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ANOTHER CHINESE HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE OPENS: Commercial services began Dec. 28 on the 98-mile Tianjin-Baoding high-speed rail line, closing an important gap in the high-speed network south of Beijing. Work began on the $3.7-billion project in 2010. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-31-15]

OFFICIALS PUSHING FOR RETURN OF AMTRAK TO GULF COAST: A multi-state rail agency, the Southern Rail Commission, is lobbying Amtrak to return passenger train service to the Gulf Coast. A report prepared for the commission suggests three possibilities: a daily trip between New Orleans and Orlando with 16 stops along the way; extension of the train City of New Orleans to Mobile where passengers would change trains en route to Florida; and an overnight trip from New Orleans to Orlando. [Tallahassee Democrat website report, 12-31-15]

NEW RAIL LINE AVOIDS DETROIT CONGESTION FOR AMTRAK: Michigan DOT crews last week completed construction and testing of a new passenger-only rail line allowing Amtrak's Wolverine service to bypass the busy West Detroit Junction. The $15,8-million project was designed to create a safer, faster and more reliable route for passenger train service around Detroit. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-30-15]

TEX RAIL FORGES SHARED-TRACKAGE AGREEMENT: The Fort Worth Transportation authority, Union Pacific, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Amtrak, Fort Worth & Western Railroad and Regional Rail Right-of-Way have signed a shared-use operating agreement for the Tex Rail commuter line, slated to begin service in 2018. The 27.2-mile line will use an existing right-of-way from downtown Fort Worth, running northeast to Grapevine and then into the north entrance of Dallas-Fort Worth International airport. [Railway Age website report, 12-30-15]

MAN DIES AFTER DRIVING INTO PATH OF AN AMTRAK TRAIN IN MISSOURI: Officials said a 62-year-old pickup truck driver was killed near Pilot Knob, Missouri, Dec. 28 after driving into the path of an Amtrak train. The crossing has a yield and railroad sign, but no other warning device. [Southeast Missourian website report, 12-30-15]

PALMERMO LIGHT-RAIL NETWORK OPENS: The Palermo, Sicily, light-rail network opened Dec. 30. It is a 9.5-mile, three-line standard gauge network operated by a fleet of 17 five-section Bombardier Flexity Outlook vehicles. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-30-15]

NEW CLEVELAND BLUE LINE STATION NEAR CITY HALL OPENS: The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit authority has opened its new Lee-Van Aken station on the Blue line near City Hall. One of the busiest stops on the Blue line, the station is considered a key link in a plan to boost the area and builds on a plan for municipal anchors, nearby retail and residential construction. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-30-15]

MIAMI-DADE PILOTS EXPRESS METRORAIL SERVICE: Miami-Dade County Transit has been offering an express rail service from the Dadeland South and Palmetto stations to downtown Miami. The pilot service has been running on weekdays, departing twice in the mornings and twice in the afternoons, with only selected stops on the route. It began Dec. 7 and wraps up Dec. 30. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-30-15]

PRECONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON MEZA, ARIZONA, LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Preconstruction has begun on a 1.9-mile extension of a light-rail line along Main street in Meza, Arizona. Actual construction is slated to begin Aug. 2016, for a Sept. 2018 completion. [Globe Street website report, 12-30-15]

NEW METRO RAIL LINE OPENS IN SINGAPORE: Bombardier Transportation on Dec. 27 marked the opening of the 10-mile Downtown Line Stage 2 rail line in Singapore. The company delivered all 111 Movia Metro cars ahead of schedule, and the entire 26-mile underground system is the fifth mass rapid transit line in Singapore. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-30-15]

WESTERN RING RAILWAY OPENS IN CHINA'S HAINAN PROVINCE: The 214-mile Western Ring Railway in Hainan was put into operation Dec. 30, completing the world's first high-speed train line circling an island. The designated speed on the line is 124 MPH and it has 16 stops. [China State Council website report, 12-30-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported that for the week ending Dec. 26, 2015, U.S. rail freight traffic was 391,107 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.8 pct compared with the same week in 2014. Included separately, carloads were down 17.9 pct, and intermodal volume was up 1.6 pct. Coal loadings dropped 31.6 pct. [Railway Age website report, 12-30-15]

FLOOD SWEEPS AWAY RAIL IN MISSOURI: Flood waters washed out the track in Neosho, Missouri, early Dec. 27, causing nine rail cars with about 30 intermodal containers to fall over. [Neosho Daily News website report, 12-29-15]

DRIVER ARRESTED FOR CAUSING TRAIN DERAILMENT IN WASHINGTON STATE: An 18-year-old male driver of a pickup truck has been arrested after he parked his vehicle on railroad tracks Dec. 28 near Montesano, Washington, causing a freight train to make an emergency stop that derailed some rail cars. The man was booked into jail for investigation of malicious injury to railroad property and other charges. A train crew person reported that the driver stopped his vehicle on tracks, then drove off and later stopped again on tracks as the train approached. There were no injuries. [K5 website report, 12-29-15]

JOINT VENTURE TO DEVELOP NEXT-GENERATION TGV: Three French ministries have formed a joint venture with Alstom and Ademe to develop the country's next-generation high-speed train. The aim is to develop a train capable of seating up to 750 passengers while cutting maintenance costs and reducing energy consumption by 35 pct. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-29-15]

LANDON ROWLAND DIES, FORMER CEO OF KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN INDUSTRIES: Former Kansas City Southern executive Landon Rowland, 78, died Dec. 28. He became president and chief operating officer of Kansas City Southern Industries in 1983 and CEO in 1987, serving as CEO until 2000. KCSI later became Kansas City Southern after spinning off its non-rail financial services businesses. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-29-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES STALLED CAR IN CLEVELAND: Amtrak's eastbound Capitol Limited struck a stalled vehicle on a crossing in Cleveland early Dec. 28 and was delayed several hours. There were no injuries. [WKYC website report, 12-28-15]

TWO KILLED AS METRA TRAIN HITS CAR: Two women died and four other people were injured Dec. 28 when a Metra train struck a vehicle near the Chicago border with southwest suburban Hometown, officials said. The women, who were in the front seat of the car, were 20 and 18-years old. A three-year old boy, 17-year-old boy, 17-year old girl and 20-year old man were injured. There were no injuries to passengers on the train. [Chicago Sun-Times website report, 12-28-15]

EIGHT INJURED IN CALIFORNIA TOURIST TRAIN ACCIDENT: Eight passengers were injured in a train accident on Roaring Camp Railroads in California on Dec. 28, officials said. A train's throttle reportedly got stuck as the train was coming to stop, and the train collided with a dirt pile at the end of the track. Roaring Camp Railroads provides rides to the Santa Cruz Beach boardwalk and Bear Mountain from its location in Felton. [ABC 7 website report, 12-28-15]

DENNIS MARTIN NAMED INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF N.J. TRANSIT: New Jersey Transit has named Dennis J. Martin as interim executive director effective Dec. 28. His appointment is due to the departure of Veronique Hakim who will become president of New York City Transit. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-28-15]

NEARLY 100 BNSF EMPLOYEES FURLOUGHED IN N.D.: In the past couple of weeks, close to 100 BNSF employees in North Dakota have been laid off. The job cuts are affecting employees in Dilworth, Grand Forks, Bismarck and Minot. [KVRR-TV website report, 12-28-15]

ACID TRAIN DERAILS IN AUSTRALIA: A freight train carrying over 50,000 gallons of sulphuric acid has derailed in northeast Australia spilling acid and diesel fuel. The locomotive and all of its 26 cars derailed east of the outback town of Julia Creek, and a state of emergency has been declared in a mile and one-half radius of the accident. Three crew members were slightly injured. [RT website report, 12-27-15]

CHINA TO RENOVATE RAIL LINE IN MALI: Mali has sign a $1.486-billion agreement with China Railway Construction Corp. to renovate a rail line linking its capital Bamako to the border with neighboring Senegal. The project is part of a plan to upgrade the aging 745-mile railway between Senagal's coastal capital Dakar with Mali. China signed a similar agreement worth $1.26-billion with Senegal on Dec. 24. [Reuters Africa website report, 12-26-15]

CENTRAL INDIANA RAIL BRIDGE TO BE CONVERTED FOR PEDESTRIAN USE: The Anderson, Indiana, board of public works has approved a contract to convert a landmark steel-girter railroad bridge spanning the White River into a pedestrian bridge. Design work should be completed next year. [Hometown Lima website report, 12-26-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REJECTS LATEST CANADIAN PACIFIC PROPOSAL: The board of Norfolk Southern on Dec. 23 unanimously rejected Canadian Pacific's revised proposal to acquire Norfolk Southern for $32.86 in cash per share and a fixed exchange ratio of 0.451 shares in a new company. Norfolk Southern said the proposal was 'grossly inadequate,' and is not in the best interest of the company and its shareholders. [Norfolk Southern, 12-23-15]

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT RELEASED FOR BALTIMORE TUNNEL: Amtrak and federal, state and Baltimore transportation agencies have released a draft environmental impact statement for a plan to improve or replace Amtrak's B&P rail tunnel. During the scoping, planners originally identified 16 alternatives, but the statement concluded with one alternative with three options and a no-build alternative. Public hearings are scheduyled for Jan. 23 and 28. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-23-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Dec. 19, 2015, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 525,555 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.5 pct compared with the same week in 2014, reported by the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 12-23-15]

RAIL TRAIL DEAL REACHED FOR ULSTER COUNTY, N.Y.: Three years after Ulster County's executive announced plans for a rail trail by closing down the Catskill Mountain Railroad, a compromise has been reached that includes a plan to build a rail station atop Highmount. The plan allows for the future of tourist rail operations in Kingston, N.Y., while also supporting rail trail development from Kingston to the Ashokan Reservoir and along the Ulster & Delaware corridor in the Catskills. [Catskill Mountain News website report, 12-23-15]

MBTA AWARDS PTC CONTRACT: TheMassachusetts Bay Transportation authority has awarded a $338-million contract to Ansaldo STS to provide a complete positive train-control system throughout the agency's commuter-rail network. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-23-15]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY 47 FLEXITY TRAMS TO BERLIN: Bombardier Transportation will supply 47 Flexity trams to Berlin, Germany, under a $190-million option order based on a 2006 framework agreement for a maximum of 206 vehicles. The otal number of vehicles now stands at 189. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-23-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO CONSOLIDATE LAKE ERIE COAL OPERATIONS: Norfolk Southern will consolidate operations of its coal docks located on Lake Erie in order to streamline operations and reduce costs. The company plans to idle its Ashtabula, Ohio, coal pier and shift operations to Sandusky, Ohio, in a move expected to be completed by May 2016. The Ashtabula facility will remain idle until market conditions justify reopening. Twenty-one positions will be affected, according to the company. [Norfolk Southern, 12-22-15]

MIAMI AIRPORT TRAIN DERAILS: Officials say a Skytrain at Miami International Airport derailed during a maintenance check early Dec. 22. There were no injuries. [Town Hall website report, 12-22-15]

POSITIVE TRAIN-CONTROL OPERATIONAL ON AMTRAK'S NORTHEAST CORRIDOR: Amtrak activated its final segment of ACSES, its version of positive train-control, along the Northeast corridor on Dec. 18. Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement system is now fully-functional on all Amtrak-owned track between Washington DC and Boston. The only unequipped territory is along a Connecticut-owned segment east of New York City also used by Metro-North. [Railway Age website report, 12-22-15]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN COLLIDES WITH SEMI IN NEBRASKA, DERAILS: A Union Pacific train collided with a semi-truck west of Sidney, Nebraska, early Dec. 21. Three locomotives and seven rail cars derailed. There were no injuries; the driver of the truck and a passenger escaped from the vehicle prior to impact. [Sidney Sun-Telegraph website report, 12-21-15]

CHANNEL TUNNEL TRAFFIC DISRUPTED BY BROKEN RAIL: Traffic is resuming normally Dec. 21 on passenger and freight trains beneath the English Channel after a broken rail delayed travel for thousands of people crossing between France and Britain. Officials said the broken rail forced all trains to share a single track. [U.S. News & World Report website report, 12-21-15]

OMNITRAX CANADA TO SELL RAILWAY, PORT TO MANITOBA FIRST NATIONS: A group of Northern Manitoba First Nations has signed a letter of intent to purchase the Manitoba assets of OmniTrax Canada, including the Hudson Bay Railway and Port of Churchill. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-15]

B&O RR HISTORICAL SOCIETY BUYING NEW BUILDING: The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society has agreed to purchase a building in Eldersburg, Md., for use as a new headquarters and archival location. According to the Carroll County Times, the society will purchase what had been a senior center for $240,000, which will replace an outdated facility in Arbutus, Md. [Carroll County Times, 12-20-15]

FLORIDA TRAIN DERAILMENT BLOCKS U.S. 1: Brevard County, Florida, fire & rescue responded to a train derailment in Rockledge early Dec. 20 that closed US-1. No vehicles were involved in the indcident and no injuries were reported. [Space Coast Daily website report, 12-20-15]

AUDIENCE WITH POPE FOR RAIL WORKERS: Pope Francis received managers, technical staff and personnel of the Italian State Railway Dec. 19 in a special audience. Some 7,000 employees attended the audience for the noon appointment. Pope Francis praised the organization and its employees for their historical commitment to works of solidarity and compassion, including their support for the recently concluded renovations of the Caritas center near Rome's central station. [Vatican Radio website report, 12-19-15]

OFFICIALS CANCEL NORTH PLATTE'S 2016 RAIL FEST: Organizers say that Rail Fest 2016 in North Platte, Nebraska, has been canceled because of lack of staffing and resources. Organizers had expected the 2016 event to be the biggest ever because it would have been the festival's tenth anniversary. [Washington Times website report, 12-19-15]

AMTRAK REROUTES TEXAS EAGLE BETWEEN FORT WORTH & DALLAS: Amtrak's Texas Eagle is now operating on a new route between Fort Worth and Dallas. The train now shares a route with Trinity Rail Express and avoids freight train operations that had impacted operations in the past. Scheduled times remain the same. [Railway Age website report, 12-18-15]

U.S. CLASS I RAIL WORK FORCE DECLINES IN NOVEMBER: U.S. Class I railroads employed 164,241 people as of mid-November 2015, down 0.8 pct compared with mid-October, and down 3.3 pct compared with mid-November last year, according to Surface Transportation Board data. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-18-15]

SCALED-DOWN VERSION OF NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPRESS BEING CONSIDERED: State-of-the-art passengers trains could be traveling between Duluth and the Twin Cities four times a day in 2 and one-half hours for a fare of between $30 and $32 in four years, reports the Duluth Times Tribune. Ths is a scaled-down version of the Northern Lights Express. The new version reduces the top train speed from 110MPH to 90MPH, and cuts the number of daily round-trips from eight to four. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 12-18-15]

PLAN DEVISED FOR PHILADELPHIA 30TH STREET STATION: West Philadelphia could get a new look under a plan centered at the massive rail yard at 30th Street Station. The plan includes a revamped station building with a new transit center for intercity bus and expanded rail service. By summer, planners expect the process to have yielded specific plans to guide development through 2040, the project director said. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 12-18-15]

CHINA ORDERS MORE HIGH-SPEED SLEEPER TRAINS: China Railways has awarded Bombardier Sifang Transportation a $169.8-million contract to supply 16 five-car CRH1E-250 sleeper trains. The 250KMH stainless-steel-bodied trains are fitted with sleeping berths and will be powered by Bombardier's Mitrac propulsion system. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-18-15]

D.C. ONCE AGAIN BEGINS ITS STREETCAR TESTING: The District DOT on Dec. 16 kicked off pre-revenue operations of the DC Streetcar, simulating service along the corridor without passengers between H street and Benning road. This marks the second time that pre-revenue operations were initiated. The testing phase was attempted in Sept. 2014 but was aborted in order to make some major changes. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-17-15]

PORT CANAVERAL APPROVES FUNDING FOR RAIL LINK STUDY: Port Canaveral, Florida, commissioners have agreed to spend $107,000 to expand their study for creating a rail link from the port's cargo area to the mainland through Cape Canaveral Air Force station. [Florida Today website report, 12-17-15]

WABTEC LANDS METRA PTC CONTRACTS: Metra and Parsons Transportation Group have awarded Wabtec contracts totaling $45-million to supply positive train-control to the Chicago commuter rail network. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-17-15]

SPAIN OPENS OLMEDO-ZAMORA HIGH-SPEED RAIL SECTION: Commercial service began on the Olmedo-Zamora section of the Madrid-Galicia high-speed rail line Dec. 17, cutting travel time for the 144-mile Madrid-Zamora trip to one hour & 33 minutes. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-17-15]

INNSBRUCK ORDERS 20 BOMBARDIER TRAMS: Innsbruck Transport has awarded Bombardier a contract to supply 20 Flexity-2 low-floor light-rail vehicles as part of the expansion of the city's meter-gauge network. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-17-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC 'SWEETENS' OFFER TO COMBINE WITH NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Canadian Pacific has presented a new offer for merger or takeover of Norfolk Southern to provide up to $3.4-billion of additional value to Norfolk Southern shareholders. But if the stock price of the proposed combination did well enough, there would be no payout. William Ackman, a CP director and founder of Pershing Square Capital Management, said it was 'like an insurance policy.' [Virginian-Pilot website report, 12-16-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC TO SEEK ANOTHER MERGER PARTNER IF REBUFFED BY NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Canadian Pacific will seek a merger with another railroad if Norfolk Southern shareholders don't push the company to discuss a merger, warns William Ackman, a CP board member of head of Pershing Square Capital. [Globe and Mail website report, 12-16-15]

MBTA FIRES OPERATOR OF RUNAWAY RED LINE TRAIN: The Red line operator whose train took off without him Dec. 10 with passengers on board is 'no longer employed by the MBTA,' according to a Massachusetts transportation official. [ report, 12-16-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Dec. 12, 2015, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 544,975 carloads and intermodal units, down 8 pct comparedwith the same week in 2014, the Association of American Railroads reported. Calculated separately, carload volume was down 13.2 pct and intermodal volume was down 2.3 pct. [Railway Age website report, 12-16-15]

SENATE CONFIRMS TWO AMTRAK BOARD POSITIONS: Tony Coscia and Derek Kan have been confirmed by the Senate to serve terms on the Amtrak board of directors. Coscia is currently the chairman of the board, and he was appointed to another five-year term. [Amtrak, 12-16-15]

METROLINK SET TO ADD SECOND LOCOMOTIVE TO COMMUTER TRAINS: Metrolink is planning to add a second locomotive to its commuter trains as a safety precaution. The agency approved a $23.9-million, one-year lease agreement for 40 locomotives from BNSF. These locomotives have been made compatible with Metrolink's positive train-control system, and will be positioned next to the cab-control car. A Metrolink locomotive will continue to be used on the other end of the train allowing for a locomotive will always be on the leading end of a train irrespective of the direction the train is moving. [Ventura County Star website report, 12-16-15]

CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES ON THREE TRAIN STATIONS FOR ALL ABOARD FLORIDA: Construction is moving along on three rail stations for All Aboard Florida's Brightline, the planned rail service between Orlando and Miami. Work on the stations should be completed in 2016, and service should start the following year. A crew recently tested the lighting system for the stations to make sure the infrastructure matches the design. [Palm Beach Post website report, 12-16-15]

'NO HIDDEN NAZI TRAIN,' GEOLOGY EXPERTS SAY: Polish geology experts said Dec. 15 they have found no traces of a train at a site allegedly hiding a WW-II Nazi train. Experts from the University of Science & Technology in Krakow examined the site in Walbrzych using magnetic and gravitational equipment. The head of the team said there might be a tunnel there, but there is no train. According to local lore, the Nazis hid a train with gold in a secret tunnel while fleeing the Red Army in 1945. [Town Hall website report, 12-15-15]

WORLD'S LONGEST R.R. TUNNEL SET TO OPEN IN 2016: The Gotthard Base Tunnel in the Swiss Alps is poised to be the world's longest railroad tunnel. Thirty-five miles in length, the tunnel is slated to open in Dec. 2016 and transport more than 200 trains a day at an average speed of 155 MPH. [Good Magazine website report, 12-15-15]

HIGH WINDS BLOW RAIL CARS FROM BRIDGE IN TEXAS: Early morning storms in Lufkin, Texas, produced wind gusts that threw cars of a train from a trestle onto the pavement of a highway below. No injuries were immediately reported. [KICKS 105 website report, 12-13-15]

JAPAN, INDIA AGREE ON TRAIN DEAL: Japan and India have agreed on a deal on high-speed rail technology, and Japan is planning to build India's first bullet train. It will reduce travel times between Mumbia and Ahmedabad from eight hours to two. "This enterprise will launch a revolution in Indian railways and speed up India's journey into the future," said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. [Deutsche Welle website report, 12-12-15]

RUNAWAY TRAIN IN BOSTON, AN UPDATE: The operator of a Boston T train that passed through several stations without someone in control early Dec. 10 failed to set a brake before exiting the train, and tied a cord to the throttle. These actions were in violation of safety procedures, said an official with knowledge of the initial investigation. The state's governor added that this was an isolated incident where a single individual appears to have made multiple errors. [Boston Globe website report, 12-12-15]

MAN STRUCK BY NJ TRANSIT TRAIN: Service on New Jersey Transit's Northeast corridor line was shut down for a time early Dec. 12 after a train struck a man near the Hamilton station. The individual involved was conscious and taken to a hospital with head injuries. [N.J. News 12 website report, 12-12-15]

ATLANTA APPROVES LONG-RANGE STREETCAR EXPANSION PLAN: The Atlanta city council has approved a new long-range plan forextending the city's streetcar system. The plan consists of a 50-plus-mile system, including five crosstown routes and 22 miles along the city's beltline corridor. The plan will serve as a framework for a potential referendum, necessary for any major transit project seeking federal funding. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-11-15]

PHOENIX TO OPEN N.W. LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION IN MARCH: Valley Metro Rail plansto open the Northwest light-rail extension in Phoenix on March 19, 2016, the agency said. The news comes as the agency moves intothe final phase of the new extension with vehicle testing and safety awareness. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-11-15]

BICYCLIST STRUCK, KILLED BY LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN IN MINNEAPOLIS: For the second day in a row, a person was hit and killed by a light-rail train in the Twin Cities. A male bicyclist was struck by a Blue line train early Dec. 11. The day before a woman was killed when she was struck by a Green line train in St. Paul. [Minnesota Public Radio website report, 12-11-15]

BNSF OPEN TO RAIL DEAL: BNSF Railway executive chairman Matt Rose is open to making a competing offer for Norfolk Southern, and CSX would also be 'very much in play.' White BNSF does not favor fresh deal-making, the carrier won't be sidelined if any occurs, Rose said in a phone interview. [Globe and Mail website report, 12-11-15]

JOE BOARDMAN TO RETIRE FROM AMTRAK IN SEPT. 2016: Amtrak president and CEO Joe Boardman has announced plansto retire from Amtrak in Sept. 2016, following nearly eight years with the railroad. [Railway Age website report, 12-10-15]

MBTA TRAIN LEAVES STATION WITHOUT AN OPERATOR: A Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority Red line train, with passengers on board, departed from Braintree station early Dec. 10 without an operator. The train traveled north past North Quincy station at about 6 AM before MBTA personnel cut the third-rail power, bringing the train to a stop. The incident is under investigation. [Boston Globe website report, 12-10-15]

OREGON ENVISIONS INCREASE IN PORTLAND-EUGENE RAIL SERVICE: The Oregon Passenger Rail Leadership council has agreed to support a recommended preferred alternative to improve the state's intercity passenger rail. The recommendation follows the existing alignment on the Union Pacific line and increases Amtrak Cascades service between Portland and Eugene from two daily round-trips to six daily round-trips over the next 20 years. [Oregon DOT, 12-10-15]

UAE TO BEGIN FIRST PHASE OF NATIONAL RAIL OPERATION: The United Arab Emirates has granted final safety authorization for the 164-mile Shah-Habshan-Ruwais line, clearing the way for the start of commercial operations on the first phase of the country's national railway network. The railway has a fleet of seven locomotives and 240 hopper cars for hauling sulphur. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-10-15]

MORE DOUBLE-DECK RAIL COACHES FOR ITALY: Trenitalia has placed an order with Hitach Rail Italy for 136 additional Vivalto push-pull double-deck regional coaches. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-10-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 542,050 carloads and intermodal units originated in the week ending Dec. 5, 2015, a 6.6 pct decrease compared with the same week last year. Total carloads fell 12.9 pct, while intermodal volume rose 0.8 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-10-15]

LAURENT TROGER NAMED PRESIDENT OF BOMBARDIER: Bombardier Transportation has named Laurent Troger president. Before joining Bombardier, where he was recently promoted to chief operating officer of transportation, he worked 15 years at Alstom Transport. Troger succeeds Lutz Bertling, who is stepping down. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-10-15]

CP RAIL BARRED FROM USING U.S. CREWS ON CROSS-BORDER TRAINS: An arbitrator's ruling has halted Canadian Pacific's use of U.S. crews to operate trains crossing the border into Canada. The ruling followed a grievance filed by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. [Globe and Mail website report, 12-10-15]

CHICAGO TRANSIT TO IMPROVE TRACK ON GREEN LINE LAKE BRANCH: The Chicago Transit authority has awarded a $13-million contract for a track improvement project on the Lake branch of the Green line. The project calls for upgrading track infrastructure between Laramie station in Chicago and the Harlem-Lake station in Forest Park, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-10-15]

AMTRAK SERVICE RESTORED THROUGH WASHINGTON STATE: Amtrak passenger trains have resumed scheduled service through Washington state, the railroad announced early Dec. 10, following a weather-related moratorium on service. [Seattle Times website report, 12-10-15]

CSX TO TRANSFER STOCK LISTING TO NASDAQ: CSX announced Dec. 9 that the company will transfer its stock exchange listing from the New York Stock Exchange to the Nasdaq Global Select Market, effective after market close Dec. 21, 2015. The stock will continue trading under the CSX symbol. [CSX, 12-9-15]

GERMANY OPENING NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: German Rail has inaugurated the 76-mile, 186 MPH Erfurt-Leipzig/Halle rail line. Commissioning was completed Dec. 8, and commercial service begins Dec. 13. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-9-15]

SWEDEN OPENS ITS LONGEST RAIL TUNNEL: Sweden's inaugural train operated through the 5.4-mile Hallandsas tunnel on Dec. 9. Construction on this, the country's longest tunnel started as long ago as 1992. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-9-15]

BNSF HONORS MILITARY FAMILIES WITH HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDES: BNSF's annual Holiday Express, which pays tribute to members of the U.S. military and their families, made its final stop in Nebraska earlier this week. During the five-day long series of train trips, approximately 2,000 active duty military personnel and their families boarded the train at various stops in Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. The Holiday Express visits different parts of the BNSF network each year. [BNSF, 12-9-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC HINTS AT LAUNCHING HOSTILE TAKEOVER OF NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Canadian Pacific has enlisted the help of activist investor Bill Ackman to challenge the qualifications of Norfolk Southern CEO James Squires, and has opened the door to launching a hostile bid if the board of Norfolk Southern continues to oppose negotiations. "We are going to work and do everything at our disposal to get this to the shareholders and get a resolution to it," CP's chief executive Hunter Harrison said Dec. 8. "If that calls for a proxy, so be it." [CTV News Channel website report, 12-8-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COMMENTS ON 'REVISED' MERGER PROPOSAL FROM CANADIAN PACIFIC: Norfolk Southern has received a revised proposal from Canadian Pacific. NS noted that CP's proposal provides for a per share consideration of $32.86 and a fixed exchange ratio of 0.451 shares in a new company that would own the two railroads, and is valued at $91.62. NS said the proposal is less than the prior proposal and creates substantial reulatory risks and uncertainties. [Norfolk Southern, 12-8-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REVISES BUYOUT OFFER: Canadian Pacific has revised its takeover bid for Norfolk Southern. The new offer includes $32.86 in cash and 0.451 shares in the company that would own both railroads. That includes less cash but more equity than the original offer. The new bid also promises that Norfolk Southern shareholders could receive the cash next spring before regulators complete their review. [U.S. News & World Report, 12-8-15]

WABTEC ACQUIRES RELAY MONITORING SYSTEMS: Wabtec has acquired Relay Monitoring Systems PTY Ltd., a manufacturer of electrical protection and control products with $15-million in annual sales. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-8-15]

FUNDING AGREED FOR KENYAN STANDARD-GAUGE RAIL EXTENSION: China's Exim Bank has agreed to provide $1.5-billion to fund 85 pct of the cost of extending the 378-mile Mombasa-Nairobi standard-gauge rail line currently under construction. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-8-15]

HYPERLOOP TEST TRACK TO BE BUILT IN NEVADA: Hyperloop Technologies has reached a deal to construct a hyperloop test track in a business park in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Construction on a separate test track is set to begin in California. [Associated Press website report, 12-8-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RELEASES 'WHITE PAPER' FROM TWO FORMER STB COMMISSIONERS: Two former Surface Transportation Board commissioners, reporting on their own behalf and not speaking on behalf of the commission, have published their 'white paper' with a conclusion that the STB would be 'highly unlikely' to approve a voting trust or the transaction involving merger or takeover as proposed by Canadian Pacific as comprehended by current STB rules involving railroad mergers. [Norfolk Southern, 12-7-15]

SHIPPERS LACK SUPPORT FOR A CP-NS MERGER: About 71 pct of rail shippers surveyed by Cowen & Company do not support a merger between Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern. [Railway Age website report, 12-7-15]

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK BY METRA TRAIN: Metra Milwaukee District West trains were delayed by up to three hours early Dec. 7 after an inbound train struck a pedestrian near West Suburban River Grove. [ABC 7 WLS-TV website report, 12-7-15]

SENDAI OPENS SECOND METRO LINE: The Japanese city of Sendai inaugurated its second metro line Dec. 6, four years afterthe region was devastated by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-7-15]

BNSF FINED FOR HAZARDOUS SPILLS: The Washington state utilities and transportation commission has imposed a $71,700 fine on BNSF for failing to timely report several spills of hazardous materials, including two at a rail yard in Everett. [Heraldnet website report, 12-7-15]

AT LEAST 18 KILLED IN TRAIN-BUS COLLISION IN INDONESIA: A commuter train slammed into a passenger minibus at a railroad crossing in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 6, killing at least 18 people and seriously injuring six others. The driver of the bus allegedly ignored the warning signals when he crossed the tracks as the train approached. [Aljazeera website report, 12-6-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REJECTS TAKEOVER OFFER FROM CANADIAN PACIFIC: Norfolk Southern's board of directors has rejected Canadian Pacific's previously announced indication of interest to acquire Norfolk Southern. After a comprehensive review, conducted in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, the board concluded that the indication of interest is 'grossly inadequate, creates substantial regulatory risks and uncertainties that are highly unlikely to be overcome, and is not in the best interest of the company and its shareholders,' Norfolk Southern said in a press release. [Norfolk Southern, 12-4-15]

CSX BREAKS GROUND ON PITTSBURGH INTERMODAL RAIL TERMINAL: CSX on Dec. 4 celebrated the groundbreaking of the $60-million Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal in Stowe Township and McKees Rocks, Pa., which is expected to commence operations in 2017. [CSX, 12-4-15]

VALLEY METRO PLACES CEO ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE, ACCEPTS RESIGNATION: Valley Metro in Arizona has accepted the resignation of Stephen Banta as CEO and placed him on administrative leave, effective immediately. Eric Anderson has been named his temporary replacement. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-4-15]

AMTRAK, CONNECTICUT TO SPEND $570-M TO EXPAND HARTFORD RAIL LINE: Amtrak andthe state of Connecticut have agreed to spend $570-million to expand the Hartford rail line, which will boost additional service between New Haven and Hartford and Springfield. [Hartford Courant website report, 12-4-15]

AN 'OPPORTUNITY' FOR DAILY CINCINNATI-CHICAGO AMTRAK SERVICE: Railroad advocates have been calling for restoring daily train service between Cincinnati and Chicago. Both the House and Senate have approved funding in a bill which, if it becomes law, $20-million each year would go toward 'restoration and enhancement of passenger rail service,' precisely what advocates are looking for in Cincinnati. It has been nearly 35 years since Cincinnati last saw daily rail service to Chicago. Amtrak's Cardinal currently provides service, but only three times a week. [WCPO 9 website report, 12-4-15]

JAPANESE FUND TO INVEST IN TEXAS CENTRAL BULLET TRAIN: A Japanese public-private fund has announced its intention to invest $40-million in Texas Central Partners' proposed bullet train service between Houston and Dallas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-3-15]

TAIWAN OPENS THREE NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL STATIONS: Simultaneous cermonies were held Dec. 1 in Taiwan to official open three new intermediate stations on the 345KM Taipei-Kaohsiung high-speed rail line. In addition to the new stations, a 9.2KM extension to Nangang in Taipei is planned for opening in July 2016. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-3-15]

MOSCOW'S RING LINE TO GET 35 TRAINS: Russia's largest suburban rail operator has awarded a contract for 35 class ED4M-500 electric multiple-unit trains as part of a $1-billion project to introduce passenger services on Moscow's 54KM, 30-station Ring line. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-3-15]

ITALY GETTING EIGHT VECTRON DC LOCOMOTIVES FROM SIEMENS: Siemens is supplying eight Vectron DC-type locomotives for freight operation in Italy. The 5,200-KW locomotives can reach a top speed of about 100 MPH. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-3-15]

NEW APPOINTMENT AT FREIGHTCAR AMERICA: FreightCar American has appointed Georgia Vlamis vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary. She joins the company from Motorola Solutions. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-3-15]

NOVEMBER 2015 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the month of Nov. 2015, total U.S. rail carload and intermodal originations were 2,065,767, a decline of 6 pct. from Nov. 2014, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 12-3-15]

FTA GIVES BOOST TO PHOENIX LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Valley Metro's South Central light-rail extension in Phoenix has been approved by the Federal Transit administration into the project development phase of the capital investment grant program. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-3-15]

AMTRAK RIDERSHIP, TICKET REVENUE STEADY IN FY-2015: Led by a record of more than 8.2 million trips on its Northeast corridor, Amtrak ridershp and ticket revenue remained steady in fiscal year 2015, the company said. However, Amtrak notes that significant and predictable investment is needed to ensure that intercity passenger rail will continue to deliver nationwide benefits. [Railway Age website report, 12-2-15]

APACHE RAILWAY SOLD: The Apache Railway has been sold to a group formed by the Aztec Land & Cattle Co. and other related entities. Apache management will remain in place and its 21-employee work force is expected to continue working to meet the need, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-2-15]

OPERATION LIFESAVER RESPONDS TO PHOTOGRAPHER FATALITIES ON RAIL TRACKS: Operation Lifesaver has released a new video, the first in a series, to raise awareness among photographers of the dangers of taking pictures on railroad tracks. So far this year, five deaths have been attributed to photography and filming on U.S. railroads, with 13 deaths and four injuries since 2011, according to Operation Lifesaver. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-2-15]

MONTANA RAIL LINK BEGINS SPURLING, MONTANA, TRACK CONSTRUCTION: Montana Rail Link has begun construction of four tracks west of Laurel, Montana, at Spurling, to be used as a staging area for westbound trains, the company announced.[Progressive Railroading website report, 12-2-15]

MEXICO CITY REOPENS METRO LINE FOLLOWING REPAIRS: Line 12 of the Mexico City metro is fully operational once again after nearly two years of repairs to track which resulted in the closure of 11 stations. The 15-mile line, which connects Mixcoac with Tlahuac, opened in Oct. 2012, but the 11 stations were closed in March 2014 following the discovery of track defects. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-2-15]

CSX UPDATES FULL-YEAR GUIDANCE: CSX's chief financial officer Frank Lonegro spoke Dec. 2 at a conference, updated the company's full-year guidance: "While we continue to expect to move around 30 million tons of export coal for the full year, domestic coal movements have declined more significantly in the fourth-quarter than expected. As a result, we now expect full-year EPS growth to be about three pct, which still includes an anticipated fourth-quarter property sale worth about five cents per share." [CSX, 12-2-15]

HOUSE, SENATE CONFEREES RELEASE TRANSPORTATION BILL: House and Senate conferees released the final transportation bill Dec. 1. The five-year bill, known as the FAST Act, would invest $10.355-billion for intercity passenger trains, along with $12.209-billion in dedicated transit funding. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 12-1-15]

TWO CHILDREN KILLED, ONE INJURED AS TRAIN STRIKES MINIVAN IN GEORGIA: A minivan was shown on surveilance video driving around a lowered crossing gate and then being struck by a Norfolk Southern freight train in Stockbridge, Georgia, the evening of Nov. 30. The driver survived, but two of his children were killed and another seriously injured. [11 Alive Atlanta website report, 12-1-15]

MICHIGAN WILL TEST MORE HIGH-SPEED TRAINS: Part of Michigan passenger rail service goes 110 MPH, but not all of it. Next year, the state will test additional tracks to support that speed along the Amtrak route between Detroit and Chicago. [Great Lakes Echo website report, 12-1-15]

ALSTOM EMU'S ENTER SERVICE IN CHILE: Valparaiso Regional Metro officially introduced its new fleet of Alstom X'Trapolis Modular electric multiple-units on Dec. 1 when the first trains entered service on the 27-mile Valparaiso-Limache line. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-1-15]

NORWEGIAN DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT COMPLETED: Capacity on the southern section of the Eidsvoll-Lillehammer-Trondheim Dovre line was increased Dec. 1 when construction was completed on a new 17KM double-track section running along Lake Mjosa. The project included construction of 27 major structures, including bridges, tunnels and retaining walls. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-1-15]

WASHINGTON DC UNION STATION EXPANSION PROJECT FOCUS OF PUBLIC MEETING DEC. 7: The Federal Railroad Administration will conduct a public scoping meeting on the proposed Washington DC Union Station expansion project. The date is Dec. 7, and will take place from 4PM to 8PM in the station's Presidential Room in the East Hall. Project representatives will be available to informally discuss the project and answer questions. Formal presentation will be given at 4:30PM and 7PM. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers]

CSX TO BREAK GROUND ON NEW PENNSYLVANIA INTERMODAL RAIL TERMINAL DEC. 4: Demolition is under way and a groundbreaking is scheduled for the new $60-million Intermodal Rail Terminal in McKees Rocks and Stowe Township, Pa., Dec. 4. The site of the project was formerly the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie rail yard. [Pittsburgh Business Times website report, 11-30-15]

INDIAN RAILWAYS TO BUY 1,800 LOCOMOTIVES: Indian Railways has signed contracts worth $6.8-billion with Alstom and GE Transportation for a total of 1,800 freight locomotives, most of which will be assembled in the state of Bihar. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-30-15]

VRE ADDING A TRAIN TO ITS FREDERICKSBURG LINE: A new Virginia Railway Express train will begin operating Nov. 30 on the Fredericksburg line. The new train is being added following the opening of the new Spotsylvania station on Nov. 16, and the schedule of other trains are being adjusted to accommodate the new time slot. Feeder schedules are also being adjusted by Fredericksburg Regional Transit. [WTOP website report, 11-28-15]

ONE KILLED, ANOTHER INJURED AS AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES TWO ON TRESTLE IN VERMONT: Police say one person was killed and another critically injured after two pedestrians on a 40-foot-tall railroad trestle were struck by an Amtrak train in West Hartford, Vermont, on Nov. 27. The train was delayed about three hours. [WCAX website report, 11-27-15]

LIGHT-RAIL LINE HALTED IN ARIZONA FROM FATAL ACCIDENT: Light-rail trains halted early Nov. 27 on the Metro light-rail line in Tempe and Mesa, Arizona, following a crash with a vehicle in which a passenger in the vehicle was killed and the driver was critically injured. The speed of the vehicle was an apparent factor in the accident, officials said. [KTVK website report, 11-27-15]

MORE BOMBARDIER LRV'S FOR AUSTRALIA'S GOLD COAST: Bombardier will supply four additional Flexity low-floor light-rail vehicles for Australia's Gold Coast light-rail transit network. The $18-million order is an option from a 2011 contract for the original fleet of 14 vehicles. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-27-15]

CAIRO SEEKS NEW METRO TRAINS & FARES REVIEW: Egypt has invited expressions of interest for the acquisition of 13 trains for the Cairo Metro, and a consultant to advise on the introduction of a new fares policy designed to increase revenue. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-27-15]

ALSTOM TO ACQUIRE STAKE IN SOUTH AFRICA'S CTLE: Alstom has agreed to purchase a 51 pct stake in CTLE (Commuter Transport and Locomotive Engineering) from two South African companies, which will remain shareholders. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-27-15]

BOTSWANA RAILWAYS TO REVIVE PASSENGER SERVICES: Six years after Botswana Railways became a freight-only operation, the country plans to restore passenger services from Francistown to Gaborone and Lobatse beginning next March. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-26-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT BLOCKS TRACKS WEST OF HARRISBURG, PA.: A freight train derailment near Harrisburg affected Wednesday's Amtrak service in Pennsylvania Nov. 25. Amtrak's eastbound Pennsylvanian dropped off passengers at Rockville, and the westbound Pennsylvanian dropped off passengers at Harrisburg. A bus bridge transferred passengers between trains. [ABC 6 website report, 11-25-15]

U.S. CLASS I RAIL WORKFORCE DECLINES: As of mid-October, the major (Class I) U.S. railroads employed 165,606 people, down 2.14 pct compared with the October 2014 level, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-25-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: According to the Association of American Railroads, for the week ending Nov. 21, 2015, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 532,532 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.7 pct compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 11-25-15]

MOMENTUM GROWING FOR HUDSON RIVER RAIL TUNNEL: An agreement between federal leaders and officials in New York and New Jersey indicates growing political support for constructing a rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River, says ratings agency Moodys. However, questions remain about how Amtrak and New Jersey will fund their shares of the $20-billion cost. [Washington Times website report, 11-25-15]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR CANADIAN LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: A consortium has been awarded a $1.34-billion contract to build an 8-mile light-rail line in Edmonton, Alberta. Construction should begin in the spring for the project. [Edmonton Journal website report, 11-25-15]

VIA RAIL ACQUIRES 28-MILE SUBDIVISION IN ONTARIO: VIA Rail has acquired the Brockville subdivision, previously-owned by Cnadian Pacific, spanning 28 miles of single track between Smiths Falls and Brockville, Ontario. Recent infrastructure upgrades to the line have allowed for the addition of two round trips to the daily schedule. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-24-15]

READING & NORTHERN TO OWN, OPERATE TRACK IN HUMBOLDT INDUSTRIAL PARK: The Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad will take over ownership of the rail infrastructure at the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazelton, Pa., beginning Jan. 1, 2016, throuogh an agreement with the park's owner. [Railway Age website report, 11-24-15]

NO PLANS TO MOVE HEADQUARTERS FROM CANADA, CANADIAN PACIFIC SAYS: Canadian Pacific Railway says it has no plans to move its headquarters out of Canada as it tries to build a transcontinental railroad with the proposed takeover of Norfolk Southern. [Globe and Mail website report, 11-23-15]

WASHINGTON DC METRO CONFIRMS PAUL WIEDEFELD AS GENERAL MANAGER, CEO: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority has confirmed Paul Wiedefeld as the agency's new general manager and chief executive officer. He assumes his position Nov. 30. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-23-15]

CHINA APPROVES NINGXIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: China has given the go-ahead for the construction of a 384-mile high-speed rail line linking Xi'an with Yinchuan in the western autonomous region of Ningxia. The line will be designed for 155 MPH operation and will take about five years to build. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-23-15]

MORE BOMBARDIER LRV'S FOR MELBOURNE: The government of Victoria has exercised a $197-million option with Bombardier for 20 additional E-class Flexity Swift low-floor light-rail vehicles for Melbourne. This is in addition to 50 vehicles previously ordered, and all 70 vehicles will be in service by late 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-23-15]

STRANDED MIGRANTS BLOCK RAILWAY IN GREECE: Moroccans, Iranians and Pakistanis on Greece's northern border with Macedonia blocked rail traffic and demanded passage to western Europe on Nov. 23, stranded by a policy of filtering migrants in the Balkans. [Reuters website report, 11-23-15]

ONE KILLED IN CROSSING ACCIDENT IN OHIO: A 57-year old Michigan man is dead after he drove his vehicle around a lowered crossing gate and was struck by a Norfolk Southern train in Huron Twp, Ohio, Nov. 23. The train shoved the vehicle about half a mile before it could be stopped. [WKYC website report, 11-23-15]

JAPANESE COMPANY INVESTING $40-M IN TEXAS BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp. for Transport and Urban Development, headquartered in Tokyo, has decided to invest $40-million in the planned high-speed train line between Dallas and Houston, Texas. [Dallas Morning News website report, 11-23-15]

CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR SEEKS $100-B OVER 20 YEARS FOR TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE: The rail infrastructure in Connecticut is aging and uses less than all of its tracks because of frequent repairs. Governor Malloy wants to modernize the rail system and spend $100-billion over the next 20 years on the state's infrastructure, including reconfiguring the railroad tracks in a way that could potentially quadruple service. [Republican-American website report, 11-21-15]

SIEMENS' FLEET OF VERARO HIGH-SPEED TRAINS ENTER EUROSTAR SERVICE: Eurostar's new fleet of Siemens Velaro e320 high-speed trains entered service Nov. 20 when one of the 16-car sets ran from London to Paris. The e320 is the first passenger train with distributed traction to operate in commercial service through the Channel Tunnel. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-20-15]

SOUND TRANSIT SETTLES ON TACOMA LINK ALIGNMENT: Sound Transit has selected the route, stations, expanded operation and maintenance facility for the Tacoma Link light-rail extension. When built, the 2.4-mile extension will serve riders from Seattle's theater district to the city's stadium and hilltop neighborhoods, Sound Transit officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report,11-20-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC WILLING TO SWEETEN ITS $28-B BID FOR NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Canadian Pacific is willing to sweeten its $28-billion takeover offer for Norfolk Southern and is 'going to do everything we can' to court Norfolk Southern's shareholders, chief executive officer Hunter Harrison said. [Toronto Star website report, 11-20-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TAKEOVER COULD DOUBLE CANADIAN PACIFIC'S DEBT LOAD: Canadian Pacific's debt load could surge to more than double the industry average if it succeeds with its $28-billion bid for Norfolk Southern, analysts say. The bid from Canadian Pacific is chief executive Hunter Harrison's latest attempt to connect his railway with an operator in the U.S. The 50-50 cash and equity offer would require the company to issue $13-billion in debt on top of its existing $6.3-billion in obligations, according to Moody's Ivestor Service. Norfolk Southern has $10.3-billion in debt, which would mean that a combined entity would have more than $16-billion in debt. With debt required to fund the offer, that amount could rise to $29-billion. [Calgary Herald website report, 11-20-15]

AMTRAK SHOWS TWO POTENTIAL ROUTES FOR NEW SUSQUEHANNA RIVER RAIL BRIDGE: Amtrak has narrowed to two the number of prospective routes for the rail line serving the replacement for the Susquehanna River bridge in Maryland, althoough the property line would overlap a portion of the running track at Havre de Grace High School. [Baltimore Sun website report, 11-20-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC CEO SAYS NORFOLK SOUTHERN HASN'T BEEN WILLING TO THOROUGHLY DISCUSS TAKEOVER: Canadian Pacific's chief executive remains optimistic about completing a merger with Norfolk Southern, but executives with Norfolk Southern haven't been willing to discuss the idea at length. Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison said he talked with Norfolk Southern's CEO James Squires for about two hours before announcing his company's cash and stock offer earlier this week. Harrison said he is not set on where the combined company would be based or who would lead it. Combining the two companies could create a more efficient railroad that would link major ports, and the two railroads do not have much overlap now, he said. [Associated Press website report, 11-19-15]

EXCESSIVE SPEED CAUSED NOV. 14 FRENCH TRAIN DERAILMENT: The derailment of a high-speed French TGV train from Paris to Strasbourg in which 11 people were killed Nov. 14 was caused by excessive speed on a bend in the route, railroad operator SNCF said. The train entered the bend at a speed of 158 MPH instead of 109 MPH during a test drive, and started braking too late, the company said, adding that there was 'no other discernible cause.' [Town Hall website report, 11-19-15]

NEVADA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PANEL SELECTS XPRESSWEST TO BUILD & OPERATE PROPOSED SYSTEM: Nevada officials have selected XPressWest as the franchisee to build and operate a high-speed rail system connecting Las Vegas and southern California. The state's High-Speed Rail Authority reviewed several proposals, concluding that the plan by XPressWest was the most well-developed. [KVVU website report, 11-19-15]

QUEBEC PENSION FUND TO BUY 30 PCT STAKE IN BOMBARDIER RAIL UNIT: Bombardier said that Quebec's public pension fund is buying a 30 pct stake in its rail arm for $1.5-billion, putting the company on stronger financial footing as it pushes to launch its long-delayed CSeries jet. [Reuters webstite report, 11-19-15]

CSX NAMES DREW GLASSMAN VP-STRATEGY: CSX has named Drew Glassman vice-president-strategy. He has 25 years of experience in corporate finance, and will oversee initiatives that position the company for success, CSX said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-19-15]

CHICAGO TRANSIT'S BLUE LINE GETS EXPANDED WIRELESS COVERAGE: Chicago has announced the completion of its project to bring 4G wireless coverage on Chicago Transit authority's blue line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-19-15]

MARYLAND PSC APPROVES OLD WB&A RIGHT-OF-WAY FOR MAGLEV ROUTE: The Maryland Public Service Commission has approved an application from Baltimore Washington Rapid Rail to acquire a long-unused passenger rail franchise of the abandoned Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Electric Railroad as a possible route for the Northeast Maglev between Baltimore and Washington. WB&A abandoned the line in 1935. Earlier this month the U.S. Dept. of Transportation awarded $27.8-million in funds toward studies on building the maglev system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-18-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Nov. 14, 2015, total U.S. rail traffic was 543,681 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.7 pct compared with the same week in 2014, according to the Association of American Railroads. Carloads declined 8.7 pct while intermodal units dropped 0.3 pct. [Railway Age website report, 11-18-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN GETS ACQUISITION OFFER FROM CANADIAN PACIFIC: Norfolk Southern has confirmed that it has received 'an unsolicited, low-premium, non-binding, highly conditional indication of interest' from Canadian Pacific to acquire the company for $46.72 in cash and a fixed exchange ratio of 0.348 Canadian Pacific shares per Norfolk Southern share, representing a premium of less than 10 pct based on closing prices today. Norfolk Southern's board of directors will carefully evaluate and consider the offer. The company added that any consolidation would face significant regulatory hurdles. Norfolk Southern shareholders do not need to take any action at this time. [Norfolk Southern, 11-17-15]

VRE EXTENDS SERVICE TO SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY: Virginia Railway Express on Nov. 16 opened its new commuter-rail station in Spotsylvania County, Va., which now marks the southern terminus for VRE service on the Fredericksburg line. The new terminus represents the first extension of the service since VRE began operations more than 20 years ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-17-15]

FIRST BART 'FLEET OF THE FUTURE' CARS ALMOST READY: San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit expects delivery of the first 10 of 775 'Fleet of the Future' metro cars in December. The cars will initially be validated on BART's test track at Hayward, California, before undergoing an 18-month program of trials. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-17-15]

CSX, NORFOLK SOUTHERN RECOGNIZED FOR CARBON-EMISSIONS DISCLOSURE: CSX and Norfolk Southern have been recognized nationally for disclosing greenhouse gas emssions and climate-change information in CDP, and independent organization that advances sustainable business practices. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-17-15]

UZBEKISTAN RAILWAYS ORDERS TWO MORE TALGO TRAINS: Uzbekistan Railways has awarded Talgo a contract to supply two additional Talgo-250 trains for delivery in 2017 to supplement two sets delivered in 2011. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-17-15]

ALSTOM BEGINS PRODUCTION FOR RIYADH METRO TRAINSETS: Alstom has started the production of trainsets for Saudi Arabia's Riyadh Metro at its plan in Poland. The company will manufacture a total of 69 Metropolis trainsets at the plant with the first three expected to be delivered in 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-17-15]

WEST BRANCH COMMERCE PARK IN S.C. RECEIVES CSX SELECT SITE DESIGNATION: CSX has announced that a portion of the West Branch Commerce Park in Berkeley County, S.C., has been designated a 'CSX Select Site.' The designation applies to development-ready properties along the railroad's network where standard land use issues and comprehensive due diligence items have been previously addressed, and the property is pre-positioned to meet manufacturers' needs. [CSX, 11-17-15]

UNION PACIFIC TO CLOSE BURNHAM REPAIR SHOP IN DENVER: Union Pacific has notified workers it will close its Burnham repair shop in central Denver Febr. 14, 2016, putting more than 200 jobs on the line. [Denver Post website report, 11-17-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN STOPS DUE TO BEE STING: An Amtrak train traveling through Odin, Illinois, late Nov. 15 made an emergency medical stop for a passenger who had been stung by a bee. The woman reportedly went into anaphylaxis shock. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital as a precaution. [WJBD website report, 11-16-15]

LANDSLIDE DISRUPTS AMTRAK SERVICE BETWEEN SEATTLE & PORTLAND: A landslide over the weekend closed a section of railroad track the carries Amtrak service between Seattle and Portland. Amtrak used buses to transfer passengers of Coast Starlight and Cascades trains. [KPTV website report, 11-16-15]

METROLINK BEGNS PTC TESTING ON SAN BERNARDINO LINE: Metrolink began positive train-control testing on its San Bernardino line Nov. 16. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-16-15]

TRAIN CAR BURNS ON CUYAHOGA VALLEY SCENIC R.R.: A rail diesel car on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Ohio caught fire Sunday afternoon, Nov. 15. Nobody was on board the train at the time. The fire is under investigation. [3 WKYC website report, 11-15-15]

AMTRAK CASCADE IMPROVES ON-TIME PERFORMANCE IN OREGON: Amtrak Cascade service appears to be on track to improve its on-time performance in Oregon's Eugene-Seattle corridor this year, with approximately 85 pct of trains staying within a 10 to 15 minute window of their scheduled arrival times as of late summer. Last year's performance was about 78 pct, according to state data. [Daily Astorian website report, 11-15-15]

FRENCH TRAIN DERAILS, TEN KILLED: At least 10 people were killed and 32 injured as a high-speed TGV train derailed and plunged into a canal in Eckwersheim near Strasbourg in France, near the German border, mid-afternoon Nov. 14. The train was undergoing a test run at the time. [Syk News website report, 11-14-15]

OPTIONS NARROW FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL ROUTE INTO HOUSTON: Officials are one step closer to deciding where the planned high-speed rail line from Dallas will terminate in Houston. The Federal Railroad Administration eliminated the two possible options that would have led the track to a depot in the central business district. This decision leaves the intersection of highway 290 and loop 610 as the most likely contender for the Houston depot. A final decision on the location is expected by the end of the year. [Houston Business Journal website report, 11-13-15]

MEMPHIS GETTING FEDERAL FUNDS TO RESTORE RAIL TROLLEY SERVICE: The Memphis Area Transit Authority will receive $2.6-million in federal funding to purchase three new elecric rail trolleys for the city's downtown and to begin restoring trolley service in the city. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-13-15]

EDWARD LEWIS DIES, RETIRED HEAD OF ABERDEEN & ROCKFISH R.R.: Edward A. Lewis, president ofthe Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad from 1987 through 2007, died Nov. 11. Author of 'The American Shortline Railway Guide,' plus other publications, his railroad career spanned 45 years, including terms at the Long Island R.R., Strasburg R.R., Providence & Worcester, Arcade & Attica and Lamoille Valley railroads. He was 73. [Railway Age website report, 11-13-15]

SECOND PRESIDENTIAL EMERGENCY BOARD CREATED FOR NJT CONTRACT DISPUTE: President Obama has created a second Presidential Emergency Board to help resolve an ongoing contract dispute between N.J.Transit Rail and some of its union-represented employees. [Railway Age website report, 11-13-15]

WISCONSIN LEGISLATORS TAKE AIM AT RAIL SAFETY: Two freight train deailments during the same weekend have elected officials calling for advanced rail safety efforts at the state and federal level. A bill has been introduced to provide for additional state rail track inspectors; require railroads to submit prevention and response plans; provide training for first-responders along rail routes; provide guidelines for response timelines in the event of an accident; and reqire the commissioner of railroads to submit verious reports. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-13-15]

MILWAUKEE AWARDS $18.6-M STREETCAR CONTRACT: Brookville Equipment has won an $18.6-million contract to build four streetcars for the city of Milwaukee, and could be called upon to produce a total of 24 of the vehicles. The city plans to break ground on its streetcar project next year, and the first car is slated for delivery in 2017 with service beginning in fall 2018. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website report, 11-13-15]

FEDS GRANT $10-M FOR WILLMAR RAIL CONNECTOR IN MINNESOTA: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation will provide $10-million for the Willmar Rail Connector and Industrial Access project in Willmar, Minnesota. The grant will support construction of a direct connection between the Marshall and Morris subdivisions of BNSF, plus the addition of a rail sput west of Willmar to provide access to the city's industrial park. [Federal Railroad Administration, 11-13-15]

WOMAN STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN FLORIDA: An Amtrak train fatally struck a woman who was walking on the tracks at the Altamonte Springs SunRail station late Nov. 11. Amtrak and SunRail service was disrupted, but trains were running again the following morning. [WFTV 9 website report,11-12-15]

CICERO CENTRAL R.R. TO BEGIN ILLINOIS OPERATIONS: Watco has announced an agreement with CN and Koppers to begin operating the newly-formed Cicero Central Railroad in Illinois. Cicero Central will provide freight service to the Koppers location in Stickney via a track-lease agreement with CN. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-12-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads logged 539,165 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Nov. 7, 2015, a decline of 5.2 pct compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated separately, carloads were down 8.7 pct and intermodal was down 1.5 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-12-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN N.C.: A woman was injured early Nov. 12 when her car was hit by Amtrak's Carolinian in Raleigh, N.C. Witnesses said the driver had driven around the lowered crossing gate. There were no injuries to those aboard the train. [WTVD-TV website report, 11-12-15]

AMTRAK'S EMPIRE SERVICE SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD: Amtrak's Empire corridor between New York City and Albany set a record for ridership in the 2015 fiscal year ending Sept. 30 with 1,152,536 passengers, up 2.9 pct from the previous year. The Albany station, meanwhile, was the ninth busiest on the railroad's network, with 825,353 travelers arriving or leaving. System wide, howeveer, Amtrak ridership declined by 0.1 pct. [Albany Times Union website report, 11-12-15]

COST TO BUILD L.A. REGIONAL CONNECTOR RAIL LINE LIKELY TO RISE: Los Angeles is building its 1.9-mile Downtown Regional Connector that will connectwith three other lines. However, utility issues have already consumed a good portion of the project's reserve fund, and changes have uppedthe cost, indicating that the $1.4-billion project may require about $130-million more. [L.A. Times website report, 11-12-15]

SEPTA ORDERS 13 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES FROM SIEMENS: SEPTA hassigned a contract with Siemens for 13 ACS-64 electric locomotives for delivery in early 2018. They are intended to replace eight AEM7 and ALP44 locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-11-15]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS TO CONNECT N.Y. GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL TO PLANNED LIRR CONCOURSE: The process of breaking through the floor of Grand Central Terminal in New York to connect the terminal to a new concourse for Long Island Rail Road has begun. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-11-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO RESTORE WETLANDS IN S.C.: Norfolk Southern will restore 290 acres of historic pocosin wetlands at its Brosnan Forest timber and wildlife preserve near Dorchester, S.C., 35 miles northwest of Charleston. The site will be managed as a wetland mitigation bank that could be used by developers and government agencies to offset loss of wetlands associated with business development in the region. An easement dontated to the Lowcountry Land Trust will permanently protect the acreage as wetlands and restore its hydrology to natural drainage patterns. [Norfolk Southern, 11-11-15]

DEAL SMOOTHES PATH FOR NEW HUDSON RIVER RAIL TUNNEL: Officials have agreed that a corporation to be created within the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will coordinate the planning and construction of a new Hudson River rail tunnel. A board made up of representatives from New York and New Jersey, Amtrak and the U.S. Transportation Dept. will control the entity, to be called Gateway Development Corp. The federal government and Amtrak will fund half of the expected $20-billion cost. [N.Y. Times website report, 11-11-15]

SISKIYOU RAIL LINE RETURNS TO SERVICE FOLLOWING SEVEN-YEAR HIATUS: Major repairs to restore the Siskiyou rail line in southern Oregon have been completed and freight service has returned between Ashland and Weed, halted in 2007 due to infrastructure decay. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-11-15]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR IMPACT STUDY RELEASED: The environmental impacts of a large-scale transformation of the Northeast corridor rail line would be greatly outweighed by an eventual decrease in energy usage and greenhouse gas production, as well as an increase in economic activity and mobility, a draft environmental report by the Federal Railroad Administration released Nov. 10 concluded. The study predicted that a wider array of rail choices could increase intercity rail ridership by as much as 92 to 102 pct by 2040, compared to a no-action alternative. [WBOC 16 website report, 11-10-15]

METRA GIVES OLDER LOCOMOTIVES A NEW LOOK: Metra's older locomoitives are getting a new paint job. The scheme will be applied to 42 F40 units that were built between 1989 and 1992, and three previously-owned F59 units that Metra recently acquired. The scheme will be similar to Metra's fleet of 27 MP36 locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-10-15]

FLORIDA'S HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT WILL COST $3-B: All Aboard Florida's $3-billion privately-funded rail line will connect Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. Its Brightline express will run along a 235-mile track and be an alternative to more and more cars on ever more congested roadways, said Mike Reininger, All Aboard's president. The line should be operational in 2017. [ITS SmartBrief, 11-10-15]

ST. LOUIS' LOOP TROLLEY COMPLETES MAJOR TRACK WORK IN DELMAR LOOP: Major track installation on the 2.2-mile Loop Trolley, a fixed-route electric trolley currently under construction in St. Louis and University City, Missouri, has been completed in the Delmar Loop. [Railway Age website report, 11-10-15]

G.E. TO BUILD 1,000 LOCOMOTIVES FOR INDIAN RAILWAYS: GE Transportation is set to supply at least 1,000 diesel locomotives to Indian Railways after GE Global Sourcing India was selected as preferred bidder for a $4.2-billion contract to establish a joint venture production facility in the Indian state of Bihar which will build 700 3.36MW and 300 4.47MW units over the next decade. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-10-15]

CSX SHARES ITS 4-Q EARNINGS OUTLOOK: Facing continued headwinds in the energy markets, CSX expects fourth-quarter 2015 earnings per share to decline slightly compared to the same period last year. But the company continues to target mid-single-digit full-year earnings per share growth as intermodal traffic increases and efficiencies initiated offset about $450-million in coal revenue declines. This is according to Frank Lonegro, CSX's chief financial officer, as he addressed an industrial conference in Chicago on Nov. 10. Growth in 2016 will be led by intermodal as the company continues to expand its share of the estimated 9 million loads in the east that are positioned for intermodal service. [CSX, 11-10-15]

FEDS ISSUE FINAL RULE PROTECTING TRANSPORTATION EMPLOYEE WHISTLE-BLOWERS: The federal government has issued a 'final rule' establishing procedures and time frames for handling employee retailiation complaints under the National Transit Systems Security and Federal Railroad Safety acts. Protections have been established against employees who engage in whistleblowing activities related to public transportation safety or security, and protections against retaliation for such employees who report a work-related injury. These protections extend to employees of contractors and subcontractors who do work for public transportation agencies and railroad carriers. [ISHN website report, 11-10-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC, NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTED TO BE IN MERGER TALKS: Canadian Pacific has held early-stage merger talks with Norfolk Southern and is raising financing for an acquisition, according to news reports citing confidential sources. This is seen as a revived attempt to form a North American transcontinental railroad after fruitless talks last year with CSX. Gaining regulatory approval for such a matchup would be a lengthy process, industry observers say. [Railway Age website report, 11-9-15]

CP TRAIN DERAILS, LEAKS OIL, RESIDENTS EVACUATED IN WISCONSIN: An oil leak is reported at the scene of a Canadian Pacific train derailment in Watertown, Wisconsin. At least 10 cars derailed Nov. 8, at a spot where track repairs had recently been made. The railroad said 13 cars derailed and about 1,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a tank car that punctured. At least 35 local residents were evacuated. [RT News website report, 11-9-15]

TRAIN DERAILS UP TO 25 CARS IN IOWA, ONE INJURED: One person was reportedly injured when a freight train struck equipment on the track near Danville, Iowa, early Nov. 9. Up to 25 cars were said to be derailed. [WQAD 8 website report, 11-9-15]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA ANNOUNCES 'BRIGHTLINE' BRAND FOR PROPOSED SERVICE: All Aboard Florida has announced that its Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Orlando rail service will be branded 'Brightline,' and also revealed the first artist's impressions of the fleet of Siemens trains which will enter service when the first phase of the project is launched in mid-2017. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-9-15]

SIEMENS GETS ORDER FOR 34 CHARGER DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES GOING TO THREE STATES: Three states have ordered a total of 34 Siemens Charger diesel-electric locomotives under an option included in a framework contract for 222 units signed in 2014. Specifically, California has ordered 14 units for the Pacific Surfliner, Illinois has ordered 12 units, and Maryland has ordered eight units for MARC service. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-9-15]

FEDS AWARD $27.8-M TO STUDY BALTIMORE-D.C. MAGLEV: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has awarded $27.8-million in funds to conduct studies on building a magnetic-levitation train between Baltimore and Washington. This is one of three corridors in the U.S. eligible to apply for Maglev projects. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-9-15]

SOUND TRANSIT COMPLETES THIRD TUNNEL BORE FOR NORTHGATE LINK EXTENSION: Tunnel-boring machine 'Brenda' has bored through the wall of Sound Transit's future U District light-rail station, completing the third segment of the twin 3.5-mile tunnels that will serve trains from Northgate Mall to the University of Washington starting in 2021. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-9-15]

WABTEC TO PROVIDE SIGNALING, PTC FOR DENVER COMMUTER RAIL: Wabtec has signed a $27-million contract to provide phase I signaling and communications system, including positive train-control equipment, for the new North Metro rail line in Denver. [Railway Age website report, 11-9-15]

FEDS GRANT $10-M TO RAIL STATION PROJECT IN CONNECTICUT: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation will provide $10-million for the Barnum station project in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to serve the Metro North Railroad. The project includes repositioning tracks to accommodate two center island platforms, improved access and modifying roadways. [Federal Railroad Administration, 11-9-15]

AMTRAK TOUTS IMPROVEMENTS IN EMPIRE BUILDER'S N.D. SERVICE: Customers have been unhappy with Amtrak's service through North Dakota recently. The company says ridership on its Empire Builder decreased in the past couple of years due to route changes, but investments by Amtrak and host carrier BNSF to add a second main track along with new sidings and signaling equipment have allowed Amtrak to get back on schedule. [KXN-TV website report, 11-9-15]

FOUR INJURED IN NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILMENT IN GEORGIA: Authorities say four people were injured Nov. 7 as two trains were involved in a derailment in Sandersville, Ga. According to the local sheriff's office, an employee neglected to properly line a switch, causing the trains to collide, but the railroad says the incident is under investigation. Three of those hospitalized have since been released from the hospital, and the track has been reopened. [WRDW-TV website report, 11-8-15]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS AT LEAST 32 CARS IN WISCONSIN: At least 32 cars of a BNSF train derailed Nov. 7 near Alma, Wisconsin, with some tank cars containing denatured alcohol. A voluntary evacuation has been announced. The scene of the accident is along the Mississippi River about 80 miles southeast of Minneapolis. No injuries have been reported. [RT website report, 11-7-15]

LINDA MORGAN DIES, FORMER SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD CHAIR: Linda J. Morgan, the former U.S. Surface Transportation Board chair who led the agency during the railroad mega-mergersof the 1990's, died Nov. 4. [Railway Age website report, 11-6-15]

SIX KILLED IN ARKANSAS BUS ACCIDENT: A charter bus ran off Interstate 40 and hit a bridge abutment in the fog early Nov. 6 in Arkansas, killing as many as six people and injuring many others who were taken from the scene in ambulances. [Times-Picayune website report, 11-6-15]

U.S. ARMY TRUCK IN TRAILER CAUGHT IN DEADLY RAIL CRASH IN GERMANY: Two people were killed after a commuter train collided with a semi-trailer transporting a U.S. military vehicle in Germany Nov. 5, officials said. The accident happened at a crossing near the Bavarian town of Freihung, about 10 miles from the U.S. Army's Tower Barracks in Grafenwoehr. [NBC News website report, 11-6-15]

NEW METRO TRAINS ENTER SERVICE IN MILAN: The first of 10 new trains supplied by Hitachi Rail for Milan metro line 2 entered service on Nov. 4. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-6-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN COLLIDES WITH DUMP TRUCK IN ALABAMA, DRIVER KILLED: An Amtrak train collided with a dump truck near Birmingham Nov. 6 killing the driver of the truck. There were no immediate reports of injuries among the 124 passengers on the train. [WAFB 9 website report, 11-6-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ROLLS OUT ECO-FRIENDLY LOCOMOTIVES FOR CHICAGO RAIL YARDS: Norfolk Southern dedicated a new fleet of environmentally-friendly 3,000-horsepower rail yard locomotives in Chicago Nov. 5. The engines are branded 'Eco' locomotives for their operating efficiencies in reducing emissions and fuel consumption. They feature a stylistic green paint scheme with an Illinois-shaped icon and the slogan 'Working Together for a Cleaner State.' The railroad plans to put 15 of the locomotives (class GP33ECO) to work at its five major Chicago yards by the end of the year. [Norfolk Southern, 11-5-15]

CALTRAIN TO REPLACE FOUR CENTURY-OLD BRIDGES IN SAN MATEO: Caltrain is about to begin replacing four century-old bridges in San Mateo's north-central neighborhood that do not meet current seismic safety standards. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-5-15]

HOUSE APPROVES FEDERAL CONTROL OF D.C. METRO: Members of the House of Representatives have voted to approve an amendment to increase federal oversight of the D.C. Metro system. The proposal would let the U.S. Dept. of Transportation choose four members of the transit authority's board of directors. [ITS America SmartBrief, 11-5-15]

ETHANOL TRAIN TERMINAL TO BE BUILT ON UNION PACIFIC LINE IN ARKANSAS: Green Plains Partners and Delek US Holdings will form a joint venture to build a $12-million ethanol unit train terminal along Union Pacific in Maumelle, Arkansas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-5-15]

BOMBARDIER LANDS ORDER FOR 18 TRAXX LOCOMOTIVES: Leasing company Railpool has placed an order with Bombardier for 18 Traxx locomotives comprising 13 multi-system units and five AC Last Mile locomotives to be deployed in Scandinavia. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-5-15]

FULL SERVICE RESTORED ON METRA'S BNSF LINE AFTER PEDESTRIAN DEATH: Service has been fully restored on Metra's BNSF line as an investigation continues into the death of a pedestrian who was struck by a train near the Berwyn stop causing extensive delays. [Chicago Tribune website report, 11-5-15]

GEORGIA NORTHEASTERN R.R. TO BE ACQUIRED: Georgia Northeastern Railroad Co. is being acquired by SteelRiver Infrastructure Fund North America LP and two associated investment firms, according to a notice filed with the Federal Register. The railroad operates 106 miles between Marietta and Mineral Bluff, Ga. Included in the acquisition is Blue Ridge Scenic Excursions. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-4-15]

HEAVY-TRUCK AMENDMENT DEFEATED IN HOUSE: A proposed congressional measure to allow heavier trucks to operate on the nation's highways has been rejected in the House of Representatives. The proposal would have allowed states to increase the current weight limit for a tractor-trailer from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds. The truck-weight measure was one of about 280 amendments to the $325-billion surface transportation bill. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-4-15]

UNION PACIFIC OPENS NEW RAILPORT IN TEXAS: Union Pacific has opened its new Kinney County Railport in Texas. Located between Eagle Pass and Brackettville, the $40-million facility will provide cleaning and repair services to boxcars carrying packaged beer from customers along the U.S,-Mexico border. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-4-15]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: For the third-quarter, FreightCar America reported net income of $14.8-million or $1.20 per diluted share, along with revenue of $241.1-million. For the same quarter last year, net income was $6.4-million or $0.53 per share, and revenue of $190.3-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-4-15]

OCTOBER 2015 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in October 2015 were 2,213,780, down 4.3 pct from the same month last year. In statistics reported separately, carloads dropped 6.9 pct while containers and trailers dropped 1.4 pct. [Railway Age website report, 11-4-15]

KCS TO IMPROVE ITS VICKSBURG SUBDIVISION: Kansas City Southern will invest approximately $6.5-million this month on rail and bridge improvement projects on its Vicksburg Subdivision. [News Star website report, 11-4-15]

RAILROADS HAD PTC-TYPE TECHNOLOGY DECADES AGO: In 1981 the chairman of the then-Burlington Northern Railroad considered the idea of using the technology used by airlines of tracking the location of plains as a way to help prevent accidents on railroads. What developed became known as ARES, or Advanced Railroad Electronics System. It was tested on his railroad along a 250-mile section of track in Minnesota from 1988 until 1992. The technology was installed on seventeen trains hauling coal, grain and ore. Under controlled monitoring, engineers were instructed to ignore stop signals. The system worked as planned; the train would come to a halt in spite of the engineer's disregard of the stop indication. The company spent $15-million on the project. Federal officials liked the idea, and so did Amtrak. But other railroads failed to buy it, and Burlington Northern chose not to pursue the program on its own. Managers calculated that it would have cost about $350-million to install ARES over the company's entire system, and the benefits outweighed the cost. The system was rudimentary compared with the positive train-control the industry is planning to install today, but it proved then that it worked, and it could have prevented accidents and saved lives. [N.Y. Times website report, 11-3-15]

BOBBY BONDS DIES, OPERATION REDBLOCK FOUNDER: Robert Bonds, founder of Operation Redblock, the internationally-recognized substance-abuse prevention and itervention program for rail employees, died at his home in Pennsylvania Oct. 29. He was 61. [Railway Age website report]

BIKE CARS NOW INCLUDED ON ALL MARC WEEKEND PENN LINE TRAINS: All 30 weekend trains trips on the MARC Penn Line are now equipped with bicycle access. The bike cars allow passengers to bring full-sized bicycles on board the train and secure them in one of 23 racks. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-3-15]

N.J. OFFICIALS DISCUSS PLANS TO BRING NJT TRAINS THROUGH BERGEN-PASSAIC RAIL LINE: Elected officials from across New Jersey gathered in Paterson recently to annoounce a new coalition that will push to bring NJ Transit trains to a rail line throough Bergen and Passaic counties that has not seen passenger service since the 1960's. [The Record website report]

CHINA APROVES $9.2-B HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT FOR 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS: China has approved plans for a $9.2-billion high-speed rail project which will be used during the 2022 winter olympics in Bejing. [Economic Times website report, 11-3-15]

BOMBARDIER LANDS BRITISH EMU ORDER: British rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook has awarded Bombardier a contract to supply 80 additional class 387 electric multiple-unit vehicles. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-3-15]

EGYPT TO PROCURE LONG-DISTANCE PASSENGER TRAINS: Egyptian National Railways has issued a general procurement notice regarding its plans to upgrade the passenger service on the 129-mile Cairo-Alexandria corridor, and possibly on the 546-mile main line from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-3-15]

KENTUCKY TO MAKE $3-M IN RAIL SHORTLINE IMPROVEMENTS: More than $3-million has been granted for improvements to shortline railroads in Kentucky. The projects include safety improvements at grade crossings, railroad bridge overpasses and upgrades of railroad crossing warning signals, lights, signs and barriers. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-3-15]

UNIMIN OPENS CSX-SERVED TERMINAL IN W.VA.: Unimin Energy Solutions has opened a terminal capable of receiving unit trains in Benwood, W.Va. The terminal contains nearly 20,000 tons of silo storage capacity and can load up to 55 trucks per hour. CSX will shuttle trains to replenish frac sand inventory. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-3-15]

SEPTA KICKS OFF STATION ACCESSIBILITY PROJECT: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation authority has begun work on a $7.4-million project to improve accessibility at its 40th street Market Frankfort line station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-3-15]

HIGH-SPEED RAIL NOT THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR CANADA AT THIS TIME, VIA RAIL CEO SAYS: The head of Via Rail Canada says high-speed rail is tremendously expensive, and it makes little sense to invest in it until the serious existing congestion problems on Canadian railways is solved. Currently, 90 pct of the track that Via uses is owned by Canadian National, and is susceptible to regular bottlenecks as freight and passenger trains vie for the same space. In the second-quarter, Via's trains were on time 70 pct of the time, down from 79 pct in the year earlier. [Financial Post website report, 11-3-15]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AGENCY REVEALS REPORT ON GROWING COSTS: The California High-Speed Rail authority bowed to pressure from legislators late Nov. 3 and released a copy of a 2013 report showing a large estimated increase in the cost of building the initial segment of the bullet-train proect. The report said officials had been briefed in Oct. 2013 that the projeced cost of the first phase of the system had risen 31 pct. The state did not use this increase, however, in its 2014 business plan four months later. [L.A. Times website report, 11-3-15]

AUDIT FINDS MONTANA RAIL SAFETY OVERSIGHT LACKING: Montana's oversight of railroad safety falls short at a time when volatile crude oil train traffic from the Bakken region is expected to increase, a new audit found. The state has no active rail safety plan and employs only two inspectors to cover the entire state, the Montana Legislative audit division report said. [United Transportation Union, 11-2-15]

OHIO REPLACING 'YIELD' SIGNS AT R.R. CROSSINGS: The Ohio Dept. of Transportation has begun replacing yield signs with stop signs at 1,000 rail crossings that do not have flashing lights or gates. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-2-15]

SIEMENS LRV'S ENTER SERVICE IN THE HAGUE: The Hague Tramways entered its new fleet of Siemens Avenio light-rail vehicles Nov. 2 when the first of the low-floor vehicles entered passenger service on line 2. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-2-15]

WABTEC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Wabtec's revenue in the third-quarter increased 2 pct to $810-million, compared with $797-million in the same quarter last year. The company reported net income of $99.2-million compared with $90.2-million in the third-quarter 2014. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-2-15]

ALSTOM COMPLETES SALE OF ENERGY ACTIVITIES TO G.E.: Alstom has closed o a $13.7-billion sale of its energy activities to General Electric. Alstom is now entirely focused on rail transport, the company said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-2-15]

WORK TO BEGIN ON ROCHESTER TRAIN STATION: Demolition of the existing Rochester, N.Y., train station is set to begin in about two weeks. Meanwhile, an temporary structure to accommodate passengers has been opened. Once the existing station is demolished, work will commence on the new station, slated for opening in fall of 2017. This is part of a $29.8-million project to include new trackwork and bridge improvements. The new station will reflect the city's last 'great' train station, designed by Rochester architect Claude Bragdon for the New York Central Railroad, which was demolished in 1977. [Democrat & Chronicle website report, 10-31-15]

SECOND PHASE OF S.F. CENTRAL SUBWAY PROJECT IS 55 PCT COMPLETE: The second phase of the Central Subway light-rail project in San Francisco is 55 pct done. The project will cost a total of $2.2-billion and is slated to open in 2019. It is a 1.7-mile extension to another line, and tunnel boring is finished. [Construction Equipment Guide website report, 10-31-15]

SITE PREP BEGINS ON $60-M PITTSBURGH INTERMODAL FACILITY: Site preparation has begun on the 70-acre site of the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie railroad yard in Stowe and McKees Rocks, Pa., near Pittsburgh. Construction of the five-track CSX facility is expected to take less than two years. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website report, 10-30-15]

RENOVATION PLANNED FOR ELKHART R.R. MUSEUM: Plans are underway for $500,000 in improvements and repairs at the railroad museum in Elkhart, Indiana. The city's redevelopment commission has approved dedicating the money toward the project, which includes fixing doors and windows, roof and insulation repairs and entryway improvements. [Home Town Stations website report, 10-30-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RESCINDS PASSENGER TRAIN CESSATION NOTICE: Norfolk Southern, on Oct. 30, rescinded its Oct. 20 notice that passenger trains would not be allowed on its lines after Dec. 31, 2015, due to the then-pending deadline for implementation of positive train-control technology. The deadline has been extended for three years. The company added that it remains committed to installing the system as 'quickly as reasonably safely possible.' [Norfolk Southern, 10-30-15]

PRESIDENT SIGNS LEGISLATION EXTENDING PTC DEADLINE UP TO THREE MORE YEARS: President Obama has signed legislation giving passenger and freight railroads up to three more years to install positive train-control. [ report, 10-29-15]

MAINE GETTING $20-M RAIL IMPROVEMENT GRANT: The state of Maine is getting a $20-million federal grant to help rehabilitate about 380 miles of rail throughout the state. The project is backed by a partnership of the Maine Northern, Central Maine & Quebec, Eastern Maine and Pan Am railways. [WCSH 6 website report, 10-29-15]

PACIFIC IMPERIAL R.R. TO REBUILD 70-MILE DESERT LINE IN CALIFORNIA: Conatus Capital Group has acquired a majority interest in Pacific Imperial Railroad and named Arturo Alemany as president and CEO. The railroad plans to upgrade a 70.4-mile section of desert rail line from the Mexican border to Plaser City, California, where it connects with Union Pacific. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-29-15]

ALSTOM LANDS ITALIAN HIGH-SPEED TRAIN ORDER: Italy's open-access high-speed operator NTV has awarded a contract to Alstom for the supply and 20-year maintenance of a fleet of eight Pendolino tilting 155 MPH high-speed trains. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-29-15]

G.E. TO MAINTAIN INDONESIAN LOCOMOTIVES: Indonesian Railways has signed a letter of intent with GE Transportation for a multi-year maintenance service agreement covering 50 CC206 diesel-electric locomotives ordered in 2014 for use on passenger and freight trains in Java and Sumatra. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-29-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported third-quarter 2015 net income of $452-million or $1.49 per diluted share, compared with $559-million or $1.79 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Results included $37-million of expenses associated with restructuring Triple Crown Services and closing the Roanoke office, which together reduced net income by $23-million. Railway operating revenues declined 10 pct to $2.7-billion. Overall volume declined 3 pct. [Norfolk Southern, 10-28-15]

METRA GETS $14-M GRANT TO REPLACE FOX RIVER BRIDGE: Metra has been awarded a $14-million federal grant to replace the existing 134-year-old bridge over the Fox River on the Milwaukee District West Line. A new double-track bridge will be built to replace the only single-track segment of the line into Chicago, a source of traffic bottlenecks for the 50 Metra trains and up to eight freight trains that pass over it every day. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-28-15]

AMTRAK OFFERING FREE WI-FI ON AUTO TRAIN: Amtrak announced that all passengers on Auto Train now have free access to the cellular-based Wi-Fi service equipped on the trains, called AmtrakConnect. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 10-28-15]

N.C. WINS $25-M GRANT FOR CHARLOTTE GATEWAY STATION: North Carolina has won a $25-million federal grant to help build the Charlotte Gateway station uptown, which would be a hub for Amtrak, a commuter rail line, local and long-distance buses and a streetcar. The total project has been estimated from $150-million to $200-million, and it is unclear who would provide the rest of the money. [Charlotte Observer website report, 10-28-15]

METRO-NORTH'S GP35R LOCOMOTIVE OVERHAUL PROJECT MOVES ALONG: The second of seven GP35R locomotives has returned to Metro-North Railroad following overhaul by Brookville Equipment Corp. in Pennsylvania. The remaining five units will cycle through a progressive locomotive overhaul program and gradually return to rescue and maintenance-of-way service between now and 2017, adding a minimum of 20 years of additional service life. [Railway Age website report, 10-28-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO REPLACE PORTAGEVILLE BRIDGE ON SOUTHERN TIER: Ground has been broken on a new $70-million steel arch railroad bridge along the Southern tier in Letchworth State Park in New York state. The bridge will be 900 feet long and located about 75 feet south of the current 1875 iron truss bridge, which spans the Genesee River Gorge. The railroad will construct 1,200 feet of new track on either side of the gorge to align the approaches. [Norfolk Southern, 10-28-15]

CONGRESS VOTES TO EXTEND PTC DEADLINE 3-5 YEARS: Both the House and Senate have passed a bill that delays for three to five years the mandate for railroads to put long-sought positive train-control technology into place. A deadline of Dec. 31 had been established for compliance, but most carriers said that they would be unable to meet the deadline, and this could have caused cancelation of long-distance passenger service and much of the nation's rail commuter service. Under the bill, railroads would have until Dec. 31, 2018, to install the technology, and could seek a waiver for up to another two years if needed. The bill now goes to the President for signature. [U.S. News & World Report, 10-28-15]

UNION PACIFIC REOPENS TEXAS RAIL LINE AFTER FLOODS: Repairs have been completed on washed-out tracks in North Texas blamed for a weekend derailment that sent two locomotives into floodwaters. [Olympian website report, 10-28-15]

SARAH FEINBERG CONFIRMED AS HEAD OF FRA: Sarah Feinberg, a former chief of staff to U.S. Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx, has been confirmed as head of the Federal Railroad Administration. [Washington Post website report, 10-28-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 553,144 U.S. carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Oct. 24, 2015, a decline of 5.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-28-15]

VRE TO EXTEND FREDERICKSBURG LINE TO SPOTSYLVANIA NOV. 16: Virginia Railway Express will unveil its new Spotsylvania County station Nov. 16, marking the first extension of the railroad's commuter service since it began operations in 1992. The facility, to become the new southern terminus of the Fredericksburg line, includes a 1,500-space parking lot, waiting area with restrooms, and a 700-foot platform with canopy. Construction of a third track to better accommodate passenger and freight traffic is slated to be completed by the end of this year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-27-15]

STATEN ISLAND RAILWAY REPAIR PROJECT BEGINS: A $105-million project to rehabilitate Staten Island Railway's St. George terminal interlocking, which was damaged during super storm Sandy in 2012, has begun. Work is continuing through the end of November. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-27-15]

CN REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: CN reported third-quarte 2015 net income increased 18 pct to 1-billion, while diluted earnings per share increased 21 pct to $1.25. Revenue increased 3 pct to $3.2-billion. Operating ratio was a record 53.8 pct. [CN, 10-27-15]

PLANS FOR $41-B SECOND LONDON CROSSRAIL PROJECT REVEALED: Transport London wants to build a second Crossrail project that would involve two 20-mile tunnels running southwest to northeast under London. The $41-billion project would begin in 2020 if approved. [ConstructionEnquirer website report, 10-27-15]

N.J. GOVERNOR BOOTED FROM AMTRAK QUIET CAR: Governor Christie reportedly roared so loudly into his cellphone while riding in an Amtrak Quiet Car Oct. 25 that he was politely asked to leave, which he did. The governor was a passener on a northbound train from Washington where he had just appeared on CBS's Face the Nation. He continued his journey in the lounge car. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 10-26-15]

CSX TO EXPAND INTERMODAL NETWORK BETWEEN PENNSYLVANIA AND TEXAS VIA OHIO: CSX plans to expand its domestic intermodal network beginning Nov. 2 by adding a train between North Baltimore, Ohio, and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; and a second train between North Baltimore and Dallas. Both will provide daily connecting service. [DC Velocity website report, 10-26-15]

VERMONT GETS $10-M FEDERAL GRANT TOWARD PASSENGER RAIL BETWEEN RUTLAND & BURLINGTON: A $10-million federal grant will be matched by the state to fund rail crossing and platform improvements for passenger rail service between Rutland and Burlington. The idea is to improve speed and safety for passengers and freight along the corridor. [WCAX website report, 10-26-15]

N.J. GETS $16-M GRANT TOWARD REPLACEMENT OF PORTAL BRIDGE SPANNING HACKENSACK RIVER: New Jersey has received a $16-million grant to move forward with a project to replace the 105-year-old Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River. The swing bridge is considered one of the chief trouble spots along Amtrak's Northeast corridor, contributing to more than 200 delays from the beginning of 2013 and mid-2014, N.J. Transit said. [Newsday website report, 10-26-15]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS INTO WASHOUT IN TEXAS, TWO CREW MEMBERS SWIM TO SAFETY: A Union Pacific freight train derailed early Oct. 24 near Corsicana, Texas, where the tracks washed away due to heavy rain. Two crew members swam to safety and there were no injuries. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 10-24-15]

DENVER RAIL LINK TO AIRPORT SET FOR APRIL OPENING: Denver Transit Partners says the 23-mile electrified East Rail line A between Denver Union Station and Denver International Airport will be ready for service April 22, 2016. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-23-15]

MONTREAL TRANSIT AGENCY UNVEILS $2.8-B CAPITAL EXPENDITURES PLAN: The Transport Society of Montreal has introduced its three-year, $2.8-billion capital expenditures program. It outlines 43 projects, including the purchase of new AZUR rail cars to increase passenger capacity as older cars are replaced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-23-15]

ISRAEL RAILWAYS ORDERS 62 TRAXX AC LOCOMOTIVES FROM BOMBARDIER: Bombardier Transportation has obtained a $262-million contract to provide 62 Traxx AC locomotives to Israel Railways. The contract also includes an option for an additional 32 locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-23-15]

AUSTIN WESTERN RAILROAD IS BNSF'S 'SHORT LINE OF THE YEAR': BNSF Railway has selected Austin Western Railroad as its 2015 Short Line Railroad of the Year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-23-15]

SOUND TRANSIT CHOOSES LOCATION FOR NEW LIGHT-RAIL FACILITY: Sound Transit has selected a site between downtown Bellevue and Redmond, Washington, for a new $380-million Link light-rail operations and maintenance satellite facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-23-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 554,696 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Oct. 17, 2015, down 2.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-22-15]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported third-quarter 2015 net income of $1.3-billion or $1.50 per diluted share, compared to $1.4-billion or $1.53 per diluted share in the third-quarter 2014. Total volumes decreased about 6 pct in the quarter. Operating revenue of $5.6-billion was down 10 pct. [Union Pacific, 10-22-15]

BOSTON'S GREEN LINE SUBWAY EXTENSION WILL LIKELY BE DELAYED: The next phase of the green line subway extension project in Boston might not begin until next spring or later. The project had originally been scheduled to begin this fall, but officials have indicated the job could cost $1-billion more than originally anticipated. [Boston Globe website report, 10-22-15]

CENTRAL JAPAN RAILWAY ORDERS 20 MORE N700A SHINKANSEN TRAINS: Central Japan Railway will receive a further 20 N700A-series Shinkansen trains between FY-2016 and FY-2019 to replace the last of its remaining 700-series sets, which will be withdrawn by the end of the decade. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-22-15]

WABTEC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Wabtec Corp. reported third-quarter sales were $810-million, 2 pct higher than the year-ago quarter, and earnings per diluted share were 10 pct higher. [Railway Age website report, 10-22-15]

WORK BEGINS ON AMTRAK LINE FROM COLORADO TO KANSAS: Amtrak improvements along the route of the Southwest Chief through Colorado and Kansas are underway. EVRAZ Steel will provide 11,000 tons of rail needed between Las Animas, Colorado, and Pierceville, Kansas. A $12.5-million grant was awarded last year to upgrade about 50 miles of track in eastern Colorado and western Kansas. [Colorado 9 News website report, 10-21-15]

RAIL CAR BACKLOG DECLINES IN 3-Q: The total rail car backlog declined from 135,805 units on July 1 to 122,591 units on Oct. 1, according to data released by the Railway Supply Institute's American Railway Car Institute Committee. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-21-15]

GEORGIA PORTS AUTHORITY PLANS $152-M CAPITAL PLAN FOR BRUNSWICK: Over the past decade, the Georgia Ports Authority has spent $46.2-million on infrastructure upgrades at the Port of Brunswick. Over the next ten years, the authority plans to more than triple that investment, calling for another $152-million in improvements. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-21-15]

BOMBARDIER FINALIZES ISRAELI ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE CONTRACT: Bombardier has signed a $262-million contract with Israel Railways to supply 62 four-axle Traxx AC-electric locomotives with an option for 32 additional units. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-21-15]

BRITAIN OPENS NEW RAIL TRAINING ACADEMY: Britain has opened its new National Training Academy for Rail. Located in Northampton, the academy will be the hub of future rail engineering excellence in Britain. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-21-15]

NO RAILROAD RETIREMENT BENEFIT INCREASE IN 2016: Railroad Retirement annuities will not increase in 2016, as there was no increase in the consumer price index from the third-quarter of last year to the corresponding period of the current year. [United Transportation Union, 10-21-15]

CSX TO CLOSE MECHANICAL SHOPS IN CORBIN, KENTUCKY: CSX has announced the closure of its mechanical shops in Corbin, Kentucky. The shops were primarily used to maintain, inspect and service locomotives and rail cars for coal trains, the volume of which has been in significant decline in the region's traffic. About 180 employees will be affected. The yard at Corbin will remain open. [CSX, 10-20-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN GIVES NOTICE; NO PASSENGER TRAINS PERMITTED AFTER DEC. 31 PTC DEADLINE: Norfolk Southern has notified Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express and Metra that the company will not permit operation of passenger trains on its lines after Dec. 31, 2015, to comply with federal safety rules requiring positive train-control. Despite investment of more than $1-billion to date, Norfolk Southern will not meet the deadline, the company said. [Norfolk Southern, 10-20-15]

CP RAIL REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific reported earnings per share of $2.04 in the third-quarter 2015 compared with $2.31 in the third-quarter of last year. Quarterly revenues climbed 2.3 pct year over year, but carload volume decreased 3 pct and revenue ton-miles fell 4 pct. [Zacks website report, 10-20-15]

CP RAIL'S HARRISON RETURNS AFTER SURGERY: Hunter Harrison, lured out of retirement in 2012 to lead Canadian Pacific Railway, is now back on the job following surgery. [Bloomberg website report, 10-20-15]

NEW GERMAN PASSENGER RAIL OPERATOR TO BEGIN SERVICE IN 2016: New German long-distance operator DerSchnellzug will launch the first of three planned services on March 18, 2016. Its D1 line will operate from Stuttgart via Heilbronn, Wurzburg, Kassel, Hannover and Bremen to Hamburg on a route not currently seved by German Rail. Initially the service will only operate on weekends, but the objective is to provide trains running three times daily. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-20-15]

CONSTRUCTION ON PHASE 2 OF SUNRAIL EXPANSION BEING DELAYED: Construction on the second phase of Florida's $1.3-billion SunRain expansion has been pushed back to the beginning of 2016 after the state's dept. of transportation delayed a decision on awarding the contract for the project. The second phase includes an additional 17.2 miles and four new stations in Osceola County. [Orlando American City Business Journals website report, 10-20-15]

AMTRAK SEEKS DEVELOPER FOR CHICAGO UNION STATION IMPROVEMENTS: Amtrak and Chicago-area transportation leaders have announced a set of initiatives toward a master plan, including request for proposals, to redevelop Chicago Union Station. The effort will advance work for renovation of a concourse, expanded and added entrances, widening of platforms, disability compliance, and pedestrian passageways. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-19-15]

WASHINGTON STATE NEARS COMPLETION OF BNSF LANDSLIDE MITIGATION PROJECTS: The Washington State DOT is close to wrapping up a project begun in 2012 to prevent landslides and rail-service disruptions along the BNSF-Amtrak Cascades corridor. Six slope stabilization projects have been involved. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-19-15]

KCS REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported third-quarter 2015 revenues of $632-million, a decrease of 7 pct compared to third-quarter 2014. Carload volumes were 2 pct lower. Compared to 2014, third-quarter revenue included a 6 pct increase in agriculture & minerals and a 5 pct increase in chemical & petroleum. All other commodity groups were down. [Kansas City Southern, 10-16-15]

PORT OF BALTIMORE STACKS UP TEU RECORD IN AUGUST: The Port of Baltimore logged 86,149 twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) units for the month of August, marking a new record for the number of TEU's handled in one month. The previous single-month record was 79,644 units. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-16-15]

GO TRANSIT INTRODUCES NEW COACHES: GO Transit is premiering the first of its new line of rail cars featuring improvements toward increasing rider comfort. The updated cars include more space between seats, flooring material that reduces train noise, and improved cushioning on seats and head rests. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-16-15]

METRA PROPOSES FARE HIKE TO COVER PTC COSTS: Metra has proposed a $945.5-million budget for 2016 that includes a 2 pct net increase in fare revenue to help cover operating costs associated with the new positive train-control system, the Chicago commuter-rail agency announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-16-15]

CHINESE FIRMS PROPOSE TO BUILD, FINANCE CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: A team of Chinese firms, along with the Export-Import Bank of China, wants to build and finance a large part of California's proposed 800-mile high-speed rail project. The firms expressed their interest in a 23-page document sent to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. China recently clinched contracts in Russia, but it faced hurdles in Mexico and Indonesia due to bureaucratic flip-flops in those countries. [Reuters website report, 10-16-15]

CSX CUTTING OPERATIONS IN ERWIN, TENNESSEE: CSX has announced the reduction of train operations at Erwin, Tennessee. The decision is the result of 'significantly reduced coal traffic' through the region, and includes closing a locomotive service center, project shop and car shop, and eliminating switching operations at the Erwin yard. Approximately 300 employees will be affected. [CSX, 10-15-15]

CANADIAN RAILROADS CUT CRUDE FREIGHT RATES TO LURE SHIPMENTS: Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways are slashing rates for shipping crude in their first serious effort to revive an industry rocked by the rout in global oil prices, according to shippers and terminal operators who are seeing discounts of as much as 25 pct. Shipments from Canada to the U.S. have plunged by more than a third this year, to 112,000 barrels per day in July, according to U.S. data. [Reuters website report, 10-15-15]

FIRM CLAIMS TEXAS BULLET TRAIN WILL HAVE $36-B IMPACT: The proposed bullet train between Dallas and Houston could pump more than $36-billion into the state economy over the next 25 years, according to a study commissioned by Texas Central Partners. [Texas Tribune website report, 10-15-15]

AMTRAK GOES TO BERMUDA FOR INSURANCE: Amtrak has obtained $275-million of insurance protection from PennUnion, an independent special-purpose insurer based in Bermuda. PennUnion has issued so-called 'catastrophe' bonds to fund and collateralize the insurance, which covers damage to Amtrak-owned infrastructure in the Northeast corridor in the event of a natural disaster due to storm surge, wind damage or earthquake. [Railway Age website report, 10-15-15]

LEHIGH VALLEY STUDYING POSSIBLE PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE: A study being led by the Lehigh Valley Planning commission is looking at the possibility of restoring passenger rail to Philadelphia, Harrisburg, New Jersey and New York. The commission says recognizable commute patterns and anticipated population growth warrant a renewed discussion on passenger rail and its advantages. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-15-15]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS TO REBUILD SERBIAN LINE: Russian Railways' subsidiary RZD has started to reconstruct the northern section of the TEN-T corridor X in Serbia between Mala Krsna and Velika Plana. This is the third and final section of this 70-mile line to be rebuilt. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-15-15]

NEW WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY FOR RAIL & TRANSIT: MP Antenna, exclusive developer and manufacturer of advanced Multi-Polarized antennas, is announcing a new bi-directional, high-gain antenna that helps solve the wireless communications challenges of rail and transit industries. The model 08-ANT-0974 provides superior front-and-rear or side-to-side coverage in outdoor environments where high obstructions such as metal poles and bridges can cause reflection cancelation. [KX News website report, 10-14-15]

CSX SHARES STRATEGY IN UNCERTAIN ECONOMY: CSX Corp. will focus on productivity and raising prices over the coming year as coal freight volumes are likely to decline further in an uncertain economy, its CEO Michael Ward said. The company expects coal freight volumes to drop 20 pct in the fourth quarter. [Reuters website report, 10-14-15]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY METRO-NORTH NEW HAVEN LINE TRAIN: Authorities say a person, described as a 'trespasser,' was struck and killed by a Metro-North New Haven line train late Oct. 13 just east of the Mount Vernon East station. [New Jersey Herald website report, 10-14-15]

MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR AMTRAK'S GULF COAST RETURN: A Dec. 4 visit by Amtrak representatives to a Mobile meeting of the Southern Rail Commission will reveal findings of a study focusing on reviving passenger rail in the region that disappeared 10 years ago from hurricane Katrina. Momentum to reboot the Sunset Limited east of New Orleans to Jacksonville or Orlando appears to be gaining steam. [ report, 10-14-15]

FIREFIGHTING FOAM BEING DEPLOYED ALONG N.Y. OIL TRAIN ROUTES: Firefighting foam is being deployed to 19 cities along rail lines across New York state for use as needed in the event of oil train fires. [Post Star website report, 10-14-15]

AUSTRIAN RAILWAYS TO ORDER UP TO 200 ELECTRIC FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVES: Austrian Federal Railways has luanched an international tender for a contract to supply up to 200 electric freight locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-14-15]

SOUTH AFRICAN RAIL CONTROL CENTER COMMISSIONED: A new control center for the Gauteng area has been commissioned by Siemens for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. Beginning in Jan. 2016, the center will monitor the operation of more than 600 trains in the Johannesburg and Pretoria area, and will effectively consolidate 35 existing control centers into one location. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-14-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC HOLIDAY TRAIN SET TO RUN FOR 17TH YEAR: The Canadian Pacific Holiday train will be traveling across the U.S. and Canada again this Nov. and Dec. raising money, food and awareness for food banks and hunger issues. The two brightly-lit 14-car trains will begin in the Montreal area Nov. 27 and 28 on their way to visit approximately 150 communities. The U.S. train visits communities across the Northeast and Midwest, and returns back to Canada for shows in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Canadian train travels across Canada finishing its journey in Port Coquitlam, B.C. Since 1999, the program has raised over $10.6-million and 3.6 million pounds of food. [PR Newswire, 10-14-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported weekly rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 10, 2015, was 556,233 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.8 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume, included separately, was up 0.5 pct, while carloads was down 5.8 pct. For the first 40 weeks of the year, carload volume was down 4.4 pct, and intermodal volume was up 2.4 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-14-15]

CSX REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corp. announced third-quarter 2015 net earnings of $507-million or 52 cents per share, compared to $509-million or 51 cents per share in the third-quarter last year. Revenue declined nine pct in the quarter as gains in price were more than offset by the combination of lower fuel recovery, a three pct volume decline and continued transition in CSX's business mix. Expenses declined 11 pct. Operating ratio was 68.3 pct. [CSX, 10-13-15]

STB UPHOLDS UNION PACIFIC'S DENIAL OF SERVICE DURING LABOR DISPUTE: The Surface Transportation Board has denied a petition by a Texas metal producer that, if it had been approved, would have forced Union Pacific to restore rail service at the producer's plant in the midst of an employee lockout. [Lexology website report, 10-13-15]

VRE CONSIDERS EXTENDING MANASSAS-LINE COMMUTER SERVICE: Virginia Railway Express is evaluating an 11-mile extension along the Manassas Line extending from Manassas through Gainesville to the town of Haymarket, Va. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-12-15]

SIEMENS GETS ORDER FOR FIVE ADDITIONAL S70 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FOR MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL: Siems has been awarded an option to delivery an additiona five S70 light-rail vehicles for Metro Transit in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. The $20-million order will add to the agency's existing 59 light-rail vehicles on the Green and Blue lines. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-12-15]

WABTEC ACQUIRES WAYSIDE SENSOR SYSTEMS MANUFACTURER: Wabtec Corp. has acquired the assets of Track IQ, a manufacturer of wayside sensor systems for the global rail industry. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-12-15]

CALIFORNIA RAIL AUTHORITY GIVES BIDDERS MORE TIME: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has decided to give five consortia an additional month to prepare their bids for construction package 4, a design-build contract for a 22-mile section of the high-speed rail network. The delay creates challenges, though, because $2.2-billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment act stimulus money must be used by Sept. 30, 2017, or be returned to the federal government. [Fresno Bee website report, 10-12-15]

CSX OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT IN W.VA. CAUSED BY A BROKEN RAIL: A fiery oil train derailment in southern West Virginia this past February resulted from a broken rail that started with a crack that should have been detected but was missed in two inspections, federal investigators said. The CSX train was carrying 3 million gallons of Bakken crude when it derailed Febr. 16 during a snowstorm. Twenty-seven of the trains 109 cars derailed. [U.S. News & World Report, 10-9-15]

AMTRAK'S AUTUMN EXPRESS RUNS OCT 24 & 25: Amtrak's Autumn Express will operate this year on Oct. 24 and 25 through parts of New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. This is an opportunity to see parts of southern New England on a route not traversed by passenger trains in decades. The train departs from Albany and Schenectady en route to East Deerfield, Massachusetts, and returns via the same route. Adult fare is $129; children age 2-12 ride for half price with each adult ticket. Box lunch is included. [Amtrak]

GROUP SEEKS STUDY FOR ERIE-PITTSBURGH HIGH-SPEED TRAIN: All Aboard Erie is working to fund a study that would identify routes on a high-speed rail system that would run in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state, reports the Meadville Tribune. The hope is that the system would connect Erie to Pittsburgh and possible Buffalo. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 10-9-15]

U.S. BANKRUPTCY JUDGE APPROVES $446-M SETTLEMENT FOR VICTIMS OF LAC-MEGANTIC DISASTER: A U.S. bankruptcy judge has approved a $446-million settlement fund for victims of the fiery Lac-Megantic oil train derailment in Quebec. The judge announced his decision after Canadian Pacific dropped its objection to the settlement plan and after a Canadian judge gave conditional approval. [Financial Post website report, 10-9-15]

N.J. TRANSIT SAYS RAIL SERVICE COULD END UNLESS PTC DEADLINE EXTENDED: Commuter trains could grind to a halt in New Jersey if federal lawmakers do not extend a Dec. 31 deadline for railroads to install positive train-control, transit officials say. [ report, 10-8-15]

AMTRAK RESTORING VERMONTER SERVICE AS CREWS WORK TO RETRIEVE LOCOMOTIVE: The tracks at the site of the Oct. 5 derailment of Amtrak's Vermonter have been cleared and are once again open to rail traffic, but a work force of specialists continues its efforts to retrieve the train's locomotive, still sitting in a ravine below the tracks. [Vt.Digger website report, 10-8-15]

MADRID-BARCELONA TRAINS DISRUPTED DUE TO COMMUNICATION FAILURE: Twenty trains and 7,000 travellers were affected early Oct. 8 after a suspected theft of fiber-optic cables used to power the communications system. Services were halted between Vilafranca and Figueres-Vilafant. Trains departing Madrid and Barcelona were also affected. [Getty Images website report, 10-8-15]

IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED FOR WORCESTER-FRAMINGHAM COMMUTER LINE: Massachusetts has announced enhancements to the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line. Included will be the addition of non-stop service between Worcester and Boston beginning in May 2016, trimming 30 minutes of travel time. Additionally, crews have begun the process of de-stressing the rail, aimed at reducing the need for special restrictions during periods of extreme heat, and the system more resilient during the winter. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-15]

RAILCAR FACILITY TO BE ESTABLISHED IN PUEBLO, COLORADO: Freedom Railcar Solutions and International Engineering will establish a new, full-service railcar repair and modification facility in Pueblo, Colorado. To be served by Union Pacific, operations are slated to begin in Jan. 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-15]

LEONARDO EXPRESS ENTERS SERVICE IN ROME: Alstom's Coradia Meridian train, known as the Leonardo Express, has entered commercial service to connect Rome to Fiumicino Airport. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-15]

GENSET LOCOMOTIVES SHIPPED TO AFRICA: Railserve has shipped its Dual Leaf Genset locomotives to Africa where they will soon enter freight operations in Gabon. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-15]

SEPTEMBER U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads reported carload and intermodal traffic volumes in Sept. 2015 fell 2 pct compared with the same month last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.[Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-15]

TCU INVOKES MEDIATION ON NATIONAL RAIL FREIGHT NEGOTIATIONS: In negotiations with the national freight unions, Transportation Communications Union president Bob Scardelletti declared the talks to be an impasse. The union invoked mediation by the National Mediation Board for the carmen and clerks on Oct. 8. Also invoking mediation were the Machinists, Electricians and Transport Workers unions. All four unions have been negotiating together in a voluntary coalition. [TCU. 10-8-15]

AMTRAK WARNS LAWMAKERS OF SERVICE SUSPENSIONS OVER PTC DEADLINE: Amtrak's CEO Joseph Boardman has warned Congress that some rail service outside the Norheast corridor will be suspended if lawmakers do not extend a Dec. 31 deadline for railroads to install positive train-control technology. [Insurance Journal website report, 10-7-15]

GREENBRIER LANDS ORDER FROM SAUDI RAILWAY FOR 1,200 TANK CARS: The Greenbrier Companies has received an order from the Saudi Railway Company for approximately 1,200 railroad tank cars. Three types of tank cars will support industrial mining operations. [PR Newswire website report, 10-7-15]

CSX BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF PITTSBURGH INTERMODAL TERMINAL: CSX has begun construction on its Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal, a $60-million investment aimed at providing western Pennsylvania shippers direct intermodal freight access. The project will redevelop the former P&LE railroad yard in McKees Rocks. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-7-15]

NORWAY TO ORDER 26 ADDITIONAL STADLER FLIRT EMU'S: The Norwegian government has allocated Norwegian State Railways $190-million for the acquisition of 26 additional Stadler Flire electric multiple-units as part of its 2016 state budget. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-7-15]

LAST MOUNTAIN RAILWAY BEING ACQUIRED BY AGT: A subsidiary of AGT Food and Ingredients Canady has reached a $43.7-million agreement to acquire Mobil Capital Holdings and its subsidiaries, including shortline operator Mobil Grain, operating as Last Mountain Railway in Saskatchewan. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-7-15]

ALSTOM LANDS TRANSIT NETWORK CONTRACT IN INDIA: Alstom has been awarded a contract worth more than $168-million by Lucknow Metro Rail to provide metro trainsets and a signaling solution for a new transit network in Lucknow, India. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-7-15]

RECORD-BREAKING UNIT TRAIN OF SAND DELIVERED TO PERMIAN BASIN: U.S. Silica Holdings announced the delivery of a record-breaking 150-car unit train with over 16,500 tons of frac sand from Ottawa, Illinois, to a transload facility serving the Permian Basin. It was delivered on BNSF. This unit train of sand was the longest ever delivered to a single destination on a Class I railroad. [PR Newswire website report, 10-7-15]

TWO RAIL EMPLOYEES KILLED IN S.C. FLOODING: Two employees of Kentucky-based R.J. Corman railroad are dead after flooding in lower Richland County, S.C. They were part of a crew of five who were driving back to their hotel and came upon a washed-out road. Their vehicle drove around a barrier. Three of the five men escaped the vehicle. [WHAS 11 website report, 10-7-15]

HERZOG LANDS KANSAS CITY STREETCAR OPERATIONS, MAINTENANCE CONTRACT: The KC Streetcar Authority has entered into an operations and maintenance contract with Herzog Transit Services for the Kansas City downtown streetcar. [Railway Age website report, 10-7-15]

WABTEC, FAIVELEY TRANSPORT COMMIT TO ACQUISITION: Wabtec has signed an agreement to acquire approximately 51 pct of Faiveley Transport, a provider of integrated systems and services for the railway industry, with annual sales of about $1.2-billion. [Railway Age website report, 10-7-15]

BALTIMORE RAIL TUNNEL PROPOSAL BEING STUDIED: Officials in Baltimore hope to replace the B&P tunnel, an aging two-track rail tunnel along Amtrak's Northeast corridor. A $60-million study is underway to look at options, which appear to be keeping the current tunnel open, or developing a new network for about $4-billion. [American City Business Journals website report, 10-7-15]

AMTRAK WELCOMES PETS ON SELECT NORTHEAST TRAINS: Beginning Oct. 12, passengers will be able to travel with their small pets from Boston to Lynchburg, Newport News and Norfolk on the Northeast Regional service, and between Boston and Brunswick, Maine, on the Downeaster. Both pet and carrier must be a combined weight not exceeding 20 pounds, and placed under the pet owner's seat. Pets must be at least eight weeks old with current vaccination records. [Amtrak, 10-7-15]

EMD DISPLAYS ITS FIRST TIER 4 FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVE: Electro-Motive Diesel is displaying its first Tier 4 freight locomotive, class SD70ACe-T4, at Railway Interchange, BNSF's Northtown yard in Minnesota. The locomotives will be available in the second half of 2016. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-6-15]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN N.C.: Police in Raleigh say a 51-year-old man was hit and killed by an Amtrak train Oct. 6 near North Carolina State University. [Hickory Record website report, 10-6-15]

PROGRESS RAIL ACQUIRES HAYNES CORP.: Progress Rail Services Corp. has acquired Haynes Corp., a manufacturer of precision diesel fuel injection systems for heavy duty engines. Progress Rail is a Caterpillar company. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-6-15]

BNSF NEARS COMPLETION OF DOUBLE-TRACKING L.A.-CHICAGO ROUTE: After this year, BNSF Railway will be more than 99 pct finished with a second, parallel track on its 2,200-mile Los Angeles-Chicago route. [Bloomberg website report, 10-6-15]

INVESTIGATORS PROBE AMTRAK ACCIDENT IN VERMONT: The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating the derailment in central Vermont of an Amtrak train after it struck rocks Oct. 5, sending a locomotive and one car down an embankment and injuring seven people. Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman said the train's conductor, the most serously injured person, had been released from the hospital. The region near the derailment received 2.5 inches of rain between Thursday and Friday of the previous week, four and three days, respectively, prior to the accident. [Charleston Gazette-Mail website report, 10-6-15]

ROCK-SLIDE FENCE NOT AVAILABLE IN VERMONT DERAILMENT: Special fences protect railroad tracks from rock slides in some parts of the country, but the head of Amtrak said it is unclear if the mechanisms could have prevented the derailment that injured seven people in Vermont. The fences are designed to send signals if they are hit with debris, but they were not available along the section of affected track where the train derailed Oct. 5. [U.S. News & World Report, 10-6-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN VERMONT, SEVEN HURT: Amtrak's Vermonter train traveling southbound through central Vermont derailed early Oct. 5 after striking a rockslide, officials said. Five passengers and two crew members were injured, one seriously. The accident is under investigation. [NBC News website report, 10-5-15]

CHINESE CONSORTIUM TO BUILD INDONESIAN RAIL LINE: Indonesia's National Development Planning ministry has accepted an offer from a Chinese consortium to build a new 87-mile rail line between Jakarta and Bandung. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-5-15]

AMTRAK AWARDS TEXTILE SUPPORT CONTRACT: First State Manufacturing has received a five-year contract with Amtrak to provide textile support for the railroad's interior fleet renovation projects. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-5-15]

ALSTOM ACQUIRES SWEDISH PASSENGER TRAIN MAINTENANCE & REPAIR FIRM: Alstom has finalized it acquisition of Motala Train AB, a Swedish company focused on refurbishment, heavy maintenance and repair of passener trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-5-15]

SIEMENS OPENS LOCOMOTIVE SERVICE CENTER NEAR MUNICH: Siemens has opened its service center for locomotives near Munich, Germany. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-5-15]

ALSTOM OPENS SERVICE FACILITY IN GERMANY: Alstom has opened a new $16.8-million service facility in Braunschweig, Germany, for the maintenance of electric passenger trains and locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-5-15]

OKLAHOMA BUDGETS $100-M FOR RAIL CROSSING IMPROVEMENTS: Oklahoma plans to upgrade 300 state railroad crossings by 2018, a project expected to cost $100-million. Officials hope adding flashing signals and crossing gates will reduce the number of accidents. [Tulsa World website report, 10-4-15]

MIGRANTS DISRUPT RAIL TRAFFIC IN CHANNEL TUNNEL: Rail travelers between France and Britain were warned of delays of up to three hours after a group of about 100 migrants broke into the Eurotunnel overnight in the French port city of Calais. Services were suspended late Oct. 2 due to safety reasons. [Las Vegan Sun website report, 10-3-15]

CUMMINS COMPLETES FIRST QSK95 RAIL ENGINE: Cummins has dispatched its first production QSK95 diesel engine for the rail market to Siemens' plant in Sacramento where it will be fitted into a 124 MPH Charger locomotive. The QSK95's will equip Charger locomotives ordered by Illinois on behalf of that state, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington; also locomotives for All Aboard Florida and Maryland commuter operator MARC. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-2-15]

ARS ACQUIRES FREIGHTCAR AMERICA'S RAILCAR REPAIR & MAINTENANCE SERVICES BUSINESS: ARS Nebraska, a subsidiary of Appaliachian Railcar Services, has acquired all of FreightCar America's railcar repair and maintenance services business. [Railway Age website report, 10-2-15]

RAILROADS LAUNCH TRAIN-SHUTDOWN CLOCK: The Association of American Railroads has launched a 'countdown clock to a rail shutdown' if Congress does not extend a deadline for positive train-control affecting most of the nation's trains. The carriers currently have until Dec. 31 to install the system. But several rail companies have warned they will shut down service beginning Jan. 2016 to avoid fines if the deadline is not extended. The AAR said Oct. 1 there are 28 days left until a potential service interruption because 'train systems cannot be shut down or restarted overnight.' [The Hill website report, 10-1-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Sept. 26, 2015, U.S. rail freight traffic was 566,700 carloads and intermodal units, a 1.8 pct decline compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-1-15]

NTSB MAKES 'URGENT' REQUEST FOR FRA TO OVERSEE D.C. METRO RAIL SAFETY: The National Transportation Safety Board has issued an 'urgent' call for the Federal Railroad Administration to take direct oversight of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's operation of the Metrorail system. The request comes as a part of an investigation into the Jan. 12 smoke and elecrical arcing accident in a tunnel. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-1-15]

METROLINK TO RECEIVE ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR TIER 4 LOCOMOTIVES: The South Coast Air Quality Management District's board has approved a $22.85-million contract with Metrolink to help pay for locomotives that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Aency's Tier 4 emission standard. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-1-15]

G.E. SELLING RAIL-CAR REPAIR FACILITIES, TANK AND RAIL CAR LEASING: G.E. has reached separate agreements to to sell its tank car fleet assets and rail-car repair facilities to Marmon Holdings, and its remaining rail-car leasing business to Wells Fargo. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-1-15]

FUNDING AGREEMENT REACHED TO PURCHASE ROCK ISLAND CORRIDOR IN MISSOURI FOR TRAIL USE: Jackson County, Missouri, and Kansas City Area Transportation authority have reached a financing agreement for future acquisition of the 17.7 miles of the Rock Island corridor in Missouri from Union Pacific. The corridor extends from the Truman sports complex to Lee's Summit. With plans already in place to extend the Katy Trail from Windsor to Pleasant Hill, only a small gap will remain to connect the corridor with the Katy Trail. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-1-15]

BLUE RIBBON PANEL MAKES RECOMMENDATION FOR CHICAGO CONGESTION: A blue ribbon panel convened by Amtrak is recommending co-located train dispatchers, improved operating practices, and capital improvements to help relieve rail gridlock in and around Chicago, and prevent an estimated $800-billion in economic impacts resulting from the congestion. [Railway Age website report, 10-1-15]

KCS TO INVEST $7.5-M IN MISSISSIPPI RAIL LINES: Kansas City Southern Railway will invest approximately $7.5-million this year on construction and improvement projects in Mississippi on its Aberdeen branch between West Point and Aberdeen, and its Tuscaloosa subdivision between Artesia and Columbus. [Railway Age website report, 10-1-15]

N.J. TRANSIT TO HEAD TUNNEL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW: New Jersey Transit will head up the environmental review needed for a proposed tunnel under the Hudson River, while Amtrak does preliminary engineering, and the U.S. Dept. of Transportation pushes permits through, said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The project has been on hold since N.J. Governor Christie canceled digging plans in 2010. [Woodland Park Record website report, 10-1-15]

AMTRAK INTRODUCING BAG FEES: Amtrak will start on Oct. 1 charging $20 to passengers who exceed limits for carry-on and personal items. Customers are allowed to ring for free two personal items weighing up to 25 pounds and two carry-on bags weighting no more than 50 pounds each. Passengers with children under the age of two may also bring an additional item such as a stroller or diaper bag. The fee applies to each item above those limits. [ABC News website report, 9-30-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S ELMORE RAIL YARD TO STAY OPEN 'FOR NOW': A spokesperson for Norfolk Southern said Sept. 29 that its Elmore Yard in Wyoming County, W.Va., will remain open 'for now.' There had been reports that the company was planning a phaseout of operations through the area due to declining coal traffic. Eighty-four people are employed at Elmore, according to Norfolk Southern. [Bluefield Daily Telegraph website report, 9-30-15]

SWEDEN'S HALLANDSAS TUNNEL COMPLETED: Twenty-three years after the start of construction, test running is beginning in the 5.4-mile Hallandsas tunnel, Sweden's longest railway tunnel, marking the completion of infrastructure work on the $1.25-billion project. The tunnel is a key element in upgrading the West Coast line between Gothenburg and Malmo. The tunnel is due to open to traffic on Dec. 13. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-30-15]

CHICAGO TRANSIT COMPLETES $50-M REHAB OF RED LINE STATION: Chicago Transit Authority marked the completion Sept. 29 of a $50-million renovation project to the Clark-Division Red Line station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-30-15]

CP ACQUIRES STEELCARE INC.: Canadian Pacific has acquired Steelcare Inc., Canada's largest steel transload facility, which is located in Hamilton, Ontario. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-30-15]

'HARRIS YARD' IS NEW NAME FOR NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S RAIL YARD IN MEMPHIS: Norfolk Southern has renamed its yard in Memphis 'Harris Yard' in honor of Deborah Harris Butler, retiring executive vice-president of planning and chief information officer. [Norfolk Southern, 9-29-15]

CSX, MECHANICAL UNIONS ANNOUNCE 'LANDMARK PARTNERSHIP': CSX and two leading mechanical unions have announced a 'landmark partnership' agreement which would allow members to perform a variety of assigned work beyond the traditional boundaries of craft or union affiliation. The agreement, which includes pay increases, is being submitted to members for ratification. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-29-15]

NORTH CAROLINA RAILROAD TO BUILD NEW BRIDGE OVER CRABTREE CREEK: The North Carolina Railroad and the town of Morrisville, N.C., will invest a total $6.9-million to replace the existing 1927 bridge over Crabtree Creek. The bridge is part of a $13-million economic development investment package approved last year, and will allow for a possible future second track. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-29-15]

PRESIDENTIAL EMERGENCY BOARD PROPOSES CONTRACT TERMS FOR N.J. TRANSIT WORKERS. A Presidential Emergency Board has recommended wage increases totaling 18.4 pct over 6.5 years, among other recommendations, for solving a four-year contract dispute between N.J. Transit and the N.J. Transit Rail Labor Coalition. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-29-15]

PROGRESS RAIL TO ACQUIRE RAIL PRODUCT SOLUTIONS FROM ARMSTEAD: Progress Rail Services has entered into an agreement to purchase Rail Product Solutions from Armsted Rail Co. Financial terms were not disclosed. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-29-15]

GENESEE & WYOMING ADDS TWO TO BOARD: Genesee & Wyoming has announced that Albert Neupaver and Joseph Pyne have been appointed to its board of directors, expanding the board to 13 directors. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-29-15]

SUNRAIL RECEIVES $93.4-M GRANT FOR EXPANSION: The Federal Transit Administration has awarded a $93.4-million grant to extend SunRail service 17.2 miles from Southern Orlando to Osceola County. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-29-15]

UNION PACIFIC EMPLOYEE STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN KANSAS: A Union Pacific worker was hit and killed by a train while on the job in Kansas City, Kansas, the morning of Sept. 29. Officials say the employee was working as a remote-control operator when he was struck by a second train pulling into the yard. [KCTV News website report, 9-29-15]

U.S. UNVEILS 'BUILD AMERICA TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT CENTER': U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Sept. 29 formally unveiled the department's Build America Transportation Investment Center. It will serve as the single point of contact and coordination for state, municipalities and project sponsers looking to utilize federal transportation expertise, apply for federal transportation credit programs and explore ways to access private capital in public-private partnerships. [United Transportation Union, 9-29-15]

RAIL PENSIONS MAY REDUCE SUPPLEMENTAL ANNUITIES: Receipt of a private railroad pension by railroad retirement beneficiaries may reduce the amount of a supplemental annuity payable by the Railroad Retirement Board. Further information is available by calling 877-772-5772. [United Transportation Union, 9-28-15]

CALIFORNIA CONSIDERS TUNNEL UNDER MOUNTAINS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL ROUTE: The California High-Speed Rail authority is considering building a tunnel for its project under the San Gabriel Mountains. It has asked the U.S. Forest Service for permission to drill core samples there. [San Gabriel Valley Tribune website report, 9-28-15]

SPAIN TO OPEN FIRST SINGLE-TRACK, HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: Spain will officially inaugurate its 101-mile Valladolid-Palencia-Leon single-track, high-speed rail line Sept. 29. Trains will initially operate at up to 124 MPH, but will eventually increase to 186 MPH. This is one of several high-speed lines in Spain with only a single track installed, but all will be designed and built for double-track. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-25-15]

YORK, PA., INTERLOCKING TOWER TO BE PRESERVED: An old Pennsylvania Railroad interlocking tower in York, Pa., will be preserved by Think Loud Development, according to the company's CEO. "What exactly the building will become remains indeterminable," he said. The two-story brick struccture was built in 1942. [York Daily Record, 9-25-15]

L.A. TO PASADENA LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION IS SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETE: A $1-billion, 11.5-mile extension of the light-rail line between Los Angeles and Pasadena is substantially complete. Kiewit Infrastructure West and Parsons Transportation Group both worked on the five-year project that came in on time and on budget. [Gabriel Valley Tribune website report, 9-24-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN APPOINTS PHILIP MERILLI V.P. ENGINEERING: Philip Merilli, currently assistant vice-president maintenance of way and structures for Norfolk Southern has been named vice-president engineering effective Oct. 1. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-24-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. carloads for the week ending Sept. 19, 2015, declined 5.5 pct compared to the same week last year, while intermodal volume rose 0.6 pct, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-24-15]

AMTRAK ADDING SATURDAY NIGHT HIAWATHA RUNS: Amtrak is temporarily adding more Saturday evening trips on its Hiawatha route. From Oct. 3, 2015, through Jan. 2, 2016, trains running on Saturdays will depart Chicago at 11:10PM and from Milwaukee at 10:40PM. Ridership results will be evaluated after the holiday season. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-23-15]

SIEMENS LANDS POLISH ORDER FOR 15 VECTRON LOCOMOTIVES: Poland's largest rail freight operator PKP Cargo has awarded Siemens a contract to supply 15 multi-system Vectron locomotives, which will support the expansion of its international operations. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-23-15]

SINGAPORE ORDERS ADDITIONAL METRO TRAINS: Singapore's Land Transport authority has awarded a $96-million contract to a consortium for 12 six-car trains for the north-south and east-west metro lines. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-23-15]

TWO CHARGED IN CANADA TRAIN TERROR PLOT GET LIFE IN PRISON: Two men found guilty of plotting to derail a New York to Toronto passenger train in 2013 have been sentenced to life in prison. They must serve a minimum of 10 years before becoming eligible for parole. [U.S. News & World Report, 9-23-15]

METRA WARNS OF SERVICE SHUTDOWN WITHOUT PTC DEADLINE EXTENSION: The Metra board of directors has formally called on Congress to extend the Dec. 31, 2015, deadline to install positive train-control, agreeing with a staff analysis that in the current regulatory environment, Metra will not be able to legally operate beyond that date. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-22-15]

SUBSTATION FIRE SUSPENDS D.C. METRO SERVICE ALONG THREE LINES: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority halted rail service along a portion of the Blue, Orange and Silver lines Sept. 21 following a substation fire near the Stadium-Armory station. Service was later restored, but at slower speeds. No injuries were reported. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-22-15]

ISRAEL OPENS ASHKELON-BEERSHEBA LINE: Public services on the double-track, 43-mile Ashkelon-Beersheba rail line in Israel began Sept. 19. Israel Railways is operating 25 trains per day in each direction. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-22-15]

KEY EXECUTIVE CHANGES AT NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Norfolk Southern president and CEO James A. Squires has been named chairman of the board of directors, effective Oct. 1, 2015. His appointment follows the announcement that Charles Wick Moorman is stepping down as executive chairman of the board on the same date. Moorman will continue to serve as director and senior advisor to the CEO until Dec. 31, 2015, at which time Moorman will retire. Michael J. Wheeler has been named executive vice-president and chief operating officer effective Febr. 1, 2016, following the retirement of Mark D. Manion on the same date. [Norfolk Southern, 9-22-15]

CSX PRESIDENT WINS SILVER KINGPIN AWARD: CSX president Clarence Gooden received the 2015 Silver Kingpin award from the Intermodal Association of North America for his contributions to the intermodal freight industry. [CSX, 9-22-15]

TWO INJURED IN OKLAHOMA CITY TRAIN DERAILMENT: A conductor and another worker were treated for minor injuries after a Union Pacific train derailed in northwest Oklahoma City late Sept. 20. According to the railroad, two locomotives and eight cars derailed, but there were no hazardous materials. The accident is under investigation. [Oklahoma City News 9 website report, 9-21-15]

TOLEDO MARKS 65TH ANNIVERSARY OF CENTRAL UNION TERMINAL: Toledo's Central Union Terminal opened in 1950 to serve four dozen daily trains. Local officials staved off plans in the 1990's to move Amtrak's stop to smaller quarters, and the terminal was renovated. Beginning this coming spring, Greyhound will move to Central Union Terminal. The anniversary of the terminal was be celebrated Sept. 22. [Toledo Blade website report, 9-21-15]

FRENCH RAIL SNCF ORDERED TO PAY $169-M IN BIAS CASE: France's labor court has ordered national rail operator SNCF to pay $169-million in compensation after finding that more than 800 Moroccans had faced discrimination in benefits compared with their French collegues. [U.S. News & World Report, 9-21-15]

ADDIS ABABA OPENS FIRST LIGHT-RAIL LINE: The first modern light-rail line in Sub-Saharan Africa was inaugurated Sept. 20 as operations began on the 10.5-mile Addis Ababa Line 1. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-21-15]

PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN DELAWARE: A pedestrian was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Newport, Delaware, early Sept. 20. The incident is under investigation. [6ABC website report, 9-20-15]

RAILROADS THREATEN TO STOP RUNNING IF PTC DEADLINE IS NOT EXTENDED: Railroads have until Dec. 31 to install an automated system known as positive train-control to regulate speed and track movements of trains. Several companies have already said they will shut down service beginning in January to avoid fines for not meeting the deadline. An extension of the deadline depends upon Congress, regulators say. [The Hill website report, 9-19-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COMPLETES ITS ACQUISITION OF D&H SUNBURY-SCHENECTADY LINE: Norfolk Southern has completed the acquisition of 282 miles of Delaware & Hudson's line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y., in a $214.5-million transaction. As part of the transaction, NS will retain and modify overhead trackage rights on the line between Schenectady, Crescent and Mechanicville, N.Y., as well as Saratoga Springs, N.Y. [Norfolk Southern, 9-18-15]

PLAN APPROVED TO SHORTEN RAIL LINE FROM RALEIGH TO RICHMOND: Officials have approved a final enviornmental study on plans for a shorter rail line linking Raleigh and Richmond. The project would allow trains to run as fast as 110 MPH and trim 35 miles from the current Amtrak path. They estimate they willneed $4-billion to buy the land, lay tracks, and build bridges and stations along the route. [WSET-TV website report, 9-18-15]

KATY TRAIL, NATION'S LONGEST RAIL TRAIL, TO GET EVEN LONGER: Missouri has announced that a 47-mile stretch of the Rock Island Trail, from Windsor to Pleasant Hill, will be added to the existing Katy Trail by the end of 2016. This will bring the already-longest rail trail to over 287 miles. [News Tribune website report, 9-18-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RESTRUCTURES TRIPLE CROWN SERVICES SUBSIDIARY: Norfolk Southern is restructuring its Triple Crown Services subsidiary to focus on the transportation of automobile parts. Triple Crown Services specializes in the use of RoadRailer equipment in dedicated trains. It will continue this service for automobile parts between Detroit and Kansas City for the foreseeable future, but will transition to containers in other Norfolk Southern lanes. [Norfolk Southern, 9-18-15]

ROLL-ON BICYCLE SERVICE EXTENDED TO AMTRAK'S CAPITOL LIMITED: Amtrak has launched new roll-on bicycle service on its Capitol Limited. With the service, passengers may roll their bikes on and off at any station along the line without having to box them. Eight bike racks are available. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-18-15]

FRA RESTATES PLEDGE TO ENFORCE END-OF-YEAR PTC DEADLINE: Acting Federal Railroadroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg has restated her pledge to enforce the Dec. 31 deadline for the rail industry to install positive train-control. She said FRA would work with rail companies to help them with technical and financial challenges, but only Congress could extend the deadline. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-18-15]

FEDS ANNOUNCE LOAN FOR CHARLOTTE'S BLUE LINE EXTENSION: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has annoounced a $180-million loan to the Charlotte Area Transit System for construction of the LYNX blue line light-rail extension to the UNC Charlotte campus. [United Transportation Union website report, 9-18-15]

'GREAT DOME' CAR RETURNS TO ADIRONDACK SERVICE: Amtrak's Great Dome car returns for a six-week run on Amtrak's Adirondack service, Sept. 24 through Nov. 3. The car will operate northbound from Albany to Montreal on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays, and returns south from Montreal on Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays. Seats are unreserved, and there is no additional cost. [Amtrak, 9-17-15]

CHINA TO PARTNER WITH XPRESS WEST IN HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: XpressWest has agreed to form a joint venture with China Railway International to build and operate the planned high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Construction could begin as early as Sept. 2016. [Free Republic website report, 9-17-15]

PORT OF LONG BEACH FINISHES $93-M RAIL PROJECT: Port of Long Beach, California, officials have marked the completion of a $93-million rail project. Known as the Green Port Gateway, the project realigned a critical rail pathway to relieve a bottleneck, allowing port terminals to increase their use of on-dock rail, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-17-15]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Labord Day holiday is partly to blame for an 11.9 pct drop in U.S. railroads' traffic volume during the week ending Sept. 12, according to the Association of American Railroads. Carloads were down 10.5 pct compared with the same week last year, and intermodal volume was down 13.3 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-17-15]

SEVERAL SEPTA REGIONAL RAIL LINES SUSPENDED DUE TO POWER PROBLEMS: Service was halted early Sept. 16 on SEPTA's airport line and part of the Media-Elwyn line due to power issues. [, 9-16-15]

FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT DISRUPTS LIRR SERVICE: The Long Island Rail Road told customers to expect delays on the morning rush-hour Sept. 16 in the aftermath of the derailment of a freight train the previous day impacting the Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson lines. [News 12 Long Island website report, 9-16-15]

CUBA ORDERS 363 RUSSIAN FREIGHT CARS: The Cuban Ministry of Transport has signed a contract with Russian firm RM Rail for the delivery of 363 new freight cars for Cuban Railways. It is understood that 163 hoppers for the sugar industry are included in the total number of cars ordered. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-16-15]

MUNICH ORDERS 22 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FROM SIEMENS: Munich Transport has selected Siemens for a contrac to supply 22 low-floor light-rail vehicles, with options for up to 124 additional vehicles. The order will comprise nine 2-section, nine 3-section, and four 4-section Avenio vehicles. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-16-15]

TRAIN CRASHES INTO SCHOOL BUS IN GERMANY: A school bus driver in Germany managed to save 60 children before a train crashed into the stranded vehicle Sept. 16. The driver managed to quicikly open the doors and let all of the children out of the bus only 60 seconds before the train crashed into the bus. [RT website report, 9-16-15]

N.Y., N.J. ASK FEDS TO PAY HALF THE COST OF NEW HUDSON RIVER RAIL TUNNEL: The governors of New York and New Jersey are asking the federal government to pay for half the cost of a new rail tunnel below the Hudson River, saying that their states, along with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, would cover the other half of the project's cost, estimated to be at least $14-billion. [ABC News website report, 9-15-15]

COST OVERRUNS ON HONOLULU RAIL PROJECT COULD SURPASS $1-B: Honolulu rail officials say the expected cost of a rail transit project has increased another $200-million, which would put the project roughly $1.1-billion over budget. The city council is considering a five-year tax measure to help pay for the cost overruns. [KHON-TV website report, 9-15-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN KILLS TEENAGER AT BOYDS, MD.: Amtrak's westbound Capitol Limited struck and killed a 16-year old male at Boyds, Md., the evening of Sept. 14. MARC commuter trains service was suspended for about three hours because of the incident. [WUSA 9 website report, 9-14-15]

ACELA TRAIN KILLS PEDESTRIAN IN PA.: Authorities say a pedestrian was struck and killed by an Amtrak Acela train in Prospect Park, Pa., early Monday, Sept. 14. Service on SEPTA's Wilmington to Newark regional rail line was suspended and Northeast corridor service was delayed. [NBC 10 website report, 9-14-15]

SUBWAY LINE EXTENDED IN N.Y.: The first new subway station in more than two decades has opened in New York, almost two years after it was originally scheduled to open. The $2.4-billion project extends the subway line one and one-half miles from its former final stop at Times Square to a new station at 34th street and 11th avenue. The station will serve the new Hudson Yards office, a residential, office and hotel project at a former railroad yard. [4 New York website report, 9-14-15]

PORTLAND, OREGON, LAUNCHES FIFTH LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Portland, Oregon, added a fifth line to its light-rail network Sept. 12 with the start of public services on the Max Orange line from Portland State University to S.E. Park avenue in Milwaukie. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-14-15]

G.E. TO SUPPLY SIX LOCOMOTIVES TO NAMIBIA: GE Transportation has signed a $22.7-million contract to supply six C23EMP diesel locomotives to Namibia's national railway TransNamib for delivery within 20 months. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-14-15]

PACT SECURES MARKETING, OPERATION OF SCHNABEL RAIL CAR: Transportation Technology Services and Siemens Energy have announced an exclusive arrangement to market and operate the KWUX 101 twenty-axle Schnabel rail car. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-14-15]

MONROVIA STATION DEDICATED ALONG FOOTHILL GOLD LINE EXTENSION: The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority held a dedication ceremony Sept. 12 marking the completion of the new rail station in Monrovia, California, part of the 11.5-mile light-rail extension between Pasadena and Azusa. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-14-15]

JAMIE MILLER NAMED NEW PRESIDENT, CEO OF G.E. TRANSPORTATION: GE has appointed Jamie Miller as president and CEO of GE Transportation. She will succeed Russell Stokes, who will lead GE's Energy Management business effective Oct. 1. [Railway Age website report, 9-14-15]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA WINS INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARD: Fast Company magazine has awarded an innovation-by-design award to All Aboard Florida in the 'City Solutions' category, beating out 16 other projects from around the globe. [Palm Beach Post website report, 9-14-15]

AMTRAK, BANK OF AMERICA ANNOUNCE NEW GUEST REWARDS CREDIT CARDS: Amtrak and Bank of America have announced a new Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card program, replacing the Chase card. The new program includes two new credit cards created to fit passengers' travel and spending preferences. [Amtrak, 9-14-15]

VATICAN LAUNCHES TRAIN SERVICE TO CASTEL GANDOLFO GARDENS: Beginning Sept. 12, the public can visit two papal estates - the Vatican Museums in Rome and the gardens and a new papal portrait gallery in the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo - thanks to a weekly rail service being launched by the Vatican and Italy's railway Ferrovia dello Stato. [U.S. News & World Report, 9-11-15]

CALIFORNIA ENACTS TWO-PERSON RAILROAD CREW LEGISLATION: California has a law, effective Febr. 1, 2016, requiring trains and lite engines in the state to be operated by a minimum of two qualified crew members. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-11-15]

CHINA TO INVEST $22.4-B IN THREE NEW RAIL LINES: China's National Development and Reform Commission has given the go-ahead for three new rail lines in central and southwest China, representing a total investment of $22.4-billion. The largest of the three projects is a 508-mile line between Zhengzhou and Wanzhou, designed for 217 MPH operation. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-11-15]

CSX DONATING FORMER RAIL LINES FOR TRAIL TO FLIGHT 93 MEMORIAL IN PA.: CSX has agreed to donate 130 miles of undeveloped land in southwestern Pennsylvania to the September 11 National Memorial Trail Alliance. The land will be used to support a seven-mile portion of a trail to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville. The properties being donated include about 5.6 miles of former right-of-way from the Great Allegheny Passage Trail in Garrett to Berlin, and four miles between Berlin and Shanksville. [CSX, 9-10-15]

AUSTRIA HALTS TRAIN SERVICE WITH HUNGARY DUE TO 'MASSIVE OVERBURDENING': Austria's national railway operator says it is temporarily halting train traffic to and from Hungary due to 'massive overburdening.' It comes as Europe continues to face an escalating refugee crisis. [RT News website report, 9-10-15]

COAL CRUNCH CONTINUES TO CRIMP FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE, CSX SAYS: CSX is projecting domestic coal revenue declines that might exceed $400-million for the year, said Frederik Eliasson, CSX executive vice-president, at a conference Sept. 9 in Boston. The company forecasts flat earnings in the third-quarter, but achieving that projection will be difficult given weaker-than-expected volumes. Still, the company expects full-year earnings growth in the mid-single-digits range. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-10-15]

CHICAGO TRANSIT AWARDS $32.6-M SIGNAL REPLACEMENT CONTRACT: The Chicago Transit Authority has approved a $32.6-million contract to Ragnar Benson Construction to replace a 40-year old signal system on a section of track along the Brown and Purple lines. Known as the Ravenswood Loop Connector signal project, it will enable the agency to move trains more safely with less congestion between Armitage and Merchandise Mart. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-10-15]

SACRAMENTO BEGINS OPERATION OF NEWLY-REFURBISHED LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The Sacramento Regional Transit District has begun operating the first set of newly-refurbished Siemens light-rail vehicles along the Blue Line to Consumnes River College extension. Siemens is refurbishing a total of 21 light-rail vehicles that will eventually to into operation system-wide. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-10-15]

N.C. TO FUND GRADING FOR 2.4-MILE RAIL CONNECTION: The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation has awarded a $10.2-million grading contract to C.M. Lindsay & Sons to create a 2.4-mile railroad connection in Robeson County. Once grading is complete, CSX will construct a new track and signals. The project will connect CSX's A-Line, with its SE-Line just north of Pembroke. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-10-15]

ALGORITHM PREDICTS TRAIN DELAYS UP TO TWO HOURS BEFORE THEY OCCUR: Stockholm commuter rail operator Stockholmstag says it has developed a mathematical algorithm based on big data which enables it to predict delays anywhere on the network up to two hours before they occur. Dubbed 'commuter prognosis,' it uses historical data to forecast the risk of delay impacts across the network when a train is running behind schedule. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-10-15]

UP TO 500 NEW REGIONAL TRAINS TO BE ORDERED FOR ITALY: Train operator Trenitalia has issued a tender for framework contracts to supply up to 500 regional electric multiple-unit trains to be one of Italy's largest orders for new rolling stock in 30 years. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-10-15]

ALSTOM LANDS $127-M TRAIN-CONTROL CONTRACT WITH METROLINX: Metrolinx has awarded Alstom a $127-million contract to provide a new computer-based integrated train-control system for the greater Toronto and Hamilton area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-10-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Sept. 2, 2015, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 567,206 carloads and intermodal units, up 8 pct compared with the same week in 2014, according to the Association of American Railroads. Carloads were down 0.4 pct, but intermodal volume was up 17 pct. [Railway Age website report, 9-10-15]

OSCAR MUNOZ LEAVES CSX FOR AIRLINE POSITION: CSX president and chief operating officer Oscar Munoz, 56, has left the railroad, effective immediately, to become president and chief executive officer of United Continental Holdings, parent company of United Airlines. Munoz has served on the board for United Continental since 2010. [Railway Age website report, 9-9-15]

ARIZONA EYES PASSENGER RAIL LINKING PHOENIX, TUCSON: Arizona transportation planners who studied multiple options for proposed passenger train service between Phoenix and Tucson are recommending one that would follow largely existing Union Pacific railroad tracks and serve both Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix and downtown Tucson. They also envision possible future extensions from downtown Tucson to its international airport, and from central Phoenix to locations west and northwest of downtown. [Fox 10 TV website report, 9-9-15]

GE WINS APPROVAL FOR ALSTOM DEAL: The European Commission and U.S. Dept. of Justice have authorized General Electric's acquisition of Alstom's power business, which will leave Alstom as a company solely focused on transport. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-9-15]

ONLY FOUR U.S. CLASS I RAILROADS WERE 'REVENUE ADEQUATE' IN 2014, FEDS SAY: BNSF, Grand Trunk (CN), Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific were the only Class I railroads deemed to be 'revenue adequate' in 2014, according to the Surface Transportation Board. The designation means the four carriers achieved a rate of return on net investment equal to or greater than the agency's calculation of the freight-rail industry's average cost of capital, determined to be 10.65 pct. Missing from the list were CSX (10.18 pct), Kansas City Southern (8.18 pct) and Soo Line including Canadian Pacific's U.S. affiliates (minus-0.42 pct). [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-9-15]

FIRST PASSENGER TRAIN RUNS ON RAIL BALTICA: A passenger train has crossed the Poland-Lithuania border for the first time in 76 years with a delegation on the first completed section of the Rail Baltica standard-gauge line from the Polish border to Kaunas in Lithuania. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-9-15]

DENMARK COMPLETES DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT: Denmark has completed a key capacity enhancement project in Jutland with the reopening of the Vandrup-Vojens section of the Fredericia-Padborg line following the completion of a $101-million double-tracking upgrade for 99 MPH operation. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-9-15]

L.A. PUSHES FORWARD WITH RAIL LINES TO HELP LURE OLYMPICS: Los Angeles wants to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, and is pressing forward with two rail projects to help its bid. The city wants to follow and extremely aggressive schedule to finish the Purple line, and wants to finish its rail line at the Los Angeles International Airport before the Olympics. [L.A. Times website report, 9-9-15]

CLARENCE GOODEN NAMED PRESIDENT OF CSX: Michael Ward, chairman and CEO of CSX, has announced senior management changes: Clarence Gooden is appointed president, Fredrik Eliasson is appointed executive vice-president and chief sales & marketing officer, Cindy Sanborn is appointed executive vice-president and chief operating officer of CSX Transportation, and Frank Lonegro is appointed executive vice-president and chief financial officer. Oscar Munoz has resigned as president of CSX to become president and CEO of United Continental Holdings. [CSX, 9-8-15]

CENTRAL MAINE & QUEBEC TO OPERATE ROCKLAND BRANCH LINE IN MAINE: The Maine Dept. of Transportation has awarded a contract to the Central Maine & Quebec Railway to operate the 58-mile Rockland Branch line between Brunswick and Rockland, and operate and maintain Brunswick Yard. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-8-15]

MORRISTOWN & ERIE TO DISCONTINUE PASSENGER EXCURSION OPERATIONS IN MAINE: The Morristown & Erie Railway says this is the final year for its Maine Eastern Railroad subsidiary's freight and passenger excursion operations on the state-owned Rockland Branch. The final passenger run is slated for the end of October. Meanwhile, the Central Maine & Quebec Railway will assume freight operation on the line beginning Jan. 1, 2016. [Railway Age website report, 9-8-15]

GERMAN RAIL USES OVER 100 TRAINS TO TRANSPORT 22,000 REFUGEES: German Rail says it has used more than 100 trains to transport 22,000 refugees entering Germany from neighboring countries to various accommodation facilities during the last few days. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-8-15]

EDMONTON LIGHT-RAIL LINE ENTERS SERVICE: The $665-million light rail project of Edmonton, Alberta, began limited operations Sept. 6, about 16 months after the line was due to enter service. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-8-15]

AMTRAK ADDS SATURDAY NEW YORK-BOSTON ACELA ROUND-TRIP: Amtrak train 2295 is a new Saturday morning Acela train operating from Boston to New York, and train 2260 is a new Saturday evening Acela train operating from New York to Boston. [Railway Age website report, 9-8-15]

FEDS AGREE WITH DALLAS-HOUSTON HIGH-SPEED RAIL ROUTE: The Federal Railroad Administration agrees that the general route preferred by the developer of a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston is indeed the best choice. Known as the 'utility corridor,' it runs along electrical transmission lines and follows relatively straight, existing easements. [City of Fort Worth, 9-8-15]

KEOLIS ADDING 64 WORKERS FOR BOSTON COMMUTER SERVICE: Keolis Commuter Services says 64 new workers will be added to Boston-area trains by the end of the year. The conductors and assistant conductors will be responsible for collecting fares and assisting passengers as they board and exit. Seventeen new workers have already started, and 17 more will start Sept. 12. [WHDH website report, 9-7-15]

KANSAS RAIL TRAIL PROGRAM FOLLOWS LONG ROAD: Efforts to convert abandoned rail lines into trails have followed a long and winding road in Central Kansas. They are most abundant in the eastern part of the state, which include a 117-mile Flint Hills trail from Osawatomie to Herrington, and a roughly 50-mile Prairie Spirit trail from Ottawa to Iola. In some areas, finding the necessary support and funding has proven challenging. [KSAL website report, 9-7-15]

PASSENGER TRAINS RETURN TO THE SCOTTISH BORDERS: The first public passenger trains in 46 years ran between Edinburgh and Tweetbank Sept. 6, when revenue services began over the 30-mile Borders Railway. The railway largely follows the former Waverley Route, requiring the refurbishment of 95 bridges, the construction of 42 new bridges, two tunnels, and seven new stations. [Railway Gazette website report, 9-7-15]

A TRAGIC DATE IN HISTORY: It was September 6, 1943, when Pennsylvania Railroad's Congressional Limited, the company's speediest train, derailed at Frankfort Junction, Pa., north of Philadelphia, killing 79 people and injuring 117 others. [PhillyVoice website report]

MAN KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN S.C.: A man was struck and killed by a Charlotte-bound Amtrak train early Sept. 4 in Columbia, S.C. Officials say the man was lying on the tracks when the train collided with him. The train continued on its journey following a delay of nearly four hours. [WLTX 19 website report, 9-4-15]

SOME 25 PCT OF TRAINS AFFECTED ON FIRST DAY OF SPANISH TRAIN OPERATORS' STRIKE: Spanish rail company Renfe says around a quarter of its commuter and long-distance trains have been canceled owing to a strike by operators. The strike, called by the Semaf union, is the first of four planned this month. [U.S News & World Report, 9-4-15]

CSX INTRODUCING HERITAGE LOCOMOTIVES: CSX has begun a program to identify predecessor rail lines on locomotives by including the logo of the predecessor line on the side of the unit near the front. Examples of locomotives identified thus far include selected units displaying SCL (Seaboard Coast Line), L&N (Louisville & Nashville), and C&O (Chesapeake & Ohio). So far, the program is being implemented as the locomotives are rotated through the shop for the purpose of repainting. Units thus painted are in the latest CSX paint scheme, but with the addition of the herald of the predecessor rail line. [Robert Michaels, 9-3-15]

AUGUST 2015 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. carload traffic slipped 4.6 pct in Aug. 2015 compared with Aug. 2014, but intermodal traffic increased 3.6 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-3-15]

FEDS PROPOSE ALLOWING R.R. POLICE TO USE PUBLIC SAFETY RADIO: The Federal Communications Commission has released a proposed rule change to permit railroad police to access radio airwaves currently reserved for public safety agency officials. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-3-15]

CHAOS AS MIGRANTS CLAMOR FOR TRAIN IN BUDAPEST: Thousands of migrants, who have camped in and around a train station in Budapest, crowded onto a train early Sept. 3, believing their dreams or reaching nations of northern and western Europe could be about to come true. After days of halted trains, word spread fast. [CBS News website report, 9-3-15]

POWER FAILURE DISRUPTS LIRR SERVICE: Long Island Rail Road trains into and out of Pennsylvania Station in New York were suspended early Sept. 2 because of a power failure, snarling service. Starting around 5 A.M., trains were being canceled or held east of the East River tunnels, where a power failure had caused signal trouble. Limited service was restored around 9:15 A.M. [N.Y. Times website report, 9-2-15]

VIA RAIL CANADA REPORTS 5.2 PCT REVENUE INCREASE IN 2-Q: VIA Rail Canada's revenue in the second-quarter 2015 came in at $72.3-million, marking a 5.2 pct increase compared with the same period last year. Quarterly operating expenses decreased by 3.3 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-2-15]

CHINA ORDERS 15 MORE CRH380D HIGH-SPEED TRAINS: Bombardier's Sifang Transportation Chinese joint venture has secured a $381-million contract to supply 15 additional CRH380D high-speed trains to China Railway Corp. The 217 MPH, 528-seat train is formed of four motor cars and four trailers. The order is in addition to 70 train sets ordered earlier this year. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-2-15]

FEDS OFFER $10-M TO IMPROVE R.R. CROSSINGS, TRACK ALONG ENERGY ROUTES: The Federal Railroad Administration is soliciting applications of $10-million in competitive grant funding to states to improve grade corssings and track along routes that transport energy products. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-2-15]

CHANNEL TUNNEL TRAINS DISRUPTED BY MIGRANTS IN TUNNEL: French authorities said cross-channel Eurostar trains were returning to normal Sept. 2 after serious overnight disruptions triggered by reports of migrants running on the undersea tunnel tracks and trying to climb atop trains. [Associated Press website report, 9-2-15]

HUNGARY SHUTS DOWN RAIL TRAFFIC AT BUDAPEST STATION TO PREVENT MIGRANTS FROM BOARDING: Hungary suspended all rail traffic Sept. 1 from its main terminal in Budapest and cleared the station of hundreds of migrants trying to board trains for Austria and Germany. Many of the migrants had entered Europe through Greece and then traveled north through Macedonia and Serbia before reaching Hungary. [U.S. News & World Report, 9-1-15]

BNSF FEELS HEAT OF WILDFIRES IN N.W. MONTANA: BNSF reported to its customers Aug. 31 that it is experiencing an 'operational impact' due to a track outage caused by wildfires in Essex, Montana. The main track through the area was open, but fires continue to burn, which may cause intermittent track closures. BNSF trains were being used to help shuttle fire crews and equipment to help fight the fire near the southern edge of Glacier National Park. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-1-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN UNVEILS NEW CLASS OF YARD LOCOMOTIVES: Norfolk Southern on Sept. 1 unveiled the nation's first of a new class of rail yard locomotives developed with federal funding assistance to reduce emissions in urban areas. Five of the GP33ECO locomotives were dedicated in a ceremony at the company's Inman Yard, just northwest of downtown Atlanta. Altogether, 10 of the locomotives will be put to work at that location this year. The 3,000-horsepower engines meet the U.S. Environmental Protection agency's Tier-3 emissions for locomotives. [Norfolk Southern]

TOKYO'S SEIBU RAILWAY ORDERS KAWASAKI EMU'S: Kawasaki Heavy Industries has been awarded a contract to supply eight 10-car 40000-series electric multiple units to the Seibu Railway for suburban services in the Tokyo area. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-1-15]

CSX SANTA TRAIN RUNS NOV. 21: The CSX Santa Train runs Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, making 14 stops along a 110-mile route distributing toys in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. [CSX]

CHINA TO OPEN HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINK TO NORTH KOREAN BORDER: China will open a high-speed rail line to the North Korean border on Sept. 1. Under construction since 2010, the line will run 127 miles from Shenyang to the border city of Dandong, which faces North Korea across the Yalu River, and will shorten the train journal from three and one-half hours to just over one hour. [Reuters website report, 8-31-15]

GOLD HUNTERS BLOCKED FROM SITE OF ALLEGED NAZI GOLD TRAIN: Polish authorities have blocked off a wooded area near a railroad track after scores of treasure hunters swarmed southwest Poland looking for an alleged Nazi gold train. The alleged site is somewhere between the 61st and 65th kilometer of the tracks that wind their way from Walbrzych to Wroclaw. Guards are now patrolling the area and blocking access to prevent any accidents with trains running on the tracks. [ABC website report, 8-31-15]

FEDS TO HELP DEVELOP PASSENGER-RAIL PLAN FOR S.E.: The Federal Railroad Administration plans to conduct a study to develop a shared, workable vision for a passenger-rail network in the southeastern U.S. The study was awarded in response to a statement of interest that North Carolina submitted on behalf of D.C., Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-31-15]

RADAR DETECTS OBJECT LIKELY TO BE NAZI TRAIN IN POLAND: A Polish official is more than 99 pct certain that ground-penetrating radar images prove the discovery in a tunnel of an armored Nazi train missing since 1945 near the end of the second World War. [U.S. News & World Report website report, 8-28-15]

LIRR BEGINS RAIL INSTALLATION FOR RONKONKOMA BRANCH DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT: Crews have begun installing the first sections of rail as part of a $388-million double-track project along Long Island Rail Road's Ronkonkoma Branch. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-28-15]

TRIMET TO START TESTING NEW ORANGE LINE TRAINS: The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon will begin running test trains along the Orange Line light-rail route starting Aug. 30. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-28-15]

SPAIN MAINTAINS HIGH-SPEED RAIL BUDGET: Rail will remain Spain's transport priority according to the draft budget for 2016 which allocates more than half of spending to rail projects with a special focus on completing the extensive high-speed network. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-28-15]

TOSHIBA TO PROVIDE PROPULSION SYSTEMS FOR TOKYO'S SERIES 4000 TRAINS: Toshiba will provide propulsion systems on Seibu Railway's new Series 4000 trains, scheduled to be begin serving Tokyo and its suburbs by spring 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-28-15]

RAILCAR MANUFACTURING FACILITY TO BE BUILT IN MASSACHUSETTS: CRRC USA Rail Corp. will break ground on a new, 220,000-square-foot facility in Springfield, Massachusetts, Sept. 3, where it will manufacture 284 railcars for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's 'T' system in Boston. [Railway Age website report, 8-28-15]

AMTRAK ANNOUNCES NEW WEEKDAY DEPARTURE TIME FROM NORFOLK, VA.: Amtrak train 84 on weekdays will be departing from Norfolk, Va., at 6:10 A.M. beginning Aug. 31, 2015. [Amtrak]

NEW ADDITIONS FOR LAMOILLE VALLEY RAIL TRAIL UNVEILED: New additions to a multiuse rail trail have been unveiled in West Danville, Vermont. Once completed, it will run 93 miles from St. Johnsbury to Swanton. The trail is owned by Vermont and is leased by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, which is responsible for maintaining and operating it. [WCAX website report, 8-27-15]

POLISH AUTHORITIES CONFIRM EXISTENCE OF NAZI TRAIN: The existence of a legendary Nazi train in Lower Silesie, rumored to contain treasure, has been officially confirmed by the council of Walbrzych in western Poland. Officials, however, avoided speaking of a 'train,' instead describing it as a 'find' or 'trove.' The exact location has not been disclosed. [Deutsche Welle website report, 8-27-15]

RAILROADS IN N.W. REPORT NO MAJOR DAMAGE FROM FIRES SO FAR: The dozens of wildfires raging through the Northwest U.S. have, so far, caused no widespread damage to railway property. [Railway Age website report, 8-27-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Aug. 22, 2015, U.S. railroads logged 288,971 carloads, down 3.7 pct compared with the same week in 2104, but they recorded 278,972 intermodal containers and trailers, up 5 pct compared with 2014, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-27-15]

PHOENIX VOTES TO APPROVE LONG-RANGE LIGHT-RAIL PLAN: Phoenix voters have approved a transportation plan to expand investment in light-rail construction with 42 miles of rail throughout the city. The plan will be funded in part by a 0.7 cent sales tax. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-27-15]

SIEMENS TO AUTOMATE N.Y.'S QUEENS BOULEVARD SUBWAY LINE: Siemens has been awarded a $156-million contract to install communications-based train control on the Queens Boulevard subway line. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-27-15]

AMTRAK GUEST REWARDS CHANGES TO DEBUT IN JANUARY 2016: Amtrak passengers will have more options to earn and redeem points beginning early next year. The program updates more flexible earning and redemption options. There will no longer be any blackout dates or time-of-day restrictions, and the redemption structure will be simplified based upon price instead of zones or routes. [Amtrak, 8-27-15]

FEDS APPROVE TEXAS HIGH-SPEED RAIL CORRIDOR: The Federal Railroad Administration has approved the rail corridor preferred by the developers of the Dallas-Houston bullet train. In its report, the FRA gave its blessing to the 'utility corridor,' which follows power lines for 70 pct of its length. That will give the rail line easy access to electrical power, and reduce issues of right-of-way. [Houston Chronicle website report, 8-26-15]

NOTTINGHAM EXPRESS TRANSIT EXTENSION COMPLETED: Alstom and venture partner Taylor Woodrow completed work on the Nottingham Express Transit extension in Nottingham, England. The project called for the addition of about 10 miles of new track and 28 new stops. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-26-15]

UZBEKISTAN COMPLETES RAIL ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT: Uzbekistan Railways has completed the electrification and modernization of the 87-mile line linking Samarkand with Qarshi in the southwest. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-26-15]

FRENCH PROSECUTOR OPENS TRAIN TERROR INVESTIGATION, DISMISSES ROBBERY CLAIM: French authorities opened a terror investigation into the armed attack on a Paris-bound train, dismissing the suspect's claim to be a robber as a 'fantasy.' The supect emerged from a train restroom armed with an assault rifle, a pistol and a knife the evening of Aug. 21. [NBC News website report, 8-25-15]

PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM ACQUIRES REGIONAL RAIL: Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a Los Angeles private equity firm, has acquired Regional Rail, operator of U.S. short lines and rail-related businesses. The company operates the East Penn, Tyburn, and Middletown & New Jersey railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-25-15]

CALTRAIN SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD: During its 2015 fiscal year, Caltrain reached a record in total ridership of more than 18.5 million passengers, a 54.8 pct increase from just five years ago. [Railway Age website report, 8-25-15]

WISCONSIN TO PAY TALGO $9.75-M IN TRAIN LAWSUIT: Wisconsin officials have agreed to pay $9.7-million more to the Talgo company to settle a suit over train sets the state agreed to buy before canceling the deal. The settlement would bring the total costs to the state for the rejected trains to about $50-million, as reported in a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. [Urban Milwaukee website report, 8-25-15]

WILLIAM QUINN DIES, FORMER HEAD OF MILWAUKEE ROAD: William Quinn, 104, former president, chairman and CEO of the Milwaukee Road, died on Oct. 24. He had retired from the railroad in 1978. [Progressive Railroading website report]

VRE TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON ON FREDERICKSBURG LINE: Virginia Railway Express early Aug. 24 advised riders of service disruption after the first train of the morning killed a person on the tracks north of Dahlgren Junction. The tracks were blocked for three hours, delaying some Amtrak trains as well. [WTOP website report, 8-24-15]

FRANCE AWARDS LEGION OF HONOR TO FOUR TRAIN PASSENGERS WHO SUBDUED GUNMAN: President Hollande of France on Aug. 24 awarded the Legion of Honor, the country's highest award, to three Americans and a Briton for their role in stopping a gunman on a train traveling to Paris Aug. 21. A French citizen, who was the first to tackle the gunman but declined to be identified, will receive his honor at a later date. [N.Y. Times website report, 8-24-15]

INDIANA RAIL ROAD OPENS NEW WHITE RIVER BRIDGE: The Indiana Rail Road Co. last week marked the opening of its new White River Bridge, two miles north of Elnora, Indiana. The structure will handle trains at 40 MPH and rail-car loads of 286,000 pounds, and it replaces a bridge that was built in 1899 with a speed restriction of 10 MPH due to its age, the company said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-24-15]

LIGHT-RAIL MARKET SET TO GROW BY 4 PCT A YEAR: With an increasing number of cities constructing light-rail networks, and aging fleets up for renewal, the market for light-rail vehicles is expected to grow at 4 pct per annum over the next five years, according to the latest market study by SCI Verkehr. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-24-15]

PHOENIX, SACRAMENTO OPEN LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSIONS: Residents of Mesa, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix), and Sacramento are celebrating the latest additions to their light-rail networks, which opened Aug. 22 and 24, respectively. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-24-15]

BART SERVICE DISRUPTED BY SUICIDE: San Francisco's Embarcadero BART station reopened Aug. 24 over three hours after a person died when struck by a train in an apparent suicide, officials said. There are reports that a male standing on the platform jumped in front of an oncoming train. [CBS San Francisco website report, 8-24-15]

AMTRAK TO ADD NEC TRAIN CAPACITY DURING PAPAL VISIT: Amtrak will add trains to meet the anticipated increase in demand for capacity in the Northeast corridor during Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. next month. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-24-15]

NORTH TEXAS PANEL APPROVES $4.5-M FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL PLANNING: The Regional Transportation Council in North Texas has approved $4.5-million through FY-2018 for the planning, design, project development and preliminary engineering of a high-speed rail line to connect Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-24-15]

FEDS GRANT $71.4-M TO N.J. TRANSIT IN EMERGENCY RELIEF FUNDING: The Federal Transit Administration will award New Jersey Transit more than $71.4-million in hurricane Sandy recovery funds for various repair and resiliency projects. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-24-15]

BOSTON TROLLEY PROJECT IN JEOPARDY DUE TO COST: The Green line extension project, which would add seven trolley stations to push the line from Boston into the suburbs, was to have cost $2-billion, but a 'hot' construction market in the area has pushed the price up to as much as $3-billion. The state's transportation deparment says everything's on the table, including canceling the project, but the state needs a project that is affordable. [Boston Herald website report, 8-24-15]

WORKER DIES AFTER ACCIDENT AT AMTRAK'S BEECH GROVE FACILITY: Amtrak says a worker died after an accident at the maintenance facility in Beech Grove, Indiana, the morning of Aug. 22. [WTHR website report, 8-24-15]

FEDERAL GRANT ACCEPTANCE WILL ALLOW WORK ON S.W. CHIEF ROUTE: The process of improving the rail line of the Southwest Chief through Kansas took a step forward Aug. 24 after the Garden City commission officially accepted a federal grant awarded last fall to the project. [Garden City Telegram website report, 8-24-15]

FOUR PASSENGERS THWART GUNMAN ON TRAIN IN FRANCE: Four passengers, three from the U.S. and one from Great Britain, subdued a gunman aboard a train en route from Amsterdam to Paris Aug. 21. After a stop in Brussels, they heard what sounded like gunfire. After seeing the gunman struggling with another passenger, the four rushed to subdue him. No one was critically hurt or killed in the attack. The gunman, a 26-year-old Moroccan, was taken into custody. [N.Y. Times website report, 8-22-15]

SEPTA WEST TRENTON PASSENGER SERVICE TO SEPARATE FROM CSX FREIGHT OPERATIONS: SEPTA will finalize separation of its West Trenton Regional rail line from a CSX freight line. Separation of the six-mile section between Woodbourne and West Trenton will help alleviate rush-hour train congestion in the area, and clears the way for SEPTA to complete positive train-control implementation. CSX operates about 25 trains through the area daily. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-21-15]

CLASS I U.S. RAIL WORKFORCE SHRINKS IN MID-JULY: As of mid-July 2015, Class I U.S. railroads employed 171,043 people, down 0.75 pct from June's level, but up 2.34 pct compared with July 2014, according to data from the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-21-15]

AMTRAK'S VERMONTER TO STOP IN HOLYOKE: Beginning Aug. 27, Amtrak's Vermonter will expand to include a stop at Holyoke, Massachusetts. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-21-15]

SILVER SPRING, MD., TRANSIT CENTER TO OPEN SEPT. 20: Montgomery County, Md., has built a three-level, multimodal transit center adjacent to the Silver Spring Metrorail station, and will offer improved connectivity between Metrorail, Metrobus, MARC trains, intercity buses and taxis. The facility is slated to open on Sept. 20. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-21-15]

DINING CAR REMOVED FROM SILVER STAR: Through Jan. 31, 2016, the dining car will be removed from the Silver Star, and all meal service may be purchased in the cafe-lounge car. During this period, Amtrak is offering lower cost sleeping accommodations aboard the train, as meals will not be included in the fare. These temporary changes are being implemented as an experiment to examing reaction and market demand for this service. [Amtrak]

NAZI TRAIN LOADED WITH TREASURE MAY HAVE BEEN FOUND: Two men in Poland claim they have found a legendary Nazi train that, according to local lore, was loaded with gems and valuable art, and vanished into a system of tunnels near the end of the second World War. The two men are requesting 10 pct of the value for revealing the location of the train. [Town Hall website report, 8-20-15]

BLET MEMBERS RATIFY NEW CONTRACT WITH INDIANA SOUTHERN: Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen have ratified a new six-year collective bargaining agreement with the Indiana Southern Railroad after 16 months of negotiations. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-20-15]

SEPTA GENERAL MANAGER TO RETIRE: Joseph Casey, general manager of SEPTA, who has led the agency since 2008 and completed 34 years of service in a number of roles, will retire Sept. 30. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-20-15]

PORTABLE BATTERY RENTALS ARE AVAILABLE AT CHICAGO UNION STATION: Amtrak has partnered with MobileQubes to provide passengers with portable battery rentals for mobile devices in Chicago's Union Station. The devices allow users to charge their devices without plugging into a stationary outlet. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-20-15]

WATER SUPPLY TRAIN TO BE TESTED: Water Train Inc., an operating unit of Modoc Railroad, has begun solicitations of private entities and governments to participate in the operation of a water test train. It will contain 190,000 gallons of water for agricultural and groundwater recharge use. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-20-15]

FEDS INCLUDE OHIO-TO-CHICAGO PASSENGER RAIL CORRIDOR IN REGIONAL PLAN: The Ohio-to-Chicago passenger-rail corridor will be part of the Federal Railroad Administration's regional rail plan for the Midwest, two passenger-rail advocacy organizations have announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-20-15]

N.J. TRANSIT TRAIN STRIKES CAR ON PASCACK VALLEY LINE, DRIVER KILLED: All service has resumed following extensive delays on the Pascack Valley line after a fatal, fiery crash involving a New Jersey Transit train and a car early Aug. 20 near the Westwood station. [Journal News website report, 8-20-15]

UNION PACIFIC BRIDGE COLLAPSES IN IOWA: Crews are working to repair a railroad bridge that collapsed Aug. 19 near Little Sioux, Iowa. High water levels from recent rains likely caused the center pier of the structure to collapse. The railroad said eight trains use the route each day between Council Bluffs and Sioux City, and they will be rerouted until repairs are made. [KTIV website report, 8-20-15]

CHINA TO BUILD SECOND FUZHOU-ZHANGZHOU HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: China is to construct a second, 185-mile high-speed rail line between Fuzhou and Zhangzhou, but with a design speed of 217 MPH rather than the 155 MPH design speed of the existing line, which opened in 2010 and is now operating at maximum capacity. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-20-15]

ENGINEERS DELVE INTO UNDERWATER RAIL LINES: Engineers are in the middle of a push to design and build underwater rail lines. A $14.5-billion line is planned between the Gulf of Finland between Finland and Estonia. In Canada, a tunnel is planned between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Environmental concerns and economics are pushing the projects, but some experts are skeptical, given safety and water pressure concerns. [OZY website report, 8-20-15]

HYPERLOOP PROJECT TO BREAK GROUND NEXT YEAR: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies says it plans to begin construction on a 5-mile hyperloop test track north of Los Andeles next year. A hyperloop system is a vacuum-sealed tube that can transport people at speeds up to 800 MPH. [Tech Insider website report, 8-20-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Aug. 15, 2015, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 564,502 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.7 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume gained 2.3 pct, while carloads were down 5.2 pct, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 8-19-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN S.C.: A Norfolk Southern train derailed in North Charleston, S.C., the afternoon of Aug. 19. The railroad said two locomotives and two intermodal-container cars derailed. There were no injuries. [WCSC 5 website report, 8-19-15]

MAN DIES AFTER BEING STRUCK BY TRAIN IN MARTISBURG, W.VA.: Police say a man died after he was hit by a train along CSX tracks Aug. 18 in Martinsburg, W.Va. The incident is under investigation. [WTRF 7 website report, 8-19-15].

UPPER NORMANDY RECEIVES FIRST REGIOLIS TRAIN: The first of 10 Alstom Regiolis dual-voltage trains for the French region of Upper Normandy was officially presented on Aug. 18 at the Sotteville depot near Rouen. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-19-15]

N.J. PROMISES TO WORK WITH FEDS TO PAY FOR NEW HUDSON RIVER TUNNEL: New Jersey's governor and the state's two U.S. senators met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Aug. 18 and vowed to work together to obtain federal money for a $14-billion rail tunnel under the Hudson River. New York's governor, however, did not show up for the meeting. [U.S. News & World Report, 8-18-15]

R.J. CORMAN TAKES POSSESSION OF CAROLINA SOUTHERN: R.J. Corman Railroad officially took possession of the former Carolina Southern on Aug. 17. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-18-15]

FOOTHILL GOLD LINE STATION DEDICATED IN DUARTE, CALIFORNIA: The Duarte/City of Hope light-rail station in California has been dedicated. The event was the first in a series to mark construction progress on the 11.5-mile segment from Pasadena to Azusa, part of the larger Foothill Gold Line extension. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-18-15]

LANDSLIDE MITIGATION WORK RESUMES IN WASHINGTON STATE: The Washington state Dept. of Transportation has begun landslide mitigation near Mukiteo and Everett in an effort to prevent passenger-rail service disruptions north of Seattle. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-18-15]

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD., INCREASES FUNDING FOR LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Prince George's County, Md., has reached an agreement in principle with the state to contribute $20-million in additional funding for the development of the Purple light-rail line. The county had previously committed $100-million for the project. The proposed 16-mile light-rail line would extend from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George's County. [Globe St. website report, 8-17-15]

CHINA OPENS NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: China launched services on its most northerly high-speed rail line Aug. 17, a 175-mile line in Heilongjiang province between Harbin and Qiqihar, reducing the journey time between the two cities to one hour and 25 minutes. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-17-15]

LATVIAN RAILWAYS PRESIDENT ARRESTED IN CORRUPTION PROBE: The president of Latvian Railways has been removed from his job and in custody over bribery allegations. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-17-15]

AMTRAK OFFERING WALK-UP BICYCLE SERVICE IN N.C.: Amtrak's Carolinian and Piedmont trains running between Raleigh and Charlotte now offer passengers walk-up bicycle service at certain stations, with advance reservations. Customers simply hand their bikes to Amtrak crewmembers, and the employees hang them carefully on racks in the baggage cars. [Travel Pulse website report, 8-17-15]

MARYLAND CONSIDERS MOVING TRAIN STOP AT LAUREL: The state of Maryland is considering halting the use of the Laurel train stop because developers of a nearby mixed-use project in Howard County want to put the train stop there. Built in 1884, the station building at Laurel is one of the most-used stops on the MARC Camden line. The city of Laurel is planning town hall meetings the third Thursday of every month, 6PM until 8PM, for the rest of the year to keep the public informed of the situation. [City of Laurel website report, 8-17-15]

BILL GATES INCREASES STAKE IN CN: Microsoft founder Bill Gates has increased his overall investment in Canadian National Railway to 13.83 pct. He purchased 1,077,175 shares between July 31 and August 6. [ report, 8-17-15]

FRENCH RAIL ENGINEER TO SUE EMPLOYER AFTER 12 YEARS OF PAID IDLENESS: A French engineer working for rail operator SNCF plans to sue his employer for compensation, after receiving $5,500 per month plus bonuses for 12 years to just sit at home and do nothing. In 2003 he reportedly came across a fraudulent scam and told authorities what he saw. His boss told him to go home and wait until they could find him a different position. Now he claims the railroad 'destroyed his career,' and he is tired of doing nothing. [RT website report, 8-16-15]

HISTORIC 40-FOOT RAILROAD COACH DONATED TO WAYNESBURG, PA., MUSEUM: A 122-year old, 40-foot clerestory-roof passenger railroad coach of the Waynesburg & Washington Railroad is being donated to the Waynesburg Museum of the Greene County Historical Society in Pennsylvania where it will be paired with a locomotive on display. Retired from service in 1929, the car had been on display in Waynesburg from 1985 until 1996. It was then donated to the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association, but plans to restore the car never came to pass. [Trib Live website report, 8-16-15]

VERMONT PUSHES FOR GRANT TO CLOSE RAIL GAP: Vermont has applied for a $12-million federal grant to upgrade 11 miles of track, completing a connection between Rutland and Burlington suitable for passenger rail and higher-capacity freight. [Rutland Herald website report, 8-16-15]

SMALL PLANE CRASHES ON LIRR TRACKS, ONE KILLED: A small, single-engine plane crashed on a Long Island Rail Road crossing in Hicksville, N.Y., early Aug. 16, killing the pilot and injuring a passenger, disrupting rail service. [Arkansas Online website report, 8-16-15]

THREE NEW DIESELS FOR N.Y. N.J. RAIL: New York New Jersey Rail has received three new diesel freight switching locomotives from Knoxville Locomotive Works. The SE series low-emission switchers will work at the terminals in Jersey City and Brooklyn, and position rail cars for cross-harbor freight operations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-14-15]

VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON, OPENS NEW $30-M RAIL ENTRANCE PROJECT: A new $30-million rail project known as 'The Trench' is a new freight access entrance at West Vancouver designed to reduce regional rail congestion by up to 40 pct. It opened Aug. 13. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-14-15]

TRANSIT VILLAGE APPROVED FOR WEST PALM BEACH: West Palm Beach's $300-million Transit Village development has won city approval, paving the way for offices, condos, hotel and shops beside a downtown hub for trains, buses and trolleys. The 6.6-acre project will be erected in one phase, with construction starting in early 2016 and be completed in three years. [Palm Beach Post website report, 8-14-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN IN MASSACHUSETTS: Authorities say a man was killed while on the tracks in Mansfield, Massachusetts, the morning of Aug. 13. The incident resulted in significant delays to trains. [Fox 25 News report]

SHIPPING OIL THROUGH PIPELINES SAFER THAN BY RAIL, REPORT SAYS: Oil shipments are four and one-half times more likely to have a spill or incident that those pumped through a pipeline, says a report from the Fraser Institute, which examined data from Canada's transportation safety board and Transport Canada between 2003 and 2013. [Globe and Mail website report, 8-13-15]

FUNDS ALLOCATED TO REPAIR DAMAGES AT UTICA TRAIN STATION: Oneide County, N.Y., has allocated $700,000 to pay for damages caused at the Utica Union Station by a runaway rail car. Officials say the brake on a freight car parked on a track July 21 was released by a 13-year-old boy, sending the car hurtling through the city before crashing into an antique locomotive at the station. [MyFoxNY website report, 8-13-15]

AMTRAK OFFERING FREE DIGITAL NEWSPAPERS FOR FIRST-CLASS, BUSINESS CLASS PATRONS ON SELECT TRAINS: Beginning Aug. 17, Amtrak's first- and business-class passengers may access free digital editions of the New York Times and Washington Post aboard Acela, Northeast Regional, Carolinian, Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian and Vermonter trains. Hard copies of newspapers will be discontinued at the same time. [Amtrak]

FORT WORTH & WESTERN NAMES TOP EXECUTIVE: Fort Worth & Western Railroad has promoted Kevin Erasmus to president and chief executive officer, succeeding Steven George, who has retired. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-13-15]

CLEVELAND OPENS NEW RED LINE RAIL STATION: The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit authority has opened its new $15.6-million Little Italy-University Circle rail station. The first new station along the Red line in 46 years, it replaces an older facility less than one-half mile away. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-13-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 562,884 U.S. carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Aug. 8, 2015, down 0.9 pct compared with the same week last year. Carload volume dropped 4.4 pct, while intermodal volume increased 3.1 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-13-15]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN MASSACHUSETTS: A person was struck and killed by an Amtrak train the morning of Aug. 13 in Mansfield, Massachusetts. The incident resulted in commuter train delays. Police are investigating. [Fox 25 News website report, 8-13-15]

MARC TO REPLACE ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES WITH DIESELS: The Maryland Transit Administration has decided to phase out its 10-unit fleet of AEM7 and HHP8 electric locomotives used on the Penn Line and replace them with eight new 125-MPH 'Charger' diesel-electric locomotives from Siemens Industry. Meanwhile, Amtrak, which currently maintains MARC's electric fleet, will no longer be able to provide that service as of June 2016, because it is retiring its own HHP8 locomotives and is phasing out its AEM7 fleet. [Railway Age website report, 8-12-15]

CN'S CEO TAKING LEAVE FOR TREATMENT OF TUMOR: Canadian National's chief executive officer Claude Mongeau is taking a three-month leave of absence to undergo treatment to remove a tumor. [Bloomberg website report, 8-12-15]

FLORIDA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT CHALLENGED BY ARCHAEOLOGIST: A prominent Florida archaeologist says crews working on a high-speed rail project to connect Miami and Orlando failed to tell regulators of plans to dig near an ancient Native American site disturbing ancient artifacts. [Reuters website report, 8-12-15]

MARYLAND COULD LOSE $100-M IN FEDERAL FUNDS OVER CANCELED RED LINE: Maryland mayt lose out on $100-million in federal funding that was slated for use in the Red Line transit project, which was canceled by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-12-15]

WOODEN RAILROAD TRESTLE IN OREGON DESTROYED BY FIRE: About two-thirds of a 600-foot-long, 50-foot-high wooden railroad trestle in Sherwood, Oregon, that caught fire late Aug. 10 collapsed overnight, and firefighters started to knock the rest of it down the following afternoon. The trestle was owned by Portland & Western. [KGW website report, 8-11-15]

CLEAN LOCOMOTIVE PROTOTYPE IS READIED: In about a month, Knoxville Locomotive Works should have its first prototype engine installed in a locomoitve and be ready for testing under EPA Tier 4 standards that went into effect this year, said Pete Claussen, chairman of the parent company, Gulf & Ohio Railways. [Knoxville News Sentinel website report, 8-11-15]

TRACKWORK TO BEGIN ON METRA'S ROCK ISLAND LINE: A major tie replacement and track resurfacing project will begin Aug. 17 on Metra's Rock Island line to Joliet. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-11-15]

RAIL INDUSTRY'S COST OF CAPITAL CONTRACTED IN 2014: The railroad industry's composite after-tax cost of capital has been calculated at 10.65 pct for 2014, down from 11.32 pct in 2013, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-11-15]

ALSTOM LANDS ORDER FOR EIGHT REGIOLIS TRAINS IN FRANCE: Alstom is supplying eight additional four-car Regiolis trains to the Midi-Pyrenees region in France for $51-million, following an initial order for 25 such units in 2009. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-11-15]

AMTRAK SUED OVER EPILEPSY DISCRIMINATION: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit against Amtrak claiming discrimination against a Seattle worker who was turned away because of epilepsy. His position was denied over fear for his safety if he should have a seizure, although he had been working in a similar position with a locomotive company for years. [ report, 8-11-15]

CN'S STOCK DOWNGRADED AS TRAFFIC WEAKENS: Canadian National's persistently weak third-quarter data, coupled with the strong performance of it share price, prompted a downgrade at Raymond James on Aug. 11. [Financial Post website report, 8-11-15]

BNSF FINED FOR DUMPING RAILROAD TIES IN WASHINGTON STATE WATERS: The Washington State Dept. of Ecology has fined BNSF $86,000 for dumping creosote-treated railroad ties and other materials from maintenance projects in Whatcom and Skagit county water bodies. [Seattle Times website report, 8-11-15]

AMTRAK, SEPTA ON TRACK TO MEET PTC MANDATE: Of the 41 railroads required to meet a federal mandate for implementing positive train-control, SEPTA and Amtrak are among the 11 expected to complete the project by the end of this year. [ report, 8-11-15]

UNION PACIFIC CUTTING SEVERAL HUNDRED MANAGEMENT JOBS: Union Pacific says it plans to eliminate several hundred management jobs in Omaha and elsewhere in the coming months, as the railroad faces slumping cargo volume. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 8-11-15]

ENHANCED X2000 SERVICE BEGINS BETWEEN STOCKHOLM AND OSLO: Swedish national train operator SJ marked the launch of its enhanced X2000 services between the Norwegian and Swedish capitals on Aug. 10. Journey time for the 355-mile trip, with two intermediate stops, has been reduced by more than an hour to about four and one-half hours. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-10-15]

AUSTRALIAN PASSENGER TRAINS TO SUFFER SUBSIDY CUTS: Great Southern Rail is set to cut frequency in half for services on its iconic Ghan and Indian Pacific trains after the Australian government said it would cut its subsidy in 2016. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-10-15]

GATEWAY TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION MUST BEGIN SOON, AMTRAK SAYS: Delays along the Northeast corridor will become the 'norm' if the Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River is not started soon, according to Stephen Gardner, Amtrak vice-president. Amtrak needs the federal government to pay 80 pct of the cost, and the states and others to cover the remaining amount. [WCBS-TV website report, 8-10-15]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO ACQUIRE CLAREMONT CONCORD RAILROAD: The Claremont Concord Railroad is being acquired by Genesee & Wyoming's subsidiary New England Central Railroad in an asset-purchase agreement. Claremont Concord shuttles freight over the Connecticut River between White River Junction, Vermont, and West Lebanon, N.H., and over a stretch of track in Claremont, N.H. [Valley News website report, 8-9-15]

MUCH OF $1.2-B SPENT ON SCRAPPED HUDSON TUNNEL PLAN WILL GO TO WASTE: Taxpayers have spent nearly $1.2-billion on the as-yet-fruitless effort to expand rail access across the Hudson, according to new information obtained from government agencies. The total includes nearly $1-billion spent before Oct. 27, 2010, the day the Access to the Region's Core tunnel was canceled by New Jersey governor Christie, a project that would have doubled train service after it was to open in 2018. [ report, 8-9-15]

FOUR CREW MEMBERS INJURED AS TWO TRAINS COLLIDE IN GEORGIA: Norfolk Southern confirms that four crew members were injured in Sandersville, Georgia, as two trains were involved in a derailment. The railroad said one of the trains was en route from Atlanta to Savannah, and the other was a local freight train. The sheriff's office reported that both trains were on the same track and collided. [WRDW-TV website report, 8-7-15]

METRO-NORTH PASSENGER STRUCK & KILLED BY TRAIN IN CONNECTICUT: Police are investigating the death of passenger in Cos Cob, Connecticut, Aug. 7. Officials said a 28-year-old woman dropped her wallet onto the tracks and went to retrieve it when she was struck by a New Haven-bound train traveling about 45 miles per hour. [WFSB website report, 8-7-15]

N.J. TRANSIT TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN: A New Jersey Transit train struck and killed a man just west of the Millburn train statiom early Aug. 7, the agency said. [NorthJersey website report, 8-7-15]

BOSTON COMPANY HAS PLANS TO OPERATE PRIVATE PASSENGER RAIL LINE: The Boston Surface Railroad Co. is planning a commuter rail line that would shuttle passengers between Worcester, Mass., and Providence, R.I., in about an hour. Vincent Bono, CEO of the company, hopes the rail line will be up and running on the Providence & Worcester Railroad by 2017. [WPRI website report, 8-7-15]

WEST RAIL BRIDGE LINKING U.S. AND MEXICO OPENS: The West Rail Bridge, the first rail bridge built to connect U.S. and Mexico in more than a century, became operational Aug. 7. The project prioritizes border security and includes X-ray scanning machines to scan rail cars for illicit cash, drugs and other contraband. The project replaces the existing connection between Brownsville and Matamoros. [Railway Age website report, 8-7-15]

RAILROADS TO FACE FINES FOR FAILURE TO MEET PTC DEADLINE: The Federal Railroad Administration plans to impose big penalties on railroads that fail to meet a year-end deadline to install positive train-control, including more than 70 pct of the nation's commuter railroads. [McClatchy News Service website report, 8-7-15]

BNSF EARNINGS RISE IN 2-Q: BNSF Railway contributed $963-million to Berkshire Hathaway's second-quarter 2015 earnings, compared with $916-million a year ago. [Fort Worth Star Telegram website report, 8-7-15]

D.C. METRO SERVICE DISRUPTED BY DERAILMENT: An out of service D.C. metro train derailed at the Smithsonian Metro station early Aug. 6 causing major disruptions and delays. There were no injuries, but some damage was reported along the track. [My Fox DC website report, 8-6-15]

LONDON UNDERGROUND WORKERS STAGE 24-HOUR STRIKE: Millions of Londoners struggle to work Aug. 6 as a 24-hour strike brought the underground rail network to a standstill for the second time in a month. [Reuters website report, 8-6-15]

ISRAEL SELECTS BOMBARDIER FOR ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE ORDER: Israel Railways has selected Bombardier as preferred bidder for a contract to supply 62 electric locomotives as part of a project to electrify 261 miles of the country's network. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-6-15]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: For the second-quarter 2015, FreightCar America reported net income of $7.4-million or 60 cents per diluted share, compared with $1.6-million or 13 cents per diluted share for the second-quarter last year. The company delivered 2,611 railcars in the quarter and had a backlog of over 14,000 units at the quarter's end. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-6-15]

FIRE AT NEWARK, N.J., PENN STATION CAUSES TRAIN DELAYS: A fire at Newark's Penn Station briefly halted all Amtrak and N.J. Transit rail service the afternoon of Aug. 6, and left one track out of service for the evening commute. [ report, 8-6-15]

AMTRAK TRAINS SELLING OUT AHEAD OF POPE'S VISIT TO PHILADELPHIA: As Pope Francis's visit to Philadelphia nears, Amtrak is seeing more business. The three morning trains on the Harrisburg-Philadelphia line for Sept. 27 are already completely booked. [WITF website report, 8-6-15]

GROUP PROPOSES PRIVATELY FUNDED HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE IN MINNESOTA: The North American High Speed Rail Group wants to build a line from the Twin Cities to Rochester, Minnesota, and eventually expand to Chicago, using private funds from U.S. and Chinese investors. The proposed $4.2-billion portion from the Twin Cities to Rochester would include 84 miles of elevated tracks from trains traveling up to 280 MPH. The group wants rights to the airspace along several highways. [Rochester Post-Bulletin website report, 8-6-15]

JULY 2015 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 2,708,299 combined carload and intermodal originations in July 2015, down 1.8 pct from July 2014. Carload traffic was down 6.5 pct, while intermodal traffic was up 3.5 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-5-15]

DOZENS KILLED AS TRAINS DERAIL IN INDIA: Two passenger trains derailed over a bridge in central India, killing at least 24 people, officials said. The trains were traveling in opposite directions, crossing a small bridge that was flooded by heavy monsoon rains. [Wall Street Journal website report, 8-5-15]

APPROVAL GIVEN FOR ALL ABOARD FLORIDA TO ISSUE TAX-EXEMPT BONDS: The private company All Aboard Florida may issue $1.75-billion in public, tax-exempt bonds to build its high-speed rail line after receiving approval from the Florida Development Finance Corp. Government officials say it will not cost taxpayers any mondy because All Aboard Florida must pay the debt. [Palm Beach Post website report, 8-5-15]

DETROIT'S M-1 RAIL STARTUP DELAYED UNTIL 2017: A year after construction began on Detroit's M-1 rail transit line, officials say passenger service should begin in spring 2017 rather than late 2016 as initially predicted, with more time needed to work through updated federal safety regulations. [Detroit Free Press website report, 8-5-15]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON DENVER'S 9,533-FOOT-LONG COMMUTER RAIL BRIDGE: At 9,533 feet, Colorado's commter-rail Skyway Bridge will be the longest in the state, and longer than the Golden Gate Bridge. Construction on this part of the Denver area's North Metro rail line began this month, and is being assembled in segments. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-4-15]

TRACK CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW HAVEN-SPRINGFIELD RAIL LINE: Construction of a second track has begun for the expanded New Haven-Springfield rail line, with commuters being bused along the route for the next year. When completed, the project will boost rail transportation from six daily round-trips to 17 a day south of Hartford, and 12 north of Hartford. [WFSB website report, 8-3-15]

VIA RAIL TO MODIFY RENAISSANCE COACHES ON OTTAWA-MONTREAL SERVICE: Canada will invest $10.5-million (C) over two years to improve passenger operations on the Ottawa-Montreal corridor. Via Rail will use the funds to modify Renaissance coaches to provide a consistent level of service, improve access for passengers with diabilities, and replace older equipment. Track and signal improvements will also be made. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-3-15]

DEAL PRESERVES HOOSIER STATE TRAIN FOR TWO YEARS: Passenger rail service between Chicago and Indianapolis will be available every day under a two-year contract Indiana has signed with Amtrak and Iowa Pacific Holdings. The deal preserves the four-day-a-week operation of the Hoosier State, and will complement the Cardinal on the same route the other three days of the week. [Indianapolis Star website report, 8-2-15]

FEDS ISSUE OIL TRAIN SAFETY RULE: A new rule by the Federal Railroad Administration requires two qualified railroad employees to ensure that hand brakes and other safety equipment have been properly set on trains left unattended on main tracks, sidings and in rail yards while carrying dangerous materials such as crude oil or ethanol. [Insurance Journal website report, 7-31-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES PICKUP TRUCK IN N.C.: Emergency crews responded to a crash involving Amtrak train 75 and a pickup truck July 30 in Greensboro, N.C. The driver reportedly tried to beat the train to a crossing, and the resulting collision pinned the vehicle between the train and a building. Fifty-nine passengers were on the train, en route to Charlotte, and was delayed about an hour. [Times Warner Cable News website report, 7-31-15]

KCS OPENS NEW INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN TEXAS: Kansas City Southern has dedicated its new, $64-million intermodal terminal in Wylie, Texas. The terminal, which supports two 5,000-foot intermodal tracks, opened for operations on July 13. [Railway Age website report, 7-31-15]

PRIVATE COMPANY SEEKS EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FOR MINNESOTA HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Minnesota is considering granting a private company exclusive rights to lease air space on highways for an elevated high-speed rail line from Rochester to the Twin Cities. [Post Bulletin website report, 7-31-15]

LANCE FRITZ ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF UNION PACIFIC: Union Pacific's board of directors has elected Lance M. Fritz chairman, president and CEO effective Oct. 1, succeeding the current chairman, Jack Koraleski, who is retiring. [Union Pacific, 7-30-15]

IOWA PACIFIC TO OPERATE GRENADA RAILWAY: The North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad authority has acquired Grenada Railway, and signed a 15-year lease agreement with a subsidiary of Iowa Pacific Holdings to operate and develop business on the line. [Railway Age website report, 7-30-15]

MIDWEST TERMINALS OPENS RAIL CAR REPAIR SHOP IN OHIO: Midwest Terminals has opened its MWT Railcar Repair Shop on 175 acres in Ironville, Ohio, serviced by Norfolk Southern near the Port of Toledo. [Railway Age website report, 7-30-15]

NINETY-ONE RAIL CARS RUNAWAY IN CN YARD IN ONTARIO: Officials are investigating a collision involving a section of 91 rail cars that became uncoupled and drifted away from a locomotive at CN's MacMillan yard near Toronto July 29, colliding with an incoming train. Nine cars derailed and two others on an adjacent track were damaged. [Globe & Mail website report, 7-30-15]

ONE KILLED, TEN INJURED WHEN CHURCH VAN CRASHES INTO TRAIN IN OHIO: Authorities say a van transporting children to a vacation Bible school crashed through a crossing gate and into the side of a freight train in Middletown, Ohio, July 28, killing a woman and injuring the driver and nine children. [WKYC website report, 7-29-15]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR DENVER LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Parsons Brinckerhoff and several partners have won a $140-million contract from Denver to design and build a 2.3-mile extension to the city's light-rail line. [Denver American City Business Journal website report, 7-29-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 557,612 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending July 25, 2015, a decrease of 2.5 pct compared with the same week last year. Carloads, by themselves, were down 6.7 pct, while intermodal volume was up 2.3 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-29-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN DISABLED IN HUDSON TUNNEL FOR OVER ONE HOUR: An Amtrak train headed to New York Penn Station early July 28 became disabled inside one of the Hudson River tunnels, causing delays for commuters. Officials said 241 passengers were on the train. They never lost power or air-conditioning, but the train was stranded for over an hour. [ABC 7 website report, 7-28-15]

BOMBARDIER LANDS 30-YEAR TORONTO CROSSTOWN LIGHT-RAIL CONTRACT: Bombardier Transportation has won a contract to provide 30 years of maintenance on the Flexity Freedom light-rail vehicles it will build for service on the new Toronto Eglinton Crosstown line. [Railway Age website report, 7-28-15]

D.C. METRO CELEBRATES FIRST YEAR OF SILVER LINE: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation authority celebrated the first year of Silver line service from Largo Town Center to Wiehle-Reston East on July 27. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-28-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS LOWER 2-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern Corp. reported second-quarter 2015 net income of $433-million, 23 pct lower compared with second-quarter of the previous year. Diluted earnings per share were $1.41, compared with $1.79 in the same quarter last year. The railway operating ratio was 70 pct. Coal revenue dropped by 33 pct from the second-quarter 2014. [Norfolk Southern, 7-27-15]

AGING RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE FACES PROBLEMS: Commuters in New Jersey faced huge delays last week with problems caused by overhead electrical wires and a power substation. The delays there, along with issues in other states along the Northeast corridor, highlight the problems with the country's aging rail infrastructure. [N.Y. Times website report, 7-27-15]

NTSB STUDY SHOWS ECP BRAKES OUTPERFORM OTHER BRAKE SYSTEMS: The National Transportation Safety Board has released a train-braking simulation study that concludes that electronically-controlled pneumatic brake systems outperform distributed power configurations. Meanwhile, distributed power configurations, in turn, have outperformed conventional brake systems. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-27-15]

WABTEC PLANS TO ACQUIRE FAIVELEY TRANSPORT: Wabtec has confirmed that it plans to acquire Faiveley Transport for $1.8-billion. If approved, the trasaction will create one of the world's largest rail equipment supply companies. Faiveley Transport employs 5,700 people in 24 countries. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-27-15]

UPS EXPANDS CHINA-GERMANY RAIL FREIGHT SERVICES: United Parcel Service has expanded its China-Germany intermodal rail freight operation to accommodate smaller consignments with the addition of a less-than-container load service between Zhengzhou and Hamburg. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-27-15]

FUNDING ALLOCATED FOR INDIA-BANGLADESH RAIL LINK: The Indian government has allocated $153-million toward the construction of a 9.3-mile rail link from Agartala in the Indian state of Tripura to Akhaura in Bangladesh. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-27-15]

DETROIT BICYCLE TRAIL PROJECT HANGS ON FORMER RAIL LINE SALE: Plans to complete a 26-mile bicycle loop in Detroit are snagged by the lack of agreement for a sale of eight miles of unused railroad right of way. The Detroit Greenways Coalition has been negotiating with Conrail for about a year without closing a deal. Conrail says liability and other questions need to be resolved. [9 & 10 News website report, 7-26-15]

POLICE PROBE SHOOTING ON ATLANTA COMMUTER TRAIN: Police say a man was wounded late July 25 aboard a commuter train in Atlanta. It happened on a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit authority train near the King Memorial station on Decatur street. No immediate arrests were made. [Town Hall website report, 7-26-15]

DALLAS-HOUSTON HIGH-SPEED RAIL GAINS $75-MILLION FROM NEW INVESTORS: Texas Central Partners, the group planning to build high-speed rail between Dallas and Houston, say that new investors are putting in $75-million toward the project, reported by the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. Two of the three investors are joining the company's board. [NARP Hotline, 7-24-15]

SOUND TRANSIT OPTS FOR I-5 LIGHT-RAIL ROUTE: Seattle's Sound Transit board has voted that the planned light-rail line from SeaTac to Federal Way should be built along Interstate 5, rather than over Highway 99, saving $300-million. [Seattle Times website report, 7-24-15]

CHINA INVESTS ALMOST $43-B IN RAIL IN FIRST HALF OF 2015: China Railways Corp. says China has invested nearly $43-billion in domestic railway construction in the first half of 2015, an increase of 12.7 pct from the first half of 2014. In the first six months of 2015, operations commenced on 1,383 miles of new lines. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-24-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PEDESTRIAN IN N.C.: Officials say a pedestrian was struck and killed by Amtrak's Crescent early July 24 near Salisbury, N.C. [WSOC-TV website report, 7-24-15]

AMTRAK TESTING RETRACTABLE PLATFORM AT ANN ARBOR STATION: The Amtrak station in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is testing a retractable platform designed to make it easier for people with wheelchairs, strollers or luggage to get on and off trains.[Detroit Free Press website report, 7-23-15]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corp. reported 2015 second-quarter net income of $1.2-billion or $1.38 per diluted share, compared with $1.3-billion or $1.43 per diluted share in the second-quarter 2014. Quarterly freight revenue decreased 10 pct. [Union Pacific, 7-23-15]

SIOUX FALLS PLANS TO PURCHASE BNSF RAIL YARD FOR REDEVELOPMENT: The city of Sioux Falls, S.D., plans to use more than $27-million in federal highway funds to purchase a downtown rail yard from BNSF for redevelopment. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-23-15]

AMTRAK SEEKS SPEED INCREASE FOR ACELA TRAINS: Amtrak has petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration to allow it to increase the speed of its Acela trains from 150 MPH to 160 MPH in three zones located in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey. [Washington Examiner website report, 7-22-15]

CP RAIL'S CEO IS 'SLOWING DOWN': After eight weeks of struggling with medical complications following surgery, CP's CEO Hunter Harrison says he plans to cut back his work hours, limit trips from his Connecticut home to CP's Galgary headquarters, and hand more responsibility to his chief operating officer Keith Creel. [Globe & Mail website report, 7-22-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 551,181 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending July 18, 2015, down 2.8 pct compared with the same week last year. However, intermodal volume, by itself, increased 2.3 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-22-15]

MAN STRUCK & KILLED BY TRAIN AT CROTON-HARMON STATION: A 19-year-old man was struck and killed by a train at the Croton-Harmon train station in Westchester County, N.Y., the afternoon of July 21. [Journal News website report, 7-21-15]

RUNAWAY RAIL CAR CRASHES INTO UTICA TRAIN STATION: The derailment of a runaway covered hopper car from the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway that crashed into an old locomotive on display at the Utica, N.Y., union station late July 21 was being investigated. [WIBX website report, 7-21-15]

CN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: CN reported second-quarter net income of $886-million or $1.10 per share, compared with $847-million or $1.03 per share in the second-quarter last year. Operating income jumped eight percent. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-21-15]

DALLAS ORDERS TWO ADDITIONAL STREETCARS: The city of Dallas, Texas, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit hves exercised an option to purchase two additional 'Liberty Modern' streetcars from Brookville Equipment Corp. The option was part of a contract for the supply of the agency's first two streetcars for operation on the 1.6-mile starter line from downtown Dallas to the Oak Cliff region. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-21-15]

MARC TRAIN HITS MAINTENANCE TRUCK: Officials said a MARC train struck a CSX maintenance vehicle on the tracks in Forest Glen, Md., the afternoon of July 20. There were over 600 passengers on board the train, but there were no reports of injuries. [ABC 7 website report, 7-20-15]

LIRR TRAIN, EQUIPMENT TRUCK SIDESWIPE: A Long Island Rail Road train headed to Huntington and an equipment truck sideswiped each other just east of Jamaica station about 6:30 PM July 17, suspending service from Penn Station and Atlantic Terminal to Jamaica. [ABC 7 website report, 7-17-15]

TRAIN COLLIDES WITH ANOTHER TRAIN IN SOUTH AFRICA, MORE THAN 300 INJURED: A commuter train crashed into another passenger train during rush-hour July 17 in Johannesburg, South Africa, injuring more than 300 people, an emergency services official said. [U.S. News & World Report website report, 7-17-15]

GO TRANSIT'S NEW WEST HARBOUR STATION OPENS: Hamilton, Ontario, has received its second GO Transit station, named West Harbour. The $50-million facility received its first revenue train July 9. Two morning rush-hour trains to Toronto and two outbound trains returning to Hamilton now use the station. [Railway Age website report, 7-17-15]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN MONTANA, TWO CARS LEAK CRUDE: More than 20 cars on a BNSF oil train derailed near Culbertson in northeastern Montana late July 16 and at least two of them were leaking crude, authorities said. Some homes were evacuated. [Town Hall website report, 7-17-15]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR THREE RAIL STATIONS IN HAWAII: The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit has awarded a $56-million contract to Hawaii-based Nan to built three rail stations in West Oahu for Hawaii's mass transit system. There will be 21 stations on the 20-mile system. [Honolulu American City Business Journal website report, 7-17-15]

FEC OPENS WABTEC-EQUIPPED DISPATCHING CENTER: Florida East Coast Railways has opened a new dispatching center equipped with Wabtec Railway Electronics Train Management Dispatching System technology. [Railway Age website report, 7-16-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending July 11, 2015, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 534,097 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.4 pct compared with the same week last year, as reported by the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-16-15]

PRESIDENTIAL EMERGENCY BOARD TO MEDIATE N.J. TRANSIT LABOR DISPUTE: President Obama has created a Presidential Emergency board to help resolve an ongoing labor dispute between New Jersey Transit and the NJT Rail Labor Coalition. The board will make recommendations for a settlement within 30 days, the White House said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-16-15]

SAUDI RAILWAYS CANCELS RIYADH-DAMMAM TALGO TRAIN ORDER: Saudi Railways has canceled a $201-million order for six Talgo 13-car trains for Riyadh-Damman services following a re-evaluation of rolling stock requirements. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-16-15]

L.A. METRO BEGINS TUNNEL EXCAVATION FOR CRENSHAW LIGHT-RAIL LINE: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation authority has begun tunnel excavation and decking work for the $2-billion Crenshaw/LAX light-rail project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-15-15]

BNSF LOGISTICS ACQUIRES TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES: BNSF Logistics has acquired Transportation Technology Services, an engineering, design and logistics planning and service provider focused on rail solutions for over-dimensional cargoes with expertise in the wind energy industry. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-15-15]

CHARLOTTE OPENS STREETCAR LINE: The CityLYNX gold line is the first 1.5-mile segment of a 10-mile streetcar system in Charlotte, N.C., which opened July 14. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-15-15]

VRE EXTENDS CONTRACT WITH KEOLIS: Virginia Railway Express has exercised its option to extend its contract with Keolis for an additional five years to operate VRE commuter trains serving northern Virginia suburbs with Washington DC. [Railway Age website report, 7-14-15]

HOUSE PROPOSES 5-MONTH, $8.1-B TRANSPORTATION FUNDING BILL: House Republicans have unveiled a five-month, $8.1-billion transportation funding bill to help pay for road and rail projects through year's end. Money would come from airport security fees and changes in some tax rules, including a strengthened focus on tax compliance. [ITS America SmartBrief, 7-14-15]

CSX REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corp. reported second-quarter net earnings of $553-million or 56 cents per share, compared with $529-million or 53 cents per share in the second-quarter last year. The company achieved an all-time record operating ratio of 66.8 pct. [CSX, 7-14-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN HITS CAR IN FLORIDA, DRIVER KILLED: A woman was killed July 13 when a car she was driving was struck by a northbound Amtrak train at a crossing in Orange Park, Florida. The woman reportedly drove around the lowered crossing gate as the train approached. There was a minor injury reported among those aboard the train. [First Coast News website report, 7-13-15]

METRA TRAINS DISRUPTED BY THUNDERSTORMS: Some Union Pacific Metra trains were delayed an hour and a half Monday morning, July 13, as thunderstorms rolled through the Chicago area. [Chicago Tribune website report, 7-13-15]

TRANSDEV TO OPERATE CINCINNATI STREETCAR: The Southwest Ohio Regional Transportation authority has awarded Transdev Services a five-year contract to operate and maintain the initial 3.6-mile phase of the Cincinnati Streetcar network, due to open in Sept. 2016. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-13-15]

BNSF SET TO BEGIN RAIL SPUR CONSTRUCTION IN KANSAS: BNSF and North Point Development will soon begin construction of an industrial rail spur near the Logistics Park Kansas City Intermodal facility in Edgarton, Kansas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-13-15]

ROCLA ACQUIRES CONCRETE TIE BUSINESS FROM KOPPERS, LEHIGH HANSON: Rocla Concrete Tie Inc. has acquired KSA Limited Partnership, manufacturer of concrete ties, from Koppers Inc. and Lehigh Hanson Inc. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-13-15]

AMTRAK CERTIFIES NXGEN TRACK INSPECTION CAR FOR REAR OF PASSENGER TRAINS: Amtrak has certified the NxGen Rail Services track inspection car for operation on the rear of its passenger trains. The trains may now be used to provide access to the cars for clients nationwide. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-10-15]

GREENBRIER REPORTS 3-Q NET EARNINGS: Freight supplier Greenbrier Cos. reported net earnings of $42.8-million for the third-quarter FY-2015, which ended May 31, up from $33.6-million in the same quarter a year earlier. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-10-15]

CHICAGO TRANSIT SET TO BEGIN $30-M IMPROVEMENT ON PURPLE LINE: Later this month, the Chicago Transit Authority will kick off a $30-million improvement project on Purple Line express tracks between Lawrence and Jarvin stations. The work is intended to speed express train service, and is expected to be completed in November. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-10-15]

SEPTA PLANS 16-DAY TROLLEY TUNNEL BLITZ: SEPTA forces will work around the clock during a 16-day trolley tunnel outage starting July 31, performing maintenance and construction work. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-10-15]

TWO KILLED BY LIRR TRAIN IN QUEENS: Two people were killed early July 9 in Hollins, Queens, by a Long Island Rail Road train. The train from Ronkonkoma struck the people as it pulled into the station. [WCAX website report, 7-9-15]

BLET MEMBERS VOTE TO STRIKE NJ TRANSIT: Voting members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainment working for NJ Transit have voted July 7 in favor of withdrawing from service should the union and the railroad fail to reach an agreement to settle their contract dispute. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen]

BNSF RUNS 1950'S ERA TRAIN FOR EMPLOYEES, FAMILIES: Employees of BNSF and their families have been getting a closeup look at the history of their company on a 12-stop, 15-car 'vintage' excursion train consisting of single-level stainless steel coaches, sleepers, club car, dining car and dome car. The train is sent to different parts of the BNSF system each year to treat its employees to the fun of train travel. [Spokesman Review website report, 7-9-15]

CSX COMPLETES ANNUAL MAINTENANCE JAMBOREE: CSX has successfully completed its 17th annual maintenance jamboree, a track and maintenance blitz the completes months of work on key rail corridors in a single week. The jamboree, which ran from June 29 to July 6, involved 14 production teams, and concentrated on corridors between Shelby, Kentucky, and Spartanburg, S.C.; and between Bostic and Monroe, N.C. In all, the crews installed over 55,000 cross ties and 217,000 feet of rail, surfaced more than 100 miles of track, and performed work on several bridges and road crossings. [CSX, 7-9-15]

STRIKE SHUTS LONDON TUBE: A 24-hour strike by staff and operators brought London's underground rail network to a halt and left millions of citizens struggling to get to work on July 9. [Reuters website report, 7-9-15]

RAIL CARLOAD TRAFFIC CONTINUES TO DIP AS INTERMODAL GROWS: For the week ending July 4, 2015, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 506,284 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.7 pct compared with the same week last year, as carload traffic dipped and intermodal grew, the Association of American Railroads reported. [Railway Age website report, 7-8-15]

TWO CSX TRAINS DERAIL IN TENNESSEE JUST FIVE DAYS APART: Just five days after a CSX train carrying acrylonitrile derailed in Maryville, Tennessee, and caught on fire, four CSX train cars of mixed freight derailed and flipped over in the Berry Hill neighborhood of South Nashville on the evening of July 6. Both accidents are under investigation. [Railway Age website report, 7-8-15]

BNSF RELOCATING 55 WORKERS IN MONTANA: BNSF is relocating 55 workers to Laurel, Montana, this month from Glendive and Forsyth, and is planning other worker furloughs, the company said. [Billings Gazette website report, 7-8-15]

BEEKEEPERS CONCERNED ABOUT CSX DERAILMENT'S EFFECTS: Beekeepers in the vicinity of Maryville, Tennessee, are concerned their population and honey may be impacted by the July 2 CSX train derailment involving a load of acrylonitrile which caught fire. Bees work to cool the inside of their hives by bringing back water, which may now be contaminated. [WATE-TV website report, 7-8-15]

TRUCK ACCIDENT, FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT CAUSE 14-HOUR ORDEAL FOR AMTRAK PASSENGERS: What was to have been a five-hour trip from Chicago to St. Louis on July 6 turned into a 14-hour ordeal for passengers aboard an Amtrak train due to a truck accident and the derailment of a freight train. At first the train was delayed four hours near Joliet, Illinois, because of the truck accident, and then a second time near Dwight because of a derailment. The train was then returned to Chicago where passengers were transferred to buses. [ABC News website report, 7-7-15]

WASHOUT DISRUPTS AMTRAK SERVICE IN ARKANSAS: Amtrak trains are running again between Arkadelphia and Texarkana now that tracks damaged by weekend flooding have been repaired. A section of Union Pacific track closed July 4 resulting in trains having to be rerouted. [Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette website report, 7-6-15]

BOMBARDIER LANDS LONDON EMU CONTRACT: Bombardier Transportation has signed contracts with Transport for London to build and maintain 45 four-car electric multiple units. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-6-15]

DOUBLE-DECK DAY COACHES DELIVERED TO RUSSIAN RAILWAYS: Russian Railways has taken delivery of its first set of double-deck day coaches for a 99 MPH, 15-car train. [International Railway Journal website report,7-6-15]

MAN KILLED BY D.C. METRO TRAIN IN VIRGINIA: A man has died after being struck by a Metro train in West Falls Church, Va., early July 6. It was an apparent suicide. Train service was somewhat disrupted for about three hours following the incident. [ABC-7 website report, 7-6-15]

EVACUATION ENDED AROUND TENNESSEE DERAILMENT SITE: Thousands of residents were returning home July 3 after they were evacuated when a CSX train car carrying hazardous material derailed and caught fire near Maryville, Tennessee. Officials said tests to monitor air quality have shown no dangers to residents. [Town Hall website report, 7-3-15]

TWO RAILROADERS INJURED IN KCS REAR-END COLLISION IN LOUISIANA: A train collision in Vivian, Louisiana, early July 3 sent two railroad workers to the hospital. A southbound Kansas City Southern train plunged into the rear of another southbound train, neither of which carried hazardous materials. [KTAL News website report, 7-3-15]

SECOND AMTRAK TRAIN BETWEEN ST. PAUL & CHICAGO WOULD BE POPULAR, STUDY SHOWS: Ridership on a second Amtrak train between St. Paul and Chicago could exceed 150,000 passengers a year, but Minnesota and Wisconsin would have to pay for operating shortfalls, a new rail study concluded. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune website report, 7-3-15]

HELSINKI'S 'RING LINE' OPENS: Helsinki celebrated the opening of its new 11.2-mile Ring Line July 1 with 80,000 passengers using the new rail service on its inaugural day. The line includes a new 5-mile dual-bore tunnel and serves five new stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-3-15]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS TO INTRODUCE RUSSIA-ESTONIA SERVICE: Russian Railways will introduce Russia-Estonia overnight service July 10 serving Moscow, St. Petersburg and Tallinn, two months after Estonian operator GoRail ceased operation of its remaining Estonia-Russia trains. The train will include second- and third-class coaches, a staff car and a compartment for passengers with disabilities. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-3-15]

THOUSANDS EVACUATED WHEN CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN TENNESSEE: More than 5,000 residents were evacuated early July 2 when a southbound CSX freight train carrying a flammable, toxic gas derailed and caught fire in Maryville, Tennessee, near Knoxville. The evacuation zone includes a two-mile radius, and could be in place for up to 48 hours, officials said. [NBC News website report, 7-2-15]

CSX ADDRESSES TENNESSEE DERAILMENT: CSX is working with first-responders and relief agencies in Maryville following the derailment of a tank car that is on fire. CSX personnel are on hand at an outreach center and displaced residents are being offered assistance. Around midnight, a train en route from Cincinnati to Waycross derailed the single tank car loaded with acrylonitrile. The substance is flammable and presents an inhalation risk. The train consisted for two locomotives and 57 cars, including 45 loads. Acrylonitrile-loaded cars are located on either side of the burning car. No crude oil is among the cars in the train, but a total of 27 cars are carrying hazardous materials. [CSX, 7-2-15]

SEVEN KILLED AS TRAIN PLUNGES INTO CANAL IN PAKISTAN: Three train cars carrying 300 passengers reportedly fell into a canal July 2 after a bridge collapsed in Pakistan. Seven people were killed and several were injured. [RT Newsline report, 7-2-15]

METRO-NORTH TRAIN STRANDS ABOUT 500 RIDERS FOR TWO HOURS: About 500 people were stuck aboard a Metro-North train in The Bronx for about two hours July 2, beginning about midnight, when the train lost power. [Journal News website report, 7-2-15]

RENOVATION PROJECT COMPLETED AT ORLANDO AMTRAK STATION: The Orlando Amtrak station's $2-million renovation project was completed June 1. The project was intended to improve accessibility. Built in 1926, the station serves over 160,000 passengers annually. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-2-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SEEKS TO EXPAND TRANSPORTATION HUB AT RICKENBACKER AIRPORT: Norfolk Southern is planning a $34-million project to expand its transportation hub at Rickenbacker Airport in Columbus, Ohio, with the goal of expanding capacity by 40 percent. The company has applied for a $17-million matching federal grant toward the project. [Columbus Dispatch website report, 7-2-15]

CASCADE TRAINS GETTING FASTER SCHEDULES: From July 11 until September 13, 2015, several daily Amtrak Cascades trains will arrive at their destination in three hours and 40 minutes, compared with three hours and 50 minutes previously. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-1-15]

SIEMENS LANDS 30-YEAR MAINTENANCE CONTRACT WITH ALL ABOARD FLORIDA: All Aboard Florida has awarded Siemens a 30-year contract to maintain and service all aspects of the passenger railroads train sets. Maintenance work includes inspections, corrective and preventative maintenance, and provisioning of parts and labor. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-1-15]

AMTRAK'S KEYSTONE SERVICE DISRUPTED BY STORM: Amtrak restored Keystone train service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg early July 1 after suspending it due to severe storms. Passengers were advised of residual delays. [Lancaster Online, 7-1-15]

HOOSIER STATE PARTNERSHIP DELAYED ONCE AGAIN: Indiana will not meet the goal of launching a public-private rail partnership by July 1, and the state has asked Amtrak to continue operating the Hoosier State train until a new contract can be completed. This is the fourth time an extension has been requested by the state. [12 KFVS website report, 6-30-15]

CHINA OPENS HEFEI-FUZHOU HIGH-SPEED LINE: Commercial service on China's 505-mile Hefei-Fuzhou line began June 28. Trains will initially run at a maximum speed of 186 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-30-15]

REYKJAVIK TO DEVELOP LIGHT-RAIL NETWORK: Proposals to develop a light-rail network in Reykjavik, Iceland, are at the heart of a new 25-year urban planning strategy, which was signed by representatives of all the city's municipalities June 29. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-30-15]

ROME METRO LINE C REACHES LODI: Rome added another six stations to its metro network June 29 with the opening of the 3.4-mile western exension of Line C from Parco di Centocelle to Lodi. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-30-15]

CUBA BEGINS HAVANA STATION RECONSTRUCTION: Cuban Railways closed its Havana Central station June 24 for the start of a three-year rebuilding and renovation project. Passenger traffic has been moved to a former bus terminal, converted into a temporary train station. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-30-15]

TWO DIE AS PASSENGER SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE ABOARD JAPANESE BULLET TRAIN: Two passengers on a Japanese Shinkansen bullet train died June 30 after one doused himself in oil and set himself ablaze. Twenty-six others were injured. [Reuters website report, 6-30-15]

AMTRAK DEDICATES LOCOMOTIVE TO VETERANS: Amtrak's 'Veterans Locomotive 642' stands as a company-wide tribute to those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It was unveiled in Wilmington, Delaware, June 29. [NBC Philadelphia, 6-29-15]

CHARLOTTE APPROVES ADDITIONAL $7.7-M FOR STREETCAR PROJECT: The Charlotte, N.C., city council has approved $7.7-million for the second phase of the LYNX gold line streetcar project: [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-29-15]

GOOGLE MAPS TO SHARE U.S. RAILROAD CROSSING DATA: Google is to start alerting drivers when they approach railroad crossings to help curb a rise in accidents. This will include both visual and audio alerts when a driver is using turn-by-turn navigation mode. [Venturebeat News website report, 6-29-15]

RHODE ISLAND KICKS OFF PROJECT TO IMPROVE HIGH-SPEED RAIL: A $41-million project to build new platforms at the Kingston train station, and an additional section of track so Amtrak's high-speed trains can bypass regional service will create new jobs and attrack business, state officials said. [Washington Times website report, 6-29-15]

MAJOR MAKEOVER PLANNED FOR CHICAGO'S UNION STATION: Chicago's Union station has large rooms with 33-foot high ceilings that were once filled with restaurants, a dance hall and tailor shops in the 1940s and 1950s. Amtrak wants to open those thousands of square feet and is soliciting proposals for retail rental. The goal is to tansform the 90-year-old building into a venue that exceeds the offerings at the union station in Washington DC. [Daily Chronicle website report, 6-29-15]

DELHI METRO ORDERS 162 RAIL CARS: Delhi Metro Rail has awarded Bombardier a $228-million contract to supply 162 broad-gauge metro cars. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-29-15]

MARYLAND GOVERNOR CANCELS LIGHT-RAIL RED LINE PROJECT: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced June 25 that he is canceling a proposal to build a $2.9-billion, 14-mile light-rail 'Red Line' in Baltimore. [The Hill website report, 6-26-15]

VRE HIKING FARES 4 PERCENT: Virginia Railway Express fares are slated to increase four percent beginning July 1, the agency announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-26-15]

DANIEL ELLIOTT SWORN IN AS STB CHAIR: Daniel R. Elliott III was sworn in June 26 as chairman of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. [Railway Age website report, 6-26-15]

MARC TRAIN SERVICE INTO DELAWARE TO BE CONSIDERED: Delaware and Maryland transit officials are scheduled to meet next week to discuss extending MARC commuter trains into Delaware. MARC service currently terminates at Perryville, Md., about 20 miles from the state line. [Baltimore Sun website report, 6-25-15]

ATLANTIC CITY TRAIN SERVICE SUSPENDED DUE TO STORM DAMAGE: Service on NJ Transit's Atlantic City line will remain suspended through June 26 due to damage from this week's storm. [My Fox NY website report, 6-25-15]

CZECH RAILWAYS TAKES DELIVERY OF FIRST SKODA EMU TRAIN: The first InterPanter five-car electric multiple-unit built by Skoda Transportation was presented to Czech Railways June 25. Fourteen of the dual-voltage, 99 MPH trains will be delivered. Seating capacity is 350, of which 42 are in first-class. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-25-15]

CAPACITY TO INCREASE AT PARIS' BUSIEST TRAIN STATION: Paris presented plans June 24 to expand capacity at Gare du Nord, the city's busiest train station, which is used by up to 800,000 passengers per day. The project will include restoration of the existing buildings, dating back to the 1860's. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-25-15]

JURY AWARDS UNION PACIFIC CONDUCTOR $375,000 IN RETALIATION CASE: A federal jury in Louisiana has awarded fired Union Pacific conductor Jeff Davis $375,000 in damages and ruled that he is entitled to reinstatement for retaliation for reporting an on-the-job injury in 2010. [Counsel's press release, 6-25-15]

AMTRAK N.E. CORRIDOR SERVICE DISRUPTED BY STORMS: Severe thunderstorms June 23 in Pennsylvania halted Amtrak service on the Northeast corridor during rush hour for about two hours. [Washington Times website report, 6-24-15]

TRAIN TOUR PLANNED TO COMMEMORATE CENTENNIAL OF WW-I: Ross Rowland, who organized the American Freedom Train in 1976, is organizing the 'Yellow Ribbon Express' to commemorate World War I's centennial. He hopes to raise $1-billion for veterans and to bring history to life for millions of people in 125 cities. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 6-24-15]

FEDS INTEND TO ENFORCE PTC DEADLINE: Federal officials plan to enforce a Dec. 31 deadline for installing positive train-control equipment, even though they know most passenger and freight railroads will not be able to meet it. The Federal Railroad Administration is developing a plan to levy fines for missing the deadline, based on each railroad's reasons. [News Journal website report, 6-24-15]

JUDGE DENIES AMTRAK'S CLAIM TO RECOUP STORM SANDY LOSSES: Amtrak suffered a setback in its attempt to recoup an estimated $1.1-billion of losses from superstorm Sandy when a federal judge June 24 rejected the railroad's efforts to recover much of that sum from its insurers. The judge sided with insurers that the storm was a single 'occurrence' under Amtrak's policies, and that the inundation of property in the storm's aftermath was part of the railroad's 'flood' damage rather than a separate loss. [Reuters website report, 6-24-15]

R.J. CORMAN R.R. TO ACQUIRE CAROLINA SOUTHERN: R.J. Corman Railroad announced June 24 that it has agreed to acquire the Carolina Southern Railroad for $13.9-million, with plans to rehabilitate and operate the short line. The line extends from Mullins, S.C., to Whiteville, N.C., and to Conway, S.C., where it connects to a line owned by Horry County, S.C., that reaches Myrtle Beach. [Progressive Railroading website report]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending June 20, 2015, U.S. rail freight traffic was 550,839 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.4 pct compared with the same week last year. Carload volume was down 6.1 pct, while intermodal volume was up 1.6 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-24-15]

AMTRAK'S COAST STARLIGHT ADDING BUSINESS CLASS SERVICE: Amtrak is launching a pilot program to offer business class service on the Coast Starlight from June 23 through September 30, 2015. Space is being converted from a video-game area to seating reserved for business class travelers. Coach passengers will have the option of upgrading to business class. [Amtrak]

NEW RAIL CARS FOR POTASH SERVICE IN CANADA: Canpotex Ltd has selected National Steel Car to manufacture 700 new rail cars designed to transport Saskatchewan potash to coastal ports. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-23-15]

MASSACHUSETTS COMMITS FUNDING FOR SPRINGFIELD UNION STATION REDEVELOPMENT: Massachusetts has committed $12-million toward a total of $88.5-million in federal, state and local funding for the redevelopment of Springfield Union Station. When complete, the station will have 66,000 square feet of leasable commercial space, a 26-bay bus terminal, a six-level parking garage, reactivated passenger tunnel, new rail-boarding platform and completely renovated terminal building. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-23-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ORDERED TO CHECK LAND FOR POLLUTION: Delaware has ordered Norfolk Southern to investigate whether a one-acre plot of land near train tracks in East Wilmington has been contaminated. The company had said earlier that it was exempt under federal regulations as the property had been acquired from Conrail. [News Journal website report, 6-23-15]

SENATE BILL WOULD GIVE AMTRAK NEARLY $1.4-B: A Senate bill to fund transportation programs would provide Amtrak with nearly $1.4-billion next year, much more than the amount allocated by the House. The bill includes $289-million for operations and $1.1-billion for capital grants. [The Hill website report, 6-23-15]

SHORTAGE OF R.R. BOXCARS LOOMS: Federal regulations and changes in rail transportation are combining to create a shortage of boxcars. The Wall Street Journal reports that over 101,000 boxcars were taken off the rails over the past decade, while only 13,800 new cars were added. Estimates also suggest that 4,000 new cars would be needed to replace newly-scrapped boxcars each year, while only 692 were produced in 2014. [ report, 6-22-15]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR 60-MILE PORTION OF CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL: German company Hochtief said its subsidiary Flatiron has won a $1.23-billion contract, as part of a joint-venture team with Dragados USA, to construct a 60-mile portion of the California high-speed rail line with work beginning in late 2016. [Reuters Business News website report, 6-19-15]

CSX GAINS EASEMENT TO OPERATE ON LOUISVILLE & INDIANA R.R.: Louisville & Indiana Railroad and CSX have completed an agreement granting CSX a permanent easement to operate on L&I's 106-mile, former Conrail corridor between Indianapolis and Louisville. The agreement includes an additional $90-million in infrastructure upgrades along the route. [CSX, 6-19-15]

DOUBLE-DECK EMU'S ORDERED FOR SWEDEN: Swedish train leasing company Transitio has awarded Stadler a $429-million contract to supply 33 four-car Kiss double-deck electric multiple-units for regional services radiating from Stockholm. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-19-15]

UNION PACIFIC TO FURLOUGH ABOUT 900 EMPLOYEES: Union Pacific says it is about to furlough or place in alternative work status about 900 employees throughout the company. [KOTA website report, 6-19-15]

LONDON OVERGROUND LINES TO GET NEW TRAINS IN 2018: Transport for London will award a contract to Bombardier for 45 electric multiple-units for expanding London Overground rail network. Delivery of the trains will begin in 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-19-15]

MASSACHUSETTS COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF CSX LINE: The Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation has acquired a 21-mile segment of rail from CSX for $23-million. Known as the Framingham Secondary line, it links the Framingham-Worcester, Needham, Franklin and Attleboro-Northeast Corridor commuter rail lines, and will add rail capacity to allow passenger service on alternative routes when capital projects may disrupt normal service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-18-15]

U.S. RAILROADS LOG RECORD ONE-WEEK INTERMODAL VOLUME: U.S. railroads posted the highest week on record for intermodal traffic for the week ending June 13, 2015. Intermodal volume was 283,363 containers and trailers, up 4.9 pct compared with the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-18-15]

WABTEC ACQUIRES SPANISH MANUFACTURER: Wabtec Corp. has acquired Spanish manufacturer Metalocaucho, which provides a variety of rubber-to-metal components for passenger cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-18-15]

SAN FRANCISCO ORDERS ADDITIONAL 40 LIGHT-RAIL CARS: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation agency has ordered an additional 40 light-rail cars from Siemens. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-18-15]

NETHERLANDS RAILWAYS ORDERS 18 ADDITIONAL BOMBARDIER TRAXX LOCOMOTIVES: Netherland Railways has exercised an option with Bombardier for 18 additional class 186 Traxx multi-system locomotives, which will be used to operate 99 MPH passenger trains from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and The Hague. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-18-15]

D.C. METRO 4000-SERIES RAIL CARS SHOPPED FOR DOOR SAFETY ADJUSTMENTS: Certain door components on Washington DC's 4000-series rail cars will require safety adjustments, and the transit system has taken all 100 of those cars offline for inspection. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-17-15]

FEDS ORDER INSPECTIONS OF TRAIN TUNNEL SYSTEMS: The Federal Transit Administration will require an inspection of ventilation systems at 25 public rail systems that have tunnels. The order is in response to an electrical malfunction in a metro tunnel in Washington DC filling a train with smoke leading to a passenger's death. [Cincinnati Bell website report, 6-17-15]

BNSF ORDERED TO REINSTATE CONDUCTOR, PAY DAMAGES FOR RETALIATION: BNSF must reinstate a train conductor and pay him over $536,000 in back pay, damages and attorney's fees after a federal investigation found the railroad retaliated against the employee after reporting a knee injury that occurred in 2010. The company fired him in 2011, despite knowing that his injury report was protected by law. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 6-17-15]

TRAIN COLLIDES WITH TRUCK IN TUNISIA, AT LEAST 17 DEAD: At least 17 were killed and dozens more injured June 16 when a passenger train collided with a truck in the southern Tunisian city of Fahs, officials said. [Town Hall website report, 6-16-15]

AMTRAK TESTING PTC ON NORTHEAST CORRIDOR: Amtrak has been testing positive train-control on Northeast corridor tracks through Maryland into Delaware. [WTOP website report, 6-16-15]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON OTTAWA'S NEW LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Construction of the $2.1-billion, 7.7-mile O-Train Confederation light-rail line in Ottawa began June 12. It is being built along the Transitway's existing bus route and will have 13 stations. Completion is expected in 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-15-15]

SWITZERLAND'S CENERI BASE TUNNEL OPENING DELAYED UNTIL 2020: Switzerland's 9.5-mile Ceneri Base Tunnel will not be commissioned until Dec. 2020, a year later than previously scheduled, due to disputes over contract bidding. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-15-15]

AUSTRALIAN RAIL LINK COMPLETED IN VICTORIA: The final 90KM-section of the Australian state of Victoria's $2.8-billion regional rail link was officially completed June 14, paving the way for the introduction of a new high-frequency timetable June 21. [International Railway Journal website repor, 6-15-15]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN MISSOURI: A BNSF train with 31 coal cars derailed early June 13 near Amazonia, Missouri. Officials were told that the cleanup effort could take 48 hours. There were no injuries. [WGEM website report, 6-13-15]

CHINA LAUNCHES FREIGHT TRAIN SERVICE TO EUROPE: China on June 13 began a once-a-week, 6,100-mile train service between the capital of Heilongjiang province and Hamburg, Germany. The inaugural train included 49 containers, and the journey will take about 15 days. Several other Chinese cities have similar service to Europe. [Outlook website report, 6-13-15]

AMTRAK AEM7 NOW A MUSEUM PIECE: The latest addition to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania's collection is recently-retired Amtrak AEM7 electric locomotive 915, which served the Northeast corridor for nearly 35 years. [Railway Age website report, 6-12-15]

SEPTA BEGINS $100-M TROLLEY IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS: SEPTA began $100-million in modernization to the Media and Sharon Hill trolley lines June 12. Upgrades include grade crossing renewals, track replacement, general bridge repairs, replacement of overhead trolley wire, vegetation clearning and installation of new trolley wire support structures. Work will continue through September. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-12-15]

AMTRAK MAY PULL PLUG ON SOUTHWEST CHIEF, RIVER RUNNER OVER PTC COST: Amtrak may have to end or reroute its Southwest Chief and River Runner trains by year's end because of costs to install positive train-control on host railroads Kansas City Terminal and Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis. Both are Class III carriers, exempt from PTC requirements except that they convey passenger trains. Accordingly, the cost of installation would be the responsibility of Amtrak, which it says it cannot afford. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-12-15]

KCS TRAIN DERAILS IN TEXAS, TWO FREIGHT CARS FALL FROM BRIDGE: A Kansas City Southern freight train derailed early June 11 in Houston, Texas, causing two freight cars to fall from a bridge, one of which blocked a four-lane highway. No hazardous materials were involved, and no injuries were reported. [KOMO News website report, 6-11-15]

HOUSE VOTES TO CUT AMTRAK BUDGET BY $242-M: The House of Representatives passed legislation June 10 to cut Amtrak's budget by $242-million, though it added $9-million in new funding for video cameras inside locomotive cabs. [Business Insider website report, 6-10-15]

CALIFORNIA RAIL PROJECT GIVES $700-M CONTRACT TO CONSULTANT: The board overseeing California's high-speed rail project has awarded a $700-million, seven-year contract to New York-based consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. [KTTV website report, 6-10-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending June 6, 2015, was 550,037 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.2 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-10-15]

NO EVIDENCE OF CELLPHONE USE BY AMTRAK ENGINEER AT TIME OF ACCIDENT, NTSB SAYS: The National Transportation Safety Board says analysis of phone records of the locomotive engineer operating Amtrak train 188 near Philadelphia May 12 did not indicate the phone was in use at the time of the accident. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-10-15]

FREIGHT TRAIN SERVICE INAUGUARTED BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND IRAN: A once-a-week cargo train was inaugurated June 9 between Quetta, Pakistan, and Zahidan, Iran. The train will consist of 24 freight cars which would be extended up to 40 cars in the future, transporting rice and other goods to Iran while bringing oil, sulphur, coal and other chemicals to Pakistan. [Pakistan Daily Times website report, 6-10-15]

FRA RECOMMENDS SECOND CREW MEMBER IN CAB: The Federal Railroad Administration has recommended commuter railroads have a crew member in addition to the engineer who is familiar with the route and briefings about where speeds are reduced, if automatic train-control is not available. The second person would be in constant contact with the engineer. The advisory also suggests railroads add more warning signs about speed. [ABC News website report, 6-9-15]

MARYLAND APPLIES FOR FED FUNDS FOR MAGLEV TRAIN STUDY: Maryland has applied for $27.8-million in Federal Railroad Administration funds to study the potential for a maglev train system between Washington DC and Baltimore. The grant application comes with the understanding that Japan will be source of significant backing for the project, along with private sector support. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-9-15]

DETROIT ORDERS CATENARY-FREE LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: M1-Rail has awarded a $32-million contract to Brookville Equipment Corp. to supply six Liberty 70 pct low-floor light-rail vehicles for Detroit's first modern light-rail line. The trains will operate without catenary for 60 pct of the 3.3-mile line along Woodward avenue, drawing power from an onboard energy storage system. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-9-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES BELLEVUE, OHIO, YARD FOR WICK MOORMAN: Norfolk Southern is naming its largest freight train classification yard after Wick Moorman, who retired June 1 as chief executive officer. Moorman Yard, in Bellevue, Ohio, is the site of $160-million in recent improvements that doubled its size. [Norfolk Southern, 6-8-15]

OIL TRAIN, TRUCK COLLIDE NEAR ST. PAUL: Authorities say a crude-oil train and a semitrailer carrying flour collided at a railroad crossing south of St. Paul June 7. There were no injuries. The crossing, which local officials have wanted to be closed, is protected by lights but no gates, and it sits near a refinery. [Twin Cities Pioneer Press website report, 6-8-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN CRASHES INTO TRUCK AT CROSSING IN ILLINOIS: Eleven people were injured and taken to hospitals June 5 when Amtrak's Texas Eagle collided with a tractor-trailer near Wilmington, Illinois, 60 miles south of Chicago. According to police, witnesses reported the truck attempted to go around the crossing gates. The driver of the rig has been cited. [Herald-News website report, 6-5-15]

RESTORATION WORK OF SANDPOINT, IDAHO, DEPOT COMPLETED: A ribbon-cutting ceremony has celebrated the completion of extensive restoration work on the historic 1916 brick depot in Sandpoint, Idaho, which serves as Amtrak's only scheduled stop in the state. Idaho funded nearly all of the $1-million project's cost. [Railway Age website report, 6-5-15]

'RAIL CANAL' BEING PROPOSED FOR THAILAND: A $4.8-billion 'rail canal' project for Thailand's consideration is being proposed by South Korea. The project would entail the concept of a dry canal for conveying ships by rail. The 35-mile route would run from Kra Buri to Chumphon, cutting two days off the shipping route through the Strait of Malacca. Construction would cost less than the estimated $7.1-billion for a conventional canal. [The Nation website report, 6-5-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN DEDICATES LOCOMOTIVE TO FIRST-RESPONDERS: Norfolk Southern has unveiled its latest commemorative locomotive, an SD60E, honoring emergency first-responders. The red, white and gold locomotive features the Maltese Cross of fire services, the star-of-life of emergency medical services, the police shield, and sports 9-1-1, the phone number to request emergency assistance, as well as the Norfolk Southern OAR shield. [Norfolk Southern, 6-4-15]

HOUSE DEFEATS PUSH FOR STEEPER AMTRAK CUTS: The House of Representatives June 4 rejected a conservative lawmaker's push to impose steep cuts on Amtrak's budget. The annual appropriations measure for the Dept. of Transportation contains $1.13-billion for Amtrak, down from the current $1.4-billion level. [The Hill website report, 6-4-15]

REMAINING AMTRAK DERAILMENT PATIENTS NO LONGER IN CRITICAL CONDITION: The four remaining Temple University Hospital patients injured in last month's train derailment near Philadelphia are no longer in critical condition. [NJ website report, 6-4-15]

COURT UPHOLDS $228,000 AWARDED TO EX-BNSF EMPLOYEE: A federal appeals court has upheld an award of more than $228.000 to a former BNSF worker who said he was fired in 2010 for refusing to withhold evidence in a criminal forgery investigation. A jury in 2013 had sided with Kirk Ludlow in his claim that the railroad violated the Nebraska Fair Employment Practices Act. [ website report, 6-4-15]

UNION PACIFIC INVESTING $43-M IN ITS INFRASTRUCTURE IN IDAHO: Union Pacific plans to invest about $43-million in 2015 to improve its rail infrastructure in Idaho. Included is over $27-million in the rail line between DeWolff and Reverse to replace crossties, dump ballast and repair road crossings. The company will also invest $3.5-million in its line between Harer and Pescadero. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-4-15]

MAY 2015 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations for May 2015 were 2,160,253, down 3.2 pct from May 2014. Meanwhile, for the first month on record, container and trailer traffic exceeded carloads (1,085,968 vs. 1,074,285). [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-3-15]

AMTRAK TRAINS STRIKES CAR IN FLORIDA, SPLITTING IT IN HALF: An Amtrak train en route to Miami struck a car at a crossing June 2 in Riverside, Florida, near Jacksonville, splitting the car in half. Amazingly, all three people in the vehicle survived. The driver and one of the occupants were taken to the hospital with minor injuries; a third person in the car was not injured. There were no injuries aboard the train. [NBC News website report, 6-2-15]

FEDS RELEASE PRELIMINARY REPORT ON AMTRAK DERAILMENT: A preliminary report issued June 2 did not completely explain what caused an Amtrak train to derail in Philadelphia last month, killing eight and injuring more than 200. The National Transportation Safety Board said it found the train had no equipment problems prior to the accident. The train was traveling 106 miles per hour into a curve having a 50 miles per hour speed restriction. The engineer applied the emergency brake just prior to the derailment. [Tucson News Now website report, 6-2-15]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $107-M BELGIAN ORDER: Bombardier has obtained a $107-million order to supply 40 additional Flexity 2 trams to the Flemish transport operator De Lijn for the Belgian cities of Ghent and Antwerp. The order increases the operator's Flexity 2 fleet to 88. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-2-15]

SEPTA TO ORDER SIEMENS ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation authority will acquire 13 ACS-64 electric locomotives from Siemens for delivery beginning in 2018. They will be almost identical to the fleet of ACS-64 locomotives being delivered to Amtrak for service on the Northeast corridor. The contract includes an option for five additional locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-1-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN N.Y. STATE, KILLING ONE: A 20-year-old man was killed early June 1 when his car was struck by an Amtrak train in Chili, N.Y. The driver reportedly ran around the lowered gates at a crossing as the train was approaching. Nobody on the train was injured. [Democrat & Chronicle website report, 6-1-15]

DERAILMENT AT BNSF YARD IN MEMPHIS CAUSES HAZMAT RESPONSE: Memphis fire department responded to a derailment at the BNSF yard in the city early June 1 in which seven tank cars had derailed. One of the cars was leaking gasoline until railroad workers in hazmat suits stopped the leak. There were no injuries, and the accident is under investigation. [13 Fox Memphis website report, 6-1-15]

CN ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF COLD SUPPLY-CHAIN CAPACITY: Canadian National is investing $20-million in the expansion of its cold supply chain capacity to help producers and distributors of chilled or frozen foods grow their business in North American and overseas markets. The company is acquiring 200 more 53-foot temperature controlled containers as part of the investment. [4-Traders website report, 6-1-15]

SARAH FEINBERG NOMINATED AS FRA ADMINISTRATOR: President Obama has announced his intent to nominate Sarah Feinberg as administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. She has been serving as acting administrator since January. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-1-15]

AMTRAK DERAILMENT TO BE SUBJECT OF HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARING: The House Transportation and Infrastructure committee will host a hearing next week on the Amtrak Northeast corridor derailment that occurred earlier this month. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-29-15]

SEPTA TO BEGIN ROUTE 15 TROLLEY TRACK RENEWAL PROJECT: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation authority will conduct a track renewal project on a portion of its route 15 trolley line from June 14 to September 19. The line was installed in the 1950's. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-29-15]

WOODEN RAILROAD BRIDGE BURNS, COLLAPSES IN MINNESOTA: An old wooden railroad bridge near Minnesota's northern border burned and collapsed early May 27, shutting down a busy train route that connects the Pacific coast with Chicago. The bridge, in Koochiching County, belongs to Canadian National. It carried more than 20 trains over the Rat Root River daily until it collapsed. CN said the crew of a southbound train reported a fire on the trestle. The train stopped, but only after it had crossed the bridge. The bridge was destroyed, but the crew was not hurt. [United Transportation Union website report, 5-29-15]

UNION PACIFIC FURLOUGHS 900 EMPLOYEES: Union Pacific has furloughed a total of 900 employees and mothballed 800 locomotives because of lower shipping volumes, CEO Lance Fritz told the Wall Street Journal. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 5-28-15]

ARKANSAS & MISSOURI R.R. GETS $6.8-M LOAN FOR PURCHASE OF LOCOMOTIVES: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a $6.8-million loan to the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad toward the purchase of three locomotives. [Federal Railroad Administration, 5-28-15]

BNSF OFFICE CAR CATCHES FIRE IN FLAGSTAFF: A BNSF Railway office car moving on a train through Flagstaff, Arizona, May 27 had a fire in the kitchen area. The train was stopped and the fire was extinguished by the fire department. One person was treated for smoke inhalation. [Arizona Daily Sun website report, 5-27-15]

AMTRAK TO INSTALL INWARD-FACING LOCOMOTIVE CAB CAMERAS: Amtrak announced May 26 that it will begin installing inward-facing cameras aboard its locomotives. The first cameras will be installed aboard Northeast corridor regional and Keystone service trains. Eventually they will be installed on Acela trains, with the goal of getting cameras on all of Amtrak's lines. [CNN website report, 5-27-15]

BNSF EMPLOYEE KILLED IN MINNEAPOLIS: BNSF Railway said one of its employees who was unloading track material in northeast Minneapolis May 25 died when a train on another track struck the material, which then fell on the employee. [CBS Minnesota website report, 5-26-15]

ONTARIO PLEDGES $1-B FOR NEW LIGHT-RAIL LINE IN HAMILTON: Ontario plans to provide up to $1-billion to build a new light-rail line in Hamilton. The line will travel east from McMaster University through Hamilton to Queenston Circle, and a direct route to the new West Harbour GO station, which is under construction.. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-26-15]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN IOWA: Twenty-three cars of a Union Pacific train derailed late May 22 in Belle Plaine, Iowa. There were no injuries. The accident is under investigation. [KWWL website report, 5-23-15]

FIVE KILLED, THREE INJURED WHEN CAR STRUCK BY TRAIN IN AUSTRIA: Police in Austria say five people died when their car was hit by a train at a crossing in Gaisberg, 50 miles west of Vienna. Killed were two adults and three children. Three others were seriously injured. [Outlook News website report, 5-23-15]

NASA RAILROAD LINE DISCONTINUED: Florida East Coast Railway has pulled NASA SW1500 locomotives 1 and 3 from Kennedy Space Center, NASA having decided there was no longer a need to keep its own railroad active from Jay Jay yard to the launch complex 39 area. The railroad cost $1.3-million a year to operate and maintain by the end of the shuttle program. However, NASA will continue to maintain about 17 miles of a rail network that once spaned 38 miles, branching out to two launch pads and to the Cape Canaveral Air Force station. [Florida Today website report, 5-23-15]

JOHN MARINO DIES, RAIL INDUSTRY EXPERT: John Harrison Marino Sr., a co-founder with his brother of RailAmerica, died May 19. Services were held May 23 in Virginia. He was 75. [Progressive Railroading website report]

N.J. MAN GETS SIX YEARS IN PRISON FOR RAILROAD CONSPIRACY: Ernest Dubose of Jersey City has been sentenced to six years in state prison for second-degree conspiracy charges in a 2010 scheme to inflate the cost of a railroad bridge project in Roseland, N.J., by about $700,000. [Asbury Park Free Press website report, 5-22-15]

TWO TEEN SUSPECTS FLEEING POLICE INJURED IN COLLISION WITH TRAIN IN OHIO: Two teenagers were seriously injured after they fled police in a stolen vehicle and hit a moving train May 22 at a CSX crossing in Willoughby, Ohio. One of the suspects attempted to crawl beneath the moving train to escape, and lost part of is right arm. Both individuals are in stable condition in a hospital. [WKYC website report, 5-22-15]

PERU-BRAZIL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAIL LINK TO BE STUDIED: China and Peru have agreed to study the feasibility of a 3,300-mile transcontinental railroad to connect Peru's Pacific coast with Brazil's Atlantic Coast. The proposed railway would span the Andes and reduce the cost of shipping grain and minerals to Asia. [Reuters website report, 5-22-15]

COLORADO APPROVES $1-M FOR SOUTHWEST CHIEF: The Colorado Dept. of Transportation commission votged unanimously to aspprove $1-million to help preserve the Southwest Chief in southern Colorado. [KVNF website report, 5-22-15]

SEATTLE'S FIRST HILL STREETCAR EXTENSION TO OPEN IN JUNE: Testing along Seattle Streetcar's new First Hill line continued this week when vehicles completed a low-speed test from the maintenance facility into downtown. The streetcars utilize a rechargeable battery system are are able to operate on track with and without overhead wires. The 2.5-mile extension will make 10 stops in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and is slated to open by the end of June. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-21-15]

GRADE CROSSING UPGRADES ADVANCE IN OHIO: Ohio has approved rail-crossing upgrades in Medina, Delaware and Trumbull counties. The upgrades include mast-mounted flashing lights and gates. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-21-15]

RAIL STRIKE IN GERMANY HALTED: German train operators (drivers) have called off their latest strike. The GDL union has agreed to talks with rail operator Deutsche Bahn through a mediator. [Deutsche Wells website report, 5-21-15]

IRISH RAIL TO LAUNCH NON-STOP CORK-DUBLIN SERVICE: Ireland's National Transport authority has granted Irish Rail approval to begin a new non-stop intercity service from Cork to Dublin Heuston, which will reduce 15 minutes off the current fastest journey time. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-21-15]

ARGENTINE PRESIDENT SIGNS RAIL RENATIONALIZATION BILL: Legislation to renationalize Argentina's railways became law May 20 when the country's president signed a bill reviving Argentinean Railways as a state company. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-21-15]

ALEXANDRIA,VA., SLATED TO GET $268-M METRO STATION: A $268-million Metro train station will be built near the Potomac Yard shopping mall in Alexandria, Va. The project, however, faces funding challenges, as a developer wants to renegotiate its terms in the deal. [Washington Post website report, 5-21-15]

MEXICO TO PAY CHINA RAIL FIRM FOR CANCELING HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: Mexico will compensate China Railway Construction Corp. $1.31-million for canceling a $3.75-billion high-speed rail contract. The deal was called off over controversy in the bidding process. [BBC News website report, 5-21-15]

CHICAGO TRANSIT PLOTS TRACK RECONFIGURATION FOR BROWN LINE: The Chicago Transit Authority has released an environmental assessment offering details of a planned fifth-track bypass for Brown line trains. The bypass would allow Brown line trains to travel above Red and Purple line tracks, thus eliminating delays of trains having to stop to wait for others to cross the junction. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-20-15]

WATCO ACQUIRES TEXAS SHORT LINES FROM IOWA PACIFIC: Watco Companies has agreed to purchase two west Texas shortlines - Texas and New Mexico Railway, and Lubbock & Western Railway - from Iowa Pacific Holdings. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-20-15]

RAILROAD STRIKE IN GERMANY: The German train operators' union GDL has widened its ongoing strike to include passengers services. It is unclear when the strike will end, although the sides have discussed possible arbitration. [Deutsche Wells website report, 5-20-15]

AMTRAK ENGINEER HAD WORKED NEC FOR FEWER THAN THREE WEEKS: CBS News has learned that the engineer of the train that derailed north of Philadelpha May 12 had only been working on the Northeast corridor for fewer than three weeks. A federal spokesman says "it was two weeks, give or take a few days." [CBS News website report, 5-19-15]

UNION WANTS SECOND CREW MEMBER ON NEC TRAINS: The union for Amtrak's locomotive engineers has urged the railroad to put a second crew member at the control of trains on the busy Norheast corridor, where a derailment killed eight people and injured more than 200 others. [Tribune Review website report, 5-19-15]

AMTRAK HAS RADIO SPECTRUM FOR PTC, BUT MORE WORK REMAINS: Amtrak in April closed on a deal to acquire the radio spectrum to upgrade its positive train-control system on the Northeast corridor. But even after acquiring the spectrum, months of work remain before the safety system can be used throughout. [Philadelphia Inqirer website report, 5-19-15]

TANK CARS DERAIL IN LOUISIANA, EVACUATION ORDERED: Four Union Pacific chemical tank cars derailed in Addis, La., the afternoon of May 19, prompting officials to order a precautionary evacuation of at least 175 homes in the area. No injuries were reported. [Town Hall website report, 5-19-15]

AMTRAK NEW YORK-PHILADELPHIA SERVICE RESTORED: Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia was restored May 18. [Amtrak]

AMTRAK SEEKS FED APPROVAL FOR AUTOMATED BRAKING FEATURE: Amtrak is seeking expedited approval to equip the Philadelphia site of last week's derailment with an automated braking system that could have prevented the accident, according to a federal regulatory document review by Reuters. [Reuters website report, 5-18-15]

FEDS ORDER AMTRAK TO TAKE CERTAIN SAFETY STEPS ON NORTHEAST CORRIDOR: The Federal Railroad Administration has instructed Amtrak to implement safety actions in response to the May 12 derailment north of Philadelphia. The steps include technology to control train speeds of all trains through the area of the derailment; assess risks at all curves on the Northeast corridor; and improve wayside speed-limit signage. [Federal Railroad Administration, 5-18-15]

STB APPROVES NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S ACQUISITION OF D&H LINES: The Surface Transportation Board has approved Norfolk Southern's acquisition of Delaware & Hudson's South lines in Pennsylvania and New York. Included are 267 miles of trackage between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y.; and 15 miles of running track beween Voorheesville Junction and Delanson, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-18-15]

OIL REFINER ORDERS TANK CARS STRONGER THAN NEW U.S. RULES REQUIRE: U.S. refiner Tesoro has ordered new crude oil tank cars with features that surpass safety standards that federal regulators set this month, executives said. [Reuters website report, 5-18-15]

RAIL CARS BLOWN OVER BY HIGH WINDS IN CENTRAL IOWA: Severe weather tore through central Iowa early May 17 causing multiple rail cars to be blown over in the storm. Nearly 100 rail cars were blown over in Osceola, according to spotters. [WQAD 8 website report, 5-17-15]

AMTRAK FACES MAXIMUM $200-M PAYOUT TO CRASH VICTIMS: Amtrak could face a $200-million payout to train crash victims - the limit set by Congress in 1997 for a single passenger rail incident. [New Haven Register website report, 5-17-15]

AMTRAK ENGINEER HAS NO RECOLLECTION OF CRASH, LAWYER SAYS: The engineer operating the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia May 12 has no recollection of the crash itself and no explanation for what happened, his attorney said. The engineer suffered a concussion and head wound that required 14 staples, and injuries to both of his legs. [ABC News website report, 5-14-15]

AMTRAK ACCIDENT DEATH TOLL CLIMBS TO EIGHT: An eighth body has been pulled from the wreckage of the Amtrak train that derailed north of Philadelphia May 12. [N.Y. Times website report, 5-14-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE V.P., CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER: Alan H. Shaw has been named executive vice-president and chief marketing officer of Norfolk Southern Corp. effective May 16, succeeding Donald Seale, who has retired. [Norfolk Southern, 5-14-15]

VA. BEACH APPROVES FUNDS TO SUPPORT LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The Virginia Beach city council has adopted a budget for the coming year that includes $20-million for a Hampton Roads Transit light-rail extension. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-14-15]

AMTRAK ST. LOUIS LINE IMPROVEMENT NEARING COMPLETION: Construction of the St. Louis area high-speed rail line is in the final stages. The $1.5-billion renovation from Chicago will allow trains to travel at speeds of up to 110 MPH, cutting travel time to about two and one-half hours. [5 KSDK website report, 5-14-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN PHILADELPHIA: Northbound Amtrak Regional train 188, en route from Washington DC to New York City, derailed north of Philadelphia late May 12, in what officials describe as a mass casualty incident. At least seven people died, and about 200 injured. Initial analysis indicates excessive speed - more than double than the authorized speed at the point of derailment on a curve - as likely cause of the accident. Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service has been suspended through the area, and the accident is under investigation.

BRAKES APPLIED JUST SECONDS BEFORE TRAIN DERAILED, NTSB SAYS: The engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed near Philadelphia May 12 applied the emergency brakes just seconds before the train derailed, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said. Stressing that he was working only with preliminary information, he said the train was traveling at 106 MPH as it entered a sharp curve where the speed limit was only 50 MPH. [Fox News website report, 5-13-15]

AMTRAK STATEMENT ON DERAILMENT: Amtrak is deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries to passengers and employees as a result of the derailment north of Philadelphia Tuesday evening. As always, our first concern is taking care of our customers and employees. We are supporting fully with the NTSB and other agencies as part of the ongoing incident investigation. Due to the investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment or speculate about any information that is being investigated. Amtrak continues to offer modified service between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston. There is no Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia, but New Jersey Transit will honor Amtrak tickets between New York and Trenton. [Amtrak, 5-13-15]

DERAILED AMTRAK TRAIN WAS NOT FITTED WITH PTC: The rail route where an Amtrak train left the track May 12 was not governed by an advanced safety technology meant to prevent high-speed derailments, officials familiar with the investigation said. Positive train-control automatically slows or even halts trains that are moving too fast or heading into a danger zone. Under current law, the rail industry must adopt the technology by year end. Amtrak has begun installing components of a PTC system, but the network is not yet functioning, federal officials said. [Reuters website report, 5-13-15]

PROJECTILE HITS SEPTA TRAIN MINUTES BEFORE AMTRAK CRASH: Just before Tuesday's deadly Amtrak derailment, a SEPTA commuter train in the same corridor was crippled by a 'projectile' sent through the engineer's window. Officials said their investigation was continuing, but that there was no immediate indication that the two incidents are related. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 5-13-15]

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, MOVING AHEAD WITH STREETCAR PLANS: A streetcar project in Orange County, California, is advancing toward the start of construction in 2017, following its recent acceptance into the project development phase of the New Starts federal grant program, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-13-15]

SIX INJURED AS BUS COLLIDES WITH FREIGHT TRAIN IN GEORGIA: Five passengers and a driver were injured May 13 when a MARTA transit bus was struck by a freight train. The crash happened in East Point, Ga., just before 5 P.M.The bus was hit once, spun around, and was hit again, officials said. All six of the injured were taken to the Atlanta Medical Center for treatment. [WSB-TV website report, 5-13-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroad freight traffic fell 2.3 pct to 551,034 combined carloads and intermodal units during the week ending May 9 compared with the same week a year ago. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-13-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ANNOUNCES STEAM EXCURSIONS: Norfolk & Western Class J 611 is coming home again, back from its second restoration, to headline Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam Excursions in 2015. Joined by Southern 4501 and Nickel Plate 765, Class J 611 will participate in this summer's round-trip excursions along the Norfolk Southern system, partnered by the Virginia Museum of Transportation, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society. MORE... [Norfolk Southern]

CSX OPENS NEW TERMINAL IN QUEBEC: CSX and government officials have inaugurated the railroad's new intermodal terminal in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec. Construction of the $100-million facility began in the spring of 2013 and includes 3.1 miles of track. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-12-15]

NEW SACRAMENTO LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION READIED FOR TESTING: In preparation for testing later this month, the Sacramento Regional Transit District has activated the overhead catenary system for new light-rail tracks on its 4.3-mile extension of the blue line from Meadowview to Cosumnes River College. The line is slated to be opened in September. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-12-15]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW RALEIGH PASSENGER RAIL STATION: Construction has begun on a new passenger rail station in downtown Raleigh, N.C. Slated to open in 2017, the $79.8-million facility will replace the overcrowded Cabarrus street Amtrak station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-12-15]

COMMUTER RAIL SERVICE RETURNING TO MARIN, CALIFORNIA, AFTER 75 YEARS: The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit commuter train is slated to begin service next year, but area residents were able to check out the new trains recently. Marin, California, once had train service, but it was dismantled 75 years ago. [Marin Independent Journal website report, 5-12-15]

JAMES EVANS DIES, FORMER UNION PACIFIC CHAIRMAN: Former Union Pacific Railroad chairman James Evans, 94, died May 11, the company announced. [Progressive Railroading website report]

SECOND PHASE OF EGLINTON, ONTARIO, LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT BEGINS THIS SUMMER: The second phase of the $4.4-billion Eglinton light-rail project in Ontario is set to begin this summer. The contract calls for the construction of a tunnel and the transit system. [Daily Commercial News website report, 5-11-15]

THAILAND PUSHES AHEAD WITH NEW MAIN LINE PROJECT: Thailand's government has approved construction of a 116-mile meter-gauge line from Chira Junction to Khon Kaen, part of the transport ministry's new infrastructure development plan. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-11-15]

INDIAN RAILWAYS ABANDONS MUMBAI ELEVATED PROJECT: Indian Railway's $4.5-billion project to construct a 39-mile elevated rail corridor linking Churchgate to Virar in Mumbai has been abandoned following a lack of response from private parties. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-11-15]

CSX TRAIN KILLS PEDESTRIAN IN COLLEGE PARK, MD.: Police say a westbound CSX freight train struck and killed a pedestrian crossing the tracks at College Park, Md., on May 11. [WUSA 9 website report, 5-11-15]

D.C. METRO TRAINS DISRUPTED DUE TO SMOKE IN TUNNEL: Washington, D.C., metro trains between D.C. and Virginia on the orange, blue and silver lines were seriously disrupted the morning of May 11 due to smoke in the tunnel. Metro said a third-rail insulator may have been giving off smoke. [ABC 7 website report, 5-11-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN CRASHES INTO CAR IN LOUISIANA: An Amtrak train bound for New Orleans crashed into a vehicle in Amite, Louisiana, Sunday afternoon, May 10. According to an initial investigation, the crash killed the driver of the vehicle, apparently parked on the tracks. There were 163 passengers on the train, the City of New Orleans. Two passengers were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Buses were chartered to pick up the remaining passengers and complete the stops at Hammond and New Orleans. [WDSU News website report, 5-10-15]

MORE THAN 30 LAWSUITS FILED OVER 2013 METRO-NORTH RAIL ACCIDENT: More than 30 lawsuits have been filed against Metro-North Railroad over the May 2013 derailment in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that left more than 70 people injured when two commuter trains going in opposite directions collided. Investigators concluded the accident was the result of a cracked joint bar, a problem that may not have been visible from a vehicle used to inspect the tracks just two days before the derailment. [ABC News website report, 5-7-15]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN N.C.: Police say a 65-year-old man died after being hit by Amtrak's Piedmont passenger train while crossing the tracks May 6 on his daily walk in Mebane, N.C. The train was delayed three hours during the investigation. [WNCT 9 website report, 5-7-15]

BOMBARDIER TO SELL MINORITY STAKE IN RAIL BUSINESS: Bombardier has confirmed that it will sell a minority stake in its rail business Bombardier Transportation through an initial public offering to take place before the end of the year. The listing is likely to be carried out in Germany, where Bombardier Transportion is headquartered. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-7-15]

BNSF CRUDE OIL TRAIN DERAILS, EXPLODES IN N.D.: A BNSF crude oil unit train derailed near Heimdal, N.D., early May 6, resulting in explosions and fire. Ten cars burst into flames, forcing an evacuation of the town. The site of the accident is roughly halfway between Minot and Grand Forks on the Northern Corridor main line. There were no injuries. [Railway Age website report, 5-6-15]

BOMBARDIER GETS ORDER FOR 19 ELECTRIC MULTIPLE-UNITS FOR PARIS: Bombardier has received an order for 19 additional class Z 50000 Francilien electric multiple-units for suburban services in the Paris area. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-6-15]

RUSSIAN TALGOS TO ENTER SERVICE NEXT MONTH: Russian Railways has begun selling tickets for its new Moscow-Nizhniy Novgorod Strizh services slated to begin June 1 using its new fleet of Talgo coaches and EP 20 electric locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-6-15]

VIA RAIL EXPANDS SERVICE TO TORONTO AIRPORT: VIA Rail passengers may now book a connecting trip between Toronto Pearson International Airport and Toroonto's Union Station with the Union Pearson Express in a single transaction. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-6-15]

TORNADO DERAILS RAIL CARS IN NEBRASKA: Officials in south-central Nebraska say seven empty coal cars of a Union Pacific train toppled off the track by a tornado May 6. There were no injuries. [Houston Chronicle website report, 5-6-15]

FEDS APPROVE BNSF USE OF DRONES FOR PROPERTY INSPECTION: BNSF Railway will be among the first companies approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate a commercial drone over hundreds of miles in a U.S. research program to test the safety of pilot-less flights. A camera-equipped drone will fly as far as 400 miles along tracks in rural areas to inspect rails, BNSF said. [Bloomberg website report, 5-6-15]

APRIL 2015 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. railroads originated 2,786,358 carload and intermodal units in April 2015, a decrease of 0.4 pct from April 2014. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-6-15]

CSX TRAIN IN SOUTH PHILADELPHIA STRIKES BUS, THREE INJURED: Three people were hospitalized late May 5 after a SEPTA route 29 bus in South Philadelphia proceeded onto tracks in front of a moving CSX train which was switching. [6 ABC News Philadelphia website report, 5-5-15]

UNION PACIFIC TO INVEST $4.2-B IN ITS NETWORK THIS YEAR: Union Pacific Railroad plans to invest $4.2-billion capital dollars in its network this year. [Railway Age website report, 5-5-15]

TWO GRINDROD LOCOMOTIVES ARRIVE IN CAMEROON: The first two of eight new GL30SCM DC six-axle diesel locomotives from Grindrod Locomotives South Africa has arrived in Cameroon. The next two units will be delivered this month and the remaining four are due to arrive by the end of the year. They will be used in freight service. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-5-15]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 1-Q LOSS: FreightCar America Inc. reported a first-quarter net loss of $2.1-million, versus a net loss of $6.9-million in the first-quarter 2014. A series of production-line changeovers and inefficiencies impacted first-quarter results, the company said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-5-15]

CN ANNOUNCES $2.7-B CAPITAL EXPENDITURES PLAN: Canadian National Railway plans to invest $2.7-billion in 2015 for rail infrastrucure maintenance improvements along with new capacity, equipment and technology. [Railway Age website report, 5-5-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN OPERATION SURVEY: Forty-two percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains surveyed for the week ending May 3, 2015, arrived at their final destination on time. The average arrival of these trains was 42 minutes late. The average arrival of only those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 13 minutes late. This report only comprehends arrival at final terminal, not an average arrival at intermediate stops. MORE... [Bull Sheet statistical department]

CONSTRUCTION UNDER WAY TO REOPEN SISKIYOU RAIL LINE: Construction is under way on the first of three phases to upgrade and reopen the 95-mile Central Oregon & Pacific Siskiyou rail line between Ashland, Oregon, and Weed, California. Work is expected to be completed later this year. [Railway Age website report, 5-4-15]

CP NAMES MARK ERCEG EXECUTIVE V.P., CFO: Canadian Pacific has appointed Mark Erceg as executive vice-president and chief financial officer, effective May 18, to replace outgoing CFO Bart Demosky who is leaving the company. [Railway Age website report, 5-4-15]

MONORAIL BEING BUILT IN CAIRO: Cairo, Eqypt, is getting a $1.5-billion, 32-mile monorail. The project, by Orascom Construction, Arab Contractors and Bombardier, will help reduce street congestion, and should be complete in 2018. [Toronto Globe & Mail website report, 5-4-15]

FEDS RETRACT FUNDING FOR LITTLE ROCK RAIL OVERPASS: A planned railway overpass in Little Rock, Arkansas, has lost $8.7-million in funding as the Federal Highway Administration tightens restrictions on limited transportation dollars. Local officials say the money may become available again this summer, but said there is no guarantee at this point. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette website report, 5-4-15]

RUSSIA AWARDS HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONTRACT TO CHINESE FIRM: A Chinese company will work with two Russian companies on the construction of Russia's first dedicated high-speed rail line. The project is slated for completion by the end of the year, at a cost of over $19-billion. [China Daily website report, 5-1-15]

U.S., CANADA UNVEIL RULES TO BOOST OIL TRAIN SAFETY: Railroad tank cars that are used for transporting most crude oil and other flammable liquids will have to be built to stronger standards to reduce the risk of catastrophic train crash and fire under a series of new rules released May 1 by U.S. and Canadian officials. The regulations go into effect Oct. 1. Under the rules, new tank cars carrying the most volatile liquids must have an outer shell, a thermal lining, improved top and bottom fittings, and thicker, 9/16-inch thick steel walls to keep them from rupturing. Trains of at least 70 cars, including only one containing the most volatile of liquids, must also have electronically controlled brakes that automatically stop all cars in the train at the same time, instead of sequentially. The braking requirement goes into effect in 2021. [ABC News website report, 5-1-15]

AMTRAK TO OPEN INFORMATION-TECHNOLOGY CENTER IN ATLANTA THIS SUMMER: Amtrak plans to open an information-technology service delivery center in metro Atlanta this summer. To be located at Councourse Office Park in Sandy Springs, the center will support information-technology operations nationwide, and add as many as 200 positions in the area during the next two to five years, Amtrak said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-30-15]

BNSF RAISING RATES FOR SHIPPING GRAIN: For the first time in two years, the price to ship Montana whea by rail is going up. BNSF will increase ariff rates after suspending rate increases in 2013. The announced rate applies to shipments in several states and amount to a $400 increase to each rail car. [Billings Gazette website report, 4-30-15]

HOOSIER STATE TRAIN AGREEMENT EXTENDED AGAIN: For the fourth time, Amtak and Indiana have extended an agreement to operate the Hoosier State passenger train. The four-day-a-week service between Indianapolis and Chicago will now run through June 30. Combined with Amtrak's three-day-a-week Cardinal, passengers will continue to have daily service. [Lafayette Journal & Courier website report, 4-30-15]

ONTARIO DETAILS GO TRANSIT ELECTRIFICATION PLAN: The province of Ontario has outlined plans for the electrification of certain GO Transit regional rail lines, including an implementation schedule. Electrification is planned for most corridors by 2022-2024, commencing with portions of the Kitchener and Stoffville lines, followed by the Barrie and Lakeshore lines. [Railway Age website report, 4-29-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reported first-quarter 2015 net income was $310-million, 16 pct lower compared with first-quarter 2014. Diluted earnings per share were $1.00, compared with $1.17 in the same quarter last year. The railway operating ratio was 76.4 pct. [Norfolk Southern, 4-29-15]

BNSF TO REDUCE HIRING, IMPOSE FURLOUGHS: BNSF plans to reduce hiring and to place an unspecified number of workers on furloughs. The company has seen freight-hauling demand lag forecasts. BNSF plans to recall the fourloughted employees as soon as business needs require it, but the company is not releasing the number of affected workers or where they work. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 4-29-15]

METROLINX INTRODUCES NEW GO TRANSIT CONCOURSE IN TORONTO UNION STATION: Metrolinx has opened its York GO Transit concourse in Toronto's Union Station. The 62,000-square-foot facility will enable faster access to GO Transit platforms, and prepares for the growth that will accompany the planned Regional Express Rail, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-29-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 557,306 U.S. carloads and intermodal units in the week ending April 25, 2015, a decrease of 1.6 pct compared with the same week in 2014. Carloads decreased 7.9 pct, while intermodal units increased 5.6 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-29-15]

ONE KILLED, ANOTHER INJURED IN TRAIN COLLISION IN N.M.: A moving freight train struck a stopped freight train head-on in southeastern New Mexico near Roswell April 28, killing one crew member and injuring another. Both victims were Southwestern Railroad employees. [ABC News website report, 4-28-15]

FRENCH AVIGNON-CARPENTRAS PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE REOPENS AFTER 77 YEARS: Regular passenger service returned to the French town of Carpentras for the first time in 77 years with the reopening of the 10.5-mile branch from Sourges, north of Avignon, on April 25. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-28-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE OPERATING PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time during the week ending April 26, 2015. The average arrival of the 245 long-distance runs surveyed for the week was 46 minutes late. Of those trains that arrived behind schedule (excluding those that were on time), the average arrival was one hour and 22 minutes late. MORE...

FIVE RAIL CARS BLOWN OFF HUEY P. LONG BRIDGE: Five railroad cars were blown off the Huey P. Long bridge in Louisiana April 27 during a severe storm. There were no injuries. [Daily Comet website report, 4-27-15]

CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR STRIKES CAR IN NEVADA: Amtrak's California Zephyr struck a car on the tracks west of Wells, Nevada, early April 26, in what was apparently a fatal collision. Nobody on the train was injured. [Elko Daily Free Press website report, 4-26-15]

FOURTEEN STRUCK AND KILLED BY TRAIN IN MACEDONIA: A group of 14 migrants walking or resting upon railroad tracks in Macdonia April 23 were struck and killed by an overnight train. It is believed that the individuals were from Afganistan and Somalia, and were attempting to reach the European Union. [U.S. News & World Report website report, 4-24-15]

TORONTO READIES RAIL SERVICE TO AIRPORT: Toronto's Union Pearson Express is set to begin June 6 between downtown and Pearson International Airport. Trains will depart every 15 minutes for the 25-minute ride. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-24-15]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Union Pacific reported 2015 first-quarter net income of $1.2-billion or $1.30 per diluted share, compared to $1.1-billion or $1/19 per diluted shae in the first-quarter 2015. Operating revenue was $5.6-billion. Quarterly freight revenue decreased one pct compared to the same quarter last year. [Union Pacific, 4-23-15]

AMTRAK APPROVES PETS ON ILLINOIS TRAINS: Amtrak has made permanent a pilot program that allows passengers in Illinois to bring small pets on trains. Passengers who make advance reservations and pay a $25 surcharge may bring the pets on trains traveling through Chicago and downstate Illinois. The initial pilot ran for nearly a year, according to officials. Legislation is pending in Congress to allow pet travel on Amtrak trains throughout the country. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-23-15]

IOWA PACIFIC HOLDINGS TO OPERATE PIEDMONT & NORTHERN: The North Carolina DOT has selected Piedmont Railway, a subsidiary of Iowa Pacific Holdings, to operate the state-owned, 13-mile, Piedmont & Northern railroad line in Gaston County. [Progressive Railrading website report, 4-23-15]

BRITTANY TO ORDER 10 MORE BOMBARDIER REGIO 2N ELECTRIC MULTIPLE-UNITS: Brittany has announced that the French region will exercise an option with Bombardier for 10 additional Regio 2N EMU's, taking the region's total fleet of the double-deck trains to 27. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-23-15]

MAJOR ENERGY-EFFICIENCY PROJECT COMPLETED AT GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL: A $25-million major energy- efficiency project has been completed at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Included were cooling towers, air-handling upgrades, new chillers and compressed-air and steam-distribution systems. The effort is expected to save $2.5-million in annual energy costs. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-22-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 556,432 combined U.S. carloads and intermodal units for the week ending April 18, 2015, an increase of 1.2 pct compared with the same week a year ago. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-22-15]

WABTEC REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Wabtec Corp. reported first-quarter 2015 sales of $819-million, compared to first-quarter 2014 sales of $695-million, an increase of 18 pct. Earnings per diluted share increased 19 pct. [Railway Age website report, 4-22-15]

RAILROAD EMBANKMENT TRAIL IN CHICAGO TO OPEN IN JUNE: A new park and trail system on Chicago's northwest side - linking Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park - will open in early June. The centerpiece of the system is a nearly 3-mile recreational trail along an old railroad embankment. [WPSD Local 6 website report, 4-22-15]

BNSF RETAKES AGRICULTURE MARKET SHARE FROM UNION PACIFIC: BNSF Railway won back market share for grain and agriculture commodities that it lost to Union Pacific in 2014 when BNSF struggled to keep up with customer demand. [Bloomberg website report, 4-22-15]

KCS REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported first-quarter 2015 revenues of $603-million, a decrease of one percent compared to the first-quarter 2014. Operating income was $178-million. Reported net income was $101-million, or 91 cents per diluted share. [Kansas City Southern, 4-21-15]

ONTARIO TO FUND ENTIRE HURONTARIO LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Ontario will be covering the entire $1.6-billion cost of a 14.2-mile light-rail line connecting the Port Credit and Brampton GO Transit rail stations. Known as the Hurontario LRT, service startup is planned for 2022, but the route through Brampton is currently uncertain. [Railway Age website report, 4-21-15]

CP REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway reported first-quarter revenues climbed 10 pct to a first-quarter record of $1.67-billion. Net income rose to an all-time quarterly high of $320-million, or $1.92 per diluted share. [Canadian Pacific, 4-21-15]

SHAREHOLDER ACTIVISIM 'OVERDUE' AT U.S. RIVALS, CP'S CEO SAYS: Shareholder activisim is long overdue to some major U.S. railways, Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison said in an interview after several U.S. competitors reported disappointing financial results. [Reuters Canada website report, 4-21-15]

JAPAN'S MAGLEV TRAIN BREAKS ANOTHER SPEED RECORD: A Japanese maglev train that is the fastest passenger train in the world has broken its own speed record. It happened April 21 in a test tun with a top speed of 375 miles per hour. The train traveled for just over a mile at a speed exceeding 373 miles per hour. [ABC News website report, 4-21-15]

CN REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Canadian National reported first-quarter net income of $704-million or 86 cents a share, compared with $623-million or 75 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue rose to $3.1-billion from $2.69-billion. [Canadian National, 4-20-15]

NEW SCHEDULE FOR AMTRAK'S PERE MARQUETTE: A new schedule for the Amtrak Pere Marquette will allow passengers a nine-hour day in Chicago, rather than six hours, as it is presently. It will also improve connections with other Amtrak trains. The new schedule, effective May 4, is the result of recrafted crew cycles and the creation of a crew base in downtown Grand Rapids. [Amtrak, 4-20-15]

FIVE TEAMS QUALIFY TO BID ON CALIFORNIA'S HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Five teams will be able to bid on a 22-mile segment of California's high-speed rail project. This portion of the project could cost up to $500-million. [Visalia Times-Delta website report, 4-20-15]

SECOND TRACK TO BE BUILT ON GO TRANSIT'S BARRIE LINE: Ontario's government will set aside $17.4-million to open a 3.7-mile section of second track on GO Transit's Barrie line between the York University and Rutherford stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-20-15]

RAIL STRIKE IN GERMANY PLANNED THIS WEEK: A German trade union has called for passenger-trail operators to strike April 22 and 23, and freight train operators to strike from April 21 to 24. This will be the latest in a series of strikes that have hit Germany's train traffic in recent months. [Wall Street Journal website report, 4-20-15]

NEW RAIL-CAR PRODUCTION FACILITY OPENS IN MEXICO: Greenbrier Cos. has opened a new rail-car production facility in the Mexican city of Xicotencati. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-20-15]

INDIAN RAILWAYS TO ORDER HIGH-SPEED TRAINS: Indian Railways says it is preparing to launch a request for bids for a fleet of fixed-formation 124 MPH trains. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-20-15]

SPAIN INAUGURATES GALICIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: Spain has opened a new section of the Atlantic high-speed rail corridor between Santiago de Compostela and Vigo in Galicia. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-20-15]

FEDS RELEASE DRAFT ENVIORNMENTAL STUDY ON PROPOSED TONGUE RIVER R.R.: Federal regulators have released a draft study of the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Tongue River Railroad. The $403-million line would transport low-sulfur coal from the proposed Otter Creek Mine and other possible mines in the Powder River Basin along the Montana-Wyoming boundary. The project has faced years of opposition from ranchers and tribal members, joined recently by cities and towns expressing concerns about increased coal train traffic. The draft report examined the potential impacts of 11 alternatives. Ten are different rail alignments, and one considers the effects of not building the railroad at all. [Casper Star Tribune website report, 4-19-15]

NEW RAIL TRAIL DEDICATED IN MICHIGAN: There was a dedication ceremony April 18 near the Saint Johns, Michigan, depot building for the Meijer Clinton-Ionia- Shiawassee Rail Trail. The non-motorized trail extends about 42 miles between Ionia and Owosso on a corridor formerly used by the Central Michigan Railway. The trail is paved through cities and villages, and is surfaced with crushed limestone in rural areas. Several railroad bridges were upgraded as the trail was constructed. [Lansing State Journal website report, 4-18-15]

CN LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS RATIFY 3-YEAR CONTRACT: Canadian National locomotive engineers, represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union, have ratified a new 3-year collective agreement with the railroad, retroactive to Jan. 1. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-17-15]

JAPANESE MAGLEV TRAIN BREAKS WORLD SPEED RECORD: A maglev train in Japan reached a speed of 366 miles per hour this week, breaking a world record that had stood for 12 years. The Central Japan Railway said the seven-car train completed a test run on an experimental track in Yamanashi prefecture, beating the previous mark of 361 miles per hour set in 2003. [The Verge website report, 4-17-15]

TWO S.C. MEN INDICTED FOR CAUSING 2013 AMTRAK CRASH, FAKING INJURIES: Two men in South Carolina face seven federal charges after authorities say they parked a car on train tracks, causing an Amtrak train to derail, then came back and claimed they were injured in the crash. The indictment says they parked a stolen car on the tracks Sept. 6, 2013, then left until the train crashed into it. Authorities say one got back into the vehicle while the other laid down near it, both claiming to be severly injured. None of the passengers on the train were hurt. [CBS News website report, 4-16-15]

CSX CUTS EARNINGS GROWTH FORECAST FOR 2015: CSX says the railroad won't deliver the double-digit profit growth it promised this year because coal demand remains weak. Executives remain optimistic about the railroad's prospects because service is improving, but they said that mid-to-high single-digit profit growth is likely this year. [Herald-Dispatch website report, 4-16-15]

MOTORIST KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN MISSISSIPPI: An official says a woman drove her SUV around an active crossing gate and collided with Amtrak's Crescent passenger train in Mississippi on April 15, dying within seconds. [Seattle Times website report, 4-16-15]

CN BUDGETS $500-M FOR WESTERN CANADA FEEDER LINES: CN has embarked on a $500-million multi-year capital investment program for infrastructure improvements to its feeder rail lines in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. [Railway Age website report, 4-16-15]

AUSTRALIAN PROVINCE STILL WANTS TO BUILD RAIL LINE: Officials in the Australian province of Victoria say they are still going to build a rail line despite the Australian government's decision to rescind part of the funding. The project is expected to create 7,000 jobs. Some engineering challenges of a tunnel for the project have yet to be resolved. [ITT American SmartBrief, 4-16-15]

PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE COLLAPSES ONTO CSX, METRO TRACKS IN MARYLAND: A pedestrian bridge fell onto the CSX-MARC and Metro tracks April 15 in Berwyn Heights, Md., causing rail service to be halted. A piece of construction equipment hit the bridge causing it to fall. There were no injuries. [WTOP website report, 4-15-15]

FEDS GRANT $3-M TOWARD PTC ON AMTRAK'S HUDSON LINE: New York has received a $3-million grant from the U.S. DOT to advance safety precautions and engineering assistance to implement positive train control on Amtrak's Hudson line from Poughkeepsie to Hoffman's, and west of Schenectady for the Empire and Adirondack corridors. [Railway Tack & Structures website report, 4-15-15]

GE TRANSPORTATION LANDS ALL ABOARD FLORIDA SIGNALING CONTRACT: All Aboard Florida has selected GE Transportation to design and manufacture signaling, grade crossing and related positive train control equipment for its 235-mile rail corridor connecting Miami with Orlando. [Railway Age website report, 4-15-15]

BOMBARDIER SAID TO HIRE UBS, CITIGROUP TO WORK ON RAIL SALE: Bombardier, the Canadian train and plane maker, has hired UBS Group and Citigroup to advise on a potential initial public offering or sale of its rail unit, according to people familiar with the matter. [Bloomberg website report, 4-15-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 557,812 combined U.S. carloads and intermodal units for the week ending April 11, 2015, a decrease of 0.3 pct compared with the same week a year ago. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-15-15]

CSX HIKES DIVIDEND 13 PCT: The CSX board of directors approved an increase in the quarterly dividend by 13 pct to 18 cents per share. This is the 13th increase in 10 years. The company also established a $2-billion share repurchase program, expected to be completed over the next 24 months. [CSX, 4-14-15]

OMAHA RAIL CAR EXPLOSION KILLS TWO: There was a rail car explosion in Omaha, Nebraska, April 14 killing two employees of a rail car cleaning services company working at a GE Capital Rail Services facility. The accident is under investigation. [Valley News Live website report, 4-14-15]

DALLAS STREETCAR LINE OPENS FOR SERVICE: Dallas Aea Rapid Transit's streetcar between downtown and Oak Cliff officially opened to riders April 13. The occasion marks the first time that downtown Dallas has seen streetcar service in nearly 50 years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-14-15]

WASHINGTON D.C. METRO ADDS 7000-SERIES RAIL CARS: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has introduced the first of its 7000-series rail cars into service on the Blue line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-14-15]

THREE BROOKLYN, N.Y., MTA STATIONS TO BE RENEWED: Skanska has signed an $80-million contract with MTA N.Y. City Transit for the renewal of three train stations in Brooklyn, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-14-15]

NEW SIX-AXLE LOCOMOTIVES DELIVERED TO THE CONGO: CNR Beijing has delivered 18 six-axle CKD8C1 diesel locomotives to Democratic Republic of Congo National Railways. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-14-15]

CSX REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: CSX announced first-quarter 2015 net earnings of $442-million, an 11 pct increase from the same period last year. Earnings per share increased 13 pct. Revenue was $3-billion. [CSX, 4-14-15]

CALIFORNIA RAIL AUTHORITY ESTABLISHES $261-M FUND FOR COST OVERRUNS: The California High-Speed rail authority has created a $261-million contingency fund for potential cost overruns of a 65-mile section of the planned rail line. A $1.37-billion contract was awarded to build the section, but rather than basing the fund on a percentage, the authority is identifying and assessing risk areas and assigning people to minimize and mitigate those risks as work proceeds. [Fresno Bee website report, 4-14-15]

U.S. RAILROADS HAVE SAFEST YEAR ON RECORD IN 2014: Statistics by the Federal Railroad Administration show that 2014 was the safest year on record for train operations in the U.S. in terms of number of accidents and accident rate per million train miles. These number include passenger rail, though the majority of the accidents were freight. [Railway Age website report, 4-14-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN OPERATING PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-four percent of Amtrak's long distance trains arrived at their final destination on time during the week ending April 12, 2015. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was 56 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule at their final destination was one hour and 24 minutes late. MORE... [Bull Sheet statistical department]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN COLORADO SPRINGS: A Burlington Northern Santa Fe carrying ammonia fertilizer derailed late April 12 in Colorado Springs. No injuries were reported and no evacuation were ordered, but there were multiple road closures in the area. [KKTV website report, 4-13-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN EXPECTS LOWER 1-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern's first-quarter diluted earnings per share are expected to be $1.00 per share, 15 pct below the same quarter 2014. The reduction in earnings is primarily due to lower than expected revenues, although certain expense items also affect the comparison. [Norfolk Southern, 4-13-15]

AMTRAK TO OFFER LOWER SLEEPING-CAR FARE OPTION ON SILVER STAR: Amtrak will offer passengers a lower-cost option for travel in its sleeping cars on the Silver Star as a pilot program beginning July 1 and continuing until the end of January 2016. Under the program, dining-car meals (which traditionally have been included in the sleeping-car fare) will be 'un-bundled' to allow passengers to travel at a lower cost. All food service will be provided in a cafe-lounge car rather than a dining car on the Silver Star. Traditional dining car service will continue to be available on the Silver Meteor. [Amtrak, 4-13-15]

NEW THRUWAY BUS CONNECTIONS AVAILABLE TO AMTRAK NETWORK IN PA.: Residents of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and White Haven, Pa., may now connect to Amtrak via thruway bus service provided by Martz Trailways to and from Philadelphia's 30th street station. [Amtrak, 4-13-15]

NEW U.S.-MEXICO RAIL BRIDGE TO OPEN LATER THIS YEAR: The first railroad bridge to be built in more than a century connecting the U.S. and Mexico is expected to be operational by the second half of 2015. The bridge will cross between Brownsville and Matamoros. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-13-15]

VIA RAIL ADDS NEW TOURISM OPTIONS: VIA Rail has announced expanded tourism options through its partnership with Yankee Leisure Group. The packages include a Canadian Rockies trip, a 'Cross Canada' trip that stops in Niagara Falls before heading to the Rockies, and a 'Capitol to Capitol' program with stops in Ottawa, New York, and Washington, DC. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-13-15]

FEDS GRANT $3-M TO HELP EASE CHICAGO RAIL COMMUTER CONGESTION: A $3-million federal grant will help east congestion that slows Metra commuter trains heading into Chicago's Union Station from the south and southwest. The money will help Illinois to develop a plan to improve the efficiency of those lines. [Northern Star website report, 4-12-15]

S.C. EVACUEES RETURNING HOME AFTER TRAIN DERAILMENT: Most of the 30 Trenton, S.C., residents evacuated late April 10 after a Norfolk Southern train derailmed were given permission to return to their homes the following morning after officials reported that no injuries or chemical leaks resulted from the incident. [Augusta Chronicle website report, 4-11-15]

PASSENGER ARRESTED FOR PUNCHING AMTRAK CONDUCTOR: A woman was arrested late April 10 for allegedly punching an Amtrak conductor and possessing heroin. A Mattoon, Illinois, police press release reported that the 29-year-old passenger was arrested on charges of aggravated battery and possession of a controlled substance and taken off the train and transported to the Coles County jail. [Journal Gazette & Times-Courier website report, 4-11-15]

CN CONDUCTOR DIES FOLLOWING INCIDENT IN SASKATOON'S CHAPPELL RAIL YARD: The death of a CN Rail conductor is being investigated following an incident at Saskatoon's Chappell Yard April 9. Paramedics responded to a call for a man with life-threatening injuries, and he suffered cardiac arrest while being transported to the hospital where he later died. [CTV News Saskatoon website report, 4-10-15]

MAN WHO STEALS TRAIN IN WYOMING GETS PROBATION: A Wyoming man who stole a train from a coal mine in Wyoming last year, crashed into another train, then backed up and rammed it again, has been sentenced to supervised release for five years and to pay over $63,000 in damages. [ABC News website report, 4-10-15]

FEDS APPROVE LOUISVILLE & INDIANA TRACK UPGRADE: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has approved a proposal by Louisville & Indiana Railroad and CSX to upgrade a key freight corridor between Indianapolis and Louisville. CSX's total investment is $100-million. Louisville & Indiana, which has approximately 40 employees, acquired its 106-mile line former Pennsylvania Railroad line from Conrail, and began operations in 1994. CSX trains operate over a 52-mile portion of the corridor between Louisville and Seymour, Indiana, en route to Cincinnati. [CSX, 4-10-15]

BOMBARDIER EXPLORING NEW OPTIONS FOR RAIL BUSINESS: Bombardier is exploring ways to raise money from its transportation unit as the company grapples with huge cost overruns in its aircraft business, sources familiar with the matter said. Speculation that Bombardier will seek to monetize its rail division through a sale or merger mounted after a Reuters news report said the company is exploring such options with its bankers. The company posted an annual loss in 2014 for the first time in nearly a decade. Bombardier is the only company in the world that makes both planes and trains. [Globe and Mail website report, 4-10-15]

SIEMENS LANDS ORDER FOR 15 VECTRON LOCOMOTIVES: BLS Cargo AG has ordered 15 Vectron MS multisystem locomotives from Siemens, They are capable of reaching speeds upto 124 MPH, and will be used for cross-border service in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-10-15]

TESTING BEGINS ON L.A. EXPO LIGHT-RAIL LINE PHASE 2: Clearance testing for the second phase of the Los Angeles expo light-rail project began April 6 when a train operated under its own power from Culver City and across the new bridge spanning Venice boulevard. The segment to Santa Monica is expected to open in the spring of 2016, providing a direct link from the L.A. city center with seven stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-9-15]

G.E. COMPLETES FIRST PRODUCTION TEST OF TIER 4 ENGINE: GE Transportation has completed thefirst production test of its Evolution Series Tier 4 engine. This is the first engine to go through the newly-built test cell in Grove City, Pa. [Railway Age website report, 4-9-15]

KCS TO INVEST $19-M ON BEAUMONT SUBDIVISION: Kansas City Southern will spend $19-million this year to improve its Beaumont subdivision between Texas and Louisiana to help grow capacity and maintain the company's cross-border network. Projects include replacement of 20 miles of rail and 40,000 ties, plus improvements to 10 grade crossings. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-9-15]

BACKLOG CONTINUES IN WAKE OF WEST COAST PORT LABOR STRIFE: West Coast ports continue to rercover from a cargo backlog built up before a tentative labor agreement was signed in February, but there is still a lot of cargo to be loaded onto trains and trucks after being offloaded from ships. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-9-15]

CSX NAMES DAVID BAGGS AS V.P., TREASURER: CSX has appointed David Baggs vice-president and treasurer, in addition to his current role as V.P. capital markets and investor relations. He begins his new role July 1 upon the retirement of David Boor, currently V.P. tax and treasurer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-9-15]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 549,021 combined U.S. carloads and intermodal units for the week ending April 4, 2015, a decrease of 1.5 pct compared with the same week a year ago. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-8-15]

SUIT FILED AGAINST BNSF OVER COLD TRAIN SHUT DOWN: Former officials of Cold Train have filed a $41-million lawsuit against BNSF as a result of damages they claim for having to shut down the Cold Train Express intermodal service in August 2014. Earlier, in April 2014, BNSF canceled its 72-hour service from the West Coast to Chicago and substituted a new 125-hour service. Cold Train claims that the service change directly resulted in the loss of Cold Train's sale to Federated Railways, leaving the officials with nothing from a business that had been worth over $40-million. [Railway Age website report, 4-8-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN OPERATING PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending April 5, 2015, it was calculated that 40 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. The average arrival of all long-distance trains surveyed was 43 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 12 minutes late. [Bull Sheet statistical department]

OIL TRAIN TANK CARS NEED URGENT UPGRADES, FEDS SAY: The National Transportation Safety Board has issued urgent recommendations for cars hauling oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids. The agency said the cars should be replaced or retrofitted with protective systems better able to withstand fire than the bare steel construction now widely in use. Meanwhile, a rule to bolster tank car standards is under final review by the White House. [Northwest Herald website report, 4-7-15]

INDIANA HAMMERING OUT DEAL WITH FEDS ON HOOSIER STATE SERVICE: The state of Indiana has reached an 'understanding' with the Federal Railroad Administration that could keep Amtrak's Hoosier State train running. Indiana will continue existing service in the near term until agreements are finalized between Amtrak and Iowa Pacific. Under the proposal, Amtrak would serve as the primary operator, work with host carriers, provide train and engine crews, and manage reservation and ticketing. Iowa Pacific would provide the train equipment, train maintenance, on-board services and marketing. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-7-15]

COURT DENIES PETITION TO HALT WORK ON CSX'S VIRGINIA AVENUE TUNNEL IN D.C.: A district court judge has denied a petition to stop the reconstruction of CSX's Virginia avenue tunnel in Southeast Washington, D.C. The reconstruction is intended to replace an existing tunnel more than 110 years old with increased clearances. [Washington Post website report, 4-7-15]

NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITY SUES BNSF TO KEEP BAKKEN OIL TRAINS OFF TRIBAL LANDS: The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community has gone to federal court to block BNSF from sending 100-car oil trains through reservation lands, claiming the company is violating an easement that sharply restricts rail traffic. The 1991 easement onlypermits two trains a day of 25 cars or fewer from transiting the reservation, and calls for the railroad to get permission from the tribe to increase traffic. The suit also asks the court to ban the railroad from shipping Bakken shale crude oil across the reservation, asserting that the railroad never sought permission for the oil trains. [Seattle Times website report, 4-7-15]

'TRAIN OF THE CLOUDS' REVIVED IN ARGENTINA: Argentina's Train of the Clouds was revived April 4 when the Salta provincial government took over operation of the twice-weekly tourist service. Operations had ceased last July after a train derailed in a tunnel on one of the most remote sections of the route. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-7-15]

UNION PACIFIC TAKES DELIVERY OF 480-FOOT RAIL SECTIONS: Union Pacific has begun receiving 480-foot sections of rail from Japan, which culminates a project more than a decade in the making, setting a new standard for rail reliability. The rail, made of high-strength, head-hardened continuous-cast, requires only two welds to create quarter-mile lengths. Union Pacific says it evaluated many options for the 480-foot sections, including U.S. manufacturers, and its Japanese supplier solely met all the necessary requirements for length, strength and weight. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-6-15]

SECOND PHASE OF FLORIDA SUNRAIL PROJECT SET TO BEGIN: Construction contracts are about to be advertised for the second phase of the SunRail project in Florida, The $186-million phase will add another 17.2 miles of track and four stations. [Orlando American City Business Journals website report, 4-3-15]

MARCH 2015 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived on time at their final destination in March. This compares with 38 percent in February, and 52 percent in January. The average arrival of surveyed long-distance trains in March was one hour late, and the average arrival of those trains that were behind schedule upon arrival was one hour and 30 minutes late. This survey was undertaken by the Bull Sheet's statistical department, and comprehends on-time calculations without allowance for superficial tardiness. If a train arrives at its final destination just one minute late, for example, it is shown arriving late, not on time. Moreover, a train arriving ahead of schedule (which some do) is merely shown as arriving on time, with no credit for advance arrival to offset another arrival being late. MORE...

BART OPENS CONTRA COSTA CROSSOVER: The Central Contra Costa Crossover project is complete with a new set of crossover tracks in use on the BART Pittsburg-Bay Point line in northern California, allowing capacity relief and greater ability to get around delays. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-2-15]

TRI-RAIL TO OPEN AT MIAMI AIRPORT: Tri-Rail's new Miami International Airport station will open April 5 as part of the Miami Intermodal Center. [Railway Age website report, 4-2-15]

RAIL-SERVED INDUSTRIAL PARK PLANNED IN FORT WORTH: Ridge Development plans to construct a two-building 'Railhead Industrial Park' on 47 acres in North Fort Worth, to be served by BNSF, with secondary service by Union Pacific. [Railway Age website report, 4-2-15]

CANADA APPROVES FUNDS FOR ONTARIO PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE: The Canadian government has approved providing $5.3-million for continued passenger rail service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, Ontario, over the course of three years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-2-15]

FERROMEX EXPANDS LOCOMOTIVE FLEET: Ferromex has accepted delivery of ten of 19 EMD class SD70ACe locomotives on order. The units will be placed into service in June, the railroad said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-2-15]

FOUR-DAY RAIL STRIKE IN PORTUGAL: Portugal's state-owned national railroad said only a few scheduled trains are running in the country April 2 as workers began four days of work stoppages over the Easter break. [U.S. News & World Report website report, 4-2-15]

FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS ON OVERHEAD BRIDGE IN QUEENSGATE, OHIO: Emergency crews responded to a CSX train derailment near Third and Gest streets in Queensgate, Ohio, April 2. At least six train cars were derailed. [ report, 4-2-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Assocation of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending March 28, 2015, with 563,280 combined carloads and intermodal units, down 5.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-1-15]

CSX WORKER STRUCK & KILLED BY TRAIN AT ACCA YARD, VA.: A CSX Transportation worker died after being struck by a train April 1 at the railroad's Acca yard near Richmond, Va. The name of the employee was not released, and the accident is under investigation. [WSLS 10 website report, 4-1-15]

KOREA OPENS OSONG-GWANGJU HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: South Korea's new 113-mile high-speed rail line between Osong and Gwangju was officially opened April 1 at a ceremony at Songjeong station in Gwangju. The new line is part of the government's agenda to connect all of its major cities within half a day's travel of one another. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-1-15]

CORRUPTION WATCHDOG PROBES BOMBARDIER RAIL DEAL IN SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa's corruption watchdog is investigating whether questionable fees wee paid to win a $3-billion train contract awarded to a consortium involving Bombardier, CBC News has learned. The probe is looking at reports that millions of dollars in 'success fees' were paid as part of the contract. [CBC News website report, 4-1-15]

AUCTION FOR R.R. EQUIPMENT, MEMORABILIA SET FOR MAY 2 IN WISCONSIN: As part of the Mid-Continent Railway Museum's steam-readiness program, items that no longer fit the focus or needs of the museum will be offered for sale at auction Saturday, May 2, at E8948 Diamond Hill road, North Freedom, Wisconsin, beginning at 10 A.M. Included will be rolling stock, equipment, parts, artifacts and memorabilia. Further information is available by calling 608-742-5000. [12 WBOY website report, 3-31-15]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR GO TRANSIT MAINTENANCE FACILITY: Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario have awarded a $859.2-million contract to Pienary Infrastructure to design, build and maintain the East Rail Maintenance facility for GO Transit trains in Whitby, Ontario. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-31-15]

BOMBARDIER LANDS ELECTROSTAR MAINTENANCE CONTRACT IN U.K.: Bombardier has signed a 10-year, $213-million contract for the new Essex Thameside francise in the U.K. to provide maintenance and spare parts on the 74 class-357 four-car Electrostar trains, with an option to extend the contract another five years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-31-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-nine percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier during the week ending March 29, 2015. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was 54 minutes late. The average arrival only of those trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and 28 minutes late. MORE...

JOGGER IN FLORIDA KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN: Amtrak's Silver Meteor was heading north March 30 in Frostproof, Florida, when it struck and killed a 26-year-old jogger running along the tracks wearing headphones. [8 WFLA website report, 3-30-15]

BNSF SLOWS CRUDE OIL TRAINS TO 35 MPH IN CITIES: BNSF is slowing down crude oil trains to 35 MPH in cities with more than 100,000 people. The company is also increasing track inspections near waterways, and stepping up efforts to find and repair defective wheels before they can cause derailments. [Chicao Fox 32 website report, 3-30-15]

AUSTRALIA'S GREAT SOUTHERN RAIL PURCHASED BY ALLEGRO FUNDS: Private equity firm Allegro Funds has acquired luxury train company Great Southern Rail from Serco. Great Southern Rail provides luxury train services through the Australian outback between Adelaide and Darwin, and Indian Pacific which travels the route from Sydney to Perth. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-30-15]

PHILADELPHIA'S DEPUTY MAYOR TO TAKE JOB WITH AMTRAK: Philadelphia's deputy mayor for transportation and utilities, Rina Cutler, plans to leave her post to become senior director for major station planning and development at Amtrak. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-30-15]

AMTRAK'S SOUTHWEST CHIEF TO CONTINUE ITS EXISTING ROUTE IN N.M.: Amtrak will stick with its existing New Mexico route of the Southwest Chief passenger train, according to the company. The train will continue to make stops in Raton, Las Vegas, Lamy and Albuquerque. At issue was a funding plan to support keeping the train on its existing route - a plan that is still tenuous - but Amtrak is convinced that the states of Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico have a sound plan in place for upkeep of the tracks. A January 1 deadline for funding the project has been lifted, and there is no longer an 'imminent cutoff date,' Amtrak said. [Amarillo Globe-News website report, 3-29-15]

COLLISION OF LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN AND AUTO INJURES 21 IN L.A.: The driver of an auto was attempting to make a left turn at a Los Angeles intersection near the USC campus March 28 when it was struck by a Metro light-rail train. Authorities said 21 people were injured, at least one seriously. Two of the train cars derailed during the incident, which is under investigation. [ABC 7 News website report, 3-28-15]

CUMBRES & TOLTEC SCENIC R.R. TO RESTORE HISTORIC STEAM LOCOMOTIVE: A steam locomotive that once pulled the train occupied by President Taft and spent most of its 50-year working life in service on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad will be leased from the city of Colorado Springs and restored by the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Locomotive 168 had been retired from service in 1938 and placed on display. [Colorado 9 News website report, 3-28-15]

AMTRAK RESUMES SERVICE IN RENO FOLLOWING UNION PACIFIC DERAILMENT CLEANUP: Amtrak's California Zephyr has resumed service in Reno following the cleanup of a freight train derailment that occurred March 25 north of Fallon, Nevada, which had forced closure of the Union Pacific main line. [KOLO 8 News website report, 3-27-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN BEGINS ENERGY-INNOVATION PROJECT AT JUNIATA LOCOMOTIVE SHOP: Norfolk Southern has launched a $53-million energy-conversion project at its Juniata Locomotive Shop in Pennsylvania that will substantially redeuce carbon emissions and water usage. The railroad will replace coal-boilers with nature gas and install and heat and power generator that will produce enough electricity to sustain the 16-building complex. Completion of the project is slated for late 2017. [Norfolk Southern, 3-27-15]

CASCADE SERVICE IN JEOPARDY DUE TO SLASH IN OREGON FUNDING: An Oregon budget panel has cut by more than 50 pct a request for funding to continue the two daily Cascades train round trips between Portland and Eugene. Unless the money is restored, Amtrak will be notified to begin a discontinuance process as early as July. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-27-15]

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR SEEKS TO CUT AMTRAK FUNDING BY 40 PCT.: Illinois could be forced to repay $1-billion in federal funding if proposed cuts to service on the Chicago-St. Louis passenger rail corridor were to take place. Governor Rauner's administration wants to cut Illinois' share of Amtrak funding by 40 pct, saying the service needs to be cut to meet the state's budget. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-27-15]

UPGRADES BEGIN TO TRAIN STATION PLAZA AT PROVIDENCE, R.I.: The Rhode Island Dept. of Transportation has begun work to upgrade the southern entrance plaza of Providence Station. The $6.9-million project is designed to enhance circulation and create an inviting civic space. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-27-15]

GE LANDS ANGOLAN ORDER FOR 100 LOCOMOTIVES: GE Transportation has obtained a contract to provide 100 GE class C30ACi locomotives to Angola over the next three years. The company will also provide services, tools and training. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-27-15]

BOSTON COMMUTER RAIL SERVICE TO BE FULLY-RESTORED MARCH 30: Boston's commuter rail is expected to be completely back on track beginning this coming Monday [March 30]. The service has been operating on a limited schedule for the past month due to record snowstorms. [WHDH-TV website report, 3-27-15]

FORTY-EIGHT CARS OF FREIGHT TRAIN DERAIL IN NEVADA: A Union Pacific freight train derailed the evening of March 25 near Lovelock, Nevada, with about 30 of the 48 cars that derailed completely off the tracks and in a general pileup. Parallel U.S. 95 was closed for a while. No injuries were reported. [Reno Gazette-Journal website report, 3-26-15]

TRI-RAIL STATION TO OPEN AT MIAMI AIRPORT APRIL 5: Tri-Rail's new station at the Miami International Airport is scheduled to open April 5, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority has announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-26-15]

GENESEE & WYOMNG COMPLETES FREIGHTLINER ACQUISITION: Genesee & Wyoming has completed its acquisition of approximately 94 pct. of Freightliner Group Britain, from Arcapita and other shareholders. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-26-15]

SIEMENS LANDS RHINE-RUHR EXPRESS CONTRACT: In its largest German regional rail transport order, Siemens has been awarded a $1.86-billion contract to supply 82 Desiro high-capacity electric multiple-units for the Rhine-Rohr Express network, and to maintain the fleet for 32 years. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-26-15]

D.C.'S METRO TO INTRODUCE NEW SUBWAY CARS TO BLUE LINE: Washington's Metro will install eight new rail cars in the 7000-series on its Blue Line next month. The city plans to put into service 748 of the cars within the decade. [Washington Post website report, 3-26-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: For the week ending March 22, 2015, Amtrak's long-distance train on-time reliability at final destination was 39 percent. The average long-distance train arrival was 42 minutes late. The average arrival of only those trains that were behind schedule at destination was one hour and eight minutes late. For a train-by-train breakdown, click on the link.. MORE...

PLANS PRESENTED FOR RAILWAY, SUPERHIGHWAY CROSSING BERING STRAIT: The Russian state railroad is proposing a 'trillions of dollars' mass-transit project, including a high-speed railroad and super highway, to connect London to New York via Moscow and the Bering Strait. The Trans-Eurasian Belt Development, which was unveiled at a meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, would also feature a pipeline to transport Russian oil and gas. [London Independent website report, 3-25-15]

WISCONSIN & SOUTHERN BEGINS 11-MILE TRACK RECONSTRUCTION ON EMBARGOED RAIL LINE: The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad has begun to reconstruct nearly 11 miles of state-owned freight rail track between Plymouth and Kohler, Wisconsin, in a project to restore rail service afterthe line was embargoed in 2006. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-25-15]

UNIVERSITY OF DENVER ANNOUNCES TRANSORTATION INSTITUTE'S NAME CHANGE: The Intermodal Transportation Institute has changed its name to the Transportation Institute at the University of Denver, to reflect its approach to comprehensive education for all transportation modes, the university announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-25-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 21, 2015, the Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic was 562,372 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-25-15]

DALLAS DEBUTS FIRST STREETCAR FOR TESTING: Dallas Area Rapid Transit has begun testing its new streetcar. Slated to open April 13, the Dallas Streetcar will run from downtown to north Oak Cliff. It will utilize wireless traction power, meaning it will be powered by overhead lines while on surface streets, but by an on-board stored energy system when crossing the Houston street viaduct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-24-15]

CN CONTINUES MAJOR REHAB WORK ON QUEBEC BRIDGE: CN will perform about $7-million worth of work on the Quebec bridge as part of a $95-million, 10-year program to rehabilitate the structure to ensure its long-term viability. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-24-15]

NEW-LOOK CASS R.R. NEARING STARTUP: The West Virginia Central Railroad is preparing for the first full season of the Cass Scenic Railroad. The standard runs to Whittaker Station and Bald Knob will still be offered, but there will also be optionsfor a transfer and overnight stay. [W.Va. Metro News website report, 3-24-15]

PORT OF LAKE CHARLES SELECTS PORT RAIL AS ITS RAIL CARRIER: The Port of Lake Charles, Louisiana, has approved an agreement to allow Port Rail Inc. to be its rail carrier, instead of Union Pacific, a move said to have less of an impact on residents during peak traffic hours. [[KIFY website report, 3-24-15]

SEVEN KILLED AS TRAIN HITS TRUCK IN THAILAND: Police say a train collided with a pickup truck during heavy rains in northern Thailand March 24, killing seven construction workers in the truck and seriously injuring another. [Fox News website report, 3-24-15]

TORONTO TO DEBUT TWO NEW TRAINS ON SCARBOROUGH LINE: The Toronto Transit Commission will debut two new trains on its Scarborough transit line. The line has been operating for 30 years, its original expectancy, officials said. The new trains will allow the agency to continue the line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-23-15]

MAN KILLED BY CSX TRAIN IN VIRGINIA: A man died after being struck by a CSX freight train in Colonial Heights, Va., around 12;30 P.M., March 22. CSX says the train was en route from Selkirk, N.Y., to Waycross, Ga. [WSLS 10 website report, 3-23-15]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN COLORADO: A BNSF train derailed early March 22 dumping towns of coal from more than two dozen cars near the northern Colorado town of Hudson. No injuries were reported, but there was significant damage to the tracks. [KUSA 9 News website report, 3-22-15]

TRAIN HAULING METHANOL DERAILS IN TEXAS, HOMES EVACUATED: Authorities evacuated homes after at least 10 cars of a train derailed late March 21 in Valley Mills, Texas, about 25 miles northwest of Waco. Five of the derailed cars contained methanol, at least one of which had a small leak. No injuries were reported. [CBS Interactive website report, 3-21-15]

MAN DIES WHEN HIT BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN SEATTLE: A man was struck and killed by an Amtrak train about 8 P.M. March 20 in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood. Trains were halted through the area for several hours. [KHQ Q6 website report, 3-21-15]

BOY KILLED, ONE INJURED IN OHIO CROSSING ACCIDENT: A nine-year-old boy is dead and his father is in the hospital after their vehicle was struck by a CSX train early March 20 near Iberia, Ohio. [Mansfield News Journal website report, 3-21-15]

MICHIGAN SEEKS MORE THOROUGH REVIEW BEFORE PURCHASING PASSENGER RAIL CARS: Michigan transportation officials are postponing the purchase of passenger rail cars for the Detroit-Chicago route pending a thorough review. The delay comes after auditors criticized the state's transportation department over a multimillion-dollar project to lease other passenger trains that haven't been used. Michigan is spending $1.1-million annually to lease 23 double-deck cars while commuter service between Detroit and Ann Arbor, and Ann Arbor and Howell has not been established. [Detroit News website report, 3-21-15]

PLANS SCRAPPED FOR LINCOLN FUNERAL TRAIN JOURNEY: A fundraising shortfall has dashed plans to send a replica of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train car to retrace the journey that brought the President's body from Washington to Springfield in 1865. The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train organization had planned to recreate the trip as part of commemorations in April of the 150th anniversary of Mr. Lincoln's death. But fundraising efforts fell short of the amount of funding needed. [ABC News website report, 3-21-15]

ALTERNATIVE ROUTING EAST OF WINNIPEG FOR VIA RAIL'S CANADIAN BEING CONSIDERED: After months of late arrivals due to track congestion on CN's northern Ontario main line, compounded by numerous slow orders, Via Rail is examining an alternative routing for its train the Canadian. Via suspended Canadian service between Winnipeg and Toronto March 11, citing the impossibility of maintaining schedules. One option is to shift to CP trackage between Winnepeg and Sudbury, Ontario, which would provide passengers with a more scenic route closer to the Great Lakes, while also serving more communities. The imperative now is to get the train running again before the summer tourism season begins. [Railway Age website report, 3-20-15]

U.S. CLASS I RAIL WORKFORCE CLIMBS SLIGHTLY IN FEBR.: As of mid-February 2015, U.S. Class I railroads' workforce stood at 172,195, up 0.42 pct from the previous month, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-20-15]

DEADLY TRAIN ACCIDENT IN INDIA: At least 30 people were killed and 50 injured when a passenger train overshot a railway signal and some cars went off the rail in northern India March 20. The accident occurred at Bachhrawan railway station, about 28 miles fro Lucknow. [Reuters website report, 3-20-15]

PERU TO DEVELOP PLANS FOR TRANS-ANDEAN RAIL TUNNEL: Peru has announced that studies will begin for a $2-billion, 14.4-mile tunnel beneath the Andes from Rio Blanco to Yauli. The tunnel would reduce the journey time between Lima and Huancayo from 12 hours to fewer than five hours. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-20-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending March 15, 2015, it has been calculated that 30 percent of the Amtrak long-distance trains tracked by the Bull Sheet arrived at their final destination on-time. The average arrival of these trains was one hour and two minutes late. The average arrival of only those trains behind schedule at final destination (excluding those arriving on-time) was one hour and 26 minutes late. MORE...

KCS BEGINS $18-M UPGRADE ON LAREDO SUBDIVISION IN TEXAS: Kansas City Southern has begun work on $18-million in construction and improvement projects on its Laredo subdivision from Laredo to Corpus Christi, Texas, to increase capacity and enhance safety on the cross-border network. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-18-15]

TRAIN HITS WOMAN AT GREENBELT, MD., METRO STATION: Washington Metro officials say the Greenbelt station in Maryland was closed temporarily this afternoon (Wednesday) after a woman was struck by a train. The agency said surveillance footage revealed that the woman intentionally paced herself in the path of the train. There were residual delays to Metro service between Greenbelt and College Park resulting from the incident. [WUSA 9 website report, 3-18-15]

MAGLEV PLANNED IN ORLANDO: A $400-million magnetic levitating train is being designedfor a connection between the Orlando Airport and Orange County Convention Center in town. The system is said to be quieter and lighter than a traditional train. [American City Business Journals website report, 3-18-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN EXPANDS ITS 'RAILROAD UNIVERSITY': Norfolk Southern has officially expanded its railroad university at McDonough, Georgia, effectively doubling the center's classroom space. The number of students could grow to as many as 900 in the near future. [Norfolk Southern, 3-18-15]

U.K. TO UPGRADE MAJOR RAIL LINE: The United Kingdom is investing about $7.46-billion in upgrades to the First Great Western rail line connect London with Bristol and other cities. Upgrades will include an intercity express train and projects in Wales. [London Independent website report, 3-18-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN, CSX COMPLETE POWER-SWAP: Norfolk Southern and CSX have swapped 24 locomotives - 12 from each company's roster to the other. From Norfolk Southern to CSX went SD40-2 units 3425, 3426, 3427, 3430, 3432, 3433, 3438, 3439, 3440, 3443, 3446 and 3447. From CSX to Norfolk Southern went SD80AC units 4590, 4591, 4592, 4593, 4595, 4596, 4597, 4598, 4599, 4600, 4601 and 4602 (all of the SD80AC units CSX had). [Reported by Robert Michaels, 3-17-15]

FEDS CITE UNION PACIFIC FOR EMPLOYEE RETALIATION AT NORTH PLATTE YARD: For the third time since 2011, Union Pacific has violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act at its yard in North Platte, Nebraska, by disciplining employees who reported workplace injuries and sought medical attention, the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found. In the most recent case, investigators determined that the railroad improperly disciplined a locomotive engineer after the employee reported injuries sustained in a December 2013 collision. The company has been ordered to pay the engineer damages and remove disciplinary information from the personnel files. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 3-17-15]

LIGHT-RAIL LINE TAKES SHAPE IN L.A.: The extension of the Exposition light-rail line from Culver City to Santa Monica, California, is nearing completion. The 6.7-mile, $1.5-billion project includes seven bridges and seven stations squeezed into a busy urban setting. It follows an abandoned freight-rail alignment. [Engineering News Record website report, 3-17-15]

TUNKHANNOCK VIADUCT TO CELEBRATE 100TH ANNIVERSARY IN SEPTEMBER: The Tunkhannock Viaduct - also known as the Nicholson Bridge - will celebrate its 100th anniversary with special events Sept. 11-13. Included will be speakers, parade, entertainment, vendors and crafts. For further information contact the Nicholson Heritage Association, 570-871-0510.

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL RECEIVES QUALIFICATIONS FROM FIVE DESIGN-BUILD TEAMS: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has received statements of qualifications from five teams interested in designing and building the next segment of the bullet train route in the Central Valley. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-17-15]

GREENBRIER RECEIVES ORDERS FOR OVER 10,000 RAIL CARS: In the most recent quarter of its fiscal year, the Greenbrier Cos. received orders for 10,100 rail cars valued at $1,09-billion, the company said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-17-15]

BRUSSELS RECEIVES FINAL BOMBARDIER FLEXITY: The last of 220 Bombardier Flexity Outlook low-floor light-rail vehicles for Brussels Transport Authority was delivered March 17. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-17-15]

ROMANIA'S REGIOTRANS SUSPENDS OPERATIONS: Romania's second-largest regional passenger rail operator RegioTrans suspended all operations March 17 after the country's rail safety authority revoked the company's certificate following a spate of incidents in recent weeks. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-17-15]

CN TO BUILD $250-M HUB IN ONTARIO: CN plans to build a $250-million intermodal and logistics hub adjacent to its main line in Milton, Ontario, about 30 miles west of Toronto. [Railway Age website report, 3-17-15]

DRIVERLESS CAR TO TRAVEL CROSS-COUNTRY: A self-driving car developed by Delphi Automotive will make a 3,500-mile trip from San Francisco to New York to test the car in a variety of weather and road conditions. The car, which will drive mostly on highways, will have a driver who will only engage the car in emergencies. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 3-16-15]

PACT MAY PAVE THE WAY TO RESTORE AMTRAK'S MONTREALER: A U.S.-Canada agreement on cross-border travel signed March 16 bolsters efforts tyo restore Amtrak's Montrealer, discontinued in 1995, particularly if customs clearance facilities are established to eliminate long dwell times at the international border. [Railway Age website report, 3-16-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA: A vehicle was struck by a southbound Amtrak train in Oceanside, California, early March 16, and firefighters spent about a half hour freeing the driver from her car. The driver was taken to the hospital, but no one in the train was injured. [UT San Diego website report, 3-16-15]

ONE KILLED AS AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK IN ILLINOIS: Amtrak's Texas Eagle struck a truck at the Washington street crossing in Alton, Illinois, March 15, resulting an a fatality. None of the train's 256 passengers and crew suffered injuries. [News Democrat website report, 3-15-15]

BILL CALLS FOR STUDY OF RESTORING ORLANDO-NEW ORLEANS PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE: Efforts to restore a passenger train between Orlando and New Orleans received a nod from Congress as representatives approved a bill that would launch a study to explore the feasibility of the service. [News Herald website report, 3-15-15]

CSX FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS ON HUDSON LINE: Two cars of a CSX freight train derailed early March 14 south of Beacon, N.Y., along the Metro-North Hudson line, resulting in delays to commuter trains but no injuries or oil spills. [Journal News website report, 3-14-15]

TWO KILLED, TWO HURT WHEN TRAIN HITS CAR IN KENTUCKY: Two people were killed and two more were injured when freight a train hit a car March 14 in Buechel, Kentucky. The car was dragged about one-half mile down the track. [WAVE-3 News website report, 3-14-15]

HOOSIER STATE TRAIN TO CONTINUE THROUGH APRIL: Amtrak's four-day-a-week Hoosier State train, previously posted to be discontinued April 1, has won a one-month extension while the Federal Railroad Administration reconsiders a policy over the state of Indiana being deemed a 'rail carrier,' even though it does not own any tracks or trains. The state says the current policy, if not negated, would expose the state to more costs, paperwork and liability, and this was the reason the train was posted for discontinuance in the first place. [WISH-TV website report, 3-14-15]

EMPLOYEE SAFETY PERFORMANCE WAS BEST EVER IN 2014, UNION PACIFIC SAYS: Union Pacific says its 2014 annual employee safety performance was the best in company history. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 3-14-15]

GROUND BROKEN FOR ST. LOUIS LOOP TROLLEY: Ground was broken March 12 in University City, Missouri, to begin the two-mile, $43-million St. Louis Loop Trolley. When completed, two GOMACO-built vintage trolleys acquired from Portland's TriMet will provide service. [Railway Age website report, 3-13-15]

STUDENT KILLED BY NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN IN LEBANON, PA.: A westbound Harrisburg-bound Norfolk Southern freight train struck and killed a 16-year-old student as he crossed the tracks in Lebanon, Pa., early March 13. [WGAL-8 website report, 3-13-15]

FEDS DIRECT REPLACEMENT OF VALVES ON SOME RAIL TANK CARS: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a directive requiring railroad tank car owners to replace unapproved valves currently installed in some tank cars. Recent investigations revealed that the valves were not approved for use. Additionally, the 3-inch ball valve, when not properly configured, is leading to leaks of small quantities of hazardous materials. [Federal Railroad Administration, 3-13-15]

FIRST IEP TRAIN ARRIVES IN BRITAIN: The first of three pre-series140 MPH Super Express Trains being supplied by Hitachi under the Intercity Express Program arrived in Britain on March 12. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-12-15]

CTA AWARDS REHAB CONTRACT FOR FIVE O'HARE BRANCH STATIONS: The Chicago Transit Authority has awarded a $25.6-million contract for the renovation of five O'Hare branch stations. The contract is part of a $43-million station improvement plan and includes Addison, Irving Park, Montrose, Harlem and Cumberland stations, with work beginning this fall. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-12-15]

SOUTH BEND TO CHICAGO EXPRESS TRAIN BEGINS MARCH 16: The South Shore commuter line on March 16 will launch its 'Sunrise Express' train that will travel from South Bend to Chicago in under two hours. This is more than 40 minutes faster than the existing early morning train. Officials say the goal is to eventually cut the commute to 90 minutes. An afternoon express train will also operate. [News Sentinel website report, 3-12-15]

FEDS SAY METRO-NORTH PUT ON-TIME PERFORMANCE AHEAD OF SAFETY: An 'overemphasis of on-time performance' contributed to a series of accidents on New York's Metro-North commuter railway that has raised questions about public transportation safety, the Federal Railroad Administration said in a review of service. The agency said its review found Metro-North also had an ineffective safety department, a poor safety culture, and an ineffective training program. [The Hill website report, 3-12-15]

N.D. LOADING FACILITY SANCTIONED IN OIL TANK CAR LEAK: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a violation against Musket Corp. for a railroad tank car originating in Dore, N.D., en route to Ferndale, Washington, in November 2014, that lost about 1,600 gallons of oil through a valve that was not properly shut. The incident was not reported for a month. [McClatchy News Service website report, 3-12-15]

BUS OVERTURNS IN INDIANA, INJURIES REPORTED: An Excursion Trailways bus carrying members of a college bowling team crashed early March 12 along Interstate 65 in southern Indiana while en route to a tournament in Tennessee, injuring numerous students, officials said. [News Sentinel website report, 3-12-15]

METROLINX TO EXPAND GO TRANSIT'S BARRIE LINE: Toronto's Metrolinx will build a second track on its GO Transit Barrie Line. Construction will begin following grading and signal improvements along about 3.7 miles of track. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-12-15]

INVESTIGATORS SEEK CAUSE OF AMTRAK CRASH IN N.C.: As workers finished clearing debris from where an Amtrak train derailed March 9, state and federal investigators were busy piecing together how an oversized tractor-trailer came to be stopped on the tracks in North Carolina and why there was apparently no warning given to the train's engineer. Meanwhile, it has been learned that the driver of the rig has a long history of traffic citations. [ABC News website report, 3-11-15]

AMTRAK REDEDICATES CHICAGO CONTROL CENTER IN HONOR OF JOSEPH SZABO: Amtrak has renamed its control center in Chicago's Union Station in honor of former Federal Railroad Administration leader Joseph Szabo, who served the agency from 2009 to 2015. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-11-15]

CANADA TOUGHENS OIL TANK CAR STANDARDS: Canada has proposed tough new oil tank car standards. The proposed standards call for a hull thickness of 9/16 of an inch, up from the current 7/16 of an inch, or half inch, depending on car type. It also makes thermal protection jackets and increased shields at each end of the cars mandatory. Older DOT-111 cars are currently being replaced in Canada by CPC-1232 cars, but even these will have to be phased out by 2023 or 2025, depending on whether they are jacketed or not. [Reuters website report, 3-11-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 7, 2015, rail freight traffic was 522,383 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.8 pct compared with the same week last year. Carloads declined 2.1 pct, while intermodal volume increased by 4 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-11-15]

U.S. PUBLIC TRANSPORT RIDERSHIP HIGHEST IN 58 YEARS: The American Public Transportation Association says that 10.8 billion journeys were recorded on public transport, including rail and bus, in the U.S. in 2014, the highest level in 58 years. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-10-15]

AMTRAK'S CAPITOL CORRIDOR SERVICE DISRUPTED BY PEDESTRIAN DEATH: Yolo County, California, officials say they received a call from Amtrak early March 10 saying a train had hit and killed a pedestrian near Davis. The incident resulted in a brief shutdown of service impacting train commuters to and from the East Bay. [ABC News 10 website report, 3-10-15]

SWIFT RAIL SERVICES CHANGES NAME: Swift Rail Services is changing its name to Allied Track Services Inc. The change follows the company's acquisition by Dave Malay and a private investment group. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-10-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES TRACTOR-TRAILER IN N.C.: Amtrak's Carolinian train 80 struck a tractor-trailer at a grade crossing north of Rocky Mount, N.C., March 9, and derailed. There were 212 passengers and eight crew members on board, according to Amtrak, and a number of passengers were taken to hospitals for treatment. Injuries are not considered left-threatening. An investigation is ongoing. [Amtrak, 3-9-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Only 25 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains reached their final destination on time in the week ending March 8, 2015. The average arrival of all trains tracked arrived one hour and 29 minutes behind schedule. Of the trains that did not arrive on time (exclusively those arriving late), the average arrival was one hour and 59 minutes behind schedule. MORE...

SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH AMTRAK IN SETTING PERFORMANCE STANDARDS WITH HOST CARRIERS: The Supreme Court has handed Amtrak and interim victory in a lawsuit challenging the power it wields over host carriers in performance metrics. The ruling was a setback for a trade group that had challenged federal law giving Amtrak a role in setting standards for host-carrier freight railroads. This may not be the end of the matter, according to the court, as the case has been sent back to a lower court for reconsideration under the premise that Amtrak is 'public' entity, not private. [N.Y. Times website report, 3-9-15]

FILM DIRECTOR PLEADS GUILTY AT 'MIDNIGHT RIDER' TRAIN DEATH TRIAL: In a rare assignment of criminal liability for safety violations on a film set, the producer and director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Sarah Jones, who was killed by a freight train on the Georgia set of 'Midnight Rider' last year. [N.Y. Times website report, 3-9-15]

POLISH METRO LINE OPENS: The second line of the Warsaw metro opened March 8, and 233,000 passenger-journeys were made. The four-mile route links Rondo Daszynskiego and Warszawa Wilenska with seven stations, and includes a 2,800-foot tunnel under the Wisla River. [Railway Gazette website report, 3-9-15]

MAN ACCUSED IN 2014 AMTRAK STABBING SPREE RULED INCOMPETENT FOR TRIAL: A man accused of stabbing four people, including the conductor, on an Amtrak train in southwestern Michigan in Dec. 2014 has been found mentally incompetent for trial. [ABC News website report, 3-9-15]

TEXAS LEGISLATION WOULD BLOCK FEDERAL FUNDING FOR RAIL PROJECTS: A conservative Texas legislator has introduced a bill that would forbid state and local governments in the state from using money from the Federal Transit Administration for a mass transit passenger rail project. Several cities, including Austin, Dallas and Houston, have plans to expand their rail systems. [Government Executive Exaqminer website report, 3-8-15]

AMTRAK, MARC SERVICE DISRUPTED BY ACCIDENT IN ODENTON, MD.: Service on Amtrak's Northeast corridor and Maryland commuter trains were disrupted after an accident involving an Amtrak rail car the evening of March 6 in Odenton, Md. Over 100 passengers of a New York-bound train were offloaded and boarded another train. No one was injured. Amtrak says the affected car was still on the track pending repairs, and this was causing train delays in the area. [WBAL website report, 3-7-15]

TRAIN CARRYING CRUDE OIL DERAILS, BURNS IN ONTARIO: A train carrying crude oil derailed and burst into flames in northern Ontario near the community of Gogama early March 7. No injuries were reported. Three roads near the community have been sealed off for up to 36 hours. [RT News website report, 3-7-15]

INDIANA SAYS HOOSIER STATE TRAIN TO BE DISCONTINUED APRIL 1: The Indiana Dept. of Transportation announced that the Hoosier State passenger train, which operates four days per week between Indianapolis and Chicago, will have its last day of service on Wednesday, April 1. Amtrak's Cardinal will continue to serve the route three days a week. [Indiana Dept. of Transportation]

DERAILED OIL TRAIN CONTINUES TO BURN IN ILLINOIS: A derailed oil train continued to burn March 7 in northwestern Illinois near the Mississippi River town of Galena, more than 24 hours after it crashed. BNSF said 21 of the train's 103 tank cars loaded with light Bakken crude had left the tracks, and at least five of them ruptured and caught fire. The fireball could be seen from miles away. [NPR website report, 3-7-15]

ILLINOIS OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT INVOLVED 'SAFER' TANK CARS: The rail cars that split open and burst into flames during an Illinois train derailment March 5 had been retrofitted with protective shields to meet a higher safety standard than federal law requires, BNSF railroad officials said. The fire continued to burn the day following the accident. No injuries were reported, but the accident was the latest in a series of failures of the 'safer' tank car model. Twenty-one cars derailed, but not all of them were burning. [ABC News website report, 3-6-15]

ONE DEAD AFTER NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK IN INDIANA: A woman was killed early March 6 when a Norfolk Southern train collided with her pickup truck at the boundary between Fountain and Tippecanoe counties, Indiana. She was trapped within her vehicle, and pronounced dead at the scene. [Lafayette Journal & Courier website report, 3-6-15]

NEW SHORT LINE TO BEGIN OPERATING IN SASKATCHEWAN: Northern Lights Rail has purchased 37 miles of track from CN and will soon begin operating between Melfort and Birch Hills, Saskatchewan, thanks in part to an interest-free loan from the provincial government. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-6-15]

TANK CARS DERAIL, BURN IN ILLINOIS: At least eight rail tank cars of a BNSF train derailed March 5 south of Galena, Illinois, sparking a massive fire and smoke that could be seen for miles. BNSF said that the accident occurred at about 1:20 P.M. The wreck is in a fairly isolated location, and fire fighters had to pull back from the blaze for safety reasons. They intend to allow the fire to burn itself out. No injuries have been reported. [TH Media website report, 3-5-15]

ACELA TRAIN DISABLED FOR TWO HOURS: Amtrak this evening (Thursday) had to hand out glow sticks to passengers on a darkened Boston-bound Acela Express train that was disabled in Connecticut with no power for two hours, according to passengers and Amtrak officials. Train 2164, with a reported 299 passengers on board, was disabled near Mystic. Amtrak said that ice-encased catenary wires might have been to blame for the incident. [Boston Herald website report, 3-5-15]

HOUSE PASSES $8-B AMTRAK FUNDING BILL: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation authorizing nearly $8-billion for Amtrak in a 316-101 vote. One provision of the bill would direct Amtrak to begin a pilot program allow passengers to bring pets on trains, for which they would pay a fee. The measure now goes to the Senate. [The Hill website report, 3-4-15]

DURBAN & GREENBRIER VALLEY R.R. BUYING STEAM LOCOMOTIVE: The Durban & Greenbrier Valley Railroad is buying a 1926 steam locomotive. The railroad has reached an agreement to buy Buffalo Creek & Gauley 2-8-0 nbr. 4 from the North Carolina Transportation Museum. It will be moved this spring to Cass, W.Va., where it is intended to be restored in time for the locomotive's 90th birthday in September 2016. [12 WBOY website report, 3-4-15]

CSX DESIGNATES COMMERCE PARK IN FLORIDA AS 'CSX SELECT SITE': CSX has announced that a portion of the Ocala-Marion County Commercial Park in Ocala, Florida, has been designated a CSX Select Site. The designation identifies a property as a capable location for future manufacturing facilities along the CSX network. [CSX, 3-4-15]

CSX EXPECTS DOMESTIC COAL VOLUME TO DECLINE AT LEAST FIVE PERCENT THIS YEAR: Fredrik Eliasson, CSX chief financial officer, said at a conference March 4 that the company's domestic coal volume is now expected to decline at least five percent, reflecting milder winter weather and low natural gas prices. In the meantime, the company expects its merchandise and intermodal markets to continue to grow faster than the overall economy. [CSX, 3-4-15]

COURT GIVES OK FOR LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT IN MESA, ARIZONA: A 1.9-mile extension of a light-rail in Mesa, Arizona, has received the green light from a county superior court and an appeals court. The city plans to use highway-project advancement notes to pay for the $162-million project, while a critic said the funding should have had voters' approval. Meanwhile, construction is almost complete on a separate 3.1-mile extension in the city. [Arizona Republic website report, 3-4-15]

CHINA TO INVEST $128-B IN RAIL, PUSH FOR GLOBAL SHARE: China is investing more than $128-billion in domestic railway construction in 2015, the same as last year's final target, while pledging to increase its railway makers' overseas market share. [Bloomberg website report, 3-4-15]

WILMINGTON, N.C., WANTS UNUSED RAILBED FOR TRAIL: Plans to build a paved trail on an old railroad bed in downtown Wilmington, N.C., are progressing. The city will ask the state's general assembly for legislation allowing the state to lease the unused state-owned right-of-way between North Third and McRae streets. Passenger rail ended in 1968 and the tracks were later ripped out. [Wilmington Star-News website report, 3-4-15]

METROLINK ENGINEER DIES FROM INJURIES IN OXNARD CRASH: Locomotive engineer Glenn Steele, 62, who was gravely injured in the Febr. 24 crash with a truck in Oxnard, California, died March 3. [Press Enterprise website report, 3-3-15]

CSX COMPLETES $43-M RAIL YARD EXPANSION IN OHIO: Seven years earlier than expected, CSX has completed a $43-million expansion of its rail yard near North Baltimore, Ohio. Longer trains carrying more containers prompted the company to extend its eight tracks at the yard and add two cranes. The track extensions total about 17,000 feet. CSX has about 31 miles of track on 500 acres. The two additional cranes give it a total of seven. [The Courier website report, 3-3-15]

OIL ON TRAIN THAT DERAILED IN W.VA. HAD HIGH LEVEL OF GAS: The Wall Street Journal reported today that the CSX oil train that derailed and exploded Febr. 16 in West Virginia carried Bakken crude with so much combustible gas that it would have been barred from shipment under new regulations set to take effect April 1 in North Dakota, where the shipment originated. [Albany Times Union website report, 3-3-15]

PRELIMINARY CONSTRUCTION UNDER WAY ON CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: Actual construction on California's high-speed rail project is starting, with the rerouting of some utilities in Fresno, including a storm-drain line. Major construction is expected to begin in August. [Fresno Bee website report, 3-3-15]

NORWAY-SWEDEN RAIL LINE REOPENS: Sweden has completed a project to reactivate the 10.5-mile cross-border section of the Meraker line from Trondheim, Norway, to Storlien, Sweden, which had been closed for more than a year due to embankment issues on the Swedish side of the border. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-3-15]

BRITAIN ANTICIPATES MAJOR EXPANSION TO PASSENGER RAIL FLEET: Britain has updated its passenger rolling-stock strategy for the next 30 years calling for the national fleet o be expanded by between 52 and 99 percent to meet growing demand. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-3-15]

JAMES SQUIRES TO BECOME NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S CEO: James A. Squires will succeed Charles Wick Moorman as chief executive officer on June 1, 2015. Squires will continue in his current capacity as president, while Moorman will continue as executive chairman of the board of directors. [Norfolk Southern, 3-2-15]

KEOLIS FINED OVER BOSTON SNOW DELAYS: Keolis, the company that operates the Massachusetts commuter rail system, has been fined more than $434,000 after nearly two-thirds of the trains were late or canceled during the heavy snowfalls that pounded the region last month, officials said. [ABC News website report, 3-2-15]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN ARIZONA: A freight train derailed March 1 at Perris, Arizona, about 100 miles west of Winslow, blocking both main tracks. The tracks are slated to be reopened by the evening of March 2. [CBS 5 AZ website report, 3-2-15]

SOUTH AFRICA GETS $450-M LOAN TO FINANCE RAIL EQUIPMENT PURCHASE: Export Development Canada is providing South Africa's national rail operator with a $450-million loan to finance a major purchase of rail equipment from Quebec-based Bombardier. [Financial Post website report, 3-2-15]

CZECH RAILWAYS TO MODERNIZE RAILROAD COACHES: Czech Railways has awarded Skoda Transportation contracts totaling $45-million to modernize 93 railroad coaches for Prague-Berlin-Hamburg EuroCity services. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-2-15]

VIRGIN TRAINS EAST COAST STARTS OPERATION: Virgin Trains East Coast took over operation of long-distance services from London King's Cross to Leeds, northeast England and Scotland on March 1. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-2-15]

N.J. TRANSIT AWARDED $147-M GRANT TOWARD SUPERSTORM SANDY DAMAGE: The Federal Transit Administration has awarded New Jersey Tansit a $147-million grant to strengthen and fix two rail lines and a light-rail line damaged by superstorm Sandy in 2012. The money will be used toward repair of electric power and distribution systems and to fund construction of watertight barriers at Meadows Maintenance complex. [ report, 3-2-15]

AMTRAK'S LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE FOR FEBRUARY 2015: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the month of February 2015. This compares to 52 percent in the month of January, a decrease in February of 14 percentage points. Much of the blame for the decline in punctuality was due to bad weather, especially in the Northeast. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in February was one hour and one minute late. The average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 40 minutes late. MORE...

MYSTIC TRAIN STATION CLOSES: The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce office housing the Mystic, Connecticut, Amtrak station is moving to another location. As a result, the Mystic station closed effective March 1, 2015. The train will continue to stop at that location, but there will be no access to the former waiting room, restroom or ticketing services. [Amtrak]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY LIRR TRAIN: A man was fatally struck by an eastbound Long Island Rail Road train Febr. 28 in Amityville, N.Y. [WCAX website report, 2-28-15]

CSX ORDERED TO CLEAN UP AREAS IMPACTED BY W.VA. DERAILMENT: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered CSX to clean up and restore the areas affected by the Febr. 16 train derailment in West Virginia. The company must first develop and submit a comprehensive plan. The plan must include short- and long-term cleanup and restoration. [Environmental Protection Agency, 2-27-15]

INDIA UNVEILS RECORD RAILWAY BUDGET: India's railways ministry has unveiled its 2015-16 budget, promising record spending of $18.9-billion to restructure and modernize the country's railway system. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-27-15]

GALVESTON TO REESTABLISH TROLLEY CAR OPERATION: The Galveston, Texas, city council has voted to reestablish the city's 6.8-mile diesel trolley car operation which was discontinued in 2008. [Railway Age website report, 2-27-15]

RAILWAY AGE NAMES 2015 SHORT LINE, REGIONAL RAILROADS OF THE YEAR: Palmetto Railways and Reading & Northern Railroad have been named by Railway Age magazine respectively as short line and regional railroads of the year. [Railway Age website report, 2-27-15]

UNION PACIFIC TO BEGIN MAINTENANCE BLITZ IN CENTRAL TEXAS: Beginning March 1 until March 6, Union Pacific will shut down its Giddings Subdivision between Hearne and West Point, Texas, for a large-scale maintenance project. Included is replacement of 34,000 ties, work on six key bridges, track welding, ballast work, road crossing rehabilitation and signal work. [KAGS website report, 2-27-15]

CSX TRACK REOPENED FOLLOWING CLEANUP OF OIL TRAIN ACCIDENT: The CSX rail line has reopened in southern West Virginia where an oil train derailed and burned 10 days ago. [News Tribune website report, 2-26-15]

ORLANDO SUNRAIL EXPANSION FACES DELAY: SunRail commuter train service expansions south into Florida's Osceola County and north to DeLand face potential delays of at least six months, Florida's DOT says. Delays in securing federal funding is the key cause for the delay. [Railway Age website report, 2-26-15]

HYPERLOOP TEST TRACK TO BE BUILT IN CALIFORNIA: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies plans to build a five-mile track in California to test Elon Musk's idea of a high-speed tube transportation system. The track will test and tweak practical elements such as station setup, boarding procedures and pod design, with people riding in the pods around the loop. [Wired website report, 2-26-15]

CHICAGO TO BEGIN RECONSTRUCTION OF WILSON STATION: Chicago Transit Authority will star a new phase on the $203-million Wilson Station reconstruction project. On or about March 6, crews will start to demolish, then build new tack and a new southbound platform, designed to reduce congestion around the station. [Chicago Tribune website report, 2-26-15]

OPPONENTS SEEK TO BLOCK $1.65-B MINNEAPOLIS LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: Minneapolis wants to build a 16-mile-long light-rail line with a tunel for about $1.65-billion. An environmental group opposes the plan and says it should have an environmental impact statement issued. Both sides appeared in court where a judge must decide whether it is too early in the process to bring a legal suit. [Star Tribune website report, 2-25-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported that U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Febr. 21, 2015, was 473,161 combined carloads and intermodal units, down 11.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-25-15]

KEOLIS NAMES NEW GENERAL MANAGER OF BOSTON OPERATION: Thomas Mulligan has been replaced by his deputy, Gerald Francis, as general manager of Keolis Commuter Services in Boston, two people with knowledge of the decision said. The move comes just eight months after the company took over the operation. [Boston Globe website report, 2-25-15]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO ACQUIRE BRITAIN'S FREIGHTLINER GROUP: Genesee & Wyoming has agreed to acquire a 95 pct stake in Britain's Freightliner Group from Arcapita and other shareholders for $755-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-25-15]

FRANCE, ITALY AGREE WITH RAIL LINE LINKING LYON AND TURIN: France and Italy signed an agreement Febr. 24 to go ahead with a new railway linking Lyon and Turin. A new company, Euralpine Tunnel Lyon-Turin, has been created to manage the project. [International Railway Journal website report]

METROLINK TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK IN CALIFORNIA, 28 HURT: A commuter train bound for Los Angeles derailed before dawn Febr. 24 in Oxnard, California, in a fiery collision with a pickup truck and trailer abandoned by its driver after it got stuck on the tracks. Three of the train's five cars toppled over, injuring 28 people, four of them critically. Federal investigators were en route to the scene. [Yahoo News website report, 2-24-15]

MAN POSING FOR SELFIE KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN WASHINGTON STATE: A man from Oregon was busy posing for a selfie photo on the railroad tracks near Kalama, Washington, when he was was struck and killed by an Amtrak train Febr. 21. According to BNSF Railway, more than 30 people were killed on tracks in Washington state between 2013 and 2014 after being struck by a train. [Digital Trends website report, 2-24-15]

CN, UNION REACH TENTATIVE LABOR AGREEMENT: Canadian National and Unifor have negotiated a tentative labor agreement. CN withdrew its lockout notice which would have been effective Febr. 24. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-24-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Seventy percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination behind schedule during the week ending Febr. 22, 2015. This represents an on-time reliability of only 30 percent. (A train is considered late in this survey if it arrives behind schedule by only one minute, with no allowance for superficial lateness.) The average arrival of all trains surveyed was one hour and 26 minutes late. The average arrival of those trains that were late was two hours and two minutes behind schedule. Bad weather during the week was a significant factor in the trains' performance. MORE...

MBTA RESTORES FULL SUBWAY, TROLLEY SERVICE: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it has restored normal service frequencies to all branches and stations throughout its core subway and trolley system in Greater Boston, including the hard-hit Mattapan line. Efforts to resume full service on regional rail lines are still ongoing. [Railway Age website report, 2-23-15]

OMNITRAX AFFILIATE ACQUIRES ILLINOIS SHORT LINE: OmniTRAX says its affiliate, Peru Industrial Railroad, is purchasing Peru Rail Line, and will run freight service on three miles of track beginning immediately. [Railway Age website report, 2-23-15]

QATAR HAS PLANS TO BUILD METRO SYSTEM: Qatar Railways Co. has tentatively accepted a plan to construct the country's first metro system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-23-15]

INVESTIGATION CONTINUES AT W.VA. DERAILMENT SITE: Investigators are continuing to work to determine what caused an oil train to derail and some of its cars to explode Febr. 16 in West Virginia. CSX has removed some of the tank cars, but many remain at the site. [Town Hall website report, 2-22-15]

FEDS PREDICT UP TO 10 DERAILMENTS A YEAR OF FUEL-HAULING TRAINS: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation, in a previously unreported analysis completed last July, predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4-billion in damage, and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S. [Star Tribune website report, 2-22-15]

THOUSANDS PROTEST HIGH-SPEED RAIL PLAN IN ITALY: Several thousand people gathered in the center of Turin, Italy, Febr. 21 to protest against a high-speed rail link between the city and Lyon. They were protesting the costly project that could also ruin the Susa Valley's ecology. The protest was mostly peaceful. [RT News website report, 2-22-15]

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR'S BUDGET CUTS $16-M FROM AMTRAK FUNDING: Governor Rauner's proposed state budget would cut $16-million from funding for Amtrak trains that serve downstate areas. It would roll the current $42-million subsidy back to 2013 levels, and cause some reduction in the number of trains between Chicago and St. Louis, and Chicago and Carbondale. [KWQC website report, 2-21-15]

TENTATIVE LABOR PACT PAVES WAY TO EASE CONGESTION OF WEST COAST PORTS: The Pacific Mariime Association and International Longshore & Warehouse Union on Febr. 20 announced they reached a tentative five-year agreement covering dock workers at all 29 West Coast ports. [Progressive Railroading website report]

TWO TRAINS COLLIDE IN SWITZERLAND; AT LEAST FIVE PEOPLE INJURED: Two Swiss passenger trains collided near Ratz station north of Zurich in an early morning accident Febr. 20, injuring at least five people, one seriously, according to police. Five cars were reportedly derailed. [RT News website report, 2-20-15]

OTTENSMEYER NAMED KCS PRESIDENT: Kansas City Southern executive vice-president and chief marketing officer Patrick J. Ottensmeyer has been appointed president effective March 1, 2015. [Railway Age website report, 2-20-15]

NEW CEO & PRESIDENT FOR BOMBARDIER: Pierre Beaudoin is stepping down as CEO and president of Bombardier, replaced by Alain Bellemare. Beaudoin retains his position as executive chairman. [Railway Age website report, 2-20-15]

BOMBARDIER MAKES FISCAL MOVE: Bombardier plans to raise $750-million through the sale of nearly 340 million subscription receipts to a syndicate of underwriters in order to raise funds to stablize its financial status. The comany has also eliminated its B-class stock dividend. [Railway Age website report, 2-20-15]

AMTRAK PLANS EXPANSION OF NEWARK, DELAWARE, TRAIN STATION: Delaware and Amtrak have reached a tentative agreement on a new plan for an expanded Newark train station that they believe will seamlessly blend passenger service and operations in the adjacent Norfolk Southern freight yard, boost regional passenger service and provide a modern regional gateway to the University of Delaware's growing science and technology campus. [News Journal website report, 2-20-15]

PULLMAN HISTORIC DISTRICT IN CHICAGO IS NOW A NATIONAL MONUMENT: The Pullman Historic District on Chicago's south side was officially designated a National Monument by President Obama on Febr. 19. Built in the 1880's as an industrial town for the Pullman Company, the district highlights both the promise of American opportunity and the struggles for civil rights and fair labor standards. The Dept. of Labor's 1926 report counted more than 20,000 African-Americans working as railroad porters, making them the largest category of blak labor on U.S. railroads. [Union Pacific website report]

STRIKE THREATENED AGAINST CN: Unifor, the largest union at CN, with more than 4,800 members, said on Febr. 19 that it will be commencing strike votes at CN as early as the week of Febr. 23 after five months of negotiations. The union's collective bargaining agreement expired on Dec. 31, 2014. [Railway Age website report, 2-19-15]

SOUND TRANSIT COMPLETES TUKWILA RAIL STATION: The newly-completed Tukwila, Washington, regional transit hub replaces a temporary structure and offers increased parking and improved bus access. The facility serves 10 round-trip Sounder South line trains each weekday and four daily Amtrak Cascades round-trips. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-19-15]

DOT SECRETARY CALLS FOR ADDITIONAL RAIL FUNDING: Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is calling for more federal funding for long-distance railways and intracity public transit. He cited heavy ridership increases for Amtrak in 10 of the past 11 years as an example of the need. [The Hill website report, 2-19-15]

CSX TRAIN GOING 33 MPH IN 50 MPH TERRITORY AT TIME OF DERAILMENT:The CSX train hauling Bakken crude oil was traveling well below the 50 MPH speed limit when 27 tank cars derailed in Fayette County, W.Va., Febr. 16. The Federal Railroad Administration confirmed that the train was going 33 MPH, as determined by examination of the train's event recorder. [West Va. Metro News website report, 2-19-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 525,224 U.S. carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Febr. 14, 2015, up 3.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-18-15]

FIRES FROM OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT BURN FOR THIRD DAY: Small fires continued to burn for a third day at the site of the CSX crude oil train derailment in West Virginia. More than 100 people remained locked out of their homes and investigators were trying to determine the cause working in subzero temperatures. [McClatchy News Service website report, 2-18-15]

CSX OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT WAS ONE OF THREE IN PAST 12 MONTHS WITH NEWER TANK CARS: The fiery derailment Febr. 16 of a CSX train carrying crude oil in West Virginia was one of three in the past year involving tank cars that already meet a higher safety standard than what federal law requires. Fire crews had little choice but to let the cars burn themselvesout. Each carried up to 30,000 gallons of crude, and cars were still burning the evening of Febr. 17. [Florida Times-Union website report, 2-18-15]

NEWER-MODEL TANK CARS WERE INVOLVED IN W.VA. DERAILMENT: A CSX oil train that derailed and erupted into flames in West Virginia Febr. 16 was hauling newer model tank cars, not the older versions widely criticized for being prone to puncture, the railroad said. All of the tank cars on the 109-car train were CPC 1232 models. [Grand Forks Herald website report, 2-17-15]

NTSB GATHERING INFORMATION ON CSX CRUDE OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT: Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have been in communication with the Federal Railroad Administration and CSX emergency response crews since the derailment that occurred Febr. 16. The FRA and CSX are providing NTSB with detailed damage reports and photographs of the derailed cars. The investigators will compare the data with tank car design specifications and similar derailments. [National Transportation Safety Board, 2-17-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 15, 2015. The average arrival of all trains surveyed during the week was 40 minutes late. The average arrival of only those trains that arrived behind schedule (excluding those that arrived on time) was one hour and 12 minutes late. This was a slight improvement over the performance of the previous week when just 41 percent of surveyed trains arrived on time, average arrival of all trains was 53 minutes late, and average arrival of trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 31 minutes late. MORE..

TEXAS BULLET TRAIN ROUTE REVEALED: The Texas Central Railway said that it prefers to build tracks dedicated to the project along land reserved for high-voltage electric transmission lines, a route the company has dubbed the 'Utility Corridor.' Texas Central says they hope to begin operations by 2021 and to do so without U.S. subsidies. [Texas Tribune website report, 2-17-15]

WEST COAST DISRUPTIONS TO TEMPER UNION PACIFIC'S INTERMODAL VOLUME: Union Pacific's intermodal volume may decline in the first quarter because of ongoing labor disputes at the west coast ports. Such shutdowns have begun to impact the railroad's intermodal volumes, and are likely to temper them further. [Trefis website report, 2-17-15]

UKRAINE TO ELECTRIFY RAIL LINE TO POLAND: Ukraine has announced plans to electrify the 65-mile Kovel-Izov line, and is set to enter negotiations with Poland over extending this to Hrubieszow. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-17-15]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN WEST VA.; TWO TOWNS EVACUATED: A CSX train hauling crude oil derailed in West Va. Febr. 16 with at least 14 cars bursting into flames, causing nearby towns of Adena Village and Boomer Bottom to be evacuated. The state was under a winter storm warning and getting heavy snowfall at times, but it was unclear if weather had anything to do with the accident. [Al Jazeera America website report, 2-16-15]

CANADAN RAIL STRIKE ENDS: A strike by about 3,000 locomotive engineers and conductors at Canadian Pacific Railway ended Febr. 16 as both sides agreed to arbitration. [N.Y. Times website report, 2-16-15]

OIL TRAIN DERAILS IN ONTARIO: An eastbound Canadian National oil train that had originated in Alberta derailed 29 cars late Febr. 15 in a remote area south of Timmins, Ontario. Seven of the cars caught fire, and an unknown amount of oil has spilled into the snow. No injuries were reported. [Daily Kos website report, 2-16-15]

IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL RAIL SERVICE CONTINUES IN S.D.: The freight backlogs that created problems moving grain in South Dakota last year have been resolved and continue to improve, said a manager for North Central Farmers Elevator facilities. BNSF hired 6,000 additional workers and added 600 locomotives to help mitigate the problem. [KELO-TV website report, 2-16-15]

TRAIN CRASHES INTO BUS IN MEXICO, AT LEAST 20 KILLED: More than 20 people, including two children, were killed in the Mexican city of Anahuac Febr. 13 after a train rammed a bus crossing the tracks. More than 20 people were wounded. [RT News website report, 2-14-15]

TRAIN CRASH IN INDIA KILLS AT LEAST 10: At least 10 people were killed and many others were injured Febr. 13 in southern India when a passenger train collided with a boulder. [News World Today report, 2-13-15]

METRA APPROVES OVERHAUL OF 41 LOCOMOTIVES: A $91-million contract to restore 41 Metra locomotives to 'like new' condition has been approved with board members saying the system's Febr. 1 fae increases helped bankroll the deal. [Chicago Sun-Times website report, 2-13-15]

TWO NAMED TO CSX OPERATIONS POSITIONS: CSX has promoted Mike Pendergrass to vice-president of transportation, and Jermaine Swafford to vice-president of regional transportation on the southern region. [CSX, 2-12-15]

HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES $7.8-B FOR AMTRAK: The House Transportation and Infrastructure committee on Febr. 12 approved $7.8-billion in funding for Amtrak. The measure calls for spending approximaely $1.7-billion annually over the next four years on rail service, a slight increase from the present funding level. [The Hill website report, 2-12-15]

NTSB CALLS FOR AUDIT OF TRANSIT AGENCY VENTILATION SYSTEMS: The National Transportation Safety Board has called on the Federal Transit Administration to conduct a nationwide audit of tunnel ventilation systems and emergency procedures for fire and smoke events. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-12-15]

BOMBARDIER LAUNCHES BATTERY-POWERED TRAIN: Bombardier Transportation has launched a battery-powered, independently electric multiple-unit train. The company reconfigured a standard express class 379 Electrostar train with the new technology following a seven-month design phase. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-12-15]

FOURTEEN LEAKING OIL TANK CARS REMOVED FROM BNSF TRAIN: A train hauling crude oil across Idaho and Washington last month had to have 14 leaking tank cars removed at three different stops before the train reached its destination. BNSF said that less than 25 gallons of oil was spilled over the three-day period, but the incident remains under investigation. [Bakken website report, 2-12-15]

JUDGE DISMISSES SUIT AGAINST UNION PACIFIC OVER PARADE FLOAT COLLISION: A judge has issued a final judgment order dismissing the case against Union Pacific by family members of those killed and injured in the 2012 Midland, Texas, parade float crossing accident. The plaintiffs may appeal. [Odessa American website report, 2-11-15]

FEDS SAY PTC DEADLINE WILL NOT BE EXTENDED: A Dec. 31, 2015, deadline for railroads to equip trains with crash-avoidance technology known as positive train control will not be extended, transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said Febr. 11. [Journal News website report, 2-11-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Febr. 7, 2015, was a combined 511,563 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.8 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-11-15]

MBTA GENERAL MANAGER TO RESIGN: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority general manager Beverly Scott announced Febr. 11 that she is resigning as head of the agency. However, she has agreed to continue working for up to 60 days. [Mass Live website report, 2-11-15]

REPLICA OF LINCOLN FUNERAL TRAIN CAR NEARS COMPLETION: A six-year effort to build a replica of Abaham Lincoln's funeral train car is reaching completion, but funding for a commemorative Washington-to-Springfield trip is $100,000 short of the goal. [Chicago Daily Herald website report, 2-11-15]

OSCAR MUNOZ NAMED PRESIDENT, CSX CORP.: The board of CSX has elected Oscar Munoz as president, CSX Corp., overseeing operations, sales and marketing, human resources, service design and information technology. He also remains chief operating officer. Cindy Sanborn, vice-president and chief transportation officer, has been promoted to executive vice-president, reporting to Munoz. Michael Ward remains as chairman and CEO. [CSX, 2-11-15]

CHINA IN HIGH-SPEED RAIL TALKS WITH 28 COUNTRIES: China is in talks with 28 countries, including the U.S., about high-speed rail projects, state-backed trainmaker China CNR said Febr. 10. CNR said its overseas sales were $3-billion in 2014, up 68.6 pct from the previous year, and that its equipment has been sold to 84 countries and regions. [Economic Times website report, 2-11-15]

ALSTOM LANDS SWEDISH TRAIN ORDER: Alstom has been awarded a contract worth $169.7-million by the Swedish operator Skanetrafiken to supply 25 Coradia Nordic regional trains for the Skane region in the south of Sweden. Delivery will begin April 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-11-15]

MILWAUKEE MOVING FORWARD WITH STREETCAR PROJECT: A $124-million streetcar project has been approved by the Milwaukee city council. The plan calls for four cars on a 2.5-mile loop through the city's downtown area. The goal is to eventually connect the system to the Milwaukee airport, 10 miles away. [Reuters website report, 2-10-15]

MEXICO ONCE AGAIN SUSPENDS HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: The Mexican government has postponed again, this time indefinitely, a $3.7-billion high-speed rail project. The government will compensate the Chinese-led consortium that was awarded the first contract in 2014 and canceled. [Forbes website report, 2-10-15]

AMTRAK TRAIN DAY TO BE EXPANDED THIS YEAR: Amtrak Train Days will officially kick off on May 9, 2015, at Chicago Union Station and then travel across the country during the summer and fall. Celebrations will feature a combination of outreach tools, including a dedicated tour of the Amtrak exhibit train in select markets and interactive displays of the Amtrak experience at events sponsored by community organizations. Communities from across the nation are invited to join in the celebration by hosting their own events. [Amtrak, 2-9-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-one pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on-time or earlier during the week ending Febr. 8, 2015. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was 53 minutes late. The average arrival of those trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and 31 minutes late. The best performing train was the Auto Train, which arrived in both directions on-time on each of its runs throughout the week. The worst performer was the Lake Shore Limited, which arrived at its final destination, on average, two hours and 15 minutes late, with only a 10 pct on-time arrival average. MORE...

CHICAGO OPENS NEW GREEN LINE STATION: The Chicago Transit Authority opened its new Cermak-McCormick Place Green line station Febr. 9. This is the first time a CTA station has served the area since 1977. [Progressive Railroading website report]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Despite weaker-than-expected petroleum products shipments, Genesee & Wyoming's fourth-quarter North American income from operations climbed to $113.5-million, a 19.7 pct increase from fourth-quarter 2013. [Progressive Railroading website report]

SYDNEY OPENS SOUTH WEST RAIL LINK: The South West Rail Link 7.1-mile extension to the Sydney suburban network from Glenfield to Leppington. NSW, was officially opened to the public on Febr. 7. [International Railway Journal website report]

HOUSATONIC R.R. NOW OWNED BY MASSACHUSETTS: Massachusetts has completed its purchase of 37 miles of Housatonic Railroad right-of-way from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to Canaan, Connecticut. [Railway Age website report, 2-6-15]

FEDS ISSUE SAFETY RECOMMENDATION ON 'ALERTER' DEVICES: The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a an urgent safety recommendation to rail operators to check electronic alertness devices on the trains to ensure they work as intended. The recommendation comes as a result of the agency's ongoing investigation into a head-on collision in August 2014 between two Union Pacific freight trains that left two crew members dead and two others injured. [Times Record website report, 2-6-15]

LANCE FRITZ ELECTED CEO OF UNION PACIFIC: Union Pacific's board has elected Lance M. Fritz chief executive officer. He replaces John Koraleski, who has been named executive chairman. Fritz remains as president, having been elected to that position one year ago. [Union Pacific, 2-5-15]

WABTEC ACQUIRES SIGNAL CONSTRUCTION SERVICES COMPANY: Wabtec Corp. has acquired Railroad Controls L.P., which provides railway signal construction services. It is based in Texas, generates about $75-million in revenue annually, and employs more than 500. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-5-15]

CP RAIL TRAIN CARRYING ETHANOL DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE IN IOWA: Eleven railway cars carrying ethanol derailed Febr. 4 north of Dubuque, Iowa, and three of them caught on fire, Canadian Pacific Railway said. No injuries were reported. [Huffington Post website report, 2-5-15]

MONTHLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for Jan. 2015, with combined carload and intermodal originations of 2,165.909 units, up 3.4 pct over Jan. 2014. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-5-15]

CSX DERAILMENT IN S.C. SPARKS CRIMINAL INQUIRY: Investigators are trying to determine whether a Jan. 27 CSX train wreck and chemical spill near Allendale, S.C., was more than an accident. A $10,000 reward has been announced for the arrest and indicatment of anyone responsible for the crash, which injured several people and evacuated an industrial plant. [The State website report, 2-4-15]

METRO-NORTH TRAIN HITS SUV, SEVEN KILLED: A crowded Metro-North train passing through Valhalla, N.Y., at the height of the evening rush Febr. 3, slammed into a sport-utility vehicle on the tracks at a crossing, creating a fiery crash and explosion that killed seven people, injured a dozen and forced the evacuation of hundreds. It was the deadliest crash in the railroad's history. The train pushed the vehicle about 400 feet, and the explosion caused the third rail of the track to go through the front car. [N.Y. Times website report, 2-3-15]

RAILS TO SPEND $29-B IN INFRASTRUCTURE THIS YEAR: U.S. railroads expect to boost spending to $29-billion this year to lay track, add locomotives and otherwise upgrade their networks, the Association of American Railroads said. [Reuters website report, 2-2-15]

HIAWATHA TRAIN STRANDED IN WISCONSIN FOR THREE HOURS: Seventy passengers on board Amtrak Hiawatha train 338 were stranded more than three hours Febr. 2 near the Illinois-Wisconsin border due to locomotive trouble before another locomotive began shoving the train to Chicago. Passengers said there were power problems and restrooms were not usable. [ABC 7 website report, 2-2-15]

SUPERLINER CARS BEING USED FOR BUSINESS CLASS ON SALUKI, ILLINI, CARL SANDBURG TRAINS: During the month of February, business class service will be offered for Amtrak trains 381,382, 393 and 390 in bi-level Superliner cars instead of single-level Horizon or Amfleet cars. [Amtrak]

IDLE RAIL CARS COSTING MIGHIGAN MILLIONS: Michigan is paying $1.1-million a year to lease 23 double-deck passenger cars from the 1950's and 1960's which will not likely be put to use for at least another two years. The state started leasing the cars in 2010 for two proposed services for which there is currently no funding. Meanwhile, the cars are stored, certified as 'railworthy,' in a maintenance yard in Shiawassee County. [Livingston Daily Press & Argus website report, 2-1-15]

AMTRAK'S LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE FOR JANUARY 2015: For the month of January 2015, it has been calculated that 52 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on-time or earlier. The average arrival of all long-distance trains surveyed was 37 minutes late. The average arrival of those trains arriving behind schedule was one hour and 18 minutes late. This survey was conducted by the Bull Sheet's statistical department, and there was no allowance for minimal tardiness. If a train arrived late, even by one minute, it was considered late. Arrival ahead of time did not offset late arrivals. MORE..

AMTRAK GETS CONTRACT EXTENSION ON HOOSIER STATE TRAIN: The Indiana DOT has granted Amtrak a contract extension until April 15, 2015, to continue operating the Indianapolis-Chicago Hoosier State train. A prior extension would have expired Jan. 31. [Railway Age website report, 1-30-15]

HOOSIER STATE LOSING BUSINESS CLASS, LIGHT REFRESHMENTS, WI-FI: The Amtrak Connect Wi-Fi, business class seating and light refreshments will be discontinued on the Hoosier State on Febr. 1, 2015. The state of Indiana has chosen not to fund the continuation of these services. [Amtrak]

R.J. CORMAN SEEKS APPROVAL TO ACQUIRE CAROLINA SOUTHERN R.R. LINES: R.J. Corman Railroad-Carolina Lines has filed a verified notice of exemption with the Surface Transportation Board to acquire two lines in North and South Carolina from the Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad Co., which does business as Carolina Southern Railroad Co. The two interconnected lines total about 75 miles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-30-15]

OTTAWA PREVIEWS CONFEDERATION LINE LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLE: A mockup of the forthcoming Alstom Citadis Spirit low-floor light-rail vehicle for Ottawa's 7.7-mile Confederation line was unveiled on Jan. 29. The line is due to open in 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-30-15]

MBTA TRAIN FILLS WITH SMOKE IN QUINCY, MASSACHUSETTS: Bystanders kicked in windows to help passengers out of a smoke-filled Red line train in a chaotic scene at Quincy Center station, Massachusetts, Thursday morning, Jan. 29, according to witnesses. The incident, which officials said was linked to a failure in the train's propulsion system, caused severe delays on the MBTA line. No injuries were reported. [Boston Globe website report, 1-29-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported total weekly U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 24, 2015, was 548,055 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.1 pct compared with the same week last year. [Amtrak, 1-29-15]

SAN DIEGO LAUNCHES NEW LOW-FLOOR TROLLEY CARS: The San Diego Metropolitan Transit system has introduced a new fleet of low-floor trolley cars on its Blue line running from the U.S.-Mexico border to downtown San Diego. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-29-15]

AMTRAK COMMITS $12-M TO RENOVATE CHICAGO UNION STATION: Amtrak has made a commitment of $12-million to continue renovations of Chicago's 90-year-old Union Station. It is the third busiest rail terminal in the U.S. with roughly 120,000 passengers served each day. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-29-15]

LIRR'S RONKONKOMA RAIL YARD GETTING $76-M EXPANSION: A $76-million expansion of the Ronkonkoma, N.Y., rail yard will allow the Long Island Rail Road to store double the amount of trains. A substitute train will be able to pull out quickly if another one breaks down. [WABC-TV website report, 1-29-15]

LARGE CRUDE-BY-RAIL TERMINAL DUE TO START UP IN SASKATCHEWAN BY MIDYEAR: Plains Midstream Canada has started looking for workers atits new crude-by-rail unit train terminal in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan, due to start up by mid-2015. [Reuters website report, 1-29-15]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW ORLEANS STREETCAR EXPANSION: Officials gathered Jan. 28 to kick off construction on the 1.6-mile North Rampart street/St. Claude avenue streetcar project, which will connect the French Quarter and Treme to Canal street and Loyola avenue via the city's streetcar network. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-29-15]

CP RAIL ANNOUNCES $700-M DEBT OFFERING: Canadian Pacific Railway is issuing $700-million of 2.9 pct notes due 2025, with net proceeds to be used for general corporate purposes, including reducing short-term debt. [CP Rail, 1-28-15]

CSX LAYS OFF 52 MANAGEMENT EMPLOYEES IN JACKSONVILLE: CSX Corp. laid off 52 management workers, all of them in Jacksonville, Florida, a company spokesperson said. The company finished the round of layoffs Jan. 26, and the affected employees were offered a severance package giving them a choice between a lump sum and an annuity. [Florida Times-Union website report, 1-27-15]

CN REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: Canadian National reported 2014 revenues of $1.21-billion, an increase of 15 pct over the previous year. Operating ratio was 61.9 pct, an improvement of 1.5 points over 2013. Meanwhile, the company announced a 25 pct increase in its quarterly dividend, the largest increase in its history. [CN, 1-27-15]

CSX TRAINS COLLIDE IN S.C.: A collision of two CSX freight trains in Allendale County, S.C., that caused a chemical spill Jan. 27 will likely take a couple of days to clean up, but the wreck poses no immediate health threat to the nearby Martin community, a state emergency management official said. [The State website report, 1-27-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO CLOSE ROANOKE OFFICE BUILDING: Norfolk Southern says it will close its Roanoke, Va., office building later this year and relocate the functions housed there to Atlanta or Norfolk. Approximately 500 people currently work in the building in marketing, accounting, information technology and other departments, and affected employees will have the option of relocating with their positions. Roanoke will remain the headquarters of the company's Virginia division, and its switching yard, car maintenance facilities and locomotive shops will continue to operate. [Norfolk Southern, 1-27-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PLANS $2.4-B CAPITAL EXPENDITURE IN 2015: Norfolk Southern is targeting a $2.4-billion capital expenditure program in 2015. This reflects a $277-million increase of the railroad's 2014 program. The company said the investment would maintain the network, improve service and invest for growth. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-26-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 25, 2015, Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier 60 pct of the time. Average arrival of all long-distance trains was 20 minutes late. Average arrival of those trains that arrived behind schedule was 49 minutes late.

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern Corp. reported 2014 railway operating revenues of $11.6-billion, higher by 3 pct compared with 2013. Income from railway operations was $3.6-billion. Net income was $2.0-billion. Diluted earnings per share were $6.39, and railway operating ratio was 69.2 pct. Meanwhile, on Jan. 23, the company's board of direcors voted to increase the regular quarterly dividend from 57 to 59 cents per share. [Norfolk Southern, 1-26-15]

CHICAGO, FT. WAYNE & EASTERN TO UPGRADE LINE: The Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern Railroad is planning a track improvement project to enable 40 MPH speeds across its entire 315-mile line from Tolleston, Indiana, to Crestline, Ohio. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-26-15]

SEATTLE'S CAPITOL HILL LIGHT-RAIL LINE IS 78 PCT COMPLETE: Seattle's Capitol Hill light-rail project is on schedule and slated for 2016 completion. The $1.8-billion line will link downtown stations to Capitol Hill and University Didstrict staions, and is currently 78 pct complete and $150-million under budget. [Capitol Hill Seattle website report, 1-25-15]

BNSF ANNOUNCES EXPANSION PLANS IN DICKINSON, N.D.: BNSF is planning on expanding its railway facilities in Dickinson, N.D., one of a number of major projects the company has set for 2015. Included is an extension to a siding and expansion of several yard tracks at the company's downtown terminal. [Bismarck Tribune website report, 1-24-15]

UNION PACIFIC EMPLOYEES ACHIEVE BEST-EVER ANNUAL SAFETY PERFORMANCE: Union Pacific Railroad's 2014 annual employee safety performance was the best in company history. Employees achieved a 0.98 reportable injury rate, surpassing the previous record established in 2012. [Union Pacific, 1-23-15]

KCS REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: For the year 2014, Kansas City Southern reported net income of $504-million or $4.55 per diluted share, compared with $353-million or $3.18 per diluted share. [Kansas City Southern, 1-23-15]

KEOLIS FINED $1.6-M FOR POOR SERVICE IN MASSACHUSETTS: Keolis, the company that runs commuter rail service for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority, has been ordered to pay $1.6-million in penalties for poor performance in Nov. asnd Dec. 2014. The new fines bring the total levied against Keolis to $2.4-million in the seven months it has been running the system. [Boston Globe website report, 1-23-15]

CLASS I RAIL WORKFORCE GAINS IN DECEMBER: U.S. Class I railroads employed 170,841 people as of mid-December 2014, up 0.6 pct versus the previous month, and 4.9 pct compared with December 2013, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-15]

WASHINGTON DC METRO ORDERS SAFETY ACTIONS IN WAKE OF FATAL SMOKE EVENT: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority has ordered 10 safety actions to be taken as the NTSB continues its investigation into the Jan. 12 incident near L'Enfant Plaza when the tunnel was filled with smoke trapping passengers on a stopped train, killing one and injuring 80 others. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-15]

COURT REJECTS APPEAL AGAINST VIENNA LIGHT-RAIL ORDER: A court in Vienna has rejected an appeal by Siemens against Wiemer Linien's decision to award Bombardier a contract for up to 156 low-floor light-rail vehicles. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-23-15]

N.Y. GOVERNOR PROPOSES LAGUARDIA RAIL LINK: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for construction of a $450-million 1.5-mile rail link between Willets Point station, which serves Long Island Rail Road and the No. 7 subway line, and the LaGuardia Airport in Queens. "You can't get to LaGuardia by train, the governor said. "That really is inexcusable, and that is going to change." [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-23-15]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA PICKS CONTRACTOR FOR THREE STATIONS: All Aboard Florida announced that it has selected a general contractor to oversee construction of three new stations that will serve the Miami-Orlando train service. Construction is slated to begin in March. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-23-15]

S.F. MAYOR ENDORSES SECOND BART TUNNEL UNDER BAY: San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee has endorsed a second Bay Area Rapid Transit rail tunnel under the San Francisco Bay to meet increased demand and allow 24-hour service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-23-15]

MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING LOCOMOTIVES, CRASHING ONE INTO BNSF TRAIN: A man admitted in court to stealing two locomotives in Campbell County, Wyoming, in October 2014, and crashing them into a train, according to information from the U.S. District Court of Wyoming. Derek Skyler Brux admitted he had taken the locomotives from a coal mine after a dispute with his boss, and ran the locomotives on the main track for about 13 miles before crashing them into a train. He will be sentenced in April. [Casper Star Tribune website report, 1-22-15]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: For the year 2014, Union Pacific reported net income of $5.2-billion or $5.75 per dilued share. This compares to $4.4-billion or $4.71 per diluted share in 2013, increases of 18 pct and 22 pct respectively. Operating income was $8.8-billion, an 18 pct increase over 2013. [Union Pacific, 1-22-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 17, 2015, with 290,963 total carloads, up 0.3 pct compared with the same week in 2014, but cumulative rail traffic (carloads and intermodal units) declined 1 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-22-15]

CHICAGO RETIRES THE LAST OF ITS 2400-SERIES RAIL CARS: After nearly 40 years of service, Chicago's 2400-series rail cars made their last run Jan. 21, as the transit authority retired the last eight cars remaining in service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-15]

SAN FRANCISCO TO EXPAND MUNI RAIL SERVICE: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation agency has approved a 7 pct increase in Municipal Railway service, one of several measures aimed at improving rail service and access to transportation in the city. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-15]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: For the year 2014, Canadian Pacific Rail reported revenue of $6.62-billion, an 8 pct increase and an all-time high. Operating ration fell to a record 64.7 pct, a 520-basis-point drop on an adjusted basis. Reported earnings per share rose 71 pct to a record $8.46. [CP Rail, 1-22-15]

TRAIN DERAILS IN UNIONTOWN, PA.: At least seven freight cars hauling sand derailed early Jan. 22 in Uniontown, Pa., some toppling over just feet away from homes and closing nearby roads. The accident is under investigation. [Washington Times website report, 1-22-15]

INDONESIA PUTS HIGH-SPEED RAIL PLAN ON HOLD: Indonesia' transport ministry announced Jan. 22 that proposals to build a high-speed rail line linking the country's two largest cities have been put on hold for at least five years. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-22-15]

FORTY NEW COMMUTER LOCOMOTIVES TAKEN OUT OF SERVICE IN MASSACHUSETTS: All 40 new commuter rail locomotives delivered to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority late last year at a cost of $222-million have been sidelined to have their traction bearings replaced. The work will delay the debut of the full complement of locomotives until late this year. [Boston Globe website report, 1-21-15]

LIRR SETS ON-TIME PERFORMANCE GOALS: Long Island Rail Road has, for the first time, established specific on-time performance goals for each of its 11 branches, recognizing that operationally no two branches are the same. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-21-15]

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER COACHES TO BE REFURBISHED: Rocky Mountaineer has awarded Canarail a contract to refurbish its entire luxury tourist Goldleaf fleet, consisting of 16 domed coaches. The work will be performed at the New Richmond workshops in Quebec and is expected to be complete by 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-21-15]

MINNESOTA SHARES INFO ON 'ZIP RAIL': Minnesota transportation officials are making their case for a high-speed rail line. Called 'Zip Rail,' the line would run between Twin Cities and Rochester, a 100-mile trip, in 45 ot 50 minutes at speeds up to 186 MPH. [KSTP-TV website report, 1-21-15]

TWO LOCOMOTIVES DERAIL IN CSX'S SELKIRK YARD: Two locomotives derailed late Jan. 21 after sideswiping one another in CSX's Selkirk Yard, N.Y., the company said. [Albany Times Union website report, 1-21-15]

ITALIAN HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS AWARDED: Italian Railway Network has signed contracts for civil works on the Brescia-Verona and the Verona-Vincensa section of the Verona-Padova high speed rail lines in northern Italy. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-21-15]

WORK CONTINUES TO PREVENT MUDSLIDES ON BNSF SEATTLE-EVERETT LINE : The state of Washington and BNSF have been working together to bolster the slopes and install preventative drainage along six targeted mudslide spots along the Seattle-Everett corridor. As of Jan. 15, 2015, three had been 79 Sounder trips canceled this winter. Amtrak service has also been disrupted by the slides. Officials hope that train cancelations will be rare by 2017. [Snohomish County Tribune website report, 1-20-15]

JUDGE REJECTS OBJECTION TO NEW ORLEANS STREETCAR PROJECT: A U.S. federal district judge has rejected a request to block construction of a streetcar line along North Rampart street and St. Claude avenue in New Orleans' French Quarter. Those objecting to the project did not present enough proof to validate a restraining order, the judge said, and the move clears the way for work to resume on the project, which began earlier this month. [Railway Age website report, 1-20-15]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 18, 2015, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 54 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was 34 minutes late. Of the 46 pct of long-distance trains that arrived behind schedule, their average arrival was one hour and 12 minutes late. Trains included in this survey are Auto Train, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Carolinian, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle and Vermonter.

HISTORIC CABOOSE DESTROYED BY FIRE AT MUSEUM IN TEXAS: An historic train caboose that was on display outside the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum in Texas caught fire Jan. 18 and sustained severe damage before firefighters could douse the blaze. None of the other displays at the museum were damaged, according to officials. [KWTX-TV Waco website report, 1-19-15]

ACTOR KILLED BY TRAIN IN CALIFORNIA: Authorties say George Plitt Jr., 37, was killed by a Metrolink passenger train in Burbank, California, Jan. 18. The Baltimore-born actor and fitness instructor, who also went by the name of Greg Plitt, was reportedly being filmed by two others when the incident happened. [Town Hall website report, 1-19-15]

CHINA APPROVES $7-B METRO PROJECT IN SHANDONG PROVINCE: China has approved construction of the $7-billion first phase of the metro network in Jinan, the capital of Shandong province. Phase 1 comprises three lines totaling 51 miles. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-19-15]

RAIL SERVICE THROUGH ENGLISH CHANNEL TUNNEL SUSPENDED BY SMOKE: Railway operator Eurostar suspended all services Jan. 17 due to a smoky load being transported through the Channel Tunnel triggering an alarm. No injuries were reported. The tunnel reopened Jan. 18. [Sky News website report, 1-18-15]

CALIFORNIA FACES FUNDING SHORTAGE FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL, CONGRESSMAN SAYS: U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-CA) says that the state will face a $68-billion funding shortage and will struggle to complete the full line from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He suggests the entire proposal go back to the voters for reassessment. [Sacramento Bee website report, 1-18-15]

WOMAN KILLED AFTER TRAIN STRIKES VEHICLE ON TRACKS IN PA.: Authorities said a 64-year-old woman was killed by a freight train Jan. 16 after her sport-utility vehicle became stuck on the tracks in Macungie, Pa. She had aparently become disoriented and made a turn onto the tracks, and the approaching train was unable to stop before striking the vehicle. [Sun Gazette website report, 1-17-15]

BNSF PLANS DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECTS IN NEBRASKA: BNSF plans to construct two double-track segments along the Ravenna subdivision, which runs 130 miles from Lincoln to Ravenna, Nebraska, which has heavy coal traffic. [Lincoln Journal Star website report, 1-16-15]

BNSF OUTLINES $6-B CAPITAL EXPENDITURES PLAN: BNSF on Jan. 15 announced details about the major capital projects to plans to complete in 2015. The plan includes $2.9-billion to replace and maintain core network and related assets, nearly $1.5-billion on expansion and efficiency projects, $200-million for continued implementation of positive train control, and about $1.4-billion for locomotives, freight cars and other equipment. [Railway Age website report]

FED'S NEW DESIGN FOR OIL TANK CARS TO BE PRESENTED IN MAY: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation will offer a new design for oil tank cars by mid-May as officials try to make sure crude oil is moving safely on tracks. The next-generation cars will have a thicker shell, more heat protection and other safety features. Details have not been finalized. [Inforum website report, 1-15-15]

MAN KILLED BY TRAIN IN CROYDON, PA.: A man was killed Jan. 15 after being struck by a train in Croydon, Bucks County, Pa. SEPTA said all inbound service on the Trenton line was suspended by the accident, and outbound trains were being delayed by up to 30 minutes. Bristol Township police are investigating. [6ABC News website report, 1-15-15]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA NAMES NEW PRESIDENT: Mike Reininger has been named president of All Aboard Florida. He replaces Don Robinson who has resigned to perform his own consulting work. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-15-15]

CHARLOTTE STREETCAR DEBUT NOW SET FOR JUNE: The 1.5-mile Charlotte, N.C., streetcar line's opening, originally set for March, has been reset for sometime in June, city officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-15-15]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 10, 2015. Total cumulative traffic - carloads and intermodal units - was 517,520, up 4.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-15-15]

NORTH CAROLINA, CSX TO BEGIN A-LINE CROSSOVER PROJECT: CSX, in partnership with North Carolina, will begin construction on projects to build universal crossovers on the A-Line at South Weldon, Enfield and Rocky Mount. Construction will include grading, drainage, and track and signal construction. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-15-15]

BNSF ROLLS OUT FIXTURES TO IMPROVE WIND-TURBINE LOGISTICS: BNSF and Energo have developed fixtures to facilitate the transport of wind turbine components. The Blade Runner fixtures increase efficiency and drive down costs when moving wind turbines. The fixtures are universal and can be used in rail or ocean transport. [North American Wind Power website report, 1-15-15]

WASHINGTON DC METRO SMOKE CAUSED BY THIRD RAIL, INVESTIGATOR SAYS: The smoke that cost the life of one person and injured others Jan. 12 was caused by something touching the third rail, according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigator. Nearly two dozen people remained hospitalized the day following the incident. [N.Y. Daily News website report, 1-14-15]

CSX TO ELIMINATE 300 MANAGEMENT POSITIONS: CSX will be eliminating 300 management positions, the company said. Fewer than 100 will be laid off, and the company hopes to finish the process by the end of the month. [Florida Times-Union website report, 1-14-15]

TEN KILLED AS BUS SLIPS OFF HIGHWAY IN TEXAS, STRIKING TRAIN: An inmate bus skidded off an icy highway in Penwell, Texas, Jan. 14, sliding down an embankment into a passing Union Pacific freight train. Ten people were killed, including the driver, one other corrections officer, and eight inmates. [ABC News website report, 1-14-15]

CSX SETS 2015 CAPITAL EXPENDITURES AT $2.5-B: CSX has reported that it will target a $2.5-billion capital expenditure program in 2015, up from $2.3-billion in 2014. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-14-15]

MAGLEV FIRM NAMES EXECUTIVE V.P.: Northeast Maglev has nasmed Nazih Haddad executive vice-president effective Febr. 3. He will mamage the development of a proposed maglev system between Washington DC and New York City. [Progressive Railroading website report]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 11, 2015, the Bull Sheet calculated that 40 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time. Average arrival of all trains surveyed was one hour and 11 minutes late. Average arrival of trains that were behind schedule (excluding those that arrived on time) was one hour and 58 minutes late.

ONE KILLED, TWO SERIOUSLY INJURED BY SMOKE IN WASHINGTON D.C. METRO TUNNEL: A woman is dead after smoke filled both a stopped Washington Metro train and the L'Enfant Plaza station Jan. 12. Two people are in critical condition and 84 others are being treated at hospitals for various injuries, the D.C. fire department said. The incident is under investigation. [WUSA 9 website report, 1-13-15]

CSX REPORTS 2014 EARNINGS: CSX Corp. reported new all-time records in 2014 for revenue of $12.7-billion, operating income of $3.6-billion, net earnings of $1.9-billion, and earnings per share of $1.92. Operating ratio remained relatively stable at 71.5 pct. CSX continues to expect to generate double-digit growth in earnings per share and margin expansion in 2015, progressing toward a mid-60's operating ratio longer term. [CSX, 1-13-15]

ELIZABETH, N.J., TRAIN STATION TO BE REBUILT: N.J. Transit has unveiled preliminary design plans for a $55-million rebuilding of the Elizabeth train station. Plans include a two-story building with a street-level ticket office, waiting room and vendor space, and high-level platforms to accommodate 12-car trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-15]

N.C. RAILROAD COMPLETES BRIDGE, PASSING SIDING: Construction has been completed on a bridge and two-mile passing siding on North Carolina Railroad's corridor near the Lenoir-Wayne County line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-15]

DONALD SEALE RETIRING FROM NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Donald W. Seale, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer of Norfolk Southern, plans to retire effective March 1. His successor will be named at a later date. [Norfolk Southern, 1-13-15]

BATTERY-POWERED TRAIN BRITISH ENTERS PASSENGER SERVICE: A British project to evaluate battery-powered rolling stock advanced Jan. 12 when a Bombardier 25kV 50Hz AC class 379 Electrostar multiple-unit operated under battery-power for the first time in passenger service. The four-car train is equipped with six battery rafts, each comprising a battery box, isolation switch, power distribution control panel, battery-charging inverter, batteries and mounting system. Initially, the train will use lithium iron magnesium phosphate batteries, but other battery technologies will also be evaluated. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-13-15]

BOMBARDIER WINS GOOD-DESIGN AWARD FOR DRIVERLESS MONORAIL SYSTEM: Bombardier Transportation has won a Good-Design Award for its Innovia Monorail 300 driverless transit system from the Chicago Athenaem Museum of Architecture and Design. The company is currently delivering the awarded systems to Saudi Arabia and Brazil. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-15]

PANAMA CANAL EXPANSION 83 PCT COMPLETE: The more than $5-billion Panama Canal expansion is now about 83 pct complete, and is expected to be finished in early 2016. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-15]

CALIFORNIA AWARDS CONTRACT FOR SECOND-SEGMENT OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has awarded a $1.36-billion contract for design and construction of its second segment of rail line in the central San Joaquin Valley, a 65-mile stretch from south of Fresno to the Tulare-Kern county line. [Fresno Bee website report, 1-13-15]

SLOW CORN MARKET SHIFTS RAIL DEMAND IN NORTHERN PLAINS: Demand for grain cars is shifting as corn markets continue to slump, delaying shipments until later in the winter and spring. Weekly ag transportation reports from BNSF and CP show uneven progress in the Northern Plains. [Grand Forks Herald website report, 1-13-15]

SAN FRANCISCO TO PURCHASE 40 ADDITIONAL LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Jan. 13 announced a major expansion of the Muni rail fleet with the $210-million purchase of 40 additional Siemens light-rail vehicles. [Progressive Railroading website report]

NEW M-8 RAIL CARS NOW RUNNING ON METRO-NORTH'S NEW CANAAN BRANCH: Connecticut announced Jan. 13 that new M-8 rail cars have begun operating on Metro-North's New Canaan branch. The cars affect two morning departures from New Caanan and two evening departures from Grand Central Terminal. Nearly all New Haven line trains are now operating with M-8 cars. [Progressive Railroading website report]

BNSF PAUSES ON TANK CAR PURCHASE: BNSF is taking a second look at an earlier plan to purchase up to 5,000 tank cars for hauling oil products. Crude-by-rail only accounts for four pct of BNSF's traffic, and the company wants input from its customers if they still want the company in this business. BNSF will, in any event, delay purchase of the new equipment until the Federal Railroad Administration sets new regulations, expected in the first quarter of this year. [Railway Age website report, 1-12-15]

SARAH FEINBERG NAMED ACTING ADMINISTRATOR OF FRA: Sarah Feinberg, formerly U.S. DOT chief of staff, has been named acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. She replaces Joseph Szabo, who has resigned. [U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1-12-15]

ILLINOIS BOOSTS CHICAGO-ST. LOUIS HIGH-SPEED RAIL FUNDING: Illinois has announced a $102-million capital investment in improving high-speed rail. Together with federal funds, the investment will allow Union Pacific to construct a new bridge and double-track a busy corridor on the Chicago-St. Louis line, boost speeds on portions of the line from 79 to about 110 MPH, cut the travel time by an hour and enable more daily round trips. [Gas2 website report]

AMTRAK'S LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE, CHRISTMAS 2014 PERIOD: The Bull Sheet's statistical department tracked the performance of Amtrak's long-distance trains over the period Dec. 20, 2014, through and including Jan. 6, 2015. Each train's arrival at final destination was recorded. During this period, 53 percent of long-distance trains arrived on time. To review the result of this survey, click on the link.. MORE..

CALTRAIN'S ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT GETS CERTIFIED: The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board has certified the final environmental impact report and approved the planned electrification of the Caltrain corridor between San Jose and San Francisco. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-9-15]

APPALACHIAN RAILCAR SERVICES ACQUIRES BRC RAILCAR SERVICES: Appalachian Railcar Services has acquired BRC Rail Car Services of Lynchburg, Virginia. BRC will operate under a new division that was established for the acquisition. With the addition of BRC, Appalachian will double its workforce to more than 300 employees. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-9-15]

WASHINGTON METRO NAMES INTERIM GENERAL MANAGER: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority has appointed Jack Requa as interim general manager and chief executive officer. He is replacing Richard Sarles, who is retiring. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-9-15]

VICTIMS OF QUEBEC RAIL DISASTER AGREE TO $200-M SETTLEMENT: Victims of the Lac-Megantic, Quebec, oil-by-rail disaster that killed 47 people in 2013 have reportedly agreed to a nearly $200-million settlement from the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railroad and its parent company, an attorney for the victims said. The settlement must be approved by the courts. [SRN News website report, 1-9-15]

TAIWAN ORDERS TWO ADDITIONAL EXPRESS TRAIN SETS: Hitachi has won an additional order for two 8-car TEMU1000 tilting train sets for a limited express service for the Taiwan Railway Administration. Six earlier train sets were delivered in 2006 and 2007. [Hitachi, 1-9-15]

HUGH TARBUTTON DIES, FORMER PRESIDENT OF SANDERSVILLE R.R.: Hugh Tarbutton, who for more than 60 years served the Sandersville Railroad Co., including a long stint as president, died Jan. 7. He was 82. [Progressive Railroading website report]

PLANS IN EFFECT TO REDUCE WINTER COLD AT CHICAGO UNION STATION: Amtrak is changing pedestrian traffic patterns at Chicago Union Station to improve temperature conditions. Limiting the use of some doors will improve the control of the influx winter air into the station during certain hours, and foot traffic to the ticket offices will be redirected. These measures will be in effect through Febr. 28. [Amtrak, 1-9-15]

OVERHEAD WIRE PROBLEM CAUSES TRAIN DELAYS IN NEW YORK: Cold weather is likely to blame after an overhead wire fell in Amtrak's Sunnyside Yard early Jan. 8, delaying Amtrak and N.J. Transit trains throughout the morning. [, 1-8-15]

RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT FOR 2014: The Association of American Railroads reported increased rail freight traffic for the year 2014 with 28,673,776 carloads, containers and trailers, an increase of 4.5 pct over 2013, and the highest annual total since 2007. Eighteen of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked annually by the association saw increases. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-8-15]

LEHIGH GORGE EXCURSION TRAIN BOOSTS ANNUAL RIDERSHIP TO RECORD LEVEL: The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway posted record ridership in 2014 after expanding its regular schedule to include stops in seven additional Pennsylvania towns. Operated by the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern as a sister company, the railroad served a record 72,295 passengers during the year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-15]

CP HOLIDAY TRAIN GENERATES $1.1-M AND 300,000 POUNDS OF FOOD: Canadian Pacific's 2014 Holiday Train saw more than $1.1-million raised and 300,000 pounds of food donated to North American food banks and shelves. [Railway Age website report, 1-8-15]

FEDS REPORT POSITIVE RAIL ALCOHOL, DRUG-TESTING RATES: According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration, the rail industry's random drug testing positive rate has remained below 1.0 pct for the last two years. [United Transportation Union, 1-8-15]

HUNGARY NATIONALIZES BOMBARDIER PLANT: The Hungaran government has acquired a 64.9 pct stake in the rail-car works at Dunakeszi, near Budapest, from Bombardier in a deal worth $7.8-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-8-14]

CALIFORNIA BREAKS GROUND ON HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: California marked the official start of construction on the state's high-speed rail network Jan. 6 with a groundbreaking at the site of the future station in Fresno. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-7-15]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FACILITATES $5.7-B IN INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT ALONG RAIL LINES IN 2014: Norfolk Southern assisted 94 industries in locating or expanding their business along its rail lines in 2014, representing an investment of $5.7-billion by those customers, expected to generate more than 205,000 carloads annually. [Norfolk Southern, 1-7-15]

AMTRAK TRAINS ROLL ONCE AGAIN BETWEEN SEATTLE & BELLINGHAM: Host carrier BNSF has cleared its tracks of a landslide and reopened the route between Seattle and Bellingham, Washington, to Empire Builder and Cascades trains. [Amtrak, 1-7-15]

INITIAL IEP TRAIN SHIPPED TO BRITAIN: The first of 111 super-express trains ordered by Britain as part of its Intercity Expess Program left Hitachi's Kasado plant in Japan Jan. 7. Test trials of the five-car, 140 MPH train will begin near Nottingham in April. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-7-15]

TEEN STRUCK & KILLED BY MARC TRAIN IN GAITHERSBURG, MD.: An 18-year-old man was struck and killed by a Brunswick-bound MARC train in Gathersburg, Md., Jan. 5. [4 NBC Washington website report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN UNVEILS PUBLICLY-FUNDED EMISSIONS-FRIENDLY LOCOMOTIVES: The first emissions-friendly locomotives funded by the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Qualty Improvement Program have been released for road-testing from Norfolk Southern's Juniata locomotive shop in Altoona, Pa. The first two GP33ECO switching locomotives, rebuilt from GP50's, sport a distictive green paint scheme that reflects their environmentally-friendly mission. After testing, they will be permanently assigned to their respective grant-award areas of Chicago and Atlanta. [Norfolk Southern, 1-6-15]

BNSF ISSUES INTERMODAL EMBARGO TO WEST COAST PORTS: BNSF has issued an embargo on westbound intermodal freight destined for ports on the West Coast as the railway anticipates further slowdowns and congestion at marine terminals in light of a labor dispute with the Pacific Maritime Association. [Desert Dispatch website report, 1-6-15]

TWO DEAD, SEVERAL HURT WHEN SCHOOL BUS HITS TRAIN IN N.D.: A school bus returning students home in Larimore, N.D., Jan. 5, struck a BNSF train killing the 62-year-old driver and a 17-year-old girl, and injuring the dozen other student passengers who were admitted to hospitals. Early reports indicate the bus driver failed to yield at a stop sign and struck the train. [West Central Tribune website report, 1-5-15]

WATCO LAUNCHES SHORT LINE IN LOUISIANA: Watco launched its 32nd short line Jan. 1 when it began operating the Bogalusa Bayou Railroad in Louisiana. The line will serve an International Paper Co. plant in Bogalusa and interchange loaded rail cars with CN. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-15]

D.C. STREETCARS SET TO BEGIN SERVICE JAN. 19: Washington, D.C., officials announced that the 2.4-mile H Street streetcar line is expected to commence passenger service on Jan. 19. [Railway Age website report, 1-5-15]

NJT READIES RARITAN VALLEY LNE UPGRADE: Rail riders on N.J. Transit's Raritan Valley line will gain direct access to and from New York's Penn Station beginning Jan. 12, but not during morning and evening rush hours due to N.E. corriidor capacity constraints between Newark and New York. [Railway Age website report, 1-5-15]

FEDS ESTABLISH NEW RAILROAD REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CROSSINGS: The Federal Railroad Administration is establishing new reporting requirements for railroads about the warning devises and signs they post to direct traffic where trains cross highways, roads, sidewalks and pathways. The agency says that about half of the railroads already comply with the new rule. [The Hill website report, 1-5-15]

HOUSTON READIES NEW CAF LIGHT-RAIL CARS FOR SERVICE: The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, will introduce six new CAF overhead-catenary light-rail cars into revenue service Jan. 7, marking the entry of Houston's third-generation of rail cars. Other new CAF vehicles will enter service over the next several weeks leading up to the opening of two new rail lines. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-15]

CSX CUSTOMERS INVESTED MORE THAN $3.5-B ALONG RAILROAD'S NETWORK IN 2014: In 2014, CSX and its customers worked together on 107 projects to build or expand facilities on CSX's network and short line partners. CSX customers invested more than $3.5-billion in these projects, which are expected to generate nearly 5,800 new jobs in local communities and approximately 161,000 annual carloads of new business for CSX. [CSX, 1-5-15]

GENESEE & WYOMNG COMPLETES ACQUSITION OF PINSLY ARKANSAS DIVISION RAILROADS: Genesee & Wyoming has completed the acquisition of Pinsly Railroad's Arkansas division for approxmately $40-million in case, subject to adjustment for final working capital. The transaction includes the Arkansas Midland, Prescott & Northwestern, Warren & Saline River railroads, and two transload operations. [Genesee & Wyoming, 1-5-15]

CSR DIESELS DELIVERED TO THAILAND: CSR Qishyuan of China has begun delivery of an order for 20 six-axle meter-gauge SDA3, 75 MPH diesel locomotives for the State Railway of Thailand. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-5-15]

FEDS TO PLEDGE $1-B FOR MASSACHUSETTS TRANSIT EXTENSION: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is expected to announce nearly $1-billion in federal support for an extension of the Green line in Massachusetts between Somerville and Medford, according to the Associated Press. Six new stations would be built and an existing one relocated. [MassLive website report, 1-4-15]

HIGH-SPEED MOSCOW-BEIJING RAIL LINE BEING PLANNED: Russia plans to build a high-speed railway with trains that would speed from Moscow to Beijing in just 48 hours. Currently it takes about seven days to make such a journey, and it requires changes of trains. The Kremlin has reportedly awarded the project to China Railway High-Speed, which is working in a joint-venture with the local firm Uralvagonzavod. [Free Republic website report, 1-4-15]

SUBSTATION FIRE FORCES METRO-NORTH HARLEM LINE CLOSING: Metro-North officials say the Hawthorne, N.Y., station on the Harlem Line was shut down early Jan. 4 due to a substation fire, causing trains to be held. There were no injuries. [Leader Herald website report, 1-4-15]

N.J. LAWMAKERS PRESENT A UNITED FRONT FOR NEW RAIL TUNNEL: A bipartisan Congressional delegate from New Jersey is gearing up to win support for a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Rail access to New York City has taken on a new urgency following Amtrak's revelation that the existing two-track tunnel, built over a century ago, will fail within 20 years because of damage from superstorm Sandy. [North Jersey Record website report, 1-4-15]

MEXICO TO RELAUNCH BIDDING PROCESS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONTRACT: Mexico will publish preliminary terms on Jan. 14 for a $3.75-billion high-speed train contract that was abuptly canceled in November, Mexico's Transportation Ministry said Jan. 4. [Reuters website report, 1-4-15]

TEN YEARS SINCE GRANITEVILLE TRAIN ACCIDENT: Jan. 6 marks the tenth anniversary of the Norfolk Southern train wreck and chemical spill killing nine people and injuring hundreds at Grantiveville, S.C., a extile community still haunted by an accident that few imagined could happen. Some people still suffer from decreased lung functions, the likely result of breathing high concentrations of chlorine from the wreck. [Charlotte Observer website report, 1-4-15]

MAN DEAD AFTER FALLING FROM RAILROAD BRIDGE IN CUMBERLAND, MD.: Authorities say a man is dead after apparently falling through the crossties of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad bridge spanning the North branch of the Potomac River near Cumberland, Md., Jan. 3. [My Fox 5 News website report, 1-3-15]

PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY CSX TRAIN IN GERMANTOWN, MD.: A pedestrian was struck and killed by a CSX freight train in Germantown, Md., early Jan. 2, leading to delays on MARC's Brunswick line during the morning rush hour. [4 NBC Washington News website report, 1-2-15]

FEDS ADDRESS CHICAGO RAIL PERFORMANCE: The Surface Transportation Board has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking of new regulations that would require all Class I railroads and the Chicago transportation coordination office to report certain service performance metrics to the board on a weekly basis. The data will enable the board to more quickly identify and help resolve possible regional or national service disruptions in the future. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-2-15]

NTSB ISSUES SAFETY ALERT ON VISIBILITY OF WAYSIDE RAILROAD SIGNALS: The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a safety alert focusing on the visibility of railroad signals. Light-emitting diode (LED) railroad signals may mask nearby incandescent signals, preventing incandescent signals from being clearly visible to train crews. If these are installed close to one another, the LED signal may appear brighter, or closer, causing crews to misread the sequence of the signals as they approach. [National Transportation Safety Board, 1-2-15]


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