November 1, 2014

Unknotting rail congestion compels investment

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Unraveling the knot restricting rail network fluidity cannot be achieved through Surface Transportation Board (STB) intimidation of rail CEOs, or by the agency’s issuance of an emergency service order instructing one railroad to operate over the tracks of another, or by merging the nation’s seven major rail systems into a North American duopoly. None would [...]

FMCSA promotes safety belt use in kids’ contest

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WASHINGTON – On Nov. 1, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will kick-off the 2015 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” student art contest organized by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership. Open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade with relatives or sponsors in the commercial truck and bus industries, [...]

Auxiliary Bluebonnets Lodge 331 to hold 5k run

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The Auxiliary of the UTU Bluebonnets Lodge 331 is holding a 5k run fundraiser. All ages are welcome to run in the race and medals and trophies will be awarded to the first place male and female in each age division and for the overall top male and female. Registration is open to all railway [...]

Ill. AFL-CIO approves two-person crew resolution

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The Illinois AFL-CIO has unanimously approved a resolution supporting SMART Transportation Division’s call for federal legislation mandating at least two crew members on all freight trains. The endorsement came at the organization’s 41st annual Constitutional Convention in Rosemont, Ill. Citing issues ranging from chronic crew-member fatigue to inadequate crew training to accident prevention and response, [...]

BNSF ordered to pay $12K to disciplined worker

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – BNSF Railway Co. has been found in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act* by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA’s investigation upheld allegations that the company disciplined an employee assigned to its station in Ottumwa, Iowa, for following a physician’s treatment plan. The company has been ordered [...]

RCP&E moving a record number of cars

An executive for the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad said the start-up RCP&E is getting steadily better at moving grain this harvest – good news for farmers dealing with record wheat crops, good corn yields and some record sunflower yields. “There is a tremendous amount of grain that needs to move, and RCP&E is [...]

Canadian rails fight new rules to prevent crew fatigue

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Canada’s major freight rail companies are fighting moves by the federal transportation regulator to curb “extreme fatigue” among railway engineers, a CBC News investigation has found. CN Rail, CP and the Railway Association of Canada went on the attack two weeks ago at a “tense and heated” meeting of industry, union and government representatives, according [...]

NTSB cites sleep apnea in 2013 Metro-North crash

The National Transportation Safety Board said Oct. 28 that the December 2013 Metro-North train derailment that killed four and injured 61 occurred when the train engineer had fallen asleep. The train rounded a curve at 82 mph, well above the 30-mph speed restriction. The NTSB report determined that the operator had “an undiagnosed severe obstructive [...]

Amtrak ridership, revenues continue strong growth

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Amtrak posted record ticket revenues for its Fiscal Year 2014 ending Sept. 30 and achieved an increase in ridership over the prior fiscal year, reflecting strong continued demand for passenger rail. However, meeting future growth in passenger demand requires investing in the infrastructure that supports intercity passenger rail and resolving unacceptable congestion delays caused by [...]

Iowa leaving $53 million for Amtrak service sitting

WASHINGTON — Right now, you would need $75 minimum and at least nine hours of travel time to get from Chicago to Omaha aboard an Amtrak train cutting across southern Iowa and missing most of the state’s major cities. Not very convenient, or efficient. If Gov. Terry Branstad and the Iowa Legislature had come up [...]