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Bull Sheet Newswire

FIRST OF NEW VIEWLINERS ABOUT TO BE DELIVERED: Amtrak expects delivery of the first of 25 new CAF Viewliner sleeping cars next week. The sleepers are intended to augment the existing Viewliner fleet of 50. A noticeable difference in the new cars will be the absence of toilets in roommettes. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-15-19]

SPEEDING DENVER LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN WITH PTC DERAILS: Denver's use of positive train-control is in question after a light-rail train derailed in January as it sped through a turn during a snowstorm, injuring a number of passengers. Denver's regional transportation district said that the PTC technology in their light-rail trains will not prevent trains from speeding at risk of a derailment, only that it will prevent running red signals, entering a track blocked by another train, or a safety defect or broken rail. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-15-19]

NJT SETTLES BACK PAYMENTS WITH AMTRAK FOR USE OF NEC: New Jersey Transit has paid $182-million to Amtrak to make good on missed payments for use of the Northeast Corridor. The repayments stemmed from former Governor Christie's decision to halt payments from March 2017, after several derailments, with payments resuming in June 2018 under Governor Murphy. [News & Observer, 2-13-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffc was 519,779 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Febr. 9, 2019, an increase of 0.1 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-13-19]

FORMER AMTRAK CONDUCTOR CLAIMS BIAS AGAINST COMPANY: Amtrak must face some of the bias claims brought by a former conductor who alledged that she was subjected to misconduct for about 18 years, a federal district court judge has ruled. Included in the claims were sexual harassment, race discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation. She was terminated in 2017. [hrdive, 2-13-19]

BNSF BUDGETS $3.57-B IN CAPITAL INVESTMENT THIS YEAR: BNSF has announced itscapital investment plan of $3.57-billion toward maintenance and expansion of its network in 2019. [Trains Newswire, 2-13-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS CANCELS PUBLIC STOCK OFFERING: Virgin Trains (formerly Brightline) has decided to remain private and will not issue stock in an initial public offering. [Orlando Weekly, 2-13-19]

CSX COLLECTED OVER $365-M IN FEES LAST YEAR: CSX collected $365.7-million in demurrage and accessorial fees in 2018, about $30-million more than Norfolk Southern. [Jacksonville Business Journal, 2-13-19]

CANADA TO SPEND $1.85-M FOR TANK-CAR COMMODITY SENSORS: TansRail Innovation Group will receive $1.85-million (C) from the Canadian government to develop an electronic sensor to measure the volume of a commodity inside a railroad tank car. The device will help eliminate exposure to hazardous vapors and reduce the risk of spills while cars are filled. [Progressive Railroading, 2-13-19]

SAUDI HSR SERVICE INCREASES: Operations were stepped up on Aaudi Arabia's Haramain high-speed rail line Febr. 13 with the launch of Wednesday services on the 281-mile route between Mecca and Medina. Formerly, since Oct. 2018, trains operated Thursday-Sunday. [International Railway Journal, 2-13-19]

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR CALLS FOR SCALED-BACK HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: California Governor Gavin Newsom has called for a scaled-back focus on a section of high-speed rail linking Merced and Bakersfield, adding that there is simply not a path to build a full-scale high-speed rail line to connect northern and southern parts of the state without more funding. He does not want to waste the billions already spent on the project, and he does not want to return $3.5-billion the state has already received in federal funding. [Sacramento Bee, 2-12-19]

WABTEC'S EXECUTIVE V.P. RESIGNS: Wabtec executive vice-president and chief operating officer Stephane Rambaud-Measson has resigned, the company said. He was president and CEO of Faiveley Transport when it was acquired by Wabtec in 2016. [Railway Age, 2-12-19]

METRA TO CLOSE TICKET OFFICE AT WINNETKA STATION: Chicago's Metra plans to close the ticket office at its Winnetka station on the Union Pacific North line Febr. 22 due to declining on-site sales. [Progressive Railroading, 2-12-19]

CHUCK BAKER NAMED PRESIDENT OF ASLRRA: Chuck Baker assumed the position of president of the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association Febr. 4. He succeed Linda Bauer Darr, who resigned. [Progressive Railroading, 2-12-19]

FLORENCE, ITALY, OPENS AIRPORT LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Florence, Italy, opened a 3.1-mile extension of its light-rail network Febr. 11 from Unita to Peretola Airport The new line extends the city's light-rail network to 10.4 miles with 37 stops.. [International Railway Journal, 2-12-19]

UNION PACIFIC CUTS WORKFORCE BY 250: Union Pacific says it cut its workforce by about 250 people. The company also said it had furloughed about 450 mechanical department employees as more than 1,000 locomotives have been recently idled. [Omaha World-Herald, 2-12-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-two (42) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains surveyed by the Bull Sheet arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 10, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 54 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept, 2-11-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN DETAILS STRETEGIC PLAN: Norfolk Southern on Febr. 11 shared highlights of its financial targets. It plans full year operating ratio improvement by 2021 of 60 pct; revenue growth at a compound annual rate of 5 pct through 2021; capital expenditures between 16 and 18 pct of revenues through 2021; and dividend payout ratio of 33 pct and continuance of share repurchases. [Norfolk Southern, 2-11-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO CUT EMPLOYEES, REDUCE LOCOMOTIVES: Norfolk Southern expects to become significantly more efficient by 2021, and to operate with 3,000 fewer employees and 500 fewer locomotives. [News & Observer, 2-11-19]

COURT RULES TEXAS HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT CANNOT USE EMINENT DOMAIN TO ACQUIRE PROPERTY: The planned high-speed rail project from Houston to Dallas has hit an obstacle when a Leon County judge declared the company Texas Central does not have authority to impose eminent domain, adding that it does not qualify to be called a 'railroad' and does not yet operate trains or has even laid any track. The company is likely to appeal. [Houston Chronicle, 2-11-19]

GOLETA, CALIFORNIA, SEEKS NEW TRAIN DEPOT: The city of Goleta, California, is searching for a design for a new, expanded train depot just south of the existing Amtrak platform. The facility would house waiting rooms, cafe, community meeting room and restrooms. The current platform serves about 61,000 riders a year. [Santa Barbara Independent, 2-10-19]

TALKS CONTINUE ON NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPRESS PROPOSAL: Minnesota has concluded that there is no significant environmental impact for the propsoed Northern Lights Express rail system linking Twin Cities with Duluth. North Shore Scenic Railroads hosted a representative from Amtrak and city officials in a recent meeting, and Amtrak says Duluth could make use of federal grants meant for rail-starter projects. [Fox 21 News, 2-10-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN EMPLOYEE STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN BALTIMORE: A Norfolk Southern employee was struck and killed by a train at the railroad's Bay View yard in east Baltimore early Febr. 7, officials said. The incident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. [Baltimore Sun, 2-8-19]

B.C. PROVINCE CONTRIBUTING $300,000 TOWARD SEATTLE-VANCOUVER HSR STUDY: The British Columbia government is contributing $300,000 toward a study of potential high-speed rail linking Seattle to Vancouver. [Global News, 2-8-19]

CAR STRUCK BY TRAIN IN IOWA: Davenport, Iowa, police are investigating a crossing incident of early Febr. 8 when the driver apparently attempted to beat the oncoming train, but did not make it. There was also a four-year-old child in the car, but there were no injuries. [Quad City Times, 2-8-19]

SECOND SAN FRANCISCO BAY RAIL CROSSING BEING CONSIDERED: A second San Francisco Bay rail crossing, either a tube or bridge, is under consideration by both Amtrak and Bay Area Rapid Transit. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-8-19]

AMTRAK STUDYING COSTS OF MOVING PRIVATE RAIL CARS: Amtrak is working to catalogue and pinpoint all the realistic costs it incurs to handle private railroad cars by the end of March, paving the way for revised pricing and policies around special movements to be introduced in October. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-8-19]

HIGH WINDS TOPPLE TRAIN CARS IN MISSOURI: Officials say high winds caused a train to derail early Febr. 7 in Dexter, Missouri, damaging a local business and closing a heavily-traveled road. One of the rail cars contained hazardous materials, but it did not leak. No injuries were reported. [Delta Dunklin Democrat, 2-8-19]

UNION PACIFIC TO ELIMINATE 450 MECHANICAL POSITIONS: Union Pacific has notified its mechanical employees that approximately 450 positions are being eliminated system wide in early February as a result of a reduced locomotive fleet. [Pine Bluff Commercial, 2-8-19]

CP TRAIN HAD SPEED CONTROL PROBLEMS HOURS BEFORE FATAL ACCIDENT: The Canadian Pacific freight train involved in a fatal runaway derailment and plunge into a river early Febr. 4 near Field, B.C., was flagged for speed control problems hours before the incident, according to a veteran employee familiar with the situation. The train later dwelled at a crew change location two hours before proceeding once again, with a different crew. [Calgary Herald]

UNION PACIFIC HIKES STOCK DIVIDEND 10 PCT: The board of Union Pacific has voted to increase the quarterly dividend on its common stock by 10 pct to 88 cents per share. This marks the company's fourth dividend increase in the past six quarters. The board also approved an authorization to buy up to 150 million of stock by the end of March 2022. [Union Pacific, 2-7-19]

VIA RAIL RENOVATES ITS OTTAWA STATION: Via Rail Canada on Febr. 6 unveiled completed renovations at its station in Ottawa to meet accessibility standards. The Ottawa terminal is now the most accessible station in the railroad's network. The company plans this summer to further transform the facility by renovating and expanding its business-class lounge to make it fully-accessible. [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-19]

TESTING BEGINS ON SECOND PHASE OF D.C. METRO'S SILVER LINE: The first test trains were launched Febr. 6 on the 11.3-mile second phase of the Washington DC Metro Silver Line to Dulles Airport and points in Loudoun County, Va. [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-19]

KCS NAMES SAMEH FAHMY TO HEAD PRECISION SCHEDULED RAILROADING: Kansas City Southern on Febr. 7 announced the appointment of Sameh Fahmy as executive vice-president precision scheduled railroading. [KCS, 2-7-19]

DUTCH PLAN FOR HIGH-FREQUENCY RAIL OPERATIONS: Trains will connect nine major Dutch cities every 10 minutes by 2040 under plans unveiled Febr. 6 by the country's ministry of infrastructure. [International Railway Journal, 2-7-19]

NEW CEO FOR BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION: Bombardier on Febr. 7 announced that Danny Di Perna has been named the new CEO of Bombardier Transportion, replacing Laurent Troger who has resigned. [International Railway Journal, 2-7-19]

CSX TRACKAGE MILES: As of Dec. 2018, CSX had a total of 36,557 track miles in its system, consisting of 26,286 mainline track miles, 9,350 terminal and yard track miles, and 921 passing siding and turnout track miles. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-7-19]

CP TRAIN THAT DERAILED IN B.C. HAD ACCELERATED OUT OF CONTROL: The Canadian Pacific train that derailed near Field, B.C., Febr. 4 killing three crew members had accelerated out of control after its brakes released without warning, investigators said. [Calgary Herald, 2-6-19]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 4-Q RESULTS: Genesee & Wyoming's consolidated operating revenues increased 0.7 pct to $575.6 million in the fourth-quarter, compared with the same quarter the year before. Adjusted operating income increased 5.6 pct to $109.9-million. Weak performance in the company's Australian and European operations were offset by stronger financials in North American operations. [Railway Age, 2-6-19]

EUROPEAN UNION REJECTS ALSTOM-SIEMENS MERGER: The European Union on Febr. 6 blocked the rail merger deal between Alstom and Siemens. The planned merger between the French and German companies would have created a conglomerate with annual revenues of about $17-billion. Both companys have a large presence in Europe, and there were concerns that the deal could challenge European Union competition rules which the firms were not willing to address, according to the EU commission. [CNBC, 2-6-19]

UNION PACIFIC IMPLEMENTS PTC ON ALL PASSENGER TRAIN ROUTES: Union Pacific announced Febr. 5 that it has implemented positive train-control on all required passenger train routes. The system has also been installed with the necessary equipment along all of its required route miles. [Progressive Railroading, 2-6-19]

JANUARY 2019 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in January 2019 were 2,554,655, an increase of 1.1 pct compared with January of last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-6-19]

GENESEE & WYOMING PREPS FOR PRECISION SCHEDULED RAILROADING: After throttling up its growth with a string of acquisitions, Genesee & Wyoming has spent recent weeks detailing its 'Roots Reset' program that adopts principles of precision scheduled railroading, an operating model being implemented by many of the Class I railroads such as CSX. [The Hour, 2-6-19]

PROGRESS RAIL TO SUPPLY 40 BROAD-GAUGE LOCOMOTIVES TO BANGLADESH: Progress Rail has won a contract from Bangladesh Railways to supply 40 EMD GT42ACL broad-gauge locomotives. [Progressive Railroading, 2-6-19]

GE SETS DATE FOR SPINOFF OF TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS HOLDINGS: GE has set a record date of Febr. 14 for the spinoff of Transportation Systems Holdings Inc. which will hold a portion of GE Transportation. Immediately following the spinoff, Transportation Systems Holdings will merge with a Wabtec subsidiary, and continue as the surviving company. The merger is expected to occur Febr. 25, subject to certain closing conditions. [Progressive Railroading, 2-6-19]

TRAIN DISPLAY FLAP-BOARD TO RETURN TO PHILADELPHIA, OFFICIALS SAY: The iconic split-flap Solari train display board, which was retired from service Jan. 26 at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, will be returning to the station as a permanent fixture, officials say. Amtrak is currently soliciting proposals for an overhaul of the station, includng a new requirement that the developer must utilize the board as part of the master development. [Billy Penn, 2-5-19]

BNSF COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN WYOMING: A coal train on Febr. 4 sent two locomotives partially into the North Platte River in Wyoming with thousands of gallons of diesel fuel potentially spilling into a remote canyon north of the Guernsey Reservoir. An engineer and a conductor suffered non-life threatening injuries, officials said. [Wyoming Star-Tribune, 2-5-19]

UNION PACIFIC CLOSING MECHANICAL SHOP IN BUTLER, WISCONSIN: Union Pacific said its mechanical shop would be eliminated at the rail yard in Butler, Wisconsin, along with reduced operations at the yard. About 450 mechanical positions will be affected. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2-5-19]

R.J. CORMAN LINE IN S.C. GETTING MAJOR UPGRADE: Ground was broken Febr. 4 on a $17.5-million track upgrade project for nine miles of R.J. Corman's former Carolina Southern Railroad in Horry County, S.C. The project includes a complete rebuild of a 220-foot bridge spanning Crab Tree Swamp in Conway, rehabilitating 39 grade crossings, improving eight other bridges, and replacing 60,000 ties. [Progressive Railroading, 2-5-19]

THREE KILLED IN CP TRAIN DERAILMENT IN B.C.: A Canadian Pacific grain train derailed early Febr. 4 near Field, B.C., resulting in the deaths of the train's engineer, conductor, and a trainee. The accident occurred between the upper and lower Spiral tunnels while crossing a bridge, with the train falling nearly 200 feet into Kicking Horse River. [Progressive Railroading, 2-5-19]

HOUSTON ORDERS 14 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FROM SIEMENS: A contract has been awarded to Siemens to supply 14 S70 light-rail vehicles for the Houston MetroRail network. [International Railway Journal, 2-5-19]

EXTENSION OF EMPIRE CORRIDOR TRAIN INTO MASSACHUSETTS BEING CONSIDERED: Under current plans, Massachusetts would pay Amtrak to extend one of its Empire corridor trains, now terminating at Albany, to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for people to access the Berkshires. The train would operate northbound on Fridays and southbound on Sundays. [Albany Times Union]

GERMAN RAIL TO ORDER 23 NEW LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS: German Rail says it is planning to order 23 new long-distance ICE trains for EuroCity international services. [International Railway Journal, 2-5-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 3, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 50 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-4-19]

FUTURE UNCERTAIN FOR SOUTHWEST CHIEF BEYOND SEPTEMBER 2019: When asked if Amtrak would continue to run its Southwest Chief as it currently operates beyond September 30 of this year, its spokesman Marc Magliari said there are 'too many moving parts' to determine that at this time. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-19]

AAR APPEALS RULING OVER AMTRAK TRACK PRIORITY ON HOST CARRIERS: Host railroads where Amtrak operates its trains are once again going to court to fight for the right to delay passengers in favor of their freight traffic. The Association of American Railroads has asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal to a case passenger interests won last summer in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals over on-time performance standards and enforcement. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-19]

AMTRAK REOPENS CHICAGO UNION STATION TO RAIL TRAFFIC FOLLOWING ARCTIC BLAST: After canceling service due to a bitterly cold winter storm for two days, most Amtrak services to and from Chicago have been restored as of Febr. 2. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-19]

SOUNDER TRAINS UPDATED TO PTC OPERATION: All Sounder trains between Lakewood and Everett, Washington, are now equipped with positive train-control technology. The agency said that PTC works on more than 99 pct of Sounder trips serving 17,000 passengers weekly. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-19]

JANUARY 2019 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in January 2019, according to a survey by the Bull Sheet. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the survey period was 44 minutes late. The average arrival of the trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 18 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-1-19]

TRACTOR CLEARING SNOW ON CROSSING STRUCK BY TRAIN, DRIVER KILLED: Police say a Vermont Rail Systems train hit a tractor which was clearing snow from a private driveway and across the tracks late Jan. 30 in Fairlee, Vermont, killing the 88-year-old driver. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-31-19]

AMTRAK CANCELS SERVICE TO & FROM CHICAGO DUE TO BITTER WEATHER: With extreme weather conditions, Amtrak canceled service to and from Union Station Chicago Jan. 30 and 31, both short- and long-distance trains. Overnight trains en route from Jan. 28 and 29 still arrived, but no departures, according to Amtrak. [Amtrak]

SELF-DRIVING SHUTTLE IN USE AT COMMUTER RAIL STATION IN DENVER: A new autonomous shuttle vehicle that transports riders between the 61st and Pena rail station in Denver to two businesses and a park-ride lot was deployed Jan. 29 by the Regional Transportation District. [Progressive Railroading, 1-30-19]

NEW BLOCK-TRAIN SERVICE IN MEXICO: APM Terminals says a new block-train service from its terminal in Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, is helping avoid congestion and delays to reach destinations along the West Coast of Mexico and U.S. The terminal is served by Kansas City Southern de Mexico, and the service is faster and more secure than it is by truck, officials said. [Progressive Railroading, 1-30-19]

CN MECHANICS RATIFY FOUR-YEAR CONTRACT: The union representing Canadian National mechanics, electricians and apprentices in Canada said workers have ratified a new four-year collective agreement. [Canadian Press, 1-30-19]

VIRGIN TRAINS USA PLANS PUBLIC STOCK OFFERING: Virgin Trains USA (a.k.a. Brightline) says it will be offering more than 28 million shares of common stock priced at between $17 and $19 per share, to be listed on the Nasdaq market. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-30-19]

CSX SETTLES LAWSUIT OVER DEATH OF FILM WORKER ON TRESTLE: CSX has settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a film worker killed in 2014 when a train slammed into a crew shooting a movie on a trestle in Georgia. CSX had appealed a $3.9-million jury award to the family, claiming that it was not responsible for the death as the film workers were trespassing at the time of the incident and had earlier been denied access to the property. The jury decided that the railroad was 35 pct responsible, however, and awarded $3.9-million out of a $11.2-million value for life, pain and suffering, citing the fact that had crews of two trains passing the scene prior to the incident were aware of a large gathering of people at the scene and did not report their presence to their dispatcher. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-30-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 26, 2019, U.S. rail freight traffic was 522,026 combined carloads and intermodal units, down 4 pct compared with the corresponsing week last year. [Association of American Railroads, 1-30-19]

CSX WORKING TO IMPROVE SAFETY: CSX says it is making changes to improve safety for workers. Six workers were killed on its property in 2018. Included are regional safety committees and an investment of $900-million in tracks. [WOKV 30, 1-30-19]

CUMMINS ANNOUNCES DEAL FOR 75 LOCOMOTIVE ENGINES: Employees at Cummins Seymour, Indiana, Engine Plant will soon find themselves busier on the heels of the company's announcement Jan. 25 of a deal to make 75 locomotive engines for Siemens Mobility's Charger locomotives. The locomotives, equipped with Cummins' QSK95 engine, will be purchased by Amtrak. The QSK95 is the largest diesel engine Cummins makes at its Seymour plant, which employed more than 900 this past year. [Tribune, 1-29-19]

SOME NTSB ACCIDENT DETERMINATIONS MIGHT BE LOST DUE TO SHUTDOWN: The National Transportation Safety Board has resumed normal operations and begun developing plans to address work that could not be done during the federal government's partial shutdown. There were 22 accidents (including two rail accidents with fatalities) in which the agency did not dispatch investigators, and it is possible that 'perishable' evidence may have been lost, which could potentially prevent determination of probable cause, officials said. [Progressive Railroading, 1-29-19]

NEW BNSF CAMERAS FIND RAIL, WHEEL DEFECTS: BNSF is deploying new high-speed onboard cameras capable of recording images, at speeds up to 70 MPH, of rail surface defects and other visible flaws. The railroad also uses sensors along its tracks using thermal, acoustic, visual and force measurements to gather data, along with drones in the inspection process. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-29-19]

SALE OF CSX'S PENSACOLA LINE IS ON HOLD: The sale of CSX's 373 miles of railroad between Pensacola and Jacksonville to Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad, a subsidiary of Rail USA, has stalled, officials have confirmed. CSX says it will continue to evaluate options for the rail line. [Pensacola News Journal, 1-29-19]

FUTURE OF BNSF'S HAVELOCK SHOPS IS UNCERTAIN: BNSF says it is working on a restructuring at the shops at Havelock, Nebraska, but it declined to provide any details. Several unions representing more than 400 workers working there voted last year on a new agreement, but the affected unions either declined to comment or did not respond. It is understood, however, that the railroad wants to separate the seniority rosters for workers at the Havelock shops and those in the Hobson Yard diesel shop. [Lincoln Journal Star, 1-29-19]

CN REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Canadian National reported $3.81-billion (C) in fourth-quarter 2018 revenue, an increase of 16 pct compared with the same quarter last year. Operating income of $1.45-billion was an increase of 19 pct. [CN, 1-29-19]

CN BOARD HIKES DIVIDEND 18 PCT: Canadian National's board has approved an 18 pct increase in its common stock dividend. The board also approved the repurchase of up to 22 million shares of stock over a 12-month period. [CN, 1-29-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 27, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 27 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-28-19]

DENVER'S SOUTHEAST LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION TO OPEN IN MAY: The Regional Transportation District of Denver has announced that the grand opening its 2.3-mile Southeast light-rail extension will be May 19. It will provide service south from Lincoln station to Ridge Gate station in Lone Tree with three news stations. [Progressive Railroading, 1-28-19]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK IN MICHIGAN, ENGINEER INJURED: An eastbound Amtrak train stuck a truck stuck between the gates at a crossing in Three Oaks, Michigan, early Jan. 25, slightly injuring the engineer and damaging the locomotive. There were no injuries to passengers. The driver of the truck escaped from the vehicle prior to impact. [Herald-Palladium, 1-26-19]

TRAIN DISPLAY FLIP-BOARD IN PHILADELPHIA REMOVED: The iconic 30th Street Station Solari flipping board is gone. It displayed one final message Jan. 26: 'Farewell Philadelphia.' The board will be replaced by a modern digitalboard, which Amtrak says is needed to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The old board will be donated to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. [CBS Philadelphia, 1-26-19]

CRUDE-BY-RAIL SURGES IN N.M.: Traffic is surging in the railroad industry in New Mexico thanks to the oil boom in both the state and west Texas. The number of rail cars traveling through the Carlsbad area has almost tripled during the region as extraction continued to grow in the Permian Basin. [Santa Fe New Mexican, 1-26-19]

N.Y. CITY'S MOYNIHAN TRAIN HALL TO GET ENHANCED METROPOLITAN LOUNGE: Amtrak has released several images of the Metropolitan Lounge to be included in Moynihan Train Hall slated for opening in 2021. It will include more spacious boarding, dedicated waiting area, private resrooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, priority boarding, dedicated customer service agents, expanded food and beverage offerings, and a balcony overlooking the train hall. The Metropolitan Lounge will be the turf of Amtrak's premier passengers, such as those riding first-class. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

ATLANTIC CITY RAIL LINE SHUTDOWN TO CONTINUE INTO SPRING: The shutdown of rail service between Philadelphia and Atlantic City is going to last until at least April 1, N.J. Transit says. Causes include an engineer shortage and equipment availability. Also, federal approval is required before the service reopens. Raritan Valley service to and from New York, and shuttle service between Princeton and Princton Junction also remain suspended. [New Jersey Herald, 1-25-19]

N.Y. CITY HALTS DELIVERIES OF NEW SUBWAY CARS PENDING CORRECTION OF DEFECTS: New York City's transit agency has halted deliveries of new Bombardier train cars until ongoing problems are corrected. Several R179 subway cars were pulled from service recently, partly because of air-compressor software defects. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

WAYWARD HUDSON RIVER CRUISE SHIP GETS JAMMED UNDER RAILROAD BRIDGE: An unoccupied Hudson River cruise ship broke loose from its moorings in Troy, N.Y., early Jan. 25 amid rising water and ice jams, floated downriver and got stuck under a railroad bridge used by Amtrak trains connecting Albany and Rensselaer. Amtrak said it is still using the bridge, but under reduced speeds. [Post Star, 1-25-19]

TRAIN STRIKES SCHOOL BUS IN TEXAS, ONE KILLED, TWO INJURED: A 13-year-old student was killed, and a nine-year-old student and a bus driver were injured when a school bus was struck by a train at a crossing in Athens, Texas, on Jan. 25. There were no other people on the bus, according to the school district. [Waco Tribune Herald, 1-25-19]

NEW AMTRAK TRAIN TO SERVE NORFOLK BEGINNING IN MARCH: In Virginia, Hampton Roads residents will have another option for Amtrak service when a second train is added on March 4. The area currently has a train with a daily 6:10 A.M. departure from Norfolk, and the second train will add a 9 A.M. departure on weekdays. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

SAFETY BOARD ISSUES REPORT OF VIA RAIL TRAIN DERAILMENT IN SASKATCHEWAN IN JULY, 2018: The derailment of Via passenger train 693 on July 5, 2018, in a remote area of east-central Saskatchewan could have been averted if local authorities and the railroad had communicated about flood waters, Canada's transportation safety board wrote in a report. A nearby highway had washed out, causing excess water to flood the railway, resulting in two locomotives and a baggage car to derail. Two rail crew members had minor injuries. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-25-19]

CHANDLER, ARIZONA, PONDERS CONNECTION TO VALLEY METRO LIGHT-RAIL SYSTEM: Residents and city officials of Chandler, Arizona, are looking at the possibility of connecting their city to Valley Metro's light-rail system. The idea was first proposed in 2015, but never developed. If the city decides to move forward, it would need voters to approve a transportation tax to support the project. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

TRACK WORK TO IMPACT PALMETTO SERVICE: Palmetto trains 89 and 90 will be annulled between Washington and Savannah Febr. 4 through 7 due to track work. No alternate transportation will be provided. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

BRIGHTLINE PLANS STATION DEDICATED TO ORLANDO THEME PARKS: Florida's Brightline (soon to be rebranded Virgin Trains USA) plans to develop a station somewhere around theme parks in Orlando which would enhance the railroad's partnership with the Tampa airport. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-25-19]

GE, WABTEC MODIFIED MERGER TERMS: Wabtec and GE Transportation have modified the terms of their merger agreement, now expected to close by the end of Febr. GE will complete the spin-off of a portion of GE Transportation to GE shareholders, and immediately thereafter merge GE Transportation into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wabtec. Upon closing, Wabtec shareholders will own 50.8 pct of Wabtec on a fully-diluted basis, compared to 49.9 pct under the previous terms. [Railway Gazette, 1-25-19]

HEDGE FUND MANTLE RIDGE SELLS $305-M OF CSX STOCK: Mantle Ridge, a hedge fund that is a large shareholder of CSX, sold $305-million of its company stock this week. [Barrons, 1-25-19]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL COULD HAVE HOUSING BENEFITS: One offshoot to the California high-speed rail project, in construction from Los Angeles to San Francisco for 2029 completion, is that low-income workers might have better access to affordable housing beyond a city's suburbs. A study by the University of California at Los Angeles compared a similar housing result with high-speed rail in Japan. [CityLab, 1-25-19]

CUBA TO ACQUIRE 23 DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: A contract for the supply of 23 Type LDE-2500 locomotives to Cuba from Bryansk Machine Building Works has been signed. The units will be adapted to cope with the humid conditions of the country, and delivery is planned in 45 months. [Railway Gazette, 1-25-19]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported record 2018 fourth-quarter net income of $1.6-billion or $2.12 per diluted share, 29 and 39 pct increases, respectively, compared to adjusted results for the same quarter last year. [Union Pacific, 1-24-19]

PTC IN OPERATION OVER 83.2 PCT OF CLASS I RAIL ROUTE MILES NATIONWIDE: At the end of 2018, the nation's Class I freight railroads were operating positive train-control over 83.2 pct of required route miles. With this progress, the Class I railroads met the 2018 statutory requirements and are well on their way to meeting the final end-of-year 2020 deadline for full implementation and validation. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-24-19]

TENNESSEE GRANTS $2-M TOWARD EAST TENNESSEE RWY SPUR: Tennessee Dept. of Transportation has awarded a $2-million grant to fund construction of a new seven-mile rail spur for the East Tennessee Railway, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming, near Johnson City, to expand rail access and economic opportunities and divert freight from road to rail. [Progressive Railroading, 1-24-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 4-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reported fourth-quarter 2018 net income was $702-million and diluted earnings per share were $2.57, and income of $2.67-billion and diluted EPS were $9.51 for the full year. Railway operating revenues for the fourth-quarter of $2.9-billion were an increase of 9 pct. [Norfolk Southern, 1-24-19]

N.Y. GOVERNOR THREATENS TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST CSX OVER FLOODING ISSUE: New York's governor said he would possibly pursue legal action against CSX which he says is responsible for some of the repeated flooding in Whitesboro, N.Y. because the railroad's bridge spanning Sauquoit Creek is so low that in the winter ice floating down the river gets jammed underneath. The governor said he will discuss the matter with CSX before commiting to litigation. [Observer-Dispatch, 1-24-19]

LAYOFFS AT UNION PACIFIC BAILEY YARD IN NEBRASKA: Union Pacific announced more layoffs in Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska. The number of layoffs were not disclosed, but they were the result of the company's Unified Plan 2020. [North Platte Telegraph, 1-24-19]

UNION PACIFIC'S CAPITAL SPENDING THIS YEAR IS SAME AS LAST YEAR: Union Pacific has committed to $3.2-billion in capital spending in 2019, the same amount it invested in 2018. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-24-19]

CSX SAYS EMPLOYMENT REDUCTIONS WILL CONTINUE: CSX's job cuts last year exceeded expectations, but company officials say they see plenty of room to cut further. Employment at the end of the year was 22,475, and the company expects the count to reduce to 21,000 by the end of 2020. This reduction should be met through expected attrition, officials said. [Jacksonville Dailly Record, 1-24-19]

PHILADELPHIA 30TH STREET STATION'S FLIP BOARD BEING REMOVED: Time has run out for the iconic split-flap Solari arrivals and departures board at Amtrak's 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. It is the last active board of its kind on Amtrak's system, and it is slated to be removed over the coming weekend. It will be donated to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum, and it will be replaced by a digital display that is ADA-compliant. [Billy Penn, 1-24-19]

SEPTA AWARDS ENGINEERING CONTRACT FOR HIGH-SPEED LINE EXTENSION TO KING OF PRUSSIA: HNTB won a $7.2-million contract with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to advance engineering for the King of Prussia rail extension of the Norristown High-Speed line. [Progressive Railroading]

CP REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific announced fourth-quarter revenues of $2-billion (C), an operating ratio of 56.5 pct, and record operating income of $874-million. [CP, 1-23-19]

L.A. METRO BLUE LINE TO GET MODERNIZATION: The Los Angeles Metro Blue Line will undergo a comprehensive $350-million modernization beginning Jan. 26. The line, which opened in 1990, has been undergoing safety and operational improvements since 2014. The project will include improvements to signaling, tracks and catenary, four new crossovers, and station improvements. [Railway Age, 1-23-19]

GLENVIEW, ILLINOIS, OPPOSES INCREASED AMTRAK HIAWATHA SERVICE: The Glenview, Illinois, board of trustees has approved the allocation of $105,000 from its 2019 budget as part of a $500,000 expenditure to oppose an increase in Amtrak Hiawatha service from the current seven round-trips a day to ten. At issue is the proposal to build a 10,000-foot holding track for freight trains on the east side of two existing tracks, or an 11,000-foot holding track on the west side, along with a holding wall. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-23-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES MICHAEL COX V.P. TAXATION: Norfolk Southern has appointed Michael Cox vice-president taxation, effective March 1, replacing Robert Kesler, who is retiring. [Norfolk Southern, 1-23-19]

CP RAIL TRAIN DERAILS IN ONTARIO: A Canadian Pacific train derailed in Ajax, Ontario, on Jan. 23. There were no injuries, but the area of the derailment was expected to remain closed for two days. [CityNews, 1-23-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN INCREASES DIVIDEND: Norfolk Southern's board has approved an eight pct increase in its quarterly common stock dividend from 80 to 86 pct per share. [Norfolk Southern, 1-23-19]

JURY AWARDS MAN $13.1-M IN SUIT AGAINST BNSF: A jury has awarded a man driving an 18-wheeler approximately $13.1-million in a suit against BNSF. The jury determined that BNSF had neglected to cut trees along its right-of-way, obstructing the driver's view of an oncoming train in 2012 at a crossing in Verendrye, N.D. [Grand Forks Herald, 1-23-19]

WHEAT SALES TO CHINA WOULD BENEFIT RAILS: The Chinese government is considerig buying up to 7,000,000 tons of U.S. wheat, Bloomberg reported Jan. 22. China has not purchased American wheat to replenish state reserves in many years, and a deal of this size would have significant benefit to commodity prices and transportation activity in the U.S. [Freight Waves, 1-23-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 19, 2019, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 543,111 carloads and intermodal units, up 6.9 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads increased 7.4 pct, and intermodal increased 6.5 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-23-19]

NTSB SUSPENDS ACCIDENT PROBES DUE TO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: There are 83 accidents around the nation where a federal investigation is being delayed due to the partial government shutdown. Because most of its staff is furloughed, the National Transportation Safety Board is not beginning new investigations, and it's not updating cases that were already underway. [News 4 Jacksonville, 1-22-19]

SOME METRO-NORTH TRAINS ARE PLANNED TO USE N.Y. PENN STATION: Some Metro-North trains currently serving the New Haven line could arrive at Penn Station instead of Grand Central under an agreement announced Jan. 22. Four new Metro-North stations would be built in the East Bronx, while Amtrak will explore extending its own service to Long Island. [Albany Times Union, 1-22-19]

FEDERAL SHUTDOWN PREVENTING ATLANTIC CITY RAIL LINE FROM REOPENING: New Jersey's governor has pledged that service on the Atlantic City rail line will resume, but neither he nor N.J. Transit can say when that will be because of the ongoing federal shutdown. That line, Princeton Shuttle and direct Raritan Valley line service has been shut down for four months while positive train-control installation was completed. [, 1-22-19]

MORGAN STANLEY PRESIDENT ELECTED TO NORFOLK SOUTHERN BOARD: Thomas Kelleher, president of Morgan Stanley, has been elected a director of Norfolk Southern. [Norfolk Southern, 1-22-19]

BLET MEMBERS RATIFY BARGAINING CONTRACTS WITH W&LE: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have ratified new seven-year collective bargaining agreements for engineers and trainmen with Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. [Progressive Railroading, 1-22-19]

CHILE'S SANTIAGO METRO LINE 3 OPENS: The Chilean capital Santiago on Jan. 22 celebrated the opening of the 13.5-mile line 3, its sixth metro line. The line, connecting the city center with Los Libertadores, has 18 stations. [International Railway Journal, 1-22-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 20, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 16 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept, 1-21-19]

AMTRAK REDUCES SOME SCHEDULES DUE TO IMPENDING WINTER STORM: Amtrak says it will cancel at least 15 trains in the Northeast and Midwest this weekend (Jan. 19-20) because of an impending major winter storm, and reduce operations on other trains. Cardinal, Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited are among those trains canceled both dates. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

AMTRAK ENHANCES MENUS ON LAKE SHORE, CAPITOL LIMITEDS: New, enhanced dining-car menus are now offered on Amtrak's Lake Shore and Capitol limiteds. Included are a new, hot breakfast item, and three hot lunch and dinner options. Amtrak had significantly reduced dining options for the two trains back in June 2018, which met with a number of negative reviews from patrons expecting better. In the meantime, delivery of high-capacity convention ovens for affected trains are pending, and these should further enhance the process once the busy travel season arrives this coming summer. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

KCS REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Knasas City Southern reported fourth-quarter 2018 revenues of $694-million, an increase of 5 pct from the same quarter a year earlier, while carload volumes remained flat compared to the prior year. Record fourth-quarter adjusted diluted EPS of $1.56 were 13 pct higher than a year ago. [Kansas City Southern, 1-18-19]

BNSF EMPLOYEE AWARDED $3.5-M FOR INJURIES IN RAIL YARD: A jury in Lancaster County, Nebraska, returned a verdict in favor of a BNSF employee for injuries he suffered in a Lincoln rail yard nearly five years ago when a rail car rolled over his foot. The employee, who is still working for the railroad, was awarded more than $7.1-million, but it was reduced by 51 percent, the percentage for which the jury deemed the employee responsible. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-18-19]

PTC CONVERSION CAUSES NJT MAINTENANCE BACKLOG: New Jersey Transit has several passenger rail cars sitting idle since the agency focused on completing positive train-control implementation rather than routine scheduled maintenance. Through the start of the new year, NJT has been forced to cancel some trains, but staff is now working around the clock to reduce the backlog. [Rail Passengers Assn hotline., 1-18-19]

LAWSUIT FILED OVER STREAMS, WETLANDS DISRUPTION FOR MD. PURPLE LINE PROJECT: A third lawsuit has been filed to halt the Purple line light-rail project in Maryland, claiming that construction in streams and wetlands associated with the route is illegal under the Clean Water Act. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

OLD SAYBROOK STATION CLOSED: The Old Saybrook, Connecticut, rail station is closed until further notice due to structural concerns. The platform is still accessible and a service representative will be available for assistance most of the day, but there will be no ticketing for trains. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

AMTRAK PLANNING TO REPLACE AMFLEET-I CARS: Amtrak has issued a request for proposals for a new fleet of single-level passenger cars to replace its aging fleet of 470 Amfleet-I and former Metroliner cars. These cars are 40 and 50 years old, respectively. The new vehicles will be used on the Northeast corridor and adjacent state corridor routes. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-18-19]

ALSTOM'S ORDERS MORE THAN DOUBLE IN MOST RECENT QUARTER: In the third-quarter of its 2018 fiscal-year, Alstom booked orders totaling $4.2-billion, compared with $1.9-billion in the same period the previous fiscal-year. Sales increased 10 pct. to $2.3-billion. [Progressive Railroading, 1-18-19]

BNSF IDENTIFIES TWO NEW 'CERTIFIED SITES': BNSF has identified 'certified sites' at Logistics Park, Galesburg, Illinois, and Clovis Industrial Park in New Mexico. There are now 18 such sites on the system as part of the railroad's program aimed at addressing increasing demand for customer site location by developing various types of facilities. [Progressive Railroading, 1-18-19]

MARTA CLEANS UP FOLLOWING DERAILMENT AT ATLANTA AIRPORT: A crane has removed two derailed commuter train cars at Atlanta's airport, but repairs continued on a damaged track as of Jan. 18. An out-of-service train had derailed late Jan. 15, but it was not until Jan. 17 that the crane arrived to remove the cars. There were no passengers on the train, and no injuries were reported. [N.J. Herald, 1-18-19]

CONNECTICUT'S SHORE LINE EAST SERVICE RESTORED: Six weekday trains are being restored to the Shore Line East schedule to replace bus service that has been operating since April 2018. Owned and operated by Amtrak, the Shore Line East runs between New Haven and New London. [Progressive Railroading, 1-17-19]

AMTRAK AGREES TO LIMIT TICKET SALES ON NEW HAVEN-HARTFORD LINE: To address persistent overcrowding on afternoon trains on the Hartford line, Connecticut has worked with Amtrak to limit advance ticket sales through the railroad's reservation system, making room for up to 72 CTrail Hartford Line ticketed riders. The state and Amtrak will continue to monitor ridership levels and consider additional reservation changes as needed. [Progressive Railroading, 1-17-19]

CP PLANS ROGERS PASS TUNNEL OVERHAUL: Canadian Pacific is planning extensive work in its famed Mount Macdonald Tunnel through Rogers Pass in British Columbia, at 9.1 miles the longest railway tunnel in North America. The project could take between five and 10 years to reach completion. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-17-19]

GERMAN RAIL PASSENGERS CAN EXPECT SERVICE IMPROVEMENT THIS YEAR: A report presented to Germany's transport ministry by Deutsche Bahn sets forth a plan to address declining rail performance. It focuses upon rolling-stock availability, additional staffing and enhanced workshop capacity, with a goal of improving on-time performance to 76.5 pct this year. The report also stresses the need for more reliable customer information systems in depots and trains, refurbished lounges, new dining-car menus and increased funding. [Railway Gazette, 1-17-19]

GREECE PLANS TO CONVERT ATHENS-AREA TRAINS FROM DIESEL TO ELECTRIC: Greek state-owned rolling stock company Gaiaose has issued a tender notice for a contract to conduct a feasibility study into the conversion of 17 Stadler GTW class 560 diesel multiple-units to electric traction. The two-car trains were built in 2003 and 2004, and are used in suburban service in the Athens area. [International Railway Journal, 1-17-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Combined U.S. rail freight carloads and intermodal units was 555,127 in the week ending January 12, 2019, an increase of 8.4 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 10.3 pct, and intermodal units were up 6.8 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-16-19]

ACQUISITION OF 8.5 MILES OF DORMANT RAIL LINE FOR TRAIL USE IN PA. MOVES FORWARD: A purchase agreement is being prepared that will outline the terms of sale for 8.5 miles of dormant Genesee & Wyoming rail line in York County, Pa. The county's Rail Trail Authority has begun meetings with affected municipalities to provide updates on the acquisition process for an extension of the Hanover Trolley Trail. [York County Rail Trail Authority, 1-16-19]

CSX REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: CSX announced fourth-quarter 2018 net earnings were $843-million or $1.01 per share, compared with $4.14-billion or $4.62 per share in the same quarter last year (which included a tax-reform benefit and a restructuring charge). The company's operating ratio set a fourth-quarter record of 60.3 percent. CSX also announced its board has authorized $5-billion in share repurchases following the early completion of its existing $5-billion authorization. [CSX, 1-16-19]

LOCAL OFFICIALS 'BLINDSIDED' BY INDIANA GOVERNOR'S DECISION TO CUT AMTRAK FUNDING: Blindsided by Governor Holcomb's call to put the brakes on Amtrak's four-day-a-week Hoosier State train, local officials in Indiana are bracing for the end of daily passenger train service between Indianapolis and Chicago. The budget does not include a $3-million year allocation for the route, which makes intermediate stops in Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer. (The route will still be covered three times a week by Amtrak's Cardinal.) [Journal Review, 1-16-19]

DESIGN WORK ON MBTA GREEN LINE EXTENSION PROGRESSES: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's $2.3-billion Green line extension is roughly 60 pct designed and remains on schedule. About 320 people are working on the 4.7-mile light-rail project, but that number will rise over the coming year as construction ramps up. [Somerville Patch, 1-16-19]

TEN PROGRESS RAIL LOCOMOTIVES DELIVERED TO TUNISIA: Tunisian National Railways has taken delivery of an initial batch of 10 Progress Rail GT42AC diesel locomotives for use to haul phosphate trains. [Internaional Railway Journal, 1-16-19]

HITACHI TO SUPPLY 50 EMU'S TO TAIWAN RAILWAY: Taiwan Railway Administration and its procurement agent have signed a $1.6-billion contract with Hitachi for 50 electric multiple-unit 12-car intercity trains for delivery beginning 2021. [International Railway Journal, 1-15-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 13, 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and three minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept, 1-14-19]

AMTRAK NORTHEAST CORRIDOR PLAN UPDATES: By 2021, passengers in New York City will board trains from Moynihan Station in a new sunlit atrium concourse across the street from Penn Station as Amtrak moves into a larger space with a new customer lounge. Amtrak is buying 28 Acela trainsets, eight more than it currently operates. It is also planning to buy a new fleet of trains for its Northeast Regional service in the middle of the next decade. Amtrak says it is considering offering some non-stop trains between New York and Washington that could cut 15 minutes off the current travel time. [N.Y. Times, 1-11-19]

AMTRAK'S HOOSIER STATE MAY LOSE FUNDING: Amtrak's Hoosier State, the four-day-a-week train between Indianapolis and Chicago, may lose its $3-million annual appropriation from Indiana under its governor's proposed state budget. Without the funding, the train will likely be discontinued. The train currently runs on the days Amtrak's Cardinal three-day-a-week train skips. [NUVO, 1-11-19]

METRO-NORTH HARLEM, HUDSON LINES IMPACTED BY TRACK ISSUES: Metro-North's Harlem and Hudson line trains were impacted early Jan. 11 due to broken rails in Pleasantville and Tarrytown, and a 'track condition' in Hastings-on-Hudson. The incidents caused single-track operation with delays of up to 40 or 50 minutes. [Rorkland/West Chester Journal, 1-11-19]

MARYLAND & DELAWARE R.R. NAMES NEW PRESIDENT: The Maryland & Delaware Railroad, which operates 120 miles of track, has promoted Cathrin Banks to president. Most recently she served the short line as vice-president and general counsel. [Progressive Railroading, 1-11-19]

AMTRAK NAMES THREE TO LEADERSHIP POSITIONS: Roger Harris has been named Amtrak's vice-president of long distance service, Robert Jordon has been named assistant vice-president of stations, and Bruno Maestri has been named vice-president of government affairs and corporate communications. Harris and Jordan begin their new roles this month; Maestri will begin in March. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-11-19]

AMTRAK'S CALIFORNIA CALL CENTER SET TO CLOSE JAN. 18: Ninety-seven employees from Amtrak's Riverside, California, call center have accepted an offer to move and work in Philadelphia when the Riverside center closes Jan. 18. Those not opting to move will be given a separation allowance. About 500 employees overall are affected. Meanwhile, some call-in duties will be handled by an outsourced call center in Florida where the employees will be working for lower pay. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-11-19]

CHECKED BAGGAGE ENDS ON BOSTON SECTION OF LAKE SHORE LIMITED: Checked baggage service on the Boston section of Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited ended Jan. 7. Additional on-board storage space is being made available to sleeping-car passengers, but not as 'checked baggage.' [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-11-19]

NEW FLIP-BOARD MIGHT BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR PHILADELPHIA: Amtrak intends to remove its historic split-flap train-status board at Philadelphia, but an engineering design firm says it can supply a similar apparatus that will integrate with Amtrak's system and be ADA-compliant. Amtrak is considering the offer. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-11-19]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY 113 COMMUTER CARS TO NJT: Bombardier has landed a $669-million contract to supply 113 Multilevel III commuter rail cars to New Jersey Transit, with an option for up to an additional 886 cars. [Progressive Railroading, 1-10-19]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN TEXAS: A Union Pacific freight train derailment involving a locomotive and 13 cars early Jan. 9 in Aubrey, Texas, sent freight cars smashing into a resident's back yard. There were no injuries, damage to the resident's property was minimal, but the rail line between Fort Worth and McAleser, Oklahoma, was closed into the following day. [My San Antonio, 1-9-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN APPEALS TAX RULING IN HARRISBURG: Norfolk Southern has appealed a property tax levy by Dauphin County, Pa., for property the railroad improved at Rutherford Yard near Harrisburg. State law exempts public utilities from paying local property taxes, although railroads are taxed a fraction of that amount. The county ruled that an 'intermodal yard,' which Rutherford became, should not be exempt from the full tax, but instead pay the tax without regard to the railroad being a utility. In the meantime, Norfolk Southern has paid the higher tax under protest, and a date for a court hearing is pending. [Penn Live, 1-9-19]

FORMER CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR OBSERVATION CAR IN ARIZONA TO BE RELOCATED NEARBY: City officials in Maricopa, Arizona, are slated to move observation car Silver Horizon, formerly of the California Zephyr, a short distance from the Amtrak station to a site next to the district school headquarters. The move is part of an overpass construction for a highway spanning Union Pacific train tracks. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-9-19]

CSX-SERVED TRANSLOAD FACILITY OPENS IN S.C.: The South Carolina Ports Authority announced that C&M Hog Farm has opened a transload facility at Inland Port Dillon, which is served by CSX. The facility will handle agricultural products bound for overseas markets. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-9-19]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 5, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 436,103 combined carloads and intermodal units, up 4.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-9-19]

COURT ORDERS UNION PACIFIC TO PAY $2.3-M IN ENVIRONMENTAL SETTLEMENT: A Placer County, California, judge has ordered Union Pacific to pay more than $2.3-million in a settlement for mishandling hazardous wastes in a four-county area over an eight-year period. [Herald News, 1-9-19]

AMTRAK'S SUNSET LIMITED TO BE IMPACTED BY TRACK WORK: One weekly round-trip of Amtrak's Sunset Limited will be annulled between January 17 and March 9 due to Union Pacific track work. During the period, there will be no westbound departure from New Orleans on Mondays, and no eastbound departure from Los Angeles on Sundays. Remaining trains will be scheduled to arrive Los Angeles three hours later, and depart Los Angeles at 7:26 P.M. instead of 10 P.M., breaking a connection with the inbound Coast Starlight. [Rail Passengers Assn., 1-9-19]

AUSTRIAN RAIL WORKERS STOP THEIR TRAIN TO RESCUE MOUNTAIN GOAT BURIED IN SNOW: Austrian train workers shut down their track-clearing operations to rescue a chamois, a type of mountain goat, after seeing it get buried in a deluge of snow they had been clearing. Workers leapt from their train and shoveled to reach the animal in a snowdrift at the side of the track in a national park. The effort was a success, and the goat loped away into a forest. [Herald-Whig, 1-9-19]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN GEORGIA: A Norfolk Southern train derailed late Jan. 7 near Bartow, Georgia. Thirty-seven cars derailed, two of which breached hydrogen perixide and hydrochloric acid, respectively, but there was no indication of a chlorine leak. The train crew was taken to a hospital for evaluation. [Augusta Chronicle, 1-8-19]

TEXRAIL COMMUTER LINE OPENS JAN. 9: Trinity Metro has announced that TexRail commuter rail service will begin Thursday, Jan. 9. The agency received word from the Federal Railroad Administration that the entire 27-mile route from downtown to the airport has been aproved for passenger service. [Progressive Railroading, 1-8-19]

NEW EXPRESS INTERMODAL TERMINAL OPENS IN N.J.: The GCT Bayonne ExpressRail Port Jersey opened for business Jan. 7. The intermodal facility's opening marks a milestone in the five-year strategic goal of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to expand rail capacity for cargo destied for outside the region. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-19]

CHICAGO TRANSIT OPENS NEW TERMINAL AT RED LINE STATION: Chicago has officially opened the city's new north terminal at the 95th-Dan Ryan station. The project signifies completion of a $280-million project for a state-of-the-art transit facility. The north terminal is the second of two rail and bus facilities replacing the original 50-year-old terminal. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-19]

UNION PACIFIC COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN NEBRASKA: Twenty-three cars of a 144-car Union Pacific coal train derailed early Jan. 8 between Valley and Fremont, Nebraska, blocking highway 275. No injuries were reported. [6 News WOWT, 1-8-19]

JINAN, CHINA, OPENS FIRST METRO LINE: China's first urban rail opening of the new year took place Jan. 1 when Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, launched trial passenger operation on its first metro line. [International Railway Journal, 1-8-19]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 6, 2019. The remaining 54 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 11 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-7-19]

BRIGHTLINE GIVEN EXTENSION TO ISSUE TAX-EXEMPT BONDS: Brightline has been granted an additional six months by a federal court to issue $1.15-billion in tax-exempt bonds the company needs for planned service from South Florida to Orlando. The judge also dismissed a lawsuit by Indian River County, Florida, which had wanted to block the bonds. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-4-19]

X TRAIN ENVISIONS SERVICE STARTUP BY MID-2019: X Rail Entertainment could begin passenger rail service between Southern California and Las Vegas by mid-2019, according to its parent company. The proposed service would initially make the trip in four and one-half hours using Union Pacific and BNSF tracks, eastbound on Friday and westbound on Sunday. One hour could be reduced from the schedule once improvements are completed along the line for higher speeds. As a later, final stage of the project, a 500-room 'X Hotel' would be built above the proposed Las Vegas train station. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-4-19]

AMTRAK'S CRESCENT TO BE IMPACTED BY TRACKWORK: Trackwork will affect Crescent trains 19 and 20 between New Orleans and Atlanta Monday through Thursday from January 7 through February 14. Bus service will be substituted. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-4-19]

HONGNAO RWY OPENS IN CHINA: The 270-mile Hongnao Railway in the Xinjiang region of China was formally opened to traffic Jan. 1. The line, one of the longest in China to be developed using private investment, is primarily intended to serve coal mines. [Railway Gazette, 1-4-19]

ITHACA CENTRAL R.R. IS NEW SHORTLINE IN PA., N.Y.: Watco Companies has launched Ithaca Central Railroad operating on 48.8 miles of leased track between Sayre, Pa., and Ludlowville, N.Y., from Norfolk Southern. Watco expects the line to handle about 12,000 carloads annually. [Progressive Railroading, 1-3-19]

WASHINGTON METRO TO PERMIT BICYCLES AT ANY HOUR: Washington Metro on Jan. 7 will end a longstanding restriction of bicycles on trains during rush hours. Under the new policy, standard-size bikes will be allowed on any car, at all times, 'provided space is available.' [Progressive Railroading, 1-3-19]

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK, KILLED BY METROLINK TRAIN: A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Metrolink train early Jan. 3 in Northridge, California. [KTLA-5, 1-3-19]

DECEMBER 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads in December 2018 originated 2,118,094 carloads and intermodal units, up 4 pct from December 2017. Calculated separately, carloads increased 2.9 pct, while intermodal increased 5 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-3-19]

N.Y. CITY'S L TRAIN TO CONTINE OPERATING DURING REPAIRS: It had previously been reported that New York City's L train, the system's busiest, would shut down for at least 15 months for repairs. This has now changed. Under a new plan, work will take place only on nights and weekends with trains running on limited service through one of the two tubes between Manhattan and Brooklyn. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-3-19]

FEDS EXAMING SHIPPER FEES BY RAILROADS UNDER PRECISION SCHEDULED RAILROADING: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board is looking into fees Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific have begun charging shippers relating to transitions to precision scheduled railroading for delays to the system such as slow unloading or late pickups. [Supply Chain Dive, 1-3-19]

SIX DEAD IN DANISH TRAIN ACCIDENT: Six passengers on a Danish State Railways Aarhus-Copenhagen intercity train were killed in the early morning of Jan. 2 when the train was hit by an object from an adjacent train while crossing the Great Belt fixed link between Funen and Zealand.High winds have been cited as the cause of the incident. Another 16 passengers were reported as injured. [International Railway Journal, 1-2-19]

FOUR U.S. RAILROADS FULLY MEET PTC IMPLEMENTATION DEADLINE: North County Transit District, Metrolink, Port Authority Trans-Hudson and Portland & Western Railroad were the four railroads that had fully implemented positive train-control as of the end of 2018. Thirty-seven railroads requested alternative schedules - seven Class I carriers, 25 intercity passenger and commuter railroads, and five shortline or terminal railroads - and 12 railroads obtained conditional PTC system certification permitting them to operate PTC in revenue service. [Progressive Railroading, 1-2-19]

CHICAGO TRAINSIT COMPLETES UPGRADES AT FOUR STATIONS: Four Green Line Chicago Transit Authority stations - 51st street, Halsted, Cottage Grove and Kedzie - have had upgrade work completed. The $12-million project was funded by bonds issued in 2017. [Progressive Railroading, 1-2-19]

BRIGHTLINE TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PEDESTRIAN: Authorities say a Brightline train struck and killed a pedestrian late Jan. 1 in Fort Lauderdale. This is the 11th fatality since Brightline began operations in mid-2017. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-2-19]

BNSF ASKS COURT TO REJECT CLAIM THAT OBESITY IS A DISABILITY: BNSF, wich has been sued several times for allegedly discriminating against obese workers and applicants, has filed a brief with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court, claiming that Congress never intended to cover obesity with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and new science does not show that obesity itself is a disease unless it results from some underlying medical condition. [Reuters, 1-2-19]

AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE IN 2018: Thirty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on-time or earlier in 2018. The remaining 69 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 36 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-1-19]

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