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.
Southern Rail Commission
The construction of a train stop, and a track leading to it in downtown Mobile, Ala., officials say, is the “final infrastructure issue that needs to be addressed before Amtrak can restart passenger trains along the Gulf Coast for the first time in 18 years, according to an AL.com report.
ACE’s (Altamont Corridor Express) timeline is being pushed back for its commuter rail service expansion into Stanislaus and Sacramento counties in California. Also, Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission are seeking a federal study for new long-distance service across Mississippi and Louisiana to Texas; San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) proposes fare increases in 2024 and 2025; and Brightline West teams with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) and the Southern Nevada Building Trades Union on its planned 218-mile high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California.
Amtrak advances crew training for Mobile-to-New Orleans intercity passenger rail service. Also, Connecticut lawmakers eye electrification of MTA Metro-North Railroad’s Danbury Branch; and south Florida’s Tri-Rail commuter railroad saw January ridership grow 30% over the same month last year.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Request of Information (RFI) on the new Interstate Rail Compacts Grant Program that it will administer; comments are due Sept. 19, 2022.
Canadian Pacific is committed to establishing New Orleans-Baton Rouge passenger service if the railroad’s proposed merger with Kansas City Southern is approved, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Technology Transformation James Clements told Louisiana officials on Dec. 8.
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) has awarded ICF a contract for up to $30 million to provide environmental services for Link21. In addition, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Vancouver’s TransLink are installing antimicrobial copper coatings on high-touch vehicle services as part of a pilot; and the Southern Rail Commission (SRC) will award federal grants to four cities for passenger rail station upgrades in anticipation of Amtrak’s Gulf Coast service restoration.
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on Aug. 6 concluded that the matter of Amtrak providing Gulf Coast service over host freight railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern (NS) “is ripe for adjudication.”
Interstate rail compacts “deliver results and hold tremendous promise in advancing passenger rail development,” FRA Acting Administrator Amit Bose said during a recent quarterly meeting of the Southern Rail Commission (SRC).
“Unripe.” That is what CSX and Norfolk Southern (NS) have called Amtrak’s application with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) asking for an order requiring the freight railroads to permit access for twice daily round-trip passenger service between New Orleans and Mobile, starting on or about Jan. 1, 2022.