Once Upon a Time

PERSPECTIVE: SHORT LINE & REGIONAL, APRIL 2019 – “Once upon a time”: Four words that begin some of the most enduring and beloved stories in Western Literature. They are enduring because they have been read over and over again by every generation, and because the hero overcomes obstacles to end up in a good place, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Improving railroad cyber-threat resilience

Railroads are a critical component of America’s transportation infrastructure, and have been making significant investments in advanced networked computer control systems and information technologies. This has enabled the employment of new capabilities such as “Positive Train Control and “Precision Railroading” with increased operational efficiencies and improvements in safety. However, the introduction of these new technologies also results in increased organizational and system vulnerabilities to disruption arising from cyberattacks .

Sen. Fritz Hollings’ role in rail merger policy

Somewhat buried in history is that today’s railroad map is a product of behind-the-scenes actions by former Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ernest Frederick (Fritz) Hollings (D-S.C.), who died April 6 at age 97. He was Commerce Committee Chairman 1987-1995 and 2001-2003, during years Democrats controlled the Senate. He left office in 2005.

PART 1 OF 6: An ARC With No Covenant

Anyone connected with the series of passenger rail projects in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area known collectively as Gateway will claim that their eventual completion is inevitable, much like former California Gov. Jerry Brown claimed that completion of the virtually defunct California High-Speed Rail Project was inevitable, or how anti-rail activists like Randal O’Toole claim that the impending demise of passenger trains and rail transit is inevitable. Yet, circumstances have changed in recent years, and new discoveries have led some advocates in the region to doubt the cost-effectiveness, and even the feasibility, of building Gateway as currently proposed.

Rail freight traffic: What’s going on here?

We traditionally have reported the Association of American Railroads weekly compilation of freight traffic statistics as “straight news,” with commentary restricted to what the AAR may include in the release, which is rare. In this case, there’s a lot going on here, enough to warrant some analysis. The figures are all here, along with supporting charts. But don’t take them at face value.

RSI joins the “Boxcar Blues” chorus

Railway Age Contributing Editor Jim Blaze is not the only one singing the boxcar blues (“I’m singin’ the boxcar blues” article, March 26). Members of the Railway Supply Institute Equipment Leasing Committee (ELC) have also identified the looming boxcar shortage as a significant issue that needs to be addressed.

March Madness of another kind

The just-abandoned GoTriangle light rail project in North Carolina, while never a slam-dunk, was until recently an interesting game. Now, after a few critical blocked shots and maybe even several offensive fouls, it appears to be a forfeit.

Climate change: Timely advocacy needed

The scientific community has long warned of anthropogenic climate change, and a growing majority of Americans believe the threat is real. The United States is at the tipping point, and the rail industry could be a major beneficiary.

REF 2019 roundup

If you missed this year’s Rail Equipment Finance Conference held in La Quinta, Calif., you may have missed the best rail equipment and finance program ever assembled in one location. Never fear, here is the “Financial Edge” annual summary of key takeaways from the speakers gracing the podium at REF 2019.

I’m singin’ the boxcar blues

The future of the North America rail freight boxcar been a lingering question for about four decades during my railroad career. Much like the proverbial frog asks in slowly heating water, “Is it boiling yet?

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