Union Pacific Directed to Permit Amtrak Express Traffic
The Surface Transportation Board has issued a decision directing Union Pacific to permit Amtrak to transport express traffic over UP lines. At issue was the nature of "express" traffic, which Amtrak wanted to expand, and UP's contention that the traffic was more akin to general freight which could be in competition with its own business. The STB loosely identified "express" as a premium service, at premium rates, conveyed as an adjunct to Amtrak's regularly scheduled passenger service, not restricting it to commodity or shipment size. Amtrak plans to target various non-hazardous dry goods, refrigerated items, soaps and detergents, paper products, furniture and saline solutions; but not bulk commodities such as coal or automobiles. There will be a 30-car (passenger and express) train limit, the service will be provided in scheduled passenger (not express-only) trains, and UP may collect any incremental costs it incurs. The decision was seen as a major boost to Amtrak and its mandate to become subsidy-free by the year 2002.
Amtrak Establishes Agreement with CSXT and NS for Future Operations
As part of the proposed Conrail breakup, Amtrak has established an agreement with CSXT and Norfolk Southern for future operations on their lines, up to five years after the Conrail transaction. Also in the agreement is usage of the Northeast Corridor for freight traffic, with differential day and night rates established. With these concerns addressed, Amtrak has endorsed the proposed CSXT/NS acquisition of Conrail.
CSXT Appoints Emory Hill General Manager of Great Lakes Service Lane
Emory Hill, formerly general manager of CSXT's Baltimore Service Lane, has been named general manager of the Great Lakes Service Lane to be headquartered in Northern Ohio. He was replaced on the Baltimore Service Lane by William Meriwether, who came to CSXT from the Union Pacific. The Great Lakes Service Lane is one of four such territories being formed as part of the proposed acquisition of Conrail. The others will be known as the Mid-Atlantic, Albany, and Indianapolis service lanes.
New Crossovers in Service at Featherstone on CSXT's RF&P Subdivision
New crossovers at Featherstone, Virginia, on CSXT's RF&P Subdivision have been completed and were cut in during the Memorial Day weekend.
Dispatcher's Mistake and Workload Policies Being Blamed for Texas Wreck
The National Transportation Safety Board has ruled that a dispatcher's mistake and a lack of company workload-management policies are to blame for a collision on the Union Pacific last June in Devine, Texas, which killed four people.