The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) and Amtrak on Oct. 31 celebrated five years of service to Roanoke, Va.

Transit Briefs: Amtrak, TECO, TTC, WMATA, USPS

Amtrak celebrates a Roanoke, Va., service milestone, and partners with First National Bank of Omaha to launch two Guest Rewards credit cards. Also, TECO Line Streetcar marks 20 years of service; Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is upgrading streetcar and bus fare-card readers; Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) sets Nov. 15 as opening day for the Silver Line extension; and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reveals 2023 stamp designs that include “noteworthy railroad stations.”

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority 7000-Series Cars: Courtesy Wikipedia

Transit Briefs: WMATA, Tren Urbano

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA/Metro) has been given the green light to return more 7000-series rapid transit cars to service. Also, the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) has selected Cubic to modernize its fare collection infrastructure on the Tren Urbano rail system.

VIA Rail is adding “buffer cars at the front and back end of all trains with [older] stainless steel equipment to reduce the consequences in the unlikely event of a train-to-train collision,” Canada’s government-owned passenger railroad told The Globe and Mail. This safety measure will remain until older cars can be reinforced and new Siemens trainsets (pictured) enter service. (Photograph Courtesy of VIA Rail Canada)

Transit Briefs: TTC, VIA Rail, WMATA, BART/MTC

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) selects AECOM as owner’s engineer for the Bloor-Yonge Station Capacity Improvements project. Also, VIA Rail Canada is adding “buffer” cars to some trains to improve safety; Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA/Metro) reports that next month the Silver Line extension will be operationally ready to open, but it’s unclear if more 7000-series railcars will be approved for release to support it; and San Francisco Bay Rapid Transit District (BART) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) report a plastic Clipper® fare-card shortage.

Hitachi Rail earlier this year selected a 41-acre site in Washington County, Md., to house a 307,000-square-foot factory, storage facilities and an 800-yard test track. (Rendering Courtesy of Hitachi Rail)

Watch: Hitachi Unveils North American Railcar Plant, Growth Plans

Hitachi Rail on Oct. 18 released the final designs for its $70 million railcar manufacturing plant and test track in Washington County, Md. First on the production line when complete in early 2024: an 8000-series rapid transit car fleet for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

Brightline will begin testing trains up to a maximum speed of 110 mph, in preparation for opening its $2.7 billion extension to Orlando, Fla., in 2023. (Photograph Courtesy of Brightline)

Transit Briefs: Brightline, MBTA, NYMTA, SEPTA, WMATA

Ahead of service to Orlando, Train testing of up to 110 mph is scheduled for Brightline, Florida’s private-sector passenger railroad. Also, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) reports that an additional $1 billion will be needed to complete Orange and Red line repairs; safety messages from New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell are now playing throughout the subway system; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has released a safety and security plan; and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is launching a campaign to deter fare evasion.

HART’s 2022 Recovery Plan was submitted to the FTA in June, and proposes a truncated project scope with an interim terminus at the Civic Center Station, and a temporary deferral of the Pearl Highlands Parking Garage. The FTA is currently conducting an environmental reevaluation of the truncated scope. (Photograph Courtesy of HART)

Transit Briefs: HART, MARTA, Santa Clara VTA, WMATA

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approves Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s (HART) 2022 Recovery Plan. Also, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) celebrates completion of Edgewood/Candler Park transit-oriented development; San Jose (Calif.) State University, the city of San Jose, and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) help launch a free transit-pass program; and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) reports Potomac Yard Station project delays.

WMATA Communications Systems Audit Report Released

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Metrorail rapid transit system has safety gaps related to communications system training, supervisory oversight, safety promotion, maintenance, documentation, hazard identification, and procedural compliance, according to a 2022 Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) audit report released Sept. 29. As a result, WMSC has issued nine findings requiring WMATA to develop corrective action plans, plus two recommendations that the transit agency must address.

More than 100,000 people have tapped their credit card to pay for GO, Brampton, MiWay and Oakville Transit since Metrolinx's new fare payment launched on Aug. 11.

Transit Briefs: Metrolinx, Amtrak, SEPTA, MBTA, WMATA

Metrolinx’s contactless payment hits milestone after recent launch. Also, Idaho leaders want Amtrak rail service to return to the Mountain West; the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) offers new way for customers to report cleanliness issues on system; the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) launches online applications for TAP and blind access customers; and a D.C. Council committee advances bill that would give D.C. residents $100 a month to ride the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Metrorail and Metrobus.

WMATA says nothing has been done to the track concerning wheel issues with new rail cars.

‘WMATA is Treading Carefully’

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Vice President and Assistant Chief Safety Officer Jayme Johnson wants everyone to know that the NTSB investigation involving the 7000-series railcar is still ongoing, and that no definitive conclusions have been made.

Caltrain representatives were joined by federal, state, regional and local officials and community members on Sept. 24 to celebrate the first public viewing of the Northern California transit agency’s Stadler-built KISS EMUs. (Photograph Courtesy of Caltrain)

Transit Briefs: BART, Caltrain, MBTA, NJ Transit, Valley Link, WMATA

The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) announces its inaugural short story contest finalists. Also, Caltrain celebrates the first public viewing of its Stadler US-built KISS EMUs (electric multiple unit); Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is launching its commuter rail fare gate program; New Jersey Transit is advancing its New Brunswick Station improvement project; California’s Valley Link is seeking funding for design and construction of the proposed 42-mile, seven-station passenger rail project between the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and the North Lathrop Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) station, which could be powered by hydrogen; and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is in the final stages of preparation for the Silver Line extension opening.

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