April 28, 2015

FRA approves $1B loan to N.Y. MTA for PTC system

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced April 24 that the Federal Railroad Administration has approved a loan of $967.1 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the improvement of the safety of the signal systems used by the MTA’s two commuter railroads, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad. The loan, which is the largest [...]

Oil train safety legislation passes in Wash. state

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – State lawmakers gave final approval April 24 to a bill meant to increase oil train safety. The bill was taken up in response to the uptick in oil train traffic in the region. It directs oil taxes to help pay for oil-train spill response. It also imposes public disclosure requirements for railroad [...]

BMWE urges tougher safety standards on tracks

Union officials say tougher inspection and maintenance standards for railroad tracks could help prevent dangerous derailments of trains carrying crude oil. While lawmakers and regulators focus on the strength of oil tank carsand volatility of crude oil, officials of the rail inspectors’ union say track flaws and train speed can be significant factors in accidents. [...]

N.Y. MTA seeks $1B loan for PTC system

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The MTA is close to securing final federal approval of a nearly $1 billion loan to install technology on its commuter trains that could have prevented the 2013 Metro-North derailment in the Bronx in which four people died. Positive train control technology provides a new layer of protection in case of human error, since it [...]

University of Tennessee shuttle operators seal deal

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The campus shuttle operators for the University of Tennessee’s transportation service unanimously ratified their first agreement with their employer after choosing SMART representation last year, Alternate Vice President – Bus Alvy Hughes reports. The members of newly formed Local 1703 at Knoxville, Tenn., are employed by First Transit, Inc., based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The three-year [...]

BNSF retakes market share from Union Pacific

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BNSF Railway Co. won back market share for grain and agriculture commodities that it lost to Union Pacific Corp. in 2014 when the railroad owned by Warren Buffett struggled to keep up with customer demand. In last year’s first quarter, BNSF lost about 4 percentage points of market share for carrying grain, fertilizer and other [...]

Metra to spend $80 million to launch PTC system

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Metra’s board on Wednesday approved two large contracts, including one for $80 million to help implement a high-tech safety system that federal officials said would have prevented two Chicago derailments that killed two people and injured scores of passengers. The other contract, for $707,000, was awarded to a consulting firm that will advise Metra on [...]

Class I railroads release 1st quarter 2015 earnings

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CSX Corporation announced increases in its first quarter earnings April 14. Net earnings for the first quarter of 2015 came in at $442 million, an 11 percent increase over the $398 million reported for the same quarter of 2014. The company announced a 13 percent increase of earnings per share to $0.45 over last year’s [...]

SMART joins NJT Rail Labor Coalition

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SMART Transportation Division’s General Committee of Adjustment  GO 610 representing conductors and trainmen, General Committee of Adjustment GO 340 representing yardmasters and SMART Sheet Metal Mechanical and Engineering Local 396 representing mechanical workers have joined the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition in asking the National Mediation Board (NMB) to proffer arbitration to its members after reaching an [...]

Two seated at new positions on TD Executive Board

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Alternate to the Transportation Division’s Executive Board Jeremy Don Brooks has joined the Executive Board following the retirement of former board member Steve Dawson March 1. Brooks has been employed by Union Pacific Railroad since 2004 and received promotion to engineer in 2007. Since then, he’s been active in the affairs of Local 937 at [...]