December 18, 2014

Metro-North, railroad regulators criticized on safety

Three senators and a top federal safety official delivered a blistering critique on Tuesday of the Metro-North Railroad and regulators in Washington for lapses in maintenance and oversight that led to five accidents that killed six people in less than a year. Led by Christopher A. Hart, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

NTSB outlines measures to protect rail workers

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Railroad and rail transit roadway workers are subject to on-the-job risks and hazards markedly different from those faced by other railroad employees. The jobs of railroad engineers and conductors include risks primarily related to moving trains – derailments, collisions with other trains; the jobs of roadway workers involve hazards that include moving rolling stock and [...]

MBTA pushes subway car contract with Chinese firm

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will recommend to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s board that CNR MA Corp. manufacture 284 new subway cars for the agency’s Red and Orange lines, Gov. Deval Patrick announced yesterday. The board is scheduled to meet today to consider the recommended contract with CNR, which is a joint venture [...]

FRA gives findings from Metra safety assessment

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced the findings and recommendations from its focused safety assessment of Chicago’s Metra. The assessment finds Metra to be generally compliant with federal safety regulations, but also directs the commuter railroad to take immediate steps to enhance its safety culture, which is an [...]

Report details needed work on Amtrak N.Y. tunnels

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NEW YORK – A new engineering report details damage to the Amtrak-owned Hudson River and East River tunnels following Superstorm Sandy and recommends a phased process to take individual tubes out of service for extended periods to perform the work required to maintain reliability of train movements in and out of New York City. The [...]

Public transportation trips rise in second quarter

More than 2.7 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation in the second quarter of 2014, according to a report released Sept. 29 by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This is a 1.1 percent increase over the same quarter last year, representing an increase of 30 million more trips. Public transportation ridership outpaced [...]

End of line for railroad conductors? Not so fast

WASHINGTON — How many people does it take to safely operate a freight train? Two, say railroad labor unions, the Federal Railroad Administration and some members of Congress, arguing that having just one person in the cab of a locomotive was unsafe. They cite a series of deadly accidents involving trains with a solo engineer, [...]