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DECEMBER 2016 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier during the month of December 2016. The average arrival of the remaining 65 percent was one hour and 23 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Department]

ONE INJURED, FIVE VEHICLES DAMAGED IN WRECK WITH AMTRAK TRAIN: A woman was injured and five vehicles were damaged in a wreck with an Amtrak train Dec. 28 in Independence, Indiana. A truck had attempted to cross the tracks, but stopped, and the other vehicles were struck by the debris resulting from the train slamming into the truck. [Hammond Daily Star website report, 12-29-16]

BOMBARDIER TO DELIVER 300 TRAINS TO AUSTRIA: Bombardier has signed a $1.9-billion deal to deliver up to 300 Talent 3 electric trains to the Austrian Federal Railways in 2019. [Reuters website report, 12-29-16]

LONDON-CHINA INTERMODAL RAIL SERVICE SET TO BEGIN JAN. 1: Brunel Project Cargo is set to offer an inaugural London-China direct intermodal rail freight service beginning Jan. 1. The service is about half the expense of freight by air, and twice as fast as by sea. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-29-16]

MBTA REINTRODUCES SKI TRAIN: The MBTA is reintroducing its weekend ski train. Passengers may board at Boston's North Station and disembark at the new Wachusett Station on the Fitchburg line, and travel on a free shuttle to Wachusett Mountain. [Railway Age website report, 12-29-16]

FEDS PROPOSE NEC REROUTING IN MARYLAND: A $128-billion federal proposal to upgrade the Northeast corridor includes rerouting some trackage in Maryland. Included would be new trackage north from Bay View in northeast Baltimore, paralleling CSX's current Philadelphia subdivision northward to White Marsh, and an elevated alignment adjacent to U.S. route 40, thus moving further inland Gunpowder and Bush river crossings. The realignment would support speeds of up to 220 miles per hour, reducing travel times. [Baltimore Sun website report, 12-28-16]

CREW FATIGUE BLAMED IN 2015 BNSF WISCONSIN DERAILMENT: Federal investigators say crew fatigue may have contributed to the derailment of a BNSF train that spilled more than 20,000 gallons of ethanol last year in western Wisconsin. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website report, 12-28-16]

TRAIN DERAILMENT IN INDIA KILLS TWO: A train derailed early Dec. 28 near the Indian city of Kanpur killing two and injuring a number of others, 24 of whom were hospitalized. Two of the train's coaches fell from a bridge into a canal. [The Telegraph website report, 12-28-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending December 24, 2016, was up 27 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. It was noted that Christmas day was not included in the data this year, but it was last year, which overstated the comparison. For the first 51 weeks of 2016, total freight traffic was down 5.1 percent from the same period last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-28-16]

SMBC ACQUIRES AMERICAN RAILCAR LEASING: SMBC Rail Services has agreed to acquire American Railcar Leasing, the sixth-largest rail car leasing company in the United States. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-27-16]

GROUND BROKEN FOR BNSF-SERVED RAIL PARK IN N.M.: Ground has been broken for the Central New Mexico Rail Park in Los Lunas. A BNSF rail spur is expected to be built by summer. [Valencia County News-Bulletin website report, 12-27-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 25, 2016. The remaining 64 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 33 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-26-16]

FEDS REJECT $15-B BULLET TRAIN LOAN TO CALIFORNIA: Federal officials have rejected a $15-billion loan toward construction of a high-speed rail segment from San Jose to Shafter, California, citing the absence of a financing request. The request for the loan was seen as a last-minute effort to cement federal support prior to President Obama leaving office in January. [Breitbart website report, 12-26-16]

CHINESE CITY OPENS ITS FIRST METRO LINE: Hefei became the latest Chinese city to open a metro line with the inauguration of north-south line 1 on Dec. 26. The 15.3-mile line serves 23 stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-26-16]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY COMMUTER TRAIN IN MASSACHUSETTS: A man in his 30's was struck and killed by a commuter rail train in Attleboro, Massachusetts, late Dec. 24. [Nigerian World News website report, 12-25-16]

UNION PACIFIC TO REPAIR OVER 800 POTENTIAL SAFETY VIOLATIONS: Union Pacific has agreed to more thorough inspections and maintenance improvements after a fiery oil train derailment in Oregon and the discovery of more than 800 potential safety violations across its network. An investigation into the June accident and fire near Mosier, Oregon, is continuing. [Journal Gazette website report, 12-24-16]

FIRST TRAIN RUNS THROUGH NEW VIRGINIA AVENUE TUNNEL: CSX has announced the completion of the first phase of the new Virginia avenue tunnel project in Washington DC, clearing the way for trains to transport double-track intermodal freight between Mid-Atlantic seaports and the Midwest. The first double-stacked train passed through the new southern tunnel early Dec. 23. Work on the northern tunnel has already begun, and the entire project is expected to be completed in mid-2018. [CSX, 12-23-16]

CP HOLIDAY TRAIN RAISES $1.2-M, 250,000 POUNDS OF FOOD: Canadian Pacific says its annual Holiday Train has collected $1.2-million in donations and 250,000 pounds of food to this point. [Railway Age website report, 12-23-16]

FRA CIVIL PENALTY RATE SETS NEW RECORD: The Federal Railroad Administration has collected a record-breaking rate of civil penalties this fiscal year, surpassing the amount collected last fiscal year, which was also a record. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-23-16]

FTA APPROVES MINNEAPOLIS LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The Federal Transit administration has authorized the Minneapolis-area Green line's 14.5-mile extension project to move into the engineering phase. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-22-16]

BOY SCOUTS SEEK DAILY CARDINAL OPERATION FOR W.VA. EVENTS: Daily service by Amtrak's Cardinal, at least on a temporary basis, would be beneficial for a national jamboree slated for Mount Hope, West Virginia, in July 2017, and a world jamboree at the same location in 2019, as noted in a letter from the chief Scout executive to Amtrak. Currently, the train only operates three days a week, but Amtrak says it actually has enough equipment available for five-day-a-week operation. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 12-22-16]

HISTORIC TRAIN DEPOT IN CONNECTICUT DESTROYED BY FIRE: A fire has destroyed the 116-year-old Amtrak train station in Berlin, Connecticut. The structure was slated to be restored through $1.8-million in state and federal grants, while being paired with a new building as a passenger station. Officials intend to assess the damage and determine what steps can be taken moving forward. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 12-22-16]

MODERN BUMPING BLOCK MAY HAVE MITIGATED HOBOKEN TRAGEDY: When a New Jersey Transit train plowed off the end of a track in September in Hoboken, killing one and injuring more than 100 others, the last thing in its way was a concrete-and-steel bumping block that was in place since 1907. Experts say more modern bumpers equipped with hydraulic shock absorbers and sled-like friction shoes might have slowed the train enough to lessen the damage. Investigators are examining the role the bumper played in the crash and whether other barriers could have made a difference. [Fox5NY website report, 12-22-16]

PATH INSTALLS PTC ON 33RD STREET RAIL LINE: The Port Authority Trans-Hudson's 33rd street rail line will now return to full operation following installation of positive train-control upgrades. The line had been closed since early August during installation. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-16]

VERMONT DELAYS MIDDLEBURY TUNNEL PROJECT: Environmental concerns have prompted a delay of the proposed Middlebury tunnel project in Vermont. The project was intended to replace two aging highway bridges that cross the Western Corridor rail line, increase rail clearances and correct a drainage situation related to icing along a segment of the railroad. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-16]

WABTEC ACQUIRES WORKHORSE RAIL: Wabtec has purchased Workhorse Rail, an engineered freight-car component supplier based in Pittsburgh. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-16]

AMTRAK TO BOOST SERVICE FOR INAUGURATION: Amtrak will add capacity to its Northeast regional route from January 20 to 23. Round-trips will be added on January 21 on the Acela Express and Northeast Regional service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-16]

ALSTOM TO ACQUIRE NOMAD DIGITAL: Alstom has signed a purchase agreement to acquire Nomad Digital, a British supplier of passenger and fleet connectivity solutions. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-21-16]

OUARGLA RECEIVES FIRST CITADIS LRV: The first Citadis light-rail vehicle for the initial phase of the network in the Algerian city of Ouargla was delivered on Dec. 20. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-21-16]

KIWIRAIL TO ABANDON ELECTRIC FREIGHT OPERATIONS: KiwiRail plans to abandon electric haulage of freight trains on the Hamilton-Palmerston North section of the North Island Main Trunk line, which was electrified in the early 1980's. KiwiRail will withdraw its fleet of 16 electric locomotives over the next two years and replace them with up to 12 Chinese-built DL class diesel locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-21-16]

HELSINKI ORDERS 29 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Helsinki City Transport has exercised options with Transech for a total of 49 additional Artic low-floor light-rail vehicles. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-21-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Dec. 17, 2016, was down 0.3 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 12-21-16]

TEXAS HSR PLAN SUFFERS EMINENT-DOMAIN SETBACK IN COURT: The promoters of the proposed Houston to Dallas high-speed rail line have been denied a request by a Texas judge for a ruling that the project qualifies for 'eminent domain,' allowing entry onto private property to conduct surveys, even if the land-owner does not wish to cooperate, or to force the sale of property for the project. The ruling sets the stage for a trial on the issue, beginning in July 2017. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 12-21-16]

FRA ALLOCATES FUNDS TO 11 COMMUNITIES FOR AMTRAK GULF COAST SERVICE: The Federal Railroad Administration has allocated more than $2-million to 11 communities in three southern states that are making plans for restored Amtrak service. Funds will be available in early 2017, and projects are expected to be completed within 24 months after that. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-20-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN, SEMI COLLIDE IN OREGON: An Amtrak train and a semi-truck hauling wood chips collided Dec. 20 between Canby and Oregon City, Oregon. The train was carrying 281 passengers, but there were no injuries, according to the Canby fire department. [KOIN website report, 12-20-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 18, 2016. The remaining 75 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 40 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-19-16]

MORE MARK III CARS FOR VANCOUVER SKYTRAIN: A $93-million (C) contract has been signed with Bombardier for 28 additional Mark III light-rail metro cars for the Vancouver, B.C., SkyTrain automated light-metro network. The new trains are due to enter service by early 2019, increasing the SkyTrain fleet to 314 cars. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-19-16]

FEDS SEEK DIGITAL MAPS TO ALERT OF R.R. CROSSINGS: The National Transportation Safety board is asking tech companies to include information about railroad crossings in digital maps to incorporate alerts to notify drivers as the approach railroad crossings. [N.Y. Times website report, 12-19-16]

SUNSET LIMITED DEPARTING L.A. TWO HOURS EARLIER, CERTAIN DATES: Due to track work, Amtrak's Sunset Limited train 2 will operate two hours earlier from Los Angeles to El Paso Jan. 11, 13, 15, 25, 27, 29, and Febr. 8, 10 & 12. [Amtrak]

D.C. METRO DISMISSES SIX FOR FALSIFYING TRACK INSPECTION RECORDS: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority has fired two supervisors and four track inspectors after a review determined that they falsified track inspection records. The agency has taken action or is in the process of taking disciplinary action against 28 employees since a July 29 derailment in Arlington, Va. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-16-16]

PANYNJ CHARGES 44 POLICE OFFICERS WITH 'SHIRKING DUTIES': The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has begun taking disciplinary action against 44 agency police officers - about one-third of the PATH rail system's command - for allegedly 'shirking duties' while on the clock. Officials say the officers were staying in break rooms too long and missing patrols. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-16-16]

FEDS ISSUE 30-YEAR INVESTMENT PLAN FOR NEC: In its 30-year investment plan to increase options for the Northeast corridor, the Federal Railroad administration outlined the following steps: Add new tracks to increase the corridor to four tracks (or more) in most locations; provide intercity access to Philadelphia Airport; add direct and frequent service to Hartford and Springfield; increase the number of regional trains; provide up to five times more intercity trains; speed Boston-New York travel times to two hours, 45 minutes; and speed New York-Washington travel times to two hours, 10 minutes. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 12-16-16]

D.C. METRO TRAIN EVACUATED DUE TO FIRE BENEATH RAILCAR: A Washington D.C.Orange line metro train was safely evacuated early Dec. 16 after a fire developed under one of the rail cars at the Landover, Md., station, officials said. There were no injuries. [WUSA9 website report, 12-16-16]

PRESIDENT SIGNS OIL TRAIN RESPONSE BILL: President Obama has signed rail safety legislation known as the Response act, establishing a committee of emergency workers and tech experts from government agencies and the private sector to advise Congress on the nation's needs for responding to an oil train disaster. [La Crosse Tribune website report, 12-16-16]

MARYLAND REAPPLIES FOR FEDERAL FUNDS FOR BALTIMORE'S HOWARD STREET TUNNEL: Maryland's governor is reapplying for federal funds to make room for double-stacked containers in Baltimore's aged Howard street railroad tunnel. A previous application was denied earlier this year. [SF Gate website report, 12-16-16]

GERMAN ALTERNATIVE RAIL SERVICE CARVES OUT A NICHE: Locomore's new, once-daily crowdfunded electric passenger rail service on the 370-mile route between Berlin and Stuttgart is an hour longer, but a lot less expensive that Deutsche Bahn, Germany's main train provider. At $23.50, it's priced about $100 less than its rival, and the train offers areas for people with common interests. [CityLab website report, 12-16-16]

CALIFORNIA'S BULLET TRAIN PROGRESS: If all goes to plan, California's $64-billion rail line could whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in two hours and 40 minutes. Other rides would make stops in the Silicon and Central valleys. A segment between San Jose and a station near Bakersfield is expected to begin operating in 2025. The target date for the full line is 2029. An added phase could extend the lines north to Sacramento and south the San Diego. [N.Y. Times website report, 12-15-16]

STB SUSPENDS ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW OF GREAT LAKES BASIN PROJECT: The Surface Transportation Board has suspended its environmental review of Great Lakes Basin Transportation's proposal to build and operate a new 278-mile freight rail line from Indiana to Wisconsin, bypassing Chicago. The suspension was at the request of Great Lakes Basin in order to prepare a more complete overview of the project's business and operating impacts. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-15-16]

FTA GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO $1-B TEX RAIL PROJECT OUTSIDE DALLAS: The Federal Transit administration has aproved $499.39-million in federal fuds for the construction of the $1.034-billion Tex Rail project outside Dallas. The 27-mile commuter rail project would connect Fort Worth with the Dallas-Fort Worth International airport. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 12-15-16]

FIRST BRIGHTLINE TRAIN COMPLETED: Siemens announced Dec. 14 that the first of five trains for All Aboard Florida's Brightline service has left its Sacramento factory en route to Florida. The train has two Charger diesel locomotives and four coaches in Brightline blue. Upon arrival, an operations team will begin the testing of the train. The other four trains are expected to be delivered by the end of March 2017. [International Railway Journal website report,12-14-16]

N.C. BEGINS RAIL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT: The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation broke ground Dec. 12 on its $11.6-million North Carolina & Virginia Railroad project, which will improve infrastructure and increase the weight limit along a 52-mile corridor. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-14-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Dec. 10, 2016, was down 1.1 pct compared with the same week last year. Calculated separately, carload volume was down 4.3 pct, while intermodal was up 2.1 pct. [Railway Age website report, 12-14-16]

STRIKE CRIPPLES TRAIN SERVICE IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND: A 48-hour strike crippled rail services in southern England as a long-running dispute impacted hundreds of thousands of commuters in and out of London. All of Southern Railway's 2,242 weekday services were canceled Dec. 13. [US News & World Report, 12-13-16]

LEGISLATION PASSED TO SPEED AMTRAK BORDER CROSSINGS: Train travel between U.S. and Canada could get easier soon. Congress has passed legislation meant to cut down on wait times at the border for Amtrak trains. It expands a program that allows U.S. customs agents to work across international lines. [North Country Public Radio, 12-13-16]

MORE METRO CARS FOR BOSTON'S RED LINE: Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority has voted to order 120 additional metro cars for the Red Line from CRRC Corp. at a cost of $280-million. The order will allow the agency to operate a standardized fleet of cars on the line. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-13-16]

GE BEGINS DELIVERY OF EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVES TO PAKISTAN: GE Transportation has shipped the first batch of ES43 ACi Evolution Series diesel locomotives for Pakistan Railways. Total order is for 55 of the locomotives, assembled in Erie, Pa. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-13-16]

SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA SIGN HIGH-SPEED RAIL AGREEMENT: Singapore and Malaysia have signed an agreement committing the two countries to complete the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail line within a decade. The 217-mile line will serve eight stations; trains will have a design speed of 217 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-13-16]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO ACQUIRE PENTALVER TRANSPORT: Genesee & Wyoming, through a U.K. subsidiary, has agreed to acquire Southampton-based Pentalver Transport Ltd for $110-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-13-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 11, 2016. The remaining 61 percent, on average, arrived one hour and six minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-12-16]

D.C. METRO TRAIN BREAKS IN TWO: Two rear cars of a D.C. Metro train separated from the rest of its cars early Dec. 12 along the Red Line near the Twinbrook station. The cars involved were the new 7000-series cars. No injuries were reported. [WTOP website report, 12-12-16]

FEDS ISSUE ADVISORY ON SLEEP APNEA SCREENING, CAMERAS IN LOCOMOTIVES: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a safety advisory calling on passenger and commuter railroads to improve safety by screening train operators for sleep apnea, and installing inward- and outward-facing cameras in locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-12-16]

MBTA DELAYS GREEN LINE EXTENSION OPENING TO 2021: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority will not open its Green Line extension until 2021, four years later than the agency's most recent timeline. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-12-16]

FEDS ORDER D.C. METRO TO FIX TRACTION POWER SYSTEM: The Federal Transit administration has ordered the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority to address deficiencies in its traction power electrification system. Forty-seven actions related to the system, described as in 'deteriorated condition,' need to be completed. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-12-16]

GE ACQUIRES IDLERS INC.: GE Transportation has announced its acquisition of Idlers Inc., an electronic product design and manufacturing company for the rail industry. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-12-16]

U.S., CANADA SIGN TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION-SHARING AGREEMENT: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board and the Canadian Transportation Agency have signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate information-sharing between the two agencies. [Railway Age website report, 12-12-16]

INJUNCTION ISSUED IN CALIFORNIA'S NEW R.R. HAZMAT TAX: A U.S. district court judge has granted a preliminary injunction against a new tax scheduled to be imposed on trains carrying hazardous materials, pointing out that the petitioners' arguments merited a day in court. [Northern California Record website report, 12-11-16]

PASSENGERS ON PORTLAND LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN TRAPPED BY DOWNED POWER LINES: No injuries were reported when at least 75 passengers of a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon, were trapped for several hours by downed power lines late Dec. 9. Ice-coated tree limbs and power lines came down on the second day of a storm that brought snow and freezing rain to the area. [CBS News website report, 12-10-16]

MAN DRIVES SUV ONTO R.R. TRACKS, PLUNGES FROM BRIDGE INTO CREEK: A man driving his SUV on railroad tracks plunged into a creek early Dec. 10 in Indianapolis. The driver lost control as the tracks cross a bridge, and the vehicle landed upside-down in the water. The driver, who was only slightly injured, was arrested for driving while intoxicated. [Fox 59 website report, 12-10-16]

FEDS SAY PTC IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS IS UNEVEN: Data for the third-quarter 2016 show that passenger railroads have implemented positive train-control on 23 pct of their tracks, up by just one percentage point from the previous quarter. Freight railroads have implemented the technology to 12 pct of their trackage. Measurable progress by passener railroads has been predominately on the West Coast, while on the East Coast, other than SEPTA and Amtrak, progress is relatively stagnant. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 12-9-16]

CSX LAYS OUT N.C. TERMINAL PLANS: CSX held an open house Dec. 8 in Rocky Mount, N.C., to share plans for its development of the Carolina Connector intermodal terminal, and a large number of people attended. Construction is expected to begin in Dec. 19, and CSX will begin the hiring process closer to the start of operations. The company is in discussions with local colleges to engage in workforce development. [Rocky Mount Telegram website report, 12-9-16]

NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE OPENS IN KOREA: Korail subsidiary Supreme Railways began commercial services on the Suseo high-speed rail line Dec. 9, providing a link for the southeastern areas of Seoul and Gyeonggi province. The 38-mile line has three stations, and includes a 32.5-mile tunnel. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-9-16]

TUNISIA ORDERS 20 EMD LOCOMOTIVES: Tunisian National Railways has placed a $69.4-million order for the supply of 20 EMD series GT42AC meter-gauge diesel locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-9-16]

RAY SIPES NAMED INTERIM PRESIDENT OF R.J. CORMAN SIGNALING: R.J. Corman Railroad Group has appointed Ray Sipes to serve as interim presiding of R.J. Corman Signaling. He will oversee the company's daily operations util a permanent replacement can be found. [R.J. Corman website report, 12-8-16]

BOMBARDIER LANDS FRENCH COMMUTER TRAIN ORDER: Bombardier Transportation has received a $370-million order for 52 additional commuter trains from France's SNCF for delivery beginning in early 2018. [Progressive Railroadig website report, 12-8-16]

AMTRAK WELCOMES PETS ON VERMONTER: Amtrak has expanded its pets-on-board program to include small dogs and cats on Vermonter trains for trip duration not exceeding seven hours. Thee is a $25 fee, and space must be reserved. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-8-16]

WORLD'S LONGEST RAIL TUNNEL SET TO BEGIN SERVICE: Switzerland's Gotthard Base Tunnel will launch service December 11. It is the world's longest railroad tunnel. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-8-16]

CAPITOL CORRIDOR TRAIN SHAKES VIOLENTLY, INJURES PASSENGERS: An investigation has been launched into why a Capitol Corridor train suddenly lurched back and forth, injuring several passengers, near Davis, California, early Dec. 7. Officials said track inspoectors found no rail damage at the site. There was no damage to the locomotive or cars, but the train was taken out of service at Martinez. [Sacramento Bee website report, 12-8-16]

METROLINK TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK TRAILER: AMetrolink commuter train struck a truck trailer in Corona, California, early Dec. 7. The vehicle involved had reportedly experienced mechanical problems and became stuck on the crossing. There were no injuries. [NBC L.A. website report, 12-7-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 53,130 carloads and intermodal units for U.S. railroads in the week ending December 3, 2016, an increase of 2 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, both carload and intermodal volume showed increases. [Railway Age website report, 12-7-16]

CREW FATIGUE FAULTED FOR FATAL 2014 UNION PACIFIC COLLISION IN ARKANSAS: The National Transportation Safety board named crew member fatigue as the probable cause of a 2014 Union Pacific accident killing two crew members and seriously injuring two others in Hoxie, Arkansas. Two trains collided while traversing a turnout, and the board determined that the northbound crew had no indication of the impending collision and the southbound conductor was likely asleep at the time of the collision. [Railway Age website report, 12-7-16]

TEXAS CENTRAL NAMES NEW CEO: Carlos F. Aguilar has been named the new CEO of Texas Central and its subsidiaries, effective December 12. He replaces Tim Keith, who will continue as the company's president. Texas Central is the company developing high-speed rail passenger service to connect North Texas with Houston. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-7-16]

TWO CARS OF NJT TRAIN DERAIL IN HOBOKEN: The fourth and fifth cars of a six-car Bergen-Main Line train derailed Dec. 4 as the train entered the terminal in Hoboken, New Jersey Transit said. No passengers were riding in the cars that derailed, and no injuries were reported. [ report, 12-7-16]

INFRASTRUCTURE WILL LIMIT AMTRAK'S NEW ACELA TRAINS: Amtrak will add new Acela trains in 2021, but they won't significantly cut down on trip times. At issue is the track infrastructure that will limit speeds in all but a few places to accommodate the the increased speeds the new equipment is capable of. The ride quality, amenities and capacity of the system will improve, however. [Business Insider website report, 12-7-16]

BOMBARDIER WINS JOINT-VENTURE SIGNALING CONTRACT IN CHINA: Bombardier has won its first contract in China as part of the Bombardier and New United Group Signaling Solutions joint-venture to equip the Changzhou Metro Line 1 with an advanced train-control system. The 21-mile line is scheduled to open in 2019. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-6-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN DERAILMENT DAMAGES 120 BMW'S IN S.C.: A Norfolk Southern freight train derailed northwest of Columbia, S.C., Dec. 4, damaging up to 120 BMW automobiles on their way to the port of Charleston to be shipped overseas. There were no injuries. [Post and Courier website report, 12-5-16]

ALBANY RAIL IMPROVEMENTS EXPECTED TO REDUCE DELAYS: The Albany train station (in Rensselaer) now has its long-awaited fourth track, and the added capacity is expected to reduce delays. The station was actually designed to have four tracks when it opened in 2002, but the fourth track was eliminated at the time to save money. [Albany Times Union website report, 12-5-16]

AMTRAK MOVING INTO NEW STATION AT NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y.: Amtrak's Willard avenue station in Niagara Falls, N.Y., will close after the departure of train 284 on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2016. Thereafter, the new station, located at 825 Depot avenue west, will be open for business. The new station includes a waiting room, restrooms, ticket office, improved parking, vending machines, level boarding platform, and a U.S. Customs facility. [Amtrak]

SEPTA ANNOUNCES COMMUTER-RAIL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM: SEPTA has announced it plans to purchase 45 new bilevel cars for introduction to service beginning Dec. 2019. In addition, 15 new locomotives are expected to begin operation in March 2018. Other goals of the program including refining schedules to address travel demand and on-time performance. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-16]

UNION PACIFIC INSTALLS NEW BAYOU LAFOURCHE BRIDGE: Union Pacific has completed installation of a new bridge at Bayou Lafourche in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. The new 102-foot bridge is a key part of the state's efforts to reintroduce fresh water from the Mississippi River into the bayou. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-5-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 4, 2016. The remaining 62 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 20 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-5-16]

VANCOUVER'S SKYTRAIN EVERGREEN EXTENSION OPENS: The Vancouver, B.C., SkyTrain Millennium line's 6.8-mile Evergreen exension to Coquitlam was inaugurated on Dec. 2. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-5-16]

TESTING BEGINS ON OTTAWA CONFEDERATION LINE: Test running began on Ottawa's light-rail Confederation line Dec. 2 between Cyreville and Blair on the eastern section of the route. The 7.8-mile east-west line from Blair to Tunney's Pasture will serve 13 stations, and includes a 1.5-mile tunnel. Commercial operations are due to begin in 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-5-16]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY METRO-NORTH TRAIN: Official say a man was struck and killed by a Metro-North train late Nov. 2, just south of the White Plains station. [WestChester news 12 website report]

UNIVERSITY TRANSPORTATION CENTER TO BE ESTABLISHED IN NEVADA: The University of Nevada Las Vegas will establish a new University Transportation Center to study rail infrastructure with funds from a federal grant. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-5-16]

VOSSLOH ACQUIRES ROCLA CONCRETE TIE: Vosslow has acquired Rocla Concrete Tie, a manufacturer of concrete ties, switch ties, concrete low vibration track blocks and crossing panels. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-5-16]

POLICE ARREST SUSPECT IN KILLING OF CN SECURITY GUARD: A suspect has been arrested in the fatal shoorting Nov. 26 of a Canadian National Railroad security guard in south suburban Harvey, Illinois. [ABC7 Chicago website report, 12-4-16]

CREWS BEGIN TO BREACH GREAT SALT LAKE CAUSEWAY: Union Pacific has begun breaching a portion of the 20-mile causeway the bisects the Great Salt Lake, allowing the waters from the lake's north and south arm to mix. [Salt Lake Tribune website report, 12-2-16]

NOVEMBER 2016 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the month of November 2016. The remaining 62 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 14 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-1-16]

FIVE INJURED AS TRUCK COLLIDES WITH LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN IN ARIZONA: Five people were injured after a pickup truck collided with a light-rail train in Tempe, Arizona, early Dec. 1, police said. Two of those injured were passengers on board the train. [AZ Central website report, 12-1-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight carload and intermodal traffic volume rose 0.6 percent during the week ending November 26, 2016. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 0.4 percent, while intermodal rose 1.6 percent. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-1-16]

FEDS ISSUE RULES GOVERNING AMTRAK COST DISPUTES: The Surface Transportation Board has issued a rule clarifying adjudication of disputes over Amtrak cost recovery for its operation of state-supported routes, and costs to states in their use of the Northeast corridor for commuter-rail operations. Some disputes may require mediation services. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-1-16]

N.Y. GRANTS $30-M TO ALSTOM'S EXPANSION FOR AMTRAK'S HIGH-SPEED TRAIN CONSTRUCTION: New York State has announced $30-million in state funds will be used to support Alstom's expnasion in Hornell, N.Y., to accommodate a new contract to build next-generation high-speed trais for Amtrak. The 28 train sets will be park of Amtrak's program to upgrade its Acela Express service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-1-16]

WABTEC COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF FAIVELEY TRANSPORT: Wabtec on Nov. 30 completed its purchase of the Faiveley family's 51 pct holding, and plans to launch a tender offer for the remaining public shares this month. Wabtec says the takeover will create one of the world's largest rail equipment companies. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-1-16]

BERLIN PLANS MAJOR LIGHT-RAIL EXPANSION: The Berlin, Germany, city government's 'BerlinStrategie 2030' comprehends priortizing construction of four light-rail projects already under development, plus the addition of construction of five more lines, and planning work for an expansion of six other lines. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-1-16]

CHICAGO TRANSIT TO INVEST $75-M IN RED LINE EXTENSION: Chicago Transit authority's board has approved $75-million in funding for the Red Line extension project, a plan to extend rail service 5.3 miles from 95th street to 130th street, including four new stations on the city's Far South side. [Railway Age website report, 11-30-16]

CSX UPDATES 4-Q EXPECTATIONS: Frank Lonegro, CSX's chief financial officer, has told a conference: "We now expect fourth-quarter earnings per share on a reported basis to be flat to slightly up, as macroeconomic headwinds impacting the company's volume are moderating. At the same time, a recent operating property sale will now offset the impact of a debt-refinancing charge announced earlier in the quarter." Quarter-to-date volume has declined three percent overall. [CAX, 11-30-16]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON CALIFORNIA'S NORTH COAST CORRIDOR PROJECT: Ground has been broken for the first phase of California's North Coast corridor program, which will make $700-million in infrastructure improvements over the next five years. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-30-16]

SIEMENS TO BUILD SIX STREETCARS FOR CHARLOTTE: The Charlotte, N.C., city council has selected Siemens to build six new S70 streetcars for the city's LYNX Gold Line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-29-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-nine percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier during Thanksgiving week ending November 27, 2016. The remaining 61 percent arrived, on average, one hour and 19 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-28-16]

TURKMENISTAN-AFGHANISTAN RAILWAY OPENS: A ceremony at the Immamnazar border crossing on Nov. 28 marked the opening of a new rail link between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Construction on the 55-mile line began in 2013, and will ultimately form part of a line to Uzbekistan. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-28-16]

CHINA APPROVES $36-B RAIL PROJECT: China's top economic planning agency has approved a $36-billion plan to better connect Beijing to the port city of Tianjin, along with neighboring Hebei Province. The proposal calls for nine new rail lines stretching more than 680 miles, to be completed by 2020. [MoneyCNN website report, 11-28-16]

TALGO LANDS SPANISH HIGH-SPEED TRAIN ORDER: Spanish national train operator Renfe has awarded Talgo a contract to supply and maintain 15 Avril 330KMH trains, with options for 15 additional trains. Each train will seat 521 passengers. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-28-16]

CLASS I RAIL WORKFORCE SHRINKS IN OCTOBER: Class I railroads employued 151,900 workers in the U.S. as of mid-October, down 8.28 pct year-over-year, and down 0.38 pct compared with mid-September employment numbers, according to the Surface Transportation board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-28-16]

TRANSPORTATION PLAN APPROVED FOR VANCOUVER, B.C.: TransLink and the Vancouver, B.C., Mayors' Council have approved a plan for transit improvements. The first phase will include a 20 pct increase in rail service following the delivery of new rail cars for SkyTrain and West Coast Express, along with funding for pre-construction on the Broadway subway and Surrey-Langley light-rail route. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-28-16]

UNION PACIFIC PROVIDES PTC UPDATE: Union Pacific continues its Positive Train-Control implementation progress, having equipped more thasn 3,200 locomotives, installed 4,600 computers and invested more than $2.1-billion through Sept. 1, 2016. Eighty-four pct of the wayside antennas needed to support the technology has been installed along the right-of-way. [Union Pacific, 11-28-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ADDS TWO TO BOARD: Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. of Indiana and Marcela E. Donadio of Texas have been elected directors of Norfolk Southern, effective Nov. 28. [Norfolk Southern, 11-28-16]

'NOSTALIA' TRAIN RETURNS TO NYC SUBWAY FOR HOLIDAY SEASON: The MTA's nostalia train will be rolling down New York subway's M line in December. The 'shoppers special' train consists of eight City Cars, which were used from the 1930's through the 1970's. [AMNY website report, 11-28-16]

CN RAIL SECURITY GUARD KILLED BY GUNMAN: Police are searching for a man who shot and killed a security guard who worked for Canadian National on Nov. 26 in Harvey, Illinois. Investigators say a resident called police to report a stolen car. The victim saw the suspect in another vehicle. The suspect ran out of that car and onto the railroad track, where he came into contact with a railroad security officer. Police say the suspect shot the security officer, who was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. The suspect is still at large. [ABC7 Chicago website report, 11-27-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN SPLITS TRACTOR-TRAILER IN HALF: A Norfolk Southern train slammed into a tractor trailer late Nov. 26 in Sheridan, N.Y.. The rig and the front portion of the trailer continued on with the train for several hundred feet, while the rest of the trailer was left behind to twist around the railroad gate. Packages of dog food went flying for a good hundred feet or so. Police report the driver attempted to head along a road posted for no tractor-trailers, and the rig became stuck on the shoulder in the path of the oncoming train. The driver was able to exit prior to the collision. [Observer Today website report]

DEADLY TRAIN WRECK IN IRAN: A passenger train collision in northern Iran killed at least 43 people and injured 100 on Nov. 25. The accident occurred in sub-zero termperatures when a moving train struck another parked at Haftkhan station, about 150 miles east of Tehran. Four of the fatalities were railway employees from the two trains. [US News & World Report, 11-25-16]

FORTY INTERCITY EMU'S ORDERED FOR NORMANDY: French National Railways has exercised a $620-million option with Bombardier on behalf of the region of Normandy for 40 Omneo Premium 124 MPH double-deck intercity electric multiple units. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-24-16]

FINLAND, RUSSIA SIGN NEW RAIL AGREEMENT: A new rail transport agreement between Finland and Russia is effective Dec. 22, and applies to passenger rail between the two countries without change in trains, and to freight rail to avoid reloading at the border. [Railway Pro website report, 11-24-16]

INDIAN RAILWAYS TO INTRODUCE TRI-NETRA SYSTEM FOR COLLISION AVOIDANCE: The Indian Railways may soon roll out an advanced system, called 'Tri-Netra,' on its trains. The system includes a high-resolution optical video camera, high-sensitivity infrared video camera and a radar-based terrain mapping system. It will help reduce accidents by keeping a record of track maintenance and will provide better visibility in the fog. [Railway Pro website report, 11-24-16]

AMTRAK EXPECTS 750,000 PASSENGERS FOR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY TRAVEL: Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, Amtrak officials expect to carry an estimated 750,000 passengers system-wide. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 11-23-16]

D.C. METRO GEARS UP FOR SERVICE REDUCTIONS ON ORANGE & SILVER LINES: Washington DC Metro is set to begin this coming week a 24-day repair surge that will result in major service reductions for Orange and Silver line trains. Single-tracking will be in effect between the West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations, resulting in a two-thirds reduction in service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-23-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic rose 2.8 pct to 547,804 combined carload and intermodal units during the week ending Nov. 19, 2016, compared with the same week a year earlier, according to data from the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-23-16]

NINETY COACHES PULLED FROM RAIL SERVICE IN GERMANY DUE TO COUPLING DEFECTS: Transdev Germany subsidiary NOB has withdrawn its entire fleet of 90 'married pair' Bombardier push-pull coaches from Hamburg-Westerland service following the discovery of coupling defects. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-23-16]

CALIFORNIA AGREES TO 'BUY AMERICAN' FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL: The California High-Speed Rail authority has agreed to buy U.S.-manufactured parts for the state's bullet train system. The agency previously discussed purchased buying foreign parts and had requested a waiver from the Buy American Act, but it now plans to request proposals from the U.S. for two working prototype trains and 16 trainsets of 10 cars each. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 11-23-16]

CALTRAIN BEGINS PRE-CONSTRUCTION ON PENINSULA CORRIDOR ELECTRIFICATION: Caltrain has started performing pre-construction work for the Peninsula Corridor electrification project in San Francisco. Actual construction is set to begin this coming summer. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 11-23-16]

BOMBARDIER LANDS MONTREAL COMMUTER RAIL CONTRACT: Bombardier has been awarded an eight-year contract to operate Montreal's six-line commuter rail network and maintain its fleet of locomotives and rolling stock. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-22-16]

FEDS UPDATE SAFETY STANDARDS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL: The Federal Railroad Administration has proposed updated safety standards for high-speed passenger rail. Included is a new category of passenger equipment (Tier-III) for train traveling up to 220 MPH. The updates would offer an alternative method for evaluating how well passegers and crews are protected in an accident. Principals and the public will be invited to offer feedback during the next 60 days. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-22-16]

TAIWANESE LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLE UNVEILED: The first of 15 Warrior low-floor light-rail vehicles being built for the Danhai network in New Taipei City has been unveiled. The 113-foot, five-section bidirectional train will accommodate up to 265 passengers and have a maximum speed of 43.5 MPH. All 15 vehicles are due to be delivered by Aug. 2017. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-22-16]

METRO-NORTH COMPLETES UPGRADES AT FORDHAM STATION: Metro-North has completed restoration and upgrades of the Fordham station, including a rebuilt northbound platform with double the capacity, a new entrance leading to Webster avenue, and new permanent artwork. [MTA News website report, 11-22-16]

JUDGE REAFFIRMS RULING BLOCKING START OF PURPLE LINE PROJECT IN MD.: A U.S. district judge has reaffirmed an earlier ruling that construction may not begin on Maryland's planned $2-billion Purple line light-rail system until officials review how declining Metro ridership could affect the project. However, the judge reversed his earlier ruling requesting that the Federal Transit admiistration reopen the environmental review for the project. [Washington Post website report, 11-22-16]

RESCUERS COMPLETE INDIA TRAIN CRASH SEARCH: Rescuers finished searching the wreckage Nov. 21 of a train crash in one of the deadliest such incidents in India in years. The Indore-Patna Express came off the tracks near the northern industrial city of Kanpur soon after 3 a.m. local time Nov. 20, causing 14 cars to derail. Investigators are looking into a possible rail fracture as a potential cause of the wreck. The train was reportedly travelling at 68 MPH when it crashed. At least 146 people were killed, and about 226 were injured, 76 of them seriously. [USA Today website report, 11-21-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-three percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived into their final terminal on time or earlier in the week ending November 20, 2016. The remaining 67 percent, on average, arrived one hour and ten minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-21-16]

DOWNEASTER ADDS THIRD ROUND-TRIP BRUNSWICK-BOSTON: Amtrak's Downeaster now includes three round-trips each day between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston. These trains are in addition to the two round-trips that were already running between Portland and Boston. [Amtrak]

SHORT LINE FILES TO OPERATE NORFOLK SOUTHERN LINE IN DELAWARE AND MARYLAND: Delmarva Central Railroad, a subsidiary of Carload Express, has filed a plan to lease and operate 162 miles of Norfolk Southern lines in Delaware, and as far south as Pocomoke City, Maryland. This will become the fourth short line operated by Carload Express, which has a fleet of 46 locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-21-16]

AMTRAK TO IMPROVE TURNAROUND MANAGEMENT AT CHICAGO: Amtrak has awarded a contract to technology provider Phase One to support the railroad's mobile management tool for Chicago's Union Station. The contractor will use its talents in technology to help Amtrak better manage train turnaround times and provide transparency for processes. Yardmasters at Chicago will use the application to schedule activities associated with departing trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-21-16]

CLEVELAND COMPLETES SHAKER HEIGHTS STATION PROJECT: Cleveland's Green Line Warrensville-Shaker Heights station project has been completed. The $1.8-million upgrade included a new station with ADA-compliant boarding platforms. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-21-16]

UNION PACIFIC PLANS GREAT SALT LAKE CAUSEWAY BREACH IN DECEMBER: The Great Salt Lake railroad causeway has sunk 15 feet since it was last replaced in 1959. Working with the Army Corps of Engineers, Union Pacific got approval for a breach to conduct repairs, which include a 180-foot bridge and an earthen control berm to equalize the water level and facilitate the salt balance between the northern and southern portions of the lake. Work was planned for October, but it got delayed due to concerns that increasing salinity might harm brine shrimp during their reproductive cycle, and impair migratory birds. The project is now planned to begin as early as December 1, and may be completed from within a few days to a couple of weeks. [Deseret News website report, 11-21-16]

NJT TARGETS SLEEP APNEA IN WAKE OF CRASH: Locomotive engineers suffering from sleep apnea must have the disorder under control before they will be allowed to operate trains for New Jersey Transit. The ruling comes in response to the train slamming into Hoboken Terminal in September, killing one and injuring more than 100. Engineers were previously allowed to keep working so long as they were being treated, but now they will need medical certification that the condition has been corrected or controlled. [ABC News website report, 11-21-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS ON ROCKVILLE BRIDGE: Heavy winds may be to blame for a Norfolk Southern train derailing Nov. 21 on the Rockville Bridge spanning the Susquehanna River in Pa. The last four cars on a westbound train left the rails, the company said. There were no injuries. [Lancaster Online report, 11-21-16]

AMTRAK RIDERSHIP UP IN IOWA: Two Amtrak trains serve Iowa each day - the Southwest Chief at Fort Madison, and the California Zephyr at Burlington, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa, Osceola and Creston. A total of 61,374 riders got on and off Amtrak trains at these six locations in the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2016, an increase of 6.5 percent over the same period the previous 12-month period. Osceola was the most popular stop, with 16,019 passengers. Mount Pleasant was second, with 13,504 passengers. [Des Moines Register website report, 11-21-16]

IRAN OPENS RAIL TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER: Iran has inaugurated a center for rail traffic control in Khuzestan. The $82.2-million facility covers 67 stations along two railways. [Railway Pro website report, 11-21-16]

ARCADIA, MISSOURI, ADDED AS STOP FOR AMTRAK'S TEXAS EAGLE: Beginning Nov. 20, Amtrak's Texas Eagle will stop at Arcadia, Missouri. This will be the first time in 48 years that Arcadia has been served by passenger rail. The town was added largely through an advocacy and planning effort coordinated by 'Our Town Tomorrow.' a local non-profit organization focused o community revitalization. A passenger platform was constructed and other improvements totaling more than $600,000 were made at a 75-year-old depot. [Amtrak]

DEADLY TRAIN CRASH IN INDIA: More than 115 people were killed and more than 150 were injured Nov. 20 when an Indian express train derailed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The casualty count is expected to rise amid a scramble to locate survivors. [Reuters website report, 11-20-16]

PHILADELPHIA TURNING R.R. RUIN INTO ELEVATED RAIL PARK: Officials have broken ground on the first phase of a rail park as an adaptive reuse of a quarter-mile former Reading Railroad viaduct as a walkable, elevated oasis. Plans call for the park to eventually span three miles, traversing the center of Philadelphia via former tunnels, rail cuts and elevated platforms. Pennsylvania has announced a $3.5-million grant for the viaduct section, allowing construction to begin before the end of the year. [NBC Philadelphia website report, 11-20-16]

WASHINGTON D.C. METRO BANS USE OF 4000-SERIES RAILCAR IN LEAD POSITION: Washington D.C. Metro has ordered the removal from service of all 4000-series railcars from the lead positon of trains following the identification of a possible safety issue. The concern involves the vehicle's automatic train-control system that could result in a false indication to a train operator. The agency says the issue identified will not pose a risk when the affected cars are operated mid-train. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-18-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S SAFETY TRAIN COMPLETES 18-CITY TOUR: Norfolk Southern's safety train has completed its 2016 tour, training 1,926 first-responders in 18 cities in 13 states. The program provided free training to firefighters, police officers, emergency management personnel and other first-responders on how to safely respond to a rail-related hazardous materials incident. [Norfolk Southern, 11-18-16]

NEW STATION FACILITY PLANNED FOR MIDDLETOWN, PA.: Pennsylvania's Dept. of Transportation is seeking a developer to design and maintain a pedestrian bridge at the Amtrak station in Middletown, Pa., a parking lot for 400 vehicles, a street extension to the station, possible commercial or retail development, and maintain the project site for at least 30 years. Work on the new station and platform, estimated to cost $24.4-million, is expected to start in late 2018. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 11-18-16]

PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE SLATED TO RETURN TO MOLINE, ILLINOIS, IN 2018: The final states of construction for the rail line to serve Moline, Illinois, will begin by January 2017. Passenger rail service is expected to return to the city by early 2018. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 11-18-16]

GERMANY SEEKS TO BAN NOISY RAIL FREIGHT CARS: Germany's ministry for transport and digital infrastructure has introduced draft legislation aimed at banning the operation of freight cars which are 'deemed to be too noisy.' If approved, the ruling would come into effect after the end of 2020, committing to cut freight car noise levels by one-half. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-18-16]

JAXPORT OPENS NEW RAIL TERMINAL: The Jacksonville Port authority has opened its new $30-million intermodal container transfer facility. Rail that connects to CSX's main line will allow for two unit trains each day. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-18-16]

DOWNEASTER BACK TO NORMAL SCHEDULE AFTER RAIL IMPROVEMENT: The Northern New England Rail authority says Pan Am Railways has concluded its tie replacement project on its track between Portland and Wells, Maine, and normal Amtrak service resumed Nov. 17. During a six-week period, trains were only running between Wells and Boston. [Eagle Times website report]

AMTRAK REPORTS FY-2016 RESULTS: Amtrak reported unaudited financial results for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2016, with a record $2.14-billion in ticket revenue, up by $12-million over the previous fiscal year. There were 31.3 million passengers, nearly 400,000 more than fiscal year 2015. This is the sixth consecutive year Amtrak has carried more than 30 million customers. [Railway Age website report, 11-17-16]

UNION PACIFIC HIKES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND 10 PCT: The board of Union Pacific has voted to increase the quarterly dividend on the company's common shares by 10 pct, to 60.5 cents per share. [Union Pacific, 11-17-16]

CSX TRAINS COLLIDE IN FLORIDA: Two CSX trains - one loaded with phosphate rock and one loaded with coal - collided early Nov. 16 in Citra, Florida, slightly injuring two crew members. Twenty cars overturned, according to the Marion County sheriff's office. The derailment caused a 4,000-gallon fuel leak, an Orlando television station reported. [Reuters website report, 11-16-16]

BROKEN RAIL IN N.Y. EAST RIVER TUNNEL CAUSES TRAIN DELAYS: Riders were warned to expect delays in and out of Manhattan's Penn Station early Nov. 16 because of a broken rail in one of the East River tunnels. [NBC N.Y. website report, 11-16-16]

AMTRAK SEEKS FIRM TO DEVELOP PROPERTY NEAR 30TH STREET STATION: Amtrak plans to issue a request for proposals for the long-term lease and development of property adjacent to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. The property includes a 32,500-square-foot tract and associated air rights. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-16-16]

CHARLOTTE TO ORDER SIX MORE LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Charlotte Area Rapid Transit system has selected Siemens as preferred supplier for six light-rail vehicles for the second pahse of the Lynx Gold line. The vehicles will be equipped with batteries to enable catenary-free operation. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-16-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported combined U.S. carload and intermodal rail freight traffic for the week ending Nov. 12, 2016, was down 0.5 pct compared with the same week last year. Calculated separately, carload volume was up 0.5 pct, and intermodal volume deopped 1.4 pct. [Railway Age website report, 11-16-16]

BNSF, KCS JOIN IN OFFERING NEW INTERMODAL SERVICE: BNSF and Kansas City Southern have formed a new joint service offering intermodal transportation to better connect the Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago markets with consumer and industrial regions in Mexico. The new services will begin Dec. 1, and will be provided five days a week. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-16-16]

NJT ENGINEER IN HOBOKEN CRASH HAD SLEEP APNEA, HIS LAWYER SAYS: The engineer of the N.J. Transit train that crashed into Hoboken Terminal in September had undiagnosed sleep apnea, his lawyer said on Nov. 16. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, and has not determined the cause. [N.Y. Times website report, 11-16-16]

NEW ZEALAND EARTHQUAKE DAMAGES SOUTH ISLAND RAIL LINE: New Zealand's South Island Main Trunk railway between Christchurch and Picton could be closed for several months following the 7.5-magnitude earthquake which struck near the coastal town of Kaikoura on Nov. 14. More than eight miles of the line were destroyed or badly damaged. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-15-16]

OFFICIALS INVESTIGATE WHY RAIL CREW DID NOT REPORT TRAIN HITTING POST IN BOSTON: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority is investigating why a Keolis commuter rail crew did not report a low-speed train hitting a bumping-block in Boston's South Station on Nov. 4. There were no passengers on the train at the time, and no injuries, but the incident did cause damage to the train's control car. [Boston Globe website report, 11-15-16]

KCS DEDICATES INTERMODAL TERMINAL TO DAVID STARLING: Kansas City Southern has named its intermodal facility in Wylie, Texas, in honor of David L. Starling, retired president and CEO. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-15-16]

LARRY KAUFMAN DIES, RAILROAD INDUSTRY JOURNALIST: Railroad industry journalist, analyst and author Lawrence H. Kaufman died Nov. 8 in Golden, Colorado. His career spanned more than half a century with several railroads, the Association of American Railroads and various railroad publications. He was 80. [Railway Age website report, 11-15-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending November 13, 2016. The remaining 57 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 10 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-14-16]

KOREA TO DEVELOP DOUBLE-DECK HIGH-SPEED TRAIN: Korea Railroad Research Institute has announced a project to develop the country's first double-deck, high-speed train. Seating up to 1,404 passengers, the 186 MPH articulated train is expected to be ready for commercial operation by 2023. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-14-16]

CUBA ORDERS RUSSIAN LONG-DISTANCE COACHES: The Cuban foreign trade agency Tradex has ordered 68 passenger coaches for Cuban Union Railways. The coaches will replace aging vehicles from Germany and Mexico which are in poor condition. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-14-16]

MAN KILLED BY N.Y. SUBWAY TRAIN: A man was struck and killed by a downtown E train at the 42nd street Port Authority Bus terminal station in New York early Nov. 14 after he jumped in front of the train, officials said. Train service was disrupted for more than an hour. [AM-NY website report, 11-14-16]

LIRR INVESTING $1-B TO MAKE 2018 PTC DEADLINE: The Long Island Rail Road is working to meet a 2018 federal deadline to complete the design for a $1-billion positive train-control system to prevent accidents. Parts of the system are being implemented as designs are completed. [GovTech website report, 11-14-16]

NTSB CALLS FOR TOUGHER RAIL-TRANSIT OVERSIGHT: The U.S. National Transportation Safety board on Nov. 14 urged federal regulators to improve oversight of rail transit systems following a series of accidents, and urged logistical improvements to prevent deaths and injuries in crashes. The board said deaths could be prevented with improved railcar crashworthiness, better window retention and better evacuation procedures. [Reuters website report, 11-14-16]

FOUR PROPOSALS RECEIVED FOR LIRR AT N.Y. PENN STATION: New York's Metropolitan Transportation authority has received four design proposals from qualified engineering firms for the modernization of Long Island Rail Road's portion of Penn Station as part of plans to transform the station and the James A. Farley Post Office into a transport hub. The winning design will be announced before the end of the year. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-11-16]

CP SEEKS CHANGE IN MAXIMUM WORK HOURS FOR TRAIN, ENGINE CREWS: Canadian law provides that train conductors and engineers may operate a train, 'at their discretion,' for up to 18 hours. Canadian Pacific is seeking changes to reduce by one-third, to 12 hours, the maximum permissible hours that these employees may spend at the controls of a train. A decision is expected by spring 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-11-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reports combined carload and intermodal traffic for U.S. railroads increased 0.7 pct in the week ending November 5, 2016. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-11-16]

SEPTA LAUNCHING PTC ON CYNWYD COMMUTER LINE: SEPTA this month is launching positive train-control on its Cynwyd commuter rail line. The line will be the tenth in the agency's regional rail network to implement the technology. A portion of the Main Line corridor will be implemented in December. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-11-16]

UNION PACIFIC DERAILMENT CAUSES EVACUATION IN MINNESOTA: Ellendale, Minnesota, residents have been allowed to return home after a Union Pacific train derailment early Nov. 11 resulting in a precautionary evacuation. No injuries were reported. Two of the rail cars that derailed contained propane and butane. [KSTP website report, 11-11-16]

WOMAN DEAD AFTER TRI-RAIL TRAIN HITS CAR: An 87-year-old woman died early Nov. 11 after her car was struck by a Tri-Rail train at the Yamato road crossing in Boca Raton, Florida. The woman was traveling east when she drove through the crossing gates and into the path of the southbound train, police said. [Palm Beach Post website report, 11-11-16]

WATCO TO ACQUIRE ADDITIONAL BULK TERMINALS: Watco Cos. has reached a definitive agreement with Kinder Morgan Terminals to purchase 20 bulk terminal operations in the U.S., which will expand Watco's terminal operations to 73 locations, the company said. The new sites include 14 on inland waterways, four rail-truck terminals, and two deepwater locations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-10-16]

VOTERS REJECT LIGHT-RAIL EXPANSION IN VIRGINIA BEACH: Voters have rejected a proposal to authorize the city of Virginia Beach to spend money on a new light-rail extension. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-10-16]

AMTRAK. NIAGARA FALLS REACH AGREEMENT ON TRAIN STATION: Sometime before the end of the year, Amtrak is likely to move into the new $43-million train station at Niagara Falls, N.Y. The city and the railroad announced Nov. 9 that they have concluded a lease agreement for use of the station, four months after it was completed. The agreement will allow Amtrak occupancy of 63 percent of the building, and Amtrak will pay 63 percent of its operating costs. [Buffalo News website report, 11-9-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending November 6, 2016. The remaining 60 percent arrived, on average, one hour and two minutes late. Included in the week was a day when all overnight trains had an extra hour to reach their destination, due to the time change. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-7-16]

SEPTA TRANSIT STRIKE ENDS: SEPTA and TWU Local 234 announced a tentative agreement early Nov. 7, ending the strike that has crippled subway, bus and streetcar transportation in greater Philadelphia for nearly a week. The deal calls for a new five-year contract. [6 ABC News website report, 11-7-16]

READING & NORTHERN PREPARES FOR GROWTH: Reading & Northern Railroad has announced a 'significant program' of capital expenditures and hiring to accommodate an increase in freight-rail and passenger excursion traffic. The railroad has hired more than 20 full-time freight rail employees, and has added six locomotives (four MP15's for freight, and two GP39RN's for passenger), bringing the total number of active locomotives in its fleet to 36. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-7-16]

BNSF REPORTS LOWER 3-Q INCOME, REVENUE: BNSF's third-quarter net income declined 12 pct to $1.02-billion, and total revenue fell 8 pct to $5.2-billion compared with the same quarter last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-7-16]

N.Y. SUBWAY KILLS WOMAN THROWN IN FRONT OF TRAIN: A 49-year-old woman was killed Nov. 7 after being pushed in front of a subway train in Times Square station, New York. A 30-year-old woman was taken into custody almost immediately and has been charged in the incident. [N.Y. Times website report, 11-7-16]

CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED ON MICHIGAN'S WOLVERINE HIGHER-SPEED ROUTE: Amtrak and Michigan have restored full service on the Wolverine higher-speed route after concluding this year's construction season. Crews worked on 41 miles of track in Calhoun and Jackson counties. The project is intended to improve reliability and expand 110 MPH service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-7-16]

CP RAIL SAYS OCT. 2016 GRAIN SHIPMENTS SET RECORD: Canadian Pacific says it moved more Western Canadian grain in October from the Prairies to Vancouver, B.C., than in any other previous single month. [Chronicle Herald website report, 11-7-16]

BNSF SUED TO COVER COAL TRAIN LOADS TO PREVENT WATER POLLUTION: The trial in a lawsuit by a broad coalition of environmental groups seeking to force BNSF to cover its coal train loads to prevent water pollution by coal dust began Nov. 7 in a federal court in Seattle. [Seattle Times website report, 11-7-16]

LATVIAN RAIL ELECTRIFICATION PLAN INTRODUCED: Latvian Railways and the Latvian Ports Transport and Logistics Council have unveiled a plan to expand the electrified network from 160 miles to 521 miles, and replace all existing DC electrification with AC equipment. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-7-16]

PERSON KILLED BY METRA TRAIN: A 26-year-old man was struck and killed the afternoon of Nov. 5 in northwestern suburban Palatine, Illinois, officials said. The train involved was outbound UP-NW train 709. [ABC Chicago website report, 11-5-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON IN N.C.: Amtrak's southbound Silver Star struck and killed a person on the tracks in Wilson, N.C., late Nov. 4. There were no injuries to anyone on board the train, which was significantly delayed by the incident. [ABC11 website report, 11-5-16]

AMTRAK TAKES DELIVERY OF FIRST VIEWLINER-II DINING CAR: The first CAF-built dining car 6800,1 named Annapolis, was shipped from Elmira, N.Y., Nov. 1, and was moved to Hialeah, Fla., on the Silver Meteor the following day. Amtrak plans to take an extended period of time to test the car and be sure CAF has resolved any lingering issues. Twenty-five dining cars have been ordered, with delivery in the first half of 2017. Viewliner sleepers are next. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 11-4-16]

JAMES BONNER NAMED PRESIDENT OF NEW YORK & ATLANTIC: James P. Bonner has been promoted to president of New York & Atlantic Railway effective Nov. 4. He succeeds Paul M. Victor who becomes managing director of the railway's parent company. Bonner had been vice president of the railway, and he is succeeded in that position by Marion B. Taylor. [New York & Atlantic Railway, 11-4-16]

WABTEC REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: Wabtec Corp. reported third-quarter net income of $82.4-million or 92 cents a share, down from $99.1-million or $1.03 per share in the same period last year. The company logged $676-million in net sales versus $810-million in third-quarter 2015. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-4-16]

D.C. METRO CHIEF SUGGESTS FEDS TAKE CONTROL OF THE AGENCY: Washington DC Metro board chairman Jack Evans is encouraging the idea that the federal government should take control of the agency. As the agency struggles financially and ridership is dropping, it is estimated that Metro could experience a financial debt of $1.1-billion by 2020. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 11-4-16]

AMTRAK UPGRADES WI-FI SERVICE ON ACELA TRAINS: Amtrak has installed upgraded technology on all 20 Acela trainsets which will provide improved on-board wi-fi service. Amtrak says that bandwidth capabilities have been increased, with speeds up to six times faster. [NationalAssn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 11-4-16]

METROLINX WANTS TO TERMINATE BOMBARDIER LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLE CONTRACT: Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, transit authority Metrolinx confirmed that it has filed a notice of intent to terminate a contract worth up to $770-million (C) for up to 182 Flexity Freedom light-rail vehicles. Metrolinx had awarded Bombardier the contract in June 2010, with deliveries to begin in 2013. However, the order suffered repeated delays, and despite the revision of the delivery timetable, remains behind schedule. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-4-16]

READING & NORTHERN REPORTS 15 PCT GROWTH: Despite a soft market for anthracite coal, Reading & Northern reported growth over its record-setting 2015 base. Merchandise traffic is up almost 15 pct, and its passenger excursion business - which saw a record 100,000 visitors in 2015 - is also running 15 pct ahead of last year's pace. [Railway Age website report, 11-4-16]

ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION LINES INTERFERING WITH R.R. SIGNALS IN WISCONSIN: Owners of a recently-completed electric transmission line are making modifications to a nine-mile stretch in Buffalo County, Wisconsin, where a combination of 345-, 161- and 69-KV lines is interfering with signals on nearby BNSF railroad tracks. The railroad has already spent about $1-million to address the iterference; a more permanent solution by the tranmission line owners is expected to cost about $2-million. [Winona Daily News website report, 11-4-16]

ONE SUBWAY WORKER KILLED, ONE INJURED BY TRAIN INSIDE BROOKLYN TUNNEL: A subway train struck and killed an MTA employee and injured another as they were working inside a Brooklyn, N.Y., tunnel early Nov. 3, police said. Rescue efforts were delayed waiting for electrical power to be turned off. A third worker was not injured. [PIX-11 website report, 11-3-16]

OCTOBER 2016 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported a 3.2 pct decrease in combined carload and intermodal rail traffic in Oct. 2016 compared with Oct. 2015. Calculated separately, carload traffic was down 5.1 pct, and intermodal traffic was down 1.2 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-3-16]

DEADLY TRAIN COLLISION IN PAKISTAN: Two trains collided early Nov. 3 in Pakistan, killing at least 21 people and injuring about 65 others, including children. The trains involved were the Zakaria Express which reportedly collided with the stationary Fareed Express at Juma Goth train station. [GEO News website report, 11-3-16]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY SEPTA TRAIN: A person was struck and killed by a SEPTA train late Nov. 2on the Media Elwyn regional rail line, resulting in a suspension of service for two hours. Regional rail is one of the services runnig during the SEPTA transit strike, which is in its second day. [6ABC website report, 11-2-16]

CSX TANK CAR LEAK DELAYS VRE: A leaking tank car on CSX tracks in Fredericksburg, Va., the afternoon of Nov. 2 briefly halted rail traffic, including Virginia Railway Express, but officials said it posed no threat to the public. [Free Lance-Star website report, 11-2-16]

NEW RAIL SYSTEM PROPOSED FOR BROOKLYN, QUEENS WATERFRONTS: New York City has released new renderings of its proposed BQX rail system along Brooklyn coastline. The line will include more than 30 stops about a half mile apart to be served every five to 10 minutes during peak hours. The renderings include proposals for destinations in Long Island City, Greenpoint, Astoria, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and downtown Brooklyn. [N.Y. Post website report, 11-2-16]

OCTOBER 2016 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the month of October 2016. The remaining 62 percent were, on average, one hour and 12 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-1-16]

AMTRAK EXPANDING SCHEDULES, ADDING SEATS FOR THANKSGIVING RUSH: Amtrak is preparing to accommodate the expected surge of holiday travelers with additional trains and extra seats on a number of routes in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast. Customers are encouraged to plan ahead and book early for best availability and pricing. [Amtrak, 11-1-16]

SEPTA TRANSIT WORKERS GO ON STRIKE: Philadelphia public transport workers have gone on strike, affecting all SEPTA subway, buses and trolley routes in the city. SEPTA rail commuter service is not affected. [CNN website report, 11-1-16]

SAN DIEGO ORDERS 45 SIEMENS LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The San Diego Metropolitan Transit system has ordered 45 new S70 light-rail vehicles from Siemens. The low-floor cars will feature a redesigned middle section to improve passenger flow with enhanced wheelchair accessibility and bicycle storage. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-1-16]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: Genesee & Wyoming's third-quarter 2016 operating revenue fell 8.3 pct to $501-million, while operating income dropped nearly 22 pct to $91.9-million, compared with last year's third-quarter results, the company announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-1-16]

CANADA PULLS DOT-111 TANK CARS FROM CRUDE-OIL SERVICE: All Legacy DOT-111 tank cars are scheduled to be removed from crude-oil service in Canada effective Nov. 1, 2016. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-1-16]

KCS IMPROVING NEW ORLEANS SUB: Kansas City Southern is investing approximately $14.3-million on construction and improvement projects on its New Orleans subdivision between Port Allen and Simmesport, La., and at Norco, La., near New Orleans. Work begins Nov. 15. [Railway Age website report, 11-1-16]

ICE-4 ENTERS PASSENGER SERVICE IN GERMANY: Trial passenger operation of German Rail's new ICE-4 high-speed trains began Oct. 31 when two class 412 sets were introduced to Hamburg-Wurzburg-Munich services. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-1-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 30, 2016. The remaining 63 percent were, on average, one hour and eight minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-31-16]

CALIFORNIA HAZMAT TAX ON RAILROADS BLOCKED: A federal judge has blocked, at least for now, a California law that would tax trains - but not trucks - that carry hazardous materials, to pay for training and emergency responses to accidents involving dangerous substances. [Courthouse News website report, 10-31-16]

THREE POTENTIAL ATLANTA-CHATTANOOGA HIGH-SPEED RAIL ROUTES INTRODUCED: The Federal Railroad Administration and the departments of transportation in Georgia and Tennessee have released a draft environmental impact statement for three potential routes of a proposed high-speed rail line between Atlanta and Chattanooga. Capital costs of the routes range from $8.7-billion to $10.4-billion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-31-16]

R.R. MUSEUM OF PA. SELECTED AS SMITHSONIAN AFFILIATE: The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is joining forces with the Smithsonian Institution as an affiliate. As such, the railroad museum may borrow artifacts from the Smithsonian's collection, draw on the Smithsonian's expertise to create batter and more interactive exhibits, and partner with museums across the country that are in the Smithsonian network. [Lancaster Online, 10-31-16]

ANKARA OPENS HIGH-SPEED RAIL STATION: Turkish State Railways has inaugurated Ankara's new $235-million high-speed rail station. It is situated next to the city's existing main station which is still in use by conventional main line and commuter trains. Around 250 high-speed, conventional, commuter and freight trains will call at the combined facility each day, and will become the national hub for Turkey's growing high-speed network. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-31-16]

ALL DUTCH ELECTRIC TRAINS TO RUN ON RENEWABLE ENERGY: Exactly a year after the COP21 climate conference, Netherlands Railways has announced that all electric trains on the Dutch network will operate exclusively using power from renewable sources beginning Jan. 1, 2017, a year earlier than originally planned. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-30-16]

FEDS CHARGE 24 WITH TRANSPORTING DRUGS VIA AMTRAK: Two dozen people are facing federal drug charges after prosecutors say they used Amtrak trains to transport cocaine and heroin from California to Chicago. One of those charged is an Amtrak employee in Chicago. [ABC 7 Chicago website report, 10-30-16]

RAIL WORKER KILLED WHEN STRUCK BY TRAIN IN MISSISSIPPI: A 36-year-old Alabama Southern Railroad employee was struck and killed by a train Oct. 30 in Artesia, Mississippi. He was apparently guidig the train into reverse at the time of the accident. [WCBI website report, 10-30-16]

AMTRAK'S NORTHBOUND PALMETTO AFFECTED BY TRACK WORK: Due to track work between Savannah and Florence, Palmetto train 90 will originate at Florence and not make stops at Savannah, Yemassee, Chalreston and Kingstree Monday through Thursday, Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, and Nov. 3 throough Nov. 10. Alternate transportation is not available, but reservations may be made for travel aboard the Silver Star. [Amtrak]

CSX TRAINS COLLIDE IN PA.: Authorities say two people were taken to local hospitals after two CSX freight trains collided in Chester, Pa., early Oct. 28. Fuel was reported leaking from at least one of the trains. [ZeroHedge website report, 10-28-16]

THROUGH SERVICE REINSTATED ON BOSTON SECTION OF LAKE SHORE LTD: Amtrak has reinstated through sleeper, coach and cafe service to and from Boston on the Lake Shore Limited. A stub, coach-only train had been operating between Boston and Albany for the past two years during construction of a fourth track at the Albany station. The cafe car will also accommodate business class travelers. Business class is not yet available on the New York section to and from Albany, however. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 10-28-16]

PORTS AMERICA TO RUN BALTIMORE INTERMODAL FACILITY: Ports America Chesapeake on Oct. 31 will begin intermodal transfer service operations to replace CSX at the port of Baltimore. CSX's domestic and international intermodal rail service will continue to be served at the facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-28-16]

AMTRAK SURFLINER EXPANDING SERVICE: Beginning Nov. 7, Amtrak will expand morning and evening service with the addition of two new trips between San Diego and Los Angeles on the Pacific Surfliner. Also, from Oct. 31 until Dec. 4, the number of business class seats will be available. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 10-28-16]

AMTRAK BANS SUMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 7 SMARTPHONES: Amtrak has announced that Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are now banned from trains due to safety concerns over the devices catching fire. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 10-28-16]

N.Y. SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY SEGMENT TO OPEN IN DEC.: Come Dec. 2016, the first segment of the Second avenue subway line in New York City is set to open. Development of the line was begun in the 1920's, but fell into multiple delays and construction issues. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 10-28-16]

MOSCOW-BERLIN TALGOS SET FOR DECEMBER STARTUP: Russian Railways will introduce variable-gauge Talgo trains on Moscow-Berlin overnight services Dec. 17. Journey times between the Russian and German capitals will be reduced to less than 21 hours. The 20-car train will operate twice weekly. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-28-16]

PROVIDENCE & WORCESTER SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE SALE TO GENESEE & WYOMING: Providence & Worcester Railroad (PWRR) shareholders on Oct. 26 approved the railroad's acquisition by Genesee & Wyoming. The company will merge with G&W subsidiary Pullman Acquisition Sub, with PWRR becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of G&W. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-27-16]

MOUNT JOY, PA., TRAIN STATION GETTING $25-M MAKEOVER: Pennsylvania DOT on Oct. 26 marked the start of a $25-million project to improve the train station in Mount Joy, Pa., on Amtrak's Keystone corridor. Included in the project are covered, elevated platforms, elevators, enclosed stair towers, pedestrian overpass and added, improved parking. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-27-16]

DWIGHT, ILLINOIS, GETS NEW AMTRAK DEPOT: A new passenger rail station for Amtrak's Lincoln service has been completed in Dwight, Illinois, with service beginning Oct. 28, 2016. The 1,500-square-foot building features a peaked roof, glass facade, modern amenities, and connections to bicycle and pedestrian paths. Dwight's depot is the first of several station improvements overseen by the Illinois Dept. of Transportation as part of its high-speed rail project. [LaSalle News Tribune website report, 10-27-16]

PACIFIC IMPERIAL R.R. FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY: Pacific Imperial Railroad, the leaseholder of the publicly-owned 70-mile stretch of line from Campo to Plaster City, California, known as the Desert Line, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Despite the news, as well as a lack of progress on the line, transit officials have announced that the public agency is sticking with the company. Officials believe bankruptcy gives a path for the railroad to resolve creditor and shareholder disputes while continuing to make progress on improvements to the Desert Line. [San Diego Reader website report, 10-27-16]

AMTRAK SETTLES TRAIN 188 CRASH CLAIMS FOR $265-M: In one of the largest rail crash settlements in U.S. history, a federal district judge has signed off on a $265-million payout by Amtrak for the 2015 derailment in Philadelphia of train 188 that claimed eight lives and more than 200 injured. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 10-27-16]

FOUR PERFORMING INSPECTIONS NEARLY HIT BY D.C. METRO TRAIN: Washington DC Metro officials said Oct. 27 that they will change safety regulations after two federal inspectors and two track workers were nearly struck by a train near the National Airport station last week. Poor radio communication likely factored into the incident, as the train operator apparently was unaware of a speed restriction where the workers were walking. [Washington Post website report, 10-27-16]

SOUTH SHORE LINE EXTENSION PROPOSED: A proposed $615-million rail project in Indiana would extend to western Lake County the South Shore Line that connects the northwest part of the state with Chicago. Construction could begin as early as 2020, and the project could lead to major transit-oriented development in the region, according to planners. [Times of N.W. Indiana website report, 10-27-16]

MBTA TRAIN FILLS WITH SMOKE AT BACK BAY STATION: There were significant delays on the MBTA orange line after a train caught on fire at Boston's Back Bay station late Oct. 26. The agency said an overhead motor overheated, filling the station and train with smoke. Passengers began to panic as the doors would not open, and they broke windows in an attempt to escape the train. Several people were treated for smoke inhalation, including three who were taken to a hospital. [CBS Boston website report, 10-26-16]

ILLINOIS TRAIN DERAILMENT KNOCKS OUT POWER TO HUNDREDS: A train derailment in Belleville, Illinois, early Oct. 26 plunged hundreds of people into darkness due to power outages. A local Catholic high school closed, and a hospital needed to use backup generators. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch website report, 10-26-16]

HOOSIER STATE TRAIN RIDERSHIP CLIMBS IN SEPTEMBER: The Hoosier State passenger train logged 2,428 riders in September 2016, marking a 46 pct increase compared with ridership in the same month last year. This marks the fifth cosecutive month that ridership has grown on a year-over-year basis. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-26-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reported net income for the third-quarter 2016 was $460-million, 2 pct higher compared with $452-million during the same period last year. Diluted earnings per share were $1.55, compared with $1.49 in the third-quarter last year. Railway operating revenues were $2.5-billion, down 7 pct compared with the third-quarter last year. Coal revenue declined 18 pct. [Norfolk Southern, 10-26-16]

CN REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: CN's third-quarter net income fell to $972-million or $1.25 per diluted share, compared with net income of $1-billion or $1.26 per diluted share in the same quarter 2016. Operating income declined 5 pct to $1.4-billion. Figures in Canadian dollars. CN now expects 2016 adjusted diluted earnings per share to increase about 1 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-26-16]

N.Y. STATE OFFERS $1-M TOWARD STUDY FOR BUFFALO TRAIN STATION: New York's governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will pay $1-million for a study to determine where Buffalo's train station should be. The city has formed a committee to determine the location. The present Exchange Street station is very small, and its facility is closed due to a failed ceiling, although trains still serve the platform. Several new locations will be considered, one of which is the classic Buffalo Central Station from the New York Central era, from which trains could be accommodated heading east, west and north. Other locations include Larkinville, which could accommodate all trains, and Canalside, which, like Exchange Street, could not include trains to the west. Buffalo is also served by its station at Depew, but that location has no public transportation. [Buffalo News website report, 10-26-16]

SAVAGE SYSTEM OPENS TRANSLOADING FACILITY IN IOWA: Savage Systems has announced the start of bulk material handling and rail transloading services at its 10-acre site in Davenport, Iowa. The facility has direct access to CP. [Railway Age website report, 10-26-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported combined U.S. carload and intermodal rail freight traffic for the week ending Oct. 22, 2016, was down 1.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Calculated separately, however, intermodal volume increased 2.6 percent. [Railway Age website report, 10-26-16]

FUNDING AGREED FOR SECOND MUNICH S-BAHN TUNNEL: Germany is set to provide 60 pct of the funding required for a second east-west S-Bahn tunnel beneath Munich city center. The tunnel is expected to open in 2026. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-26-16]

LYON ORDERS METRO TRAINS: Sytral, which is responsible for the four-line metro in Lyon, France, has awarded a contract to Alstom for 30 two-car rubber-tire trains with an option for another 18 trains. Each train will accommodate 325 passengers. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-26-16]

CHICAGO TRANSIT CALLS FOR NEW STATIONS, RAIL CARS IN CAPITAL BUDGET: The Chicago Transit authority has proposed a five-year capital budget. Over the five-year period, the agency would allocate $216-million for new rail cars, $70-million to rehab the O'Hare branch blue line, and $36-million to replace or upgrade power distribution and signals. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-25-16]

CONNECTICUT INSTALLING WAYSIDE CROSSING HORNS ON HARTFORD LINE: Connecticut is installing wayside horn systems at various rail crossings along the Hartford line as part of a noise-mitigation program. The system consists of stationary horns mounted on poles, and replaces train-mounted horns which typically activate up to one-half mile in advance of a crossing. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-25-16]

PALMETTO RAILWAYS SEEKS PERMIT FOR PROPOSED INTERMODAL FACILITY: Palmetto Railways has applied for a permit for a proposed intermodal container transfer facility at the former Charleston, S.C., Naval Complex. The facility would provide equal access to CSX and Norfolk Southern. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-25-16]

WABTEC REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: Wabtec reported income from operations in the third-quarter 2016 was $120-million. Earnings per share were 91 cents. The company now expects revenue for the year to be down about 12 pct compared with last year. [Railway Age website report, 10-25-16]

WORKPLACE SHOOTING LEAVES TWO DEAD AT RAILCAR PLANT IN VA.: Two people, including the shooter, died in a workplace shooting early Oct. 25 at a FreightCar America facility in Roanoke, Va. [Fox News website report, 10-25-16]

CREWS CLEAN UP CHEMICAL SPILL AFTER UNION PACIFIC DERAILMENT IN MINNESOTA: Hazardous materials workers from three railroad companies secured the scene Oct. 25 of a four-car Union Pacific train derailment and resulting chemical spill south of Superior, Minnesota. A coupler of one of the cars punctured a derailed tank car containing octene in the Oct. 24 incident. Authorities closed a portion of a nearby highway until the area was secured. There were no injuries. [Duluth Tribune website report, 10-25-16]

CSX, CP FAIL TO SUBMIT BRIDGE INSPECTION RECORDS IN N.Y. STATE: Nearly three years after the state warned that safety plans and inspection records for some 3,000 rail bridges in New York were missing, spotty or incomplete, CSX has not submitted its bridge management plan, and Canadian Pacific has not submitted its yearly bridge inspection certification. In response, both railroads said they consider they are in compliance with federal requirements, but they were unclear or uncommittal about compliance with those of the state. [Albany Times Union website report, 10-25-16]

DALLAS LOOKS TO EXPAND RAIL SYSTEMS: Dallas Area Rapid Transit hopes to construct a $1-billion Cotton Belt rail line, which would provide rail service to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport and several cities in the region, and a nearly $1-billion subway downtown. Each plan is contingent on receiving federal funds. [Texas Tribune website report, 10-25-16]

CN RECALLS WORKERS TO HANDLE BUMPER GRAIN CROP: Canadian National has recalled laid-off employees to handle the start of what is expected to be bumper grain crops in Canada and the U.S. Over the past few weeks, the railroad has delivered record weekly grain shipments by working with partners and lengthening trains. [Macleans website report, 10-25-16]

MARYLAND SEEKS FEDERAL FUNDS FOR HOWARD STREET TUNNEL EXPANSION: Maryland wants to expand the 121-year-old Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore to allow passage of double-stacked trains. The state and CSX can only partially-fund the project, which could cost about $425-million. Governor Larry Hogan says he'll apply for federal FastLane funding. [WBAL website report, 10-24-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-three percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 23, 2016. The remaining 67 percent arrived, on average, one hour and 29 minutes late. The worst performing trains during the week were the Auto Trains. None of their seven daily runs in each direction arrived even close to on time, with an average arrival of five hours and 46 minutes late. This followed the previous week of the Auto Train not even operating at all, due to hurricane Matthew. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-24-16]

SEPTA'S CRUM CREEK BRIDGE REPLACEMENT COMPLETE: SEPTA has marked the completion of its Crum Creek viaduct in Delaware County, Pa. The new 735-foot seel and concrete viaduct is composed of five long spans, and is used by the Media-Elwyn line commuter trains. It replaced a structure built in 1895. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-24-16]

TOUR BUS CRASHES IN CALIFORNIA, KILLING 13: A tour bus slammed into the rear of a tractor-trailer early Oct. 24 near Palm Springs, California, killed 13, including the bus driver, and injured 31 others. The bus, a 1996 MCI operated by USA Holiday, was returning from a casino near the Salton Sea, heading for Los Angeles. [CNN website report, 10-24-16]

BUSINESS CLASS AVAILABLE ON BOSTON SECTION OF LAKE SHORE LTD: Business class service is available beginning Oct. 24 eastbound and Oct. 26 westbound on the Lake Shore Limited between Boston and Chicago. [Amtrak]

TRAINS COLLIDE IN SOUTH AFRICA, ONE KILLED, OVER 150 INJURED: Officials say one person is dead and over 150 were injured, possibly as many as 200, as two trains collided Oct. 24 between Tembisa and Kaalfontein, South Africa. [ENCA website report, 10-24-16]

OMNITRAX ACQUIRES TERRACOR GROUP: OmniTrax Logistics Services has agreed to acquire all assets of Terracor Group, a frac sand logistics company, including three transload facilities with vertical silo storage in Texas and Montana. [Railway Age website report, 10-21-16]

DEADLY TRAIN DERAILMENT IN CAMEROON: A 17-car passenger train derailed Oct. 21 in Cameroon, killing at least 80 and injuring about 600. According to local media, the accident happened in Eseka on the line between Douala and Yaounde. The train was said to be packed with more than 1,400 passengers at the time of the accident. Four of the train's cars toppled into a ravine at high speed, crushing passengers. [Various news accounts, 10-21-16]

BOMBARDIER TO CUT 7,500 JOBS: As part of its turnaround plan, Bombardier says it will cut 7,500 jobs, or over 10 pct of its work force, in an effort to deliver recurring savings of $300-million by the end of 2018. Two-thirds of the jobs would come directly from Bombardier Transportation, with the remainder from its aerospace branch. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-21-16]

U.S. CLASS I RAIL WORK FORCE SHRINKS IN SEPTEMBER: As of mid-September, U.S. class I railroads employed 152,486 people, down 0.2 pct from the same point in August, according to the Surface Transportation Board. On a year-over-year basis, the work force declined 8.7 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-21-16]

TEXAS CENTRAL SOLICITS STUDENT DESIGNS FOR BULLET-TRAIN STATIONS: Texas Central, developer of the Texas bullet train, is sponsoring a design competition for university architecture students in creating designs for the system's proposed Dallas, Houston and Brazos Valley stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-21-16]

DOWNEASTER LAYOVER FACILITY ALMOST COMPLETE: The Northern New England Passenger Rail authority says its new 60,000-square-foot, $13-million facility in Brunswick, Maine, will become fully operational on Nov. 21. It will allow Amtrak's Downeaster to operate a third train to Boston. Construction began in Oct. 2015. [Washington Times website report, 10-21-16]

STATE CUTS SIZE OF CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN STATIONS: The California bullet train authority has told its design engineers that the future system would have shorter trains and smaller station platforms, reducing the length of individual trains to ten cars. Revised platform length is 800 feet, although longer platforms may be available at stations shared with other operators. [Los Angeles Times website report, 10-21-16]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 3-Q INCOME: Union Pacific reported 2016 third-quarter net income of $1.1-billion or $1.36 per diluted share, compared with $1.3-billion or $1.50 per diluted share in the third-quarter last year. Operating income totaled $2.0-billion, down 11 percent. Operating ration was up 1.8 points to 62.1 percent. [Union Pacific, 10-20-16]

GLENVIEW, ILLINOIS, REJECTS ASSESSMENT ON HIAWATHA SERVICE EXPANSION: The northern Chicago suburb of Glenview, Illinois, has rejected the findings of the draft environmental assessment to expand Amtrak's Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee. At issue is a plan to construct an elevated, 10,000-foot holding track for freight trains, which could add to noise, diesel fumes and the presence of unsightly freight cars being parked in the neighborhood. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-20-16]

CSX CHAIRMAN SELLS 300,000 SHARES OF COMPANY STOCK: Michael Ward, CSX chairman, sold 300,000 shares of the stock on Oct. 17, at an average price of $30.97. He still holds 198,742 shares. [Daily Quint website report, 10-20-16]

STEVEN SANTORO NAMED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF N.J. TRANSIT: New Jersey Transit's board has named Steven Santoro, a 16-year veteran of the agency, as executive director. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-20-16]

DART TO OPEN 3-MILE LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Blue Line will add three miles and two new stations Oct. 24. DART currently operates the longest electric light-rail system in the nation, with 93 miles and 64 stations. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-20-16]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO ACQUIRE AUSTRALIAN CARRIER GLENCORE RAIL: Genesee & Wyoming Australia has agreed to acquire Glencore Rail for $870-million, and will also issue a 49 pct equity stake in GWA to funds managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. The transaction, expected to close Dec. 1, is subject to investment review board approval. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-20-16]

NORTH KOREA RESTARTS CONSTRUCTION ON MOUNT PAEKTU R.R.: North Korea is resuming construction on a railroad being built to boost tourism to Mount Paektu. Construction had been suspended several months ago due to a shortage of material, but key components are now being imported from China. [UPI website report, 10-20-16]

MAN ACCUSED OF LIVING AS A STOWAWAY ON AMTRAK TRAINS: A man accused of essentially living as a stowaway on trains has been arrested in Pittsburgh. The man is accused of having nearly $7,000 in train vouchers which police say he purchased using a stolen credit card. Police say the man made a number of daily trips between Chicago and Washington, always alone, in a sleeper, and he carried no luggage. [WPXI website report, 10-19-16]

CP REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: Canadian Pacific reported third-quarter revenues decreased 9 percent to $1.55-billion, but diluted earnings per share rose 15 percent to $2.34, and the company posted a 57.7 percent operating ratio, the lowest-ever when compared to adjusted operating ratios in previous quarters. [Canadian Pacific, 10-19-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported that total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Oct. 15, 2016, declined 4.2 percent compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 10-19-16]

JESWANT GILL NAMED PRESIDENT OF HARSCO RAIL: Jeswant Gill has been named president of South Carolina-based Harsco Rail effective Nov. 1. [Railway Age website report, 10-19-16]

WOMAN STRUCK, KILLED BY PACIFIC SURFLINER TRAIN: A female pedestrian was struck and killed by an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train early Oct. 18 in Moorpark, California. No injuries were reported for those aboard the train, and passengers were off-loaded and transferred to a Metrolink train to complete their journey. [Ventura County Star website report, 10-18-16]

KCS REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported third-quarter 2016 revenues of $605-million, a decrease of 4 pct from the third-quarter last year. Operating income of $200-million was a decrease of 4 pct from the prior year. Diluted earnings per share decreased 7 pct to $1.12. [Kansas City Southern, 10-18-16]

PLANS DROPPED FOR LONE STAR RAIL: After months of procedural dickering, the Capital Area Metropolitan Organization's transportation policy board has voted to remove from its long-range planning document the proposed passenger rail service that would have connected the Austin and San Antonio metro areas.The trains would have used Union Pacific trackage, but that railroad ended negotiations in February. [Austin Monitor website report, 10-18-16]

N.J. TRANSIT RESUMES FULL SERVICE AT HOBOKEN TERMINAL: All but two tracks at the Hoboken train station are now open, and full N.J. Transit service has been restored following last month's fatal train crash. [ report, 10-17-16]

GATEWAY PROGRAM POISED TO MOVE AHEAD AT 'RECORD SPEED,' AMTRAK SAYS: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has added Amtrak's Hudson tunnel project to the 'President's Permitting Dashboard,' a move that Amtrak says will allow the program to move ahead at 'record speed.' The dashboard is an online tool for federal agencies, developers and the public to track the government's permitting and review process for large, complex projects, and will make Gateway a top priority for the agencies involved. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-17-16]

STRIKE AUTHORIZED AT SEPTA: The Transportation Workers Union Local 234 members have voted to authorize a strike if it is unable to secure a new contract with SEPTA once its current contract expries Oct. 31. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-17-16]

NEW LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FOR GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN: Bombardier and its consortium partner Vosslog Kiepe have landed a $156-million contract to supply 40 Flexity low-floor trams to the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. The contract includes an option for up to 60 additional trams. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-17-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination by the time they were due in the week ending Oct. 16, 2016. The remaining 66 percent arrived, on average, one hour and 17 minutes late. Meanwhile, 21 percent of the trains normally scheduled to operate during that week were either canceled or truncated due to hurricane Matthew, and those trains were omitted from the data. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-17-16]

JIM McCLELLAN DIES, STRATEGIC RAIL PLANNER: Jim McClellan, who play key roles in the creation of Amtrak, and the Conrail split between Norfolk Southern and CSX, died Oct. 14. He was 77. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-17-16]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN R.I.: Amtrak's southbound train 135 struck and killed a pedestrian in East Greenwich, R.I., the afternoon of Oct. 16. The train was delayed over two hours by the incident, but other trains were allowed to pass on another track. [Boston Globe website report, 10-16-16]

RAIL TRAIL OPENING IN TENNESSEE: Algood, Cookeville and Putnam counties, Tennessee, will celebrate the opening of the first phase of the new Tennessee Central Heritage Rail-With-Trail Oct. 18. A ribbon cutting will be held in Cookeville, Tennessee. After 10 years of planning and 435 days of construction, the new trail has been built mostly upon the right-of-way owned and operated by the Nashville & Eastern Railroad. Trains run slowly and infrequently, and every effort will be made to make the trail and railroad compatible upon the same right-of-way. [UpperCumberlandNow website report, 10-16-16]

GROUND BROKEN ON LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION IN MESA, ARIZONA: Construction begins Oct. 17 on a 1.9-mile light-rail extension in Mesa, Arizona. Ground was broken in a ceremony Oct. 15. The project is expected to be completed in late 2018 or early 2019. [AZ Family website report, 10-15-16]

AMTRAK RESTORES SERVICE TO SOUTH: The Silver Meteor was restored to normal operations beginning Oct. 14. The Silver Star was restored to normal operations beginning Oct. 15. The Auto Train was restored to normal operations beginning Oct. 16. The Palmetto will continue to be canceled south of Washington due to track work. [Amtrak]

COACH PASSENGERS IN CHICAGO NOW GET BOARDING PASS: Amtrak coach-class passengers - except Hiawatha service - boarding or connecting to trains in Chicago should obtain a boarding pass on the day of travel. General boarding will take place in the Great Hall. Those who do not check in will be among the last to board, Amtrak says. [Amtrak, 10-15-16]

NJT TRAIN BRAKES FUNCTIONED AS DESIGNED, FEDS SAY: The brakes of the New Jersey Transit train that crashed into Hoboken terminal Sept. 29 were working properly, according to the National Transportation Safety board. Although the cab car's electrical communication network was destroyed in the accident, the friction brake test demonstrated that the brakes were in working order. Follow-up testing of several other key controlling components has been scheduled. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-14-16]

CSX OPERATED FROM A 'SECRET BUNKER' DURING HURRICANE MATTHEW: CSX operates a 76,000-square-foot data and operations center at a 'secret location' in Jacksonville's Southside. The center was designed to withstand a category 4 storm to assure continuity of operations throughout the eastern U.S. About 30 people were sequestered within the center during the storm, and everything went according to plan, according to the company, but this did not prevent the storm's impact upon about 2,600 miles of track in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. [Jacksonville Daily Record website report, 10-14-16]

METRO-NORTH SEEKS PROPOSALS TO REVITALIZE UNUSED RAIL LINE: Metro-North is seeking proposals on how to revitalize an unused rail line it owns that runs east-west across Dutchess and Putnam counties, N.Y. Responses are due Nov. 18. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-13-16]

NJT LEADS IN ACCIDENTS, SAFETY VIOLATIONS, DATA SHOW: Trains run by N.J. Transit, the nation's second-largest commuter railroad, have been involved in 157 accidents since the start of 2011, three times as many as the largest, the Long Island Rail Road, according to an analysis of data from Jan. 2011 through July this year. NJT had a significantly higher accident rate during that span than the rest of the nation's 10 largest commuter railroads, ranked by weekday ridership, and had the highest rate of accidents attributed to human factors. In all, the accidents have caused more than $6-million in damage and injuries to 13 passengers. [USA Today website report, 10-13-16]

FEDS ADMONISH CSX FOR ONGOING CROSSING ISSUES IN CHICAGO: Instances of blocked crossings and malfunctioning gates and signals on a CSX line running through Chicago's southwest side remain 'troubling' despite assurances by the railroad that it is working to correct the long-running problems, according to a new ruling by the Surface Transportation Board. [Chicago Tribune website report, 10-12-16]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN CHATTANOOGA: A CSX train derailed early Oct. 12 at Rossville and Central avenues in Chattanooga, with reportedly 10 cars off the track, two on their sides. One of the cars has hazardous residues, but poses no threat to the public. [WRCB-TV website report, 10-12-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Oct. 8, 2016, was 521,789 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.1 percent compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated separately, carloads and intermodal units were down 5.9 and 6.4 percent, respectively. [Railway Age website report, 10-12-16]

R.J. CORMAN NAMES NEW PRESIDENT, CEO: Edward Quinn III has been named president and CEO of R.J. Corman Railroad Group effective Oct. 24. He replaces Fred Mudge, interim president and CEO, who will continue to serve as chairman. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-12-16]

CSX REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Third-quarter 2016 net earnings for CSX were $455-million or 48 cents per share, down from $507-million or 52 cents per share in the same period last year. Revenue for the quarter declined 8 percent, consistent with volume declines of 8 percent overall, including coal volume decline of 21 percent. [CSX, 10-12-16]

COALITION PUSHES FOR BALTIMORE RAIL-LINE FUNDING: The Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition wants to use $8-billion earmarked for an intestate highway project and other roads to revive a Baltimore light-rail project that could be linked to the DC Metro system and create a regional rail network. [Baltimore Sun website report, 10-12-16]

FEDS SEEK MORE INFO ON PROPOSED GREAT LAKES BASIN R.R.: The federal Surface Transportation Board wants to know how many trains would run on the proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad, the average speed they would travel, the average length of trains, and more details on a planned connection to the South Shore Freight Railroad. The information is due Nov. 10. [NWI Times, 10-12-16]

AMTRAK SERVICE FROM L.A. TO INDIO BEING CONSIDERED: The public is getting an opportunity to shape a study that could lead to two Amtrak trains a day running 141 miles between Los Angeles and Indio, California, with a stop in Riverside. The Riverside County Transportation Commission recently received a federal grant to help pay for a study. The idea is to provide a way for residents of distant Southern California cities to make long trips without having to drive. Amtrak could operate the service, but it would have to be state supported since the route is fewer than 750 miles. [Press-Enterprise website report, 10-12-16]

AMTRAK INTRODUCES SEAHAWKS-WRAPPED TRAIN: Amtrak has unveiled a Seahawks-wrapped train bearing a safety message. The train will run on the Cascades line between Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, Portland and Eugene. [Seattle Times website report, 10-12-16]

CANADA SPENDING $55-M OVER THREE YEARS TO IMPROVE RAIL SAFETY: Canada is spending more than $55-million over three years to improve railway safety across the country. The Transport Ministry says the money will be used for projects on federal rail property, along rail lines and at crossings. The federal government is responsible for about 23,000 rail crossings in Canada. [CBC website report, 10-12-16]

GERMANY AUCTIONING MAGLEV TRAIN: Germany is auctioning off a maglev train that officials once anticipated would speed up transport and become a major export success. The train is a prototype built in 2007 for an abandoned maglev link project that would have linked Munich with its airport. Bidding closes Oct. 25. [Seattle Times website report, 10-11-16]

AMTRAK HAS NOT ESTIMATED FULL COST OF PTC, ITS INSPECTOR GENERAL SAYS: Although Amtrak has made significant progress in installing positive train-control, the railroad has not fully tallied up the total cost of implementing te technology, according to Amtrak's Office of Inspector General. The total cost could be 'hundreds of millions more than is currently budgeted,' according to a report. It is cautioned that if Amtrak fails to properly account for the cost of its PTC, it may miss the government's end-of-2018 deadlie to install the technology. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-11-16]

CHINA APPROVES TWO NEW RAIL LINES: China's National Development and Reform Commission has aproved two new rail lines in wesern China, representing an investment of $11.8-billion. The projects are a 300-mile high-speed line linking Nanning with Guiyang with a design speed of 217 MPH, and a 108-mile freight line from Karamay to Tacheng with a design speed of 75 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-11-16]

NEW INFORMATION DISPLAY SYSTEM INSTALLED IN PENN STATION N.Y.: Amtrak has announced the launch of its new, state-of-the-art passenger information display system at Penn Station New York. It features bright, new LCD displays that are easier to read and synchronize audio and visual messaging in the station. [Railway Age website report, 10-11-16]

RAIL SERVICE RESUMES AT HOBOKEN TERMINAL: Rail service resumed on a modified schedule Oct. 10 at the Hoboken terminal, a week and a half following the tragic train collision that killed one and injured more than 100 others. Eight of the 17 tracks at the terminal (tracks 10-17) have been put back into service, while the others (tracks 1-9) remain out of service as repair work continues. [U.S. News & World Report, 10-10-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 9, 2016. The remaining 60 percent arrived, on average, one hour and two minutes late. Thirty-one scheduled long-distance runs were either canceled or truncated during the week due to hurricane Matthew, and these runs were omitted from the data. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-10-16]

NEW LAW CLEARS WAY FOR CALTRAIN'S ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAM: A new law in California has been enacted for Caltrain to receive Prop 1A funding for its electrification program. The law clarifies that the railroad's electrification project is 'suitable and ready' for investment and is consistent with its current business plan. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-10-16]

WEEKEND CINCINNATI STREETCAR SERVICE INCREASED TO MEET DEMAND: Transdev, operator of the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar, has boosted weekend service to meet ridership demand. Weekend ridership has been 300 to 500 percent higher than what had been projected before service began. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-10-16]

LIRR TRAIN COLLIDES WITH WORK TRAIN, 33 INJURED: A collision between a Long Island Rail Road train and a maintenance train near New Hyde Park, N.Y., late Oct. 8 injured 33 of the about 600 people aboard the train. The LIRR train had been traveling east when it sideswiped the work train that was heading in the same direction. Three passenger cars derailed and the work train caught fire. [NBC New York website report, 10-9-16]

REHAB OF EADS BRIDGE IN ST. LOUIS COMPLETED: Completion of the Eads Bridge rehabilitation project was Oct. 7. Originally completed in 1874, the bridge was the first steel structure bridge project in the U.S. The four-year, $48-million project was the first full-scale rehab project in the bridge's history, and was vital to ensure its service for transit and auto users. Metro Transit acquired the rights to the bridge and currently shares ownership with the city. [Railway Track & Structures website report]

BIRMINGHAM COMBINING AMTRAK, BUS, TRANSIT WITH NEW STATION: The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit authority's new multi-modal station will open this December for public transit. Then, in March 2017, Amtrak and Greyhound will be added to the facility. The project, costing $32-million, began construction in 2014. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers Hotline report, 10-7-16]

KCS OPENS NEW DALLAS TRANSLOAD TERMINAL: Kansas City Southern opened a new multi-commodity transload terminal in Dallas, the company announced Oct. 6. Located at the site of KCS's Zacha intermodal facility, the new terminal will be named after Watco Transloading, which will be its operator as of Oct. 17. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-7-16]

AMTRAK HIAWATHA PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY RELEASED: Amtrak's proposal for service improvements on the Hiawatha line between Chicago and Milwaukee would result in 'no significant environmental impacts,' according to a draft statement released Oct. 6. The proposal would add to the service through operational improvements or increased frequency to meet existing and future demand. Ridership has been increasing on the route with many trips near or over capacity. A majority of the proposed improvements would be constructed within existing right-of-way. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-7-16]

CONTRACT AWARDED TO BUILD SOUND TRANSIT'S NORTHGATE STATION: Granite Construction has received a $39-million subcontract by Absher Construction to build Sound Transit's Northgate Station in Seattle. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-7-16]

GREEN LINE EXTENSION PROJECT MOVING FORWARD IN BOSTON: The Massachusetts Bay Transportion authority wants to spend $2.3-billion to extend the Green line rail transit service to Boston suburbs and is seeking letters of interest from design-build teams. The 4.7-mile extension would include seven stations. [Boston Herald website report, 10-7-16]

TRENITALIA CLASS 402A LOCOMOTIVE BEING TESTED: CAF has begun testing the first Trenitalia class 402A locomotive for future push-pull 124 MPH intercity services at the Velim test circuit in the Czech Republic. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-7-16]

HOBOKEN TRAIN CRASH INVESTIGATION UPDATE: The N.J. Transit commuter train sped up and was going about twice the 10 MPH speed limit when it crashed into Hoboken's stub-end terminal last week. The emergency brake was applied less than a second before it struck the bumping block, according to information released by investigators. The train had been traveling at 8 MPH and the throttle was in the idle position less than a minute before the crash. Approximately 38 seconds before the crash, the throttle was increased and reached a maximum of about 21 MPH. Then the throttle went back to idle and the engineer hit the emergency brake less than a second before the crash, investigators said. [ABC News website report, 10-6-16]

N.J. TRANSIT CHANGES RULE FOR TRAINS PULLING INTO STUB-END STATIONS: New Jersey Transit has implemented a new rule for trains pulling into two of its stations. The conductor must now join the engineer whenever a train pulls into Hoboken or Atlantic City terminals. This means a second set of eyes will be watching as a train enters the final phase of its trip at stations where there are platforms at the end of the rails. Previously only the engineer was in the cab in such instances, as it was Sept. 29 when a train crashed into the terminal at Hoboken. [ABC News website report, 10-6-16]

BROKEN RAIL, TRUCK CRASH CAUSE LIRR DELAYS: Delays of up to two hours hampered commuters who take Long Island Rail Road trains through Mineola early Oct. 5. The transit authority blamed the delays on a broken rail and a truck that hit a railroad bridge. Trains on the Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma and Oyster Bay lines were affected. Normal service resumed before the evening rush. [NBC N.Y. website report, 10-5-16]

FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT IN THE BRONX DISRUPTS AMTRAK SERVICE: Amtrak Acela and Northeast Regional services were temporarily suspended between New York City and New Rochelle following a 10 a.m. freight train derailment Oct. 5 in The Bronx. No injuries were reported, and train service later resumed with residual delays. [Washington Times website report, 10-5-16]

N.J. TRANSIT ADDING TWO RUSH-HOUR TRAINS TO ADDRESS OVERCROWDING: After several days of complaints about standing-room-only trains, NJ Transit is adding two additional peak-period trains between Port Jervis and Secaucus in each direction. Meanwhile, the agency says it will monitor overcrowding on the Main, Bergen, Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines, and will deploy additional capacity, when available, in selected areas. [, 10-5-16]

SEPTA COMMUTER-RAIL SCHEDULE BACK TO NORMAL: SEPTA has resumed regular weekday service after months of modifications due to problems with the agency's Silverliner-V fleet. All 120 of the cars were sidelined in July due to cracks in their equalizer beams. Repairs to those cars are ongoing, and 50 of the cars have been returned to service as of Oct. 4. Meanwhile, the agency is still leasing equipment from Amtrak, N.J. Transit and MARC to augment service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-5-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Oct. 1, 2016, was 549,171 carloads and intermodal units, down 4 percent compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 10-5-16]

CRUISE SHIP PASSENGERS STUCK IN N..Y. TO AVOID HURRICANE: A Carnival cruise ship from Baltimore destined for Turks and Caicos turned into an unplanned trip to New York City for 1,600 passengers when hurricane Matthews began barreling into the voyage's path. The cruise line planned an alternate trip north to Canada, but because of the weather, that too was canceled. The ship now plans to return to Baltimore with those willing to stay with the ship, but a number of passengers have opted to return by other means. [NBC N.Y. website report, 10-5-16]

SAN LUIS OBISPO COMMISSION REJECTS PHILLIPS 66 OIL-BY-RAIL PROPOSAL: The planning commission of San Luis Obispo County, California, has voted to reject a project of Phillips 66 to build a 1.3-mile rail spur to its Nipoma Mesa refinery so it could receive crude oil by train. The proposal called for deliveries from three 80-car trains per week. The refinery now gets its crude by pipeline. [San Luis Obispo Tribune website report, 10-5-16]

TWENTY-EIGHT ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES FOR GEORGIAN RAILWAY: Georgian Railway has signed a preliminary agreement with a joint venture for the supply of 28 electric freight locomotives. The joint venture will assemble the locomotives near Tbilisi, which could also produce locomotives for other countries in central Asia and eastern Europe. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-5-16]

IRAN TO ACQUIRE 50 DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: Siemens and Mapna will supply 50 diesel locomotives to Iranian Islamic Republic Railways, to be assembled at a plan near Tehran using parts supplied from Germany. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-5-16]

DATA, VIDEO RECORDERS PULLED FROM N.J. TRANSIT WRECKAGE: Investigators are analyzing the data on two devices recovered from the engineer's cab in the lead control car of the train that crashed into Hoboken Terminal on Sept. 29. The devices were an event recorder and a hard drive from a video recorder, and appear to be in good shape, officials said. They cautioned that the analysis would take time. Another event recorder recovered from the train's locomotive, on the rear of the train, was not functioning. [ report, 10-4-16]

HOBOKEN TERMINAL STILL CLOSED FOLLOWING TRAIN CRASH: All N.J. Transit rail service into and out of Hoboken Terminal remains suspended. Hudson-Bergen light-rail service has been restored at Hoboken and will continue to operate on a full weekday schedule. [News 12 N.J. website report, 10-4-16]

PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILS IN INDIA, THREE INJURED: Ten coaches of the Jhelum Express en route to Pune, India, derailed early Oct. 4 near Ludhiana, leaving three people injured. [Indian Express website report, 10-4-16]

CRACKED RAIL CAUSES MAJOR DELAYS TO D.C. METRO RED LINE TRAINS: Washington D.C. Metro said a cracked rail outside the Friendship Heights station resulted in single-track operation and major delays on the system's Red Line early Oct. 4. [Washington Post website report, 10-4-16]

AMTRAK ISSUES NEW NATIONAL MAGAZINE: 'The National' is the name of Amtrak's new on-board magazine, to be distributed on its trains nationwide, replacing 'Arrive,' which was available only on Northeast Corridor trains. The new magazine showcases personalities, culture and destinations along Amtrak's network. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-4-16]

CSX APPEALS TRAFFIC TICKETS OVER BLOCKED CROSSING IN PA.: Sixteen tickets that Middletown, Pa., police issued to CSX employees because freight trains blocked traffic on Woodbourne road for up to two hours are the focus of a civil suit in Bucks County Court that pits federal rules governing railroad safety against a state law that is supposed to protect motorists. CSX argues that federal laws requiring trains to be fully-formed and tested prior to departure preempt state law on how long trains may keep railroad crossings blocked. CSX has a rail yard near the crossing, and sometimes train formations trip crossing gates. Three employees got the tickets. [The Intelligencer website report, 10-4-16]

ETHIOPIA-DJIBOUTI RAILWAY OPENED: The Ethiopia-Djibouti standard-gauge railway was inaugurated Oct. 3, creating a new transport corridor between landlocked Ethiopia and the Red Sea. The 467-mile Chinese-built line is electrified throughout. Thirty-five HXD1C locomotives were supplied for the operation, plus passenger and freight rolling stock. [International Railway Journal website report]

UNION PACIFIC 'LIVING LEGEND' STEAM LOCOMOTIVE TO TAKE MULTI-STATE TRIP: The 'Living Legend' steam locomotive 844 of the Union Pacific is set to celebrate the Oct. 22 opening of Big River Crossing in Memphis by traveling more than 1,200 miles one-way in its first multi-state trip since restoration. Its journey will take it through eight states beginning Oct. 13. The railroad has scheduled brief stops throughout the 19-day round-trip tour. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-3-16]

NORTH RAMPART STREETCAR EXTENSION OPENS IN NEW ORLEANS: The New Orleans Regional Transit authority on Oct. 2 opened the North Rampart street-Saint Claude avenue streetcar line. The 1.6-mile extension connects the French Quarter and Treme neighborhoods to the Canal street and Loyola avenue lines. The vehicles are replicas of the 1920-era Perley Thomas streetcars and are ADA compliant. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-3-16]

METRA USES TECHNOLOGY TO REVISE BNSF LINE SCHEDULES: Metra, that serves Chicago suburbs, is revising its BNSF line schedules effective Oct. 9. The project used months of GPS and signal data to establish the most realistic schedules, altering times for about two-thirds of BNSF line trains, by about one or two minutes per stop, or in some locations four to seven minutes. Arrival and departure times at Union Station will remain the same. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-3-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 2, 2016. The average arrival of the remaining 56 percent of trains was one hour and 15 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-3-16]

LOCOMOTIVE DATA RECORDER NOT WORKING, INVESTIGATORS OF HOBOKEN ACCIDENT SAY: The data recorder from the locomotive involved in the September 29 accident in Hoboken was not working. The locomotive was on the rear of the train, and a second data recorder in the cab-control car should provide the information officials need for their investigation. [CBS New York website report, 10-3-16]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR SAN DIEGO LIGHT-RAIL LINE EXTENSION: A $921.8-million contract has been awarded to a joint-venture of Skanska, Stacy and Witbeck, and Herzog, to build the 11-mile, nine-station Mid-Coast light rail line extension to follow the alignment of the existing Coaster commuter rail line in San Diego. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-3-16]

NEW TRAIN STATION AT NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y., REMAINS EMPTY: The new $43-million train station continues to sit unoccupied on Main street in Niagara Falls, N.Y., without its anchor tenant Amtrak, and without a retail tenant. The facility was given a ceremonial opening in July, but the city and Amtrak have yet to come to an agreement for trains to stop there. The city's mayor did say that they were literally down to the last issue and were very close to an agreement. [Buffalo News website report, 10-3-16]

FEDS ISSUE DIRECTIVE FOR FLAWED DOT-111 TANK CARS: Flawed welds have been found in a small number of DOT-111 tank cars built between 2009 and 2015, and they may have defects that could result in the release of hazardous materials, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. The agency has issued a directive to owners to act immediately to determine if their fleets contain any of these cars, and, if they have them, to make repairs. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-3-16]

RAIL APPLICANT'S OBESITY CLAIM CARRIES NO WEIGHT WITH SUPREME COURT: The Supreme Count has declined to review a rejected job applicant's claim that obesity should be covered as an impairment under the Americans With Disabilities Act. An applicant who was denied a machinist job with BNSF sought review of a lower-court decision that the ADA does not cover obesity unless the condition is linked to an underlying physiological disorder. [BNS Daily Labor Report, 10-3-16]

METROLINK SUES SOUTH KOREAN MAKER OVER ALLEGED DEFECTIVE TRAIN PARTS: Metrolink is suing the South Korean manufacturer of its passenger 'cab cars,' such as the one that derailed near Oxnard, California, last year, alleging they had faulty arts that failed to keep trains on the track in an accident. [Los Angeles Daily News website report, 10-3-16]

AMTRAK CLOSES STATION AT WESTERLY, R.I.: Amtrak has closed its century-old station building in Westerly, R.I., but says trains will continue to serve passengers at its outdoor platform. [Washington Times website report, 10-1-16]

HOBOKEN ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION UPDATE: The National Transportation Safety Board says structural issues still prevent removal of the train from the station following the September 29 accident at the Hoboken terminal. Video has been obtained from other trains that were at the terminal to see what those cameras captured from the incident. There were no signal anomalies found on the tracks leading to the terminal, but a full signal study cannot yet be completed because the train that was involved remains in the terminal. [NTSB. 10-1-16]

SEPTEMBER 2016 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier during the month of September 2016. The remaining 62 percent arrived at their final destination, on average, one hour and six minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-1-16]

N.J. TRANSIT CRASH INVESTIGATION BEGINS: The N.J. Transit train was traveling at a 'high rate of speed' before it crashed into the rail station in Hoboken early Sept. 29, killing one person and injuring more than 100. It approached the station aroound 8:45 a.m. and crashed through all barriers before stopping at the interior wall of the terminal. The roof partially collapsed into the station. The train's engineer was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment. He is cooperating with authorities, according to reports. The terminal will remain closed until the structural integrity of the building can be determined. The PATH terminal appears to be fine, so PATH trails will continue to serve the terminal. Federal officials have arrived at the site to begin their investigations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-30-16]

METROLINK OPENS RENOVATED ANTELOPE VALLEY LINE STATION: Metrolink on Sept. 28 marked the completion of the renovated Vincent Grade/Acton station on the Antelope Valley line. To commemorate the event, a steam locomotive was on display. The locomotive, which had completed a 120-mile round trip to Acton, California, was the first steam locomotive to travel north of Los Angeles in 24 years, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-30-16]

CHICAGO'S RED LINE EXTENSION PROJECT TO 130TH STREET MOVES FORWARD: The Chicago Transit authority has announced a series of upcoming events that will advance the Red Line Extension project, a plan to extend Red Line rail service from 95th street to 130th street, including building four new stations that will provide rail access to the Far South Side. [Railway Age website report, 9-30-16]

SOUTH SHORE LINE EXPANSION ADVANCES TO PROJECT DEVELOPMENT PHASE: The U.S.Federal Transit Administration has given the West Lake corridor extension of the South Shore Line expansion approval to move into the project development phase. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-30-16]

CONCEPTUAL DESIGN COMPLETED FOR L.A. LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The extension of the Los Angeles light-rail network to Montclair moved a step closer to construction Sept. 28 when the board of the Foothill Gold Line Construction authority approved draft advanced conceptual engineering documents for the 12.3-mile line from Azusa. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-30-16]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN TEXAS: Four cars of a Union Pacific freight train derailed Sept. 30 in Kilgore, Texas, blocking a road, with one of the cars crashing into a warehouse. No injuries were reported. [KLTV website report, 9-30-16]

CANADA TO FINANCE ANGOLAN LOCOMOTIVE ORDER: Canada's export credit agency has agreed to provide Angola with a $429.5-million loan to finance the purchase of 100 C30ACi locomotives from General Electric. [Railway Age website report, 9-30-16]

CHINA'S FIRST SUSPENSION MONORAIL LINE COMPLETES TEST RUN: China's first suspension railway line finished a short-distance test run in Sichuan province in southwest China Sept. 30. The train, which is powered by a lithium battery, has a speed of 37 MPH and will have a load capacity of 120 passengers per car. A suspension railway is an elevated monorail suspended from a fixed track. [Channel News Asia website report, 9-30-16]

TWO TRAINS COLLIDE IN INDIA, TWO KILLED, ABOUT 35 INJURED: A passenger train collided with a freight train near Kathojodi, India, Sept. 29, killing two and injuring about 35 others. [Indian Express website report, 9-30-16]

TRAIN CRASHES INTO STATION IN HOBOKEN, N.J.: A four-car New Jersey Transit commuter train crashed into the Hoboken station early Sept. 29, killing one, injuring more than 100, and causing massive damage to the terminal. NJ Transit said it was train 1614, operating with its cab-car forward, and the incident happened at 8:45 A.M.The engineer was included in those who were injured, but he was later released from the hospital. An investigation is ongoing. [Various news reports, 9-29-16]

TRACK CONDITIONS LED TO 2015 CN DERAILMENT IN NEW BRUNSWICK: A combination of track conditions and rail wear caused a CN train to derail near Saint-Basile, N.B., the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said. The westboound CN train derailed 35 cars and one locomotive on the Napadogan subdivision April 17, 2015. About 900 feet of main track was destroyed. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-29-16]

FARLEY POST OFFICE TO BECOME N.Y. RAIL HUB: New York's governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled plans Sept. 27 for a $1.6-billion project to redevelop the James A. Farley post office as New York City's future hub for Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road, replacing the facilities at the adjacent Pennsylvania Station. A joint venture of Related Companies, Vornado Realty and Skanska has been awarded a design-build contract for the project, which will increase floor space by almost 50 percent compared with Penn Station. Office and retail space will also be created. The new concourse, named Moynihan Train Hall, is due to be completed by December 2020. Also included is a redesign of the Long Island Rail Road section of Penn Station, almost tripling the width of 33rd street corridor, one of the busiest parts of the current station. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-28-16]

CHICAGO TRANSIT'S WILSON STATION CONSTRUCTION 50 PCT COMPLETE: The Chicago Transit authority reports its $203-million Wilson Station reconstruction is more than 50 percent complete. The project is to completely reconstruct the station and its track structure, and will result in a new transfer point between the Red and Purple lines. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-28-16]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN IN SALT LAKE CITY: A man was struck and killed by a TRAX light-rail train in Salt Lake City late Sept. 27 in what is suspected to have been a suicide. There were no injuries to anyone on the train. [Salt Lake Tribune website report, 9-28-16]

MONTANA RAIL SPUR GETS FEDERAL FUNDS: The Lincoln County Port Authority in Libby, Montana, has received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development administration for a planned rail spur to connect BNSF with the Kootenai Business Park. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-28-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. combined carload and intermodal unit traffic for the week ending Sept. 24, 2016, declined 4.8 percent compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 9-28-16]

GE DEMONSTRATING TE33A LOCOMOTIVE IN UKRAINE: GE Transportation joined Urkanian Railways in Kiev on Sept. 28 for a demonstration of a T33A diesel locomotive. It will be tested in the coming weeks on the railway's 1520mm-gauge network. The railway says 99 percent of its freight locomotives are 'life-expired,' and in the 25 years since independence it has acquired just eight locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-28-16]

DOWNEASTER PASSENGERS TO USE BUS BETWEEN BRUNSWICK AND WELLS THIS FALL: The Amtrak Downeaster will transport passengers on buses between Brunswick and Wells, Maine, for about six weeks this fall as workers replace railroad ties on about 30 miles of track. [Portland Press Herald website report, 9-28-16]

PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY CSX TRAIN IN DUNKIRK, N.Y.: Police say a pedestrian was struck and killed by a CSX freight train early Sept. 28 in Dunkirk, N.Y. Investigators say it appears there was another person walking along the tracks with the victim, but that person evidently left the scene and has not been located. [WGRZ website report, 9-28-16]

CSX SPENDING $25-M TO FIX FLOODING IN BALTIMORE TUNNEL: CSX plans to spend $25-million to fix flooding in Baltimore's 120-year-old Howard Street Tunnel and prepare engineering plans for its expansion despite the proect being turned down for $155-million in federal grant money in July. [Baltimore Sun website report, 9-28-16]

CHINA TO BUILD RAIL STATION AT GREAT WALL: China plans to build the world's deepest and largest high-speed rail station at a popular section of the Great Wall as part of its preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics, state media reported. The station will be at Badaling, the most visited section of the Great Wall, about 50 miles northwest of Beijing, along a rail network linking Beijing and Zhangjiakou. The facility will be 335 feet below the surface, with an underground construction area equal to five standard soccer fields. [Reuters website report, 9-28-16]

SMOKE FILLS SEPTA TRAIN: Firefighters were called for the report of smoke on a SEPTA train near Overbrook station. The report came in shortly before 5:30 P.M. Sept. 27 along the Paoli-Thorndale rail line. No injuries were reported. As a precaution, power was cut off to the train, and service on the line was suspended. [6 ABC News website report, 9-27-16]

CHINA, BOMBARDIER TO EXPAND, DEEPEN THEIR RELATIONSHIP FOR RAIL PROJECTS: China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. and Bombardier have signed an agreement to expand and deepen their relationship for selected rail projects both in China and abroad. The agreement was signed in Montreal on Sept. 23. Bombardier already has a strong presence in China with six joint ventures and seven wholly foreign-owned companies. Three of the six joint ventures are with CRRC subsidiaries in China. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-27-16]

MOSCOW ORDERS 300 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Moscow tramway operator Mosgortrans has placed a $877-million order with a joint venture for the supply and maintenance of 300 low-floor light-rail vehicles for delivery between 2017 and 2019. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-27-16]

FEDS TO ALLOW R.R. POLICE TO SHARE RADIO CHANNELS WITH FIRST-RESPONDERS: The Federal Communications Commission will issue a final rule to allow railroad police to use the same radio channels as first-responders. The agency said use of these channels in railroad-related emergencies will streamline access for public safety communications. The rule will take effect in 30 days. [The Hill website report, 9-27-16]

ROLLER COASTERS MAY BE A FIX FOR KIDNEY STONES: Two scientists from Michigan State University recently visited Walt Disney World to test a theory that riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster can help pass kidney stones. They used an artificial kidney containing real human kidney stones. With the 3D-printed organ in a backpack, the two took seats on the ride, with the backpack stationed between them at kidney level. They found that when seated at the front, the kidney passed four out of 24 stones, but when they were seated at the back, 23 out of 26 stones were passed. The pair of scientists ran the test 200 times, and found the results to be consistent. [SF Gate website report, 9-27-16]

PYTHON WRAPPED AROUND ARMREST HALTS JAPANESE BULLET TRAIN: A passenger spotted a python curled around the armrest of a seat on a Japanese bullet train early Sept. 26, and the train made an unscheduled stop where police removed the snake in about a minute. There were no injuries. [WSMV website report, 9-26-16]

UNION PACIFIC DERAILMENT IN OREGON PROMPTS HAZMAT PRECAUTIONS: Thirteen railcars, one of them containing a hazardous, flammable liquid, derailed on a Union Pacific train in a yard in Eugene, Oregon, Sept. 25, prompting a partial evacuation, detouring traffic well into the night, and stranding Amtrak train passengers. [Register Guard website report, 9-26-16]

CP STRONG INTO HARVEST SEASON: Canadian Pacific says it is well-positioned and ready to move this year's western Canadian grain crop, which is forecast to be significantly bigger than the five year average. [Railway Age website report, 9-26-16]

TAMPA HERITAGE STREETCAR EXPANDS MORNING SERVICE: Beginning Sept. 26, Tampa's heritage streetcar system opens at 7 A.M. for commuters in downtown, the Channel District and the Ybor City neighborhood. The added hours are part of a six-month pilot program to measure demand for morning service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-26-16]

PLAN APPROVED TO REPAIR SANDY-DAMAGED PATH TUNNELS: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved a major overhaul beginning in 2017 of two PATH tunnels damaged by superstorm Sandy in 2012. Work on the $400-million project is scheduled on 35 weekends per year, but the agency is exploring options to shorten the estimated eight-year schedule. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-26-16]

PERSON DETAINED IN R.R. LINE WIRE THEFT IN OHIO: One person was detained early Sept. 26 in Miami Twp., Ohio, in an incident involving a theft of railroad line wires, according to police. Others may be involved and an investigation is ongoing. [Dayton Daily News website report, 9-26-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains made it into their final terminals by the time they were due in the week ending September 25, 2016. The remaining 63 percent, on average, arrived one hour and three minutes late. This analysis was prepared by the Bull Sheet comprehending actual arrival times as reported by Amtrak. There was no grace allowance for minimally tardy arrivals. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-26-16]

TALGO RETURNING TO MILWAUKEE TO REFURBISH TRAINS: Train manufacturer Talgo will return to Milwaukee to refurbish trains under a $73-million contract with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit authority. It marks a return for the Spanish company, which left Milwaukee in 2014 after a battle with state officials over canceled contracts to manufacture and maintain trains. Talgo will move back into the building it formerly leased from the city in the Century City Business Park. [Milwaukee Business Journal website report, 9-26-16]

AMTRAK EXPANDS BICYCLE PROGRAM TO COAST STARLIGHT: Amtrak's bike program is now available on the Coast Starlight. This long-distance train, operating between Seattle and Los Angeles, now offers customers trainside checked bicycle service, and is available at staffed stations offering checked baggage. [Amtrak, 9-26-16]

NEW COMMUTER RAIL LINE OPENS IN KOREA: The 35-mile Gyeonggang Line commuter railway opened Sept. 24 in the southeastern area of the Korean capital Seoul. The standard-gauge line has 11 stations, and an end-to-end trip takes 48 minutes. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-26-16]

AMTRAK TO MODERNIZE WASHINGTON UNION STATION, EXPAND IVY CITY MAINTENANCE FACILITY: Amtrak will use a portion of its $2.45-billion investment package to fund modernization of Washington Union Station's concourse and other customer amenities, and expand its Ivy City maintenance building by adding an additional track. Design process is already under way with construction slated to begin in 2017. [Amtrak]

UNION PACIFIC TO POSTPONE BREACH OF GREAT SALT LAKE CAUSEWAY: Union Pacific is postponing a planned break in its 21-mile causeway on the Great Salt Lake until December to avoid an untimely drop in water levels. Officials found last December that drought had caused water levels in the lake's northern portion to drop to historic low for the second consecutive year. [Bristol Herald Courier website report, 9-25-16]

CHINA DEVELOPING HIGH-SPEED TRAINS TO LEAD EXPORT OF RAIL TECHNOLOGY: China is designing its next-generation of trains that can carry passengers at a top speed of 310 MPH and cargo at 155 MPH, with wheels that can adjust to fit different track gauges used around the world. Under a government plan, the country is developing trains that can run on a hybrid-propulsion system that allows higher speeds, and is using high-speed rail as the next spearhead to gain a technological edge over the U.S., Japan and Europe. [CNBC website report, 9-25-16]

AT LEAST ONE DEAD, SCORES INJURED AS TRAINS COLLIDE IN ALGERIA: At least one person has reportedly been killed and up to 60 were injured after two trains collided in Algeria, according to local media. The country's transport minister said the crash occurred when an express train and a 'normal-speed' train collided, in the same direction, on the same track. [RT website report, 9-24-16]

CSX TRAIN BLOCKS CROSSINGS IN OHIO TOWN FOR THREE HOURS: A CSX freight train came to a stop in Tipp City, Ohio, Sept. 24, blocking several major crossings for about three hours. According to the company, the train with two locomotives and 138 cars had an emergency application of its brakes, and a portion of the train separated. The train did not derail, and there were no injuries. [Dayton Daily News website report, 9-24-16]

SOUND TRANSIT ORDERS 122 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FROM SIEMENS: Seattle's Sound Transit has finalized a $554-million order for 122 new light-rail vehicles from Siemens. The new units feature more passenger room and are aimed at addressing the agency's expanding rail network. The agency currently operates 62 cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-23-16]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY UP TO 300 EMU'S TO AUSTRIA: Austrian Federal Railways announced that Bombardier has been selected as preferred bidder for a framework contract to supply up to 300 electric multiple-units. Bombardier offered its latest-generation Talent 3 train for the contract. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-23-16]

CHINESE INTERCONTINENTAL TRAIN COMBINES PASSENGERS AND FREIGHT: China's CRRC Corp. has presented a concept intercontinental high-speed electric multiple-unit train which it hopes will open up new markets. The double-deck train will carry passengers on the upper level and freight below. The intercontinental train could aid growth in rail traffic between China and Europe. [Global Rail News website report, 9-23-16]

SUPPORT GROWS FOR DAILY TRAIN SERVICE BETWEEN CINCINNATI & CHICAGO: Dozens of representatives of communities along the Amtrak Cardinal line gathered in Cincinnati Sept. 23 to start building a coalition to bring daily service to the line. Officials outlined the hurdles and potential opportunities with respect to ridership, revenue and the impact of decreasing coal traffic along the route of the Cardinal. [Cincinnati Business Courier website report, 9-23-16]

LIRR TO REVAMP HICKVILLE, JAMAICA STATIONS: Long Island Rail Road has launched nearly $186-million in improvement projects to stations in Hicksville and Jamaica. The 55-year-old Hicksville station will be rebuilt and modernized, and the Jamaica station will receive a new platform and tracks. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-22-16]

AMTRAK EXPANDS BIKES-ON-BOARD PROGRAM: Amtrak's train-side check-in bicycle service has been expanded to the Cardinal, Sunset Limited, California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, City of New Orleans, Lake Shore Limited and Texas Eagle. The service is available at staffed stations that offer checked baggage, and reservations are required. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-22-16]

SIEMENS LANDS ORDER FOR SEVEN 'LAST-MILE' VECTRONS: Railcare has awarded Siemens a contract to supply and maintain seven Vectron AC electric locomoves equipped with a 'last-mile' diesel engine for operation on non-electrified sidings. The locomotives will be used on the 15kV networks of Switzerland, Austria and Germany. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-22-16]

NEW PASSENGER CARS FOR AZERBAIJAN-GEORGIA-TURKEY SERVICE: Stadler and Azerbaijan Railways have presented a new fleet of passenger cars for the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway. Thirty cars are included in the $133-million contract, which will be formed into three sets of 10 cars, with an option for 70 additional vehicles. The order comprises three dining cars, three first-class cars, 18 second-class cars, 18 composite first- and second-class cars, and a special car. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-22-16]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN MASSACHUSETTS: Transit police confirm that a trespasser was struck and killed by an Amtrak train, en route from Boston to Washington, Sept. 22 in Mansfield, Massachusetts. [ report, 9-22-16]

GREAT LAKES BASIN ALTERS PROPOSED RAIL ROUTE: Investors behind Great Lakes Basin Transportation's plan to build a railroad that bypasses Chicago have submitted a revised route to the Surface Transportation Board. The new route is 21 miles shorter than the one previously submitted, which had encountered large opposition from counties and those owning land along the proposed route. [Rockford Register Star website report, 9-22-16]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS AMID FLOODING IN WISCONSIN: Two locomotives and five cars of a BNSF freight train derailed and leaked diesel fuel early Sept. 22 after tracks washed out near Rush Creek north of Ferryville, Wisconsin, as a second night of heavy rains triggered flooding and mudslides. There were no injuries, but the crew members were taken to a hospital as a precaution. [La Crosse Tribune website report, 9-22-16]

NEW DEADLINE SET FOR $177-M ILLINOIS PASSENGER RAIL GRANT: Illinois has a new deadline of Sept. 30, 2017, for an agreement with the federal government designed to provide $177-million for a planned passenger rail line between Moline and Chicago. The long-planned project was at risk of losing the federal money because the state had yet to confirm that it would provide matching funds. [Quad City Times website report, 9-22-16]

COURT DENIES CN APPEAL ON GRAIN SHIPPING RULING: A Canadian Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling that found Canadian National had breached its level of service obligations to a Prairie grain shipping company during a bumper crop two years ago. The plaintiff had argued that the railroad failed to provide enough rail cars to some of its grain elevators in Alberta and Saskatchewan to ship the record 2013-14 crop. [Canadian Press website report, 9-22-16]

WASHINGTON METRO ADDING BULLHORNS TO TRAIN CABS FOR EMERGENCY USE: The Washington DC Metro is adding handheld bullhorns to the cabs of its trains for use whenever standard communication systems fail in an emergency. During a recent incident, passengers were stranded for about 40 minutes aboard a disabled train without any announcement by the train operator. It developed that a loose wire had caused the train's intercom to fail. [Washington Post website report, 9-22-16]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DECLINES IN AUGUST: Class I railroads employed 152,753 people in the U.S, as of mid-August, down 0.02 percent since mid-July, and down 9.61 percent year over year, according to the Surface Transportation Board. All six employment categories reflected decreases in mid-August compared with mid-July, as well as with mid-August a year ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-21-16]

CONNECTICUT TO BUY 60 NEW M-8 RAIL CARS: The state of Connecticut will purchase an additional 60 M-8 electric multiple-unit rail cars by 2019, each equipped with 105 seats, to accommodate the more than 6,000 expected additional commuters on Metro-North's New Haven line. The state had already purchased 405 M-8 cars, which entered service in 2011, and are now standard on the New Haven line. Most of the older M-2 cars have been retired, but a small fleet remains as backups. [Railway Age website report, 9-21-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 537,904 carloads and intermodal units combined for U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Sept. 17, 2016, down 5.1 percet compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 9-21-16]

ONE INJURED AS CSX TRAIN COLLIDES WITH STEAMROLLER IN GEORGIA: There was a collision at a crossing early Sept. 21 in Ackworth, Georgia, between a CSX freight train and a steamroller that had become stuck on the crossing. The operator of the steamroller, who was attempting to move the machine at the time of the collision, was seriously injured and taken to a hospital. [Marietta Daily Journal website report, 9-21-2016]

BUFFALO'S AMTRAK STATION CLOSED AS CEILING COLLAPSES FROM RAINS: The downtown Exchange street Amtrak station has been closed after heavy weekend rains caused the ceiling to collapse over a portion of the passenger waiting area. Part of the ceiling had also collapsed the weekend of September 9 from another heavy storm, causing the ticket office to close. Trains are still servicing the station, and an Amtrak agent is available to assist customers, the railroad said. [Buffalo News website report, 9-20-16]

AMTRAK HIRES FIRMS TO HELP MANAGE GATEWAY PROJECT: Amtrak has chosen the team of Hill International and CH2M to provide management support and services to assist Amtrak as it works with governments to implement the Gateway program, which includes the construction of a new two-track tunnel under the Hudson River. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-20-16]

METRA TO REDUCE ITS NUMBER OF TICKET AGENTS: Metra, the Chicago-area commuter railroad, plans to eliminate 27 positions throughout the agency, including some ticket agents. Metra says there has been an increase in riders purchasing tickets through the Ventra app, reducing the need for as many ticket agents. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-20-16]

METRA TO RETIRE THE LAST OF ITS HIGHLINER CARS: Metra plans to retire the last of its old Highliner cars on the Metra Electric line. This will result in a $100,000 reduction in repair and maintenance costs, the agency said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-20-16]

CANADIA RECOMMENDS VOICE, VIDEO RECORDERS ON LOCOMOTIVES: The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has released its safety study and reiterated the agency's call for voice and video recorders on locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-20-16]

ALSTOM INTRODUCES ZERO-EMISSION TRAIN: Alstom has unveiled its Coradia iLint zero-emission train which is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, making it an alternative to diesel power. The only emissions from the train are steam and condensed water, and noise levels are lower than the equivalent diesel multiple-unit. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-20-16]

GERMANY FUNDS BATTERY-POWERED TRAIN PROJECT: Germany's transport ministry has confirmed a grant to support Bombardier's project to develop an electric multiple-unit train with batteries for operation on non-electrified lines. Bombardier is developing a Talent 3 train equipped with the company's Primove battery system in collaboration with the Technical University of Berlin and Southwest German Transport. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-20-16]

AMTRAK SERVICE DISRUPTED BY POLICE ACTIVITY IN N.J.: Amtrak's Northeast corridor service was suspended late Sept. 18 due to police activity in Elizabeth, N.J. Passengers were informed the following morning that residual delays could continue into the day. [Amtrak, 9-19-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TOUTS PROGRESS ON ANNIVERSARY OF D&H PURCHASE: Norfolk Southern has marked the first anniversary of its purchase of Delaware & Hudson's line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y. The company installed 90,000 new ties, resurfaced 84 miles of track, and made improvements to the Belden Hill Tunnel. Improved service on the route has seen double-digit volume growth. The company's partnership with New York to replace the Portageville Bridge will further improve service to Binghamton, Scranton, Albany and New England. [Norfolk Southern, 9-19-16]

GE, INTEL UNVEIL 'SUPERBRAIN' FOR LOCOMOTIVES: GE Transportation, in collaboration with Intel, have introduced a 'superbrain' platform solution for locomotives, called GoLINC, that transforms locomotives into mobile data headquarters, helping trains to be 'smarter and faster.' GE says its 'best in class embedded solution,' improves operations, fuel efficiency, horsepower, emissions, and enhances tractive effort. [Railway Age website report, 9-19-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: The Bull Sheet has calculated that 40 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier during the week ending September 18, 2016. The remaining 60 percent arrived, on average, 54 minutes late. The survey was conducted without grace allowance for minimally-late arrivals, and is consequently a more realistic evaluation of performance than what is offered by Amtrak in its own reports. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-19-16]

MAN ARRESTED AFTER STANDOFF ON AMTRAK TRAIN IN CALIFORNIA: An eight-hour standoff with an armed man who barricaded himself aboard an Amtrak train in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles ended early Sept. 17 after police used tear gas. The train, which was en route to San Diego, was safely evacuated the evening before. Train service on the affected line was disrupted by the incident. [Orange County Register website report, 9-18-16]

TEENAGER STRUCK, KILLED BY COMMUTER TRAIN IN MASSACHUSETTS: A male teenager died late Sept. 16 after he was struck by a Worcester/Framingham commuter train in Newton, Massachusetts, transit police said.The incident is under investigation. [Boston Globe website report, 9-17-16]

FOUR KILLED, DOZENS INJURED IN CHARTER BUS CRASH IN N.C.: Four people were killed and dozens injured, some critically, Sept. 17 when a chartered bus carrying a football team crashed near Hamlet, N.C. A preliminary investigation shows the front left tire of the bus blew, causing the bus to travel out of control onto the median, striking a guard rail and sideswiping a concrete bridge column. [CNN website report, 9-17-16]

HISTORIC SOUTHERN PACIFIC TRAIN DEPOT DESTROYED BY FIRE IN CALIFORNIA: A 109-year-old former Southern Pacific train depot in Long Beach, California, was completely destroyed by a fire early Sept. 16. The last of three original train stations in Long Beach, the Spanish-inspired structure had been moved to Willow Springs Park in 2015 with the plan to rehabilitate for use as a visitor center. [ABC7 website report, 9-16-16]

AMTRAK LOCOMOTIVE CATCHES FIRE IN VIRGINIA: Amtrak is investigating the cause of a fire that disrupted service on train 85 just north of Ashland, Va., late Sept. 15. Local authorities extinguished the fire, which was contained in the locomotive, and passengers were offloaded to continued their journey on train 97. There were no injuries. [WRIC website report, 9-16-16]

FALLING CONCRETE INJURES WOMAN AT CHICAGO UNION STATION ENTRANCE: The Madison street entrance to Chicago's Union Station has been closed until further notice for repairs and inspections after falling concrete injured a woman. [Chicago Tribune website report, 9-16-16]

BNSF OPENS CADET YARD IN TEXAS: BNSF has opened its new Cadet Yard in Von Ormy, Texas, located 10 miles southwest of San Antonio. The new yard will allow BNSF to switch and classify freight closer to Mexico and gain efficient access to more destinations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-15-16]

PORT OF SAVANNAH SLATES $128-M RAIL EXPANSION: The Port of Savannah plans to extend its intermodal rail reach into the Midwest with a $128-million project that will link the Garden City Terminal's two rail yards, it was announced Sept. 15. The Georgia Ports Authority's 'Mid-American Arc' plan is part of the strategy to invest in infrastructure improvements to capture a greater market share. Construction, which will form the Port of Savannah International Multimodal Connector, will take four years. [Progressive Railroading website report]

U.S. RAILROAD WORKERS TESTING POSITIVE FOR DRUG USE INCREASES: Testing so far this year has shown that nearly 8 percent of workers involved in rail accidents were positive for drug use. The number of post-accident drug-positives has been the highest since the Federal Railroad Administration began keeping records in 1987, and three times greater than it was 10 years ago. [Washington Post website report, 9-15-16]

MAN KILLED BY TRAIN ON N.E. CORRIDOR IN PENNSYLVANIA: Amtrak police are investigating after a man was struck and killed by a train at Glenolden, Pa., late Sept. 15. Service along route was temporarily suspended due to the investigation. [6 ABC website report, 9-15-16]

CONTRACTS AWARDED FOR CHINA-LAOS RAILWAY: China Railway Group has announced that three of its subsidiaries have been awarded $1.2-billion in contracts to construct three sections of a 257-mile standard gauge rail line running south from the China-Laos border at Boten to Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and the Laotian capital Vientiane The single-track, electrified line will have 31 stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-15-16]

NEXT-GENERATION ICE TRAIN UNVEILED: German Rail's next-generation high-speed train (ICE-4) was publicly unveiled Sept. 14 in Berlin. German Rail has a framework contract with Siemens for up to 300 of the 155 MPH trains, placing an initial order for 130 train sets. The modular design of the ICE-4 enables the train to be assembled in consists of from five to 12 cars. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-15-16]

FEDS GRANT $1-B FOR SAN DIEGO TROLLEY: The Federal Transit administration has finalized a $1.04-billion federal grant agreement with the San Diego Association of Governments to extend existing Blue Line Trolley service from downtown San Diego to the University City area. Service is slated to begin in 2021. [Railway Age website report, 9-14-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported combined U.S. rail freight carload and intermodal traffic for the week ending Sept. 10 was down 5.4 percent compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 9-14-16]

NEW HIGH-SPEED TRAINS FOR FRANCE: The first Alstom TGV 2N2 train for the 188-mile Sud Europ Atlantique high-speed line was introduced in Paris Sept. 14. The fleet of 40 dual-voltage double-deck trains will be supplemented on Atlantique services by 24 existing Duplex trains, which will be refurbished for their new role. Each new train consists of two power cars, two first-class cars, five second-class cars, and a bar car. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-14-16]

FREIGHT RAIL CAR USERS FORM NEW TRADE ASSOCIATION: The Private Railcar Food and Beverage Association has been formed to represent 13 global food and beverage companies and manufacturers in North America. Members meet regularly to discuss opportunities and solutions to rail car service challenges. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-14-16]

ALASKA R.R. DISRUPTED BY MUDSLIDE: A mudslide just north of Cantwell, Alaska, early Sept. 14 disrupted service on the Alaska Railroad. The slide covered the tracks just as a freight train was approaching, but the train stopped before impacting. There were no injuries. Two passenger trains were also delayed, with passengers bused between Talkeetna and Denali. [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website report, 9-14-16]

CSX LOCOMOTIVE CATCHES FIRE IN CONGERS, N.Y.: A locomotive on a CSX freight train caught fire and stalled early Sept. 14 in Congers, N.Y., police say. No injuries were reported. [Journal News website report, 9-14-16]

H.S. SENIORS TOLD, STOP TAKING SENIOR PHOTOS ON R.R. TRACKS: As high school teenagers are getting ready to take senior photos, a popular spot for Iowans is not only dangerous, but is illegal, according to the state's dept. of transportation. The romantic look of train tracks makes it a popular spot, said an analysis coordinator, but posing for or taking a photo there could lead to the individual getting criminal charges. In October of last year, a teen in Maryland was killed while taking photos on tracks. [Des Moines Register website report, 9-14-16]

FORMER NORFOLK SOUTHERN PIPEFITTER PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING DISABILITY BENEFITS: A former pipefitter for Norfolk Southern could spend up to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $400,000 from the Railroad Retirement Board. Jeffrey Ratliff of Chesapeake, Va., worked for the railroad for almost 21 years before leaving his job in 1995. He applied for a disability annuity for injuries he got on the job in 1990, saying that his injuries kept him from working, but he was employed as a real estate agent. He later admitted to using his wife's social security number to mask his income. [South Side Daily website report, 9-14-16]

SOME MARATHON RUNNERS CLIMB THROUGH MOVING TRAIN, RISKING THEIR SAFETY: Norfolk Southern is investigating why a train crossed a marathon course in Allentown, Pa., Sept. 12, after supposedly assuring organizers that trains would not interrupt the event. But the company scolded some of the runners who opted to climb beneath or through the slowly-moving train to continue with their run. There were no injuries, but one runner is said to have almost fallen in the process. Event officials offered to adjust runners' times on a case-by-case basis, especially for the benefit of those who opted to wait for the train to completely pass before continuing. Nearly 1,000 runners completed the marathon. [Lehigh Valley Live website report, 9-13-16]

INLAND PORT TO BE DEVELOPED IN DILLON, S.C.: The South Carolina Ports authority will develop an inland port in Dillon following a unanimously approved resolution of the authority's board on Sept. 12. Ground will be broken in the first-quarter 2017 with plans to open the facility by the end of the year. The site, with proximity to Interstate 95, will be served by an existing CSX main line. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-13-16]

R.R. OVERHAUL JEOPARDIZES HISTORIC CONNECTICUT TOWN: Old Lyme, a quaint town of about 8,000 on the coast of Connecticut, is at the center of a heated debate about how best to improve the state's aging railroad infrastructure. One plan being weighed would see new tracks built across a large swath through the heart of Old Lyme. The town boasts more than 100 nationally registered structures along with the Florence Griswold House and Museum. Residents of the 350-year-old town have rallied to fight the plan. [Yale Daily News website report, 9-13-16]

PERU'S PRESIDENT THROWS COLD WATER ON TRANSCONTINENTAL RAIL PROPOSAL: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who took office as Peru's president in July, says a 3,293-mile transcontinental railway proposed by China to slash the cost of shipping Brazilian goods to Asia could be too expensive and environmentally harmful to build. [Reuters website report, 9-13-16]

CHINESE HIGH-SPEED RAIL NETWORK NOW EXCEEDS 20,000 KM: China's high-speed rail network now exceeds 20,000 KM (12,427 miles) after the opening of its line linking Zhengzhou with Xuzhou on Sept. 10. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-13-16]

SEPTA TAKES SILVERLINER-V CARS BACK OUT OF SERVICE DUE TO A NEW PROBLEM: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has once again sidelined rail cars that it had originally taken out of service in July for safety concerns over their suspension systems. Eighteen of the 120 cars in the fleet that had since been repaired have been pulled back from service, this time over a design change to eliminate occasional contact between the piece that connects the new suspension beam with the existing equipment. [News 9 website report, 9-12-16]

NEW YORK TO RECEIVE $5-M OF R.R. SAFETY FUNDING: The Federal Railroad Administration announced that New York will receive more than $5-million aimed at updating track and crossings in safety upgrades. Included will be closed-circuit TV cameras at Metro-North crossings in North White Plains, Bedford Hills and Valhalla, and other improvements. [ABC 7 N.Y. website report, 9-12-16]

CSX NAMED TO DOW JONES SUSTAINABILITY INDEX FOR NORTH AMERICA: CSX has been named to the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America, recognizing the company's leadership in sustainable and responsible business practices. CSX was the only U.S.-based railroad and one of only three transportation companies included on the North American index. This markes the sixth consecutive year for CSX on the index. [CSX, 9-12-16]

BAR CARS SET FOR RETURN TO METRO-NORTH: Bar cars, phased out in 2014, will be making a return to Metro-North's New Haven line, according to sources familiar with the matter. Connecticut has ordered 60 nwe train cars, and 10 of them will be retrofitted to include a bar. [Wall Street Journal website report, 9-12-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-one percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending September 11, 2016. The other 59 percent, on average, arrived one hour and eight minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-12-16]

WATCO ACQUIRES BCM LOGISTICS: Watco Supply Chain Services has acquired BCM Logistics, a Utah-based company that provides door-to-door intermodal service. BCM contracts directly with Class I railroads and ocean carriers for repositioning of containers in domestic service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-12-16]

CINCINNATI OPENS NEW STREETCAR SYSTEM: The Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar opened late last week, marking the city's first streetcar service in 65 years. Cincinnati Bell, local telephone and internet provider, bough naming rights for the line, which forms a 3.6-mile loop including 18 stops in the downtown area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-12-16]

NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE OPENS IN CHINA: Revenue service on the 225-mile passenger-dedicated line between Zhengzhou and Xuzhou began Sept. 10. Journey time on the new line is 80 minutes, compared with 150 minutes previously. [Railway Gazette website report, 9-12-16]

BULLET TRAIN ENGINEER SUSPENDED AFTER PICTURED WITH FEET ON THE DASHBOARD: A railroad enthusiast has captured the moment a bullet train engineer had his feet up on the dashboard while the train was in motion. The photo was taken in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan, and has been shared thousands of times on Twitter. According to reports, the employee, whose train can travel up to 177 MPH, has since been suspended. [Daily Mail website report, 9-12-16]

TWO DIE AS RIVER CRUISE SHIP STRIKES R.R. BRIDGE IN GERMANY: A river cruise ship struck a railway bridge crushing the wheel house on the Main-Danube Canal in southern Germany Sept. 11, killing two of the ship's crew members. There were 181 passengers and 47 other crew members on the ship, but they were not injured. The bridge was not seriously damaged. [Fox News website report, 9-11-16]

COURT THROWS SNAG AT BRIGHTLINE OVER BONDS TO FINANCE ITS PROJECT: All Aboard Florida's plan to operate Brightline passenger train service between Miami and Orlando is in jeopardy following a federal judge's order questioning the company's ability to borrow $1.75-billion in taxpayer-backed federal bonds to pay for the project. At the same time, in a suit filed by two Florida counties, the judge found that the U.S. Dept. of Transportation ignored federal law when it issued bonding authority for Phase 2 of the project. [Miami Herald website report, 9-11-16]

FIVE INJURED AS MINIATURE STEAM TRAIN STRIKES TRACTOR IN U.K.: A miniature steam train carrying around 50 passengers derailed Sept. 10 after crashing to into a tractor on a crossing along the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway on the south Kent coast, slightly injuring five people. Called the 'world's smallest public railway,' the train runs 13 miles along the coast at a maximum speed of about 20 MPH. [The Telegraph website report, 9-10-16]

NEW CIRCULAR COMMUTER RAIL LINE OPENS IN MOSCOW: Moscow has opened a commuter rail line circling the city that is airmed at easing congestion on roads and improving connections. Called the Moscow Central Ring, the 33-mile circle opened Sept. 10. The above-ground railway is based on a line started in the early 20th century, but which fell out of passenger service decades ago. It has 31 stations, many with connections to the subway system. [Northern Michigan 9 & 10 News website report, 9-10-16]

DEADLY TRAIN ACCIDENT IN SPAIN: A passenger train traveling from Spain to Portugal derailed early Sept. 9 in northern Spain, killing at least four people and injuring 47 others. [CNN website report, 9-9-16]

STB LISTS FOUR CLASS I RAILROADS ACHIEVING 'REVENUE ADEQUACY' IN 2015: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has announced that BNSF, Union Pacific, Grand Trunk Western and Soo Line achieved 'revenue adequacy' in 2015. The designation comprehends achieving a rate of return on net investment equal to at least the current cost of capital for the railroad industry, determined to be 9.61 percent. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-9-16]

METRA RETURNS FIRST REBUILT LOCOMOTIVE TO SERVICE: Metra has returned to service the first locomotive rebuilt under a $91-million contract. Progress Rail is rebuilding 41 EMD F40PH2 and F40-PHM2 locomotives, originally built between 1989 and 1992, to extend their lives by 10 to 13 years. They are being redesignated as F40PH3. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-8-16]

BRIGHTLINE LOCOMOTIVE TESTED BY SIEMENS: Brightline's first Siemens Charger QSK95 diesel locomotive has successfully completed initial testing on the manufacturer's quarter-mile test track in Sacramento. [Railway Age website report, 9-8-16]

BOMBARDIER AWARDS SIGNALING CONTRACT TO BBR RAIL AUTOMATION IN ALBERTA: United Rail announced BBR Rail Automation has obtained a contract from Bombardier Transportation to supply signaling and communications for the Edmonton Valley line in Alberta. The line has eight miles of double track and 12 platforms. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-8-16]

PARTNERSHIP TO CREATE NEXT-GENERATION OF HIGH-SPEED TRAINS FOR FRANCE: Alstom and Frech rail operator SNCF have launched an 'innovative partnership' to create the next-generation of high-speed trains for France, planned for entry into commercial service in 2022. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-8-16]

PATENT AWARDED FOR WOOD CROSSTIE PRE-TREATMENT: Gross & James Co. has received a U.S. patent for a 'two-step' borate pre-treatment dipping process and related equipment the company developed to increase the life of wood railroad crossties. [Railway Age website report, 9-8-16]

FIRST R179 SUBWAY CAR DELIVERED TO NEW YORK: The first of 300 Bombardier R179 cars ordered by New York Metropolitan Transportation authority for the subway B division was unloaded in Manhattan Sept. 6. The $599-million fleet will replace all remaining R42 cars along with some of the remaining R32 trains. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-8-16]

CERTAIN FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVES BANNED FROM GOTTHARD BASE TUNNEL: Swiss officials say that four types of modern freight locomotives will be banned from operating through the Gotthard Base tunnel when it opens later this year due to problems with the functioning of ETCS level 2 equipment. The decision affects 27 locomotives. Operation with a pilot locomotive will still be permitted, however. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-8-16]

CP'S CFO STEPPING DOWN AFTER 16 MONTHS ON THE JOB: Mark Erceg, Canadian Pacific's chief financial officer, is stopping down from his post after 16 months. He plans to return to the U.S. to accept a similar position with an American company. [Financial Post website report, 9-8-16]

SOUND TRANSIT COMPLETES TUNNELING FOR NORTHGATE LINK EXTENSION: Sound Transit's contractors have finished boring the last of six tunnel segments for the Northgate Link light-rail extension. Slated to open in 2021, the $1.9-billion project extends light-rail 4.3 miles north from the University of Washington to Northgate Mall. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-7-16]

DRILLING BEGINS ON SCANDINAVIA'S LONGEST RAIL TUNNEL: The first two of four tunnel boring machines to build an 11.5-mile twin-bore tunnel on the Follo Line between Oslo and Ski began their work September 5. The tunnel will be the longest railway tunnel in Scandinavia, and is one of the first in Norway to be constructed using the machines. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-7-16]

N.Y. STATE TAKES NEXT STEP TO DEVELOP RAIL TRAIL: Officials are moving forward with a plan to dismantle part of the Remsen-Lake Placid rail line in New York state. The Conservation Department now says the rails and ties will be torn up next summer to make way for a new recreational trail. Meanwhile, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad had filed a lawsuit to block removal of the track, and that suit is still pending. [North County Public Radio website report, 9-7-16]

BOSTON UNIVERSITY STUDENT STRUCK, KILLED BY COMMUTER TRAIN: An 18-year-old Boston University student was struck by an MBTA commuter train and killed late Sept. 6 as he walked on rail tracks near an overpass on the southern end of the campus, transit police said. [Boston Globe website report, 9-7-16]

CONNECTICUT PREFERS LONG-SPAN VERTICAL LIFT BRIDGE FOR WALK BRIDGE REPLACEMENT: The Walk Bridge spanning the Northeast Corridor over the Norwalk River in Connecticut should be replaced by a long-span vertical lift bridge, said the state's Dept. of Transportation. The current bridge is one of the oldest moveable bridges in the country and is need of replacement. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-7-16]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT FOR AUGUST 2016: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the month of August was 2,675,263 carload and intermodal originations, down 5.7 percent compared with the same period last year. For the week ending Sept. 3, volume dropped 4.0 percent. [Railway Age website report, 9-7-16]

TWO KILLED WHEN TRUCK STRUCK BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN MICHIGAN: Authorities say two people were killed Sept. 7 when their truck was struck by an Amtrak train in Wayne, Michigan. According to police, the truck was attempting to go around the crossing gates, which were down, when it was struck by the train. [CBS Detroit website report, 9-7-16]

ALSTOM TO END PRODUCTION AT BELFORT PLANT: After several months of speculation over the future of its facility in Belfort, France, Alstom has confirmed that production will cease at the plant in 2018 and transferred to its Reichsfoffen plant. Four hundred staff will be affected by the decision. Belfort specializes in the production of locomotives and power cars, but has been hit by a recent downturn in orders. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-7-16]

ALBANY STATION SEES PASSENGER RAIL IMPROVEMENTS: Platform extensions are pushing north from the Albany-Rensselaer train station, one of a number of passenger rail improvements under way in the Capital Region. The extensions will permit Amtrak to operate longer trains on the Empire corridor and beyond. Meanwhile, a second track has been largely completed between Albany and Schenectady, and new signals are being installed south of Rensselaer. The rail projects are scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2017. [Albany Times Union website report, 9-7-16]

CSX, SIGNALMEN REACH AGREEMENT: The National Mediation board reports that a ratified agreement has been achieved between CSX and members of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen. [National Mediation Board, 9-7-16]

BNSF COMPLETES SECOND TRACK AT PECOS RIVER: BNSF has completed double-tracking a three-mile segment that crosses the Pecos River in New Mexico. With the completion of this section of double-track, only four miles of single-track remain on the 2,200-mile Southern Transcontinental corridor from Chicago to Los Angeles. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-6-16]

MORE ELECTRIC MULTIPLE-UNIT TRAINS FOR POLAND: The Polish region of West Pomerania has ordered 17 Impuls regional electric-multiple unit trains from Newag in a contract worth $64.3-million. The order comprises 12 three-car sets and five four-car sets, with an option for 10 additional sets. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-6-16]

WILLIAM ACKMAN RESIGNS FROM BOARD OF CANADIAN PACIFIC: Activist investor William Ackman left the board of Canadian Pacific Sept. 6, marking the end of a four-year tenure that helped overhaul the railroad and earn his Pershing Square hedge fund roughly $2.6-billion. [Globe and Mail website report, 9-6-16]

FEDS EXTEND DEADLINE FOR GREAT LAKES BASIN TO PROPOSE ALTERNATIVE RAIL ROUTE: The Surface Transportation Board has granted Great Lakes Basin Transportation's request for a deadline extension until Sept. 20 to file an alternative route for its proposed freight line around Chicago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-6-16]

BUFFALO & PITTSBURGH WORKERS VOTE FOR UNION REPRESENTATION: The Buffalo & Pittsburgh signal and maintenance of way workers have voted for representation by the SMART Transportation Division, the labor organization has annoounced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-6-16]

AMTRAK'S HIAWATHA SERVICE WILL CONTINUE LATE SATURDAY NIGHT SERVICE: Amtrak Hiawatha service passengers can continue to make evening plans on Saturday nights because night trips between Chicago and Milwaukee will continue. [WDJT website report, 9-6-16]

SECRET R.R. INSPECTION DATA FRUSTRATES SPOKANE OFFICIALS: Railroad appear to keep most data on their bridge inspections secret, even after a federal law allowed local officials to request such information. The Spokane, Washington, city council requested copies of Union Pacific and BNSF bridge inspections, but only got a one-page report with boxes checked off, saying the bridge 'passed' an inspection. The report lacked detailed data of the infrastructure that supports trains, such as those carrying oil and other hazardous cargo through the city daily. [Yakima Herald website report, 9-5-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending September 4, 2016. The other 66 percent of the trains were late by an average of one hour and seven minutes. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-5-16]

FOUR KILLED IN CROSSING ACCIDENT IN MISSOURI: Four people were killed, including two children, and one was injured during a collision between a car and a Union Pacific train near Dexter, Missouri, September 3. The car came to rest about a quarter of a mile from the point of impact. [Southeast Missourian website report, 9-4-16]

MINNESOTA BEGINS STUDY ON SECOND AMTRAK TRAIN: The Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission has outlined plans to study the feasibility of adding a second Amtrak train to the St. Paul to Chicago line. The $600,000 study would take up to 12 months to complete, and would be followed by a phase two study looking at the environmental impact. The Minnesota study comes after Amtrak conducted its own study in 2015 to recommend a second train. [Post-Bulletin website report, 9-2-16]

BNSF TO OFFER FASTER INTERMODAL SERVICE BETWEEN PACIFIC N.W. AND TEXAS: Beginning Sept. 12, BNSF will offer intermodal customers faster freight service between the Pacific Northwest and Texas, reducing transit times by up to two days compared to current rail transit times. The service, to be available five days a week, is one of several new routes that will be announced over the next year, the company said. [BNSF, 9-1-16]

SEPTA RETURNS FOUR SILVERLINER-V CARS TO SERVICE: SEPTA returned four Silverliner-V cars to service Sept. 1 following repairs. The entire fleet of Silverliner-V cars was removed from service early this summer due to structural anomalies, seriously disrupting the agency's ability to serve its customers. The remaining cars are expected to be back in service by mid-November. [Philly Voice website report, 9-1-16]

AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE FOR AUGUST: Thirty-three percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the month of August 2016. The average arrival of the 67 percent of trains arriving behind schedule was one hour and 12 minutes late. This survey was made by the Bull Sheet comprehending actual arrival times as reported by Amtrak, and without any grace allowance for minimally late arrivals. A train arriving one minute late, for example, is included in the data as late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-1-16]

IRISH LUXURY TRAIN SERVICE BEGINS: Luxury train operator Belmond launched Ireland's first luxury train Aug 30 when the 'Grand Hibernian' departed from Dublin with 40 guests on the first leg of a six-day tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The train has five sleeping cars, two dining cars, a crew car, generator car, and an observation car. All ten cars were rebuilt from Irish Rail Mark 3 coaches. Fare for a full six-day tour is about $8,600 per person. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-31-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported total U.S. rail freight traffic - carloads and intermodal units - was down 6.2 percent in the week ending Aug. 27, 2016, compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 8-31-16]

FIRST NEW DRIVERLESS METRO TRAIN FOR TAIPEI UNVEILED: The first of 17 four-car trains for Taipei's circular line has been unveiled by Hitachi Rail Italy at its factory. Deliveries will be completed by fall 2018. [Global Rail News website report, 8-31-16]

INVASIVE INSECTS FOUND IN RAIL CONTAINERS FROM ASIA: Rail containers from Asia were stopped at the border with Canada at Portal, N.D., early this month after the U.S. Customs and Border Protection found three containers with harmful, invasive insects. The shipments came from Asia to Vancouver, B.C., by ship before being shipped by rail, and were sealed back up and returned to their countries of origin. Three other containers containing noxious weed seeds were cleaned out and released back to the owners. [Dickinson Press website report, 8-31-16]

DALLAS STREETCAR PHASE 2 OPENS: Dallas Area Rapid Transit opened a nine-tenths-mile second phase of its streetcar line Aug. 29, reaching Bishop Arts District via Zang boulevard at 6th street, and a stop between Davis and 7th streets. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-30-16]

NEW FLEET OF ACELA TRAINS TO DEBUT IN 2021: Amtrak's new fleet of Acela Express trains will make its debut in 2021. The company will introduce 28 new train sets that will have more spacious seats and a smoother ride 'comparable to international high-speed train service,' the company said. [USA Today website report, 8-30-16]

RENOVATION OF CROTON-HARMON, N.Y., STATION COMPLETE: Metro-North Railroad has completed a $3.6-million renovation of the Croton-Harmon station. The project involved both station structural renovations and aesthetic improvements. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-30-16]

CSX TRAINMASTER IN KENTUCKY ARRESTED FOR HAVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY: A trainmaster at the CSX yard in Corbin, Kentucky, has been arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography. The offense is a class D felony in Kentucky, carrying a potential prison sentence of one to five years. He is currently released on a $10,000 bond. [News Journal website report, 8-30-16]

JAPAN COMMITS $2-M TOWARD BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON MAGLEV STUDY: The Japanese government has pledged $2-million to help fund feasibility studies for a magnetic levitation train between Baltimore and Washington DC, the Baltimore Sun has reported. The state received a $27.8-million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration late last year to study the proposal. Under the grant terms, no matching state funds are required. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-29-16]

CALIFORNIA'S NORTH COUNTY TRANSIT RAMPS UP RAIL TRESPASSING ENFORCEMENT: The North County Transit District in California is significantly increasing enforcement against trespassers along both the Oceanside to San Diego and Oceanside to Escondido rail corridors. The penalties for trespassing on the railroad can result in fines up to $500, six months in jail, or both. [Railway Age website report, 8-29-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-two percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier during the week ending August 28. 2016, according to a survey, without grace allowances, by the Bull Sheet. The other 58 percent, on average, arrived 52 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-29-16]

TWO DEAD, 41 HURT IN BUS CRASH IN LOUISIANA: A chartered bus spun out of control near New Orleans Aug. 28, killing two and injuring 41, while taking volunteers to help with Louisiana flood relief, police said. It was not immediately clear why the 37-year-old driver of the bus lost control, but officials say he had no license to operate a commercial vehicle and was in the country illegally. [Reuters website report, 8-29-16]

PIANOS ADDED TO TRAIN STATIONS IN FRANCE: Nearly 100 pianos are available for the use of anyone to play to wile away the time in French train stations. They are free to sit down and play, and travelers from all walks of life have taken to doing just that. The pianos are rented from the manufacturer Yamaha, which maintains them and tunes them every month or two. They have proved to be very popular, and the music, blending with the sounds of the station, offers a peculiar soundscape. [N.Y. Times website report, 8-29-16]

FEDS DIRECT WASHINGTON METRO TO PROPERLY SECURE UNATTENDED TRAINS: The Federal Transit Administration has issued a directive requiring the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to ensure that unattended rail vehicles are properly secured. The order is based on findings which uncovered a lack of compliance with internal rules and procedures following some rollaway incidents. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-26-16]

FEDS ANNOUNCE $2.45-B LOAN TO AMTRAK FOR NEW HIGH-SPEED TRAINS & OTHER IMPROVEMENTS: Amtrak is to receive $2.45-billion in federally-secured loans to support purchase of new 'Avelia Liberty' train sets for the Northeast Corridor, station upgrades and track improvements. The loan comes from the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing loan program, which looks to provide low-cost loans to railroads to leverage infrastructure investment. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 8-26-16]

NEW 'GANGWAY' CARS PLANNED FOR N.Y. SUBWAY: New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to order up to 750 gangway cars that will allow more room for passengers. The new subway cars have no doors at the end and allow passengers to walk between cars or stand on passageways, creating up to 10 percent more space for passengers. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 8-26-16]

WINTER PARK SKI TRAIN TO OPERATE THIS WINTER: Following a trial service in March 2015 which sold out two weekends of train trips, the Winter Park Express will operate this coming winter on weekends from Denver. The service began in 1940, but was discontinued in 2009 due to costs and declining profit. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 8-26-16]

TEX RAIL CONSTRUCTION BEGINS: Ground was broken Aug. 24 in Fort Worth, North Richmond Hills and Grapevine, Texas, to officially launch construction on the $996-million Tex Rail commuter rail project. Due to begin operations in 2018, the line will connect Fort Worth with Grapevine and Dallas-Fort Worth Airport terminal B, serving 10 stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-25-16]

HOTEL IN ARIZONA ACQUIRES 1950'S DOME CAR: La Pasada Hotel, located at the Amtrak stop in Winslow, Arizona, has acquired dome car 52, and it is spotted on the spur track at the end of the platform adjacent to what will one day be a museum and art gallery. There are plans for it to be restored. La Pasada is a former Harvey House hotel. [La Pasada Turquois Room newsletter, 8-25-16]

BOMBARDIER OPENS SOUTH AFRICAN PRODUCTION SITE: Bombardier has inaugurated a new South African production site and headquarters in Johannesburg. The facility will produce Mitrac traction equipment for use in Traxx Africa locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-25-16]

EXPANSION PLANNED FOR NEVADA STATE R.R. MUSEUM: The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City will begin planning an expansion of its visitor center with a grant from the state's department of tourism. The Boulder Branch Railroad, which was completed in 1931 to supply materials for construction of Hoover Dam, was abandoned by Union Pacific in 1985 and donated to the museum. [Las Vegas Review-Journal website report, 8-24-16]

NEW TRAINS ORDERED FOR STOCKHOLM: Stadler has been selected as preferred bidder in a $240-million contract to supply 22 electric multiple-units for the 40-mile Roglagsbanan linking Stockholm, Sweden, with districts to the north and east of the city. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-24-16]

METRA TO PAINT STATION IN PULLMAN RAIL-CAR COLORS: Metra will paint the 111th Street/Pullman station warming house with the same colors as the Gertrude Emma, a Pullman Palace Car Co. rail car that was manufactured in Chicago' South Sode neighborhood. The car was used on the Pennsylvania Limited between Chicago and New York. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-24-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Aug. 20, 2018, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 531,484 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.4 percent compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 8-24-16]

AUGUST MILESTONE; PRR LOCOMOTIVES: In August 1949, the Pennsylvania Railroad said it had received the last of 145 road diesel locomotives it had ordered since the second World War. All principal east-west passenger and freight trains were then dieselized. Passenger service was 42 percent diesel, 39 percent electric, and 19 percent steam. [Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society]

CSX TO BOOST SPEED, CAPACITY ON KEY INDIANA ROUTE: CSX says that longer, faster, and more frequent trains will travel along its route between Seymour and Butlerville, Indiana, as early as Sept. 7. Train speeds are set to increase from the current 25 MPH to a maximum of 40 MPH at several locations. The changes work in tandem with adjustments on the Louisville & Indiana Railroad, which also entailed bringing in additional trains at higher speeds between Seymour and Louisville. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-23-16]

DENMARK ORDERS 26 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES TO REPLACE DIESELS: Danish State Railways has agreed to acquire 26 electric locomotives to replace its fleet of class ME diesel locomotives built in the early 1980's. The new electric locomotives will be used with Bombardier push-pull double-deck coaches in regional services. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-23-16]

SAN DIEGO GETS $66-M STATE GRANT TOWARD PASSENGER RAIL DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECTS: The San Diego Association of Governments will use $66-million in state funds to expand Coaster, Metrolink and Amtrak services. The money will be leveraged with local dollars to accelerate double-tracking of the entire coastal rail corridor in San Diego County. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-22-16]

INDIANA PANEL APPROVES $20-M FOR COMMUTER RAIL EXPANSION: The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has committed up to $20-million to fund the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District's development phase for the West Lake corridor expansion project. Included will be double-tracking the existing South Shore line from Gary to Michigan City. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-22-16]

UNION PACIFIC GETS $8.3-M TOWARD PORTLAND, OREGON, RAIL SPEED IMPROVEMENT PROJECT: The Oregon Transportation Commission has approved about $8.3-million to fund its Portland Passenger-Freight rail speed improvement project. Upon completion of track, signal and elevation improvements, passenger and freight rail wait times will be reduced by up to 21 minutes per train, and eliminate the need for an existing 10 MPH speed restriction impacting about 35 trains each day. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-22-16]

N.Y. PENN STATION TO GET DIGITAL-DISPLAY DEPARTURE BOARD: Amtrak is in the process of replacing the central departure board at New York's Penn Station with digital information screens. The switch over to digital is scheduled for comnpletion this year, and the existing departure screen will be demolished. [Gothamist website report, 8-22-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending August 21, 2016, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 30 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final terminal on time or earlier. The other 70 percent arrived behind schedule, on average, by one hour and 13 minutes. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-22-16]

HISTORIC MARKER TO HONOR 'FRIED GREEN TOMATOES' TRAIN: A marker will be erected at the historic depot in Auburn, Alabama, Aug. 21 in honor of the train featured in the film 'Fried Green Tomatoes' that traveled through Auburn for 45 years. The Auburn Heritage Association will place the marker in honor of the Crescent passenger train, which stopped serving Auburn in 1970. [WRCB-TV website report, 8-21-16]

WICK MOORMAN TO BE NEXT CEO OF AMTRAK: Amtrak announced Aug. 19 that longtime rail industry executive Charles 'Wick' Moorman will be the company's next president and CEO, beginning Sept. 1. Moorman, who had retired last year from Norfolk Southern after 40 years of service, succeeds Joe Boardman. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 8-19-16]

TWO KILLED, 17 INJURED IN BUS CRASH IN N.J.: Two New Jersey Transit buses collided Aug. 19 in downtown Newark, killing two people and injuring 17 others, some of them critically, officials said. The driver of one of the buses and a passenger aboard the other were killed. The accident is under investigation, but authorities were working to confirm reports that one of the drivers may have run a red light. [NBC N.Y. website report, 8-19-16]

VANCOUVER, B.C., LAUNCHES SKYTRAIN MARK III FLEET: A new generation of rolling stock entered passenger service on Vancouver's SkyTrain driverless light metro network Aug. 18 with introduction of the first Mark III train. Translink placed an order with Bombardier in 2012 for seven 4-car Innovia 300 trains to expand fleet capacity for the opening of the Evergreen line from Lougheed to Port Moody and Coquitlam later this year. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-18-16]

LIGHT-RAIL, COMMUTER RAIL EXPANSION PROPOSED FOR NASHVILLE: Proposals for a 46-mile light-rail network and a second commuter rail line for Nashville have been included in a 25-year transit strategy for the region as presented to the board of Nashville's Metropolitan Transit Authority and Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee Aug. 17. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-18-16]

NEW INTERCITY RAIL CARS FOR NEW SOUTH WALES: Transport for NSW has awarded a $2.3-billion contract for supply and maintainance of 512 double-track rail cars, with deliveries expected to take place between 2019 and 2022. The order includes options which could expand the number of cars to 648. [Global Rail News website report, 8-18-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Aug. 13, total U.S. rail freight carload and intermodal unit traffic was down 5.3 percent compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 8-17-16]

MAGNET DIRECT-DRIVE TRAIN ENTERS SERVICE IN CHINA: China's first metro train fitted with permanent magnet direct-drive traction motors entered trial passenger service June 28 following two years of research and development. Test results concluded that the system reduced traction energy consumption by 15 percent, which could double if the maximum amount of energy regeneration is achieved. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-17-16]

CALTRAIN AWARDS TRAIN, ELECTRIFICATION CONTRACTS: Caltrain, which operates the San Francisco-San Jose commuter rail line, has awarded contracts to Stadler Rail for new trains and Balfour Beatty to electrify the 52-mile line, for service beginning in 2020. Included are 96 double-deck cars, with an option for an additional 96 cars. Maximum speed will be 110 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-16-16]

CANADIAN PACIFIC FINED FOR RADIO VIOLATIONS: The Federal Communication Commission has fined Canadian Pacific $1.21-million for operating more than 100 wireless radio facilities in the U.S. without prior FCC approval, along with failure to obtain authorizations for the transfer of control of 30 wireless radio licenses. [Benzinga website report, 8-16-16]

FTA ISSUES SAFETY DIRECTIVE TO WASHINGTON METRO OVER STOP SIGNAL OVERRUNS: The Federal Transit Administration has issued a safety directive to Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority to address concerns over stop signal overruns. Eleven corrective actions are required from findings of a stop signal overrun investigation report, prepared from a spring safety blitz assessment. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-16-16]

MEXICO CITY ORDERS TEN RUBBER-TIRE METRO TRAINS FOR LINE 1: Mexico City's Collective Transport System has awarded a contract for ten rubber-tire, nine-car metro trains for Line 1. Delivery will begin at the rate of two trains per month beginning 20 months after the signing of the contract. [Railway Age website report, 8-16-16]

WOMAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING CONDUCTOR AFTER REFUSING TO PAY TRAIN FARE: A Sharon, Massachusetts, woman attacked a Massachusetts Bay train conductor after refusing to pay a fare, police said. She allegedly attacked the conductor by kicking, punching and biting him. Police say she also produced a folding knife and threatened to stab the conductor. [Patch website report, 8-16-16]

KENYA HALTS WORK ON NAIROBI-NAIVASHA RAILWAY PROJECT: The government of Kenya has stopped work on the standard-gauge railway project from Nairobi to Naivasha. The transport ministry said the route, being built by a Chinese company, lacked proper approval, a requirement before an environmental impact assessment study is commissioned. [Daily Nation website report, 8-16-16]

MAN STRUCK BY LIRR TRAIN, WIDESPREAD DELAYS RESULT: An unauthorized pedestrian was struck and injured by a Long Island Rail Road train in Westbury, N.Y., during the evening rush Aug. 15. The train was delayed at the scene for about an hour, and other trains, mostly on the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches, were delayed as a result. [Newsday website report, 8-15-16]

SIX RESCUED FROM HOT R.R. BOXCAR IN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT: Border Patrol agents rescued six men - five Mexicans and one American - who were locked inside a hot railroad box car in an apparent smuggling attempt. Police in El Centro, California, received a call from inside the car Aug. 12, after the occupants had run out of water and were dehydrated. The American was arrested on smuggling charges. CBS 8 website report, 8-15-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Twenty-nine percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier during the week ending Aug. 14, 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains that week was 56 minutes late. The average arrival of the 71 percent of trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 19 minutes late. This survey was conducted by the Bull Sheet and did not comprehend any grace allowance for minimal tardiness. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-15-16]

FIRST REFURBISHED POLAR BEAR EXPRESS CAR UNVEILED: Ontario unveiled the first of 16 refurbished Polar Bear Express passenger cars in North Bay on Aug. 12. The province has invested $17-million in upgrading the rail service that provides the only year-round ground transport link connecting Cochrane with Moosonee and the James Bay Coast. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-15-16]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO ACQUIRE PROVIDENCE & WORCESTER R.R.: The board of the Providence & Worcester Railroad has announced that the company will be acquired by Genesee & Wyoming for approximately $126-million. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth-quarter 2016, and is subject to approval by the company's shareholders, satisfaction of regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. [Providence & Worcester, 8-15-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES TRAILER IN CALIFORNIA: An Amtrak San Joaquin train heading west from Stockton struck a truck trailer on the tracks late Aug. 15. One member of the crew - believed to be the engineer - was taken to the hospital for observation, but no other injuries were reported. [Stockton Record, 8-15-16]

CONTAINER FALLS FROM CRANE, KILLING ONE, AT JERSEY CITY RAIL YARD: A worker at a Jersey City rail yard died late Aug. 15 when a container crushed the cab of the machine in which he was working. The victim was an employee of a company working under contract with Norfolk Southern. [ report, 8-15-16]

MAN SETS SWISS TRAIN ON FIRE, ATTACKS PASSENGERS WITH KNIFE: A man with a knife set fire to a train at the Salez station in northeastern Switzerland Aug. 8, sending six people to the hospital with stab wounds and burns, police say. The suspect, described as a 27-year-old Swiss man, who was apprehended, was also injured. He had ignited a flammable liquid before attacking poeple with his knife, according to police. The incident is under investigation. [BBC website report, 8-13-16]

METRA SUSPENDS PROCUREMENT FOR 367 GALLERY CARS: Chicago commuter rail operator Metra has suspended the procurement process for 367 gallery cars for which it had issued a request for proposals in February. The decision was taken due to changes to the funding of the agency's modernization program. Metra says it is investigating if it can acquire and refurbish cars from other operators. [Railway Gazette website report, 8-12-16]

AAR PETITIONS STB'S ON-TIME PERFORMANCE RULE: Following the Surface Transportation Board's rule to define on-time performance for passenger rail using on-time arrival and departure at all stations along a passenger train's route, the Association of American Railroads filed a petition with a U.S. court questioning the board's authority to define on-time for passenger rail. The AAR maintains that Congress gave the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak the authority to define on-time performance, not the STB. The AAR had petitioned the STB in Jan. 2015 to pursue rulemaking proceedings to define on-time performance. The STB agreed to AAR's request, and originally issued a preliminary finding that favored freight traffic. The AAR supported this interpretation. However, following a concerted advocacy campaign, the STB revised the proposal and issued a more passenger-friendly ruling. Having not gotten their way, the AAR finds itself in the position of accusing the STB - which only issued the ruling in the first place in response to an AAR request - of not having jurisdiction over on-time performance. Meanwhile, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Canadian National have each filed their own suits against the board. Each of these railroads are under STB investigation for poor performance on Amtrak routes that use their tracks. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline report, 8-12-16]

JAPAN TO FUND $2.4-B RAIL PROJECT IN PHILIPPINES: Japan announced it is pouring a massive $2.4-billion into a new railway in the Philippines aimed at easing Manila's notorious gridlock. The 24-mile elevated commuter line would connect Manila to nearby Balacan province to decongest the capital and help spur economic activity. [ABS-CBN website report, 8-12-16]

YADKIN VALLEY R.R. REPAIRS UNDER WAY FROM FLOOD: Heavy downpours last week overwhelmed a culvert along the Yadkin Valley Railroad line in the Ararat area of North Carolina, near Mount Airy, washing out the ground to leave a portion of track exposed. A train typically makes a run to Mount Airy once or twice a week. Repairs are ongoing. But until they are completed, shipments are halted. Customers are not yet in dire need of their products, according to the railroad. [Mt. Airy News website report, 8-11-16]

DUTCH FOUR-TRACKING PROJECT COMPLETED SOUTH OF AMSTERDAM: A major capacity enhancement project south of Amsterdam has been completed along one of the busiest rail lines in the Netherlands. The five-mile line was closed for 11 days while final construction widened the line from two tracks to four. Sixteen new bridges have been added. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-11-16]

FEDS PROPOSE RECIPROCAL SWITCHING RULE FOR CAPTIVE RAIL SHIPPERS: The Surface Transportation Board has proposed a new rule to allow shipping companies, without access to other modes of transport, to switch their freight to competing rail lines. The rule would only apply to 'captive shippers,' which are shipping companies with access to only one rail line. Shippers believe that reciprocal switching will help them save millions as it will open up additional options, make operations easier and reduce freight movement costs. But the railroad industry opposes the measure. [Zachs website report, 8-11-16]

CHARGER DIESEL BEING TESTED: The first Siemens SC-44 Charger diesel locomotive has begun test running at up to 125 MPH at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado. [Railway Gazette website report, 8-11-16]

AMTRAK SET TO ISSUE REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS FOR DEVELOMENT OF BALTIMORE'S PENN STATION: Amtrak continues on the public-private partnership path for Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station. A request for qualifications is in the works, seeking a master developer partnership for the station and adjacent properties. Amtrak expects to release the request for qualifications later this month. [Railway Age website report, 8-10-16]

R.I. CITIES SEEK NEW TRAIN STATION TO STIMULATE ECONOMY: Dozens of commuter and Amtrak trains pass through two Rhode Island cities of Central Falls and Pawtucket each day, without stopping. A dilapidated former station which closed in 1959 had served both cities stands next to and above the right-of-way. Subsequent efforts to build an acceptable facility for trains failed, but earlier this year a Brookings Institution report urged the state to priortize a new station to serve Pawtucket and Central Falls to improve access to Boston-area jobs and spur development. A substantial source of funding is needed. [CityLab website report, 8-10-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Aug. 6, 2016, the Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic included 531,595 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.5 percent compared with the same week last year. For the first 31 weeks of 2016, combined U.S. freight traffic was down 7.4 percent compared to the same period last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-10-16]

CSX DESIGNATES 'SELECT SITE' TO BUSINESS PARK IN INDIANA: CSX has announced that a portion of the Lebanon, Indiana, Business Park has been designated a CSX Select Site, a development-ready property along the company's rail network where standard land use issues and comprehensive due diligence items have been addressed. [CSX, 8-9-16]

BATON ROUGE GETS ENVIRONMENTAL CLEARANCE FOR STREETCAR PROJECT: Baton Rouge may now move into the project development and design stage for its 3-mile streetcar system after the Federal Transit Administration reported 'no significant impact,' giving the city three years to begin construction. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-9-16]

MINNEAPOLIS GREEN LINE EXTENSION COST JUMPS BY $19-M: The cost to build the Minneapolis Green Line light-rail extension has increased by $19-million, to nearly $1.9-billion, the Metropolitan Council announced Aug. 8. It attributed to increase to 'inaction' by state House leadership to provide the remaining state share of funding. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-9-16]

PHILIPPINES ADOPTS STANDARD-GAUGE FOR NEW RAIL LINES: The Philippines National Economic Development authority has approved the adoption of standard-gauge for all future railway projects in the country. The standard-gauge will replace the 1067mm (42-inch) gauge used on the 298-mile national railway network, and will provide a better choice of technology from international suppliers and enable higher operating speeds. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-9-16]

RAILFAN IN U.K. KILLED WHILE LEANING FROM A TRAIN WINDOW: A man known to be a 'rail fanatic' was killed Aug. 7 while leaning from a window and struck, possibly by a passing train, while on the Gatwick Express in London. He was 24. [BBC website report, 8-9-16]

TAVERN NAMED 'DERAILED' STRUCK BY DERAILED TRAIN: A Charles City, Iowa, bar by the name of 'DeRailed' was met with an ironic fate after it was struck by a derailed train early Aug. 9. There was some damage to the building, but there were no people inside at the time. [UPI website report, 8-9-16]

AMTRAK TO UPGRADE ITS ACELA SERVICE WITH EVEN FASTER TRAINS: Amtrak plans to run new, faster trains on the busy Norheast corridor with locomotives pulling passengers at up to 160 MPH in certain sections. The $2.5-billion project, to be announced later this month, will replace the current 20-year-old Acela Express trains with new equipment. [USA Today website report, 8-8-16]

BNSF REPORTS LOWER 2-Q EARNINGS: BNSF's net income fell 20 percent in the second-quarter to $772-million, and total revenue declined 15 percent compared with year-ago results. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-8-16]

STB DETERMINES RAIL INDUSTRY'S 2015 COST OF CAPITAL: The Surface Transportation Board has determined the rail industry's after-tax cost of capital in 2015 was 9.61 percent, compared with 10.65 percent in 2014. The figure representes the board's estimate of the average rate of return needed to persuade investors to provide capital to the freight rail industry. [Railway Age website report, 8-8-16]

BNSF RUNNING RECORD NUMBER OF LARGE GRAIN TRAINS: While the volume of oil and coal business with BNSF Railway has fallen off, the company is capitalizing on its $15-billion infrastructure upgrading of the past three years to accommodate such commodities, and making use of available locomotives and crew personnel, by having the capacity to run a record number of large grain trains. World demand for corn is spiking now, partly due to Brazil's crop getting hit by drought and the U.S. dollar softening against that country's currency, and partly due to strong demand from Korea, Taiwan and Japan. BNSF has 27,000 grain cars, each capable of hauling nearly 4,000 bushels of corn or about 3,500 bushels of wheat. All of the cars should be available to haul crops. [Capital Journal website report, 8-8-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Twenty-seven percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 7, 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains that week was 59 minutes late. Of the 73 percent of the trains that were behind schedule, the average arrival was one hour and 20 minutes late. This survey was conducted without grace arrival allowance for minimal tardiness, and has stricter fundamentals than those used by Amtrak when reporting its own train performance. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-8-16]

MAN DIES IN FALL FROM CSX SIGNAL TOWER: Police in East Rochester, N.Y., say a man died after climbing up, and then slipped off a CSX railroad signal tower and onto tracks early Aug. 8. He was not an employee. The man was not struck by a train, but rail traffic was interrupted for three hours during the investigation. [Time Warner Cable News website report, 8-8-16]

PROCESS OF REMOVING LONE STAR RAIL PROJECT BEGINS: The plan to build the Lone Star rail line between San Antonio and Georgetown, Texas, could come to an end this fall. In the works for more than a decade, nearly $30-million has gone into the planning. While the train was slated to run on 117 miles of Union Pacific track, there were multiple proposed stops throughout north and central Austin. But back in February, Union Pacific pulled out of the deal. It had concerns it would be unable to share the tracks becvause it could hurt its business. The planning board involved with the project expects to take final action on the plan in October. [KXAN website report, 8-8-16]

SPRINTER LOCOMOTIVES REDUCE DELAY TIMES IN NORTHEAST: The introduction of Amtrak Cities Sprinter ACS-64 locomotives have improved on-time performance for trains on the Northeast and Keystone corridors, the company says. Compared to the legacy fleet operating in 2013, the new locomotives have reduced delay times by 30 percent. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-5-16]

SEPTA TO BEGIN RETURNING SILVERLINER V CARS TO SERVICE LATER THIS MONTH: SEPTA plans to begin returning its fleet of Silverliner V rail cars to service at the rate of 10 a week beginning Aug. 21. All 120 of the cars are expected to be back in service by the week of Nov. 6, officials said. The cars were removed from service July 1 due to structural defects. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-4-16]

BROOKVILLE SHIPS FOURTH LIBERTY STREETCAR TO DALLAS: Brookville Equipment's fourth off-wire capable Liberty Streetcar departed for Dallas six months ahead of schedule during the week of July 25, concluding manufacturing on an order of two option vehicles initiated in July 2015. [Railway Age website report, 8-4-16]

AMTRAK SERVICE TO WICHITA 'A POSSIBILITY,' AMTRAK BOSS SAYS: Amtrak president and CEO Joe Boasrdman said Amtrak is considering the possibility of restoring rail service from Newton, Kansas, through Wichita, to link up with Oklahoma and Texas trains. But he saiys that depends on whether states and communities are willing to support it. [Topeka Capital-Journal website report, 8-4-16]

ELEVATED, TRAFFIC-STRADDLING BUS BEING TESTED IN CHINA: A 72-foot elevated 'bus,' with a capacity of 300 passengers, and constructed to cruise over two lanes of traffic, was tested earlier this week in a Chinese city. Autos would pass or be passed beneath the vehicle, between the wheels and support structures. The company that developed the vehicle says there has been interest in such a vehicle in Brazil, France, India and Indonesia. [UPI website report, 8-4-16]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT FOR JULY 2016: For the month of July, the Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic, combining carload and intermodal originations, dropped 7.9 percent from the corresponding month last year. Coal traffic was down 17.5 percent. Petroleum and petroleum product traffic was down 22 percent. [Railway Age website report, 8-3-16]

GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY IN U.K. ORDERS SEVEN MORE HITACHI TRAINSETS: Franchised passenger operator Great Western Railway and leasing company Eversholt Rail have confirmed an order for an additional seven electro-diesel trainsets from Hitachi Rail. [Railway Gazette website report, 8-3-16]

TORONTO PLANS PARK ATOP RAIL YARD: A 21-acre 'Rail Deck Park,' to be built atop a rail yard in Toronto, to extend between Bathurst Street and the Rogers Center, was announced by the city's mayor Aug. 3. There is not yet a clear timeline or cost for the project. [CBC website report, 8-3-16]

COURT RULING ON PURPLE LINE COULD SET BACK CONSTRUCTION: Construction of the light-rail Purple line in the Washington suburbs could be delayed based on a federal judge's ruling Aug. 3 requiring that the project's ridership forecasts be redone to account for D.C. Metro's deterioration and declining ridership. The Purple line will not be part of Metro, but it will connect to four Metro stations, and more than a quarter of the line's riders are expected to be Metro passengers feeding into the light-rail system. Major construction had been scheduled to begin late this fall. [Washington Post website report, 8-3-16]

PERSHING SQUARE SELLING ITS STAKE IN CANADIAN PACIFIC: Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management is unloading its entire stake of 9.84 million shares in Canadian Pacific, almost five years after sparking a turnaround at the company and becoming its biggest shareholder. [Calgary Herald website report, 8-3-16]

NEW METRO TRAINS FOR BRUSSELS: CAF has confirmed an order for supply of 43 new metro units for Brussels. Delivery will begin in 2019. Initially, the new trains will operate using the existing signaling system, but a new CBTC system will be provided by Ansaldo STS. [Global Rail News website report, 8-3-16]

DETERIORATED CROSSTIES SUSPECTED IN D.C. METRO DERAILMENT: A preliminary investigation by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority into the two-car derailment in Virginia on July 29 found deteriorated crossties to be a factor. Service was restored Aug. 1. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-2-16]

BRIDGE COLLAPSE IN ENGLAND CAUSES RAIL DISRUPTIONS: Trains between London, Nottingham, Derby and Leicester have been canceled or delayed because of a bridge collapse at Barrow Upon Soar early Aug. 2. Network Rail has been working to clear the route, but does not expect it to reopen quickly. [BBC website report, 8-2-16]

WABTEC ACQUIRES GERKEN GROUP: Wabtec has acquired Gerken Group, a manufacturer of specialty carbon and graphite products for rail and other industrial applications. The acquired company has annual sales of $40-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-2-16]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 2-Q LOSS: For the second-quarter 2016, FreightCar America reported a net loss of $500,000 compared with net income of $7.4-million during the same period last year. Over the next year, the company plans to cut annual operating costs by $5-million through a 15 percent reduction of its salaried work force, closure of its administrative office in Johnstown, Pa., and other reductions. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-2-16]

VOSSLOH LANDS $156.7-MILLION FRENCH ORDER FOR 44 DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: Vossloh Locomotives has signed a contract with French company Akiem for the delivery of 44 diesel-electric locomotives at a value of $156.7-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-2-16]

MBTA MULLS LAYOFFS TO CLOSE DEFICIT: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority is considering laying off workers to close a potential $110-million deficit in FY-2017, which began July 1. The agency employs 6,500 workers and could reduce that number by 300, news station WWLP reported. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-2-16]

INCHEON OPENS METRO LINE 2: The Korean city of Incheon has opened its second metro line, almost 17 years after the opening of its first line. Line 2 is a driverless, 18-mile, mostly underground line with 27 stations, linking from north to south and southeast of the city. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-2-16]

GO TRANSIT TO PURCHASE 125 TWO-LEVEL COMMUTER CARS: Bombardier's rail division says Ontario's GO Transit will be getting 125 additional two-level commuter rail cars to be produced over a two-year period in Thunder Bay. Bombardier valued the order at $428-million. [Globe & Mail website report, 8-2-16]

CENTRAL TEXAS & COLORADO RIVER BEGINS OPERATIONS: The Central Texas & Colorado River Railway - formerly Heart of Texas Railroad - began operations Aug. 2. The 68-mile line runs west from Lometa, Texas, where it interchanges with BNSF, to Brady, Texas. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-2-16]

HOOSIER STATE PASSENGER TRAIN MARKS ONE YEAR UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: Aug. 2 marks the one-year anniversary of the refurbished, four-day-a-week Hoosier State train. In the year since it changed management and equipment, ticket revenue has increased 14 percent overall, including more than 65 percent in June and 63 percent in July, compared with the corresponding months in 2015. Upgrades to the train include the addition of a domed lounge and dining car. There are now four cars instead of two, and business-class seating is available. [Indianapolis Star website report, 8-2-16]

JULY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: The Bull Sheet has calculated that 30 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in July 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains that month was 59 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 24 minutes late. The survey was conducted without grace allowance for trains minimally late. If a train were to arrive at its final destination one minute late, it would be considered arriving late. There is sufficient padding in long-distance train schedules to discount any need for a grace arrival allowance. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-1-16]

FEDS ISSUE NEW RULE ON PASSENGER-RAIL SAFETY: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a new rule that requires passenger railroads to put into place a defined and measurable safety culture; identify potential safety hazards and reduce or eliminate them; and to document and demonstrate how they will achieve compliance with regulations. [Progresssive Railroading website report, 8-1-16]

ILLINOIS HIKES FINES FOR IGNORING RAIL CROSSING LIGHTS: Illinois has enacted a new law doubling the fines currently on the books for disregarding railroad crossing lights. A first offense willnow cost $500, and for each offense after that there will be a $1,000 fine. [NBC Chicago website report, 8-1-16]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Genesee & Wyoming reported operating revenues dropped 7.5 percent in the second-quarter 2016 compared with the same quarter last year. Adjusted operating income decreased 5.3 percent to $94.4-million. Diluted earnings per common share decreased 9.8 percent to 83 cents. Still, the company said its financial results for the quarter were well ahead of their outlook. [Genesee & Wyoming, 8-1-16]

NORTHERN MICHIGAN TRAIN STUDY TO BEGIN THIS FALL: Officials have announced a major passenger rail study to explore regular service between Ann Arbor and the Petoskey and Traverse City areas. The study, to begin this fall, is expected to address questions of existing track conditions, potential costs, economic impact, demand, and operating structure. [Petoskey News website report, 8-1-16]

BNSF, UNION PACIFIC SUE OVER CALIFORNIA HAZMAT TAX: BNSF and Union Pacific have sued the California Borad of Equalization over a tax that they say unfairly targets trains, but not more accident-prone trucks, carrying hazardous waste. [Courthouse News Service website report, 8-1-16]

SHORT LINE LEASES 309 MILES OF NORFOLK SOUTHERN LINE IN W.VA., OHIO: The Kanawha River Railroad, a subsidiary of Watco Companies, will operate a rail line from outside of Mullens, W.Va., through the Kanawha Valley, and on to Columbus, Ohio, in a lease agreement with Norfolk Southern, which basically suspended most of the line this past February. Watco said the new railroad will be the company's 36th short line, and its first in West Virginia. [WSAZ website report, 7-31-16]

D.C. METRO TRAIN DERAILS IN VIRGINIA: The fourth and fifth cars of a six-car Silver Line Metro train derailed just east of the East Falls Church station in Virginia early July 29, although they remained upright and in line. The accident happened at a junction of where two Metro lines meet. One passenger was injured and taken to a hospital; two others were treated on the scene. The accident resulted in a lengthy suspension of Silver and Orange line service through the area. [WTOP website report, 7-30-16]

EXPANSION PLANNED FOR GREEN BAY'S RAILROAD MUSEUM: The National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has plans for a major expansion. Potentially, the $20-million project is just a few years away, and officials say it will become a major destination spot for the area. There were about 86,000 visitors to the museum last year, officials said. [WTAQ website report, 7-30-16]

CANADA ADVANCES PHASEOUT DATE FOR DOT-111 TANK CARS: Canada's ministry of transport has announced an acceleration of the phasing out of DOT-111 tank cars for crude oil service to Nov. 1, 2016. The new timeline will phase out unjacket legacy DOT-111 tank cars six months early, and jacketed legacy DOT-111 cars 16 months early. [Railway Age website report, 7-29-16]

FEDS ISSUE DECISIONS ON AMTRAK PERFORMANCE PRIORITY: The Surface Transportation Board has issued two decisions affirming statuatory preference for passenger trains and recognize the importance of service quality at intermediate stations. The board withdrew a proposed rule that would redefine Amtrak's right to preferential dispatch, and revised a proposed rule to include arrival times at all intermediate stops. The National Assn. of Railroad Passengers applauded the July 28 decisions, stating that the board came down on the side of passengers and Amtrak. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 7-28-16]

SOUTHERN INDIANA RAIL LINE TO SEE JUMP IN TRAINS: By early September, more trains are expected to move between Louisville, Kentucky, and Seymour, Indiana, as part of a $100-million improvement to the Louisville & Indiana Railroad. Trains operating on the line by CSX will travel at speeds up to 49 MPH, nearly double the current speed limit, and the number of trains will increase from three or four each day to at least ten each day. [WDRB website report, 7-28-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported a 5.3 percent drop in U.S. rail carloads and intermodal units for the week ending July 23, 2016, compared with the same week last year. For the first 29 weeks of the current year, cumulative traffic volume was down 7.6 percent from the same period last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-28-16]

FEDS TO GRANT $199-M TO COMMUTER RAILROADS FOR PTC: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is accepting applications for $199-million in competitive grant funding to implement positive train-control on commuter railroads. Deadline is Sept. 28. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-28-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COAL TRAIN DERAILS 49 CARS IN TENNESSEE: Norfolk Southern said 49 coal cars derailed in Spring City, Tennessee, shortly after 9 PM July 28. Some of the cars turned onto their sides, spilling coal along the tracks. No injuries were reported. [WRCB-TV website report, 7-28-16]

DEVELOPMENT NEARS COMPLETION ON NEW RUSSIAN HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Evraz has almost completed development of a new rail for use on the planned Moscow-Kazan high-speed line which is intended to have a maximum speed of 248 MPH, and an axleload about 30 percent higher than on other high-speed lines in the world. A special method of heat treatment and steel grade has been introduced for higher endurance, crack resistance, fewer non-metallic inclusions and increased resistance to low temperatures. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-28-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported net income for the second-quarter 2016 of $405-million, compared with $433-million in the same quarter last year. Diluted earnings per share dropped 4 percent to $1.36. Railway operating revenues were $2.5-billion, down 10 percent, and overall volume declined 7 percent. Coal revenues were hit badly, down 25 percent. The company's operating ratio (expenses as a percentage of revenue) was 68.6 percent, compared with 70 percent in the same quarter 2016. [Norfolk Southern, 7-27-16]

AMTRAK LAUNCHING NEW ON-TRAIN MAGAZINE: 'The National' is a new bi-monthly magazine to be distributed to passengers across the system on Amtrak trains beginning in October. It is to be produced by British travel publisher Ink. The title is replacing 'Arrive,' which is distributed only in Amtrak's Northeast sector. [Adweek website report, 7-27-16]

NIGERIA INAUGURATES ABUJA-KADUNA RAILWAY: Nigeria's capital Abuja joined the national railway network July 26 when a 116-mile, standard-gauge link to Kaduna was inaugurated. Maximum speed is about 62 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-26-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-two percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 24, 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains was 51 minutes late. The average arrival of the 68 percent of the trains that were behind time was one hour and 15 minutes late. This survey was conducted without grace arrival allowance, and represents a more accurate analysis than conventionally accepted. The calculations were developed by the Bull Sheet, and will differ from the data furnished by Amtrak, which employs grace allowance of up to 30 minutes to report a train as arriving on time even though it is late. The Bull Sheet considers a train as being late, even if it should arrive behind schedule by only one minute. This practice comprehends that there is sufficient padding in long-distance train schedules to negate any need to compromise late arrivals in showing trains as arriving on time. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-25-16]

DENVER OPENS B LINE COMMUTER RAIL ROUTE: Denver has opened its six-mile B Line commuter-rail route from Westminster to Union Station, where riders may connect to the A, C, E and W light-rail lines. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-25-16]

N.Y. TO CLOSE SUBWAY TUNNEL BETWEEN MANHATTAN & BROOKLYN FOR 18 MONTHS: New York City Transit plans to shut down its Canarsie Tunnel, which conveys the L-Line between Manhattan and Brooklyn, beginning no sooner than 2019, rather than implement a three-year partial shutdown. The tunnel was flooded during superstorm Sandy. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-25-16]

CSX TO SERVE INLAND PORT IN GEORGIA: The Georgia Ports Authority has approved a $19.7-million spending package to construct the Appalachian Regional Port in Chatsworth, to be served by CSX. The railroad will complete off-site improvements to facilitate the new 40-acre site. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-25-16]

WABTEC REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Wabtec reported second-quarter 2016 results affected by lower freight sector-related revenues. Sales were $724-million. with higher sales in the transit group more than offset by lower sales in the freight group. Changes in foreign exchange rates reduced total net sales by $9-million compared to the year-ago quarter, the company said. [Railway Age website report, 7-25-16]

CN REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: CN reported net income of $858-million for the second-quarter 2016, compared with $886-million in the same quarter last year. Operating income declined by 9 percent to $2.8-billion. (Figures are in Canadian dollars.) Carloadings declined 12 percent and revenue ton-miles declined 11 percent. [CN. 7-25-16]

JUDGE SIDES WITH FIRST RESPONDERS IN CSX TRAIN WRECK IN TENNESSEE: A federal district judge has turned aside a bid by CSX and Union Tank Car to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed by emergency responders in a July 2015 freight train derailment in Maryville, Tennessee, that sent poisonous smoke into the air and more than 100 people to the hospital. The judge acknowledged that first responsers face inherently dangerous work, but that doesn't give businesses a blank check to harm them without financial consequences. [Knoxville News Sentinel website report, 7-25-16]

EIGHT KILLED WHEN SCHOOL VAN AND TRAIN COLLIDE IN INDIA: At least eight people, including seven school children, were killed after their van collided with a passenger train in India's Bhadohi district July 25. There were about 19 children in the van at the time of the accident, which occurred at an unstaffed crossing. [NDTV website report, 7-25-16]

LAKE SHORE LIMITED LOSING ITS DINING CAR, TEMPORARILY: A lack of servicable, single-level Heritage dining cars means that Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited between New York and Chicago will lose full-service diners, temporarily. The cars will be replaced by an Amfleet II dinette serving a modified, limited menu, similar to that now offered on the Cardinal and City of New Orleans. Amtrak currently has only 12 single-level dining cars available for service, at least until new Viewliner diners are delivered, expected to be later this summer. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 7-22-16]

LAKE SHORE LIMITED ROUTING THROUGH MICHIGAN BEING CONSIDERED: Amtrak is reportedly considering a rerouting of its Lake Shore Limited, at least as an experiment, on the leg of its journey between Toledo and Chicago by operating via Dearborn and Detroit instead of making its current stops in Indiana. Amtrak says at this point such a rerouting is just part of an analysis of options for the future, and nothing has been officially decided. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 7-22-16]

CALIFORNIA PROPOSES TO LEVY $45-PER-CAR FEE ON RAIL CARS CARRYING DANGEROUS CHEMICALS: California plans to levy a $45 fee later this year on rail cars carrying dangerous chemicals across the state. Money collected will go to a fund to help the state improve its response capabilities. Railroad companies say the proposed fee imposes constraints on interstate commerce of railways and is illegal. Under the state's plan, companies that own the chemicals will pay the fee, not the railroads. [Albany Times Union website report, 7-22-16]

FEDS OK ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT FOR NEW ENGLAND PASSENGER RAIL PLAN: The Federal Railroad administration has concluded a finding of 'no significant impact' for the Northern New England intercity rail initiative calling for more frequent and higher-speed passenger rail service. The plan includes restoring service between Boston and New Haven through Springfield, along with adding new service between Boston and Montreal. Building the infrastructure would cost more than $1-billion, while operating the service would cost $56-million annually. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-21-16]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Union Pacific reported 2016 second-quarter net income of nearly $1.0-billion or $1.17 per diluted share, compared with about $1.2-billion or $1.38 per diluted share in the second-quarter last year, a decline of 15 percent. Operating income totaled $1.7-billion, down 15 percent. Operating ration was 65.2 percent, up 1.1 points. [Union Pacific, 7-21-16]

NEW SIEMENS PLANT IN SACRAMENTO FULLY OPERATIONAL: Siemens' new 60,000-square-foot rail service headquarters in Sacramento, which serves as its U.S. Mobility Customers Services headquarters and West Coast logistics hub, is now fully operational. [Railway Age website report, 7-21-16]

SIEMENS GETS SWEDISH ORDER FOR FIVE VECTRON ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES: Hector Rail, a Swedish open-access operator, has signed an agreement with Siemens for the delivery of five new electric Vectron locomotives, with an option for 15 more. Three of the locomotives will be equipped with a 'last mile' diesel engine allowing them to operate into and out of unelectrified terminals without needing a shunting locomotive. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-21-16]

AGENCY SEEKS CONGRESSIONAL FUNDING FOR MARYLAND'S PURPLE LINE: Officials with the Federal Transit Administration are seeking Congressional sign-off on a funding agreement that will clear the way for major construction on Maryland's 16.2-mile Purple Line light-rail project between Bethesday and New Carrollton, to begin later this year. Congress has 30 days to review what is known as a full funding grant agreement, essentially the government's guarantee to contribute to the project. [Washington Post website report, 7-21-16]

FIRST EMD F125 PASSENGER LOCOMOTIVE RELEASED TO METROLINK: Progress Rail has released its first EMD F125 diesel passenger locomotive to Southern California's Metrolink. The first of 40 such 4,700-horespower units to be delivered, it meets Tier 4 standards, and is capable of speeds up to 125 MPH. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-20-16]

CP POSTS 12 PCT DECLINE IN 2-Q REVENUE, ANNOUNCES NEW CEO: Canadian Pacific's second-quarter 2016 revenue fell 12 percent to $1.45-billion, and net income decreased 16 percent to $328-million. Meanwhile, the company announced that its president and chief operating officer Keith Creel will succeed Hunter Harrison as CEO on July 1, 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-20-16]

CHINA TO INVEST $418-B IN RAIL THROUGH 2020: China has approved the investment of $418-billion to build over 14,000 miles of new rail lines during the five-year plan from 2016 to 2020. This is actually a reduction from the previous five-year plan, but is aimed at better balancing access to parts of the country where transport infrastructure is relatively poor. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-20-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight combined carload and intermodal traffic for the week ending July 16, 2016, was down 5.6 percent compared with the corresponding week in 2015. [Railway Age website report, 7-20-16]

OMNITRAX TO MANAGE RAIL LINE IN ILLINOIS: OmniTrax will manage the newly-renamned Decatur Central Railroad, which links Cisco and Decatur, Illinois, commencing later this year. [OmniTrax, 7-20-16]

MALAYSIA, SINGAPORE COLLABORATE ON HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: Malaysia and Singapore are building a high-speed rail line to connect Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, with six stations in between. Work on the line, which will cover about 217 miles in 90 minutes, will begin in 2018, with expected completion in 10 years. [TTG Asia website report, 7-20-16]

N.Y. PLANS $27-B OVERHAUL OF SUBWAY SYSTEM: New York has unveiled a $27-billion transformation of the city's mass transit system in a five-year capital budget to rebuild 31 subway stations and outfit the system with 1,025 new subway cars. The state is providing more than $8-billion towards the plan. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle website report, 7-19-16]

KCS REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Kansas City Southern reported second-quarter 2016 revenue of $569-million, a decrease of 3 percent from second-quarter last year. Operating income, however, of $220-million, increased 18 percent from the second-quarter 2015. Operating ratio was 61.3 percent, compared with 68.1 percent in the second quarter 2015. [Kansas City Southern, 7-19-16]

NEW METRO STATION PLANNED FOR POTOMAC YARD, VA.: The Northern Virginia Transportation authority has adopted a 2017 transportation program that includes $66-million in funding for a new Potomac Yard Metrorail station, to be served by the Blue and Yellow lines. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-19-16]

TEXAS CENTRAL HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT DOES NOT REQUIRE STB APPROVAL: The Surface Transportation board has ruled that the proposed 240-mile high-speed Texas Central rail line between Dallas and Houston does not fall under STB jurisdiction, and does not require board approval. The line would be constructed and operated entirely within Texas and would not be part of the interstate rail network, the board said. [Railway Age website report, 7-19-16]

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C., PICKED FOR $272-M CSX RAIL CONTAINER HUB: CSX has chosen a 700-acre site in Rocky Mount, N.C., for a $272-million container hub. State officials approved $122.1-million in financial incentives for the project. CSX says it plans to hire 149 people for the facility, to be called 'Carolina Connector.'. An earlier proposal to construct the site in Johnston County, 50 miles to the south, was rejected in response to landowner opposition. [News Observer website report, 7-19-16]

N.Y. TO ORDER 1,025 NEW METRO RAIL CARS: New York City's MTA is planning to order 1,025 R-211 metro cars, including 750 with full-width gangways, a first for their subway network. Passenger door widths on the new cars will be increased nearly eight inches to improve passenger flow. Studies indicate this could reduce dwell times by up to 32 percent during peak periods. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-19-16]

TWO AMTRAK SUPERVISORS CHARGED IN OVERTIME FRAUD: Two Amtrak supervisors in New Jersey have been charged with overbilling their employer for more than 900 overtime hours they did not work. Prosecutors say officials looked at cellphone records for both of those charged, plus a GPS device attached to a vehicle and video surveillance at one of the homes. [Post Bulletin website report, 7-19-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Twenty-seven percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 17, 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains during the week was one hour and three minutes late. The average arrival of the 73 percent of long-distance trains arriving behind time was one hour and 26 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-18-16]

NETHERLANDS ORDERS 79 INTERCITY TRAINS FROM ALSTOM: Netherlands Railways has concluded a contract with Alstom for 79 single-deck intercity New Generation electric-multiple units. The order for the 124 MPH trains, which will be equipped for operation on both the conventional network and the high-speed South line, comprises 49 five-car and 30 eight-car train sets. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-18-16]

KOREA OPENS NEW SECTION OF GYEONGJEON LINE: Korea's national train operator Korail has opened a newly-realigned section of the Gyeongjeon line, which links the southern provinces of Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces. The new 32-mile section took 10 years to construct, and raises the maximum speed on the section to 93 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-18-16]

SEPTA LEASING 18 COACHES TO HELP EASE CROWDING: SEPTA added five coaches July 18 from Maryland to help ease crowding due to its fleet of Silverliner-V cars having been taken out of service. The five coaches added to those previously leased now total 18 cars, including some from New Jersey and Amtrak. Officials expect to use all the leased equipment through August. [6 ABC website report, 7-18-16]

RAIL DISPATCHER CHARGED IN DEADLY GERMAN TRAIN COLLISION: Prosecutors have charged a railway dispatcher with negligent homicide in the collision of two commuter trains in Bararia Febr. 9 that killed a dozen people. Officials suspect the dispatcher was playing an online game shortly before the two trains collided on a single-track line. [WoodTV website report, 7-18-16]

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN ALONG NEC IN PA.: A pedestrian was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Ridley Park, Pa., early July 15. Train 184, en route to New York, had 359 passengers at the time, none of whom were injured. [6 ABC website report, 7-15-16]

WOMAN KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN VERMONT: A woman was killed by an Amtrak train in Brattleboro, Vermont, the afternoon of July 15. The train, en route to New York, was delayed at the scene for several hours. [WCAX website report, 7-15-16]

THREE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOLLOWING TRAIN COLLISION IN ITALY: Two railway station managers have come under investigation following the July 12 head-on train collision in Italy. One of the managers admitted that he deserved some share of the responsbility, but he was not entirely to blame. A third man is also being investigated. The investigation does not assume guilt, and will not necessarily lead to charges, officials said. Thirty-two people are now reported to have died in the accident. [Deutsche Welle website report, 7-14-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Total U.S. railroad freight traffic fell 17.2 percent to 442,113 combined carloads and intermodal units for the week ending July 9, 2016, the Association of American Railroads reported. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-14-16]

ELECTRICAL ISSUE CAUSES DELAYS ON NYC SUBWAYS: An electrical issue at New York City Transit's main rail control center July 13 caused extensive delays for the agency's subway lines. The problem forced shifting of operations control to a backup center, but residual delays remained on certain routes. The agency is looking into whether the problem stemmed from a contractor working at the rail control center. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-14-16]

INDIANA R.R. OPENS NEW TRANSLOAD FACILITY: The Indiana Rail Road has officially opened the company's new transload, rail-to-truck facility in Merom, Indiana, about 35 miles south of Terre Haute. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-14-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN TENNESSEE AFTER STRIKING TRUCK: Officials are investigating a train and truck collision at a crossing early July 14 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, resulting in a derailment and fuel oil spill. The driver of the truck had to be extricated from the cab, found about 50 yards away in a ditch, and two train crew members on the train were slightly injured. [WRCB-TV website report, 7-14-16]

CSX SEES PROFIT FALLING THROUGH 2016: CSX expects profit to decline for the remainder of the year as freight volume slows and it plans further cost cuts to offset what the railroad's chief executive calls a 'challenging' environment. [The Island Packet website report, 7-14-16]

TALGO TRAIN SETS INDIAN RAIL SPEED RECORD: A locomotive-hauled Talgo variable-gauge train set a new Indian rail speed record on July 13, reaching 112 MPH during trials on the Mathura-Palwal section of the Agra-Dehli line. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-14-16]

PASSENGER TRAINS COLLIDE HEAD-ON IN ITALY, AT LEAST 27 KILLED: Two passenger trains collided head-on July 12 in a rural area of southeastern Italy, killing at least 27 people and injuring more than 50 others. The accident occurred on a single-track line in the Puglia region about nine miles south of the Adriatic Sea. The trains were reportedly traveling between 62 and 68 miles per hour. The death toll is expected to rise, a medical official on the scene said. [CNN website report, 7-13-16]

TRAIN CRASH INQUIRY WILL EXAMINE ANTIQUATED TELEPHONE ALERT SYSTEM: Delayed rail improvements and an antiquated telephone alert system will be considered as part of the investigation into the head-on train crash July 12 in Italy. It was noted that the particular stretch of track did not have an automatic alert system that would engage if two trains were close by and on the same track, but on a procedure relying on stationmasters phoning one another to advise of a departing train. [The Guardian website report, 7-13-16]

CSX REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: CSX announced second-quarter 2016 net earnings of $445-million or .47 per share, down from $553-million or .56 per share in the same period last year. Revenue for the quarter declined 12 percent, driven primarily by an overall 9 percent volume decline that impacted nearly all markets, including coal declines of more than 30 percent. [CSX, 7-13-16]

RAIL TANK CAR UPGRADES COULD TAKE 15 YEARS, NTSB SAYS: Accident-prone tank cars used for hauling crude oil and ethanol by rail could remain in service for another 15 years under federal rules that allow companies to phase in upgrades to their aging fleet, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety board. [San Antonio Express News website report, 7-13-16]

OKLAHOMA SEEKS OPERATOR FOR HEARTLAND FLYER: The Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation has heard back from seven entities looking at taking over operations of the Heartland Flyer passenger service. Amtrak, the current operator, has responded, as well as Corridor Capital, Erie Lackawanna, First Transit, Herzog, Iowa Pacific, and PTSI Transportation.The department has no timeline on when or if operations for the service will be put out for bid. [News 9 website report, 7-13-16]

CSX TO KEEP HUNTINGTON OFFICE OPEN: CSX has decided to continue using some of its administrative offices in Huntington, W.Va., and the building will remain open. In January, the company had announced that the offices would close, affecting 121 management and union employees, due to the consolidation of the Huntington Division into neighboring divisions. That consolidation is now complete, but maintenance workers, public safety and community affairs managers and some operations managers will now remain at the former division headquarters. [Herald-Dispatch website report, 7-13-16]

CHINA COMPLETES 9.9-MILE HIGH-SPEED RAIL TUNNEL: Chinese engineers have completed construction of a 52,457-foot-long double-track railroad tunnel on the new Xi'an-Chengdu high-speed line, which is due to open in late 2017. The tunnel is claimed to be the longest double-track tunnel on the Chinese high-speed network. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-13-16]

DESIGN TEAM SELECTED FOR CHICAGO UNION STATION PROJECT: Amtrak, Metra and Chicago officials have announced the selection of engineering group Arup as the design team for the Union Station restoration project. Arup will advance design work for expanded concourses and entrances, widening of platforms, ADA compliance, pedestrian passageways and ventilation. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-12-16]

MASSACHUSETTS TO PAY KEOLIS ADDITIONAL $66-M TO ADD TRAINS, EXPAND MAINTENANCE: Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority officials will pay its commuter rail operator Keolis at least $66-million more over the next six years - and $15-million more this year - to run and maintain more trains, a costly move they say is necessary to deal with rampant canceled and delayed service. The decision comes as commuters are facing higher fares on the network of trains into Boston. The transportation secretary said the current $2.68-billion contract was not producing the performance that was wanted. [Boston Herald website report, 7-12-16]

FEDS WANT ALTERNATIVE ROUTE PROPOSALS FOR GREAT LAKES BASIN RAIL LINE: The Surface Transportation board has told Great Lakes Basin Transportation that it needs to provide details on alternatives to its preferred alignment for the proposed 278-mile freight rail line around Chicago. The board needs this information before its office of environmental analysis can issue a final scope of study for the environmental impact statement. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-11-16]

SEPTA LEASING RAIL CARS TO COPE WITH EQUIPMENT ISSUES: SEPTA estimates it is spending over $257,000 per month to lease train cars from regional transit agencies to help alleviate the loss of one-third of its regional rail fleet pulled from service July 1. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 7-11-16]

ABERDEEN, MD., TRAIN STATION GETTING UPGRADES: The MARC train station is set to undergo repairs this month as the Maryland Transit administration plans to renovate the 73-year old facility. [Baltimore Sun website report, 7-11-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 10, 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains was one hour and one minute late. The average arrival of the 66 percent of those trains arriving behind schedule was one hour and 23 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-11-16]

MONEY ALLOCATED TO REPAIR EAST RIVER TRAIN TUNNELS: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has agreed to provide $432-million for repairs to the East River railroad tunnels heavily damaged by superstorm Sandy, despite a federal court decision posing possible delays in the project. [Times Ledger website report, 7-10-16]

COAL EXPORTS THROUGH HAMPTON ROADS CONTINUE TO DROP: Coal exports from the port of Hampton Roads, Va., continue to tank in the first six months of 2016 - down nearly 30 percent from the same period last year - following a portwide, year-over-year drop of about 35 percent in 2015. Coal production in the U.S. is expected to drop by 155 million tons in 2016, a decrease of about 17 percent, the largest decline in terms of both tons and percentage since data collection began in 1949. [Virginian-Pilot website report, 7-9-16]

CALTRAIN APPROVES ELECTRIFICATION CONTRACTS: Caltrain has approved contracts with a total value of $1.25-billion for the electrification of the San Francisco-San Jose line together with a new fleet of electric trains. Balfour Beatty has been selected for a design-build contract to electrify the 51-mile line, while Stadler will supply a fleet of double-deck electric multiple-units to replace the locomotive-hauled trains currently in operation. The trains will initially operate at up to 79 MPH, but will need to be capable of 110 MPH for blended operation with California High-Speed trains, which will use the same corridor. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-8-16]

GE MANUFACTURING SOLUTIONS CELEBRATES ITS 1000TH LOCOMOTIVE: Employees attended a ceremony to mark the rollout of the 1000th locomotive from GE Manufacturing Solutions' plant in Fort Worth on July 7, three and one-half years after the start of production at the facility. The milestone locomotive was an ET44AC Evolution series for CN, number 3087. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-8-16]

OAKLAND WELCOMES FIRST TRAIN TO USE ITS NEW RAIL FACILITY: The Port of Oakland, California, has welcomed the first train to use a new, $100-million near-dock rail facility located on the site of a former Army base. The new tracks are located in the port's Outer Harbor Intermodal terminal area, and designed as part of a strategy to enhance the port's intermodal capacilities. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-8-16]

COMMUTER TRAIN EXPLOSION IN TAIWAN INJURES 25: There was an explosion late July 7 in Taipei, Taiwan, in a coach of a commuter train leaving at least 25 people wounded. Authorities are investigating the incident, but they have ruled out organized terrorism. Most of the injuries were minor, but one person was in critical condition. [N.Y. Times website report, 7-8-16]

D.C. METRO TRAIN OPERATOR DISMISSED FOR RED-SIGNAL VIOLATION, NEAR MISSES: Washington DC Metro's general manager has fired a train operator who ran past a red signal, almost hit two track inspectors, and put the train on course to potentially collide with another train. The incident is said to have happened July 5 at Glenmont, Md., on the red line. [WTOP website report, 7-8-16]

MILWAUKEE APPROVES $20-M FOR STREETCAR EXTENSION: The Milwaukee common council has approved $20-million for the proposed three-quarter-mile Fourth street extension of the city's future streetcar line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-7-16]

VIRGINIA RAIL PROJECTS AWARDED $165-M FASTLANE GRANT: Virginia's proposed Atlantic Gateway project has been selected for a federal 'Fastlane' grant of $165-million. Combined resources for the project, including the federal grant, private investment and public funding, total $1.4-billion, to address rail congestion. The plan includes funds to acquire the S-line, an abandoned rail corridor that runs from North Carolina toward the Richmond area, as a potential corridor for high-speed rail. [Railway Age website report, 7-7-16]

AMTRAK SERVICE TO PUEBLO GAINING INTEREST: Amtrak's Southwest Chief may begin serving Pueblo, Colorado. Pueblo officials would like for Amtrak to detach a car and locomotive from the train's westbound section in La Junta, Colorado, and use an existing line to Pueblo, then to reconnect the equipment to the eastbound section back at La Junta. Amtrak estimates the service would generate $1.4-million in new revenue each year. [USA Today website report, 7-7-16]

SIEMENS S200 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES ENTER SERVICE IN CALGARY: Calgary Transit's new fleet of Siemens S200 high-floor light-rail vehicles entered service on the city's C-train network July 5, in time for the annual Calgary stampede. [Railway Age website report]

ROCK SLIDE BLOCKS PORTION OF CUMBRES & TOLTEC SCENIC R.R.: Officials say riders on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in New Mexico had their Fourth of July trips cut short after boulders tumbled down across the tracks. No one was injured in the incident, which occurred on the west side of Rock Tunnel, about 35 miles southwest of Antonito. Trains were operating normally the next day after crews removed the boulders. [9 News website report, 7-6-16]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC FOR JUNE 2016: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S.combined rail carload and intermodal volume in June 2016 declined 6.3 percent compared with June 2015. [Railway Age website report, 7-6-16]

GONDOLA ACROSS THE HUDSON TO BE STUDIED FOR ALBANY'S AMTRAK PASSENGERS: The Amtrak station is in Rensselaer. But most arriving rail passengers are heading to Albany, which is across the Hudson River. Next week, engineers will begin studying the feasibility of a gondola to carry passengers from Rensselaer to Albany. [Albany Times Union website report, 7-6-16]

COOS BAY RAIL LINE GETS GRANT TO REHAB NINE RAIL TUNNELS IN OREGON: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has awarded the Coos Bay Rail line $11-million to rehabilitate nine crumbling tunnels along the rail line between Eugene and Coquille, Oregon. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-6-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO PAY $492,000 TO SETTLE ALLEGATIONS OF RACE DISCRIMINATION: Norfolk Southern will pay $492,000 in back pay and interest to more than 2,000 African-Americans to settle allegations of race-based hiring discrimination, the U.S. Dept. of Labor announced July 5. Over 2,000 of those affected had applied for track-laborer and building and bridge laborer positions at a Roanoke-based facility in 2010 and 2011. The company will also offer jobs to seven on the non-selected applicants. [Virginian-Pilot website report, 7-5-16]

HIGH-SPEED RAIL ACCESS COULD CONNECT SPRINGFIELD TO BOSTON: Massachusetts lawmakers have voted to conduct a feasibility study on high-speed passenger rail service to connect Springfield and Boston. Currently, the only train between the two points is Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited, which runs just once a day in each direction. [WWLP website report, 7-5-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Twenty-five percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 3, 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains surveyed was one hour and two minutes late. The average arrival of the 75 percent of trains arriving behind schedule was one hour and 23 minutes late. This ongoing survey was conducted without grace allowance for minimal tardiness, and comprehended all arrivals as either on time or late, even if by just one minute. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-4-16]

U.S. CRUDE-BY-RAIL MOVEMENTS CONTINUE TO DROP: According to the Energy Information Administration, in a report published June 30, movement of crude oil by rail in the U.S. fell 25.1 percent month-over-month to 12.8 million barrels by the end of April 2016. Except for March, crude oil movements by rail have continue to decline over the past six months. The movement of crude by rail in the U.S. has decreased 40.6 percent since the beginning of 2016. [Market Realist website report, 7-4-16]

SEPTA TAKES SILVERLINER-V CARS OUT OF SERVICE DUE TO DEFECTS: SEPTA is warning regional rail riders of possible disruptions in the days and weeks ahead after the agency removed its fleet of 120 Silverliner-V cars from service due to a slight lean from a fractured beam found in a car's suspension system. Only five of 100 cars inspected so far do not have fatigue cracks. The agency will have enough equipment to serve weekend service without the Silverliner-V cars, but weekdays will be rough on the system's commuters. [Providence Journal website report, 7-3-16]

MAN STRUCK BY METRO-NORTH TRAIN: A man was hospitalized early July 2 after being struck by a Metro-North train in Pelham, N.Y. The man's condition is not known, but it is understood that he may have lost a leg. [Westchester News 12 website report, 7-2-16]

SCHEDULING PROBLEMS DELAY LONG ISLAND RAIL EXTENSION: The $10-billion East Side Access project is running into a scheduling conflict between the Metropolitan Transit authority and Amtrak, stalling construction of the Long Island Rail Road extension. More than half of the project has been completed, and it is expected to be finished in 2022. [WCBS-TV website report, 7-2-16]

AMTRAK'S LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT FOR JUNE 2016: Twenty-nine percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the month of June 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains included in the survey was one hour and two minutes late. Of the 71 percent of trains that actually arrived behind schedule, those trains arrived at their final destination, on average, one hour and 26 minutes late. This survey was conducted without grace allowance; there is sufficient padding in the schedules of Amtrak's long-distance trains to disregard any grace allowance. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-1-16]

BART UNVEILS NEW DIESEL TRAINS FOR ANTIOCH EXTENSION: Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has unveiled a new line of diesel-powered trains for the agency's upcoming extension to Antioch, California. The trains will run on separate tracks exending past Bay Point, and are different than those arriving as part of the 'Fleet of the Future' program. The units are closer to the ground, and will operate on standard-gauge track rather than the agency's wider track. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-1-16]

WESTERN AUSTRALIA TO ACQUIRE TEN ADDITIONAL COMMUTER TRAIN SETS: Bombardier's Australian joint venture with Downer EDI has obtain a contract to supply an additional 10 three-car commuter trains to Western Australia's Public Transit authority The $384-million contract also includes maintenance through 2026. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-1-16]

WORK BEGINS ON EGLINTON, ONTARIO, CROSSTOWN LIGHT-RAIL STATION: The Eglinton, Ontario, Crosstown light-rail transit line broke ground June 30 on the Laird station, which is located near the midpoint of the 12-mile line. The province has invested $5.3-billion toward the capital costs of the light-rail line. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-1-16]

VIRGINIA SEEKS TO ACQUIRE ABANDONED S-LINE FOR ATLANTIC GATEWAY: Virginia is looking forward to advancing Atlantic Gateway projects through $200-million in federal grants. Overall, the money is a portion of more than $1-billion in state, federal and private investment to help lay the groundwork for high-speed rail by allowing Virginia to acquire CSX's S-Line, an abandoned rail route between Petersburg and the North Carolina state line. Other efforts include adding a fourth track between the Potomac River and Alexandria, a third track between Franconia-Springfield and the Occoquan River, and reconstruction of the Long Bridge across the Potomac in Washington. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 7-1-16]

ONTARIO TO EXTEND GO TRANSIT RAIL SERVICE TO NIAGARA FALLS: Starting in 2021, Ontario will bring new weekday GO Transit rail service between the future Confederation station in Hamilton and the Niagara region. By 2023, the province will establish service to Niagara Falls. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-30-16]

CANADIAN PACIFIC TO CUT 500 MAINTENANCE WORKERS: Due to lower car volumes and weaker demand, Canadian Pacific Railway has confirmed that it will lay off 500 maintenance of way workers. [icis website report, 6-30-16]

G.E. TO CLOSE LOCOMOTIVE FACILITY IN LATHAM, N.Y.; TRANSFER PRODUCTION TO INDIA: General Electric will close its diesel locomotive turbocharger facility in Latham, N.Y., because of weakening demand, and shift its production to a plant in India. The manufacturing operation employees 48 people. [Albany Times-Union website report, 6-30-16]

AMTRAK STOP AT WOLF POINT, MONTANA, NO LONGER STAFFED BY AMTRAK: Effective July 1, the train station at Wolf Point, Montana, will no longer be staffed by Amtrak personnel. Access to the building will continue from 11 A.M. until 5:30 P.M., or until after the last train departs. [Amtrak]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic volume, combining carloads and intermodal units, for the week ending June 25, 2016, declined 3.9 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 6-29-16]

CREW VAN COMPANY FINED FOR REPEAT SAFETY VIOLATIONS IN WASHINGTON STATE: Professional Transportation Inc. (PTI), a company that shuttles railroad crews to and from job sites for BNSF and Union Pacific in Washington State, has been fined $170,900 by state regulators for more than 300 repeat violations of state and federal safety regulations. The violations cited include the fraudulent altering of medical-certification cards of two drivers, along with instances where drivers with expired cards drove passengers. During a hearing, PTI, which is based in Evansville, Indiana, did not dispute the violations, but an official said there are new procedures now to keep such violations from recurring. [Seattle Times website report, 6-29-16]

OLDEST PULLMAN SLEEPING-CAR PORTER DIES AT 106: Lee Wesley Gibson, believed to be the oldest surviving Pullman sleeping-car porter, died at his home June 25. He was 106. [Los Angeles Times website report, 6-29-16]

ITALY TO ACQUIRE UP TO 450 REGIONAL TRAINS: Italian railway operator Trenitalia has selected Alstom and Hitachi Rail Italy for two framework contracts to supply up to 450 regional trains. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-29-16]

BRITAIN UNIFIES RAIL PASSENGER INFORMATION SYSTEMS: A project to replace 66 separate passenger information systems with one national system called Darwin began across the British railway network on June 28. Live train information is now fed to station screens and online channels providing real-time arrival and departure predictions, platform numbers, delay estimates, schedule changes and cancelations. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-29-16]

TWO TRAINS COLLIDE HEAD-ON IN TEXAS: Two trains collided head-on about five miles east of Panhandle, Texas, near Amarillo, early June 28, resulting in a massive fire. Four BNSF employees were involved in the crash - two aboard each train - but only one has been located and rescued. The injured employee, who had jumped from his train prior to the collision, was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition. Evacuations were ordered in the nearby area due to the fear of grass fires resulting from the burning locomotives. It is unclear why both trains were occupying the same track in opposite directions. [Weather Channel website report, 6-28-16]

AMTRAK OPENS NEW METROPOLITAN LOUNGE IN CHICAGO: Amtrak has opened a new $7-million Metropolitan Lounge for premium customers at Chicago Union Station. Located behind and above one of two grand staircases off Union Station's Great Hall, the lounge is twice the size of the one it replaced, with seating for 360 people. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-28-16]

D.C. METRO TO CUT 500 POSITIONS: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority will eliminate about 500 positions over the next several months. The job cuts will apply to positions that are deemed redundant or non-safety critical. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-28-16]

FEDS GIVE APPROVAL FOR TEX RAIL TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION: The Federal Transit administration has awarded a 'letter of no prejudice' to the Fort Worth Transportation authority for TEX Rail, which means that construction for the 27-mile, nine-station commuter rail may break ground next month. [Railway Age website report, 6-28-16]

BANGLADESH INTRODUCES NEW EXPRESS PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE: Bangladesh Railway on June 25 introduced the new Sonar Bangla Express train service from Dhaka to the port city of Chittagong. The train consists of 16 vehicles seating up to 746 in three classes. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-28-16]

CANADA INVESTIGATING REMOTE-CONTROL TRAIN INCIDENT: Canada's Transportation Safety board is opening an investigation into a runaway train incident on June 17 at CN's MacMillan Yard in Vaughan, Ontario, in which 74 rail cars rolled out onto a main line, uncontrolled, for three miles, with a crew member stranded on board. The railroad says the train was being operated by remote control within the yard. [CBC website report, 6-28-16]

MAN SITTING ON TRACKS STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN COLORADO: Authorites say a 54-year-year-old man who was sitting on BNSF tracks in Fort Collins, Colorado, was struck and killed by a train early June 27. The other man was not struck and he left the scene. [Durango Herald website report, 6-27-16]

AMTRAK'S WEEKLY LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-five percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived on time or earlier at their final destination in the week ending June 26, 2016. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was of one hour and 12 minutes late. The average arrival of just the 75 percent of trains behind schedule was one hour and 36 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-27-16]

FEDS ORDER CSX TO REPORT BLOCKED CHICAGO CROSSINGS: CSX will need to submit monthly reports for the next year that detail situations in which grade crossings are blocked by trains on its line in southwest Chicago and adjacent suburbs, the Surface Transportation board has ruled. CSX was also ordered that it may not operate trains into or out of the Chicago terminal over the Elsdon line unless the line is clear. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-27-16]

SOUTH COAST MASSACHUSETTS RAIL PROJECT COULD COST OVER $1-B MORE THAN EXPECTED: The proposed South Coast rail project that would extend Massachusetts Bay commuter rail service to New Bedford and Fall River could cost more than $1-billion more than expected and take about seven years longer than scheduled, state officials said on June 27. [Boston Globe website report, 6-27-16]

CN ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE CHANGES: Canadian National's incoming CEO Luc Jobin will assume his new duties July 1, replacing Claude Mongeau, who is retiring. Jobin, currently chief financial officer, will be replaced in that position by Ghislain Houle, currently corporate comptroller. CN has also appointed Mike Cory, the company's senior vice-president Western region, to chief operating officer, replacing Jim Vena, who is retiring July 1. [Reuters website report, 6-27-16]

WORK STARTS SOON ON RAIL TRENCH THROUGH DOWNTOWN FRESNO: Crews will begin building a trench in July that will take the California bullet train tracks beneath Highway 180 through downtown Fresno. The 40-foot-deep trench is he first underground construction for the high-speed train system. The two-mile trench will go under the freeway as well as a San Joaquin Valley Railroad line and an irrigation canal. [Fresno Bee website report, 6-27-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN WASHINGTON STATE, NO INJURIES: An investigation is underway into what caused an Amtrak train with 236 passengers on board to derail in Tukwila, Washington, on June 26. All of the cars and its locomotive remained upright. Amtrak brought in buses to transport the passengers to King Street Station in Seattle. [Q13 Fox website report, 6-26-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN COLLIDES WITH VEHICLE IN COLORADO, FIVE KILLED: Police confirm that two adults and three children were killed after Amtrak's westbound Southwest Chief collided with their minivan June 26 near Trinidad, Colorado. Another child in the vehicle survived the crash but is in critical condition. None of the 286 passengers aboard the train or its crew were injured. Investigators believe failing to yield to the train was the cause of the accident. [9 News website report, 6-26-16]

GERMAN PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILS AFTER STRIKING FALLEN ROCKS: At least 10 people were injured when a Deutsche Bahn passenger train en route from Koblenz to Frankfurt derailed after crashing into fallen rocks between a hillside and the Rhine River near the town of Bacharach. Heavy storms had caused a series of minor rockslides in the area. [Deutsche Welle website report, 6-25-16]

UNION PACIFIC BLAMED FOR FIERY OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT IN OREGON: Preliminary findings by federal investigators blamed Union Pacific for the fiery June 3 oil train derailment in Oregon, saying the company failed to properly maintain its track. The company faces potential penalties for safety violations, officials said. The derailment released 42,000 gallons of crude oil and sparked a massive fire that burned for 14 hours. [The Intelligencer website report, 6-24-16]

FRA PROPOSES RESTRUCTURING OF AMTRAK OVERNIGHT PASSENGER SERVICES: Changes could be coming to Amtrak and overnight passenger rail services as the Federal Railroad Administration looks to move forward with a new program that will allow independent services to run long-distance trains on up to three routes. The proposal is in response to the FAST act in which the U.S. Dept. of Transportation is set to develop a program 'for selection of eligible petitioners in lieu of Amtrak to operate not more than three long-distance routes.' The proposal opens the possibilities to several bidders, ranging from Class I railroads to shortlines, and more. Amtrak would still be welcomed to bid for continued operation of certain trains. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 6-24-16]

CEO OF R.J. CORMAN TO RETIRE: R.J. Corman Railroad Group president and chief executive officer Craig King has announced he will retire and assume a seat on the company's board. Although a date for his retirement was not announced, company officials said the board will immediately begin considerations for a replacement. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-24-16]

ST. LOUIS TO STUDY THREE LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSIONS: Three feasibility studies will be commissioned by St. Louis of the MetroLink light-rail network. They include corridors from Clayton to Westport, North Hanley to Hazelwood, and Shrewsbury to Butler Hill road. [Railway Age website report, 6-24-16]

UZBEKISTAN INAUGURATES ANGREN-PAP RAILWAY: Uzbekistan inaugurated the 76.5-mile Angren-Pap Railway June 22 in an event which also marked the opening of Asia's longest railway tunnel. The 11.9-mile Kamchik Tunnel was built with about 4,000 people working on the project. The new line, including the tunnel, includes four stations, 25 bridges and six viaducts. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-24-16]

NEW TRAIN WINDOW DESIGNED TO IMPROVE MOBILE PHONE RECEPTION: Siemens has developed a new high-frequency coating for train windows which could significantly improve onboard mobile phone reception. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-23-16]

MILWAUKEE TRAIN STATION RECONSTRUCTION COMPLETE: June 22 marked the completion of a $22-million reconstruction of the passenger concourse at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station. The new structure features a 3-D tubular truss roof with skylights, a mezzanine spanning five tracks, excalators and elevators, and a rehabilitated passenger tunnel for emergency exits. More than 1.3 million passengers use the station to board Amtrak trains each year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-23-16]

ADDITIONAL GO TRANSIT STATIONS PROPOSED FOR EAST TORONTO: Ontario has proposed four new GO Transit stations along the Stouffville and Lakeshore East lines as part of Metrolinx's Regional Express Rail program. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-23-16]

BOMBARDIER LANDS EUROPEAN ORDER FOR 52 TRAXX LOCOMOTIVES: European rolling stock leasing company Akiem and Bombardier Transportation have signed a framework agreement for 52 Bombardier TRAXX AC and MS locomotives. The locomotives will be configured for use in 13 countries and will comply with the latest European standards, including train control system baseline 3. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-23-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN IN MICHIGAN: A man was struck and killed by Amtrak's Wolverine in Royal Oak, Michigan, early June 22. According to Amtrak, the man was trespassing on the tracks. [Detroit Free Press website report, 6-22-16]

LAC-MEGANTIC DROPS LAWSUIT AGAINST CP: The Quebec city of Lac-Megantic, which had sought damages for the 2013 rail disaster that killed 47 people, has dropped its lawsuit against Canadian Pacific. The train that exploded was owned and operated on and by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, but the train had begun its journey in North Dakota on CP. The lawsuit claimed that CP had acted negligently. The city dropped its lawsuit against CP over concerns that it would spend considerable sums on experts over several years, and there was no guarantee of success in court. [Montreal Gazette website report, 6-22-16]

FIRST SIEMENS CHARGER LOCOMOTIVES HEAD TO TESTING FACILITY: The first two Siemens SC-44 Charger diesel passenger locomotives have arrived in Colorado for the start of testing at the Pueblo facility. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-22-16]

TRIAL RUN FOR CHINA-GERMANY FREIGHT RAIL SERVICE: A trial intermodal train from the Chinese port of Lianyungang to Herne in Germany arrived at its destination on June 21 having completed the 7,021-mile journey across Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland in 17 days. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-22-16]

MARTA EXPANSION PROJECTS APPROVED FOR ATLANTA REFERENDUM: The Atlantic city council has voted to include a series of rail expansion and bus projects on a Nov. 8 ballot referendum. If city voters approve the measure, some of the projects would be funded by a half-penny sales tax levy over 40 years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-22-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported combined carload and intermodal traffic on U.S. railroads declined 6.3 percent for the week ending June 18, 2016, compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 6-22-16]

ONTARIO PLANS 12-MILE GO TRANSIT EXTENSION: Ontario is extending GO Transit's Lakeshore East rail corridor to offer new train service from Oshawa to Bowmanville, extending the GO train network by nearly 12 miles and building new stations. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-21-16]

RUSSIA TO EXPAND NATURAL GAS USE IN RAIL TRANSPORT: An agreement was signed June 17 by principals involved aimed at increasing the use of natural gas as a fuel for rail transport in Russia. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-21-16]

ILLINOIS COMMITS TO HELP QUAD CITIES AMTRAK SERVICE: Illinois has been battling budget issues. But Governor Bruce Rauner says once the state passes a budget, they'll provide the $85-million to help with the project. [WHBF website report, 6-21-16]

CSX HUNTINGTON OFFICE EXPECTED TO CLOSE END OF JULY: The CSX administrative office in Huntington, W.Va., expected to close sometime this summer following the elimination of the Huntington division, will likely stay open until the end of July, the company said. [Herald-Dispatch website report, 6-21-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Twenty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending June 19, 2016. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was one hour and two minutes late. The average arrival of trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 24 minutes late. No grace allowance was included in this survey. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-20-16]

AMTRAK ADDS SEVENTH SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY TRAIN: There is a new Amtrak train rumbling through the San Joaquin Valley, providing a morning northbound option to the Bay Area and a southbound train filling an afternoon schedule gap - a combination that Valley leaders hope will attract more day-trip business and pleasure travelers to the route. [Fresno Bee website report, 6-20-16]

CANADA PROPOSES TO REGULATE AIR POLLUTANT EMISSIONS FROM LOCOMOTIVES: Canada is proposing regulations under its Railway Safety Act to reduce locomotive nitrogen oxide emissions by 9.3 percent and particulate matter emissions by 8 percent. Public comments will be accepted until Sept. 15, 2016. [Railway Age website report, 6-20-16]

RUSSIA FINANCING CUBAN LOCOMOTIVE MODERNIZATION: Cuba has signed a loan agreement with the Export Insurance Agency of Russia to finance the mdoernization of its locomotive fleet. The loan will be used to overhaul the existing fleet of TGM4 and TGM6 units, the modernization of the Cienaga shops in Havana, and the delivery of 60 new TGM8 and 15 new TGM6 locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-20-16]

PERU RESTORES ITS ONLY INTERNATIONAL RAILWAY: After being out of service for over four years, Peru's only international railway, which connects the southern town of Tacna with Arica in northern Chile, restarted operations June 1. The reinitiated service was interrupted June 7 when the line's only railbus broke down, and the service did not recommence until June 14. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-20-16]

SANTA FE STEAM LOCOMOTIVE GETS ITS OWN ENGINE HOUSE: AT&SF steam locomotive 2926, built in 1944, has now, for the first time in at least 60 years, a roof over its head. The locomotive worked from 1944 to 1953 pulling both passenger and freight. It was donated to the city of Albuquerque in 1956. The New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society purchased it in 1999. Its new steel engine house cost $125,000, and work to restore the locomotive back to operating condition will continue. [Albuquerque Journal website report, 6-19-16]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY COMMUTER TRAIN IN MASSACHUSETTS: A 26-year old man was struck and killed by a Massachusetts Bay commuter train late June 18 in Franklin, Massachusetts. Officials said the victim was trespassing at the time of the accident. [Sun Chronicle website report, 6-18-16]

NEW RAILROAD WORKER PROTECTION SYSTEM WILL DETECT APPROACH OF TRAINS: Miller Ingenuity has developed a new roadway worker protection system that is designed to detect the approach of trains, maintenance machines and hi-rail vehicles into a work zone. The system is portable and requires no attachment to a locomotive or rail, and can be adjusted to any size work zone. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-17-16]

B.C. GETS FUNDING FOR COMMUTER RAIL: British Columbia has received funding to be used to purchase 50 additional SkyTrain cars for the Expo, Millennium and Canada automatic light-rail lines in Vancouver, upgrades to stations, design and planning for the Rapid Transit South of Fraser light-rail project in Surrey and extension of the Millennium line, and to purchase fve double-deck coaches and a new locomotive for the West Coast Express. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-17-16]

PHILADELPHIA'S 30TH STREET STATION DISTRICT PLAN ANNOUNCED: Principals involved in the redevelopment of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station have announced the initiation of several follow-on projects. Forty new acres of open space and 18 million square feet of new development are envisioned in the plan, including an entirely new mixed-use neighborhood anchoring the district atop 88 acres of rail yards along the western bank of the Schuylkill River. [Railway Age website report, 6-16-16]

MD. PURPLE LINE GETS $874.6-M LOAN: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has awarded a loan of $874.6-million to Purple Line Partners for implementation of the light-rail line to connect Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The16.2-mile east-west line will serve 21 stations through a densely-populated area. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-16-16]

METRA TO RENOVATE CALUMET STATION: Metra's Calumet station in East Hazel Crest, Illinois, on the Electric line, will be renovated under a $3-million contract over a one-year project beginning this summer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-16-16]

VINTAGE TROLLEYS FROM SEATTLE ARRIVE IN ST. LOUIS FOR LOOP TROLLEY: Two vintage trolleys that once ran on the George Benson Waterfront streetcar line in Seattle have arrived in St. Louis for use by the Loop Trolley. A third Seattle trolley was shipped to Iowa, where it will be renovated and refurbished along with two Portland trolleys to be added to the Loop Trolley in the spring of next year. [Railway Age website report, 6-15-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending June 11, 2016, the Association of American Railroads reports total U.S. rail freight traffic was down 7.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Carloads dropped 8.7 percent, while intermodal was down 6.3 percent. [Railway Age website report, 6-15-16]

AGREEMENT CLEARS WAY FOR EXPANDED COMMUTER RAIL BETWEEN TORONTO & WATERLOO REGION: Ontario has secured an agreement in principle with CN that will allow GO Transit to provide two-way, all-day rail service between Tornoto and the Waterloo region. It calls for starting a planning and technical analysis for a new freight corridor to allow CN to shift most of its freight traffice from a section of the Kitchener corridor to a new corridor. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-15-16]

CZECH FIRM ESTABLISHING U.S. FACILITY TO SELL LIGHT-RAIL TRAINS: Skoda Transportation of the Czech Republic plans to set up a subsidiary company in the U.S. with a view to selling light-rail vehicles and trains in North America. [Railway Age website report, 6-14-16]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN HOWARD STREET TUNNEL IN BALTIMORE: CSX says a freight train derailed 13 cars in the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore early June 13. Fire department crews responded to the Mount Royal avenue area of the tunnel, but no poisonous substances were released, and there were no injuries. The railroad said the train was heading from Philadelphia to Cumberland with eight locomotives and 124 cars. One of the derailed cars contained acetone, a flammable solvent. The accident is under investigation. [Washington Post website report, 6-13-16]

AMTRAK'S HOOSIER STATE IMPROVES ON-TIME PERFORMANCE, REVENUE: The Hoosier State route between Indianapolis and Chicago averaged an on-time performance rating of 86 percent, and ticket revenue increased 20 percent since Oct. 2015, the Indiana Dept. of Transportation said. Equipment, train maintenance, marketing and onboard amenities are provided by Iowa Pacific, while Amtrak serves as train operator. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-13-16]

ONTARIO PROVIDES FUNDS TO PROPEL TWO SUBWAY PROJECTS: Ontario is providing $205-million to help advance work for the Yonge North subway extension and the proposed Relief line to help manage congestion on the Yonge line in the Toronto area. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-13-16]

PATH TO BEGIN PTC UPGRADE TO 33RD STREET LINE IN AUGUST: Port Authority Trans Hudson plans to suspend weekend service on its 33rd street line in Manhattan beginning in August for upgrading its signal system, including installation of positive train-control. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-13-16]

AMSTED RAIL IDLES WHEEL FACILITY IN ALABAMA: Amsted Rail is laying off 155 workers as it idles its Bessemer, Alabama, wheel facility, according to records from the Department of Commerce. [, 6-13-16]

SLOVENIA COMPLETES ELECTRIFICATION OF RAIL LINK TO HUNGARY: Slovenia has completed its project to modernize and electrify the 68-mile Pragersko-Hodos line. Work began in 2013, and the line was the only remaining unelectrified section of the Trans-European corridor 5, which links the ports of Trieste, Koper and Rijeka with Budapest and the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-13-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN STORING IDLED LOCOMOTIVES IN ROANOKE: More than one hundred idled locomotives are now sitting int he rail yard between the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the Norfolk Southern shop at Shaffer's crossing in Roanoke, Va. [WDBJ7 website report, 6-13-16]

WEEKLY LONG-DISTANCE AMTRAK TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending June 12, 2016, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 30 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains were on time or earlier when they arrived at their final destination. The average arrival of all long-distance trains was one hour and four minutes late. The average arrival of those trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and 31 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-13-16]

VIA RAIL STRIKE AVERTED: Via Rail and the union representing roughly 1,800 of its workers have narrowly avoided a strike that would have led to service interruptions across the country. A tentative agreement was reached late June 12, and workers will vote on the pact over the next three weeks. [CBC News website report, 6-12-16]

METRA ELECTRIC TRAIN DERAILS IN CHICAGO'S SOUTH LOOP: There were significant delays June 10 after an inbound Metra electric line train derailed near 11th street in Chicago's South Loop. No injuries were reported. [ABC7 Chicago website report, 6-10-16]

READING & NORTHERN ACQUIRES COAL COMPANY'S RAIL LINE: The Reading & Northern Railroad has acquired the Locust Valley Line in Mahonoy Twp., Pa., from the Locust Valley Coal Company. It is a 5.5-mile line that the railroad has been operating since 2006. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-10-16]

NEW BACKUP GENERATOR FOR BALTIMORE'S PENN STATION: Amtrak and the state of Maryland have invested $1.2-million in a new backup generator system at Baltimore's Penn Station to ensure station readiness and reliability during extended utility outages. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-10-16]

PAKISTAN TO BEGIN $8.2-B RAIL LINE UPGRADE: Pakistan has approved a $8.2-billion project to upgrade the 1,163-mile Karachi-Peshawar main line by 2021. Eighty-five percent of the funding will be through a concessionary loan from China. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-10-16]

DESERT RAIL LINE TO BE REBUILT BETWEEN U.S. & MEXICO: The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System board of directors has approved a bi-national agreement to clear the way for rebuilding a mostly unused 70-mile stretch of railway in the southeastern San Diego County desert. When the project is completed, the Desert Line will connect about 1,500 factories in and near Tijuana to U.S. rail facilities. Right now, movement of products into this country is done by trucks. [CBS8 website report, 6-9-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads' total freight traffic volume for the week ending June 4, 2016, fell 17.3 percent compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated separately, carload volume fell 16.6 percent, while intermodal volume fell 17.9 percent. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-9-16]

METROLINK'S FIRST TIER-4 LOCOMOTIVE SHIPPED FROM INDIANA: Metrolink's first Tier-4 locomotive has left the EMD facility in Muncie, Indiana, for Los Angeles. Metrolink plans to add up to 40 new Tier-4 locomotives at a cost of $280-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-9-16]

PERSON KILLED BY TRAIN IN N.J.: An individual was struck and killed early June 9 by a New Jersey Transit train en route from Hoboken to Suffern near the Ramsey station on the main line, officials said. Train service was disrupted by the incident. [Patch website report, 6-9-16]

CHICAGO TRANSIT TO RENOVATE QUINCY LOOP STATION: The Chicago Transit Authority has approved a contract for renovations of the historic Quincy station, one of the agency's oldest stations, built in 1897. The improvements will preserve the original appearance of the Loop L station while upgrading it with improved accessibility. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-9-16]

XPRESSWEST DROPS CHINESE PARTNER OVER REGULATORY ISSUES: XpressWest, the company developing a high-speed railway connecting Las Vegas and Los Angeles, has terminated its joint venture with a Chinese consortium over performance and U.S. regulatory issues. The decision to end the partnership is based on difficulties with moving the project forward. The company says it will pursue other partnerships for implementation. [Bloomberg website report, 6-9-16]

CSX DOWNSIZING WINSTON RAIL YARD IN FLORIDA: CSX is downsizing operations at its Winston rail switching yard and moving staff and most of the operations to Tampa. About 80 positions are affected, it has been reported. [The Ledger website report, 6-8-16]

BRITISH STEEL INTRODUCES CORROSION-RESISTANT RAIL: British Steel has launched a new premium-coated rail called Zinoco. The rail is designed for installation in harsh environments such as railways exposed to salt water and wet tunnels. Zinoco was developed in response to a neet for a more durable corrosion protection and impact-resistant product that would withstand minor mechanical damage and provide long-term protection. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-8-16]

CLAUDE MONGEAU TO STEP DOWN AS CEO OF CN: Claude Mongeau, president and CEO of CN, will step down from his role leading CN at the end of June. He joined the company 22 years ago, was chief financial officer for 11 years, and its CEO for the last six and one-half years. Luc Jobin, 57, has been named the new president and CEO effective July 1. [CN, 6-7-16]

SWITCH PROBLEMS CAUSE DELAYS TO METRA TRAINS AT CHICAGO UNION STATION: Delays caused by switch problems affected Southwest, Heritage Corridor and BNSF lines and commuter frustrations the evening of June 6 at Chicago Union Station. Metra said the problem was with Amtrak switches south of the station. [5 NBC Chicago website report, 6-7-16]

WORK BEGINS ON ADDING SECOND TRACK BETWEEN ALBANY & SCHENECTADY: Work on a second track to ease a major Amtrak bottleneck began in earnest June 6 with the arrival of Amtrak crews and special track-laying equipment. The project is on target for completion in 2017, Amtrak said. [Albany Times Union website report, 6-6-16]

PERSON KILLED BY TRAIN ON CSX TRACKS IN MARYLAND: The Washington County, Md., sheriff's office says a pedestrian died after being hit by a train on CSX tracks in Smithburg the afternoon of June 6. [CBS Baltimore website report, 6-6-16]

CRUDE OIL IN OREGON TRAIN DERAILMENT HAD A HIGH LEVEL OF VAPOR PRESSURE: The Federal Railroad Administration said the oil being shipped in a train from North Dakota that derailed in Oregon on June 3 had a vapor pressure of 9.2 pounds per square inch, about the same level as crude oil that exploded in a derailment in July 2013 in Lac Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people. [Albany Times Union website report, 6-6-16]

LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN, TRACTOR-TRAILER COLLIDE IN N.J.: A collision involving a light-rail train and a tractor-trailer in Jersey City, N.J., early June 6 caused a brief service suspension on the Hudson-Bergen line, but no serious injuries. [CBS New York website report, 6-6-16]

LIRR AWARDS CONTRACTS FOR RONKONKOMA BRANCH DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT: The Long Island Rail Road Ronkonkoma branch double-track project is one step closer to breaking ground after two design-build contracts were awarded for work to advance the project. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-6-16]

CHINA TO SUPPLY 56 LOCOMOTIVES FOR KENYAN STANDARD-GAUGE LINE: Chinese interests will supply 56 diesel locomotives to be used on the initial phase of Kenya's standard-gauge railway between mombasa and Nairobi, due to open in one year. The order comprises 43 DF8B freight locomotives, five DF11 passenger locomotives, and eight DF7G shunters. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-6-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: The Bull Sheet has calculated that 40 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending June 5, 2016. The average overall arrival of all trains surveyed during the week was 42 minutes late. The average arrival of only those trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and 11 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-6-16]

UNION PACIFIC TEMPORARILY HALTS OIL TRAIN TRAFFIC IN COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE: With damaged tank cars still lying near the tracks in Mosier, Oregon, the site of the June 3 fiery oil train derailment, Union Pacific said it will temporarily suspend moving oil trains through the Columbia River Gorge. [Oregonian website report, 6-6-16]

TRACK FAILURE LIKELY CAUSE OF OREGON OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT: Officials now say a track failure was likely the cause of the oil train derailment and explosion in the Columbia River Gorge on June 3. The accident caused the evacuation of about a quarter of the town's citizens. [KATU 2 website report, 6-5-16]

WASTE WATER, SEWER SYSTEMS DAMAGED IN OREGON OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT: The June 3 oil train derailment and fire has damaged essential city services in Mosier, Oregon, authorities said. The waste water treatment plant and sewer system are not operational as a result of the derailment of 16 tank cars. [ABC News website report, 6-5-16]

FATAL TRAIN CRASH IN BELGIUM: A late-night passenger train slammed into a halted freight train in eastern Belgium the evening of June 5, killing at least three people and sending nine others to the hospital, some in critical condition. Twenty-seven others were treated at the scene. It took rescuers three hours to free people from the wreckage. [ABC News website report, 6-5-16]

SPRINTER TRAIN KILLS PEDESTRIAN: An eastbound Sprinter train struck and killed a pedestrian in San Marcos, California, late June 4. The victim was reportedly lying on the track, and the engineer was unable to stop the train before striking the individual. [OsideNews website report, 6-5-16]

OIL TRAIN DERAILS IN OREGON: An oil train derailed early June 3 near Mosier, Oregon, in the Columbia River Gorge. According to witnesses, multiple cars derailed and smoke and flames could be seen in downtown Mosier. The derailment caused the closing of Interstate 84 between Mosier and The Dalles and the evacuation of an elementary school. [KOIN 6 website report, 6-3-16]

MONTHLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-one percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains scheduled to arrive at their final destination in May 2016 arrived on time or earlier. The average arrival of all long-distance trains during the month was 38 minutes behind schedule. The average arrival of just those long-distance trains arriving at their final destination behind schedule was one hour and six minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-3-16]

SIEMENS COMPLETES FINAL ACS-64 LOCOMOTIVE FOR AMTRAK: Amtrak and Siemens have marked the completion of the 70th and final Amtrak Cities Sprinter ACS-64 electric locomotive at Siemens' rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento. The first ACS-64 was introduced in 2013. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-3-16]

READING & NORTHERN GETS SECOND $5-M GRANT FOR BRIDGE PROJECT: A bridge project for the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad in Pennsylvania will receive a second $5-million grant from the state. Known as the Nesquehoning Bridge Phase II, the $14-million project will create a connection between the railroad's two divisions and provide a direct route from Philadelphia to Binghamton, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-2-16]

AMSTED RAIL TO IDLE ITS WHEEL FACILITY IN ALABAMA: Amsted Rail will temporarily idle its wheel facility in Bessemer, Alabama, by the end of September, due to reductions in new rail-car demand and 'improved efficiencies' of North American Railroads, according to the company. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-2-16]

SOUND TRANSIT BREAKS GROUND ON TACOMA BRIDGE REPLACEMENT: Sound Transit has broken ground on its Tacoma Trestle Track & Signal project, which will replace an aging, single-track timber railroad trestle with a concrete, double-track bridge. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-2-16]

SUSPENSIONS METED OUT FOR CHEATING ON METRO-NORTH SAFETY TEST: As many as 10 Metro-North conductors and engineers were suspended from their jobs recently amid an MTA probe into cheating on safety tests. [Journal News website report, 6-1-16]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC DROPS 6.8 PCT IN MAY: U.S. rail freight traffic in May 2016 was down 6.8 percent from May 2015, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 10.3 percent, while intermodal units were down 3.3 percent. Coal traffic was down 29.6 percent. [Railway Age website report, 6-1-16]

VIA RAIL LOGS RIDERSHIP, REVENUE GAINS IN 1-Q: In the first-quarter 2016, Via Rail Canada provided service for 3,000 more riders than in the same period last year. Passenger revenue rose 10.6 percent, resulting in a nearly 11 percent drop in the railroad's need for government funding, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-1-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN HITS PICKUP TRUCK IN COLORADO: Amtrak's California Zephyr struck a pickup truck just west of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Tuesday afternoon, May 31. The driver of the truck had minor injuries; none of the passengers on the train were hurt. A fuel tank on the train's lead locomotive ruptured, but the fuel was contained to the rail bed. The train was significantly delayed. [ABC News website report, 6-1-16]

WORLD'S LONGEST RAILWAY TUNNEL OPENED FOR TESTING: The Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, the longest and deepest railway tunnel ever constructed, opened June 1 for testing. The 35.5-mile, $12-billion tunnel, is slated to begin regular service in December.

MOROCCAN HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE TO OPEN IN 2018: Moroccan National Railways says its 114-mile high speed rail line being constructed between Tangiers and Kenitra will open in June 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-1-16]

AMTRAK STOP AT RUGBY, N.D., NO LONGER STAFFED BY AMTRAK: Effective June 1, the Amtrak station at Rugby, N.D., will no longer be staffed by Amtrak personnel. [Amtrak]

CHINESE CITY GETTING ITS FIRST METRO LINE: The Chinese city of Dongguan, which has a population of 8.2 million, started trial operation on its first metro line on May 27, following the approval of its municipal government. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-31-16]

FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT IN DOWNTOWN HARRISBURG DELAYS AMTRAK SERVICE: Nine empty freight cars derailed in downtown Harrisburg, Pa., May 31, along a curve near the Amtrak train station. No injuries were reported. The incident caused delays to Amtrak's cross-state Pennsylvanian operating in both directions. [Penn Live website report, 5-31-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-three percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 29, 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains during the week was 53 minutes late. The average arrival of just those long-distance trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 18 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-30-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FINED FOR OIL SPILL IN VIRGINIA: Virginia environmental regulators have cited NorfolkSouthern for an oil spill that happened when two train collided last summer in Pulaski County, Va. The railroad agreed to pay a fine of $25,000 as part of an agreement with the Dept. of Environmental Quality. [Roanoke Times website report, 5-30-16]

KOREA PUSHES BACK SUSEO HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE OPENING: Opening of Korea's 38-mile Suseo high-speed rail line has been pushed back to the end of the year to allow for structural reinforcement work at one of the stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-30-16]

CHINA APPROVES HIGH-SPEED LINE TO SHANXI: China has given the go-ahead for a 225-mile high-speed rail line linking Jiaozuo in Henan province with Taiyuan, the provincial capital of neighboring Shanxi. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-30-16]

WORLD BANK TO FINANCE INDIAN STATION UPGRADES: The World Bank has agreed to provide a $500-million seed capital loan to kick-start Indian Railways' redevelopment program. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-30-16]

QUANTICO, VA., TRAIN STATION BEING RENOVATED: Construction began May 30 to renovate the Quantico, Va., Amtrak station. The first part of the project calls for the west platform and building to be demolished and removed. The project is expected to be complete in about one year, and train delays may be encountered. [Amtrak]

CONDUCTOR KILLED ON ROYAL GORGE TRAIN IN COLORADO: Investigators say a 28-year-old conductor on the Royal Gorge Route train in Colorado died May 28 when she fell from the train as it was backing up. There were about 200 passengers on the train at the time of the accident. [9 News website report, 5-29-16]

DRAWBRIDGE FAILURE CAUSES TRAIN DELAYS IN CONNECTICUT: Train service resumed late May 28 with significant delays due to single-tracking and congestion from the failure of a drawbridge in the vicinity of South Norwalk, Connecticut. One track became available for trains following repair of the bridge which had been unable to close properly. [Connecticut Post website report, 5-28-16]

METRA TRAIN DERAILS OUTSIDE OF CHICAGO UNION STATION: A Metra train derailment near Canal street right outside of Chicago's Union Station around 3:30 P.M., May 27, impacted afternoon commutes along several commuter lines. No passengers were on the train that derailed and there were no injuries. The train remained upright but the wheels came off the track. [ABC 7 Chicago website report, 5-27-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN LACKS INTEREST IN CHICAGO BYPASS PLAN: Norfolk Southern has told the Surface Transportation Board that it has multiple routes into the Chicago area and a bypass route via Kansas City, so it does not believe it would use the proposed $8-billion, 278 mile Great Lake Basin line from Indiana to Wisconsin. Union Pacific earlier had said it was not interested either. [WISC News 3 website report, 5-27-16]

JURY AWARDS BNSF WHISTLEBLOWER $1.6-M: A former BNSF employee who says he was fired after conducting a brake test despite objections from his supervisors because they were working to 'meet a schedule' has been awarded $1.6-million by a jury. The railroad says the employee's dismissal was justified, and certain information about the matter was withheld from the trial. [Q13 Fox website report, 5-27-16]

FIRE ON CSX'S BRIDGE IN D.C. SPANNING POTOMAC RIVER DISRUPTS RAIL TRAFFIC: The CSX railroad bridge spanning the Potomac River between D.C. and Virginia suffered a minor fire the afternoon of May 27 causing disruption to rail traffic for about two hours. Known as the Long Bridge, it is used by Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express and CSX freight traffic. No injuries were reported. [WUSA 9 website report, 5-27-16]

NEW FRA RULES ADDRESS MAINTENANCE OF WAY WORKER SAFETY, EXPAND DRUG, ALCOHOL TESTING: The Federal Railroad Administation has issed two rules to better protect rail employees working on or near tracks. One rule amends the existing roadway worker protection regulation to include enhanced job briefings, training and work-limit protection; the other revises alcohol and drug testing regulations and expands the requirement to include MofW employees. [FRA, 5-27-16]

TRAIN STRIKES GARBAGE TRUCK IN MISSISSIPPI, ONE INJURED: A train collided with a garbage truck early May 26 sending the driver to the hospital. Two others on the back of the truck jumped to safety before the collision. [WMC Action News 5 website report, 5-26-16]

MONTREAL READY TO ROLL OUT MORE AZUR TRAINS: The transit agency in Montreal, Quebec, says it is ready to begin sending more of its new AZUR trains into passenger service following the successful completion of a testing period. A total of 52 nine-car trains will be operational in the subway system by 2018, the agency said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-26-16]

WIND TOPPLES RAIL CARS IN IOWA: High winds early May 26 in Crawford County, Iowa, knocked over 17 double-stacked container rail cars blocking two tracks. Wind gusts of 87 MPH were reported at the Denison Municipal airport around 2:15 A.M. [KWWL website report, 5-26-16]

SOUND TRANSIT TO SPEED CONSTRUCTION FOR ST3 LIGHT-RAIL: Sound Transit says the ST3 light-rail project in Seattle metro area can be expedited so certain hubs will open three to five years earlier than previously planned. The faster schedule will add $4-billion to the price tag, and will be covered by bond funds. [KOMO website report, 5-26-15]

BNSF CUTS 62 MANAGEMENT POSITIONS, REALIGNS REGIONS: BNSF Railway trimmed 62 management jobs this week as it restructured operations in the wake of declining coal shipments. The company realigned its organization into two regions from three, resulting in the positions being eliminated. Affected employees were offered severance packages. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 5-26-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending May 21, 2016, the Association of American Railroads said U.S. rail freight traffic was down 8.5 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 5-25-16]

GERMANY BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF RASTATT TUNNEL: A ceremony was held May 25 to mark the start of construction of the 2.65-mile Rastatt tunnel which forms part of the project to upgrade the Karlsruhe-Basle main line for 155 MPH operation. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-25-16]

TRAIN PASSENGERS STRANDED ON OVERPASS FOR TWO HOURS IN DENVER: A broken power cable left 80 train passengers in Denver stuck on an overpass around 50 feet in the air May 24, officials said. The A line to Denver International Airport lost power about 3:21 P.M. This was the third time in a week that the A line has lost power, according to a news report The 23-mile A line is new and opened on April 22. [NBC News website report, 5-24-16]

TWO KILLED AS AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES SUV IN CALIFORNIA: An Amtrak Capitol Corridor train collided with an SUV in San Leandro, California, Tuesday afternoon, May 24, killing a woman and a young child inside the car. Several trains were delayed by the incident. [CBS SF Bay Area website report, 5-24-16]

AMTRAK SEEKING MASTER DEVELOPER FOR CHICAGO UNION STATION: Amtrak is seeking responses to a request for qualification for a master developer for commercial elements of Chicago Union Station and neighboring properties. [Railway Age website report, 5-24-16]

SHORT LINE TO LEASE TWO NORFOLK SOUTHERN LINES IN OHIO, WEST VIRGINIA: The Kanawha River Railroad, a subsidiary of Watco, has reached an agreement with Norfolk Southern to lease and increase operations on 309 miles of rail line in Ohio and West Virginia. The lines run from Rufugee, Ohio, to Alloy, W.Va., and Cornelia to Mullens, W.Va. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-24-16]

BULGARIA COMPLETES MODERNIZATION OF RAIL LINK TO GREECE, TURKEY: Bulgaria completed a 10-year project to modernize its principal rail line with Greece and Turkey May 15. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-24-16]

SEPTA LAUNCHES PTC ON FOX CHASE RAIL LINE: SEPTA this week launched positive train-control that enforces locomotive speeds and reduces the chance of human error on its Fox Chase Regional rail line. [NBC Philadelphia website report, 5-23-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains scheduled for arrival at their final destination in the week ending May 22, 2016, arrived on time or earlier. Average arrival was 34 minutes late. Average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and one minute late. The analysis comprehends exact arrival times, without grace allowance, and conveys a more accurate study of performance than the one shown publicy by Amtrak itself. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-23-16]

CSX NAMES OPERATIONS LEADERS: CSX on May 23 announced new operations leaders. Mike Smith, vice-president network operations, will move into the new role of vice-president of PTC (positive train-control) and strategic implementation. He will be replaced by Bob Frulla, vice-president Northern region. He, in turn, will be replaced by Jermaine Swafford, vice-president Southern region. Swafford, in turn, will be replaced by John Bradley, manager Chicago division. Bradley will be replaced by Robert Holtz, assistant manager Chicago division. All changes are effective June 1. [CSX, 5-23-16]

L.A. OPENS SANTA MONICA EXPO LINE EXTENSION: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation authority opened a 6.6-mile extension to its Expo light-rail line from Culver City to Santa Monica on May 20. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-23-16]

PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY CALTRAIN: Caltrain service is back to normal after a man was struck and killed by a commuter train in Burlingame, California, early May 23. Investigators say the man was trespassing on the tracks. This is the sixth fatality on Caltain's right-of-way in 2016, officials said. [ABC 7 News website report, 5-23-16]

UNION PACIFIC PLANS TRACK, BRIDGE UPGRADES IN LOUISIANA: Union Pacific plans to invest $58-million this year in track infrastructure improvements in Louisiana. Included will be replacement of 29 miles of rail between Iowa and Sulphur, La.; replacement of ties and spreading of ballast between Dequincy and Kinder, and between Lawtell and Livonia. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-23-16]

WABTEC LANDS $21-M PTC CONTRACT IN ST. LOUIS: Wabtec Corp. has landed a $21-million contract to design, install, test and commission a positive train-control system for the Termial Railroad Association of St. Louis. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-23-16]

KOREA ORDERS 30 HIGH-SPEED TRAINS: Korea's national train operator has selected Hyundai Roten to supply a fleet of 30 HEMU-250 trains for operation on its new Gyeongjeon line. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-23-16]

CSX COAL TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN GAITHERSBURG, MD.: A CSX coal train struck a car early May 22 in Gaithersburg, Md., sending the driver to the hospital. [WTOP website report, 5-22-16]

GOTTHARD TRAIN TUNNEL WILL BE WORLD'S LONGEST, DEEPEST: The longest and deepest railway tunnel ever constructed is the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, the product of 17 years of work, including cutting through solid rock at depths of up to 7,500 feet. It cost $12-billion, as well as the lives of eight workers. The 35.5-mile tunnel will be inaugurated on June 1. Testing of new trains will begin within days, with scheduled services introduced in December. [NBC News website report, 5-22-16]

TRAIN HITS TOUR BUS IN SWITZERLAND: A bus carrying tourists from Taiwan was struck May 21 by a German ICE train at a level crossing near Bern, police said. At least 17 passengers from the bus were injured, but the passengers aboard the train were unhurt. Most of the bus passengers were released later from the hospital. The ICE is a high-speed train, but the speed limit at the site of the accident was only 25 miles per hour. The accident is under investigation. [Deutsche Welle website report, 5-21-16]

CSX ANNOUNCES MANAGEMENT CHANGES: CSX has announced that Cressie Brown, currently vice-president labor relations, will become senior vice-president and chief administrative officer; Kathleen Brandt, currently head of the company's information technology subsidiary, will become senior vice-president and chief information officer; Zachery Jones has been appointed vice-presient labor relations to succeed Cressie Brown; and Lisa Mancini, executive vice-president and chief administrative officer, is retiring. Changes are effective July 1. [CSX, 5-20-16]

THREE KILLED AS AMTRAK TRAIN, PICKUP COLLIDE IN MISSISSIPPI: A father and his two children, ages 1 and 7, were killed late May 18 when their pickup truck collided with Amtrak's northbound train City of New Orleans in Flora, Mississippi. The accident is under investigation. [Clarion-Ledger website report, 5-19-16]

CAR STRUCK BY NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN IN VIRGINIA: A collision early May 19 between a Norfolk Southern freight train and a car in Suffolk, Va., put two people in the hospital, and authorities were searching for the driver of the vehicle. All three occupants of the 1999 Mercedes fled the scene following the accident, but two of them were located a short distance away. [ABC 13 News Now website report, 5-19-16]

THIRD TRACK OPENED ON CSX LINE PORTION IN VIRGINIA: A new third track opened May 17 on CSX's RF&P line between Hamilton and Spotsylvania County, Va., intended to increase capacity and fluidity for Virginia Railway Express and CSX service. A combination of federal, state, local and CSX funding paid for the project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-19-16]

ZURICH ORDERS 70 FLEXITY-2 LRV'S FROM BOMBARDIER: Zurich has approved the acquisition of 70 meter-gauge Flexity-2 light-rail vehicles from Bombardier to replace the Tram 2000 fleet introduced in the 1970's. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-19-16]

MINSK-GOMEL ELECTRIC RAIL SERVICE TO BEGIN IN JUNE: Belarus Railways will launch electric passenger rail service on the line from Minsk to Gomel on June 3. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-19-16]

METRO-NORTH TRAINS RUNNING ON LIMITED SCHEDULE FOLLOWING FIRE: Metro-North trains were running on a limited schedule May 18 using just two of the four tracks south of Harlem-125th street station following the fire that disrupted service the previous evening. A third track was to be back in service by the morning rush hour May 19. [Journal News website report, 5-18-16]

CSX EXPECTS FULL-YEAR EARNINGS DECLINE: For the second quarter, CSX expects high single-digit volume declines, which will negatively affect earnings. In addition, market forces are expected to offset gains in safety, service, pricing and efficiency, resulting in CSX's first full-year earnings decline since the recession, the company said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-18-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending May 14, 2016, was 498,379 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.2 pct compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 5-18-16]

N.Y. STATE APPROVES PLAN TO PARTIAL PRESERVE ADIRONDACK RAIL LINE: New York Governor Cuomo has approved a $23-million plan to essentially split a 119-mile travel corridor from Remsen to Lake Placid into a scenic railway south of Tupper Lake and a multi-use trail north of Tupper Lake. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-18-16]

MONTREAL CANCELS $103-M ORDER WITH BOMBARDIER: Montreal's transport agency has canceled a $103-million order with Bombardier to build new trains for three commuter lines. Bombardier did not meet specifications for the trains, and was unable to deliver the trains in less than two years, as the agency requested. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-18-16]

COMPLETION OF FIRST SEGMENT OF CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN PROJECT TO BE DELAYED: The California High-Speed Rail Authority now says that it expects the 119-mile Central Valley initial-segment track to be completed by 2022 instead of 2018. [SF Gate webside report, 5-18-16]

NTSB ISSUES REPORT ON AMTRAK TRAIN 188 DISASTER: The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the engineer of Amtrak train 188 was 'likely' distracted by radio traffic about an emergency involving a nearby SEPTA train moments before the May 2015 overspeed wreck at Frankford Curve in Pennsylvania that killed eight and injured 200. The engineer's memory of the incident is foggy from the concussion he suffered in the accident, but he does recall certain key elements that helped the agency piece together its report. Positive train-control was not in service at the time of the accident, but the report added that a version of the technology has since been installed on the entire Northeast corridor. Such a system, had it been in service at the time, would probably have prevented the accident. [Railway Age website report, 5-17-16]

FIRE DISRUPTS METRO-NORTH TRAINS IN NYC: A large fire erupted below the Metro-North tracks in East Harlem late May 17, disrupting train service and leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded during the evening rush. Service was suspended to and from Grand Central Terminal. [N.Y. Times website report, 5-17-16]

AMTRAK'S WEEKLY LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-five percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 15, 2016, according to a survey by the Bull Sheet comprehending exact arrival times without grace allowance. The average train arrived 34 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and one minute late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-16-16]

BNSF NAMES DAVE FREEMAN EXECUTIVE V.P. OPERATIONS: Dave Freeman has been named executive vice-president of operations at BNSF effective June 1. He replaces Greg Fox, who is retiring. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-16-16]

BOSNIAN TALGO TRAINS TO ENTER SERVICE IN JULY: Bosnia-Herzegovina Federal Railways will launch its fleet of Talgo trains in July, when the fleet will be entered into service from Sarajevo to Zagreb and Ploce in Croatia, as well as on the domestic Sarajevo-Banja Luka route. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-16-16]

AMTRAK PASSENGER DIES AFTER JUMPING FROM MOVING TRAIN IN KANSAS: An Amtrak passenger died May 16 in Stafford, Kansas, after jumping from a moving train. The 74-year-old man had been acting strangely, saying he needed to get to his family. [Hutchinson News website report, 5-16-16]

WORLD'S LARGEST CRUISE SHIP SETS SAIL FOR FIRST TIME: Harmony Of The Seas, a 1,188-foot, 227,000-ton cruise ship, some 330 feet longer than the Titanic, has sailed from France to Great Britain prior to its maiden voyage. The ship has over 2,700 staterooms. [Daily Mail website report, 5-16-16]

MAY MILESTONE; AIRLINE & PULLMAN PASSENGER MILES: Airline passenger miles exceeded Pullman passenger miles for the first time in May 1949. [Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society]

FATAL BUS CRASH IN TEXAS: At least eight people died and over 40 others were injured after a charter bus rolled over on a south Texas highway May 14. The crash occurred on highway 83 in Webb County, where it was raining at the time. The driver, who was among those who were injured, lost control of the vehicle. [NBC News website report, 5-15-16]

VERTEX RAILCAR LAYS OFF 60 IN N.C.: Vertex Railcar Corp., a company that makes railroad cars in Wilmington, N.C., is laying off about 60 workers as it switches over from making sand hopper cars to making freight cars. [WITN website report, 5-15-16]

THREE KILLED AS AMTRAK TRAIN HITS PICKUP TRUCK IN CALIFORNIA: Three people died May 13 when their pickup truck was hit by an Amtrak San Joaquin train in Madera County, California, northwest of Fresno. One crew member on the train was injured, but no passengers were hurt. The pickup truck reportedly attempted to go around a stopped freight train and was struck by the Amtrak train operating on the second track, out of view of the driver of the pickup. All fatalities were from the vehicle. [RT website report, 5-13-16]

BNSF STORING ABOUT 40 LOCOMOTIVES IN YARD IN MINNESOTA: BNSF is storing a long line of locomotives at its rail yard in Willmar, Minnesota, due to a downturn in business. A company spokesperson said about 40 of the units are being 'strategically' stored, part of about 1,600 locomotives temporarily sidelined throughout the railroad's system. [West Central Tribune website report, 5-12-16]

INDIAN RAILWAYS TO BEGIN TRAIL RUNS OF 'SOLAR' TRAIN: In line with the Indian Railways 'Solar Mission,' to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, its north western division will soon commence trials of coaches fitted with solar panels which will power all the electrical appliances inside the train. Each car will carry 12 solar panels on the rooftop, each panel producing 300 watts in ideal conditions. [Indian Express website report, 5-13-16]

CSX GETS $3-M STATE GRANT FOR TRACK INTO MCKEES ROCKS TERMINAL: CSX has received the final piece of funding for its $60-million intermodal terminal in McKees Rocks, Pa., a $3-million state grant to build track into the facility. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website report, 5-12-16]

UNION PACIFIC STORING HUNDREDS OF LOCOMOTIVES IN ARIZONA: Hundreds of Union Pacific locomotives are sitting idle in Southern Arizona - a stark illustration of the impact of the energy market's recession on the railroad industry. Systemwide, about 1,400 Union Pacific locomotives - more than 16 pct of the company's fleet - are parked in various staging areas off the main line. [Arizona Daily Star website report, 5-12-16]

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER AWARDS NEW CAR CONTRACT TO STADLER: Rocky Mountaineer, which operates tourist trains in western Canada and Washington state, has awarded a contract to Switzerland's Stadler to build 10 double-deck glass-domed passenger coaches for delivery in 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-12-16]

SIEMENS GETS RAILPOOL ORDER FOR FIVE VECTRON LOCOMOTIVES: Locomotive leasing company Railpool Germany has awarded a contract to Siemens for five additional Vectron AC multi-system locomotives, with an option for a further 10 units. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-12-16]

LIGHT-RAIL CHOSEN FOR PORTLAND'S S.W. CORRIDOR: Light-rail was chosen the preferred transit option in Portland, Oregon's, Southwest corridor by a 10 to 2 vote by the steering committee overseeing the project. The committee considered light-rail to be more reliable and less expensive per ride than bus rapid transit. The earliest the line could be opened would be 2025. [Portland Tribune website report, 5-11-16]

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN NAMES NEW CEO: Patrick J. Ottensmeyer will become chief executive officer of Kansas City Southern effective July 1. He will also continue as its president, a position he has had for more than a year. He succeeds David Starling as CEO, who will continue with the company as an employee and member of the board until May 17, 2017. [Kansas City Southern, 5-11-16]

DENVER BREAKS GROUND ON S.E. RAIL EXTENSION: The Denver Regional Transportation District broke ground May 10 to mark the start of construction on the 2.3-mile Southeast Rail extension. The $233.1-million project will extend lines E and F south from their current terminus at Lincoln. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-11-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Rail freight traffic continues its downward slide. For the week ending May 7, 2016, the Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic was 492,923 combined carloads and intermodal units, down 10.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Railway Age website report, 5-11-16]

MBTA UNVEILS OVERHAULED LOCOMOTIVE: The MBTA has rebuilt and refurbished a locomotive and given it a snazzy new paint job.The locomotive will be responsible for bringing CapeFlyer trains between Boston and the Cape beginning Memorial Day weekend, and used for regular commuter rail service on weekdays. [Boston Globe website report, 5-11-16]

NJT TO OPEN ITS NEWEST RAIL STATION: May 15 is opening day for N.J. Transit's Wesmont station, serving a transit-oriented development in Wood-Ridge in Bergen County. [ report, 5-10-16]

UNION PACIFIC PLANS $78.8-MILLION CAPITAL PROGRAM FOR ILLINOIS RAIL NETWORK: Union Pacific has slated $78.8-million of its 2016 capital program to improve, replace and maintain track, and maintain bridges in Illinois. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-10-16]

CSX RETIRES 5900-SERIES LOCOMOTIVES: CSX has retired its entire fleet of 5900-series B20-8 and B40-8 locomotives. As of the fifth of May, 14 of the units have been listed for sale and out for bid, along with other long-ago retired units and models that have been stored at various locations. [Robert Michaels, 5-10-16]

SANTIAGO METRO TRAIN DESTROYED IN SHIPPING ACCIDENT: A claim has been filed with insurers after a new, driverless metro train for Santiago worth $7.3-million was written off in a shipping accident during delivery from Spain. The five-car train was completely destroyed in an incident at sea during the final leg of the voyage after the ship had called at the port of Lima, Peru. The full extent of the damage only became apparent after the ship had docked at its final destination of Valparaiso, Chile. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-10-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Fory-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 8, 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains at their final destination was 31 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule was 55 minutes late. This calculaion was made by the Bull Sheet comprehending actual arrival times, but without any grace allowance for arrivals that were only slightly behind schedule. Sufficient padding is in place for arrivals at final destination without the need for additional allowance, according to this survey. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-9-16]

NAZI GOLD TRAIN HUNTERS DEFY SKEPTICS, BEGIN DIGGING FOR TREASURES: Two treasure hunters who claim to have found the resting place of a German military train believed to be laden with gold are set to begin digging on the site despite widespread skepticism over their claim. [The Telegraph website report, 5-9-16]

WABTEC COMPLETES TWO ACQUISITIONS: Wabtec Corp. has completed its acquisitions of Unitrac Railroad Materials and Pride Bodies Ltd., both of which provide a variety of track-related products and services. [Railway Age website report, 5-9-16]

VIA RAIL REPORTS RIDERSHIP GROWTH: VIA Rail released its annual report on May 6, and for the first time in seven years, posted a ridership gain. Total passenger miles were up by some 1.7 pct year over year. [Railway Age website report, 5-9-16]

PLANS SIMPLIFIED FOR BOSTON'S GREEN LINE EXTENSION: Officials in Massachusetts have scaled back their proposed extension of Boston's Green line to $2.3-billion. The number of additional stations remains the same, but with simpler - and some open-air - designs. The project, which could be done as 'design-build,' must still find $73-million in additional funding and get approval from the Federal Transit Administration. Boston Globe website report, 5-9-16]

BNSF IDLES SCORES OF LOCOMOTIVES IN FARGO, N.D.: An economic downturn involving a variety of commodities has resulted in BNSF Railway parking about 45 of its locomotives at the railroad's train yard just off 12th avenue north near the North Dakota State University campus. [InForum website report, 5-9-16]

PERSON STRUCK BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN N.C.: Authorities say a person was struck by Amtrak's Piedmont train Saturday afternoon, May 7, in Mebane, N.C. There were no injuries among the 67 people on board the train. [WRAL website report, 5-7-16]

AMTRAK NEC SERVICE IN N.Y., CONNECTICUT RESTORED AFTER POWER OUTAGE: Amtrak says service was restored about 8 P.M. on May 6 after being suspended for nearly two hours between New York City and New Haven because of a power outage. [NBC New York website report, 5-7-16]

BNSF PROFIT DROPS 25 PCT: Berkshire Hathaway said quarterly profits from BNSF fell 25 pct to the lowest level in two years. First quarter net income declined from $1.05-billion to $784-million. [Star-Telegram website report, 5-7-16]

D.C. METRO TO SHUT DOWN LINE SECTIONS FOR YEAR-LONG SUBWAY REPAIR WORK: D.C. Metro next month will begin a huge subway rebuilding effort that will inconvenience nearly everyoen who uses the system, with stretches of some rail lines closed for days, a reduction in late-night weekend service, and a slowdown of trais throughout the year-long project, officials said. [Washington Post website report, 5-6-16]

CSX COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN W.VA.: CSX is investigating in eastern Kanawha County, W.Va., where nine loaded train cars of coal derailed late May 5. Four of the cars dumped coal onto an adjacent road. There were no injuries. [WSAZ website report, 5-6-16]

FEDERAL GRANT TO RESTORE PASSENGER RAIL TO BURLINGTON, VT.: Vermont has won a $10-million federal grant to help pay for upgrades to allow Amtrak passenger service to be restored to Burlington, Vermont, in about four years. Passenger service to Burlington ended about half a centry ago, although Amtrak's Vermonter does serve Essex Junction, about seven miles northeast of Burlington. [Bryan-College Station Eagle website repor, 5-6-16]

D.C. METRO SUSPENDS SERVICE ON THREE LINES DUE TO FIRE: Washington DC's Metro suspended service on its Blue, Orange and Silver lines between Eastern Market and L-Enfant Plaza for much of the day and into the night May 5 following a debris fire, the latest in a series of Metro mishaps. No injuries were reported. [WTOP website report, 5-6-16]

K.C. OPENS DOWNTOWN LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Kansas City, Missouri, has celebrated the opening of its 2-2-mile light-rail line from River Market via the city center to Union Station. [Railway Age website report, 5-6-16]

CSX FINED FOR RETALIATION AGAINST UNION OFFICER: CSX violated the anti-retaliation provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety act when it suspended an employee at its Selkirk locomotive shop after he notified management of numerous alleged safety hazards and violations, the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Occupaional Safety and Health administration has found. The employee was acting in his capacity as a union official. The company must pay the employee over $27,000 in attorney's fees and $5,000 in punitive damages, as well as expunge the record of suspension from his record. [OSHA, 5-5-16]

N.Y. PLANNING $1-B OVERHAUL OF SUBWAY TUNNEL: New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority will spend up to $1-billion to overhaul a superstorm Sandy-damaged subway tunnel beween Manhattan and Brooklyn. The agency is considering either partially or completely closing the tunnel during construction, which will begin in 2019. [N.Y. Daily News website report, 5-5-16]

MAY MILESTONE; B&O COLUMBIAN: On May 5, 1949, the B&O re-equipped its eight-car, all-coach Washington-Chicago Columbian with lightweight cars, including the first dome cars in the East. The new consist replaced the 1937 Otto Kuhler cars originally built for New York-Washington service. [Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society]

LAKE SHORE LIMITED OPERATES WITH ONLY ONE LOCOMOTIVE: Amtrak has been operating the Lake Shore Limited with only one locomotive pulling 11 cars between Chicago and Albany. A NARP staffer, who rode the westbound train recently, noted that the single locomotive was unable to reach the top 100-110 MPH operating speeds on the Amtrak-owned segment west of Albany, and that slower than normal acceleration hampered running times. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline report]

MONORAIL IN LAS VEGAS TO EXPAND ONE MILE TO MANDALAY BAY: Commissioners have voted to allow the Las Vegas Monorail to expand one mile to Mandalay Bay at a cost of about $100-million in order to connect passeners to tourist attractions throughout the city. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline report]

FRA APPROVES BRIGHTLINE'S ENGINEERING PLANS IN TWO COUNTIES: The Federal Railroad Administration has approved All Aboard Florida's final engineering plans for its Brightline intercity passenger rail service in Brevard and Indian River counties. The news marks a 'significant step' toward the $3-billion project, company officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-5-16]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD.: A man was struck and killed by a westbound Amtrak train near Garrett Park in Montgomery County, Md., the afternoon of May 4. MARC commuter trains, which share the same CSX tracks as Amtrak, were considerably delayed by the incident. [WTOP website report, 5-4-16]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT VOLUME DECLINES IN APRIL: U.S. combined carload and intermodal rail traffic declined 11.8 pct in April 2016 compared with the same month last year, the Association of American Railroads reported. Carload traffic was down 16.1 pct and intermodal traffic was down 7.5 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN D.C., LEAKS CHEMICALS, DISRUPTS AMTRAK, MARC SERVICE: A CSX train derailed early May 1 near the Rhode Island avenue Metro station in Washington DC, blocking all tracks. One of the cars leaked sodium hydroxide, but no evacuations were ordered. There were no injuries. Amtrak's Capitol Limited into and out of Washington was suspended, and inbound MARC trains were terminated at Silver Spring with passengers transferring to the Metro Red line. Similar service disruptions continued May 3, but service was restored May 4.

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES BACKHOE IN LOUISIANA: Police say a backhoe operator received minor injuries May 2 when an Amtrak train struck the backhoe at a crossing near Welsh, Louisiana. No one on the train was injured. Charges against the individual are pending. The crossing has no automatic protection but is marked by signs. In an accident in February of this year, one person was killed and another injured when a freight train struck a vehicle at the same crossing, police said. [SRN News website report, 5-3-16]

CANADA'S AUDITOR GENERAL SAYS VIA RAIL SERVICE 'SIGNIFICANTLY' WORSENS: A report released by Canada's auditor general found nearly a quarter of trains operated by the Crown corporation in 2014 were late. That was 'significantly' worse than in previous few years, the report reads, when fewer than one in five were late. [National Post website report, 5-3-16]

HOUSTON SEEKS FEASIBILITY STUDY ON HSR LINE TO DALLAS: The city of Houston is requestig applications from companies to conduct a feasibility study on the proposed high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas. [Houston Public Media website report, 5-3-16]

AMTRAK RETIRING ITS AEM-7 LOCOMOTIVES: Come this June, it will be full speed ahead for Amtrak's new Cities Sprinter electric trains on the Northeast corridor, as the iconic AEM-7 locomotives are retired. Fifty-four of the AEM-7 locomotives have powered trains since 1979, said Amtrak. The new Cities Sprinters are safer and more energy-efficient, but not expected to be faster. [Boston Globe website report, 5-3-16]

NTSB ISSUES REPORT ON JAN 2015 FATAL D.C. METRO INCIDENT: A short circuit on Washington's Metrorail system that caused thick smoke to fill a stranded train, killing one passenger and injuring 91 on Jan. 12, 2015, was the result of the transit agency WMATA failing to follow its own safety procedures and inadequate safety oversight by the Tri-State Oversight Committee and the Federal Transit Administration, according to a report adopted in a public meeting of the National Transportation Safety Board. The board issued 31 new safety recommendations in the report, added to nine recommendations that were previously issued. [NTSB, 5-3-16]

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 May 1, 2016. The average arrival of surveyed trains during the week was 34 minutes late. The average arrival of only those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and two minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-2-16]

AMTRAK ALLOWS BICYCLES ON BOARD VERMONTER: Amtrak has begun a service on its Vermonter route to allow passengers to bring their bicycles on board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-2-16]

TWO UNIONS REJECT NJT CONTRACT: The members of NJ Transit's two largest unions - Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and United Transportation Union - have voted against the tentative agreement reached in March between NJ Transit and a coalition of its 16 railroad unions. [Railway Age website report, 5-2-16]

ROCK SLIDE BLOCKS NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRACKS IN W.VA.: Norfolk Southern says a rock slide temporarily closed tracks in both directions beginning early May 2 in Borderland, W.Va., north of Williamson. The railroad expected cleanup to be finished by late evening. [Daily Journal website report, 5-2-16]

PROGRESS RAIL ACQUIRES INSPIRED SYSTEMS: Progress Rail Services has acquired Inspired Systems, a move that will expand its rail signaling offerings, according to the company. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-2-16]

APRIL 2016 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the month of April 2016. The average arrival of surveyed trains was 36 minutes late. The average arrival of only those long-distance trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and four minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-1-16]

BNSF'S BUSINESS DOWN, WILL REMAIN DEPRESSED, WARREN BUFFET SAYS: Investor Warren Buffet says that Berkshire Hathaway's BNSF railroad business has 'fallen drastically,' and the pain is likely to continue. [CNBC website report, 4-30-15]

FEDERAL COURT ISSUES RULING AGAINST AMTRAK'S 'REGULATORY POWER': A U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that when Congress passed the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, it 'unconstitutionally' gave Amtrak regulatory power over private railroads and competitors. This is the second time the court has ruled against Amtrak over determination of appropriate metrics, on-time performance standards and service guarantees. The earlier ruling had been sent back to the Court of Appeals by the Supreme Court. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 4-29-16]

OMNITRAX FILES TO ACQUIRE HEART OF TEXAS RWY: Denver-based OmniTrax has filed a brief with the Surface Transportation Board to acquire the Heart of Texas Railway. The 76.5-mile line runs from Lometa (junction with BNSF) to Brady, Texas, primarily carrying frac sand and hydraulic fracturing. The name of the railroad would change to Central Texas & Colorado River Railway. [Texas Rail Advocates website report, 4-28-16]

CALIFORNIA HSR AUTHORITY APPROVES LATEST BUSINESS PLAN: The board that oversees California's high-speed rail project has approved the latest $64-billion plan calling for trains to run from the Central Valley to the San Jose area starting in 2025. Officials have pitched a $21-billion first segment between Merced and San Jose as the only way to ensure a useable segment gets built with the existing funding. Earlier plans had called for the project to head first to the San Fernando Valley, but this has changed. [Orange County Register website report, 4-28-16]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Genesee & Wyoming reported operating revenues increased 21.6 pct to $482.6-million in the first-quarter 2016. Adjusted income from operations decreased 8.2 pct to $79.6-million. Adjusted diluted EPS was $0.77. [Genesee & Wyoming, 4-28-16]

LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION IN L.A. COMPLETED: Construction has been completed on a 6.6-mile light-rail extension in Los Angeles. The $1.5-billion line is expected to open May 20 and will provide transportation to workers at some of the largest companies in the entertainment industry. [Bloomberg website report, 4-28-16]

HANOVER COUNTY, VA., RESCIDES SUPPORT OF ASHLAND BYPASS FOR HSR RAIL ROJECT: The Hanover County, Va., board of supervisors has revised its previous position toward a high-speed rail project that would link Richmond and Washington to include a western bypass of Ashland that had been offered as one potential option. The board revoked its endorsement of the bypass on April 27, but did not formally adopt a position supporting any of the other alternatives. [Richmond Times-Dispatch website report]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY MBTA COMMUTER TRAIN: A man of undisclosed age was struck and killed April 28 by an MBTA commuter train in Medford, Massachusetts, on the Lowell line. [WHDH website report, 4-28-16]

NEW BART RAIL CAR CRASHES AT TESTING FACILITY: During a low-speed trial run at Bay Area Rapid Transit's testing facility, one of the agency's new 'Fleet of the Future' rail cars crashed into a sand box following a brake problem. Officials said a wire running from testing equipment to the car shorted when it was pinched in a cabinet door, causing the car's auxiliary power supply to shut down. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-28-16]

HOUSE A TOTAL LOSS AFTER TRAIN BLOCKS FIREFIGHTERS FROM REACHING BLAZE: Huron Twp., Michigan, firefighters were delayed April 27 by a stopped CSX train on their way to a house fire. The delay caused the house to be a total loss, according to WXYZ. [News-Herald website report, 4-28-16]

FEDS DISMISS PETITION FOR PROPOSED TONGUE RIVER R.R. LINE IN MONTANA: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has dismissed a petition for the Tongue River Railroad's 42-mile proposed rail line in Southeast Montana. The agency decided to kill the proposal in light of the recent bankruptcy of Arch Coal Inc. and its subsidiary Otter Creek Coal Mine. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-27-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending April 23, 2016, total U.S. rail freight traffic volume was down 11.7 pct compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 4-27-16]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON EDMONTON VALLEY LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Edmonton, Alberta, officially began construction of the first phase of its light-rail Valley line on April 22. The 11-station phase will link Mill Woods Town center with 102 street in the city center, and is initially expected to carry around 31,500 passengers per day. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-27-16]

WORCESTER-BOSTON 'BULLET TRAINS' BEGIN SERVICE IN MAY: Beginning May 23, riders will be able to get from Worcester to Boston in less than an hour thanks to the MBTA's new nonstop trains. [MassLive website report, 4-26-16]

MICHIGAN TO UPGRADE AMTRAK'S WOLVERINE SERVICE: Amtrak has announced a modified schedule for its Wolverine schedule through Sept. 23 as state-owned infrastructure improvements are made as part of Michigan's Accelerated Rail program. The projects are aimed at improving service, along with preparing for an expansion of the Midwest's first 110 MPH service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-26-16]

RAILROAD CROSSING GATE IMPALES SCHOOL BUS IN CALIFORNIA: A railroad crossing gate went completely through a school bus, side to side, in South Los Angeles, California, early April 26. The bus had apparently tried to cross the tracks when the gate somehow impaled the bus and went completely through windows to the other side, landing in a student's lap. There were no injuries. [KTLA website report, 4-26-16]

FRENCH RAILROAD STRIKE DISRUPTS SERVICE: A French rail strike on April 26 seriously disrupted train service around the country, canceling a slew of train routes and snarling commuters for hundreds of thousands in Paris and in the provinces. [Fox News website report, 4-26-16]

EUROSTAR TO BEGIN LONDON-AMSTERDAM RAIL SERVICE NEXT YEAR. Eurostar plans to introduce rail services from London to Amsterdam in Dec. 2017, subject to necessary approvals for operation of the new Siemens Velaro e320 trains on the Belgian and Dutch networks. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-26-16]

GATX REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: GATX Corp. reported first-quarter 2016 net income of $69.3-million or $1.66 per diluted share, compared with $62.2-million or $1.39 per diluted share in the same period last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-26-16]

WABTEC EARNINGS DROP AS FREIGHT RAIL SALES DECLINE: Wabtec Corp. reported 2 pct drop in first-quarter earnings from one year ago, as sales to the freight railroad industry cooled off, company executives said. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website report, 4-26-16]

APRIL MILESTONE; PRR LIBERTY LIMITED: On April 26, 1949, the Pennsylvania Railroad placed its newly-equipped Liberty Limited in service with two 14-car train sets and diesels costing $4.28-million. [Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-two percent of Amtrak's surveyed long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 24, 2016. The average arrival was 44 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and 16 minutes late. This survey was conducted observing exacting arrival times with no grace allowance for minimal tardiness. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 4-25-16]

CN POSTS 1-Q RESULTS: In the first-quarter 2016, CN's net income increased 13 pct to $792-million, while diluted EPS increased 16 pct to $1.00, compared with the first-quarter last year. Operating income increased 14 pct to $1.22-billion. [Railway Age website report, 4-25-16]

D.C. METRO BLAMES FIRE ON FOREIGN OBJECT TOUCHING THIRD RAIL: A track fire on D.C. Metro's Red Line April 23 involved a metal part of a rail car becoming dislodged and making contact with the electrified third rail, the transit agency said. The incident occurred in a tunnel near the Friendship Heights station. Smoke began seeping into the train that had halted in the tunnel. Riders were safely evacuated after the train backed up to the Tenleytown station. [Washington Post website report, 4-25-16]

POLICE HELICOPTER CREW STOPS TRAIN FROM COLLIDING WITH CAR: A police helicopter crew is credited with stopping a train from colliding with a car that had gotten stuck on the tracks in Riverside, California, April 23. The crew flew their chopper ahead of the train, lowered into the engineer's field of view, and used the spotlight to signal the train to a stop. The train stopped about 40 feet from the car. [CBS Los Angeles website report, 4-23-16]

NJT TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK ON TRACK, DRIVER INJURED: A man was hospitalized after he drove his truck onto railroad tracks in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., not at a crossing, and struck by a New Jersey Transit train early April 23. The individual will be charged with driving while intoxicated and interference with transportation. There were no other injuries. [ report, 4-23-15]

FIREWORKS STOLEN FROM CSX TRAIN RECOVERED IN DETROIT: A 500-pound shipment of commercial-grade fireworks stolen from a CSX train traveling between Chicago and Detroit was recovered April 23 in a vacant field in southwest Detroit, authorities said. [Detroit Free Press website report, 4-23-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN INTRODUCES NEW HAZMAT SAFETY TRAIN: Norfolk Southern has rolled out a new educational train for training of first-responders across the system. It includes a locomotive painted in honor of emergency responders, two boxcars converted into classrooms, four different styles of tank cars to illustrate car valves and fittings, and two flatcars designed to transport intermodal containers. [Norfolk Southern, 4-22-16]

DENVER OPENS RAIL SERVICE BETWEEN DOWNTOWN AND AIRPORT: Denver opened rail service on April 22 between downtown and Denver International Airport. The 23-mile line runs every 15 minutes, and is expected to change the way people commute to and from the airport. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 4-22-16]

INDIANA PANEL APPROVES $1.6-M GRANT FOR SOUTH SHORE LINE DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT: The board of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development authority has approved a $1.6-million matching grant for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation district's South Shore line double-track project. The grant will help offse the $4-million cost of preliminary engineering and environmental work. The project callsfor adding a second track from Gary to Michigan City. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-22-16]

CALIFORNIA HSR AUTHORITY UNVEILS PROPOSED CHANGES: The California High-Speed Rail authority has released recommended changes to its 2016 draft business plan. The changes include early investments in the Burbank-to-Los Angeles/ Anaheim corridor. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-22-16]

AMTRAK ENDING NATIONAL TIMETABLE IN PRINTED FORM: Amtrak is ending the publication of a printed national system schedule. The current Winter/Spring 2016 edition will be the last one available in printed form. A comprehensive PDF-version system schedule will continue to be available on-line, and individual route schedules will still be printed. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 4-22-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ON TRACK TO ACHIEVE 2016 SAVINGS GOAL: The top executive of Norfolk Southern said the railroad was on track to achieve its planned savings target of $200-million this year, and the company could further trim capital spending if freight volumes remain weak. [Reuters website report, 4-22-16]

BRISTOL, VA., GETS GRANT FOR AMTRAK VIABILITY STUDY: The city of Bristol, Va., has received a new $100,000 grant to assist with funding for a passenger rail viability study to look at the feasibility of bringing Amtrak to the area. The study is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline, 4-22-16]

SOUTH KOREAN PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILS, ENGINEER KILLED, EIGHT INJURED: A South Korean passenger train derailed near the southern city of Yeosu on April 22, killing an engineer and injuring eight others, the railway operator said. The locomotive and four of the train's seven cars derailed on a section of track undergoing maintenance. [Reuters website report, 4-22-16]

WORK BEGINS ON IRAN-AZERBAIJAN RAIL BRIDGE: April 20 marked the start of construction on a dual-gauge railway bridge across the Astarachay River to link the two countries on the western shores of the Caspian Sea. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-22-16]

MORE CHINA-EUROPE FREIGHT TRAINS BEGIN: French National Railways rail freight subsidiary Fret SNCF celebrated the launch of a new China-France container service April 21 when the first train from Wuhan arrived at the Saint-Priest terminal in Venissieux. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-22-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reported record quarterly operating ratio and double-digit improvements in operating income, net income and earnings per share. Railway operating revenues totaled $2.4-billion, down 6 pct year-over-year. Railway operating expenses were $1.7-billion, down 13 pct year-over-year on the 2 pct reduction in raffic volumes. Income from railway operations was $723-million, up 19 pct year-over-year. Net income was $387-million, up 25 pct year-over-year. [Norfolk Southern, 4-21-16]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Union Pacific reported 2016 first-quarter net income of nearly $1.0-billion or $1.16 per diluted share, compared to about $1.2-billion or $1.30 per diluted share in the first-quarter last year. Operating income totaled $1.7-billion, down 15 pct. Operating ratio was 65.1 pct, up 0.3 points. Quarterly train speed was 27.3 MPH, 11 pct faster than the same quarter 2015. [Union Pacific, 4-21-16]

MAN PICKED TO HEAD NJT CHANGES HIS MIND: Former Amtrak executive William Crosbie, who had been picked to lead N.J. Transit, has decided he does not want the job after all, just days before he was scheduled to start running the nation's third-busiest commuter railroad. Dennis Martin, the agency's general manager of bus operations, will continue as interim executive director for now. [ABC News website report, 4-21-16]

PANAMA MONORAIL TO BE FINANCED BY JAPAN: Panama has signed an agreement with Japan valued at $2.6-billion to fund the construction of Line 3 of Panama's Metro, the largest project in the country since the expansion of the Panama Canal. The monorail system will be the first to use Japanese technology in the Americas. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-21-16]

TUNNEL PREFERRED FOR CALGARY LIGHT-RAIL GREEN LINE: The city of Calgary, Alberta, has announced that an underground alignment has emerged as the most viable option for the city center section of the Green light-rail line in the first stage of evaluation for the core part of the project. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-21-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO REDUCE OPERATIONS AT KNOXVILLE: Norfolk Southern announced April 20 that it will reduce train operations at its Knoxville, Tennessee, rail yard, effective May 1, due to lower traffic volumes. Switching operations will be idled at the yard, resulting in a decrease in train traffic. Approximately 135 positions will be affected. [Norfolk Southern, 4-20-16]

CP REPORTS RECORD RESULTS IN 1-Q: Canadian Pacific reported its lowest-ever first-quarter operating ratio of 58.9 pct, and reported diluted earnings per share of $3.51, or $2.50 on an adjusted diluted earnings per share basis. Diluted EPS increased 83 pct and adjusted diluted EPS grew 11 pct. Operating income advanced 7 pct to $653-million. [Canadian Pacific, 4-20-16]

CP PLANS ADDITIONAL JOB CUTS: Canadian Pacific will eliminate more jobs this year than origially announced, perhaps as many as 1,400 rather than the 1,000 the company had earlier estimated. [Calgary Herald website report, 4-20-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported for the week ending April 16, 2016, that the traffic of carloads was down 12.9 pct and the traffic of intermodal units was down 7.4 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 4-20-16]

NYC RAIL PROJECT GETS EXTRA FUNDING: The Second avenue subway project in NYC now has $500-million extra in federal funding. The first four rail stations should be completed in Dec. for the $6-billion project. [N.Y. Daily News website report, 4-20-16]

S.C. TO BUILD INLAND CARGO HUB ALONG I-95: The S.C. State Ports authority says it plans to build an inland port facility at a Dillon commerce park where Harbor Freight Tools operates one of its largest East Coast distribution centers. The site will be served by CSX. [Post and Courier website report, 4-20-16]

TRACK WAS OUT OF SERVICE FOR TRAINS IN APRIL 3 AMTRAK COLLISION: Two Amtrak employees with a backhoe were authorized to be on the tracks on April 3 when a passenger train hit and killed them in Chester, Pa., the National Transportation Safety Board said. It could be nearly a year before the final report is released, but the preliminary report on April 18 indicates that workers were granted access to perform maintenance, as well as 'intermittent foul time' protection on the surrounding tracks. [Delaware Online report, 4-19-16]

CIRCUS TRAIN CRASHES INTO CAR AT CROSSING IN VIRGINIA: A Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus train crashed into a car at a crossing in Chesterfield, Va., early April 19. The train, which had originated in South Carolina en route to Massachusetts, dragged the car about half a mile before stopping. The driver was taken to a hospital, but none of the people or animals aboard the train were injured. [Charleston Gazette-Mail website report, 4-19-16]

BRUSH FIRES DELAY TRAIN SERVICE NEAR NYC: Two brush fires swept across the N.J. Meadowlands Tuesday afternoon, April 19, forcing the temporary cancellations of Amtrak and NJ Transit trains. Delays continued throughout the evening rush. [North Jersey Record, 4-19-16]

KCS REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported first-quarter 2016 revenues of $563-million, a decrease of 7 pct from the first-quarter last year. Operating income was $188-million, which was flat compared to the same quarter in 2015. Net income was $108-million or 99 cents per diluted share, compared with $101-millionor 91 cents per diluted share in the first quarter of 2015. [Railway Age website report, 4-19-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-seven percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 17, 2016. The average arrival of all long-distance trains at their final destination in the surveyed week was 25 minutes behind schedule. The average arrival of just those trains that arrived behind schedule was 47 minutes late. This analysis comprehends a more exacting protocol than what is used by Amtrak itself in reporting its train performance. If a train arrives at its final destination behind schedule, even by a minute, it is considered late by the standards set in this study. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 4-18-16]

MOSCOW TO PURCHASE NEW LRV'S: The city government of Moscow has announced plans to order 50 new light-rail vehicles for $74-million by the end of the year, with similar orders expected to be planced in each of the next five years. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-18-16]

FRENCH HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT REJECTED: The declaration of public utility to buyild a high-speed rail line from Poitier to Limoges, which had been granted in Jan. 3025, has been annulled by France's State Council. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-18-16]

AMTRAK SERVICE DISRUPTED BETWEEN BOSTON AND NEW HAVEN BY SIGNAL PROBLEMS: Regular service for Amtrak and MBTA trains resumed late April 17 after signaling problems disrupted service in the morning, officials said. The delays were attributed to maintenance work and a software issue on dispatching and signaling systems. [Boston Globe website report, 4-17-16]

HELICOPTER CRASH IN MARYLAND SNARLS NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TRAINS: A helicopter carrying three people crashed near BWI Airport in Anne Arundel County, Md., April 16, causing a fire, and disrupted rail traffic on Amtrak's Northeast corridor. Train service later resumed, but with delays. The helicopter was in use for an inspection of power lines, and was destroyed in the accident. The three occupants of the chopper were transported to a hospital. [CBS News website report, 4-16-16]

CSX REPLIES IN STB INVESTIGATION OF ON-TIME AMTRAK PERFORMANCE ON RF&P: In an April 13 letter to the Surface Transportation Board, CSX contends that giving Amtrak trains absolute priority over the old RF&P line between Washington and Richmond upends commuter train operations, drastcally limits the number of available slots for freight trains, and will likely result in congestion on tracks and in yards that would ripple through the network. [Railway Age website report, 4-15-16]

N.C. PRIORTIZES $100-M FOR CSX'S PLANNED CAROLINA CONNECTOR: The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation has identified $100-million for a planned CSX terminal in Johnston County in a preliminary priority list of state transportation improvements. The Carolina Connector is being planned as a facility that will create distinct competitive advantages fo N.C. businesses and ports while serving the metro-Raleigh area. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-15-16]

WASHINGTON METRO RETIRES 1000-SERIES RAIL CARS: Washington DC's Metro retired the oldest cars in its fleet (the 1000-series cars from the 1970's) as he agency has been replacing them with the new 7000-series cars that began service in April of last year. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 4-15-16]

L.A. LOOKS TO ATTRACT NEW CROWDS TO UNION STATION: City planners in Los Angeles are looking to spruce up and attract new crowds to Union Station by enhancing the subway stop. Officials want to revitalize the station and renovate the building as an entertainment hub. This effort would include Union Station hosting concerts, leasing retail space and improving restaurant offerings. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 4-15-16]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY RELEASES REVISED ROUTE PLANS: Under the latest California High-Speed Rail Authority's plan, the rail line would remain above ground through most of Los Angeles, while engineers propose to bore tunnels under mountains in the northeast end of the San Fernando Valley, and drill tunnels from Acton to the San Fernando Valley. The authority is trying to reduce costs by looking at all route alternatives for the rail line. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 4-15-16]

NJT'S PRACTICE OF AUDIO SURVEILLANCE RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT PRIVACY: N.J. Transit will soon finish installing interior audio and surveillance technology on its trains. Questions have been raised about the agency recording all conversations, and for how long the conversations are kept. Currently, video and audio devices have been installed on River line ligh-rail vehicles and are being installed on the Hudson-Bergen and Newark lines. All light-rail vehicles that are so equipped have signs informing customers of their presence. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 4-15-16]

MARYLAND'S PURPLE LINE CARS WILL BE THE LONGEST IN THE U.S.: At 136 feet, the trains built by Spanish company CAF will be two feet longer than what other trains use. With the longer railcars, the Purple line will increase capacity by 10 pct, reduce wasted space between cars, cut expense per ride, and make it easier for commuters to walk through a single car to find a seat. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline, 4-15-16]

SIEMENS TO SUPPLY FIVE VECTRON MS LOCOMOTIVES FOR CZECH REPUBLIC: Czech rail transport company CD Cargo has ordered five Vectron MS locomotives from Siemens. The multiservice units can be operated in all countries, neighboring the Czech Republic. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-15-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN COLLIDES WITH SEMI IN ILLINOIS: Amtrak's Quincy to Chicago train 381 was involved in a collision with a semi on the tracks near Galva, Illinois, early April 14. The driver of the semi was killed. There were no injuries to anyone aboard the train. Passengers were transported from the scene by bus. [WQAD 8 website report, 4-14-16]

CSX PLANS MORE CUTS IN RESPONSE TO SLOWER FREIGHT VOLUME: CSX plans to continue cutting costs this year to deal with slowing freight volume. Executives discussed their outlook April 13, one day after reporting a 19 pct drop in first-quarter profit. CSX said it reduced expenses by about $270-million in the quarter, and additional cuts are planned. About 2,000 workers have been furloughed, and about 400 of the railroad's locomotives are parked. The company expects to haul roughly 25 pct less coal this year. [ABC News website report, 4-13-16]

PORT OF NEW ORLEANS DEDICATES MISSISSIPPI RIVER INTERMODAL TERMINAL: The Port of New Orleans on April 12 dedicated the port's new $25-million Mississippi River Intermodal terminal. The new rail yard features four tracks with 1,550 feet of working pad for each track, in addition to a runaround track. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-13-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending April 9, 2016, carloads and intermodal units were down 20 pct and nearly 8 pct, respectively, the Association of American Railroads reported. [Railway Age website report, 4-13-16]

TRAIN DERAILMENT IN LOUISIANA CAUSES EVACUATION: Approximately 138 homes and two businesses, including a day-care center, were evacuated until about 8:30 P.M. April 13 after 11 cars of a BNSF train derailed near Scott, La., that morning. One of the cars contained posphoric acid, but it did not leak. No one was injured. [The Advertiser website report, 4-13-16]

BOMBARDIER SAYS CTA RIGGED CONTRACT PROCESS TO FAVOR CHINESE COMPANY: The losing bidder for a $1.3-billion Chicago Transit authority rail car contract has filed a protest with the agency, saying that the bidding process was rigged in favor of a Chinese firm that promised to bring manufacturing jobs to Chicao at the direction of the city's mayor. [Chicago Tribune website report, 4-13-16]

CSX REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: CSX announced first-quarter net earnings of $356-million or 37 cents per share, down from $442-million or 45 cents per share in the same quarter last year. Revenue for the quarter declined 14 pct, reflecting lower fuel recovery, a 5 pct volume decline and a $95-million year-over-year decline in other revenue related to payments received in 2015 from customers that did not meet their minimum volume commitments. [CSX, 4-12-16]

GERMAN TRAIN DISPATCHER WAS PLAYING CELLPHONE GAMES BEFORE FATAL TRAIN CRASH, OFFICIALS SAY: Authorities say a rail dispatcher in southern Germany was using his cellphone to play games shortly before two trains operating in his territory collided head-on in February, killing 11 people. The dispatcher was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide, prosecutors said. [U.S. News and World Report, 4-12-16]

SOUND TRANSIT ADVANCES LYNNWOOD LINK DESIGN PLANS: Sound Transit has issued a formal notice to proceed on the $73.7-million final design contract for its 8.5-mile Lynnwood Link light-rail extension. The line will run north from the Northgate Link extension that is under construction and slated to open in 2021. The new route will provide 28-minute trips between Seattle and Lynnwood. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-12-16]

METRO-NORTH PLANS EXTENSIVE TRACK IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM THIS YEAR: Across all three of Metro-North's rail lines this year, crews will conduct 8.24 miles of rail renewal work, replace 52 switches, weld 1,600 rail joints and restore 24 grade crossings. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-12-16]

MAN KILLED BY SUBWAY TRAIN IN MANHATTAN: A man laying in the track bed of the 77th street subway station in Manhattan was killed by a train early April 12. He was hit by a northbound train about 4:30 A.M. and was pronounced dead at the scene., police said. [DNA Info website report, 4-12-16]

NORTH KOREA MEDIA SAYS FREIGHT RAIL 'SUFFERING FROM ACUTE SHORTAGE': North Korea media have, in recent days, admitted that the country's freight rail is suffering from an 'acute shortage.' The Korean Central News agency said the railways needed to be further modernized to address the issue. [NK News website report, 4-12-16]

COURT BACKS BNSF FOR DECLINING TO HIRE OBESE WORKER: BNSF did not violate the federal Americans With Disabilities act when it rescinded a job offer to a man who was considered too obese to qualify for work under the company's employment practices, a court has ruled. The invidivual had a body mass index of 40.9 when he was conditionally offered a machinist position in 2011. But the company revoked the job offer after the individual underwent two medical exams, which showed that his BMI exceeded a policy preventing people with a BMI over 40 being hired for safety-sensitive positions. [Business Insurance website report, 4-12-16]

CP MULLS BUYBACK, DIVIDEND AFTER DROPPING NS BID: Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison says the company would consider using cash once planned to acquire Norfolk Southern for a potential buyback, dividend, or combination of both. Meanwhile, some analysts have speculated that Kansas City Southern could be a candidate for a deal, but Harrison said such a deal would be 'expensive,' and not a good fit. [Reuters website report, 4-11-16]

CANADIAN PACIFIC ENDS TAKEOVER BID FOR NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Canadian Pacific is ending its nearly $30-billion takeover bid for Norfolk Southern, less than six months after it offered to buy the rival railroad. NS had rejected CP's bids, saying CP needed to raise its offer and convince rail regulators that the structure of the deal could be approved. CP said there was no clear path to a friendly merger at this time. [ABC News website report, 4-11-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-two percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 10, 2016. The average arrival for all trains surveyed was 34 minutes late, while the average arrival of just those trains that arrived behind schedule was 58 minutes late. These figures compare favorably with the performance in the corresponding week last year when just 34 percent of those trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier, the average arrival of all trains was 56 minutes late, and the average arrival of those trains behind schedule was one hour and 24 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 4-11-16]

POLICE ARREST DEMONSTRATORS IN MINNEAPOLIS FOR BLOCKING LIGHT-RAIL TRAINS: Minneapolis Metro Transit police arrested 25 demonstrators for blocking light-rail trains leading to Target Field for the Minnesota Twins' opening home game on April 11. Protesters stepped in front of a moving train, and police had warned them three times before arrests began. Service was disrupted for about an hour. [KARE 11 website report, 4-11-16]

MASSIVE TUNNELS PLANNED FOR CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Engineers for the California High-Speed Rail project have decided against running the line around the mountains outside Los Angeles, and instead plan to bore massive tunnels through the mountains, some up to 14 miles. Three different plans have been developed for the tunnels. [Los Angeles Daily News website report, 4-11-16]

TRAINS COLLIDE HEAD-ON IN COSTA RICA, MANY INJURED: Two passenger trains collided head-on outside the Costa Rican capital San Jose early April 8, injuring some 245 people, authorities said. There was no immediate cause of the accident, but initial evidence point to possible human error, a rail official said. [SAMAA TV website report, 4-9-16]

WATCO ACQUIRES RIVER ROAD TERMINALS OF LOUISVILLE: Watco Transloading has acquired the assets of River Road Terminals of Louisville, Ky., which handles dry bulk commodities. The terminal, on the Ohio River, is provided with rail access by R.J. Corman's Central Kentucky Lines which interchanges with CSX and Norfolk Southern. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-8-16]

INDIAN RAILWAYS LAUNCHES FIRST 99-MPH INTERCITY SERVICE: Indian Railways on April 5 launched its fastest intercity service on the initial run of its Gatimaan Express from Delhi to Agra. Its top speed is 99 MPH, and it makes the 117-mile run in one hour and 40 minutes. The train consists of eight chair cars, two executive-class coaches and two food service cars. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-8-16]

CP, NS MERGER COULD 'ADVERSELY AFFECT DEFENSE,' MILITARY SAYS: In a letter to the Surface Transportation Board dated April 7, the Dept. of Defense said Canadian Pacific's proposal to have ts chief executive run Norfolk Southern as part of a voting trust 'could prove to be untenable due to the appearance of common control' of the two railroads. The letter added that it is too early to determine whether a merger would degrade national defense, but 'the potential certainly exists.' [Reuters website report, 4-7-16]

FRA TELLS AMTRAK TO RETRAIN WORKERS ON SAFETY BASICS: The Federal Railroad Administration has ordered Amtrak to retrain employees on safety protocols as its investigation into the April 3 fatal crash involving a backhoe in Pennsylvania continues. Investigators are focusing on a shift change which may have contributed to the train being cleared to proceed on the stretch of tracks occupied by the workers. Two workers will killed in the accident. The FRA directive suggests a possible breakdown between work crews and train dispatchers. [Philly Voice website report, 4-7-16]

FRA REVISES PROPOSED B&P RAIL TUNNEL PROJECT: The Federal Railroad Administration has unveiled a revised proposal to replace the Civil War-era Baltimore & Potomac rail tunnel in Baltimore. The proposed tunnel would be an average of 115 feet deep in comparison to the average 20 feet of the existing tunnel. Other proposed changes include seeking community input for the location of a vent plant along North avenue and improving the West Baltimore MARC station to be larger and ADA compliant. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-7-16]

NJ TRANSIT NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: William Crosbie has been voted the new executive director of New Jersey Transit, effective on or about April 25. He succeeds Dennis Martin, interim executive director, who will resume his previous position as vice-president and general manager of NJT's bus operations division. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-7-16]

BENOIT BROSSOIT NAMED PRESIDENT OF BOMBARDIER'S AMERICAS DIVISION: Bombardier Transportation has named Benoit Brossoit president of the company's Americas Division, effective April 11. He succeeds Raymond Bachant, who is leaving he company. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-7-16]

ALSTOM ACQUIRES SOUTH AFRICAN ROLLING STOCK FIRM: Alstom has completed its buyout of the remaining 51 pct share in South African train refurbishment specialist Commuter Transport & Locomotive Engineering. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-7-16]

CHINA DEVELOPING RAILROAD TO EUROPE: China is pioneering a transcontinental rail service to carry cargo between the Far East and Western Europe with the aim of capturing some of the freight that currently moves by sea and air. China Rail has partnered wth Germany's Deutsche Bahn to build up overland freight service between the two countries, and a weekly container train already runs between Wuhan and Hamburg, with other cities developing scheduled services. [Reuters website report, 4-7-16]

MARCH 2016 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads on April 6 reported that U.S. rail freight traffic in March 2016 declined 11 pct from the volume in the same month one year ago. Calculated separately, carload traffic was down 14.2 pct, and intermodal traffic was down 7.7 pct. [Railway Age website report, 4-6-16]

PALMETTO RAILWAYS PROPOSES 10-MILE LINE IN S.C.: Palmetto Railways is exploring the development of a 10-mile industrial rail line to serve the Camp Hall Commerce Park in Berkeley County, S.C. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-6-16]

R.J. CORMAN BEGINS EASTERN CAROLINAS SERVICE: The R.J. Corman Railroad Group has begun service to the eastern regions of North and South Carolina along a 90-mile line that had been shut down in 2011, and purchased in June 2015 for $13.9-million. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-6-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN TRAVELING AT 106 MPH BEFORE IT STRUCK BACKHOE: Amtrak's Palmetto train was going 106 MPH in a 110 MPH zone when it struck the backhoe sitting on the same track in Pennsylvania April 3, killing the backhoe operator a track supervisor, officials said. The train's engineer applied the emergency brake five seconds before impact. Videos showed equipment on the track and an adjacent track before the crash, but investigators could not comment on who was authorized to be there. [CBS News website report, 4-5-16]

WORKERS 'MAY' HAVE BEEN ON WRONG TRACK, EVIDENCE SUGGESTS: CNN reported evidence suggesting that Amtrak construction workers killed in the April 3 crash in Chester, Pa., may have made a 'colossal' mistake by being on the wrong track, a source close to the investigation said. [CNN website report, 4-5-16]

NYC SUBWAY TRAIN STRIKES MAN IN QUEENS, SERVICE DISRUPTED: Subways faced major delays early April 5 after a person was struck by a train at 65th street, the MTA said. Initially, the E, F, M and R trains were suspended, but service was restored just after 9 A.M. with delays. The man who was struck was reportedly a mugger who had attempted to steal a cellphone, escaped into a tunnel, and then apprehended and taken to a hospital. [DNA Info website report, 4-5-16]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY SIGNS PLANNING AGREEMENT WITH SAN JOSE: The California High-Speed Rail Authority and the city of San Jose have concluded an agreement that will provide $600,000 in federal and state fuds for the city's Diridon station. Located on the west side of downtown, the station serves as a major transit hub for Amtrak, Caltrain, Altamont Express and Santa Clara Valley light-rail and bus service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-5-16]

MBTA GETTING COMPLETE PTC SYSTEM: Burns Engineering and Ansaldo have teamed up to furnish a complete positive train control system on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's commuter rail network. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-5-16]

MILAN TO ORDER MORE LEONARDO METRO TRAINS: Milan Transport will exercise an option with Hitachi Rail Italy for 15 additional Leonardo trains for metro line M2. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-5-16]

FEDS LAUNCH INVESTIGATIONS INTO AMTRAK DERAILMENT: The National Transportation Safety Board will examine multiple factors that may have played a role in the April 3 Amtrak derailment near Chester, Pa., that killed two people. Investigators will look at factors such as mechanical, operations, signal, track, human performance and suvival, agency officials said. Federal Railroad Administration investigators also arrived on the accident scene. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-4-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-three percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 3, 2016. In the corresponding week last year, 40 percent of long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the surveyed week this year was 42 minutes late, compared with 43 minutes late in the corresponding week last year. Lastly, the average arrival of just those trains that arrived behind schedule this year was one hour and 13 minutes late, compared with one hour and 12 minutes late last year. This survey was made by the Bull Sheet, and comprehends actual arrivals, without any grace allowance. Sufficient padding is incorporated into train schedules to negate any need to disregard minimal tardiness for the purpose of this study. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 4-4-16]

RAILWAY AGE NAMES REGIONAL, SHORT LINE OF THE YEAR: Railway Age will present its 2016 Regional Railroad of the Year award to the Central Maine & Wuebec Railway, and its 2016 Short Line of the Year to the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway. [Railway Age website report, 4-4-16]

VIA TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN ONTARIO, TWO KILLED: A crash between a car and a VIA Rail passenger train early April 4 near the community of Melbourne, Ontario, has left two people dead. The two victims were the only people in the car, which drove into the path of the train at a rail crossing. [Kitchener CTV News website report, 4-4-16]

CHANGSHA AIRPORT MAGLEV LINE OPENS: The Chinese city of Changsha has launched commercial operations on its 11.5-mile maglev line linking Changsha South main line station with Huanghua International Airport to the west of the city. The line currently has one intermediate station, but two others are also planned. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-4-16]

TRAIN, BUS COLLIDE ON RAIL CROSSING IN THAILAND, THREE KILLED: A train has collided with a double-decker bus carrying Thai tourists at an unguarded railway crossing west of Bangkok. The driver and two passengers were killed. [BBC News website report, 4-4-16]

TRAIN CRASH AT STATION IN U.K. INJURES 18: Eighteen people were injured in the U.K. after two trains collided at low speed at the Plymouth railway station on April 3. All casualties, including the operator of the train, are reported to be in stable condition. [The Telegraph website report, 4-4-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES BACKHOE ON NORTHEAST CORRIDOR, DERAILS: All Amtrak service was suspended between Wilmington, Delaware, and Philadelphia the morning of April 3 after Amtrak's train 89, the southbound Palmetto, struck a backhoe that was on the tracks and partially derailed the lead engine. The accident occurred near Chester, Pa. There were about 341 passengers and seven crew members on board. Amtrak reported that approximately 35 people, including the locomotive engineer, were transported to area hospitals, none with life-threatening injuries. Two Amtrak construction workers on the ground at the time of the accident were killed. The accident is under investigation. Amtrak says that regular service will operate April 4, but there may be delays. [Various news accounts, 4-3-16]

MARCH 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 month of March 2016, according to the Bull Sheet. This compares to a 34 percent on time reliability in March of last year. The average arrival of surveyed trains in March of this year was 40 minutes behind schedule, compared with one hour behind schedule in March of last year. The average arrival of just those trains that were late this year was one hour and 12 minutes late, compared with one hour and 30 minutes late in the same month last year. This survey was undertaken by the Bull Sheet's statistical department, and comprehends on-time calculations without any allowance for superficial tardiness. If a train arrives late, even by just a minute, it is shown as arriving late. MORE..

D.C. METRO MULLS LONG-TERM RAIL LINES CLOSURE FOR MAINTENANCE WORK: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority could close the entire rail system for as long as six months for maintenance work. At a conference with local leaders, Jack Evans, the agency's chairman, said that weekend and night closures would not allow enough time to tackle the volume of necessary repair work. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-1-16]

CONNECTICUT SEEKS CONTRACTOR TO RUN HARTFORD RAIL LINE: After a prolonged delay last year, Connecticut is resuming its search for a contractor to run the Hartford line commuter trains when service begins in early 2018. [Hartford Courant website report, 4-1-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OUTLINES ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN ITS ANNUAL REPORT: Over the past year, Norfolk Southern has implemented cost control initiatives and network improvements. They include closing the Roanoke office building, restructuring its Triple Crown subsidiary, expanding track ratioalization in the coal fields, idling a major lake coal terminal, and consolidating two operating divisions. The company also acquired the Delaware & Hudson's line between Sunbury and Schenectady. In 2016, the company expects to achieve productivity savings of $130-million through cost control and asset utilization. [Norfolk Southern, 3-31-16]

SOUND TRANSIT COMPLETES FIRST TUNNEL FOR NORTHGATE LINK EXTENSION: Sound Transit's tunnel boring machine has reached the University of Washington station as it continues making way for northbound light-rail trains to Seattle's Northgate area. This completes one of two 3.5-mile tunnels for the project. One tunnel segmen now remains before all mining work is finished. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-31-16]

TOOTHPASTE COSTS MORE THAN TRAIN TRAVEL IN INDIA: According to calculations, a small tube of toothpaste costs more than the lowest train fare from Delhi to Chandigarh. The bus fare for the route is much higher. Pressure is mounting on the Railway Ministry to raise passenger fares. On a longer route, the 1,033-mile distance between Chennai and Kolkata has a general-class train fare equivalent to two and a quarter pounds of tea. [Indian Express website report, 3-31-16]

AMTRAK UNVEILS $50-M SOLUTION TO CRAMPED CONDITIONS AT WASHINGTON UNION STATION: Amtrak plans to begin building a new $50-million Washington D.C. Union Station concourse this summer that would double the space for passengers and improve circulation throughout the station by 2019. In the design, the station's north wall on the concourse level will be pushed back to add another 20,000 square feet of space, and bring new restrooms, boarding gates, seating, railroad police unit and Club Acela. Passengers would be able to look out onto the tracks through a glass wall. [Washington Post website report, 3-30-16]

NEW CONCRETE TIE PLANT OPENS IN FLORIDA: Rocla Concrete Tie Inc. has opened a new manufacturing facility in Fort Pierce, Florida. The facility can manufacture 1,000 concrete ties per day, primarily for Florida East Coast and All Aboard Florida's Brightline rail project. The plant's construction began in Sept. 2015 and was fast-tracked to begin providing materials to Brightline. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-30-16]

TACOMA, WASHINGTON, AMTRAK STATION CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN IN JUNE: Construction will kick off in June on a new Amtrak station in Tacoma, Washington. It will be built in Freighthouse Square, located along the Amtrak Cascades route, and is slated to open in the fall of 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-30-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 26, 2016, carloads and intermodal units dropped 18.5 pct and nearly 15 pct respectively, the Association of American Railroads reported. Combined, traffic was down 16.5 pct compared with the same week in 2015. [Railway Age website report, 3-30-16]

PURPLE LINE IN MD. COULD COST $650-M MORE THAN PROJECTED: An analysis by the Maryland legislature reveals that the Purple line light-rail project could cost $650-million more than planned, now topping $2.65-billion. The original estimate did not include $447-million in related construction costs or $198-million already spent for planning. [Washington Post website report, 3-30-16]

LIRR AWARDS CONSULTANT CONTRACT FOR EXPANSION PROJECT: A consulting firm has been hired to assist in the environmental review and formal community engagement process for the Long Island Rail Road main line expansion project, which calls for adding a third track along a critical 9.8-mile section of LIRR's main line between Floral Park and Hicksville. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-29-16]

FIRST HONOLULU METRO CARS DELIVERED: The first two vehicles from a fleet of 20 four-car driverless trains being built by Hitachi Rail Italy for the Honolulu Metro arrived in Hawaii March 24. Bodyshells are being fabricated in Italy, with final assembly taking place at Hitachi's Pittsburg facility in California. The initial section of the line from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium is due to open in 2018. [Railway Age website report, 3-29-16]

BOSTON'S BACK BAY MBTA STATION TO BECOME A 'VISION IN GLASS': Boston's Back Bay MBTA station ad its surroundings would be transformed into a bustline retail hub topped by striking glass towers as part of a billion-dollar redevelopment by Boston Properties Inc. It is still years away, but the size and central location of the project would go a long way to filling in the 'high spine,' a long-envisioned plan of tall buildings that would run along the Massachusetts turnpike and give Back Bay its own distinctive skyline. [Boston Globe website report, 3-29-16]

AMTRAK MONTREAL SERVICE 'COULD' BE RESTARTED IN THREE YEARS: Amtrak's Vermonter train could resume passenger service through to Montreal within three years, lawmakers were told March 29. Train service to Montreal ended in 1995 when the service was suspended due to long labor- and security-related delays at the border. The train currently runs north to Saint Albans, Vermont. [Burlington Free Press website report, 3-29-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: In the week ending March 27, 2016, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 50 percent of surveyed long-distance Amtrak trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. This compares favorably with the corresponding week last year when only 39 percent of long-distance trains arrived at their final destination by the time they were due. The average arrival in the surveyed week this year was 33 minutes late, compared with 54 minutes late last year. The average arrival of only those trains that arrived behind schedule this year was one hour and six minutes late, compared with one hour and 28 minutes late in the corresponding week in 2015. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept, 3-28-16]

MARC TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON IN LANHAM, MD.: Amtrak and MARC train traffic has been restored following lengthy delays the morning of March 28 due to a person being struck and killed by a MARC commuter train in Lanham, Md., on the Northeast corridor. The 52-year-old victim was reportedly the suspect in a double shooting at a truck stop in Jessup, Md., the day before. Police are investigating the incident in Lanham as a suicide. [WUSA 9 website report, 3-28-16]

TWO PEDESTRIANS KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN OREGON: Two people died early March 27 after getting hit by an Amtrak train south of Oregon City, authorities said. The train was en route north from Eugene with 38 passengers aboard when it struck the people who were on the track. There were no injuries on the train. KGW website report, 3-27-16]

MAN SITTING ON CSX TRACKS KILLED BY TRAIN IN KENTUCKY: A man sitting on CSX railroad tracks was struck and killed by a train in Saint Matthews, Kentucky, early March 27. Police say alcohol may have been a factor, but the incident is under investigation. [Fox 19 Now website report, 3-27-16]

RIBBON CUT FOR RESTORED L&N DEPOT IN ALABAMA: Following a $2.25-million project that has been in the works since 2009, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the restored Decatur, Alabama, former L&N depot March 26. Soon, about two dozen Decatur police department officers will move into their 4,000-square-foot portion of the building. [Decatur Daily website report, 3-27-16]

RAIL EMPLOYEE DIES AFTER BEING PINNED BY RAIL CARS IN MINNESOTA: A rail worker died early March 26 after becoming pinned between two rail cars during a shift change in the Canadian Pacific rail yard east of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul. The accident is under investigation. [SC Times website report, 3-27-16]

WOMAN KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN N.C.: Police say a woman was struck and killed by an Amtrak train March 26 in Four Oaks, N.C. She was reportedly helping to tie balloons for a party and was walking from the site to another house across the tracks. The train was en route from New York to Savannah with 217 passengers on board, none of whom were injured. [WRCB website report, 3-27-16]

DISPATCHER ERRORS LED TO FEBR. 9 GERMAN HEAD-ON TRAIN COLLISION: A pair of unfortunate mistakes by a train dispatcher are the cause of a deadly train collision in Bad Aibling, Germany, on Febr. 9, the Bavarian State Interior Ministry said. The dispatcher cleared a single-track line simultaneously for two trains. Then, upon realizing his mistake, he attempted to send a warning radio message to both of the involved trains, but he pushed the wrong button in making his transmission. He later corrected himself with a second message, using the correct button, but it was too late to prevent the collision. Eleven people were killed. [Deutsche Welle website report, 3-27-16]

JAPAN OPENS HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINK TO NORTHERN ISLAND OF HOKKAIDO: Japan has opened its first bullet-train service to the northern island of Hokkaido, where stops include ski resorts and the port city of Hakodate. The train operators hope to compete with airlines. [Deutsche Welle website report, 3-26-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON IN PA.: Rail service was delayed for part of the day March 25 after a person was struck and killed on the tracks by an Amtrak train near the transportation center in Chester, Pa. [6 ABC website report, 3-25-16]

BUFFALO'S DL&W TERMINAL TO BECOME TRANSIT HUB & COMMERCIAL CENTER: The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has finalized plans to convert the historic Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad terminal into a transit hub and commercial center. The plan involves routing Metro rail traffic onto the ground floor along its Buffalo River side, with shops and other commercial development on the second floor. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline report, 3-25-16]

MARTA IN LINE FOR $2.5-B FOR TRANSIT EXPANSION: MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, is one step closer to receiving $2.5-billion for an expansion of its current services thanks to approval of new legislation. The expansion will most likely include a light-rail system running along the Beltline. Funding would be supported by a one-half percent sales tax increase, that Atlanta voters need to approve. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline report, 3-25-16]

SAN DIEGO'S TRANSIT SYSTEM GETS $108-M FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS: The board of the Metropoltan Transit System in San Diego has approved $108-million for the FY-2017 capital improvement program. Some projects supported by the funds include the purchase of eight low-floor trolleys and a new Courthouse trolley station. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline report, 3-25-16]

SOUND TRANSIT ADDING LONGER LIGHT-RAIL TRAINS TO MEET DEMAND: Due to increased demand, the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority in Washington state is adding longer trains to its light-rail system. The agency will be running three-car trains that will alternate with the usual two-car trains. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline report, 3-25-16]

SMART SYSTEM IN CALIFORNIA GETTING $11-M FOR FOUR MORE PASSENGER CARS: The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit system will receive $11-million from the California Transportation Commission, and will use the funds to buy four more passenger cars as the agency gears up to begin service later this year. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers Hotline report, 3-25-16]

MINNESOTA TOWN EVACUATED AS TRAIN COLLIDES WITH PROPANE TRUCK: Residents in the town of Callaway, Minnesota, were evacuated March 24 after a Canadian Pacific train and a truck carrying propane collided, resulting in a fire. Seven train cars derailed, but they did not contain hazardous materials, and they did not catch fire. A locomotive also derailed. Two people were reported injured. [Bring Me the News website report, 3-24-16]

DANISH RAIL SPEED RECORD SET: A new Danish rail speed record was set overnight March 21 and 22 when a Hector Rail locomotive reached 235.8 KMH (146.5 MPH) during testing. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-24-16]

DETROIT'S M-1 STREETCAR LINE GETS NEW NAME: Detroit's 3.3-mile light-rail streetcar line from downtown to New Center will be known as the QLINE. Quicken Loans had purchased naming rights to the line for $5-million. An announcement of the name had been planned for this past November, but it was postponed. [Detroit Free Press website report, 3-24-16]

BNSF STORES LOCOMOTIVES IN OKLAHOMA CITY AS DEMAND SLOWS: BNSF Railway has parked dozens of its locomotives at a storage yard north of downtown Oklahoma City over the past several weeks as slowing traffic demand has left the units idle. The company says there is no timeline as to when the locomotives are expected back on the rails. [News OK website report, 3-23-16]

CANADIAN INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN TO FUND URBAN RAIL INVESTMENT: The Canadian Finance Ministry has detailed phase 1 of the government's new infrastructure plan as part of the 2016 budget. It allocates $3.4-billion in federal funding over the next three years to upgrade and improve metro transit systems across the country. To get the projects moving quickly, the government will meet up to 50 pct of eligible costs with funding allocated to municpalities based on the provincial share of national transit ridership. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-23-16]

CN CONTINUES SAFETY INNOVATION PROGRAM WITH TECHNOLOGY: CN has launched its third year of its safety innovation program, which is part of the company's broader safety agenda focused on making the railroad the safest in North America. The plan is to leverage new technology to bolster its management system. This year's budget is $28-million on a series of initiatives, including new wayside inspection systems, additional track geometic trucks and other technological improvements. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-23-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 19, 2016, carload and intermodal unit traffic dropped 17.2 pct and nearly 10.7 pct, respectively, compared with the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated together, carload and intermodal volume has dropped 4.8 pct so far this year. [Railway Age website report, 3-23-16]

MONEY PLEDGED TO N.Y. GATEWAY PROJECT: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey along with Amtrak have each pledged $35-million for initial engineering work for the $23.9-billion Gateway project, which would upgrade the rail system around New York City and build a rail tunnel under the Hudson River. The project has not been fully funded, but the federal government has also pledged money. [Bloomberg website report, 3-23-16]

LIRR TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK, DRIVER KILLED: Southold, N.Y., police say the driver of a truck that was hit by a Long Island Rail Road train on the South Fork March 22 has died from his injuries. The train was heading west from Greenport to Ronkonkoma. Nobody on the train was hurt. Several trains were canceled as a result of the incident. [Long Island News 12 website report, 3-22-16]

NYS&W LINE RESTORATION WORK CONTINUES: A 45.5-mile section of New York Susquehanna & Western line in Chenango County, N.Y., continues with the removal of brush and other obstacles to allow access to damaged sections. The NYS&W's Utica mainline was taken out of service after flooding in 2006. Work is expected to be completed in June of 2017. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-22-16]

RETURN OF THE 'BLUE TRAIN': Botswana Railways plans to reintroduce the Blue Train March 22 at a ceremony in Lobatse. The train will run between Lobatse and Francistown with improved services including air-conditioning and wi-fi facilities. Earlier passenger train operation had been discontinued in 2009. [The Voice BW website report, 3-22-16]

THOMAS DOWNS, FORMER AMTRAK PRESIDENT, NAMED CHAIR OF NETWORK RAIL CONSULTING: Former Amtrak president and CEO Thomas Downs has been appointed chair of Network Rail Consulting, a wholly-owned international consultancy arm of Great Britain's Network Rail. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-22-16]

CLASS I U.S. RAIL WORKFORCE SHRINKS IN FEBR.: Class I railroads employed 154,212 workers in the U.S. as of mid-February, down 10.44 pct year-over-year, and down 1.53 pct compared with mid-January, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-22-16]

TRAIN HITS GARBAGE TRUCK IN VERMONT: There was an accident involving a train and a garbage truck in Shaftsbury, Vermont, March 22. Investigators say the driver of the truck failed to yield to the Vermont Railway train, and the locomotive collided into the front end of the truck causing it heavy damage. Both the driver and one train crew member suffered minor injuries. [WCAX website report, 3-22-16]

CONSTRUCTION PROCEEDS ON $1.2-B LIGHT-RAIL LINE IN N.C.: Construction started in 2014 on a $1.2-billion light-rail project near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The 9.3 miles of track should be finished next year. The Blue Line Extension includes 11 new bridges and train stations and four park-ride facilities. A 340-foot underpass along the route was built to convey trains. [American City Business Journals website report, 3-22-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Forty-one percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 20, 2016, according to the Bull Sheet. For the corresponding week in 2015, on time reliability was 39 percent. The average arrival of all trains surveyed in this year's week was 33 minutes late, compared with 42 minutes late last year. The average arrival of just those trains that were behind scheduled this year was 56 minutes late, compared with one hour and eight minutes late in the corresponding week last year. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 3-21-16]

SEATTLE INAUGURATES UNIVERSITY LINK LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Seattle's $1.9-billion University Link light-rail extension was officially inaugurated March 18 when hundreds of guests took their first trip on the 3.2-mile underground line from Westlake to the University of Washington. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-21-16]

STB TO PREPARE ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT FOR PROPOSED GREAT LAKES BASIN RAIL LINE: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has issued a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and initiate the scopoing process for the Great Lakes Basin Transportation's proposal to build and operate a 278-mile freight rail line from LaPorte, Indiana, through Illinois, to Milton, Wisconsin. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-21-16]

ISRAEL TO ORDER MORE DOUBLE-DECK TRAINS: Israel Railways has published an international tender for a contract to supply a fleet of 99-MPH double-deck electric multiple-units, and also confirmed it will exercise an option with Bombardier for additional locomotive-hauled double-deck coaches. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-21-16]

REVAMPING OF CSX ACCA YARD IN RICHMOND MOVES FORWARD: A $132-million reconfiguration of CSX's Acca Yard in Richmond, Va., which started in November, is scheduled to be finished in the spring of 2018. Included in the project is a bypass for the main tracks which, when completed, will allow higher speeds for through trains, including Amtrak trains, that pass through the facility. Virginia is contributing $117-million toward the effort, which also includes double-tracking along 10 miles of railroad near Petersburg, along with three new crossovers. [Richmond Times-Dispatch website report, 3-20-16]

COST TO BUILD HAWAIIAN RAIL LINE GROWS TO $6.7-B: The cost to build a 20-mile elevated rail line in Hawaii has gone from $4.6-billion to $6.7-billion, and could rise once bids for the final 10 miles and last 12 stations are unveiled this summer. This has forced officials to extend a tax for five years. [N.Y. Times website report, 3-20-16]

MARCH MILESTONE; CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR: On March 20, 1949, the California Zephyr was inaugurated between Chicago and Oakland/San Francisco on CB&Q, D&RGW, WP route, becoming famous as one of the country's most luxurious trains. [Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN EXPANDING ITS CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS IN NORFOLK: Norfolk Southern is investing $8.2-million to expand its corporate headquarters in Norfolk to accommodate 165 new employees. The expansion and new jobs are the result of the consolidation of the company's corporate offices in Norfolk and Atlanta, and the closure of its office building in Roanoke. The company retains the Roanoke headquarters for the Pocahontas Division, and the railroad operates a local switching yard and locomotive and car maintenance facilities there. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-18-16]

STEAM TRAIN RESCUES STRANDED ISLE OF WIGHT PASSENGERS: From the United Kingdom comes news about an Island Line train that was halted by a total power loss. It happened just before 11 A.M. March 17 on a train heading for Ryde. Fortunately, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway was also at the Smallbrook Junction on the opposite platform. Twenty passengers were taken off the Island Line train and boarded the steam train, which took them to Havenstreet where taxis were waiting to take them to Ryde. [Isle of Wight County Press online report, 3-17-16]

WASHINGTON METRO SHUTS DOWN FOR SAFETY CHECKS: The Washington Metro rail system was shut down throughout the day March 16, but it reopened early March 17. At issue was an emergency inspection of electrical systems. Bus service throughout the area was maintained, and MARC and VRE trains continued to serve stations where the Metro system connected. [3-17-16]

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER DOME CARS TO GET 'RE-ENGINEERED': Rocky Mountaineer has announced a partnership with Alstom to revitalize the tourist railroad's fleet of domed SilverLeaf rail cars. The project requires the cars to be stripped to their frame and trucks, and then entirely re-engineered. Custom-built by Alstom, the cars feature oversized windows, luxury seating and state-of-the-art mechanical systems, Rocky Mountaineer officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-17-16]

HITACHI RAIL OPENS ASSEMBLY PLANT IN FLORIDA: Hiachi Rail USA has opened its new rail vehicle assembly plant at Medley, Florida, where it will assemble 136 metro cars for Miami through the fleet's completion in 2019. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-17-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic dropped 11.6 pct in the week ending March 12, 2016, compared with the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated separately, carload volume dropped 12.8 pct, while intermodal units were down 10.3 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-17-16]

AMTRAK ADDING BUSINESS CLASS TO CRESCENT: Beginning April 1, for a surcharge of $75, business class seats will be available on the Crescent operating between New York and New Orleans, and intermediate points. [Amtrak, 3-17-16]

CSX CUTTING 101 JOBS IN RUSSELL, KY.: CSX will cut 101 union and management jobs at its Russell, Kentucky, operation as a result of declining volume through the region. Some yard operations will continue, the compay said, and locomotive shop and engineering employees are not affected. Curretly, about 430 workers are employed at Russell. [Herald-Dispatch website report, 3-16-16]

SURPLUS RAIL COACHES FROM AUSTRIA TO BE ACQUIRED FOR SOPRON-BUDAPEST SERVICE: GYOR-Sopron-Ebenfurth Railway is planning to acquire 26 surplus intercity coaches from Austrian Federal Railways for use on Sopron-Budapest service in a deal worth $11.1-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-16-16]

ONE INJURED IN COLLISION BETWEEN TRAIN AND CAR IN IJAMSVILLE, MD.: Authorities said a person was hospitalized after a car collided with a CSX freight train March 15 in Ijamsville, Md. [Accident Data Center website report, 3-15-16]

TRUCK SHIFTED TRACK 12 INCHES PRIOR TO KANSAS AMTRAK DERAILMENT, NTSB SAYS: A truck used for delivery of feed to a business where cattle are fattended hit a track and shifted it at least a foot before Amtrak's Southwest Chief derailed in southwest Kansas March 14, injuring at least 32 people, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator said. [CNBC website report, 3-15-16]

UNDERGROUND CONCOURSE ENVISIONED TO CONNECT AMTRAK, SUBWAY, TROLLEYS AT PHILADELPHIA: Amtrak and SEPTA are working to develop an underground concourse to link 30th Street Station and SEPTA's subway and trolley station across the street. [Philadelphia Business Journal website report, 3-15-16]

INVESTIGATORS LOOKING AT RAIL CONDITION IN AMTRAK DERAILMENT: Investigators looking into the derailment of Amtrak's Southwest Chief in Kansas March 14 will review rail conditions and other factors to determine the cause of the accident. The engineer noticed a significant bend in a rail and applied the emergency brakes seconds before the derailment. Authorities say they are checking whether an earlier vehicle crash may have damaged the track. Eight rail cars derailed, and four of them ended up on their sides. Four of the injured passengers remained in the hospital Monday night, two of them critically. [Town Hall website report, 3-15-16]

FEDS PROPOSE MINIMUM OF TWO-PERSON CREWS FOR FREIGHT TRAINS: Trains would be required to carry a minimum of two crew members under rules proposed March 14 by the Federal Railroad Administration. The move is partly in response to a deadly 2013 crash in which an unattended oil tain caught fire and destroyed much of a town in Canada. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 3-15-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN INCREASES CHARLESTON-CHARLOTTE INTERMODAL SERVICE: Beginning March 12, Norfolk Southern has increased its intermodal service between Chalreston and Charlotte from two times a week to five times a week. The increase in service was seen as a 'significant enhancement' to international intermodal rail service, ports officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-15-16]

REDLANDS PASSENGER RAIL PROJECT ADVANCES TO FINAL DESIGN: The San Bernardino Associated Governments says the the Redlands passenger rail project has entered final design. The nine-mile route will run from downtown to the University of Redlands, and will allow riders to connect with other modes of transportation. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-15-16]

FEDS FUND DEVELOPMENT OF TRAIN ENERGY DYNAMICS SIMULATOR: The Federal Railroad Administration has funded the development of an analytical model for simulating train operations. Known as the Train Energy Dynamics Simulator, the software was developed by Sharma and Associations. It is intended to allow users to study train operations safety and performance as affected by equipment, train makeup, train handling, track conditions, operating practices and environmental conditions. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-15-16]

BART MARKS COMPLETION OF FIRST 'FLEET OF THE FUTURE' RAIL CAR: Bay Area Rapid Transit's first 'Fleet of the Future' rail car has been completed and is headed from Plattsburg, N.Y., to the agency's testing facility in Hayward, California. It will be followed by nine others throughout the year to make BART's first 10-car test train, officials said. A total of 775 new cars have been ordered. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-15-16]

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, SUBWAY TO GET MODERNIZATION: A consortium has won contracts to modernze the subway of Glasgow, Scotland. The contracts include the supply of 17 new trains, communications-based train-control driverless signalng technology, and other services to upgrade the 6.5-mile twin subway lines and 15 stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-15-16]

BUSAN ORDERS NEW FLEET FOR METRO LINE: Busan Transportation in South Korea has awarded Hyundai Roten a $442.1-million contract to supply 40 new metro trains for use on Metro Line 1. The trains will replace the line's existing eight-car sets which were introduced 30 years ago. Deliveries are due to start in 2017. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-15-16]

AMTRAK'S SOUTHWEST CHIEF DERAILS IN KANSAS: Just after midnight March 14, Amtrak's eastbound Southwest Chief, derailed eight cars about 20 miles west of Dodge City, Kansas. There were 131 passengers and 14 crew members on board the train. Local emergency responders provided on-site response and transported 32 passengers to hospitals. Twenty-nine of those transported were discharged later that morning. Other passengers were transported to the 4-H Recreation Center in Cimarron, Kansas, and will be provided alternate transportation to their destination. Detour has been arranged for subsequent Southwest Chief trains on March 14 between Newton and Albuquerque, with alternate transportation for missed stops. [Amtrak, 3-14-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 13, 2016. This compares with the corresponding week last year when only 30 percent of those trains arrived by their scheduled time. It should be noted that both weeks included the conversion from standard to daylight time on Sunday, which added one hour to the running time of overnight trains to compensate for the loss of the hour in the clock adjustment. Still, it was not a very good week, with or without the switch to daylight time. Overall, the average arrival of surveyed trains in this year's week was 54 minutes late, compared with one hour and two minutes late last year. The average arrival of only those trains behind schedule at their final destination in this year's surveyed week was one hour and 27 minutes late, compared with one hour and 26 minutes late last year. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 3-14-16]

TRACK, SIGNAL IMPROVEMENTS BEGIN AT SEATTLE'S KING STREET STATION: Construction began March 11 on track and signal improvements at the King Street Station in Seattle, part of the $50-4-million station improvement project overseen by the state of Washington. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-14-16]

CHANGE AFFECTING REDUCED-FARE MARC TICKETS: Effective March 14, discounted MARC train tickets will no longer be available from Amtrak QuickTrak ticket machines, as these tickets require the buyer to present validating information to an authorized MARC agent. Only full-fare one-way, weekly and monthly tickets will be available for purchase at these kiosks. [Maryland Transit Administration]

BNSF ANNOUNCES CERTIFICATION OF RAIL-SERVED SITES FOR DEVELOPMENT: BNSF has announced a new Site Certification Program aimed at identifying optimal rail-served sites for customer development along its network. The company developed a list of candidates and conducted in-depth reviews of 10 economic development criteria to determine if the industrial sites meet readiness standards. [Railway Age website report, 3-14-16]

GREAT LAKES CENTRAL R.R. TRAIN DERAILS IN MICHIGAN: About 25 cars with the Great Lakes Central Railroad derailed early March 13 in Howell, Michigan. The accident occurred in a rural area and did not affect local residents, according to officials. The cause of the derailment is under investigation. [WZZM13 website report,3-13-16]

SOUTH SHORE TRAIN DERAILS: All South Shore trains services were disrupted March 12 following the derailment of a train on its way to Michigan City. There were no passengers on board the train, and there were no injuries, but there was damage to the overhead wire and track. [WNDU website report, 3-12-16]

N.J. TRANSIT REACHES TENTATIVE DEAL WITH UNIONS, AVERTING STRIKE: New Jersey Transit has reached a tentative agreement with its rail workers to avoid a strike that could have paralyzed commuting into New York City, officials said. The deal came just over a day before the strike deadline. [N.Y. Times website report, 3-11-16]

RAIL-SERVED INDUSTRIAL HUB BEING DEVELOPED IN GEORGIA: OmniTrax and the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority are developing a 2,700-acre tract near Rincon, Georgia, to be called the Savannah Gateway Industrial Hub. It will be served by both CSX and Norfolk Southern. [Railway Age website report, 3-11-16]

TRANSCO RAILWAY PRODUCTS CAR REPAIR FACILITY IN OHIO SOLD: RR Mergers & Acquisitions has announced the sale of Transco Railway Products' railcar repair facility in Bucyrus, Ohio, to Bucyrus Railcar Repair LLC, a subsidiary of T&C Rail Holdings. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-11-16]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 28 LINT TRAINS TO AUGSBURG: Alstom has obtained a $128-million contract to supply 28 diesel Coradia LINT trains for operation on the Augusburg diesel network 1 in Germany. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-11-16]

LUTHER MILLER DIES, RAILWAY AGE EDITOR: Luther Sigsbee Miller, long-time editor in chief of Railway Age, and regarded as the 'dean of American transportation journalists,' died March 8. He was 89. [Railway Age website report]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending March 5 declined 1.9 pct compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated separately, carload volume declined 8 pct, while intermodal volume gained 4.5 pct. [Railway Age website report, 3-9-16]

CHICAGO TRANSIT TO BUY UP TO 846 NEW RAIL CARS: The Chicago Transit Authority has awarded a contract for up to 846 new 7000-series rail cars. The deal includes a commitment to build an assembly facility in Chicago. The new cars will replace nearly half of the agency's existing fleet, some of the current cars being more than 30 years old. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-9-16]

COMMUTER TRAIN DERAILS IN CALIFORNIA: The first two cars of a six-car commuter train derailed in central California late March 7 after striking a fallen tree, and the front car plunged into a swollen creek, authorities said. There were no fatalities, but four people were seriously hurt, with nine or ten others having minor injuries. The Alamont Corridor Expess train was en route from San Jose to Stockton on tracks owned by Union Pacific. [Various news reports, 3-8-16]

CP, CSX COMBINATION 'STILL POSSIBLE,' CP'S CEO SAYS: Canadian Pacific is still interested in exploring a merger with CSX, even as CP continues to pursue Norfolk Southern, CP's CEO Hunter Harrison said. In an interview on BNN Television, Harrison said the two companies sat down and explored opportunities. CSX management did not say 'no,' he said, but nobody made any offers. [Bloomberg website report, 3-8-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Fifty-one percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 6, 2016, according to the Bull Sheet's statistical department. To be shown arriving on time, a train needs to arrive at or before the time it is actually due, and there is no grace allowance for trains arriving minimally late with dispensation for distance traveled, as is the practice with Amtrak in reporting its own data. The average arrival of all surveyed trains was 43 minutes late, and the average arrival of only those trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and 29 minutes late. MORE... [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 3-7-16]

UNION PACIFIC SAFEST CLASS I RAILROAD IN U.S., FEDS SAY: Union Pacific employees set an all-time reportable personal injury rate record in 2015, improving 11 pct from 2014, to 0.87, making Union Pacific the safest Class I railroad in the United States, according to data reported by the Federal Railroad Administration. [PR Newswire, 3-7-16]

L.A. METRO OPENS GOLD LINE EXTENSION: Kinkisharyo International's new P3010 light-rail vehicles rolled into their first revenue service March 5 as the Los Angeles County Metro opened its Gold Line extension serving Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte City of Hope, Irwindale, Azusa and APU Citrus College. [Business Wire website report, 3-5-16]

CHINA TO BUILD SECOND RAIL LINE INTO TIBET: China will build a second railway line connecting remote Tibet with China that will link Tibetan capital Lhasa with the southwestern city of Chendu, the government said. Xinhua news agency said it will take about 15 hours for trains to travel between the two cities. [Reuters website report, 3-5-16]

PLANS FOR SOUTHWEST CHIEF CONNECTION TO PUEBLO IN DEVELOPMENT: A deal to connect Pueblo, Colorado, with Amtrak's Southwest Chief at La Junta could be finalized by the end of the year, a Pueblo County commissioner has said. Both Amtrak and host carrier Burlington Northern Santa Fe say the plan s doable. To implement the connection, a daily run of just one car, called a 'through car,' would operate between La Junta and Pueblo. [Pueblo Chieftan website reort, 3-5-16]

NEW FREIGHT CAR LEASING COMPANY LAUNCHED IN CHICAGO: Three Chicago-based investors have announced the formation of Riverside Rail, a new freight railcar leasing company. The investor group has acquired over 2,000 railcars, consistig of a mix of covered hoppers, coal cars, mill gondolas, boxcars and centerbeam flats. The group believes railcar leasing is an attractive long-term investment, and seeks it to grow into a larger leasing fleet. [Railway Age website report, 3-4-16]

TRANSIT HUB PLANNED IN ONTARIO: The Region of Waterloo, which includes the twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario, plans to build a $43-million transit center to connect the cities' new ION light-rail line, currently under construction. The center will be shared with VIA Rail and GO Transit trains, along with Grand River transit buses. [Railway Age website report, 3-4-15]

MAN SENTENCED IN FAKE INJURY SCAM WITH AMTRAK: A man has been sentenced for his role in a conspiracy in which he and a co-defendant planned to bilk Amtrak of insurance money by pretending they were hit by a train. Deon Dovell Roberts, 35, of Fairfax, S.C., was sentenced to 21 months in prison in the scheme by pretending to be injured following a 2013 staged crossing accident. [The State website report, 3-4-16]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN MASSACHUSETTS: Authorities say a man crossing the tracks in Mansfield, Massachusetts, March 2 was struck and killed by an Amtrak train, resulting in extensive delays to train service. [WPRI website report, 3-3-16]

MARYLAND SELECTS PREFERRED BIDDER FOR PURPLE LINE PROJECT: The Maryland Dept. of Transportation has selected the Purple Line Transit Partners consortium as preferred bidder for the $2-billion purple line light-rail public-private partnership project from Bethesda to New Carrollton. The line will have a mixture of street-running and dedicated rights-of-way, serving 21 stations, with connections at four Metro lines and three commuter rail lines. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-3-16]

METROLINX RECEIVES TIER 4-COMPLIANT LOCOMOTIVE: Metrolinx, the regional transport authority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, has received a prototype locomotive from Wabtec's MotivePower subsidiary, said to be the first North American commuter locomotive to meet Tier 4 emissions standards. Metrolinx has signed a $97-million contract for the supply of an additional 16 new locomotives meeting the Tier 4 standards. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-3-16]

SPACE COAST STATION UNDER REVIEW FOR BRIGHTLINE: The $3.1-billion Brightline passenger rail project is planned to have just one of its four stations in central Florida when it launches full service by 2018, but an effort is underway to bring on one more in the future. Recommendations have been put forth to include a stop in one of four municipalities to serve the Space Coast, and the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization is scheduling a meeting to review various proposals. [Orlando Biz Journals website report, 3-3-16]

ARRESTS MADE IN LARGE-SCALE BNSF TRAIN BURGLARIES: BNSF says the company's railway police have made recent arrests in connection with a gang of burlars who were targeting freight trains in Kern County, California. Recovered were more than $1-million in stolen cargo, found stashed in homes and storage units in Bakersfield and Los Angeles, where the burglars were allegedly selling the stolen items. [Bakersfield Now website report, 3-3-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN N.Y. STATE, LEAKS ETHANOL, HOMES EVACUATED: Dozens of residents in the western New York town of Ripley, on Lake Erie, were evacuated early March 2 after a train derailed. Two of the derailed cars were carrying ethanol and were leaking. [Reuters website report, 3-2-16]

FEBRUARY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in Febr. 2016 increased 0.5 pct compared with the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 10.1 pct while intermodal increased 12.9 pct. [Railway Age website report, 3-2-16]

FEBRUARY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the month of Feb. 2016, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 50 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. The average arrival of long-distance trains at destination was 34 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and seven minutes late. These figures compare favorably to the corresponding month last year when only 38 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time. Average arrival in Febr. 2015 was one hour and one minute late, and average arrival of the trains arriving behind schedule was one hour and 40 minutes late. Trains are considered late whenever they arrive late, even by just a minute, with no grace allowance for statistical purposes. MORE... [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 3-1-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO COMBINE ITS THREE OPERATING REGIONS INTO TWO: Norfolk Southern is consolidating its three operating regions into two. Under the new structure, the railroad's network will consist of the Northern and Southern regions. The Northern Region will include the Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Dearborn, Lake and Illinois divisions. The Southern Region will include the Piedmont, Alabama, Georgia, Central and Pocahontas divisions. The two regions replace the Eastern, Western and Northern regions. [Norfolk Southern, 3-1-16]

CSX REBUFFED $20-B CANADIAN PACIFIC MERGER OFFER: Canadian Pacific, which is pressing an unwanted takeover bid for Norfolk Southern, recently made a $20-billion-plus effort to combine with CSX, it has been learned. Canadian Pacific made a fresh approach in January, according to people familiar with the matter. Though the approach was rebuffed, Canadian Pacific remains interested, they said. [MarketWatch website report, 3-1-16]

TEXAS TO REPLACE FORT WORTH & WESTERN R.R. BRIDGE: The Texas Transportation commission has awarded a $12.4-million contract to replace the obsolete Fort Worth & Western Railroad bridge southeast of Early, Texas. The bridge was built in 1954 and crosses US 84/183, and its replacement will allow the highway to be widened by two additional 12-foot travel lanes. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-1-16]

KCS COMPLETES MAJOR RAIL-LAYING PROJECT IN LOUISIANA: In its first major project of the year, the Kansas City Southern maintenance-of-way production team relayed 25 miles of rail between Dequincy and DeRidder, Louisiana. Work was completed safely. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-1-16]

RAILROAD WORKER KILLED BY TRAIN ALONG NEC IN N.J.: A railroad worker was struck and killed by a New Jersey Transit train early March 1 in New Brunswick, N.J., on the Northeast corridor. Following the incident, rail service was suspended for a while between Trenton and Princeton Junction, and there were delays to Amtrak and N.J. Transit trains that followed by up to an hour or longer. The accident is under investigation. [ report, 3-1-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN KILLS MAN SITTING ON TRACK IN MINNESOTA: A man sitting on the railroad tracks smoking a cigarette was struck and killed by an Amtrak train late Febr. 29 near Winona, Minnesota. The incident is under investigation.[KTTC website report, 3-1-16]

LEGISLATION WOULD EASE BORDER DELAYS FOR AMTRAK: U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have announced legislation that would premit U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to pre-clear passengers on Amtrak's Adirondack services in Canada. [Albany Times Union website report, 3-1-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S CEO GOT 34.6 PCT RAISE IN 2015: James Squires, president, CEO and chairman of Norfolk Southern, saw the value of his pay package climb 34.6 pct last year. His compensation rose to $7.98-million from $5.93-million, according to a preliminary proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. [Virginian-Pilot website report, 3-1-16]

UNION TANK CAR RETROFITTING TANK CARS AT ITS NEW PLANT IN OHIO: Union Tank Car's Repair Business Unit has established a tank car remanufacturing facility in Marion, Ohio, developed to retrofit existing DOT-111 and CPC-1232 specification railroad tank cars with new, required safety features. [Railway Age website report, 3-1-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Fifty-two percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 28, 2016. This compares with the 51 percent on-time performance for the same trains in the previous week. The average arrival for those trains in the most recent week was 32 minutes late. The average arrival for just those trains that arrived behind schedule (excluding those that were on time) was one hour and five minutes late. These calculations were developed by the Bull Sheet, and will differ from the data furnished by Amtrak, which employs grace allowance of up to 30 minutes to report a train as arriving on time, even though it is late. The Bull Sheet considers a train as being late, even if it should arrive behind schedule by only one minute. This practice comprehends that there is sufficient padding in long-distance train schedules to negate any need to compromise late arrivals in showing trains as arriving on time. [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 2-29-16]

VIA RAIL SEEKS $1.3-B FOR FLEET NEW OF CARS: Via Rail Canada is looking for funding in the federal budget for a new fleet of cars costing upwards of $1.3-billion that would go with a dedicated Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal passenger rail corridor that could be operation in the fall of 2019. [National Post website report, 2-29-16]

SEPTA UNVEILS PLAN FOR $1.1-B RAIL PROJECT ALONG PA. TURNPIKE: SEPTA has revealed a finalized plan to extend regional rail service to King of Prussia, Pa., with the construction of the Norristown High-Speed line. The 1.1-billion line would be an elevated four-to-five-mile spur along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, including five stops. [RoadsBridges website report, 2-29-16]

CULBERTSON, MONTANA, ON BOARD FOR AMTRAK STOP: Efforts to resume Amtrakservice to Culbertson, Montana, are getting closer to reality, and all that is needed is a depot. Amtrak and host carrier BNSF have endorsed the idea for the Empire Builder, but there has been no decision when the service would start. [Billings Gazette website report, 2-28-16]

CHINA, RUSSIA START NEW FREIGHT TRAIN ROUTE: China and Russia have launched a new freight train route connectig the cities of Harbin and Yekaterinburg, it has been reported by Xinhua News. A train with 47 containers left Harbin Febr. 27 and will complete the 3,700-mile journey in 10 days. [Russia Beyond the Headlines website report]

TRAIN-VIEWING PLATFORM BEING PLANNED FOR KEARNEY, NEBRASKA: Kearna, Nebraska, residents are organizing plans to create a safe spot for rail enthusiasts to watch trains from the south side of the Union Pacific railroad tracks. An observation deck would be located in a lot of the former CB&Q station and would feature similar designs to the city's former Union Pacific and CB&Q depots. [Grand Island Independent website report, 2-26-16]

SACRAMENTO TRAIN STATION GETTING $35-M UPGRADE: The 90-year-old Sacramento, California, train station is undergoing a $35-million project to transform the building into a state-of-the-art, innovative hub, complete with new office and retail space. Amtrak and city officials are preparing for an expected flood of people at the new Golden 1 Center. The station project should be finished by the time the Golden 1 Center opens in the fall. [Sacramento CBS Local website report, 2-26-16]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Total U.S. rail freight traffic rose 5.1 pct for the week ending Febr. 20, bolstered by a whopping 18.2 pct increase in intermodal containers and trailers, the Association of American Railroads has reported. Carload traffic volumes, however, continued to fall, down 5.7 pct compared with a year ago. For the first seven weeks of this year, U.S. railroads posted cumulative volume of 1,698,803 carloads, down 14.3 pct from the same point last year, and 1,815,728 intermodal units, up 7.3 pct from last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-25-16]

ANN ARBOR OPTS FOR LIGHT-RAIL: A study evaluating high-capacity transit options for Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the University of Michigan, found that light-rail would be the preferred mode. The Ann Arbor Connector partnership has selected a 4.8-mile, nine-station line to connect downtown with the Central and North campus of the university, Plymouth road and Main street. The system, to be built in two phases, is estimated to cost between $560- and $680-million. [Railway Age website report, 2-25-16]

AMTRAK'S KEYSTONE SERVICE RESUMES FOLLOWING STORM CLEANUP: Severe weather the evening of Febr. 24 interrupted Amtrak's Keystone service because of downed trees and debris on the tracks between Downingtown and Lancaster, Pa. Cleanup finished overnight and all trains were running as scheduled between Harrisburg and Philadelpha the following morning, Febr. 25. [CBS Local 21 new report, 2-25-16]

AFL-CIO SEEKS TO BLOCK CP-NS MERGER: The AFL-CIO's transportation trades department is seeking to block a proposed merger between Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern that has been dubbed by critics a 'Wall Street takeover' of a prominent U.S. freight company. [The Hill website report, 2-25-16]

BNSF TO PAY FINES FOR OIL, DIESEL SPILLS: BNSF Railway will pay $600,000 in fines as part of a settlement agreement for oil and diesel spills in North Dakota and other states, the U.S. Environmental Protection agency has announced. [Inforum website report, 2-25-16]

FIRE ON TRACKS IN D.C. IMPACTS RAIL SERVICE: Train service into and out of Washington's Union Station was severly impacted early Febr. 24 by what Amtrak described as an 'overhead power issue.' Two MARC trains from Maryland were canceled and a number of other trains were delayed. Service has since been restored, and the incident is under investigation. [Montana Standard website report, 2-24-16]

SIEMENS INSTALLS FIRST CUMMINS QSK95 ENGINE IN CHARGER LOCOMOTIVE: Siemens hs installed the first Cummins QSK95 engine in one of its diesel-electric Charger locomotives. Siemens is manufacturing 69 of the locomotives under a contract with Illinois, California, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and Washington. The units are also being built for Brightline service in Florida. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-24-16]

CUBA CONFIRMS CHINESE PASSENGER COACH FUNDING: The Cuban Ministry of Finance has confirmed funding for 240 new passenger coaches per year in a bid to upgrade the country's railways. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-24-16]

ONE KILLED AS COMMUTER TRAIN STRIKES CRANE IN NETHERLANDS: A commuter train derailed after slamming into a crane which was crossing the tracks early Febr. 23 near Dalfsen, Netherlands, killing the train's operator and injuring at least 10 passengers. The accident is under investigation. [RT News website report, 2-23-16]

NEW SUBWAY LINE IN LONDON BEING NAMED FOR QUEEN: A new rail line under London, known as Crossrail, will be named the Elizabeth Line when it opens in Dec. 2018. The Queen, who turns 90 in April, unveiled a sign with the purple 'Elizabeth Line' logo on a visit to a Crossrail tunnel Febr. 23. When finished, the line will run for more than 60 miles, including a 13-mile underground stretch through London. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-23-16]

WATCO RAIL CENTER PLAN ADVANCES IN NEVADA: A new intermodal rail center and industrial park will be constructed near Hazen, Nevada, Watco Cos. has announced. Watco will parter with the Gateway Commerce Center to build the facility as part of the 2,000-acre industrial park development. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-23-16]

MICHIGAN 110-MPH PASSENGER RAIL ROUTE WOULD MAKE MONEY, STUDY SAYS: A 110-MPH passenger rail route between Detroit and Holland would cost upto $540-million, but spur $14-million annually in profit, according to a new study. The Coast-to-Coast Passenger Rail study, funded by communites along the proposed line, analyzed three prospective routes through Lansing and Grand Rapids, but decided that only two are viable for further study. Detroit and Grand Rapids have not been directly linked by passenger rail since Amtrak was created in 1971. [Detroit News website report, 2-23-16]

BUSINESS PARK IN N.C. GIVEN CSX SELECT SITE DESIGNATION: CSX has designated the Washburn Switch Business Park in Cleveland County, N.C., as a 'Select Site.' The designation identifies a development-ready property along the CSX network where standard land use considerations and comprehensive due diligence items have been previously addressed. [CSX, 2-22-16]

REBOUND IN SIGHT FOR U.S. RAILROADS, ANALYSTS SAY: According to Merrill Lynch analysts, railroads are fashionable again, with the investment firm raising its ratings for CSX, Kansas City Southern, Canadian National, Union Pacific and Genesee & Wyoming. The analysts are more optimistic as carload volumes stabilize after a disastrous 2015, with the Dow Jones Transport Average down 18 pct compared to the S&P 500. [Bidness Etc. website report, 2-23-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Fifty-one percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 21, 2016, according to the Bull Sheet. This is a seven percentage point improvement over the previous week, but compares somewhat poorly with the performance for the corresponding week in 2015 when 70 percent of Amtrak's long-distance train arrived at their final destination on time. MORE... [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-22-16]

CSX JOINS NASDAQ-100 INDEX: CSX is now a component of the Nasdaq-100 Index. The index is composed of the 100 largest non-financial stocks listed on the Nasdaq stock market based on market capitalization. [CSX, 2-22-16]

BNSF ANNOUNCES 2015 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT RESULTS: BNSF said customers served by the freight provider invested $1.2-billion in new or expanded facilities in 103 communities across the company's rail network in 2015. This marks the fifth consecutive year that BNSF customers and local economic development organizations have invested more than $1-billion in a calendar year for new or expanded facilities. [BNSF, 2-22-16]

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTING TO STEAL LOCOMOTIVE FOR JOY RIDE: A 45-year-old woman in Victorville, California, is facing felony charges, accused of trying to take a BNSF train locomotive for a joy ride in the middle of the night. [ABC 7 website report, 2-22-16]

MAN ARRESTED IN ASSAULT ON AMTRAK EMPLOYEES IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.: A man suspected of assaulting two Amtrak employees at the Charlottesville, Va., train station over the weekend surrendered to police Febr. 22 after authorities publicized security images from the previous day's altercation. The 43-year-old suspect, who is known to hang around the station and watch trains, allegedly assaulted two employees following a verbal confrontation. [Daily Progress website report, 2-22-16]

KCS TO BEGIN PTC TESTING FEBR. 29: Kansas City Southern will begin positive train-control field integration testing on Febr. 29. It is a set of intensive tests to helpvalidate the safety of the technologies and hardware in a variety of scenarios, prior to full implementation across the KCS network. [Railway Track & Structures website report,2-22-16]

BNSF OFFERING BUYOUTS AS FURLOUGHS STRETCH ON: BNSF is offering a voluntary retirement incentive to train, yard and engine employees with 10 or more years of experience. If older employees elect to retire, furoughed workers with less seniority can be recalled. [Amarillo Globe-News webstite report, 2-21-16]

RAIL EMPLOYEE KILLED BY TRAIN IN NEW ORLEANS: A 25-year-old Norfolk Southern employee was found dead early Febr. 20 after being struck by a train along Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. [Times-Picayune website report, 2-21-16]

RETURN OF AMTRAK TO GULF COAST BEING EXPLORED: A special Amtrak train has operated on the CSX line along the Gulf Coast carrying dignitaries to get a feel for the return of passenger rail service that was suspended in 2005 because of hurricane Katrina. CSX has indicated interest in the plan to have two daily routes - a round-trip from New Orleans to Orlando via Jacksonville, and a shorter route offering a round-trip from New Orleans to Mobile. The largest obstacle will be working to restore the route's signal system, as much of the single-track line lies in 'dark territory,' a section of track having no signals. CSX is exploring options to expand signal coverage, and is examining viable passenger operating plans that won't interfere with freight systems. [Chipley Paper website report, 2-20-16]

D.C. PREPARES TO BEGIN NEW STREETCAR LINE: Following more than a decade or planning, construction and testing, Washington, D.C,. officials have announced that the new, 2.4-mile H Street/Benning Road streetcar line will begin service Febr. 27 between Union Station and the Anacostia River. The line will eventually traverse the city from east to west. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-19-16]

FIRST UNION RAIL GETS NAME CHANGE: Wells Fargo & Co. announced that its rail-car finance, leasing and fleet management business First Union Rail has changed its name to Wells Fargo Rail. The company recently acquired GE's rail-car and locomotive leasing business, and now owns more than 175,000 rail cars and 1,800 locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-18-16]

WABTEC REPORTS RECORD-SETTING YEAR: For the year 2015, Wabtec had sales of $3.3-billion, income from operations of $608-million, and earnings per diluted share of $4.10, all of which were records, the company said. [Railway Age website report, 2-18-16]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Febr. 13, 2016, U.S. rail freight carloads and intermodal units combined volume was 505,148, a decline of 3.8 pct compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 2-17-16]

AMTRAK REQUESTS $1.8-B FOR FY-2017: Amtrak is requesting $1.8-billion for fiscal 2017. The request includes $649-million for operating expenses, $920-million for catal construction costs, and $263-million in grants that were authorized by Congress and approved last year. Amtrak said the funding is part of a five-year plan for the company that is needed to boost the nation's passenger railways. [The Hill website report, 2-17-16]

BOMBARDIER'S RAIL TRANSPORTATION REVENUES DROP IN 4-Q: Bombardier's fourth-quarter 2015 rail transportation revenues were $2.16-billion, compared with $2.63-billion in the same period last year. The company plans to cut about 3,200 jobs in its non-aviation transport activities. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-17-16]

CP ACTED IN 'BAD FAITH' WHEN FIRING CONDUCTOR IN ALBERTA: Canadian Pacific acted in bad faith when it fired a Calgary, Alberta, conductor last year after a major derailment, basing her dismissal on 'unfounded' grounds that appeared to 'camouflage' discimination, an arbitrator has ruled. [Calgary Herald website report, 2-17-16]

ANNIVERSARY FEBR. 16 OF AMTRAK, MARC COLLISION IN MARYLAND: Febr. 16 marked the 20th anniversary of the infamous collision between a MARC commuter train and Amtrak's Capitol Limited in Silver Sprng, Md. Eleven people were killed, and more than a score were injured in that accident. It happened in the midst of a snowstorm at a control point known as Georgetown Junction when the eastbound commuter train collided with the Amtrak train as the Amtrak train was crossing over in front of the commuter train. Three crew members of the MARC train were included in the fatalities. [2-16-16]

'DISPATCHER ERROR' SAID TO BE THE CAUSE OF FATAL GERMAN TRAIN ACCIDENT: The deadly train crash in southern Germany on Febr. 9 was probably caused by human error on the part of the train dispatcher, prosecutors said. Eleven people were killed and more than 80 were injured when two commuter trains slammed into each other on a single-track line near Bad Aibling. Officials have opened a criminal investigation into the incident. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-16-16]

POWER PROBLEM DISRUPTS GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL: Power has been restored to New York's Grand Central Terminal and trains are running on a regular schedule Febr. 16 after an outage disrupted the station on Febr. 15. An official said that a burst water pipe led to the power outage, closing businesses on the lower level and sending passengers walking in the dark. Power was restored overnight. [Journal News website report, 2-16-16]

BOMBARDIER LANDS LIGHT-RAIL CONTRACTS IN ALBERTA: Bombardier has been selected to design and supply vehicles for the Valley light-rail line in Edmonton, Alberta, and will also provide signaling, communications, power supply and distribution, its overhead catenary system and related depot equipment. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-16-16]

NEW PRESIDENT NAMED FOR CHICAGO SOUTH SHORE & SOUTH BEND R.R.: Todd Bjornstad, formerly the general manager of the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad, has been named president of the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad, effective March 1. He replaces Andrew C. Fox. [CBS8 website report, 2-16-16]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY CITADIS TRAM KITS FOR ALGERIAN RAIL LINE: Alstom will supply 26 Citadis tram kits for a 32-mile rail line in Setif, Algeria, scheduled to enter commercial service in early 2018. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-16-16]

RUSSIA TO ORDER 507 NEW LOCOMOTIVES THIS YEAR: Russian Railways plans to order 507 new diesel and electric locomotives in 2016 at a cost of about $897-million. Thirty-nine of the locomotives will be for electrified passenger service. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-16-16]

TRESTLE FIRE IN LOUISIANA CUTS AMTRAK ROUTE FOR AT LEAST A WEEK: A Canadian National railroad trestle west of New Orleans will be out of service for at least this week, and maybe longer, following a fire Febr. 13. In the meantime, Amtrak's City of New Orleans will be truncated between New Orleans and Jackson, with substitute bus service between those stations and intermediate points. [Clarion Ledger website report, 2-15-16]

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. 14, 2016, as calculated by the Bull Sheet. This compares with the 44 percent arrival performance of long-distance trains at their final destination in the corresponding week last year. The average arrival of all trains surveyed during this year's week was 43 minutes behind schedule, compared with 40 minutes late last year. The average arrival of trains that arrived late this year was one hour and 17 minutes behind schedule, compared with one hour and 12 minutes late in the corresponding week last year. [Bull Sheet statistical department, 2-15-16]

DREW LEWIS DIES, FORMER TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Former Union Pacific Railroad chief executive Drew Lewis, who also served as U.S. transportation secretary under President Reagan, has died at the age of 84. He had retired from Union Pacific as its chairman and CEO in 1996. [ report]

BRIDGE FIRE DISRUPTS AMTRAK SERVICE IN LOUISIANA: Firefighters on Febr. 13 used helicopters and airboats to douse a blaze on a Canadian National train trestle in St. Charles Parish, La., that left Amtrak service disrupted. Amtrak's southbound City of New Orleans was truncated at Jackson, Mississippi, with passengers beyond that point conveyed in charter buses. Passengers for the northbound train that evening were bused from New Orleans to Jackson where they boarded their train. The cause of the fire is being investigated. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review website report, 2-13-16]

ONE PERSON DEAD AFTER AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN KANSAS: Authorities say a motorist died after driving around a crossing gate into the path of an Amtrak train early Febr. 12 in Topeka, Kansas. There were no injuries aboard the train. [KCTV 5 website report, 2-13-16]

CSX TO STREAMLINE MECHANICAL OPEATIONS AT 16 LOCATIONS: CSX plans to reduce operations at car shops in Montgomery, Baldwin, Evansville, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Wilmington (NC), Kenmore (NY), Ashtabula, Erie, Pittsburgh, Florence, Richmond, Huntington and Washington (DC). The effort is designed to better coordinate shop activities across the company's network while maintaining inspection and maintenance performance levels. The changes will impact approximately 116 employees. [CSX, 2-12-16]

HUDSON RIVER RAIL TUNNELS CAUSE DELAYS FOR COMMUTERS: Some North Jersey train commuters faced a long and difficult trip home Friday evening, Febr. 12, due to mechanical problems in one of the tubes of the Hudson River tunnel, with delays reaching two hours, before repars were completed by Amtrak. [The Record website report, 2-12-16]

RETRACTABLE BRIDGE PLATES TO BE USED ON BRIGHTLINE: Brightline, the proposed passenger rail service of All Aboard Florida, will be the first North American trains to be equipped with retractable bridge plates for high-level boarding platforms. The plate - also called a 'gap filler' - will extend up to 12 inches from the train and pivot to contact the platform, creating a flush surface for passengers to cross, effectively eliminating the gap that typically exists between the car and platform. [Railway Age website report, 2-12-16]

NEW RAIL TANK CAR OUTLET VALVE DEVELOPED: Kelso Technologies has completed the development of a new railroad tank car bottom outlet valve featuring ceramic components designed to increase valve life and reliability. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-12-16]

WORN CAR COMPONENTS CONTRIBUTED TO 2014 VIA TRAIN COLLISION: Worn components on a rail car led to the derailment and collision involving a CN train and a VIA Rail passenger train near Gananoque, Ontario, in Aug. 2014, authorities have determined. The incident caused no injuries, but did damage both trains, and punctured the locomotive's fuel tank on the VIA train. The defective car was a central beam bulkhead flat car from the CN train that derailed due to excessive 'wheel hunting,' and collided along the side of the VIA train. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-12-16]

NORWEGIAN RAIL FREIGHT OPERATOR INSOLVENT: Norwegian open-access rail freight operator Cargolink ceased operations Febr. 11 after the company decided to file for insolvency. Other rail freight operators are expected to take over the business. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-12-16]

BARCELONA METRO REACHES EL PRAT AIRPORT: The Barcelona Metro network was extended by 12 miles Febr. 12 with the opening of the southern section of the automated Line 9 from Zona University to El Prat International Airport. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-12-16]

ILLINOIS TO MAINTAIN EXISTING SERVICE LEVELS ON AMTRAK ROUTES: Illinois and Amtrak have reached an agreement to keep in place existing service levels on state-supported routes at a savingsto taxpayers and without having to raise fares on the downstate Illinois routes. [NARP Hotline, 2-12-16]

NO PROGRESS IN NJT, LABOR CONTRACT TALKS: No progress has been made in contract talks between the New Jersey Transit Rail Labor Coalition and N.J. Transit. A strike or lockout could occur in mid-March. [Railway Age website report, 2-11-16]

PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILS IN EGYPT, DOZENS INJURED: At least 70 people were injured when a Cairo-bound train derailed early Febr. 11 near the southern Egyptian city of Beni Suef, officials said. Two of the cars in the train overturned. [CBS News website report, 2-11-16]

AMTRAK CEO CALLS FOR REDUCING EXPENSES: Amtrak's CEO and president Joe Boardman has asked department heads to cut their fiscal year 2016 budgets by an average of 3.8 pct. In a letter to employees, he said they should rally together to have a laser focus on reducing or eliminating all discretionary spending within the company's control, and called for a hiring freeze where possible. Continued low gas prices are hurting Amtrak's ridership, he said, making optional use of the automobile more inviting. [, 2-11-16]

GENESEE & WYOMING'S 2016 CAPITAL PROGRAM DROPS 28 PCT: Genesee & Wyomingwill target a $225-million capital program in 2016, down approximately 28 pct whencompared to its 2015 budget of $315-million. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-11-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Febr. 6, 2016, U.S. freight railroads reported 241,680 carloads, down 11.7 pct from the corresponding week last year, and 262,830 intermodal units, up 10.5 pct. Counted together, total volume dipped 1.4 pct, according to the Association of American Railroads. Coal volume was down 30.3 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-11-16]

FUNDING APPROVED FOR STUDY OF SECOND CHICAGO-ST. PAUL AMTRAK TRAIN: Officials in Ramsey County, Minnesota, have voted to provide up to $300,000 for the study of a second daily round-trip train between Chicago and St. Paul. An Amtrak feasibility study last year predicted ridership on a second train could exceed 150,000 passengers a year. Currently, about 100,000 people ride the Empire Builder between the two cities each year. [Channel 3000 website report, 2-11-16]

CN TARGETING $2.9-B IN 2016 CAPITAL INVESTMENTS: CN has announced details of its 2016 plan to invest approximately $2.9-billion in rail infrastrucure and equipment. Included will be about $1.5-billion on track infrastructure, $600-million in rolling stock equipment, $400-million on the implementation of positive train-control on portions of its U.S. rail network, and $400-million in a rage of other key initiatives. [CN, 2-10-16]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN OHIO: A CSX freight train reportedly took a wrong track early Febr. 9 in Marysville, Ohio, and struck several idle freight cars and derailed. Two men on the train were initially trapped and then freed, taken to a hospital, treated and released. The accident is under investigation. [Bellefontaine Examiner website report, 2-10-16]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 2016 EARNINGS: For the full year 2016, Genesee & Wyoming reported net income of $225-million, a 13.7 pct decline compared with 2014. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-10-16]

COMMUTER TRAINS COLLIDE HEAD-ON IN GERMANY: Two commuter trains collided head-on in southern Germany Febr. 9, killing at least 10 people, injuring several dozen, and raising new questions about the safety and reliability of a rail network in Europe that has been the envy of much of the world. The trains had been teveling along the same stretch of track when they slammed into each other shortly before 7AM near Bad Aibling, about 35 miles southeast of Munich. [N.Y. Times website report, 2-9-16]

'INTERMEDIATE STOPS COUNT,' AMTRAK SAYS TO STB: In comments filed with the Surface Transportation Commission's notice of proposed rulemaking on on-time performance, Amtrak says that the only viable method of measuring passenger train on-time performance on a host freight railroad is one that includes intermediate stations as well as end points. [Railway Age website report, 2-9-16]

FIRE AT RAIL FACILITY IMPACTS METRA SERVICE: A fire erupted Febr. 9 at a railroad facility in west suburban Melrose Park, Illinois, and the fallout caused delays on Metra Union Pacific West trains. The fire was caused by an electric shortage in piece of Union Pacific equipment. [Chicago Sun-Times website report, 2-9-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending Febr. 7, 2016, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 51 percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. No allowance was given for trains that arrived superficially late. A train that arrived one minute late, for example, is shown in the report as arriving late. Sufficient padding is incorporated into long-distance train schedules to eliminate the need for grace allowances. This study, therefore, is more stringent than that shown by Amtrak in its own on-time perfomance analyses. During the affected week, the average arrival of all long-distance trains was 26 minutes late. The average arrival of those trains that arrived behind schedule was 54 minutes late. MORE...

N.C. RAIL PROJECT AIMS TO IMPROVE TRAVEL TIMES, SAFETY: A $520-million project to improve travel times and reduce accidents on North Carolina rail lines will close dozens of street-level crossings and replace some with bridges by next year. It will also increase the number of trains on the line between Raleigh and Charlotte. [Charlotte Observer website report, 2-8-16]

DOZENS INJURED IN BUS ACCIDENT IN CONNECTICUT: At least 30 people were hurt, some seriously, after a bus headed to a casino rolled over on Interstate 95 in Connecticut during a blizzard Monday afternoon, Febr. 8. [Fox News website report, 2-8-16]

EAST RIVER STREETCAR BEING PROPOSED FOR BROOKLYN, QUEENS: A proposal for a streetcar line along the East River in Brooklyn and Queens will be presented by New York mayor Bill de Blasio in his upcoming state of the city address. The system would improve transportation in an area that is not served very well by subways. [N.Y. Times website report, 2-5-16]

DRIVER KILLED IN RAIL CROSSING ACCIDENT IN GEORGIA: A driver died after a train smashed the front of her car at a crossing early Febr. 5 in Palmetto, Georgia. There were no gates or flashing lights protecting the crossing, but police are not sure why the driver did not see or hear the train approaching. A pet in the vehicle survived. [Atlanta Journal Constituton website report, 2-5-16]

UNION PACIFIC TO CUT CAPITAL SPENDING: Union Pacific says it plans to reduce its 2016 capital spending by $550-million to $3.75-billion. The company warned of cuts when it announced quarterly and full-year earnings last month. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 2-5-16]

BOMBARDIER LANDS MARYLAND RAIL CAR OVERHAUL CONTRACT: The Maryland Transit Administration has awarded a $36.8-million contract to Bombardier Transportation to overhaul 63 MARC-III rail cars. The affected cars have been in service for nearly 17 years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-5-16]

ONE KILLED, ONE INJURED AS TRAIN STRIKES SEMI IN TEXAS: One person was killed and another seriously injured when a semi-trailer truck was struck by a train in early afternoon Febr. 5 in Justin, Texas. The BNSF train struck the trailer and the rig came to rest on the west side of the tracks. None of the train crew personnel were hurt. [WFAA website report, 2-5-16]

AMTRAK PERMANENTLY ELIMINATES DINING CAR ON SILVER STAR: Amtrak has decided to permanently eliminate the dining car on the Silver Star. The cost-saving measure leaves the cafe car as the only food service for both sleeping car and coach passengers on this particular train. Dining car service remains on the Silver Meteor, serving most of the same route. [NARP Hotline, 2-5-16]

THROUGH SERVICE ON BOSTON SECTION OF LAKE SHORE LIMITED REMAINS BROKEN: Through service on the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited via. Albany is still not restored, although restoration had been anticipated. Passengers on stub trains 448 and 449 will continue to transfer at Albany for the time being. [NARP Hotline 2-5-16]

APPROVAL GIVEN TO REBUILD BWI RAIL STATION: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a 'Finding of No Significant Impact' for a new Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport rail station. The project includes adding a fourth track to nine miles of the Northeast corridor and reconfiguring the platforms to allow boarding from all four tracks. The current rail station was built more than 30 years ago, and is now Amtrak's 13th busiest train station. It is also served by MARC Penn Line trains. MORE.. [Federal Railroad Administration, 2-4-16]

ONE KILLED AS TRAIN STRIKES VEHICLE IN OHIO: One man was killed when a freight train collided with as SUV early Febr. 4 in Barberton, Ohio. Officials say the vehicle traveled around other vehicles and the crossing gates before it was struck by the train. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. [WKYC website report, 2-4-16]

PROPANE CARS COLLIDE IN REMOTE-CONTROL ACCIDENT IN ALBERTA: Two pressurized railroad tank cars loaded with propane collided at a CP Rail yard northeast of Edmonton, Alberta, Jan. 31, marking the third such accident at the Scotford Yard involving a remote-controlled train in less than two months, CBC News has learned. Damage was minor, and there were no injuries. [CBC News website report, 2-4-16]

JANUARY 2016 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic results were mixed for Jan. 2016, with railroads reporting a 16.6 pct decrease in total carloads, but a 3.4 pct increase in containers and trailers compared with traffic results in Jan. 2015. Overall combined carload and intermodal originations were down 7.3 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-4-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN CITES 2015 INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT: Norfolk Southern facilitated $4.2-billion in industrial investment along its rail lines in 2015. The 61 new and 32 expanded industries represented by the investment of NS customers are expected to create over 6,000 new jobs in the railroad's territory, generating more than 85,000 carloads of new rail traffic annually. [Norfolk Southern, 2-4-16]

METRO-NORTH RIDERSHIP HITS ALL-TIME HIGH IN 2015: Ridership was 86.1 million customers on Metro-North in 2015, an increase of 1.6 pct over the previous year. Meanwhile, Long Island Rail Road remained the busiest regional railroad in the nation, carrying 87.6 million customers, a 2.1 pct increase over the prior year. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-4-16]

ISRAEL APPROVES $7-B RAIL INVESTMENT PLAN: Israel's transport ministry has approved what is claimed to be the country's largest railway budget with calls for an investment of over $7.2-billion through 2020. The budget includes electrification, new and converted depots, and new signaling. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-4-16]

MAN STRUCK AFTER DRIVING AROUND GATES SUES RAILROAD: A man who was hit by a train after driving around railroad gates is suing the railroad. The incident happened in Painesville, Ohio, in Jan. 2014, and the driver claims the gates and lights were active for 30 minutes with no train. He assumed that locomotives parked nearby had triggered the gates, so he went around them. The lawsuit blames CSX for negligence as the parked locomotives blocked his view of the oncoming train. [WKYC website report, 2-3-16]

SEPTA TRAIN HITS STALLED TAXI: SEPTA's Manayunk-Norristown rail line service was suspended for nearly two hours early Febr. 3 after a commuter train struck a disabled taxi in Conshohocken. There were no injuries. [Montgomery Media website report, 2-3-16]

KOREAN MAGLEV LINE OPENS: Korea marked a milestone in the development of its maglev technology Febr. 3 with the start of operations on a 3.8-mile automated line at the Incheon International airport. Trains operating at up to 68 MPH will operate at 15-minute intervals, and no fares will be collected. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-3-16]

CONNECTICUT APPROVES FUNDING FOR NEW RAIL YARD IN NORWALK: The Connecticut Bond Commission has approved $17.5-million in state funding for the design, engineering and construction of a new rail yard on the Metro-North Danbury Branch in Norwalk. The funding will be used to modify and enhance the yard where the branch connects with the New Haven main line that will accommodate the replacement of the 119-year-old Walk Bridge. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-2-16]

SEPTA OPENS WEST TERMINAL AT 69TH STREET: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation authority has opened the new $19.6-million West Terminal at the 69th street Transportation Center in Upper Darby. Renovations include reconstructing pedestrian ramps to platforms, replacng track and road surface, installing security cameras, and other improvements. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-2-16]

GIL CARMICHAEL DIES, FORMER FRA ADMINISTRATOR: Gilbert Carmichael, former Federal Railroad administrator and founder of the Intermodal Transportation Institute at the University of Denver, died Jan. 31. He was 88. [Railway Age website report, 2-2-16]

METRA SEEKS FIRM TO MANUFACTURE 367 NEW RAIL CARS: Metra has issued a request for proposals for the design and production of 367 new railcars as part of the agency's 10-year, $2.4-billion modernization plan. [Railway Age website report, 2-2-16]

MBTA OPENS NEW SOUTH ACTON STATION: U.S., state and local officials on Jan. 30 celebrated the recent opening of the new South Acton commuter rail station, the most heavily-patronized station on the Fitchburg line. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-2-16]

PTC 2018 DEADLINE WILL NOT BE MET, THREE RAILROADS SAY: Three of the largest freight railroads operating in the U.S. - Norfolk Southern, CSX and CN - have told the Federal Railroad Administration that they will miss the 2018 deadline for implementation of the positive train-control technology, and they will not be ready with it until 2020. Four commuter railroads - SunRail, Metra, MBTA and Trinity Railway Express - say they will miss the 2018 deadline as well. However, Union Pacific, BNSF, CP Rail and Kansas City Southern, and more than a dozen commuter railroads have told the agency that they will meet the 2018 deadline. [Sacramento Bee website report, 2-2-16]

NTSB SHARES INFO ON MAY 2015 AMTRAK WRECK IN PHILADELPHIA: The National Transportation Safety Board has opened the accident docket and publicly released more than 2,000 pages of information as part of its ongoing investigation of the May 12, 2015, Amtrak train 188 derailment in Philadelphia. Only included is factual information, not findings or recommendations. Eight passengers will killed in the accident, and more than 200 were injured. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-2-16]

BOY KILLED BY COMMUTER TRAIN IN MASSACHUSETTS: A 13-year-old boy was struck and killed by a commuter rail train in Dedham, Massachusetts, the afternoon of Febr. 2. Transit police said the boy was trespassing on the tracks near Endicott station when he was struck by a Franklin line train. [ report, 2-2-16]

JANUARY 2016 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: Fifty-five percent of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time during the month of January 2016. This compares with the performance of January 2015, when 52 percent of the same trains arrived at their final destination on time. The average arrival of all long-distance trains this year was 31 minutes late, compared with 37 minutes late last year. The average arrival of only those trains that arrived behind schedule this year was one hour and eight minutes late, compared with an average arrival of tardy trains in January last year of one hour and 18 minutes late. MORE...

EMD WRAPS UP METROLINK'S FIRST TIER-4 LOCOMOTIVE: Metrolink has marked the completion of its first Tier-4 locomotive. The new locomotives, manufacured by EMD, will reduce particulate and nitrogen oxide by upto 85 pct, and will have up to 57 pct more horsepower. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-1-16]

DEFECTS PLAGUE NEW MBTA LOCOMOTIVES: A mix of mechanical failures, operator errors and other problems has led to multiple delays with nearly every one of the 40 new commuter rail locomotive recently put into service by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority, according to an analysis of performance from June to December 2015. Still, the agency insists, the new locomotives are more reliable than the older ones they replaced on the roster. [Boston Globe website report, 2-1-16]

THE HAGUE CENTRAL STATION REBUILDING COMPLETED: Officials have marked the completion of The Hague Central Station on Febr. 1. The project was implemented in two phases beginning in 2006 with the tram station. Construction on the mainline station began in 2011 and involved replacing the previous structure. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-1-16]

JURY RULES IN FAVOR OF NORFOLK SOUTHERN CONDUCTOR IN ADA SUIT: A federal jury has found Norfolk Southern in violation of the Americans with Disabilities act, and should pay a former conductor nearly $10.6-million for refusing to allow him to return to work after he was injured in a non-workplace incident. But the judge tossed out most of the award because the ADA limits the damage amount to $300,000. The railroad could still be on the hook for lost wages, attorney fees and court costs. [ report, 1-31-16]

GATEWAY PROJECT CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE RELEASED: A 15-year timeline has been released for the $23.9-billion Gateway rail project. The first phase focuses on building new tunnels and fixing the existing ones under the Hudson River, as well as building a new portal swing bridge over the Hackensack River. The second phase involves an expansion to Penn Station and construction of a new portal bridge. [Woodland Park Record website report, 1-30-16]

MBTA SUES AMTRAK OVER ACCESS FEES: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation authority is suing Amtrak after the two entities failed to reach agreement on new, vastly increased access fees for MBTA commuter trains operating between Attleboro, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island. [Railway Age website report, 1-29-16]

COMMUTER TRAIN DERAILS IN FLORIDA: At least one person was injured Jan. 28 after a Tri-Rail commuter train derailed near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Forty people were evacuated after the engine ignited. The accident is under investigation. [Breaking 911 website report, 1-28-16]

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS ISSUED FOR N.Y. PENN STATION PROJECT: The Empire State Development Corp., which will oversee the $3-billion redevelopment of Penn Station in New York, has released a request for proposals. The existing station will be dramatically renovated, and the Farley Post Office building will be transformed into a train hall for Amtrak. The hall will also offer services for Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and the new Air Train to LaGuardia Airport. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-28-16]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads logged 490,324 combined carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Jan. 23, 2016, a 10.5 pct drop in traffic compared with the same week in 2015, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated separately, carloads declined 19.5 pct, and intermodal slipped 0.1 pct. Coal traffic plunged 35.8 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-28-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2015 EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported 2015 operating revenues were $10.5-billion, 10 pct lower compared with 2014. Traffic volume was down 3 pct, driven by a sharp decline in coal. Income from railway operations was $2.9-billion, 19 pct lower compared with 2014. Per share diluted earnings were $5.10. [Norfolk Southern, 1-27-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO REDUCE WORKFORCE BY 2,000 EMPLOYEES BY 2020: Norfolk Southern intends to reduce its headcount by 2,000 employees by 2020, and decrease overtime by 50 pct from 2015 levels. The company further intends to reduce employee levels in areas affected by lower coal traffic and by rightsizing its coal infrastrucure. [Norfolk Southern, 1-27-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PLANNING TO CONSOLIDATE OPERATING REGIONS FROM THREE TO TWO: Norfolk Southern says it expects to consolidate its operating regions from three to two; dispose of or downgrade 1,500 miles of secondary lines by 2020, including 1,000 miles in 2016; and to halt or reduce operations in several hump or secondary yards this year, reducing manpower needs and locomotive fleet requirements, and consolidating traffic on fewer, longer trains. [Norfolk Southern, 1-27-16]

SIX DERAILED RAIL CARS FALL INTO MISSISSIPPI RIVER: Canadian Pacific Railway says six train cars loaded with soybean oil ended up in the Mississippi River after a freight train derailed in southeastern Minnesota Jan. 26. [Globe and Mail website report, 1-27-16]

JUDGE UPHOLDS RULING AGAINST TRUCKING FIRM IN 2011 AMTRAK ACCIDENT: A federal judge has refused to grant a new trial for a trucking firm ordered to pay more than $4.5-million in damages to Amtrak after a truck slammed into the California Zephyr at a rural crossing in Nevada in 2011, killing six people. [KOKO-TV website report, 1-27-16]

BNSF PLANS $4.3-B CAPITAL EXPENDITURES THIS YEAR: BNSF has announced a $4.3-billion capital expenditure plan this year, which includes about $2.8-billion to replace and maintain the company's core network and related assets. [Railway Age website report, 1-26-16]

CN REPORTS YEAR-ENDING RESULTS: CN reported 2015 net income of $3.5-billion, an increase of 12 pct compared with the previous year. Diluted earnings per share rose 14 pct to $4.39. Operating income rose 14 pct to $5.3-billion. The company's board of directors has approved a 20 pct increase in its dividend. [CN, 1-26-16]

AMTRAK INSPECTION TRIP OF GULF COAST PLANNED: Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission are conducting a tour to examine new ideas for intercity rail by running an inspection train from New Orleans to Jacksonville Febr. 18 and 19. The train will be hosted by Joe Boardman, Amtrak's president and CEO, and will carry industry and community leaders and federal stakeholders. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-26-16]

SIEMENS BEGINS PRODUCTION OF ALL ABOARD FLORIDA BRIGHTLINE TRAINS: Siemens has completed fabrication of the first stainless steel passenger coach shell for All Aboard Florida's Brightline service at its plant in Sacramento. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-26-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 24, 2016, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 50 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was 38 minutes late. Of the trains that arrived behind schedule, their average arrival was one hour and 16 minutes late. This data compares with the corresponding week in 2015 when 60 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their ultimate destination on time; the average arrival of those trains was 20 minutes late; and average arrival of trains that were behind schedule was 49 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet statistical dept., 1-25-15]

CN'S CEO CLAUDE MONGEAU RETURNS TO WORK FOLLOWING SURGERY: Canadian National president and CEO Claude Mongeau has returned to work after fully recoverying from a surgical procedure. [Railway Age website report, 1-25-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN 'SEVERLY IMPACTED' BY STORM: Norfolk Southern's operations in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have been severly impacted after heavy snowfall, in particular between Wilmington and Baltimore. Traffic moving into the Conrail area within New Jersey has been reduced to allow for recovery efforts. Areas in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania are recovering slowly. Customers should expect delays of 24-72 hours on traffic moving through these areas. [Norfolk Southern, 1-25-16]

SEPTA UPDATES PTC PROGRESS: SEPTA reports positive train-control work is now 100 pct complete on its signal and communication systems and car fit-out on Silverliner IV and V fleets. Efforts are now focused on electric locomotive and cab-car fit-outs, control center software installation and employee training. Upon completion of these efforts, and final approval from the federal government, SEPTA anticipates rollout of the system can begin in February for the regional rail lines. [SEPTA, 1-25-16]

AMTRAK'S NEC BLIZZARD PERFORMANCE JAN 22: The first day of the big storm, Friday, Jan. 22, Amtrak operated 22 Regional trains and 16 Acela trains from Washsington to New York, and nine Regional trains and 10 Acela trains from New York to Boston. Forty-two percent of the Washington-New York trains arrived at their destination on time, and 32 percent of the New York-Boston trains arrived on time. Southbound, five Regional trains and eight Acela trains ran from Boston to New York, and 17 Regional trains and 14 Acela trains ran from New York to Washington. Thirty-one percent of the Boston-New York trains arrived on time, and 39 percent of the New York-Washington trains arrived on time. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-23-16]

CHANGES BEING CONSIDERED TO CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL: The California High-Speed Rail authority is now considering building the less-expensive Bay Area section first. The south section of the line through the Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountains is considered technically challenging. The project is already two years behind schedule and has come under increasing political pressure. [L.A. Times website report, 1-23-16]

SEATTLE'S FIRST HILL STREETCAR LINE OPENS: Saturday, Jan. 23, was opening day for the long-delayed First Hill streetcar in Seattle. The two and one-half mile line runs between Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square, with stops in the central and international districts. [King 5 website report, 1-23-16]

KCS TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN ARKANSAS, TWO KILLED, ONE INJURED: Two people died and one was seriously injured Jan. 21 when a northbound Kansas City Southern train collided with a vehicle in Ogden, Arkansas. The accident is being investigated. [THV 11 website report, 1-22-16]

KCS REPORTS 2015 EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported 2015 net income of $485-million on revenue of $2.4-billion, compared with net income of $504-million on revenue of $2.57-billion for the year 2014. The company's adjusted operating ratio was 66.4 pct, a 0.7 point improvement compared with the previous year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-16]

AMTRAK'S HARRISBURG STATION TO UNDERGO IMPROVEMENTS: Pennsylvania has announced plans for improving the Amtrak Harrisburg Transportation Center and surrounding areas. The state envisions an initial investment of $15-million in federal and state money to bring the transportation center into a state of good repair, followed by another $50-million to $60-million for station and land-use improvements. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-16]

THUNDER MOUNTAIN LINE SUSPENDS IDAHO TOURIST TRAIN: Thunder Mountain Line Excursion Railroad will suspend operations of its tourist train in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, due to falling ridership. The line may be shut down permanently, but company officials are open to discussions with potential investors. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-16]

SEPTA TO REUSE ENERGY CREATED BY BRAKING SUBWAY CARS: SEPTA has unveiled a plan to reuse energy created by braking subway cars. An 8.75 megawatt battery storage network will be deployed at seven substations which will capture energy created during braking and allows it to be reused to power trains during acceleration. The network can also provide emergency generation for trains in the event of a power outage. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-16]

KCS TO REDUCE CAPITAL PROGRAM ABOUT 10 PCT: Kansasa City Southern estimates its 2016 capital program will be between $580-million and $590-million, an approximate 10 pct decline from its 2015 program. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-22-16]

METRA TRAIN STRIKES CAR, KILLING ONE: Extensive delays were reported on Metra's UP-Northwest line after a driver of a car was killed in a collision at a crossing with a train near Arlington Heights, Illinois, the afternoon of Jan. 21. Police believe the person drove under the crossing gate. The car was dragged more than 100 yards. [ABC 7 News website report, 1-21-16]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2015 EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported 2015 results. Diluted earnings per share of $5.49 declined 5 pct. Operating income totaled $8.1-billion, down 8 pct. Operating ratio of 63.1 pct improved 0.4 points. Freight revenue was $20.4-billion, a 10 pct decrease compared to the previous year. Average train speed was 25.4 MPH, an increase of 6 pct. [Union Pacific, 1-21-16]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS 2015 EARNINGS: For the year 2015, Canadian Pacific reported record revenues of $6.71-billion. Adjused diluted earnings per share rose 19 pct to a record $10.10. Adjusted operating ratio was a record 61 pct. [Canadian Pacific, 1-21-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 16, 2016, total U.S. rail freight traffic was 506,433 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.2 pct compared with the same week last year. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 16.6 pct and intermodal volumes increased 1.1 pct., according to the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-21-16]

AMTRAK GATEWAY PROGRAM TO COST UP TO $23.9-B: Amtrak's Gateway program could cost as much as $23.9-billion, including $7.7-billion to rebuild the Hudson River rail tunnels, according to the New York Times. The plan calls for a series of projects to double rail capacity between Newark, N.J., and New York City, and expand high-speed rail service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-21-16]

WORK BEGINS ON INDONESIA'S FIRST HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: Ground was broken Jan. 21 in Walini to mark the start of construction of Indonesia's first high-speed railway, linking Jakarta with Bandung. Construction on the 88.4-mile line, designed for 155 MPH operation, is scheduled to be completed in 2018. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-21-16]

CANADIAN PACIFIC TO CUT UP TO 1,000 JOBS THIS YEAR: Canadian Pacific plans to cut up to 1,000 positions this year as it adjusts to lower shipment volumes. The company says most of the cuts will result from attrition, and kick in by the middle of 2016. Since 2012, the railway has cut 6,000 to 7,000 positions, including 1,200 this past year. [CBC News website report, 1-21-16]

UNION PACIFIC ESTIMATES $3.75-B CAPITAL PROGRAM IN 2016: Union Pacific is planning a $3.75-billion capital program in 2016, pending approval from its board. This amount is about $450-million less than it planned to spend last year. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-21-16]

OFFICIALS APPROVE HIGH-LEVEL PLATFORM FOR ROANOKE RAIL STATION: Virginia is embracing a high-level platform design for Roanoke's planed passenger rail station, allowing the project to advance to the engineering phase. The extension of Amtrak service to Roanoke will restore passenger rail service to the cityfor the first time in 35 years. [Roanoke Times website report, 1-21-16]

AMTRAK'S CITY OF NEW ORLEANS IMPACTED BY FLOODING SOUTH OF JACKSON: The opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway Jan. 10 has affected the Cty of New Orleans train 58 and 59 which will operate between Chicago and Jackson with buses operating between Jackson and New Orleans through Jan. 31. [Amtrak]

BNSF STORING 150 LOCOMOTIVES IN WYOMING DUE TO SLACK DEMAND: BNSF Railroad officials say they are keeping about 150 locomotives stored near Gillette, Wyoming, due to decreased demand, especially in the coal sector. [KULR-8 website report, 1-20-16]

FEDS COLLECT RECORD CIVIL PENALTIES FOR RAIL SAFETY VIOLATIONS: The Federal Railroad Administration's stepped-up enforcement of railroad safety regulations has led to the highest-ever civil penalty collection rate in the agency's history. Last year's collection was $15-million, a 12 pct increase over the previous year. More than 6,485 violations resulted in civil penalties: motive power and equipment violations were 29 pct of the total; track violations were 26 pct, and hazmat violations were 20 pct. In addition to enforcement, the agency will continue to implement new, innovative solutions to increase safety. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-20-16]

CANADIAN PACIFIC ISSUES SECOND 'WHITE PAPER' ON ITS NORFOLK SOUTHERN MERGER PLAN: Canadian Pacific has issued a white paper (its second this year) on how its proposed takeover of Norfolk Southern would ease rail congestion around Chicago. The company argues that a merger would have a 'meaningful, lasting impact on Chicago congestion for the clear benefit of customers, competitors and the broader economy.' [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-20-16]

JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C., DROPS SUPPORT FOR CSX TRANSPORTATION HUB: Commissioners of Johnston County, N.C., have decided to not support CSX's plans to buld a 450-acre, $272-million intermodal railroad terminal in the county. If built, the facility would need close to 300 employees to operate. [Wilson Times website report, 1-20-16]

AMTRAK OFFERING BUSINESS CLASS ON AUTO TRAIN: Amtrak will launch Business class service on the Auto Train beginning Febr. 1. For an upgrade of $59, business class passengers can enjoy priority boarding and reserved seating in a car for business class passengers, access to digital newspapers during the trip. salad and a choice of specialty dessert with dinner, and two complimentary bottles of water and a comfort kit. [Amtrak]

KEOLIS MOVING ITS NORTH AMERICAN HEADQUARTERS TO BOSTON: Keolis, the French company contracted to operate a number of commuter rail services, is moving its North American headquarters to Boston later this year. [ report, 1-20-16]

GREYHOUND BUS CRASHES IN CALIFORNIA, TWO KILLED: A northbound Greyhound Bus was involved in a single-vehicle accident Jan. 19 on Highway 101 in South San Jose, California, killing two and injuring about 10 others. The bus landed on its side after striking a formation of barrels used to cushion impact if a vehicle plows into the divider. The accident is under investigation. [ABC 7 website report, 1-19-16]

CANADIAN PACIFIC SEEKS INVESTIGATION OF MERGER OPPOSITION: Canadian Pacific Railroad wants the Justice Dept. to investigate whether other major freight railroads are improperly coordinating opposition to its proposed acquisition of Norfolk Southern. The company said it believes that conversations between exeutives from Union Pacific, BNSF and CSX may have violated antitrust rules, especially since Norfolk Southern has rejected all of its offers. [N.Y. Times website report, 1-19-16]

DETROIT RAIL PROJECT SET TO BE OPERATIONAL EARLY NEXT YEAR: The last bit of construction on the M-1 rail project in Detroit will start this year, and the line should be operational in early 2017. [MLive website report, 1-19-16]

CHINA PLANS $121.6-B RAIL INVESTMENT IN 2016: China Railways Corp. has set a fixed asset investment target of $121.6-billion for 2016, with much of its focus on developing links to central and western regions. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-19-16]

NORTH KOREA UPGRADING RAIL TO MOVE COAL: North Korea is upgrading its railways to handle increasing coal shipments, according to a report from Korean Central Television. The country has upped its coal exports to China, becoming a main supplier of anthracite, a form of coal with a very high carbon content. [NK News website report, 1-19-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 17, 2016, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 51 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was 33 minutes late. Of the 49 pct of long-distance trains that arrived behind schedule, their average arrival was one hour and eight minutes late. This data compares with the corresponding week in 2015 when 54 pct of the surveyed trains arrived on time; their average arrival was 34 minutes late; and average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 12 minutes late. [Bull Sheet Statistical Department, 1-18-16]

CSX TO ELIMINATE ITS HUNTINGTON DIVISION: CSX will consolidate its Huntington Divison in West Virginia by consolidating its functions into the responsibility of the adjoining Atlanta, Baltimore, Florence, Great Lakes and Louisville divisions. CSX will continue to run trains over the affected territory, and will continue operations at its Huntington locomotive shop. The company will still have nine operating divisions following the elimination of the Huntington Division. [CSX, 1-18-16]

MAN STRUCK BY LIRR TRAIN: Service was disrupted late Jan. 17 on Long Island Rail Road's Oyster Bay branch when an 'unauthorized person' was hit by a train in Glen Cove. The individual was taken to a hospital, and service on the line was restored following a two-hour suspension. [WCAX website report, 1-18-16]

CALGARY TRANSIT UNVEILS FIRST SIEMENS S200 LRV: Calgary, Alberta, Transit on Jan. 15 unveiled its S200 high-floor light-rail vehicle, and says it is on course to introduce the new fleet on the C Train light-rail network this spring. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-18-16]

CSX REPORTEDLY TO TEST A TWO-MILE-LONG TRAIN: CSX is said to be planning to test a two-mile-long train Jan. 20, according to a source familiar with the project. It is believed that the move is to showcase General Electric locomotives and their abilities. [The Independent, 1-18-16]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY MBTA COMMUTER TRAIN: A man trespassing on the tracks in Melrose, Massachusetts, was struck and killed by a Massachusetts Bay commuter train the evening of Jan. 18, causing a service disruption on the Haverhill line. [ report, 1-18-16]

TEEN STRUCK, KILLED NEAR PHILIPSE MANOR METRO-NORTH STATION: A male teenager was struck and killed by a city-bound train near the Philipse Manor, N.Y., Metro-North station in Sleepy Hollow the afternoon of Jan. 18. [Iohud Journal News website report, 1-18-16]

COALITION PUSHES FOR NEW AMTRAK DEPOT IN BUFFALO: Buffalo's Partnership for the Public Good, in its annual policy agenda, is pushing for a new Amtrak station. Said the partnership's co-director: "They all know that Niagara Falls, Syracuse, Albany, Rochester - all the other main stops on the main line - have gotten new Amtrak stations. So it's kind of our turn." [WBFO website report, 1-18-16]

MONORAIL PLANNED ACROSS PANAMA CANAL: Plans are in the works to build a $1.95-billion monorail across the Panama Canal. The line, about 17 miles in length, will run through Panama City and across the canal, likely using Japanese technology. [Nikkei Asian Review website report, 1-18-16]

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA, GETS STUDY FUNDING FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL STATION: Burbank, California, will receive $800,000 in government funds to begin planning a proposed transportation center near Bob Hope Airport that would serve high-speed trains, officials said. The money will be used to explore three station locations. [Los Angeles Times website report]

LONGEST CONCRETE HIGH-SPEED RAIL SPAN BEING BUILT IN SPAIN: A 3,268-foot-long concrete bridge to be used for a high-speed rail line is under construction over the Almonte River in Spain. The main span for its arch is nearly 1,260 feet long, which will make it the largest span of high-speed rail in the world. [Premier Construction Magazine online report, 1-18-16]

COLEBROOKDALE R.R. READY TO WELCOME LOCOMOTIVE: The Colebrookdale Railroad in Pennsylvania has acquired a former Pennsylvania Railroad GP10 locomotive, number 7236. Upon arrival, the locomotive will await a new paint job and some maintenance. [Reading Eagle website report, 1-16-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES SUV ON CROSSING IN FLORIDA, DRIVER KILLED: The driver of a sport utility vehicle was killed Jan. 14 in Jacksonville, Florida, when the vehicle was struck by a northbound Amtrak train and dragged about a quarter of a mile. Witnesses say the vehicle was stopped on the crossing because of traffic. There were no injuries on the train. [Florida Times-Union website report, 1-15-16]

AMTRAK'S TEXAS EAGLE STRIKES TANK TRUCK IN TEXAS, DRIVER KILLED: Amtrak's Chicago-bound Texas Eagle struck a tank truck near Dallas Jan. 14, bursting it into flames. The driver was killed. Amtrak said no passengers were seriiously injured. [WLS-TV website report, 1-15-16]

PORTLAND, OREGON, TO CLOSE FIVE STREETCAR STOPS TO INCREASE SPEED, SAFETY: Beginning Febr. 1, Portland Streetcar will close five stops on the city's west side in a trial to speed service and increase safety. Some of the stops, where there are other stops nearby, are on a slope, and pose collision risks. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-15-16]

CANDO RAIL TO BUILD NEW TERMINAL IN B.C.: Cando Rail Services, based in Manitoba, has purchased 89 acres in Kamloops, B.C., with the intent of constructing a new rail terminal that will have the storage capacity for 1,000 cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-15-16]

EMERENCY BOARD ISSUES RECOMMENDATIONS IN N.J. TRANSIT LABOR DISPUTE: The Presidential Emergency board has issued its recommendations to settle a contract dispute between N.J. Transit and the Rail Labor Coalition. Included in the recommendations are wage increases totaling 17 pct over a six-year term, health insurance rising to 2.5 pct of straight-time pay, and settlement of other matters. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-15-16]

HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINK FOR NEW BEIJING AIRPORT: China's National Development & Reform commission has approved plans for a 48.6-mile Beijing-Bashou high-speed rail line to serve the new international airport at Daxing. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-15-16]

RAIL SAFETY AT TOP OF NTSB'S 10-MOST-WANTED LIST: The National Transportation Safety Board put rail safety at the top of its '10 Most Wanted' list of priorities for 2016. The agency has been calling for installation of positive train-control for decades, but the pressing need for the system was driven home by the Amtrak crash outside of Philadelphia in May 2015. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers hotline report, 1-15-16]

MINNESOTA CITY GETTING RAIL OVERPASS: The city of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, will receive $12.6-million from the state toward a $25.2-million project to construct a railroad overpass. Over 80 trains travel the line daily, resulting in blocked crossings and slowed emergency response times. [KSTP-TV website report, 1-15-16]

CSX PLANS $272-M INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN N.C.: CSX is planning a $272-million intermodal rail terminal in North Carolina that it envisions as a major hub to make the state's ports more competitive and serving the Raleigh region. Company officials have begun efforts to secure options on proerty east of Selma and close to I-95 where the terminal would be built. [NASDAQ website report, 1-14-16]

SPECIAL TRAIN TO RUN AS OFFICIALS STUDY RETURN OF AMTRAK SERVICE TO GULF COAST: The return of passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast is taking one more major step toward reality with a special 'inspection' train set to roll through the area on Febr. 18. [, 1-14-16]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 9, 2016, total U.S. rail freight traffic was down 3.7 pct compared with the same week in 2015. Calculated separately, carload traffic dropped 13.5 pct, but intermodal volume was up 7.5 pct., according to data furnished by the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 1-14-16]

AMTRAK INTRODUCES 'BUSINESS CLASS' TO CARDINAL: Amtrak is introducing, for a surcharge of $51 per person or less, passengers may enjoy spacious seats in a car reserved for business class on board the Cardinal operating between New York and Chicago. Amenities include complimentary non-alcoholc beverages, complimentary wi-fi, as data service permits along the route, complimentary access to the Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago, and access to Philadelphia's Club Acela in Philadelphia for $20 a person. [Amtrak, 1-14-16]

TWIN RAIL TUNNELS COMPLETED IN AUSTRALIA: Two 9.3-mile rail tunnels have been completed in Australia. The tunnels are part of a larger $5.76-billion Sydney Metro Northwest rail project, which will include an additional two tunnels and eight new stations. [Sydney Morning Herald website report, 1-14-16]

INDIAN BROAD-GAUGE RAIL NETWORK REACHES TRIPURA: India's state of Tripura on Jan. 13 joined the national broad-gauge network with the arrival of the inaugural train in the state capital Agartala. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-14-16]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 4-Q TRAFFIC: Genesee & Wyoming's traffic in the fourth-quarter 2015 was 712,623 carloads, an increase of 39.7 pct compared with the same quarter 2014, and same-railroad traffic was 427,455 carloads, a decrease of 16.2 pct compared with the fourth-quarter 2014. [Genesee & Wyoming, 1-14-16]

CSX TARGETS $2.4-B IN CAPITAL EXPENDITURES THIS YEAR: CSX is aiming for a $2.4-billion capital expenditure program in 2016, a $1-million reduction from last year. The company willl devote $1.24-billion on infrastructure investments; $552-million to equipment, focusing on upgrading its locomotive fleet; $312-million to strategic investment; and $300-million toward positive train-control. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-13-16]

READING & NORTHERN LOGS RECORD TRAFFIC, REVENUE: Reading & Northern Railroad achieved record carload volumes and revenue in 2015. The company handled 28,940 carloads, a 19 pct increase compared with 2014's record-setting volume. Record-breaking revenue exceeded past revenue levels by more than 30 pct, the company said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-16]

RAIL UNIONS PETITION FEDS FOR UNIFORM SPEED SIGNS: Two of the nation's rail unions have petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration for a rule mandating uniform warning speed signs in advance of a permanent speed restriction. The unions also asked for the standardization of the signs' dimensions, conspicuousness and color. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-16]

CSX POSTS LOWER 4-Q PROFIT: CSX's fourth-quarter 2015 revenue and profit were down compared with the same quarter in 2014. Earnings were $466-million or 48 cents per share, compared with $491-million or 49 cents per share in the pror year's quarter, a decline of 5 pct. For the full year, earnings increased about 4 pct over the previous year's results. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-13-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COMBINING VIRGINIA, POCAHONTAS DIVISIONS INTO ONE: Norfolk Southern is consolidating its Virginia and Pocahontas divisions to form the new Pocahontas division, with headquarters in Roanoke, effective Febr. 1. The new division will comprise 2,581 route miles from the Port of Virginia to Portsmouth, Ohio, and from Bristol, Va., to Hagerstown, Md. The consolidation will affect staff positions in Bluefield, W.Va., currently the Pocahontas division headquarters, but the rail yard at that location will remain.. With the consolidation, the company will have 10 divisions across its network. [Norfolk Southern, 1-12-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO IDLE PARTS OF ITS W.VA. SECONDARY: Norfolk Southern is changing traffic patterns and idling parts of its West Virginia Secondary, a 253-mile line between Columbus, Ohio, and central W.Va., that has experienced declines in business. This follows the idling of a 33-mile mainline between Elmore and Princeton, W.Va., in Sept. 2015. [Norfolk Southern, 1-12-16]

AMTRAK TOUTS CLEAN, GREEN TRAINS: Amtrak says it is continuing its commitment and progress to ever more sustainable operations by focusing on fuel and energy conservation as well as other initiatives. The company has incorporated sustainability practices throughout its operation of more than 300 trains each day to more than 500 destinations. [Railway Age website report, 1-12-16]

CSX NAMES NEW SALES, MARKETING LEADERS: CSX has named Dean M. Piacente vice-president of intermodal, Clark Robertson vice president of chemicals, and Tim McNulty vice president of agriculture. [CSX, 1-11-16]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PEFORMANCE REPORT: For the week ending Jan. 10, 2016, the Bull Sheet calculated that 56 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time. This is an improvement compared with the corresponding first Monday-through-Sunday week in 2015 when only 40 pct of Amtrak's long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time. Average arrival of all trains surveyed in the 2016 period was 30 minutes late, compared with one hour and 11 minutes late last year; and the average arrival of just those trains that were late in this year's period was one hour and seven minutes late, compared with one hour and 58 minutes late last year. For the purpose of this survey, any train arriving at its final destination behind schedule (even by just a minute) is considered late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-11-16]

STORM DISRUPTS PITTSBURGH'S LIGHT-RAIL: Pittsburgh's Red line service has been restored after strong winds late Jan. 10 blew trees onto the tracks in Beechview and damaged an overhead catenary line that powers light-rail trains. Officials said the winds caused significant damage. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website report, 1-11-16]

TWO UNIONS JOIN CHORUS AGAINST CP RAIL'S NORFOLK SOUTHERN BID: Two unions representing workers at Norfolk Southern - TCU/IAM and SMART - have joined a growing chorus of opposition to the bid from Canadian Pacific to combine with Norfolk Southern. A number of elected officials have come out against the bid as well. [Reuters website report, 1-11-16]

AAR SETS INCREMENTAL PTC GOALS: Working within the three-year extension Congress granted for implementation of positive train-control, the Association of American Railroads has set year-end 2016 goals as follows: 38 pct of targeted route miles to have the technology installed; 63 pct of locomotives to be equipped; 51 pct of affected employees trained; 87 pct of wayside signals to be PTC-ready; and 77 pct of base station radios to be installed. [Railway Age website report, 1-11-16]

FATAL BUS CRASH IN MEXICO: At least 21 people were killed and 30 others injured Jan. 10 when a bus carrying amateur soccer players and fans plunged into a river after careening off a bridge in the Mexican state of Veracruz. A preliminary investigation found that the bus had been speeding, causing the driver to lose control over a speed bump and break through a safety barrier. [N.Y. Times website report, 1-10-16]

WATERLOO, INDIANA, SEEKS BIDS TO MOVE TRAIN DEPOT: The town of Waterloo, Indiana, a stop for Amtrak's Capitol and Lake Shore limiteds, is seeking bids to move its historic train depot closer to the boarding area, a distance of about 1,000 feet. Waterloo is the source of about 22,000 passengers each year. Currently they board and detain at a plexglas shelter. [Journal Gazette website report, 1-9-16]

VIA RAIL LOGS RECORD HOLIDAY REVENUE: Via Rail Canada reported its highest in four years passenger revenue during the holiday season Dec. 16, 2015, to Jan. 5, 2016. During that period, VIA reported a 10.3 pct increase in revenue since 2012. In total, more than 255,000 passengers used VIA Rail's services. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-16]

CTA TO MAKE ALL RAIL STATIONS FULLY-ACCESSIBLE BY 2036: The Chicago Transit authority will advance a plan to make its entire rail system fully-accessible by 2036, its president Dorval Carter Jr. said. Currently, 46 of the system's 145 rail stations lack elevators, most more than 50 years old. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-16]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA GETS ANOTHER YEAR TO SELL TAX-EXEMPT BONDS: All Aboard Florida will get another year to sell $1.75-billion in tax-exempt bonds it plans to use to help pay for its proposed passenger train service connecting Orlando with South Florida. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has given the company until Jan. 1, 2017, to complete the bond issue - the second time All Aboard Florida has received an extension. [Palm Beach Post website report, 1-8-16]

GERMAN TRAIN DESTROYED IN BLAZE: A German train traveling from Berlin to the Polish border was completely burnt out in a fire Jan. 6. All of the estimated 180 passengers and staff disembarked safely. The cause is under investigation, but it is believed that a technical issue such as a short circuit may have been to blame. [Deutsche Welle website report, 1-7-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN HITS TRUCK IN LOUISIANA: Amtrak's southbound City of New Orleans hit a truck in Kenner, La., the afternoon of Jan. 7, when the driver tried to race across the tracks, officials said. The driver of the truck was not injured, but an engineer and two passengers were slightly hurt. The driver was cited for failure to yield to a train and driving with no license. [Times-Picayune website report, 1-7-16]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT FOR 2015: U.S. railroads logged a total freight traffic volume of 27,976,850 carloads and intermodal units in 2015, a decrease of 2.5 pct compared with the volume of 2014, according to the Association of American Railroads. Included separately, carload traffic was down 6.1 pct, while intermodal traffic increased 1.6 pct. The intermodal volume of 13,710,646 units was a new record. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-7-16]

PORTS AMERICA TO OPERATE INTERMODAL TRANSFER SERVICE AT PORT OF BALTIMORE: CSX Intermodal Terminals and Ports America Chesapeake have announced an agreement to transfer operational responsibility for the intermodal container service at the Port of Baltimore from CSX Intermodal to Ports America. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-7-16]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $44-M GUADALAJARA LIGHT-RAIL ORDER: Bombardier has obtained a $44-million order to supply 12 TEG-15 light-rail vehicles for the train system of Guadalajara, Mexico. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-7-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN STALLS IN N.Y. STATE: Passengers on Montreal-bound Amtrak train 69 had to complete their journey by bus the evening of Jan. 6. The locomotive had an apparent problem with its air-compressor mear Leesville, N.Y. Two and one-half hours later, a Canadian Pacific locomotive arrived to move the train to a safe location where passengers transferred to three buses to resume their journey. [Plattsburgh Press-Republican website report, 1-7-16]

CARL ICE, PRESIDENT OF BNSF, NAMED RAILROAD AGE 'RAILROADER OF THE YEAR': Carl R. Ice, president and chief executive officer of BNSF, has been named 2016 Railroader of the Year by industry trade publication Railway Age. [Railway Age website report, 1-7-16]

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK, KILLED BY VIA RAIL TRAIN IN TORONTO: A pedestrian is dead after being struck by a train Jan. 7 in Toronto. GO service on the Lakeshore East and Stouffville lines was temporarily suspended due to the incident. [Toronto Star website report, 1-7-16]

CSX TOUTS CUSTOMER INVESTMENTS IN 2015: CSX worked with its customers to locate 107 new plants or expanded facilities on the company's rail network or its connecting short line partners in 2015. These new projects comprise $2.2-billion in customer investments and are expected to generate about 1,500 new jobs in areas served by CSX. [CSX, 1-7-16]

CP RAIL SUED BY FORMER EMPLOYEE OVER AFFIDAVIT DISPUTE: Canadian Pacific is facing a lawsuit by a salesman who alleges he was dismissed after refusing to sign an affidavit the company prepared in connection with a corporate espionage case launched by rival Canadian National. [Globe and Mail website report, 1-7-16]

GATEWAY PROJECT SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER THAN EARLIER PLAN: The plan to build rail tunnels under the Hudson River would have cost an estimated $8.9-billion, but it was shuttered in 2010. Now, the Gateway Plan, which includes the two tunnels, along with new bridges and track lines, could cost at least $20-billion, and dwarfs the scale and scope of the original plan. [Woodland Park Record website report, 1-7-16]

STRIKE DISRUPTS RAIL TRAFFIC IN BRUSSELS: The start of a two-day rail strike Jan. 6 has largely paralyzed train traffic in and around the Belgian capital Brussels and disrupted service to Paris and London. [News Talk 1110 WBT website report, 1-6-16]

ANALYSTS PREDICT GOOD YEAR FOR RAILROAD STOCKS: U.S. rail cargo in 2015 dropped the most in six years, and 2016 is not expected to be any better. Yet the carriers' shares are poised for a rebound, according to the average of analysts' target prices compiled by Bloomberg. Union Pacific, CSX and Kansas City Southern are expected to rise more than 20 pct, they said. [Bloomberg website report, 1-6-16]

A 'GRAND PLAN' TO REBUILD N.Y. PENN STATION: New York' governor has unveiled a sweepng plan to renovate the Penn Station's interior and to build a block-long grand entrance on Eighth or Seventh avenues. The plan would rely on developers to finance the renovation, recouping the cost with rights to redevelop retail space in the station. [ report, 1-6-16]

CHINA APPROVES $5.3-B IN HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECTS: China's top economic planner on Jan. 6 approved two high-speed rail projects with a total value of $5.3-billion, a move to hasten infrastructure projects to boost economic growth. [Economic Times website report, 1-6-16]

BNSF REFLECTS SUCCESS OF $6-B CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS: In a New Year's message to employees and customers, BNSF noted that the railroad double-tracked more than 120 miles, placed nearly 900 new miles under centralized traffic control, and added five new sidings and 16 extended sidings in 2015. [Progressive Railroading website report]

CP RAIL'S HOLIDAY TRAIN RAISES MORE THAN $1.4-M FOR FOOD BANKS: The recently-completed Canadian Pacific Holiday Train program raised more than $1.4-million and more than 300,000 pounds of food for food banks and food shelves. [Canadian Pacific, 1-5-16]

WISCONSIN RAILROAD COMMISSIONER RESIGNS: Wisconsin's governor's office says Railroad Commissioner Jeff Plale has resigned. The announcement did not offer a reason, but the governor has previously cited two railroad commissioner workers who were caught in inappropriate activity on state time as justification for a bill to overhaul the state civil service system. [WBAY website report, 1-5-16]

FEDS CITE SIGNAL ISSUE IN 2014 UNION PACIFIC TRAIN COLLISION IN KANSAS: The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that Union Pacific's failure to conduct a risk-assessment of a new control point signal installation contributed to a collision of two trains in Sept. 2014 near Galva, Kansas. The board determined probable cause was a green signal at CP-207 masked the red signal at CP-208. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-16]

GUADALAJARA AWARDS METRO TRAIN CONTRACT: Guadalajara Urban Electric Train Company has awarded Bombardier a $43.4-million contract to supply 12 two-car light metro trains for operation on Line 1 of the city's standard-gauge network. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-5-16]

THAILAND-CAMBODIA RAIL LINK TO REOPEN THIS YEAR: The Cambodian government says it plans to complete the long-proposed reinstatement of its rail link with Thailand, which has been out-of-use since the 1970's, by the end of this year. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-5-16]

OPERATION LIFESAVER NAMES PRESIDENT, CEO: Bonnie Murphy, a consultant and former commuter rail executive and Federal Railroad Administration official, will become president and CEO of Operation Lifesaver in late January. [Operation Lifesaver, 1-5-16]

CONTRACTOR CHOSEN FOR PACKAGE 4, CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: The California High-Speed Rail authority has selected California Rail Builders, a consortium of Ferrovial Agroman, Euroestudios and Othon, as apparent best-value bidder to design and construct a 22-mile section of the Fresno-Bakersfield high-speed line. [International Railway Journal website repor]

LONG ISLAND R.R. TRIPLE-TRACK PLAN REVIVED: New York governor Andrew Cuomo has revived plans to construct a third track on the 9.7-mile Floral Park to Hicksville section of the Long Island Rail Road main line as part of his 2016 agenda, announced Jan. 5. [International Railway Journal website report]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR UPGRADE COULD INCLUDE ROUTE THROUGH LONG ISLAND: The Federal Railroad Administration has proposed massive improvements to Amtak's Northeast corridor, and one proposal calls for an all-new route through the heart of Long Island. The route could extend the line from Floral Park east to Ronkonkoma, north to Port Jefferson, continuing through a new Long Island Sound tunnel to Connecticut. [CBS2 N.Y. website report, 1-5-16]

TWENTY-TWO HURT AS TRI-RAIL TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK IN FLORIDA: A garbage truck belonging to Lake Worth, Florida, was split in half after a Tri-Rail train struck the disabled truck early Jan. 4. The truck driver escaped the vehicle before the crash. The lead car of the train derailed and tilted slightly. Twenty-two people were injured, but not seriously. [Palm Beach Post website report, 1-4-16]

ONE DEAD, 18 INJURED AS CAR COLLIDES WITH LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN IN SALT LAKE CITY: The driver of a car was killed, and 18 people aboard a TRAX green line light-rail train had minor injuries early Jan. 4 as the car collided with the train in Salt Lake City. Officials say witness reported seeing the car run through the crossing gates into the train. [Deseret News website report, 1-4-16]

FIVE INJURED AS LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN COLLIDES WITH TRUCK IN SAN FRANCISCO: Five people were slightly injured early Jan. 4 in a crash between a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail vehicle and a truck in San Francisco's Bayview district, officials said. The truck reportedly made a left turn in front of the light-rail vehicle. [CBS San Francisco website report, 1-4-16]

D.C. METRO ORANGE, SILVER LINES RESUME REGULAR SCHEDULES FOLLOWING REPAIRS: Trains running on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority's orange and silver lines have resumed six-minute rush-hour service upon completion of electrical substation fire damage near the Stadium-Armory station in Sept. 2015. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-4-16]

RUSSIA TO EXTEND WORLD'S MOST NORTHERLY RAILROAD: Vis TransStroy Russia has signed an agreement to extend Gazprom's Obskaya-Bovanenkovo Yamal Peninsula line, already the world's northernmost railway, north to the port of Sabetta. The 106-mile line will cost $1.54-billion to construct, and is due to be completed by 2019. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-4-16]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FURLOUGHS 38 CONDUCTORS: Norfolk Southern has laid off 38 conductors and suspended training for seven conductor trainees during the past three weeks in response to declining coal shipments. [Roanoke Times website report, 1-4-16]

AMTRAK SERVICE BETWEEN ST. LOUIS & KANSAS CITY RESUMES FOLLOWING FLOODS: Amtrak service between St. Louis and Kansas City resumed Jan. 3, four days after high water forced twice-daily passenger service to be suspended. [ABC News website report, 1-3-16]

FRESNO MAKING WAY FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Beginning Jan. 4, preparations begin for the demolition of the Tuolumne street bridge in downtown Fresno, California, being leveled to make way for California's high-speed train project. [Fresno Bee website report, 1-3-16]

PATCO SERVICE RETURNING TO NORMAL: Delaware Port Authority officials say a nearly two-year, $103-million rehabilitation project on the Ben Franklin bridge in Philadelphia is now basically complete, and normal train schedules will return beginning Jan. 4. The project involved replacing the entire 30-year-old PATCO track system on the bridge, including signal, power and communications cables and structural upgrades. [NJ 101.5 website report, 1-2-16]

COST OF MBTA'S GREEN LINE EXTENSION INFLATES TO $3-B: With a price tag that's ballooned to $3-billion, the Massachusetts Bay's planned Green line extension through Somerville and Medford is on pace to be the most costly rail expansion ($642-million per mile) in the agency's recent history, and one of the most costly among similar projects around the nation. [Boston Globe website report, 1-2-16]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN IN N.C.: A man was struck and killed by an Amtrak train early Jan. 1 in Durham, N.C. Amtrak's westbound Piedmont with 98 passengers on board had just departed from the Durham station, headed toward Charlotte. The train was delayed for more than 90 minutes because of the incident. [News Observer website report, 1-1-16]

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