January 26, 2015

Court questions Amtrak’s role in setting standards

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Monday as it considered whether Amtrak, the government-owned passenger rail company, wields too much clout in setting regulations that private freight carriers also must follow. The nine justices heard arguments in a challenge by the Association of American Railroads to a federal law that gives Amtrak, a [...]

Four stabbed, including conductor, on Amtrak train

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Four people were stabbed, including a conductor, on an Amtrak train tonight (Dec. 5) and a suspect was taken into custody, police said. The stabbing occurred about 7 p.m. in Niles, Mich. Read the complete story at ABC News.

How two billionaires are destroying high speed rail

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Eighteen years have passed since the establishment of the California High Speed Rail (CHSR) Authority. Over the course of those eighteen years, high speed rail in the state has been discussed and planned and delayed and delayed more. There have been proposals, referendums, debates, studies and budgets, but no tracks laid, no passengers queued, no [...]

Opinion: Metra engineers, conductors do a great job

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The following letter to the editor of the Chicago Sun-Times by Martin Oberman, chairman of the Metra Board of Directors, was published by the newspaper Nov. 23. It was in response to an article previously published by the newspaper that implied that Metra conductors and engineers were overpaid. The Chicago Sun-Times, without any evidence, insinuates that Metra [...]

NJT to train crews: Next stop, charm school

Some NJ Transit rail employees who deal with commuters will find themselves back in the classroom next year for a customer relations refresher. The program was prompted by issues brought up by commuters on social media and shared with NJ Transit. The two day training classes will start in early 2015. Read the complete story [...]

Opinion: Nice things happen on trains

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Imagine you’re in charge of a company that serves the public good; imagine your company, unlike others in the same business, has to ask for money every year to keep itself, an arterial of the country’s transportation system, running. Imagine that fracking, another part of America’s “essential business,” is gumming up your works. Imagine that [...]

FRA issues advisory on roadway worker authority

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Nov. 25 issued a safety advisory to the rail industry to better protect rail employees working on active tracks, or right-of-ways, under the supervision of a dispatcher. “Clear communication is critical to keeping employees out of harm’s way,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. [...]

Amtrak delivers strong FY 2014 financial results

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Amtrak Nov. 25 reported unaudited record revenue totaling approximately $3.2 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014, representing the fifth consecutive year of revenue growth, and the eighth out of the past nine years. In FY 2014, America’s Railroad® covered 93 percent of its operating costs with ticket sales and other revenues, up [...]

Lipinski on track with new rail policy post

Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Chicago, is poised to become the highest-ranking Democrat on a House subcommittee on railroads at a time when issues involving Metra and Amtrak will be barreling down the track next year. His Southwest Side turf has more rail lines than any congressional district in the country, or so he claims. “No one [...]

Rails sound alarm ahead of Chicago gridlock replay

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With last week’s 7 feet of snow in upstate New York heralding an early winter, railroads crisscrossing Chicago are rushing to open 24-hour command centers, install heaters to keep switches from freezing, and plotting ways to reroute traffic. The aim is to avoid the gridlock that started with storms last winter in Chicago, the biggest [...]