAILWAY AGE, OCTOBER 2020 ISSUE: Ingenuity and innovation have made rail one of the safest modes of transportation. Among the cutting-edge technologies now making their mark is artificial intelligence.

A $2.24 million Special Transportation Circumstances grant will be used to replace approximately four miles of Rapid City Pierre & Eastern’s mainline rail between Fort Pierre and Rapid City, S.D.

FRA Awards $6.9M in Special Transportation Circumstances Grants to Alaska, South Dakota

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has selected five rail capital projects in South Dakota and Alaska for Special Transportation Circumstances (STC) grants totaling $6.9 million. The grants are made available by the Consolidated Appropriations Acts of 2019 and 2020.