October 31, 2014

Social Security benefits to go up by 1.7 percent


Millions of older Americans who rely on federal benefits will get a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly payments next year, the government announced Wednesday. It’s the third year in a row the increase will be less than two percent.

Hotel converts Pullman rail cars into luxury suites

Guests at an upscale U.S. hotel can choose to stay in historic train cars that have been transformed into luxury suites and rest on their original tracks. Built within a major rail station, the Crowne Plaza in downtown Indianapolis, Ind., features 13 authentic 1920s Pullman train cars that offer a king or two double-sized beds [...]

BNSF ordered to pay $225k to terminated worker

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC wrongfully terminated an employee in Kansas City after he reported an injury to his left shoulder, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company has been found in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act*, and OSHA ordered the company to pay [...]

Pressure on the rail industry rises

The pictures were impossible to ignore: crumpled rail cars jigsawed in on one another at a road crossing in a small American town.  The derailment of a Union Pacific train in Mer Rouge, Louisiana, this month was just one of the latest to hit the U.S. rail industry; the engineer and conductor were hurt, but [...]

Canadian Pacific ends CSX deal talks


Canadian Pacific Railway says it has ended talks with U.S. counterpart CSX about a possible combination and plans no more discussions. The railway operator did not say why it ended talks, but it did note in a brief statement that regulatory concerns appear to be a major deterrent for railroads considering combinations. Read the complete [...]

UP boosts inspections in hazardous mountain passes


Faced with public concern about the risks of crude oil shipments, the Union Pacific railroad last month boosted its rail inspection program on mountain passes in California and the West, dispatching high-tech vehicles with lasers to check tracks for imperfections. UP officials say they have leased two rail inspection vehicles, called geometry cars, doubling the [...]

Railroads press against proposals to slow oil trains


U.S. railroads are rallying customers, including lumber and steel companies, to fight a government proposal to slow trains hauling crude oil. Urged by railroads, more than a dozen companies and business groups are warning regulators that cutting speeds to 40 mph from 50 mph would have a cascading effect, delaying other trains sharing the tracks [...]

FRA gives findings from Metra safety assessment


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 [...]

44 injured in Arkansas train collision

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. – Forty-four people were injured as a passenger train collided with a freight train south of West Fork on Thursday morning (Oct. 16), according to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. Of those injured, five are in critical condition while the status of the other 30 is unknown, health officials say. Six [...]

Mother of former UTU Auxiliary President Menges dies


Laurine G. Wildhaber, 82, the mother of former Auxiliary of the United Transportation Union International President Carol Menges, died Oct. 14, at the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics. Carol is the spouse of SMART Transportation Division Missouri State Legislative Director Ken Menges. Wildhaber was a 1949 graduate of Freeburg High School and later became [...]