After an absence of more than eight months, trains are finally running again on New Jersey Transit’s (NJT) Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL) between that city and Philadelphia, and on the “Dinky” from Princeton Junction toward Princeton.
LEGISLATIVE REPORT, APRIL 2019 – Knock, knock. Who’s there? If at the door are those laboring in official Washington, the answer is, “many new faces”—new congressional committee chairs, regulators, association chiefs, lobbyists and labor negotiators. Does not danger dwell where unfamiliarity and uncertainty lurk?
“HOW SAFE ARE AMERICA’S RAILROADS? Lesley Stahl reports on a recent string of crashes on U.S. railroads and the delay in implementing life-saving technology that could have prevented them.” Oh brother. I think you know what CBS 60 Minutes reported on March 3. It’s not pretty. But in my humble opinion, the rail industry can take most of the responsibility for what turned out to be a damaging report, because no one in the rail industry wanted to go on camera. More on that later. Here, after the fact unfortunately, is my attempt to shed light on some of the misconceptions and negative picture of our industry the 60 Minutes program perpetuated.
New Jersey Transit announced Feb. 27 that it will restore service on the Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL) and the “Dinky”—a short shuttle line between Princeton Junction on Amtrak‘s Northeast Corridor (NEC) and a point close to downtown Princeton—but riders will still have to wait 85 more days to get their trains back.
It’s not much like the high-speed rail lines in Europe, Japan, and China, but locals still refer to it as the “PATCO Speedline” and have done so for the past 50 years. It travels its 14.2-mile route in 27 minutes, which averages slightly less than 32 miles per hour—not bad for local rail transit.
The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded MTA Metro-North Railroad a grant of up to $2.3 million to support Positive Train Control (PTC) communications testing. The grant, part of the FRA’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, will help Metro-North improve the performance of PTC radio spectrum utilization required to make PTC operational on the Northeast Corridor.
When building any radio system, the scarcest and most precious system component is not the radios, the antennas nor the towers, but available “clean” radio channels on which to transmit. That’s why specialized narrow-beam antennas can ease frequency planning and reduce interference for railroad communications.
The largest Canadian Class I railroad says it met its year-end deadline to install positive train control (PTC) equipment across its system, and is seeking a two-year extension “to complete deployment and interoperability.”
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Dec. 21 awarded $46.30 million in grant funding for 11 projects in 10 states to assist with deploying Positive Train Control (PTC) systems, marking the second selection of PTC systems deployment projects under the Fiscal Year 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act administered via the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program, collectively totaling $250 million.
Nothing says fundamental transformation quite like Norfolk Southern’s new Network Operations Center, a murmuring, windowless bunker where the Class I has aggregated its dispatching in downtown Atlanta.