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WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 30, 2018. The remaining 54 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 24 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-31-18]

AMTRAK ST. LOUIS CORRIDOR AWAITS SPEED INCREASE: While most of a $1.95-billion upgrade of the St. Louis-Chicago Amtrak corridor was finished a year ago, long-promised faster journeys have yet to happen. Delays in installing and testing new positive train-control technology have kept trains from hitting top speeds of 90 MPH; trains are still restricted to no faster than 79 MPH on the route. Officials now predict that 90 MPH speeds will be in place next summer from Alton to south of Springfield, and along much of the remainder of the route by the end of 2019. The more significant target of 110 MPH will be reached, eventually, but there is currently no prediction of when. [St. Louis Post Dispatch, 12-31-18]

BRITAIN'S GREAT WESTERN ELECRIC OPERATION EXTENDS WEST: British train operator Great Western Railway on Dec. 31 extended electric train operation west from Swindon to Bristol Parkway, and from Reading to Newbury, following completion of 25kV ac electrification. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-31-18]

INDIA TO CONSTRUCT WORLD'S HIGHEST RAIL BRIDGE: Indian Railways will build he world's highest rail-arch bridge with a height of 1,178 feet over the river Chenab in the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir. The $120-billion bridge will be 4,314 feet long with stations at both ends of the bridge. Footpaths and cycle trails will be constructed adjacent to it, and wind velocity sensors will alert traffic to stop prior to crossing when winds exceed 56 MPH. Currently, the world's highest rail-arch bridge is in China with a height of 1,017 feet. [The Nation News website report, 12-29-18]

FEDS AWARD $3-M TO BUSINESS PARK IN R.I. TO IMPROVE RAIL ACCESS: Three million dollars in federal funding has been awarded to make freight rail improvements and provide easier access to the Northeast corridoe at the Quonset Business Park in Rhode Island. [U.S. News & World Report, 12-29-18]

TEXRAIL LINE TO AIRPORT OPENS JAN. 5: A 27-mile rail system extending from Fort Worth to Dallas-Fort Worth international airport is scheduled to open Jan. 5. TexRail trains, operaed by the Trinity Metro transit agency, will make nine stops along the route. [U.S. News & World Report, 12-29-18]

TWO ROCKY MOUNTAINEER SILVERLEAF CARS BEING REBUILT: Alstom Transport has won a contract from Rocky Mountaineer to rebuild two additional SilverLeaf cars for March 2019 delivery. The work includes oversized dome windows and new seats and interiors. Alstom has previously converted eight cars, including new mechanical and electrical systems. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-28-18]

CHINA OPENS SIX NEW RAIL LINES: China opened 182-mile Harbin-Mudanjiang and 165-mile Huangshan-Hangzhou high-speed rail lines Dec. 25, and a 191-mile Jinan-Qingdao high-speed rail line Dec. 26. Also opened Dec. 26 were 266-mile Yancheng-Qingdao, 197-mile Huaihua-Hengyang, and 41-mile Tongren-Yuping conventional mixed-use rail lines. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-28-18]

CANADA SETS RAIL CRUDE-OIL EXPORT RECORD: Canada set a record in October for rail shipments of crude oil for export. The volume reached more than 10.14 million barrels, according to data from the National Energy Board. [Kallanish Energy, 12-28-18]

RAIL TRAIL BEING DEVELOPED IN SIKESTON, MISSOURI: Work is underway on a rail trail project in historic downtown Sikeston, Missouri. The first phase of the trail will begin on the west end of the depot at Malone avenue downtown, and end at Main street. Hessling Construction of Dexter is doing the work. [Standard-Democrat, 12-28-18]

FOUR CLASS I RAILROADS ACHIEVE 'REVENUE ADEQUACY' FOR 2017: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has determined that four Class I railroads achieved 'revenue adequacy' for the year 2017. A carrier is considered to be revenue adequate if it achieves a rate of return on net investment equal to at least the current cost of capital for the railroad industry. For 2017, the board determined it to be 10.04 percent. The railroads were BNSF, Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific Soo Line, and Union Pacific. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-27-18]

BART TO BUILD PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE AT WARM SPRINGS STATION: Bay Area Rapid Transit and the city of Fremont, California, are jointly building a pedestrian and bicycle bridge at Warm Springs South Fremont station spanning Union Pacific tracks to connect a new plaza to the station. Completion is slated for 2020. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-27-18]

FEDS FAVOR CONVERTION OF NICKEL PLATE CORRIDOR TO TRAIL USE: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has rule in favor of a plan to convert central Indiana's Nickel Plate Railroad corridor into a recreational trail. The cities of Noblesville, Fishers and Indianapolis want the property for a multi-use pedestrian and bicycle trail, but U.S. Rail Holdings had filed a petition to acquire the line to move grain. [U.S. News & World Report, 12-27-18]

JUDGE TOSSES CHALLENGE TO BRIGHTLINE SERVICE BETWEEN S. FLORIDA AND ORLANDO: A federal judge has dismissed a challenge brought by Indian River County, Florida, to prevent private passenger rail carrier Brightline from developing service from South Florida to Orlando. The county had argued the project was not eligible to receive tax-exempt funding and that federal agencies had conducted flawed health and safety reviews of the project. [Click Orlando, 12-27-18]

BNSF COMPLETES DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT IN WASHINGTON STATE: BNSF has placed nearly five miles of new double-track into service on the Fallbridge subdivision between Washougal and Mount Pleasant, Washington. That marks the conclusion of BNSF's planned capital expenditures for 2018. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-27-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Dec. 22, 2018, was 567,252 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.2 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-27-18]

DART AWARDS CONTRACT FOR COTTON BELT COMMUTER RAIL LINE: Dallas Area Rapid Transit has awarded a $783-million joint venture design-build contract for the 26-mile Cotton Belt commuter rail line. [Railway Age website report, 12-27-18]

RAIL-BIKE COMPANY SUES TRAIN LINE OWNER: Revolution Rail, the rail-bike company that was ousted from a rail line north of North Creek, N.Y., has filed a lawsuit against the owner of the line claiming that the rail owner illegally terminated its contract. [Adirondack Daily Enterprise, 12-27-18]

DANHAI LIGHT-RAIL GREEN MOUNTAIN LINE OPENS IN NEW TAIPEI: Trail passenger operation began Dec. 24 on the first phase of the Danhai light-rail network in New Taipei with a month of free rides on the 4.5-mile Green Mountain Line. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-27-18]

NETHERLANDS RAILWAYS ORDERS 88 ADDITIONAL SPRINTER EMU'S: Netherlands Railways has ordered 88 additional New Generation Sprinter electric multiple-units from CAF, taking its fleet of these trains to 206 sets. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-27-18]

GO TRANSIT SET TO INCREASE SERVICE BETWEEN TORONTO AND KITCHENER: Ontario plans to increase GO Transit service on the Kitchener line in partnership with CN beginning Jan. 7. Additional service will be provided weekday mornings and afternoons, with a new trip option for riders in Kitchener, Guelph and Acton. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-26-18]

GROUND BROKEN ON POTENTIAL RAIL LINK BETWEEN NORTH & SOUTH KOREA: North and South Korea held a groundbreaking Dec. 26 for a project to reconnect the two countries with railways and roads, although construction may not yet begin due to sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Still, officials from the United Nations joined delegations from China, Russia and Mongolia at the ceremony in the border town of Kaesong, also attended by families from South Korea who arrived aboard a special train. [Press TV, 12-26-18]

CP WRAPS UP ITS HOLIDAY TRAIN JOURNEY: Canadian Pacific's 2018 Holiday Train is on track to have raised more than $1.3-million (C) and collected more than 200,000 pounds of food for local food banks. The train recently completed its 20th journey through Canada and the U.S. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-26-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PEFORMANCE: Twenty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance train arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 23, 2018. The remaining 73 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 37 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-24-18]

COMMUTER TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN MASSACHUSETTS: Several roads were closed temporarily in Stoughton, Massachusetts, early Dec. 24 following a crash between a commuter rail train and a car, authorities said. [7 News Boston, 12-24-18]

TRAIN COLLIDES WITH BUS IN SERBIA, FIVE KILLED, DOZENS HURT: A train slammed into a bus carrying mostly high school students in southern Serbia early Dec. 21, killing five people and injuring 30, authorities said. The collision took place in foggy weather near the city of Nis, and officials say it appears the bus driver's 'oversight' most likely caused the crash. The bus was practically cut in half by the impact, while the train partly slid off the tracks. [U.S. News & World Report, 12-21-18]

SOUND TRANSIT ADVANCES TWO LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSIONS: Sound Transit has received a federal grant along with a low-interest loan toward an 8.5-mile light-rail extension serving four stations from Northgate to Lynnwood, and is nearing completion of the first 1.3-mile section of rail for the East Link light-rail extension from 80th avenue southeast to near East Mercer way. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-18]

PTC TO BE COMPLETED BY DEADLINE FOR PASSENGER LINES IN CONNECTICUT: Allthree rail passenger lines in Connecticut will have positive train-control installed by the Dec. 31, 2018, deadline. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 12-21-18]

FEDS GRANT $9-M TOWARD PTC ALONG S.W. CHIEF ROUTE IN KANSAS, COLORADO: U.S. Dept. of Transportation has granted $9.16-million in funding toward the installation of postive train-control along Amtrak's Southwest Chief line between Dodge City, Kansas, and Las Animas, Colorado. The two states together contributed a 20 percent match. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-18]

AMTRAK ORDERS 75 SIEMENS CHARGER LOCOMOTIVES: Amtrak has awarded Siemens a contract to supply 75 SC-44 Charger diesel locomoitves for use on long-distance and state-sponsored services. Assembly will take place in Sacramento, and the deal includes a 20-year technical support and spare parts supply agreement. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-21-18]

TRAIN DEPOT IN WISCONSIN BEING RESTORED: The village of Belleville, Wisconsin, has begun the first phase of restoring its former train depot with a project to replace rotted roof components. The village, which purchased the depot in November for $250,000, plans to spend an additional $600,000 to prepare it for a possible tenant. The goal is to have an operating business in the depot by early 2020. [U.S. News & World Report]

N.J. TO OVERHAUL NJT MANAGEMENT: New Jersey's governor has signed legislation aimed at overhauling New Jersey Transit's government and management with the goal of improving service and reliability. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-18]

PRESIDENT OF BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD SIGNALMEN TO RETIRE: Current president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen F.E. Mason, will retire effective Jan. 1, 2019. Jerry Boles, current secretary-treasurer, will assume the position until a new president is elected. [Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, 12-21-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SUES PITTSBURGH OVER 2016 LANDSLIDES: Norfolk Southern has filed a lawsuit seeking $1.1-million from the city of Pittsburgh to cover camages and repairs from two landslides in 2016. The railroad says the city owns ropoerty that slid onto the Mon Line tracks in both incidents, the second of which forced closure of the tracks for 10 days. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-21-18]

AMTRAK CAN FUNCTION FOR ABOUT A MONTH IN GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: If a government shutdown goes into effect, Amtrak will be able to continue normal operations using cash on hand and revenue. If the shutdown lasts longer than a month, the absence of payouts of congressional appropriations would begin to have an effect. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 12-21-18]

BRIGHTLINE'S ORLANDO-WEST PALM BEACH PROJECT TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION IN EARLY 2019: Brightline says that the company (to be called Virgin Trains USA) plans to begin construction early next year, with the $2.1-billion route to be completed within 36 months. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 12-21-18]

FIRST TWO NEW MBTA SUBWAY CARS COMPETED: The first pair of new subway cars for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority have been completed. The two vehicles are the first of 404 cars to be deployed, 152 for the Orange line and 252 for the Red line. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 12-21-18]

ALSTOM LANDS TRAIN ORDERS FOR BAVARIA, LUXEMBOURG: Alstom has obtained contracts for 25 Coradia Lint regional trains for Bavarian Oberland, and 34 regional high-capacity double-deck trains for Luxembourg. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-18]

LIRR DISRUPTED BY SIGNAL TROUBLE: Service is now back to normal on the Long Island Rail Road after signal and switch troubles caused numerous delays and at least 19 train cancelations Tuesday, Dec. 18. Signal problems at the West Side Yard affected multiple branches, while switch trouble caused delays during the morning commute. [News 12 Long Island, 12-19-18]

AMTRAK GETS $19-M FEDERAL GRANT TOWARD WASHINGTON UNION STATION PROJECT: Amtrak has obtained a $19-million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to help pay for a construction project at Washington Union Station. The project involves increasing track capacity to permit service to Track 22 on the lower level. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-19-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Dec. 15, 2018, was 568,941 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.9 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads increased 1.4 pct, and intermodal increased 6.2 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-19-18]

AMTRAK CASCADES TRAIN DERAILS IN B.C.: An Amtrak Cascades train arriving in Vancouver, B.C., derailed at low speed Dec. 18. Nobody was injured, but the derailment occurred almost exactly one year after last December's deadly Cascades train derailment south of Tacoma, Washington. [NW News Network website report]

CP CHAIRMAN TO RETIRE IN MAY: Andrew Reardon says he will retire as board chairman at Canadian Pacific's annual meeting in May 2019. Board member Isabelle Courville has been designated as CP's next chair. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-19-18]

CSX HALTS PLANS TO DEMOLISH ROUNDHOUSE IN MICHIGAN: CSX has halted plans to demolish a nearly century-old Michigan roundhouse and is taking stops to preserve as much as possible that might be of historical interest from the site. The company said the project has changed to 'environmental cleanup and salvage.' [U.S. News & World Report, 12-19-18]

N.J. TRANSIT RAIL LINE TO ATLANTIC CITY TO REOPEN IN EARLY 2019: N.J. Transit said it has met year-end requirements for positive train-control on the Atlantic City line, but there is no definite date for it to reopen - only that it will be reopened in 'early 2019.' [Press of Atlantic City, 12-19-18]

GRANT ASSURES PURCHASE OF ABANDONED RAIL LINE IN PA. FOR TRAIL USE: York County Rail Trail Authority has received a $181,800 matching grant from the Pennsyvania Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources to support the purchase of 8.5 miles of dormant York Rail line in Heidelberg, Jackson and West Manchester townships and Spring Grove Borough for trail use. [York County Rail Trail Authority, 12-19-18]

TWO CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS IN PURSUIT STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN: Two Chicago police officer were fatally struck by a commuter train late Dec. 17 on the city's far South Side while in pursuit of a gunshot suspect who had headed toward train tracks. [6 ABC Action News Chicago, 12-18-18]

NJT TO MEET YEAR-END PTC REQUIREMENTS, GOVERNOR SAYS: New Jersey governor Phil Murphy says N.J. Transit will meet all of the Federal Railroad Administration's year-end requirements for positive train-control implementation. By meeting the requirements, the agency will avoid federal penalties, and it may apply for an alternative schedule to have the technology fully operational by the end of 2020, the governor said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-18-18]

MAN DIES IN STAIRWELL OF AMTRAK STATION IN NEW CARROLLTON, MD.: A man who was found dead in the stairwell of an Amtrak station in New Carrollton, Md., fell backward and hit his head after climbing up the down escalator, Amtrak said. [NBC Washington website report, 12-18-18]

AMTRAK'S U.S. CASCADES ROUTE NOW PTC COMPLIANT: Officials say installation of positive train-control on the 432-mile U.S. section of the Amtrak Cascades route is now 100 pct complete. Amtrak and host carrier BNSF are now working out 'minor glitches' between the servers they use to communicate with the trains. [, 12-18-18]

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 16, 2018. The remaining 61 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 32 minutes late. The City of New Orleans is currently the leader, year-to-date, with the best on-time percentage (63 percent), followed by Auto Train (59 percent) and Coast Starlight (51 percent). The train with the lowest on-time percentage, year to date, is Crescent (3 percent). Overall, year-to-date, named long-distance trains, on average, arrived at their final destination 30 percent of the time. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-17-18]

MEXICO BEGINS MAYA TRAIN PROJECT: Mexico, on Dec. 16, began its Maya Train project with an indigenous ceremony near the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque. The 932-mile line will run from Izamal via Mayan ruins, then along the Caribbean coast before turning inland to Escarcega to connect with existing trackage. The 17-station line will connect five states and is intended to accommodate tourists. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-17-18]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN OKLAHOMA: Authorities say a locomotive and 16 cars of a Union Pacific freight train derailed early Dec. 16 in a rural area near Kiowa, Oklahoma. No injuries were reported. [U.S. News & World Report, 12-16-18]

GERMAN RAIL STRIKES DURING CHRISTMAS RUSH AVERTED WITH WAGE PACT: Germany's rail operator Deutsche Bahn has reached a new wage agreement with workers, averting the possibility of more strikes during the Christmas travel crunch. [Tribune-Democrat, 12-15-18]

CSX SUED BY SHAREHOLDERS OVER HUNTER HARRISON'S HIRING: A Jacksonville judge may soon decide if CSX shareholders have the right to take their company to court to task its directors' decision to spend $84-million to hire Hunter Harrison as CEO, even though he was in poor health. He would died eight months later. [Florida Times-Union website report, 12-15-18]

RAIL CONTRACTOR KILLED IN ACCIDENT ON NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRACKS IN N.C.: A contractor working for Norfolk Southern died Dec. 15 in Spencer, N.C., after being trapped between two metal plates while working on tracks. [WBTV website report, 12-15-18]

HOUSTON UNVEILS PLAN TO DOUBLE LIGHT-RAIL SYSTEM: Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, has unveiled a $7.5-billion plan that includes a major light-rail expansion by 2040 to address the Houston region's population growth. The plan proposes to almost double the light-rail system by extending the Green and Purple lines to William Hobby Airport, along with other projects. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-14-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES JASON ZAMPI V.P., CONTROLLER: Norfolk Southern has named Jason Zampi vice-president and controller effective 16. He has served in various positions with the railroad since 2011, most recently as vice-president of corporate accounting. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-14-18]

ISRAEL ANNOUNCES THREE-LINE TEL AVIV METRO NETWORK: A metro network consisting of three lines will be built in Tel Aviv, the country's ministry of transport and intelligence announced Dec. 12. The project comprehends 81 miles of underground lines and more than 100 stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-14-18]

FIRST EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVE ENTERS SERVICE IN UKRAINE: Ukranian Railways entered its first GE Evolution Series locomotive to service Dec. 13. The TE33A unit is part of an ongoing effort to upgrade the nation's diesel-electric rail fleet, and GE has now fulfilled an order for 30 locomotives that the railway placed in the first quarter as part of a long-term framework agreement. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-14-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SUSPENDS PARTICIPATION IN VIRGINIA PASSENGER RAIL STUDY: Norfolk Southern has suspended its participation in a study to bring Amtrak service to the New River Valley in Virginia. The carrier explained that it is reluctant to talk about the project due to problems in its freight network, needing time to fix those problems before further discussions. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 12-14-18]

OKLAHOMA CITY STREETCAR SERVICE BEGINS: The MAPS 3 Oklahoma City Streetcar began service Dec. 14. The $136-million project took nine years to complete. The streetcar will be free through January 5, thereafter $1 for a single ride. [Rail Passengers hotline, 12-14-18]

CN REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT FOR 2,100 WORKERS: CN says a new tentative agreement has been reached between the company and Unifor Local 100, representing about 2,100 locomotive and freight-car mechanics, electricians and apprentices working across Canada. [CN, 12-14-18]

GENESEE & WYOMING TRAFFIC VOLUME DROPS IN NOVEMBER: Genesee & Wyoming's total traffic in November 2018 was 259,900 carloads, a decrease of 4.4 pct compared with November 2017. [Genesee & Wyoming, 12-14-18]

TRAIN CRASH IN TURKEY KILLS NINE, INJURES DOZENS: A high-speed train with 206 passengers on board in Turkey hit a railway engine and crashed into a pedestrian overpass early Dec. 13. At least two cars derailed, hitting the overpass, which then collapsed onto the train. The train was en route from Ankara to Konya, and the accident happened at a station that the train was scheduled to pass without stopping. Nine people were reportedly killed and about 47 were injured. [Various news reports, 12-13-18]

N.J. TRANSIT TO BUY 113 CARS FROM BOMBARDIER: New Jersey Transit has approved a $670-million contract with Bombardier for 113 new multilevel rail cars, with an option to buy an additional 636 cars to replace the agency's remaining single-level cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-13-18]

CP UNVEILS NEXT-GENERATION GRAIN TRANSPORTATION: CP Rail has unveiled its next-generation of grain transportation at a grain elevator in Saskatchewan. The 8,500-foot 'High Efficiency Product' train features new hopper cars, and can move about 44 pct more grain than the prior generation of grain train. [Swift Current Online, 12-13-18]

CHINA ORDERS 18 ADDITIONAL CR400AF HIGH-SPEED TRAINS: China Railway has awarded Bombardier Sifang Transportation a $453-million contract to supply 18 additional CR400AF high-speed train sets. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-13-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO MOVE HEADQUARTERS TO ATLANTA: Norfolk Southern has announced plans to relocate its headquarters from Norfolk to Atlanta. The move will take several years to complete, as it will be necessary to construct a facility for the new headquarters. [Norfolk Southern, 12-12-18]

JAPAN UNVEILS NEXT-GENERATION 224-MPH BULLET TRAIN: East Japan Railway has unveiled a prototype with a target operating speed of 224 MPH. It is also intended to offer faster stopping. Known as ALFA-X, it consists of two versions with especially pointy noses, each designed to deflect air more smoothly as the train enters tunnels. The train is also equipped with early-warning systems to shut the train down in an earthquake. [Fortune website report, 12-12-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Dec. 8, 2018, U.S. rail freight traffic was 570225 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.1 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 0.3 pct, and intermodal volume was up 5.7 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-12-18]

SIEMENS SELECTED FOR VIA RAIL CANADA FLEET RENEWAL: VIA Rail Canada has awarded Siemens Canada a $989-million (C) contract to supply 32 intercity trains for the Quebec City-Toronto-Windsor corridor. Assembly will take place at Siemens' plant in Sacramento, and the fleet is slated to enter service beginning 2022. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-12-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES DUMP TRUCK IN W.VA.: Amtrak's westbound Capitol Limited collided with a dump truck late Dec. 10 near Bardane, W.Va. The driver of the truck escaped from his vehicle prior to impact, there were no injuries, and the train continued after a delay of about two hours. [Metro News W.Va., 12-11-18]

AMTRAK REQUESTS COAST GUARD CHANGE RULES ON OPENING OF PORTAL BRIDGE IN N.J.: Amtrak is requesting the Coast Guard to change rules governing the opening of the 108-year-old Portal North Bridge in New Jersey. Amtrak is asking not to require the bridge to open during rush hour, start rush hour one hour earlier, eliminate exceptions for federal holidays, and require 24-hour notice for all requested openings. [NJ Biz website report, 12-11-18]

PROGRESSIVE RAIL TAKING CONTROL OF BNSF LINE IN WASHINGTON STATE: Progressive Rail is poised to take control of 83 miles of line owned by BNSF in northwest Washington state. Newly-formed St. Paul & Pacific Northwest Railroad, currently operated by OmniTrax, extends north from Chewelah to Kettle Falls, Washington, where the line splits with branches to West Kettle Falls, Washington, and Columbia Gardens, B.C. [Railway Age website report, 12-11-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN ILLINOIS; DRIVER HAD RUN AROUND CROSSING GATE: A woman who admitted going around railroad crossing gates because she feared running out of gas escaped serious injury but saw her car take heavy damage when it was struck by an Amtrak train Dec. 10 in Champaign, Illinois. [News Gazette, 12-11-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN ILLINOIS; DRIVER HAD RUN AROUND CROSSING GATE: A woman who admitted going around railroad crossing gates because she feared running out of gas escaped serious injury but saw her car take heavy damage when it was struck by an Amtrak train Dec. 10 in Champaign, Illinois. [News Gazette, 12-11-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE PERFORMANCE REPORT: Thirty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 9, 2018. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 31 minutes late. Year-to-date, the City of New Orleans is currently the leader with the best on-time performance of 62 percent, followed by Auto Train with 59 percent, and Coast Starlight with 51 percent. The train with the worst on time performance, year-to-date, is Crescent with 3 percent. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-10-18]

N.J. TRANSIT TO ACQUIRE 113 NEW DOUBLE-DECK COMMUTER RAIL CARS: New Jersey Transit has confirmed that it is preparing to purchase 113 new double-deck commuter rail vehicles to modernize its aging train fleet. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-10-18]

FOUR-HOUR RAIL STRIKE IN GERMANY: A four-hour strike by train employees Dec. 10 led to commuter chaos in Germany, with hundreds of delays and cancelations. Rail operator Deutsche Bahn said the strike affected more than 1,400 trains nationwide. A new round of talks is set to start Dec. 11. [WLOX, 12-10-18]

BNSF TRAINS COLLIDE IN N.M.: Two Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotives were involved in a train collision near the Belen, N.M., Rail Runner Station Dec. 8. Two employees were taken to a hospital for treatment. [U.S. News & World Report, 12-9-18]

WISCONSIN COMPANY SEEKS TO CREATE 55-MILE COMMUTER RAIL SYSTEM IN MILWAUKEE AREA: Transit Innovations LLC of Wisconsin aims to raise money to create a commuter rail system along 55 miles of existing tracks in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, and build about 7,000 multi-housing units and other projects around 23 rail stations. The system would serve Milwaukee, its airport, the Menomonee Valley, Wauwatosa, West Allis, Brookfield, New Berlin, Elm Grove, Waukesha and Century City. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 12-7-18]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR NEW BUFFALO EXCHANGE STREET STATION: New York State has awarded a design-build contract for a new Buffalo Exchange Street Station. The $27.7-million project will replace the current former New York Central facility with a larger, more modern station on the same site. The current station is served by six Amtrak trains (but not the Lake Shore Limited, which stops at the suburban Depew Station). [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 12-7-18]

CALTRAIN TO ACQUIRE 37 ADDITIONAL STADLER DOUBLE-DECK EMU CARS FOR ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT: Caltrain has approved the acquisition of 37 additional Stadler double-deck electric multiple-unit cars as part of the San Francisco-San Jose electrification project. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-7-18]

N.Y. TRANSIT HIRES SIGNALING EXPERT TO OVERSEE MODERNIZING SUBWAY SIGNAL SYSTEM: New York City Transit has appointed Pete Tomlin, an internationally renowned signaling expert, to oversee the modernization of the city's subway signal system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-7-18]

THOUSANDS LINE TRACKS TO WATCH BUSH FUNERAL TRAIN: Thousands of people lined up along the sides of small towns Nov. 6 between Houston and College Station, Texas, to watch the train carrying the late President George H.W. Bush to his burial at Texas A&M University. The train was led by specially-painted locomotive 4141, along with a second unit and 11 cars, carrying the family and invited guests, moving at about 30 miles per hour, slowing occasionally as the train passed through some of the towns along the route. [Houston Chronical website report, 11-6-18]

CREW MEMBERS OF BUSH FUNERAL TRAIN ARE NAVY VETERANS: Arrangements for his funeral train took complicated planning, but one detail worked out just as President H.W. Bush would have wanted. Both the engineer and conductor are veterans who severed in the U.S.Navy, as had the late president. June Nobles, the engineer, served in the Navy nine years, and has worked for Union Pacific for 15 years. Randy Kuhaneck, the conductor, served in the Navy eight years, and has worked at Union Pacific for 23 years. [ABC News, 11-6-18]

AMERICAN RAILCAR INDUSTRIES ACQUIRED BY ITE MANAGEMENT: ITE Management has completed its acquisition of American Railcar Industries. With the transaction, ITE has acquired a fleet of nearly 14,000 rail cars along with hopper and tank car manufacturing and strategic servicing businesses. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-6-18]

GOVERNOR PROMISES N.J. TRANSIT WILL BE BETTER IN 2019: Governor Phil Murphy is promising to make next year a better one for New Jersey Transit customers after struggling through a difficult first year running one of the nation's largest mass-transit agencies. He said 2018 was spent 'reversing years of neglect' as he announced initiatives to improve the customer experience. [N.J. Spotlight, 12-6-18]

FRANCE TO BEGIN HYDROGEN-POWERED REGIONAL RAIL SERVICE BY 2022: French National Railways has committed to bringing the first hydrogen fuel-cell train in the country into operation by 2022. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-6-18]

WATCO ASSUMES OPERATIONS OF SHORT LINE IN SASKATCHEWAN: Watco Cos. has begun managing all aspects of operations for Stewart Southern Railway, an 80-mile short line operating between Regina and Stoughton, Saskatchewan. The line is owned by Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-6-18]

ALASKA R.R. RESTORES RAIL SERVICE FOLLOWING REPAIRS FROM QUAKE DAMAGE: Alaska Railroad on Dec. 4 restored all regularly-scheduled freight and passenger services that were interrupted by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake the struck south central Alaska Nov. 30. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-18]

N.Y. CITY PLANS TO MODERNIZE ITS FLEET OF R142 RAIL CARS: New York City Transit Authority plans to modernize its fleet of R142 rail cars, and is seeking expressions of interest from firms to equip 1,030 cars with communications-based train-control equipment, to replace old and obsolete systems, and make repairs and upgrades. Built by Bombardier from 1999 to 2003, the R142 was, at the time, the largest car order in the history of the system. [Railway Age website report, 12-5-18]

ALASKA'S GOLD RUSH RAILROAD IN GREAT DEMAND BY CRUISE SHIP PASSENGERS: Some 118 years since the first train steamed the 110 international miles from Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon, the historic rail line is now in great demand by cruise-ship passengers. Carnival Corp. is now minority owner of the narrow-gauge line. Since 1988, the train has been operating the first 21 dizzying miles up to the Canadian border at White Pass. In summer mornings, with up to four cruise ships tied up to separate berths where four trains are waiting, and with just 10-minute headway between the trains, as many passengers as can be accommodated are conveyed to the cramped White Pass rail yard, returning some nine hours later to their ships. But only so many people can be accommodated in a given day, and the railroad is exploring the use of more powerful locomotives to haul longer trains, and GE is proposing two prototype locomotives for testing in the 2020 season that will increase passenger capacity and still preserve the historical nature of the railroad. Meanwhile, no trains have operated the full distance to Whitehorse since 1982, and that portion of the line is somewhat overgrown. The present owners envision reopening the line to Whitehorse at some future date. [Railway Age website report, 12-5-18]

DELMARVA CENTRAL R.R. TO OPERATE TWO RAIL LINES IN DELAWARE: Carload Express announced a second expansion of freight-rail service in Delaware. The company's Delmarva Central Railroad will operate two state-owned lines, a total of 11.7 miles, from Georgetown to Harbeson, and from Ellendale to Milton, beginning Jan. 1. Both were previously operated by Delaware Coast Line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-18]

AMTRAK TO REPLACE SOLARI DISPLAY BOARDS AT 30TH STREET STATION PHILADELPHIA: Amtrak this month will begin replacing its current Solari display boards at the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Philadelphia with a new digital passenger information display system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-18]

NOVEMBER 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in November 2018 were 2,132,882, up 1.2 pct compared with November 2017. [Assn. of Smerican Railroads, 12-5-18]

VOLKSWAGEN EMISSIONS SETTLEMENT FUNDS NEW LOCOMOTIVES FOR METRA: Illinois Evnironmental Protection Agency has announced that funds from the U.S. government's multi-billion dollar settlement with Volkswagen for violations of the Clean Air Act will be used to acquire low-emissions diesel locomoitves for Chicago's Metra service. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-5-18]

PATH COMPLETES PTC SYSTEM: Port Authority Trans Hudson's work has been complete on the rail line's positive train-control system. The Federal Railroad Administration certified the work Dec. 4, making PATH one of the first systems in the country to meet the PTC deadline. [News 12 New Jersey, 12-4-18]

DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE LIGHT-RAIL SUSPENDED DUE TO SINK HOLES: Baltimore's light-rail line between North avenue and the Convention center was suspended Dec. 2 until further notice due to sink holes at North Howard and West Lexington streets. Buses are running to serve the affected stops. [U.S. News & World Report, 12-3-18]

CSX BACK ON BOARD WITH HOWARD STREET TUNNEL PROJECT, EXCEPT FOR COST: Just a quarter-billion dollars separates the Port of Baltimore from joining the East Coast intermodal race, even with CSX back on board to help reconstruct the key rail link to the marine gateway. The Maryland Ports Administration is short $263-million to start construction to clear doublestack trains through Baltimore's Howard Street Tunnel. According to a report, CSX has agreed to $91-million for the project, and the state has agreed to match that amount. No federal monies are currently secured. [Railway Age website report, 12-3-18]

ALASKA R.R. SUSPENDS SERVICE FOLLOWING QUAKE: Alaska Railroad suspended all rail services following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck near Anchorage Nov. 30. Officials have identified at least three areas damaged by ground shifting, cracking or sloughing. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-3-18]

UNION PACIFIC TO TAKE PART IN FUNERAL PROCESSION FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Union Pacific will be part of the upcoming funeral procession for President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30. A funeral train will transport his remains from Spring to College Station, Texas, where the late President will be laid to rest at his presidential library. The train will include custom-painted SD70ACe locomotive 4141 which incorporates the colors of Air Force One. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-3-18]

SURREY LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT SUSPENDED IN FAVOR OF VANCOUVER SKY TRAIN EXTENSION: The Translink Mayors' council, which oversees the Metro Vancouver, B.C., public transport operator, has voted to suspend the $1.65-billion (C) development of a light-rail network in Surrey, favoring the extension of Vancouver's Sky Train automated metro network through the city. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-3-18]

CHARTER BUS OVERTURNS IN ARKANSAS, ONE KILLED: A third-grader was killed and at least 45 people were injured early Dec. 3 when a charter bus carrying youth all-star football players from Tennessee rolled off an interstate and overturned in Arkansas, authorities said. [ABC News, 12-3-18]

GEORGIA PRESENTS PLANS FOR $90-M INLAND PORT IN GAINESVILLE: Georgia officials unveiled plans Dec. 3 to build a $90-million inland port to improve access to Savannah's harbor and reduce congestion through metro Atlanta. The Northeast Inland Port will be built in Gainesville on a site known as the Gateway Industrial Centre. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12-3-18]

NOVEMBER 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE PERFORMANCE: Thirty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in November 2018. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the survey period was one hour and 14 minutes late. The average arrival of just the trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 48 minutes late. The train with the best on-time performance in November was City of New Orleans (85 percent), and the train with the worst on-time performance was Crescent (3 percent). MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-1-18]

NJT TRAIN BREAKS DOWN NEAR N.Y. PENN STATION: A disabled New Jersey Transit train near New York Penn Station early Nov. 30 caused rush-hour delays, along with several morning cancelations and delays across the agency's Morris, Essex and Northeast corridor lines. [North Jersey website report, 11-30-18]

RESTORATION OF CHICAGO UNION STATION GREAT HALL COMPLETED: A $22-million restoration of the Great Hall at Chicago Union Station is now complete, Amtrak said. The project involved restoring the hall's skylight and its ceiling chandeliers,improving lighting, repainting the interior in its original colors, installing a new elevator from Canal street, and restoring the Henry Hering figural statues. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-30-18]

CSX WORKER STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN S.C.: A CSX worker was struck and killed by a train early Nov. 30 in Estill, S.C. He was performing maintenance on the tracks at the time of the incident, CSX said. [News & Observer, 11-30-18]

UNION PACIFIC POLICE OFFICER SHOOTS MAN IN IOWA: Authorities say a Union Pacific railroad officer was involved in a shooting near a railroad crossing in Mason City, Iowa, late Nov. 29. The person who was shot was taken to a hospital, but no other details were released. [U.S. News & World Report, 11-30-18]

GROUND BROKEN FOR STREETCAR LINE IN ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Orange County, California, hosted a groundbreaking Nov. 30 in Santa Ana for a new 4.1-mile streetcar line to link the Santa Ana regional transportation center to a new station in Garden Grove. Service is planned to begin in 2021. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 11-30-18]

ISSUE OVER ADIRONDACK SCENIC R.R. IN N.Y. STATE CONTINUES: The issue over whether to convert part of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad into a rail trail may be decided in December. The 34 miles of track that runs from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid, N.Y., is currently out of service and needs repairs. The volunteer-based railroad wants the line used for historical use, and the state wants the right of way for a trail. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 11-30-18]

AMTRAK TO OFFER A TWO-FOR-ONE ROOMETTE SALE: For an eight-day stretch beginning Dec. 4, Amtrak will promote roomettes systemwide (except for Auto Train) with a 'companion-rides-free' flash sale. Travel period will be Jan. 7 to May 23, 2019, and certain restrictions apply. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 11-30-18]

ACELA TRAIN STRANDED WITH PASSENGERS OVER SIX HOURS IN QUEENS: A Boston-bound Amtrak Acela train early Nov. 25 got stranded in Queens for over six hours due to damage to an overhead supply line. The incident disabled the train's restrooms and air-conditioning. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 11-30-18]

TEXAS CENTRAL PLANS TO BREAK GROUND ON DALLAS-HOUSTON LINE NEXT YEAR: Texas Central says it plans to break ground late next year on the line between Dallas and Houston. An eight-car train for the service is in the design stage, and will likely be an N700I, a modified verson of Japan's N700 bullet train. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 11-30-18]

SIX ADDITIONAL METRO TRAINS ORDERED FOR NUREMBERG: Nuremberg public transport operator VAG Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft has ordered six additional G1 metro trains from Siemens Mobility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-30-18]

LOCOMOTIVE OF MBTA TRAIN CATCHES FIRE: The locomotive of an MBTA commuter train burst into flames in Hanson, Massachusetts, early Nov. 29, forcing passengers to evacuate the train, police said. No injuries were reported. Passengers later boarded an extra train to South Station. [7 News Boston, 11-29-18]

N.Y. GOVERNOR, PRESIDENT DISCUSS GATEWAY PROJECT: New York Governor Cuomo met Nov. 28 with President Trump to discuss a way forward on Amtrak's Gateway project, particularly the rebuilding of the Hudson rail tunnels between New Jersey and New York. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao also attended, according to the governor. Tunnel replacement cost is about $13-billion, and the entire project is about $30-billion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-29-18]

BRIGHTLINE GAINS STATE APPROVAL OF HSR SERVICE PLANS: Brightline, Florida's intercity passenger rail system, has received approval from the state to negotiate for land to add high-speed passenger rail service from Orlando to Tampa. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-29-18]

PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE TO RESUME TO CHURCHILL, MANITOBA: VIA Rail says rail service between Gillam and Churchill, Manitoba, will start up again Dec. 2 following a more than 18-month hiatus due to track damage from flooding. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-28-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Nov. 24, 2018, was 470,851 carloads and intermodal units, up 3 pct copared with the same week last year. Calculated separately, carloads increased 1.7 pct and intermodal increased 4.3 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-28-18]

MBTA COMMUTER TRAIN DERAILS, NO INJURIES: An MBTA commuter train derailed near Waltham, Massachusetts, early Nov. 27 at the height of the morning rush-hour forcing hundreds of passengers to board replacement trains. It was a minor, upright derailment, and no injuries were reported. [Boston Globe website report, 11-27-18]

MAN KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN WHILE PLACING FLOWERS FOR ANOTHER MAN PREVIOUSLY KILLED BY TRAIN: Authorities say a man hit and killed by an Amtrak train in Moorpark, California, Nov. 27 had been placing flowers on the tracks as a memorial for another man struck by an Amtrak train days earlier. [KOLO-TV website report, 11-27-18]

AMTRAK THANKSGIVING PERIOD LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier during the six-day Thanksgiving period, November 21 through 26, 2018. The remaining 63 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 43 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-27-18]

TWO-HOUR RAIL STRIKE DISRUPTS TRAVEL IN AUSTRIA: Trains stopped running across Austria Nov. 26 as last-minute pay negotiations failed to avert a planned two-hour railroad strike disrupting travel for 100,000 people in Europe. [U.S. News & World Report, 11-26-18]

FEDS ISSUE SAFETY ADVISORY FOR RAIL OPERATION UNDER SIGNAL SUSPENSIONS: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued an advisory for railroads operating under temporary signal suspensions. The advisory recommends that railroads develop and implement procedures and practices consistent with identified 'best practices,' and take other actions to ensure the safety of operations during signal suspensions. It was issued following receipt of comments from freight railroads, labor organizations, the National Transportation Safety Board, and Amtrak. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-26-18]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, TRANSIT CENTER: Ground has been broken on the Wilmington, Delaware, Transit Center. The multimodal $10-million hub will be built adjacent to the present railroad station and will provide access to Amtrak, SEPTA, itnercity buses, cabs, and most local bus roues. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-26-18]

UNION PACIFIC CUTTING ABOUT 200 POSITIONS: Around 200 positions are being cut in a second wave of layoffs at Union Pacific. [Fox 16 website report, 11-26-18]

CSX RETAINING WALL APPEARS TO BE SINKING NEAR SITE OF 2014 STREET COLLAPSE IN BALTIMORE: A section of Baltimore's east 26th street above a CSX rail line partially buckled and sank amid heavy rain Nov. 26. The affected site is just a block from where a retaining wall collapsed in 2014. The retaining wall is directly adjacent to the rail line which is in a deep cut below street level. [Baltimore Sun, 11-26-18]

LIRR IMPACTED BY THANKSGIVING POWER FAILURE: After 33 hours of delays and cancelations from a power problem, Long Island Rail Road restored regular service early Nov. 23. Travelers on the Babylon, West Hempstead, Long Beach and Far Rockaway branches had widespread service disruptions on Thanksgiving day due to signal system damage following an electric wire falling upon tracks in Valley Stream, N.Y. [Newsday website report, 11-23-18]

FREIGHT TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN IN FLORIDA: Authorities say a man was struck and killed by a freight train early Thanksgiving morning in Titusville, Florida. [U.S. News & World Report, 11-23-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN BREAKS IN TWO NEAR ALBANY: A Montreal to New York Amtrak train had a separation between cars late Nov. 21 following the train's departure from Albany, N.Y. There were no injuries, but train service was seriously disrupted by the incident. [CNN, 11-22-18]

TRINITY EXPRESS TRAIN STRIKES 18-WHEELER, SIX SLIGHTLY INJURED: Six people suffered minor injuries early Nov. 21 when a Dallas-bound Trinity Express commuter train struck an 18-wheeler. Police say the truck was first hit by crossing arms, spinning the rig, and then the train struck the vehicle, which was hauling liquid asphalt. There was no report of a spill. [News Tribune website report, 11-21-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 546,541 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Nov. 17, 2018, a slight increase of 0.04 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-21-18]

BOMBARDIER LANDS GERMAN MODERNIZATION CONTRACT: Lower Saxony Transport Authority in Germany has awarded Bombardier a $91.2-million contract to modernize 37 Traxx electric locomotives and 51 double-deck push-pull coaches for regional service. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-21-18]

ONE KILLED, DOZENS INJURED AS TRAIN DERAILS IN SPAIN: A commuter train traveling toward Barcelona, Spain, was derailed by a landslide early Nov. 20, killing one person and injuring about 44 others, three of them seriously. Heavy rain in the area over the past few days may have caused the landslide. [News & Tribune website report, 11-20-18]

FRA ISSUES NEW RULE ON HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER RAIL OPERATIONS: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a new rule establishing safety standards for railroad passenger equipment. The rule continues to define Tier I as trains operating in shared lines at speeds up to 125 MPH; Tier II trains ae defined as those traveling between 125 and 160 MPH (an increase from the previous 150 MPH limit); and Tier III trains may operate over this shared track at 'conventional speeds,' and as fast as 220 MPH on exclusive rights-of-way without grade crossings. Moreover, the rule establishes minimum safety standards for affected trains. [FRA, 11-20-18]

IOWA PACIFIC ENDS RAIL-BIKE OPERATION ON TRACKS IN JOHNSBURG, N.Y.: Iowa Pacific Holdings has terminated the contract with Revolution Rail Company, which had been operating a rail-bike operation on Saratoga & North Creek Railway tracks in Johnsburg, N.Y., for the past two years. [Adirondack Daily Enerprise, 11-20-18]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON SOUND TRANSIT HILLTOP TACOMA LINK EXTENSION: Sound Transit has started the construction of its 2.4-mile Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension, which will expand the current line from the Theatre district in downtown Tacoma to the Stadium district. The project entails relocating the Theatre District station and adding six new stations along the line. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-20-18]

FEDS APPROVE $1.2-B FUNDING FOR SEATTLE'S LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The Federal Transit Administration has approved $1.2-billion in funding to complete the 8.5-mile northward extension of Seattle's Sound Transit light-rail system from downtown to Lynnwood. [Route Fifty website report, 11-20-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending November 18, 2018. The remaining 68 percent, on average, arrived two hours and seven minutes late. The City of New Orleans is currently the leader with the best on-time percentage, year-to-date (61 percent), followed by Auto Train (58 percent) and Coast Starlight (52 percent). The train with the lowest on-time percentage, year-to-date, is Crescent (3 percent). MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-19-18]

CSX DERAILMENT IN GEORGIA LEADS TO TOWN'S EVACUATION: A CSX train derailed early Nov. 17 in Byromville, Ga., and most of the town of about 500 was evacuated as a precaution. The town's fire chief said between 15 and 30 cars toppled from a bridge onto Ga. highway 90, and some cars contained propane. No injuries have been reported. [Mercury News website report, 11-17-18]

BRIGHTLINE CHANGING NAME TO 'VIRGIN TRAINS USA': Brightline has announced a strategic partnership with Virgin Group, and plans to rename itself Virgin Trains USA later this month. The company, which operates trains in Florida and plans to develop expanded service there and between Southern California and Las Vegas, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a publicly-traded company. [Miani Herald website report, 11-17-18]

AMTRAK TO CLOSE ITS CALIFORNIA RESERVATION CENTER: Amtrak said it will close its Riverside, California, reservation center in January 2019, eliminating all 550 positions at the facility. Duties will be consolidated with the company's reservation center in Philadelphia, and employees may transfer if they choose. [Press-Enterprise website report, 11-15-18]

CSX TO SELL 373 MILES OF TRACK IN FLORIDA: CSX is planning to sell 373 miles of track between Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida, to Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad, a subsidiary of Rail USA. [Pensacola News Journal website report, 11-15-18]

AMTRAK'S OPERATING LOSS THIS YEAR WAS SMALLEST SINCE 1973: Amtrak said its $168-million operating loss this year was the smallest since 1973, its second full year in business. The railroad took in a record $3.4-billion in revenue in the 2018 fiscal-year. [ABC News website report, 11-15-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PEDESTRIAN IN N.C.: Amtrak's Piedmont train struck and killed a pedestrian early Nov. 14 near Duke University's east campus in Durham, N.C. [ABC 11 News, 11-15-18]

LIRR OPENS THREE NEWLY-RENOVATED STATIONS: Long Island Rail Road has opened three newly-renovated station buildings in Brentwood, Deer Park and East Northport. The renovations are part of more than 100 projects aimed at transforming the railroad. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-15-18]

MOROCCO INAUGURATES AFRICA'S FIRST HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: Africa's first high-speed rail line was inaugurated Nov. 15 at a ceremony in Tangiers, Morocco. Construction on the 114-mile line between Tangiers and Kenitra began in 2011. Dynamic testing began in Febr. 2017, and an African rail speed record of 222 MPH was set on May 4 of this year. A fleet of 12 Alstom Euroduplex double-deck 8-car trains seating over 500 passengers each will serve the line at speeds up to 199 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-15-18]

GE TO SUPPLY 12 EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVES TO MOLDOVA: Moldovan Railways has ordered 12 GE Transportation Evolution Series TE33AC locomotives, along with parts, training and services. This is the first locomotive order in Moldova for GE, as the country seeks to upgrade its existing fleet. [Railway Age website report, 11-15-18]

NEW YORK MTA TO PURCHASE GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL: New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority finance committee has approved the purchase of Grand Central Terminal in New York, along with Metro-North's Harlem and Hudson lines, for $35-million. The transaction, subject to full board approval, would end the agency's lease of the terminal and give Metro-North control of its operating environment. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-14-18]

RESEARCH CONTINUES ON HYDROGEN-POWERED LOCOMOTIVES: Hydrogen-powered technology could be used in hybrid systems that combine batteries, fuel cells, wayside electrification and other fuel sources. The only by-products of deploying hydrogen fuel cells are water and heat. Certain railroads in North America are involved in hydrogen locomotive research, and an Alstom Coradia hydrogen-powered train is engaged in commercial service in Germany. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-14-18]

CABOOSE TO BE USED AS A CHILDREN'S LIBRARY IN TEXAS: OmniTRAX is providing funds to help refurbish a former Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway caboose into a caboose for use as a children's library in downtown Brownsville, Texas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-14-18]

PORT OF HAMILTON, ONTARIO, EXPANSION TO INCREASE RAIL ACCESS: Transport Canada will invest $17.7-million (C) in the expansion of the Port of Hamilton, Ontario, which will inclde rail infrastructure upgrades and the construction of a multi-user bulk storage warehouse. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-14-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 547,236 carloads and intermodal units were originated in the week ending Nov. 10, 2018, a 1.4 pct increase compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-14-18]

KCS REPAINTS LOCOMOTIVE INTO PATRIOTIC SCHEME TO HONOR MILITARY: Kansas City Southern has unveiled SD70ACe locomotive 4006, recently repainted into a U.S. flag and military-inspired scheme in honor of military veteran and active-duty employees. [Railway Age website report, 11-13-18]

CSX TO UPGRADE SELKIRK YARD: CSX has contracted with Trainyard Tech for a Classmaster hump yard process control system and Routemaster receiving yard NX system at Selkirk Yard near Albany, N.Y. [Railway Age website report, 11-13-18]

RAIL-SERVED GRAIN RECEIVING, STORAGE FACILITY TO BE ESTABLISHED NEAR BALTIMORE: Perduye AgriBusiness plans to establish a $30-million organic grain receiving and storage facility at Tradepoint Atlantic Park near Baltimore. The park is served by Tradepoint Rail, a 100-mile short line that interchanges with CSX and Norfolk Southern. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-13-18]

PERSON KILLED BY N.J. TRANSIT TRAIN: A person was struck and killed by a New Jersey Transit train early Nov. 13 in Montclair. Service was briefly suspended on the Montclair-Boonton line, but later resumed with some delays. [News 12 website report, 11-13-18]

PORTAL BRIDGE IN N.J. STRUCK BY TUGBOAT: Train service was interrupted briefly Nov. 13 after a tugboat struck the 108-year-old Portal Bridge in New Jersey. The bridge was inspected with trains allowed to proceed, but with delays of up to 45 minutes. [, 11-13-18]

AUDIT SUGGESTS AMTRAK COST-SAVINGS BY RATIONALIZING SERVICE, INSPECTION FACILITIES: An Amtrak office of inspector general audit states that the railroad is capable of reducing the cost of service and inspection activities by adjusting workloads, staffing and overtime at certain locations where it services and inspects trains. There are 12 preventive maintenance facilites and 50 smaller outlying sites. The audit, for example, identified four service and inspection sites in Michigan and Missouri where much of the work could be done as efficiently at Chicago. Potential savings opportunities were also identified at 11 other sites. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-13-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier, with no grace allowance for minimal lateness, in the week ending November 11, 2018. The remaining 66 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 51 minutes late. Year-to-date, the City of New Orleans has the best on-time performance at 60 percent, and the Crescent has the lowest on-time performance at 4 percent. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-12-18]

COURT AWARDS MAN $2.1-MILLION FROM BNSF FOR WRONGFUL TERMINATION: A Columbia Falls, Montana, man has been awarded more than $2.1-million in federal court after a jury decided he had been wrongfully terminated by BNSF following a 2015 on-the-job injury. [Flathead Beacon website report]

METRA TO PURCHASE THREE USED F59PH LOCOMOTIVES: Metra's board has approved the purchase of three used F59PH locomotives from Progress Rail for $2.5-million. The agency is supplementing its aging fleet as it continues a longer-term procurement of new or remanufactured locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-12-18]

AMTRAK'S CARDINAL EXTENDED TO NEW YORK: Amtrak's Cardinal was extended to New York late this past week, having been truncated at Washington this past spring due to construction work at New York's Penn Station. The Cardinal now operates three days a week between New York and Chicago.

MONTREAL TO ACQUIRE 153 ADDITIONAL AZUR METRO CARS: The transportation agency in Montreal has exercised an option on 153 additional AZUR rubber-tired metro cars from a consortium of Bombardier and Alstom. [Railway Age website report, 11-12-18]

DRIVER INJURED BY TRAIN AFTER DRIVING AROUND LOWERED CROSSING GATE: A Maryland driver was injured early Nov. 10 after driving around a lowered crossing gate in Cumberland, Md. His was dragged by a train about 50 feet. [U.S. News & World Report, 11-11-18]

KCS ANNOUNCES ANNUAL HOLIDAY EXPRESS: Kansas City Southern's 18th annual Holiday Express will distribute Salvation Army gift cards at stops along its route beginning Nov. 21. The train will visit 22 communities on 27 dates between Shreveport, Louisiana, and Kansas City, Missouri, ending Dec. 18. At each stop, visitors may board the train ad tour three of its six rail cars with holiday displays, and visit Santa. The event is free to the public. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-9-18]

AMTRAK UPGRADES 'FINDYOURWAY' MOBILE APP FOR N.Y. PENN STATION: Amtrak has upgraded its FindYourWay mobile application, a free, real-time customer information app for use within New York Penn Station. Features include gate and track information and train status. It also includes wayfinding functionality for Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit areas of the station. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-9-18]

NEW YORK'S MTA CHAIRMAN RESIGNS: Joseph J. Lhota, chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority which operates New York's subway system, has resigned, according to numerous press reports. He had managed the system since June 2017. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-9-18]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY 33 TRAXX LOCOMOTIVES IN EUROPEAN CONTRACTS: Bombardier Transportation has signed two contracts worth about $128-million to deliver 33 Traxx locomotives to European rolling stock leasing company Akiem. The four-axle locomotive platform comes in three models. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-9-18]

CALIFORNIA VOTERS REJECT RESCINDING OF STATE GAS TAX, PRESERVING FUNDS FOR TRANSPORTATION: California voters rejected an attempt to rescind a 2017 state gasoline tax, protecting $54-billion in additional infrastructure investment for rails, transit, ferries and roads. [Rail Passengers Assn., 11-9-18]

N.J. LEADERS ASK COAST GUARD TO RESTRICT OPENING OF PORTAL BRIDGE DURING RUSH HOURS: New Jersey's governor and two U.S. senators have asked the Coast Guard to cease requiring the Portal Bridge to be opened for water traffic during rush hours. The bridge is old and cantankerous, and when it fails to close properly, extensive train delays result. Currently, maritime traffic is restricted during those hours, but the restriction is waived if one-hour notice is given. [Rail Passengers Assn., 11-9-18]

BRIGHTLINE PROPOSES TO DEVELOP TAMPA-ORLANDO PASSENGER RAIL LINE: Brightline was the only company to offer a proposal to develop a passenger rail line connecting Tampa and Orlando. Florida has appointed a three-member technical review committee to determine if the proposal meets the requirements outlined in the state's request for proposals, and a final decision by transportation officials is planned for Nov. 28. [Railway Age website report, 11-8-18]

KAWASAKI MULLS DROPPING CONSTRUCTION OF SUBWAY CARS: Kawasaki Heavy Industries, builder of subway cars, is reviewing options of getting out of the business, according to published reports. Its rolling stock division reported a $78-million loss in the six months ending in September, primarily on contracts with D.C. Metro and Long Island Rail Road. A labor shortage and Buy America requirements have complicated the company's business plans in North America, the company said. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-7-18]

OCTOBER 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the month of October 2018, U.S. railroad carload and intermodal originations were 2,781,951, a 2.6 pct increase compared with the same month last year. For the first 44 weeks of 2018, carload and intermodal originations increased 3.8 pct compared to the same period in 2017. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-7-18]

GROUND BROKEN ON NEW PAWTUCKET-CENTRAL FALLS, R.I., RAIL STATION: Ground has been broken on the new Pawtucket-Central Falls commuter rail station and bus hub in Rhode Island. The station is expected to attract about 250 daily boardings, officials say. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-7-18]

SAUDI RAILWAY BEGINS RIYADH-JAWF OVERNIGHT PASSENGER TRAIN: Saudi Railway Co. launched its Riyadh-Jawl overnight passenger service on the North-South Railway Nov. 7. Trains will operate weekly, with departure from Riyadh on Wednesday, and from Jawf on Saturday. Trains are designed to operate in desert environments in temperatures of up to 131 degrees (F). [International Railway Journal website report, 11-7-18]

EL PASO STREETCAR CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED: Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority in Texas has finished construction of the El Paso streetcar project, a 4.8-mile system to be served by six restored PCC vehicles which had run on El Paso streets until 1974. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-6-18]

R.J. CORMAN R.R. EXPANDS WITH ACQUISITIONS: R.J. Corman Railroad has agreed to acquire the Nashville & Eastern Railroad; the Nashville & Western Railroad, Transit Solutions Group (a commuter-rail operation), and three related entities. Nashville & Eastern is a 130-mile railroad operating on leased trackage between Nashville and Monterey. Nashville & Western is an 18-mile railroad operating on leased trackage from Nashville to Ashland City. Both lines interchange with CSX in Nashville. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-6-18]

READING & NORTHERN ACQUIRES WAREHOUSE FACILITY: Reading & Northern Railroad, through its sister company Reading Railroad Transfer, has acquired the former Penn Foster warehouse facility in Ranson, Pa. The 83,551-square-foot paper-grade warehouse will serve as a new transload facility for wood pulp, with the potential to transload other forest products. It is located along the railroad's Susquehanna Branch, served seven days a week. [Railway Age website report, 11-6-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES MICHAEL FARRELL SENIOR V.P. TRANSPORTATION: Michael A. Farrell has been named senior vice-president transportation for Norfolk Southern, effective immediately. He has served the company for more than a year in a consulting role, leading teams across the network to increase velocity and efficiencies in a process called 'clean sheeting,' a foundation toward a new operating plan currently in development. [Norfolk Southern, 11-6-18]

ATLANTA PASSES ORDINANCES TO BOOST NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S HEADQUARTERS MOVE TO CITY: Atlanta's city council has passed ordinances to move foreward with a deal that could attract Norfolk Southern to move its headquarters to the city. The company has owned part of the land known as the Gulch for decades, and the city has approved $1.9-billion to finance development for the area. If Norfolk Southern sells the land, the money could be used to create a new headquarters in Atlanta, to which it would move from Norfolk. [WAVY website report, 11-6-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES TRACTOR-TRAILER IN MD.: Amtrak's westbound Capitol Limited, en route from Washington to Chicago, struck a tractor-trailer that had become stuck on a crossing in Gaithersburg, Md., the afternoon of Nov. 5. The driver of the rig escaped from his vehicle prior to impact, and no injuries were reported. There was a messy fuel spill, and rail traffic - including rush-hour MARC commuter service - was significantly disrupted by the incident. [WJLA website report, 11-5-18]

MILWAUKEE'S STREETCAR SYSTEM OPENS: Known as 'The Hop,' Milwaukee's new streetcar system has opened. The roughly two-mile system connects the city's east side to the city's Amtrak-served intermodal station. The $124-million project includes five streetcar vehicles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-5-18]

NEW TRAIN STATION OPENS IN BERLIN, CONNECTICUT: A new train station in Berlin, Connecticut, on the CTrail Hartford line has officially opened. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-5-18]

RUNAWAY ORE TRAIN TRAVELS 57 MILES IN AUSTRALIA: A loaded ore train ran away without a crew at over 60 MPH Nov. 4 in a remote area of western Australia for 57 miles before being forcibly derailed. There were no injuries. [U.S. News & World Report, 11-5-18]

RAILROAD WORKER KILLED, ANOTHER INJURED IN EXPLOSION IN CHICAGO: Authorities say a railroader was killed and another seriously hurt early Nov. 3 following what appears to be an accidental explosion near Chicago's Grayland station. The workers were welding joints as part of a Metra track project, and an acetylene tank on a truck exploded. [U.S. News & World Report, 11-3-18]

TESTING TO BEGIN ON DENVER'S SOUTHEAST LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Denver's Regional Transportation District will begin testing this month on its 2.5-mile Southeast light-rail extension in Lone Tree, Colorado. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-2-18]

DOWNEASTER TO INCREASE SERVICE: Amtrak's Downeaster will add more frequencies for Freeport and Brunswick beginning Nov. 12. Two round-trips will be added on weekdays, for a total of five, and weekends will see one additional round-trip, for a total of four. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 11-2-18]

CALTRAIN TO BE FULLY-POWERED BY RENEWABLE ENERGY IN 2019: Caltrain will partner with San Jose Clean Energy to become fully-powered by renewable energy for passenger rail service in 2019. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 11-2-18]

CONNECTICUT ASKS AMTRAK TO ADD CARS TO SPRINGFIELD LINE SERVICE: Hartford line CTrail trains have four cars, while Amtrak trains serving the same route only have two. CTrail passengers are supposed to be accommodated on either service, but overcrowding has resulted in CTrail passengers being asked to leave the train on at least one occasion. A shortage of Amtrak equipment has been blamed for the situation, but the parties involved are looking at an option of Connecticut supplying equipment for Amtrak. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 11-2-18]

HUDSON BAY RAIL LINE TO REOPEN THIS MONTH: The Hudson Bay Rail line in northern Manitoba, which has been out of service since spring 2017 because of flooding, will resume freight and passenger service by the end of November, Canada's prime minister said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-2-18]

SERBIA REOPENS NOVI SAD-ZRENJANIN RAIL LINE: Serbia has completed the reconstruction of the 59-mile rail line linkng Novi Sad with Zrenjanin following a seven-year, $53.1-million project. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-2-18]

OCTOBER 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in October 2018. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the survey period was 49 minutes late. The average arrival of just the trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 15 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-1-18]

MODERNIZED PATH STATION IN HARRISON OPENED: Port Authority Trans-Hudson on Oct. 30 opened a modernized station in Harrison, N.J. The stop now features glass-enclosed entrances, along with elevators, widened stairs and escalator access to the platform. Ten-car trains can now be accommodated, and there are countdown clocks indicated next train arrival. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-1-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES GARBAGE TRUCK IN FLORIDA: Authorities say a Miami-bound Amtrak train hit a garbage truck near Palatka, Florida, early Oct. 31. No injuries were reported, but the train was delayed several hours. [U.S. News & World Report, 11-1-18]

LIRR OPENS RENOVATED FARMINGDALE AND WANTAGH STATIONS: Long Island Rail Road has opened newly-renovated 1890 Farmingdale and 1867 Wantagh stations. Both projects are part of the state's $6.6-billion modernization investment into the railroad. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-31-18]

PAN AM RAILWAYS, BOSTON & MAINE FINED FOR TIE DISPOSAL IN MASSACHUSETTS: Massachusetts has ordered Pan Am Railways and Boston & Maine Corp. to pay $90,000 in penalties for violations linked to the abandonment of old crossties. Three locations were cited, with fines of $30,000 apiece. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-31-18]

CN TO ACQUIRE TRANSX GROUP: CN has agreed to acquire the TransX Group of Companies, one of Canada's largest and oldest transportation companies. TransX will remain based in Winnipeg and continue to operate independently.[Railway Age website report, 10-31-18]

COOS BAY RAIL LINE TO OPERATE PORT-OWNED RAILROAD IN OREGON: Coos Bay Rail Line will begin operating the 134-mile port-owned rail line between Danebo and Coquille, Oregon, on Nov. 1. Previous operator Coos Bay Rail Link ceased operations Oct. 31. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-31-18]

MAN DIES AFTER APPARENTLY FALLING FROM AMTRAK TRAIN IN N.C.: Police say a man whose body was found on railroad tracks near Enfield, N.C., Oct. 30 had been a 'stowaway' on an Amtrak train. They believe he either fell or was trying to jump from the train while it was moving. The train, en route to Charlotte, was delayed for about 45 minutes. [U.S. News & World Report, 10-31-18]

AMTRAK TO OPEN NEW ENTRANCE TO CHICAGO UNION STATION: Amtrak's next phase of improvements to Chicago Union Station includes the addition of a new entrance on Clinton street to open the west side of the station's headhouse for development as a food court and retail space. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-30-18]

OVER 54,000 PEOPLE TRAVELED TO, FROM ROANOKE IN FIRST YEAR OF AMTRAK SERVICE: Amtrak said more than 54,000 people traveled to and from Roanoke in the first year of Amtrak service being extended to the city. Ridership on the route, running from Roanoke to Boston, is up almost 10 pct. [WSLS website report, 10-30-18]

AMTRAK PASSENGER ACCUSED OF STRANGLING CREW MEMBER: A 22-year-old man riding an Amtrak train in Oregon demanded to get off the train late Oct. 28 and reportedly put a choke hold on an employee. Other passengers and crew intervened and held him in place until he was arrested, Lane County sheriff's deputies said. [KTVZ website report, 10-30-18]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: Genesee & Wyoming reported third-quarter net income of $69.6-million ot $1.16 per diluted common share, compared with net income of $50.2-million or 80 cents per share in the same quarter last year. Revenue increased 4.6 pct to $603.3-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-31-18]

UNION PACIFIC EXPECTS $500-M PRODUCTIVITY GAIN IN 2019 FROM PRECISION SCHEDULED RAILROADING: After a month of testing precision scheduling railroading, Union Pacific expects the new model could bring at least $500-million in productivity gains next year. Since the beginning of August, the railroad has cut 625 locomotives, reduced operating inventory by 6,000 cars, consolidated operating regions from three to two, reduced service units from 17 to 12, and changed about 125 of 150 transportation plans. [Supply Chain Dive website report, 10-28-18]

NEW AMTRAK STATION OPENS IN SCHENECTADY: A new Amtrak station in downtwn Schenectady opened two weeks ahead of schedule. It is the latest in a line of new stations along the route, including Niagara Falls and Rochester, along with plans being finalized for a new station in Buffalo. [Rail Passengers Assn hotline, 10-26-18]

STUDY EXAMINES PASSENGER RAIL BETWEEN FORT WAYNE AND CHICAGO: Based on a preliminary analysis by consultant firm HNTB Corp., passenger rail service between Fort Wayne and Chicago could become a reality between 2025 and 2030, and would accommodate between 387,000 and 765,000 passengers a year by 2035. Capital costs for 79 MPH service would be about $898-million, or for 101 MPH service would be about $1.2-billion, the study said. [Rail Passengers Assn hotline, 10-26-18]

AMTRAK-METRO NORTH NEGOTIATIONS OVER USE OF HELL GATE ROUTE HIT SNAG: Negotiations over the Hell Gate Bridge route for Metro-North trains to reach New York's Penn Station over Amtrak trackage have deteriorated. Amtrak wants to collect access fees in addition to what Metro-North has already agreed to pay as part of a federally-mandated crost-sharing deal, and Amtrak wants Metro-North to pay for the bulk of the cost to replace the Pelham Bay Bridge spanning Hutchinson River in The Bronx. Should the matter can be settled, it is planned for Metro-North service to split, with some trains continuing on to Grand Central Terminal, and others running into Penn Station. Four new stations would be constructed along the Hell Gate route for Metro-North trains. [Rail Passengers Assn hotline, 10-26-18]

EAST LANSING AMTRAK STATION TO LOSE STAFFED TICKET WINDOW: Beginning Oct. 29, the Amtrak station in East Lansing will no longer have a staffed ticket window. The facility will still be open at approrpiate times for Blue Water trains. [Rail Passengers Assn hotline, 10-26-18]

GREENBRIER, SAUDI RAILWAY TO FORM JOINT VENTURE: Greenbrier and Suadi Railway Company plan to form a joint venture to executive railway projects and to supply railcars for profitable gain of the Saudi freight rail market, with a projected investment of over $266-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-26-18]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported 2018 third-quarter net income of $1.6-billion or a third-quarter record $2.15 per diluted share. This compares to $1.2-billion or $1.50 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Operating income totaled $2.3-billion, up 9 pct. Operating ratio was 61.7 pct. [Union Pacific, 10-25-18]

D.C. METRO TO ADD SHADY GROVE STAIRWAY, ELIMINATE RUSH-HOUR SERVICE PATTERN: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority plans to add a stairway at Shady Grove station in its FY-2020 capital program, and to eliminate the Grosvenor turnback service pattern this coming December to double rush-hour service on the Shady Grove end of the Red line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-25-18]

CALTRAIN REPORTS PROGRESS ON ELECTRIFICATION PLANS: Caltrain has now entered a new manufacturing phase for its first electric trainset. Crews have begun preparing the first two car shells for interior installation, car shells for the second and third trainsets are now under construction, and crews have installed two power transformers at the line's traction power station in San Jose. Caltrain is electrifying its corridor from San Francisco to San Jose, and replacing 75 pct of its existing diesel locomotives with electrics. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-24-18]

N.J. TRANSIT ACCELERATES LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER TRAINING: New Jersey Transit has begun a new accelerated training course as part of an effort to address a shortage of locomotive engineers. The program reduces the training time from 20 months to 12. For the program's inaugural session, the agency is teaching 14 assistant conductors to become rail engineers. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-24-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported record third-quarter financial results. Railway operating revenue of $2.9-billion increased 10 pct compared with third-quarter 2017; overall volumes were up 5 pct; income from railway operations was $1.0-billion, a 14 pct increase and a third-quarter record; operating ratio was 65.4 pct, also a third-quarter record; and net income was $702-million, up 39 pct year-over-year. [Norfolk Southern, 10-24-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO ADOPT PRECISION SCHEDULED RAILROADING: Norfolk Southern says it will adopt precision scheduled railroading principles as it develops a new operating plan that aims to produce better service at lower cost. Similar plans are in place at CN. CP and CSX, and Union Pacific is implementing one as well. [Trains Magazine website report, 10-24-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Oct. 20, 2018, was 555,106 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.5 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-24-18]

GROUND BROKEN ON PRESIDIO RAIL BRIDGE RECONSTRUCTION: Oct. 22 marked the start of reconstruction of the Presidio-Ojinaga international rail bridge in Texas. Located on the South Orient rail line, the bridge had been severely damaged by fire, 2008-2009. The 391-mile rail line runs from the border at Presidio through San Angelo to just south of Coleman. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-24-18]

OREGON PROPOSES EUGENE-PORTLAND PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE UPGRADES: Oregon, after years of study, has released a draft environmental impact statement for proposed passenger service upgrades between Eugene and Portland. The plan would improve the frequency, convenience, speed and reliability of intercity passenger rail service, part of a federally-designated Pacific Northwest Rail corridor. The preferred of three alternates follows the existing Cascades rail route, with track, signal and communication improvements. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-24-18]

INDIA APPROVES BAHRAICH-KHALILABAD BROAD-GAUGE RAIL LINE: India's cabinet committee on economic affairs has approved the construction of a 149-mile broad-gauge rail line linking Bahraich and Khalilabad via Bhinga, Shravasti, Balrampur, Utraula, Domariyaganj, Bansi and Mehdawal. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-24-18]

NEW VIADUCT OPENS ON SWEDEN-NORWAY RAIL LINE: A milestone was reached in the upgrading of the rail line between Ostersund, Sweden, and Trondheim, Norway, Oct. 19 with the opening of a new 755-foot viaduct near Storlien on the Swedish side of the border. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-24-18]

HYPERLOOP TO BE BUILT IN ABU DHABI: Hyperloop Transportation Technbologies will begin building a 6.2-mile hyperloop track in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in the third-quarter 2019. [Reuters website report, 10-24-18]

UNION PACIFIC TO CUT 475 JOBS IN FOURTH-QUARTER: Union Pacific says it plans to cut 475 jobs in the fourth-quarter, and signaled more work force reductions will come as it seeks to boost profitability by the end of 2020. [Reuters website report, 10-23-18]

EXCESS SPEED BLAMED ON FATAL DERAILMENT IN TAIWAN: Taiwanese investigators found that excessive speed caused the Oct. 21 train derailment that killed 18 people, and the train's engineer was considered a possible criminal suspect in the accident. The speed at which the train approached a curve was nearly twice the safe limit for the line, officials said. [N.Y. Times website report, 10-23-18]

METRO-NORTH ROLLS OUT 'WAY AHEAD' IMPROVEMENT PLAN: Metro-North has unveiled a new plan aimed at improving safety, service, infrastructure, communications and rider experience. Known as 'Way Ahead,' the plan is in response to the railroad's growing ridership, changing demographics and evolving customer needs, Metro-North said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-23-18]

EUROSTAR TO STEP UP AMSTERDAM SERVICE: Eurostar will introduce a third daily train between London, Rotterdam and Amsterdam next summer, with plans for further expansion in the longer-term. [International Railway Joournal website report, 10-23-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 21, 2018. The remaining 69 percent, on average, arried one hour and 14 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-22-18]

TRAIN DERAILS IN TAIWAN, AT LEAST 18 KILLED, 187 INJURED: At least 18 people were killed and 187 injured Oct. 21 after a passenger train derailed in northeast Taiwan. The Puyuma Express train was carrying 366 passengers when all eight of its cars derailed. It was Taiwan's worst rail accident in 27 years. At least three children were among the dead.. [BBC website report, 10-22-18]

ROCKY MOUNTAIN RAIL PARK TO BE DEVELOPED IN DENVER: A 620-acre Rocky Mountain Rail Park, to be served by Union Pacific, will be developed in the East Denver metropolitan area. The developer plans to build a distribution facility on part of the site, the only Denver location it said can accommodate 100 rail cars. [Railway Age website report, 10-22-18]

AMERICAN RAILCAR TO MERGE WITH ITE RAIL FUND: American Railcar Industries has agreeded to merge with a subsidiary of ITE Rail Fund in a transaction valued at $1.75-billion. The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-22-18]

SUPERSPEED TUNNEL TEST SET FOR L.A.: Elon Musk says the first portion of his Boring Company's superspeed tunnel system will open Dec. 10 in Los Angeles County, with free rides available the following day. The tunnel, in Hawthorne, California, is part of the company's plans for an underground transportation system in the Los Angeles area. [L.A. Times website report, 10-21-18]

CALIFORNIA APPROVES $91-M TO BOOST RAIL SERVICE FOR 2028 OLYMPICS: California Transportation Commission has allocated $91.2-million to Metrolink to advance projects aimed at boosting rail service and safety ahead of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-19-18]

BNSF TO TEST BATTERY FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVE: A battery-electric main-line freight locomotive is to be tested by BNSF in California beginning in 2020 under a research program supported by local pollution control grants. GE Transportation is to develop a battery version of its AC-motored Evolution Series locomotive with 2,400 kWh of onboard energy storage and management system, and is to be tested in multiple with diesel locomotives between Stockton and Barstow. [Railway Gazette website report, 10-19-18]

OVER 60 PEOPLE KILLED AS TRAIN MOWS DOWN CROWD ON TRACK IN INDIA: Over 60 people were killed and many more injured after a train mowed down revellers Oct. 19 in northern India. Initial reports suggest Dussera revellers were watching the burning of a Ravan close to the track. [Indian Express website report, 10-19-18]

PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN VAN NUYS, CALIFORNIA: A person died after being struck by an Amtrak train in Van Nuys, California, late Oct. 19. The incident disrupted service on the Metrolink Ventury County line. [KCAL website report, 10-19-18]

KCS REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: Kansas City Southern reported record revenue of $699-million for the third-quarter 2018, a six pct increase over the same period last year. Net income rose to $174-million or $1.70 per diluted share, from $129-million or $1.23 per diluted share a year ago. Carload volume climbed four pct in the quarter. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-19-18]

LAS VEGAS RAILWAY EXPRESS CHANGES NAME: Las Vegas Railway Express, owner of the X Train brand, has announced it is changing its name to United Rail. X Train is a planned passenger rail line linking Los Angeles and Las Vegas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-19-18]

TWO METRO-NORTH EMPLOYEES INJURED FROM AUTO EXPLOSION IN R.R. YARD: Two Metro-North employees were injured Oct. 19 when one of the employee's car exploded in a railroad train yard in North White Plains, N.Y. The employee had propane tanks in the car, but it was not immediately clear if the tanks caused the explosion. [USA Today, 10-19-18]

THALES INTRODUCING SELTRAC G7 TRAIN-CONTROL SYSTEM TO NORTH AMERICAN MARKET: Thales is introducing the SelTrac G7 train-control system to the North American market. The system incorporates the latest computing technologies and train operation features to improve the passenger experience, according to the company. [Progresssive Railroading website report, 10-19-18]

ESTONIA REBUILDING C30-7 LOCOMOTIVES: Estonian rail freight operator Operail unveiled its first modernized C30-M diesel locomotive earlier this month. Only the frames and trucks of the original C30-7Ai locomotives are retained, and the C30-M features a new centrally-positioned cab and a 1.55MW Caterpillar diesel engine. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-19-18]

CPR REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: CP Rail reports third-quarter revenues of $1.9-billion, its highest ever for any quarter, and diluted earnings per share of $4.35, or $4.12 on an adjusted diluted EPS basis. The company also achieved a record-low quarterly operating ratio of 58.3 pct. Operating income increased 27 pct to $790-million. [CP Rail, 10-18-18]

NEW OWNER FOR SAN PEDRO & SOUTHWESTERN R.R.: Short line holding company Ironhorse Resources has acquired San Pedro & Southwestern Railroad, and is renaming it San Pedro Valley Railroad. The line serves Cochise County, Arizona, with connections to Union Pacific at Benson and Willcox. [Railway Age website report, 10-18-18]

N.Y. STATE ASKS TO POSTPONE RAIL LINE ABANDONMENT REQUEST: New York State has asked federal officials to postpone its application to have a section of rail line in Warren and Essex counties declared 'abandoned.' Citing discussions with the line's owner Iowa Pacific, and would-be buyer OmniTrax, with a pledge not to pursue long-term railcar storage on the line, the state has asked for a 90-day abeyance in its application to allow sale discussions to continue. [Adirondack Daily Express, 10-18-18]

CSX SANTA TRAIN RUNS NOV. 17: Each winter since 1942, the Santa Train makes a 110-mile trek on what is now CSX from Shelby, Kentucky, to Kingsport, Tennessee. Special guests and staff deliver toys, food and winter clothing to residents along the train's path in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. This year's run is scheduled for Nov. 17. [Tennesseean website report, 10-18-18]

CHINA APPROVES SHANGHAI-HUZHOU HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: China's top economic planning authority has approved the construction of a 102-mile high-speed rail line linking Shanghai Hongqiao station with Suzhou and Huzhou. The project includes four new stations, and the line will have a design speed of 217 MPH. Construction is expected to take about four years. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-18-18]

MAJOR LONDON RAIL HUB DISRUPTED: Rail travel at Paddington station was disrupted Oct. 17 after a train damaged overhead electrical wires, touching off a wave of cancelations that affected thousands. Some 90,000 people travel through Paddington daily. [Bristol Herald Courier, 10-17-18]

NEW BRAKE-TEST TECHNOLOGY INSTALLED IN UNION PACIFIC RAIL YARD: Brake-Boss, a digitized air brake train tester, was installed recently in Union Pacific's Livonia, Louisiana, rail yard. The first of its kind on the system, it is an air-flow control kiosk with which hand-held devices communicate, enabling employees to actuate, release and monitor a train's air brakes from a distance. The system uses a cellular data connection, and documents each train's identification, number of cars in a train, the track it is on, and who is working on it. [Railway Age website report, 10-17-18]

METRO-NORTH CREW BREAKS MAINTENANCE RECORD: A Metro-North Railroad crew working on the Waterbury branch Oct. 9 installed 1,161 crossties in a single day, breaking the prior record by two ties. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-17-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Oct. 13, 2018, U.S. rail freight traffic was 549,757 carloads and intermodal units, a 1.7 pct increase compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-17-18]

INDIAN RAILWAYS ORDERS TRACTION TRANSFORMERS: Indian Railways has placed an $18-million order with ABB for traction transformers. They will be customized for WAP-7 electric locomotives, which can haul 24 passenger cars at speeds up to 87 MPH. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-17-18]

NEC TRACTION POWER STATION IN N.J. UPGRADED: An 85-year old traction power facility at Metuchen, N.J., on Amtrak's Northeast corridor has been recently upgraded with new technology by Siemens Mobility Division. [Railway Age website report, 10-16-18]

GAS-FIRED BOILER IN YONKERS TRAIN STATION SICKENS THREE: Three police officers were hospitalized, treated and released, after a gas-fired boiler malfunction closed the Yonkers, N.Y., Metro-North train station late Oct. 15. [USA Today, 10-16-18]

NEW CENTERBEAM CARS FOR CN: CN has begun to roll out the first of its 350 new riserless centerbeam cars. Their design stems from research into optional draft energy management systems, and the cars are being built by National Steel Car in Hamilton, Ontario. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-16-18]

RAILROAD RETIREMENT ANNUITIES WILL INCREASE IN 2019: In Jan. 2019, the average regular railroad retirement employee annuity will increase $60 a month to $2,808, and the average of combined beenfits for an employee and spouse will increase $86 a month to $4,078. [RRTA, 10-16-18]

CSX REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: CSX had third-quarter 2018 net earnings of $894-million or $1.05 per share, versus $459-million or 51 cents per share in the same period last year. Revenue increased 14 pct to $3.13-billion, and expenses declined two pct. Operating ratio was a third-quarter record of 58.7. [CSX, 10-16-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 14, 2018. The remaining 67 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 27 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-15-18]

VIA RAIL TO REFURBISH FOUR 1950'S-ERA DINING CARS: VIA Rail Canada has awarded a contract for refurbishment of four 1950's-era dining cars for use on long-haul Canadian line trains. Slated for completion in 2020, the work will include installation of new kitchens and devices to make the cars Wi-Fi ready, and upgrading or replacement of electronic components. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-15-18]

NORTH & SOUTH KOREA PLAN RAIL CONNECTION ACROSS BORDER: North and South Korea have jointly agreed on breaking ground this year on an ambitious project to connect their respective railway systems. [Newser website report, 10-15-18]

CALIFORNIA AWARDS GRANT TO BNSF TO PILOT CLEAN TECHNOLOGY: BNSF has been preliminarily awarded a $22.3-million California grant to pilot emissions-reducing technologies in and around rail yards. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-12-18]

L.A. BREAKS GROUND ON LIGHT-RAIL CONVERSION PROJECT: Los Angeles Metro has broken ground on a project to prepare its Orange Line bus rapid-transit line for eventual conversion to light-rail. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-12-18]

SUNRAIL TRAIN STRIKES BICYCLIST: A SunRail commuter train hit a bicyclist crossing the tracks in Winter Park, Florida, Oct. 12, according to police. There was no word on the bicyclist's condition, but he was taken to a local hospital. [WKMG website report, 10-12-18]

ICE TRAIN CATCHES FIRE IN GERMANY: More than 500 passengers were evacuated from a German Rail ICE train on the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed line Oct. 12 after a severe fire broke out onboard. Three of the passengers received minor injuries. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-12-18]

AMTRAK EMPLOYEES PROTEST AT N.Y. PENN STATION: More than 100 Amtrak employees rallied at New York Penn Station to protest changes that they believe could lead to significant layoffs at Amtrak and loss of food service and amenities for passengers on trains. One union leader accused Amtrak's CEO of engaging in a 'slash-and-burn' management plan. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 10-12-18]

NJT PLANS THREE-MONTH SHUTDOWN OF PRINCETON'S DINKY LINE: New Jersey Transit is planning to shut down Princeton's Dinky train service for at least three months, beginning Oct. 14, to use the line's equipment and personnel to help with positive train-control installation on other parts of the system. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 10-12-18]

BART INTRODUCES EARTHQUAKE ALERT SYSTEM: California's Bay Area Rapid Transit has introduced 'Shake Alert 2.0,' an earthquake early warning alert system, intended to warn trains to stop or slow down prior to seismic activity reaching the train, and to trigger emergency messages of impending danger. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 10-12-18]

FREE RIDES ON TAMPA'S HERITAGE STREETCAR: Passengers will be able to ride the TECO line heritage streetcar in Tampa for free for the next three years thanks to a $2.67-million grant from the Florida Dept. of Transportation. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 10-12-18]

BANGLADESH ORDERS 70 DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: Bangladesh Railway has awarded Hyundai Rotem a $239-million order for supply of 70 diesel-electric locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-12-18]

TWO HOLIDAY TRAINS TO RUN ON CANADIAN PACIFIC: Beginning Nov. 25 and 27, two CP trains will leave Montreal to visit 164 communities along the railroad's network. Begun in 1999, the annual tour collects donations of food and money across Canada and northern U.S. Performers entertain crowds at each of the stops. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-11-18]

TEXAS CENTRAL PICKS SPANISH FIRM AS BULLET-TRAIN OPERATOR: Texas Central, developer of the proposed Dallas-Houston bullet train, has selected Renfe, based in Spain, as the railroad's operating partner. Renfe has more than 25 years of experience operating high-speed trains in Europe and elsewhere. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-11-18]

VALLEY LINK RAIL PROJECT APPROVED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL, DESIGN FUNDS: Metropolitan Transportation Commission has allocated $10.1-million to the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority to complete environmental work and initial design of the Valley Link rail project. The line would connect Bay Area Rapid Transit with Altamont Corridor Express using 12 miles of abandoned rail right-of-way. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-11-18]

ASSESSMENT SUGGESTS IMPROVEMENTS TO NJT: A detailed assessment of New Jersey Transit calls for the agency to streamline management, improve strategic planning and procurement, and find a source of sustainable funding. [Railway Age website report, 10-11-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN CRASHES INTO 18-WHEELER IN LOUISIANA, DRIVER KILLED: The driver of an 18-wheeler was killed Oct. 10 when his rig was struck by an Amtrak train at a crossing in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Ninety-eight passengers were aboard the train, some of whom had minor injuries, according to a sheriff's office. [U.S. News & World Report, 10-10-18]

CSX FILES SUIT OVER MONOPOLIZATION AT NORFOLK TERMINAL: CSX has filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern and Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line alleging both railroads conspired to create a monopoly at the Norfolk International Terminals. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-10-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Oct. 6, 2018, U.S. rail freight traffic was 554,238 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.2 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-10-18]

CSX CUTS MORE INTERMODAL PAIRS AS IT RESTRUCTURES NETWORK: Intermodal shifts are part of a master plan by CSX to consolidate its network to provide more direct origin-destination pairs. Meanwhile, the railroad says by 2020 it hopes to have slashed its work force to 21,000 employees (from 27,200 last year), its cars online to 109,000 (from 136,000), its locomotives to 2,420 (from 3,000), and have transitioned from 12 to just four hump yards (one per operating region). [Supply Chain Dive, 10-10-18]

EL PASO STREETCAR STARTS PRE-REVENUE TESTING: The El Paso Streetcar on Oct. 9 began pre-revenue service on its proposed schedule without passengers on board. The 4.8-mile system will be covered by six rebuilt PCC vehicles that ran in the area until 1974. Service is slated to begin later this year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-10-18]

BRIDGE COLLAPSE HALTS TRAFFIC ON TRANS-SIBERIA RAILWAY: A road bridge over the Trans-Siberian Railway collapsed Oct. 9 in Svobodny in Russia's far-eastern Amu region, near the border with China, halting rail traffic on a segment of the world's longest rail line. [WIS 10 News 10-9-18]

GLACIER RAIL-PARK OPENS IN MONTANA: There was a grand opening of the Glacier Rail Park Oct. 8 in Kalispell, Montana. On approximately 40 acres, the rail park expands transportation options for freight movement, and is served by BNSF and Mission Mountain Railroad. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-9-18]

CALIFORNIA BULLET-TRAIN STRIVES FOR STARTER SERVICE: The California High-Speed Rail Authority is striving to get some kind of starter service from Silicon Valley to San Joaquin Valley operational by 2029, and perhaps even a service that connects with Amtrak's San Joaquins as early as 2026. The hope is that once a useful service is operational, it will be easier to realize the completion of the entire project from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. [Streetsblog San Francisco, 10-9-18]

ALL WASHOUTS REPAIRED ON HUDSON BAY RAILWAY: Work to repair washouts along the Hudson Bay Railway has been completed less than six week after Arctic Gateway Group took possession of the line between The Pas and the Port of Churchill, Manitoba. The line is still not open, however, as additional cleanup and safety testing remains. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-9-18]

CSX CHAIRMAN EDWARD KELLY TO RETIRE IN JANUARY: Edward Kelly III, chairman of CSX, will retire in Jan. 2019. He will be succeeded by John Zillmer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-18]

NEW RAIL LINE LINKS SAO PAULO WITH AIRPORT: Sao Paulo's Paulista Metropolitan Trains Co. has begun a new direct service to Guarulhos International Airport with a 35-minute ride for a fare of $1. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-8-18]

MAN GETS 14-YEARS IN PRISON FOR HALTING AMTRAK TRAIN: A Missouri man who brought an Amtrak train to a stop in Nebraska last year has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. Following an argument with another passenger, the man broke into a secured compartment where the engine was located, disabling it and trying to pull a gun from his waistband. He was subdued there by the conductor and two others. [Lincoln Journal Star website report]

TEXAS LIGHT-RAIL LINE EXPECTED TO CREATE $336-M IN TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT: A new light-rail line from Forth Worth to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is expected to bring about $336-million in transit-based economic development when it opens in about three months. With nine stations spanning 27 miles, the project is expected to improve commuter times in the region. [Fort Worth Business Press, 10-8-18]

N.W. BULLET-TRAIN MIGHT BE REALITY BY 2035: Transportation officials are discussing a proposed bullet train connecting Portland, Oregon, with Vancouver, B.C., via Seattle. Private partners are sought for the project with hopes that it could come to frution by 2035. [Portland Oregonian, 10-8-18]

CALTRAIN FORECASTS 300 PCT INCREASE IN RIDERSHIP BY 2040: By the year 2040, Caltrain could serve as many as one quarter of a million passengers daily, a 300 percent increase over the system's current ridership. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 7, 2018. The remaining 68 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 14 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-8-18]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN N.C.: Authorities say a man was struck and killed by a Florida-bound Amtrak train late Oct. 6 in Southern Pines, N.C. It appeared the man was walking on the tracks when he was hit. No other injuries were reported. [, 10-7-18]

MARC CAMDEN STATION TO BE UPGRADED: The Maryland Transit Administration has begun upgrading the MARC Baltimore Camden Station facility by expanding the waiting area, installing new ticket vending machines and information displays, and adding an MTA police substation. During construction, light-rail trains will bypass the stop, and work should be completed by the end of March 2019. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-5-18]

DECISION COMING ON NORFOLK SOUTHERN HEADQUARTERS MOVE TO ATLANTA: A decision is expected shortly on whether to relocate Norfolk Southern's headquarters from Norfolk to Atlanta. The railroad is already in the process of consolidating operating divisios and moving dispatching staff to Atlanta. A final decision hinges on a real estate deal in Atlanta. [Railway Age website report, 10-4-18]

PHOENIX POSTPONES N.E. LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The Phoenix city council has voted to delay Valley Metro's Northeast light-rail extension as the city looks for funds to repair local roads. The 12-mile line would have connected downtown with Paradise Valley Mall. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-4-18]

SURFLINER CHARGER LOCOMOTIVES UNVEILED: Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency has unveiled the new Charger locomotives for Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner trains. Fourteen of the Tier IV units are included altogether, with operation beginning this fall. They will replace F59PHI units, which are nearly 20 years old. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-4-18]

CP REPORTS PRELIINARY 3-Q RESULTS: Canadian Pacific reported preliminary third-quarter results, anticipating a record high revenue of $1.9-billion (C), and adjusted diluted EPA of about $4.10. [Progressive Railroading website report,10-4-18]

IOWA INTERSTATE ORDERS EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVES: Iowa Interstate Railroad has placed an order with GE Transportation for three Evolution Series locomotives, which will be built in early 2020, for service between Chicago and Omaha. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-3-18]

MATTHEW ROSE OF BNSF TO RETIRE IN APRIL: Matthew Rose will retire as executive chairman from BNSF in April 2019. He has been executive chairman for six years, and chief executive officer for the prior 13 years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-3-18]

SOUTHWEST CHIEF TO REMAIN ON CURRENT ROUTE: Amtrak has confirmed to the Senate Commerce Committee that it will continue to operate train service on the Southwest Chief route. [Rail Passengers Assn., 10-3-18]

CSX, BNSF TO LAUNCH CONTAINER TRAIN BETWEEN L.A. AND OHIO: CSX and BNSF will launch a five-day-a-week container rail service bertween Los Angeles and North Baltimore, Ohio, on Oct. 29. In addition to the joint service, CSX plans construction of a 500-acre logistics park adjacent to its current intermodal terminal at North Baltimore, and has expanded eastern access to the facility with new service to and from the port of New York and New Jersey. [Railway Age website report, 10-2-18]

LIRR TO REPLACE BRIDGE ON OYSTER BAY BRANCH: Long Island Rail Road is preparing to replace the bridge spanning Buckram road on the Oyster Bay branch. The new bridge, built off-site, will be placed with 14-foot clearance. The old bridge, with just 10-foot clearance, was built in 1889. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-2-18]

STREETCARS BEGIN IN MILWAUKEE NOV. 2: Milwaukee will launch operation of its new streetcar service, to be called 'The Hop,' on November 2. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-1-18]

LIRR INSTALLS NEW RAIL ON PORT JEFFERSON BRANCH: Long Island Rail Road crews installed nearly 588 tons of new rail on the Port Jefferson branch this past weekend, and replaced a switch on the Babylon branch. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-1-18]

TWO KILLED BY TRAIN IN KANSAS AFTER DRIVER RAN THROUGH CROSSING GATE: Authorities say a 38-year-old driver and a 39-year-old passenger died when struck by a train in Derby, Kansas, late Sept. 30 after their vehicle smashed through crossing gates and into the path of a train. [U.S. News & World Report, 10-1-18]

AAR PLEASED WITH NEW NORTH AMERICAN TRADE PACT: The Association of American Railroads has endorsed Canada's agreement to sign on to a trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico. The freight rail industry is pleased with the new deal, the association said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-1-18]

SEPTEMER 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in September 2018. The remaining 71 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 33 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-1-18]

BUS ROUTE ESTABLISHED TO CONNECT MARC & SEPTA RAIL SERVICES: Cecil County Transit is closing a gap that will allow commuters using MARC service at Perryville, Maryland, to connect with SEPTA service at Newark, Delaware. Runs are tailored to rush-hour operation on weekdays, allowing connections between the two commuter services at a fare of $2 per ride. [Rail Passengers Assn., 9-28-18]

PHOENIX OK'S SOUTH CENTRAL LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The city council of Phoenix has voted to build Valley Metro's 5.5-mile South Central light-rail extension. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-28-18]

CHICAGO TRANSIT BEGINS JEFFERSON PARK STATION REHAB: Reconstruction has begun to modernize the nearly 50-year-old Jefferson Park Blue Line transit center terminal on Chicago's northwest side. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-28-18]

MAN DIES WHEN TRACTOR COLLIDES WITH TRAIN IN NEBRASKA: A 60-year-old man died early Sept. 27 near Inland, Nebraska, when his tractor collided with a train at a BNSF crossing. [U.S. News & World Report, 9-28-18]

SOUND TRANSIT PICKS ALIGNMENT FOR REDMOND LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Sound Transit has selected an elevated light-rail alignment for its 3.4-mile Link-rail extension in downtown Redmond, Washington. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-28-18]

SAN DIEGO TO BE PTC COMPLIANT BY DEC. 31: North County Transit District of San Diego says it is on track to fully implement its positive train-control system by the Dec. 31 deadline. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-27-18]

GERMAN RAIL TO PURCHASE 18 ICE-4 TRAINS: German Rail plans to purchase an additional 18 seven-car ICE-4 trains, along with 50 intermediate second-class vehicles to lengthen half of the 100 120car ICE-4 trains currently being delivered by Siemens. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-27-18]

CHINA COMPLETES HARBIN-JIAMUSI RAIL LINE: A new 343KM rail line from Harbin to Jiamusi in China's Heilongjiang province has been completed, and is set to open Sept. 30. The line has a maximum speed of 200KMH with 19 stops along the route. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-27-18]

MRL COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN MONTANA: About 40 cars of a Montana Rail Link coal train derailed in Columbus, Montana, late Sept. 25. There were no injuries. [U.S. News & World Report, 9-26-18]

SECOND TRACK OPENED ON CTRAIL LINE BETWEEN HARTFORD AND WINDSOR: A second track between Hartford and Windsor on the CTrail Hartford line has been completed and is open. Extension of the second track between Windsor and Enfield, currently in design, will connect with the existing second track between Enfield and Springfield. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-26-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Sept. 22, 2018, was 567,078 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.9 pct compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated separately, carloads increased 4.2 pct, while intermodal was up 5.7 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-26-18]

PA. TO STUDY INCREASING ALTOONA-PITTSBURGH PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE: Pennsylvania's governor has directed the state's dept. of transportation to study, once again, the feasibility of adding passenger rail between Altoona and Pittsburgh. Currently the route is served by one train, which operates daily in each direction between New York and Pittsburgh. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-26-18]

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, STREETCAR CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT AWARDED: California's Orange County Transportation Authority has awarded a $220-5-million contract to build the OC Streetcar. The line is due to open in 2021. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-26-18]

EGYPT TO BUY 1,300 PASSENGER COACHES OVER FIVE YEARS: Egyptian National Railways will purchase 1,300 rail passenger rail over five years from a Russian-Hungarian consortium. Eight hundred of the cars - a mix of first, second and third class vehicles - will include air-conditioning. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-26-18]

CALIFORNIA BALLOT MEASURE COULD STOP BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: Supporters of a November ballot measure to repeal a California gas tax increase say it would provide money for road repairs while eliminating the state's high-speed rail project. [News Observer website report, 9-25-18]

ECP BRAKING SYSTEM MANDATE FOR CRUDE-OIL TRAINS RESCINDED: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has rescinded a mandate that would have required crude-oil trains to use electronically controlled pneumatic braking systems. The systems may still be used, but they will not be required. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-25-18]

SAUDI ARABIA INAUGURATES HARAMAIN HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: The 453km Haramain high-speed rail line linking Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia, was inaugurated Sept. 25. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-25-18]

DART APPROVES DALLAS COTTON BELT COMMUTER RAIL LINE: The board of Dallas Area Rapid Transit has approved the construction of a 42km rail line from Dallas Fort Worth airport to Plano, a double-track line serving stations in 10 cities. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-25-18]

RAILWORKS ACQUIRING NARSTCO: Track construction and maintenance services provider RailWorks hasfinalized an agreement to acqure NARSTCO, a manufacturer of steel crossties and turnout crosstie sets. [Railway Age website report, 9-25-18]

LONG BEACH PORT'S BOARD OK'S $870-M TO BUILD ON-DOCK RAIL FACILITY: The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved an $870-million budget to build a new on-dock rail support facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-25-18]

MBTA REQUESTS TWO-YEAR PTC EXTENSION: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has applied for a two-year extension of the Dec. 31 deadline to implement positive train-control. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-25-18]

RESIDENTS IN LUMBERTON, N.C., SUE CSX OVER FLOODING: Several Lumberton, N.C., residents have filed a class action complaint in federal court against CSX, alleging the railroad was responsible for a gap in the city levees that allowed water from hurricane Florence to flood several homes and vehicles. [WMBF website report, 9-24-18]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN IOWA: Thirty-eight cars of a 95-car Union Pacific train derailed on a bridge spanning the Floyd River near Alton, Iowa, Sept. 23. The river was flooded at the time, and this may have contributed to the accident. No injuries were reported, and no hazardous materials were involved. [Des Moines Register website report]

FRANCE TO MODERNIZE ITS TWO OVERNIGHT TRAINS: Funding has been approved to modernize 66 Corail railcars with new berths and other upgrades to ensure continued operation into the next decade of the two remaining overnight trains in France operating from Paris. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-24-18]

JOE PARSONS NAMED PRESIDENT, CEO OF IOWA INTERSTATE: Iowa Interstate Railroad has promoted Joe Parsons to president and chief executive officer. Formerly he was general manager, and before that he was chief operating officer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-24-18]

MODERNIZATION PLANS UNVEILED FOR L.A. UNION STATION: There are plans for transforming Los Angeles Union Station into a 'run-through' station, permitting trains to enter the facility from the south as well as the north, by extending tracks over U.S. highway 10. The idea is to make it easier for trains to use the facility and reduce delays and idle time. Environmental studies are underway. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-24-18]

LIRR DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT COMPLETED: A project that added a second track along a 13-mile stretch of the Long Island Rail Road to allow reverse peak service on the Ronkonoma line has been completed more than a year ahead of schedule. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-24-18]

INDIANA COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF RAILROAD OVER FINES FOR BLOCKING CROSSINGS: The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Norfolk Southern in a dispute over whether the railroad could be fined for blocking rail crossings for more than 10 minutes. The railroad argued that federal laws preempted Indiana law. [WANE website report, 9-24-18]

HSR LINK OPENS BETWEEN HONG KONG AND MAINLAND CHINA: A new high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and mainland China launched Sept. 23. Chinese security has been stationed in Hong Kong for the first time at the West Kowloon rail terminus to implement faster border crossing clearance. [New Straits Times, 9-23-18]

STB WANTS UPDATES FROM UNION PACIFIC AS IT PHASES IN PRECISION RAILROADING: The Surface Transportation Board has asked Union Pacific management to hold weekly phone calls with the board's rail customer and public assistance office as the railroad implements its new precision scheduled railroading plan. The board is trying to help prevent freight-rail service problems that arose when CSX implemented its precision scheduled railroading plan last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-21-18]

AMTRAK'S WINTER PARK EXPRESS TO RUN AGAIN THIS WINTER: Amtrak is now selling tickets (starting at $29) for its Winter Park Express from Denver. The service carried nearly 30,000 customers last year, and the number of trips are being increased. Trains will run the first two Fridays of each month January through March, and each Saturday and Sunday January through March. [Rail Passengers Assn., 9-21-18]

FORMER CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR CARS SET TO RUN ON CUYAHOGA VALLEY SCENIC R.R.: Four vintage passenger cars from the original California Zephyr have moved from the West coast to the Midwest to become part of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The railroad has been around 45 years, with 26 miles of track that carried 214,000 passengers last year. [Rail Passengers Assn., 9-21-18]

NJT TO CANCEL DOZENS OF TRAINS FOR PTC INSTALLATION WORK: Beginning Oct. 14, N.J. Transit will cancel dozens of daily trains to accommodate work on positive train-control installation. The agency is offering fare reductions to compensate for disruptions and delays. [Rail Passengers Assn., 9-21-18]

SONOMA-MARIN TO EXPAND SERVICE NORTHWARD: Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit's board has approved $24-million that will be used to extend SMART service to Windsor, California. The extension will run three miles north of the station at Sonoma County Airport. [Rail Passengers Assn., 9-21-18]

SIEMENS TESTING AUTONOMOUS-VEHICLE TECH IN STREETCARS: Siemens Mobility has been conducting pilots of autonomous-vehicle technology on a four-mile section of streetcar track in Germany. [Wired website report, 9-21-18]

ONTARIO TO BOOST GO TRANSIT'S LAKESHORE RAIL SERVICE: On Sept. 24, GO Transit will add 220 new weekly trips along its Lakeshore East and West commuter rail lines, a nearly 18 pct increase in service along the corridors. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-21-18]

CHINA UNVEILS ITS CETROVO LIGHTWEIGHT SUBWAY TRAIN: China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. has unveiled its Cetrovo train, a carbon-fiber unit that is 13 pct lighter than traditional steel or aluminum subway trains. The unit features car windows that can be transformed into touch-screen displays and other advanced features. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-21-18]

FOUR CHILDREN KILLED IN CROSSING ACCIDENT IN HOLLAND: Four children from a Dutch daycare center died in a collision with a train and an electric transport cart at a crossing in Oss, Netherlands, Sept. 20. A fifth child and an adult were critically injured. Transport carts - also known as stints - are popular in this country for transferring young students in the country, and there is a report that the brakes on the cart may have failed. [BBC website report, 9-20-18]

PARTIAL OPENING OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE IN ISRAEL: Seventeen years after construction began on a high-speed rail line from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, a partial opening has taken place, with service set to begin between Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion airport. [Jerusalem Post website report, 9-20-18]

PRESIDENT OF R.J. CORMAN CO. RESIGNING: Brian Miller, president of R.J. Corman Railroad, is resigning from his position, but will remain in his current role and assist with the search until a successor is identified. R.J. Corman Railroad, a sibsidiary of R.J. Corman Railroad Group, operates 11 shortlines. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-20-18]

MAN CLIMBS ATOP METRO-NORTH TRAIN, GETS ELECTROCUTED: A man was killed after leaving New York's Yankee Stadium late Sept. 19 when he climbed on top of a Conecticut-bound train and hit overhead electrified wires. The incident happened between the Larchmont and Mamaroneck stations, and caused extensive delays to train service. [USA Today, 9-20-18]

CSX BALKS AT N.C. CITY'S SANDBAGGING ATTEMPT TO PREVENT FLOODING: As hurricane Florence took aim at the East coast, Lumberton, N.C., officials sought permission from CSX to construct a temporary sandbag berm across its tracks to fill a gap in a levee system. CSX refused. It even threatened legal action. The berm was eventually built, upon an emergency order from the state governor, but later it failed. Local officials say that if CSX had not balked at the effort when it was first requested, the citizens might have been able to do a better job in building the berm, and flooding could have been reduced. In response, CSX said it needed its track open as long as possible in order to move hazardous materials from the area and to bring rescue equipment in. Lumberton was especially hard hit by flooding with considerable property damage. [Huffington Post, 9-20-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Sept. 15, 2018, was 553,003 combined carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 4.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-19-18]

PROGRESS RAIL TO SUPPLY 50 LOCOMOTIVES TO EGYPT: Eqyptian National Railways has signed a memorandum of understand with Progress Rail to supply 50 new locomotives, and also a 15-year contract to modernize, overhaul and maintain a portion of the railroad's existing locomotive fleet. Egyptian National Railways transports about 500 million passengers a year. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-19-18]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN BURBANK-PALMDALE ROUTE PROPOSED: The California bullet train would cut through Sun Valley, San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Agua Dulce, the state rail authority has proposed as it laid out its plans for the route from Burbank to Palmdale. Compared with other alternatives, the route would be the easiest to build and cause the least harm, but is likely to face opposition from communities and institutions along the way. [L.A. Times website report, 9-19-18]

IAN JEFFERIES NAMED TO SUCCEED EDWARD HAMBERGER AS AAR PRESIDENT: The Association of American Railroads has announced its next president and CEO will be Ian Jefferies, currently the organization's vice-president of government affairs, to succeed Edward Hamberger, who is retiring at the end of the year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-18-18]

BRIGHTLINE ACQUIRES XPRESSWEST: Brightline on Sept. 18 said it has acquired XpressWest, a high-speed passenger rail project with rights to develop a line connecting Southern California and Las Vegas. [Railway Age website report, 9-18-18]

MAN CHARGED WITH PUNCHING METRA CONDUCTOR AND REFUSING TO PAY HIS FARE: A man was charged with punching a Metra conductor in the face last week and refusing to pay his $8-fare. The 24-year-old man was charged with felony aggravated battery and misdemeanor theft of services. [NBC Chicago, 9-18-18]

GA. PORTS AUTHORITY OK'S $92-M FOR MASON MEGA RAIL TERMINAL: The board of the Georgia Ports Authority has approved $92-million for the Mason Mega Rail terminal project in the port of Savannah. The terminal will add capacity to better accommodate 10,000-foot-long unit trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-18-18]

BEAVERS MAY HAVE CAUSED FATAL DERAILMENT IN MANITOBA: Atransportation safety board investigator says beavers may have contributed to the derailment in northern Manitoba Sept. 15 that left one railway worker dead and another injured. The train went off the tracks on a washed-out bridge in a swampy area. [SooToday website report]

DOWNEASTER SET TO EXPAND TO FIVE ROUND-TRIPS PER DAY: Amtrak's Downeaster expects to make five round trips per day on its entire line by the end of the year upon completing a $9.4-million passing track construction project. [WBUR website report, 9-17-18]

UNION PACIFIC ANNOUNCES NEW OPERATING PLAN: Union Pacific on Sept. 17 announced its 'Unified Plan 2020,' a new operating plan that implements precision scheduled railroading principles. The plan will launch Oct. 1, and will be rolled out in phases across the entire network. Resulting benefits are expected to help the railroad achieve its 60 pct operating ratio goal by 2020. [Union Pacific, 9-17-18]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN N.C.: Several cars on a CSX freight train derailed late Sept. 16 in Lilesville, N.C., nearly 20 miles from the S.C. state line. Officials said that heavy rain and flooding caused by tropical storm Florence may have contributed to the accident. [Charlotte Observer, 9-17-18]

EMPLOYEE KILLED IN DERAILMENT ON HUDSON BAY RAILWAY: A derailment Sept. 15 on the Hudson Bay Railway near Ponton, Manitoba, resulted in the death of one employee and serious injuries to a second employee. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-17-18]

GERMANY ROLLS OUT WORLD'S FIRST HYDROGEN TRAIN: Germany has rolled out the world's first hydrogen-powered train. Two bright blue Coradia iLint trains built by Alstom began running a 62-mile route Sept. 17. The train is equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity throough a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, a process that leaves steam and water as the only emissions. Excess energy is stored in batteries on board. [, 9-17-18]

WABTEC-GE MERGER MOVING AHEAD: Wabtec says it is progressing with its proposed merger with GE Transportation, and has filed a proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Wabtec expects the transaction to be completed by early 2019. [Railway Age website report, 9-17-18]

AMTRAK TO SEEK PTC EXTENSIONS: Amtrak's chief operating officer has told a U.S. House subcommittee that the railroad will seek an extension to complete positive train-control implementation for continued operations beyond the end of the year because of 'interoperability' issues with host railroads. By Jan. 1, 2018, Amtrak anticipates that 90 percent of its trains will operate with PTC along some or all of their routes. Amtrak's goal is to continue to operate all of its current routes after the first of the year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-14-18]

SALEM, OREGON, TRAIN STATION TO CELEBRATE 100 YEARS: A celebration of the centennial of the railroad station in Salem, Oregon, will be Tuesday, September 25, from 10 A.M. until noon. [Oregon Dept. of Transportation, 9-14-18]

TWO NAMED TO KEY CSX POSITIONS: CSX has appointed Dean Piacente to vice-president of industrial products, and Maryclare Kenney to vice-president of intermodal and automotive. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-14-18]

EFFINGHAM R.R. BREAKS GROUND ON NEW OFFICE, SHOP FACILITY: Effingham Railroad has begun construction on a new 9.000-square-foot office and shop facility in Effingham, Illinois. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-14-18]

FIRST POWER CAR BODYSHELL COMPLETED FOR AMTRAK AVELIA LIBERTY TRAIN: Alstom and Merrill Technologies Group have announced the completion of the first power car bodyshell for the Avelia Liberty trainsets that will operate on Amtrak's Northeast corridor. At its facility in Alma, Michigan, Merrill is manufacturing 56 bodyshells for Alstom. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-14-18]

CALIFORNIA SEEKS TO INCREASE ACCESS TO STATE RAIL SERVICES: California Dept. of Transportation wants to increase opportunities for passenger rail services to allow for easier access to all rail services within the state. The newly-released 2018 State Rail Plan is focused on an integrated transportation system to allow passengers to easily transfer from local transit to regional, intercity and future high-speed rail. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 9-14-18]

TEXAS CENTRAL PARTNERS GETS $300-M LOAN TOWARD HSR CONSTRUCTION: A $300-million loan has been obtained by Texas Central Partners for the construction of the high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston. The loan is backed by Japanese sources. It is estimated that the project could cost $12-billion to $15-billion. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 9-14-18]

BOMBARDIER UNVEILS NEW BATTERY-OPERATED TRAIN IN GERMANY: Bombardier Transportation has unveiled a new battery-operated train in Berlin, Germany. It is 50 percent quieter than a modern diesel train and does not generate exhaust. The first of its kind to enter passenger operation in Europe in more than six decades, the unit can cover distances of 25 miles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-14-18]

AMTRAK'S INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY HAS ROOM FOR IMROVEMENT, AUDIT SAYS: Following a recent audit, Amtrak's office of inspector general has determined that the railroad's information technology management has room for improvement if it wants to minimize the possibility of impact of information technology service disruptions. Since 2012, Amtrak has spent more than $12-million to minimize the possibility and impact of such disruptions to its information technology services, the report said. Fifty service disruptions caused an estimated $1-million in lost revenue last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-13-18]

COURT NIXES CALIFORNIA LAW IMPOSING ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP COSTS TO RAILROADS: A U.S. court has ruled a $45-per-car fee imposed upon railroads carrying hazardous materials in California is unfair in that there is no such fee to trucks carrying the same commodity. [San Francisco Chronicle website report, 9-13-18]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN NEW RIVER GORGE: A CSX train derailment Sept. 9 in West Virginia's New River Gorge involving at least eight cars of coal may have spilled contents into a tributary of the New River, according to the National Park Service. No fuel leakage was involved, and no injuries were reported. [W.Va. Public Radio, 9-12-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Sept. 8, 2018, U.S. rail freight traffic was 502,208 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.1 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads report, 9-12-18]

ROBERT JANSSEN DIES, RETIRED RAILROADER, AUTHOR: Robert William Janssen, retired B&O accounting department employee, who spent much of his spare time both before and after retiring riding trains and writing of his adventures, died September 8. He authored a book in 2000 entitled Travelin' in which he chronicled a plethora of journeys encompassing more than one and one-half million miles using various transportation modes, usually by train, keeping copious notes. In his stopover points he would often ride streetcars and buses, and pay visits to fire stations. He also had long-time memberships in the Baltimore Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. He was 93. [Baltimore Sun website report, 9-12-19]

HYDROGEN TRAINS TO BE DEVELOPED FOR BRITAIN: Alstom is working with British rolling stock leasing company Eversholt to retrofit class 321 electric multiple-units with hydrogen tanks and fuel cells for hydrogen operation, in respose to government's challenge to eliminate diesel operation on the national network by 2040. The conversions will be in batches of up to 15 trains at a time, and eventually 100 trains could be converted. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-11-18]

ILLINOIS PUTS A HOLD ON AMTRAK HIAWATHA SERVICE INCREASE: Illinois Dept. of Transportation will not allow a federal decision on the proposed Amtrak Hiawatha project to move forward until 'community concerns have been adequately considered and addressed.' Illinois, Wisconsin and the Federal Railroad Administration had proposed increasing service on the Hiawatha line from seven to 10 daily round trips. [Chicago Tribune website report, 9-11-18]

LIRR TO RENOVATE LYNBROOK STATION: Long Island Rail Road has announced a $17.9-million project to upgrade its Lynbrook station along the Babylon and Long Beach branches. The project calls for rehabilitating the 1930s-era Lynbrook viaduct, improving the drainage system, replacing platform canopies, and installing two new glass-platform waiting rooms. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-11-18]

D.C. METRO AWARDS CONTRACTS FOR POTOMAC YARD STATION: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has awarded a $213.7-million construction contract for the planned Potomac Yard Metrorail station in Virginia. It will be built on the Yellow and Blue lines between the existing Braddock road and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-11-18]

IRON ORE RAIL LINE IN UKRAINE ELECTRIFIED: Electric haulage began Sept. 6 on the 13.4KM Potoki-Zolotnyshyne rail line in Ukraine serving a large open cast iron ore mine. Ten trains operate each way per day, and the national railway expects to switch from diesel to electric haulage to reduce expenses. [Railway Gazette website report, 9-11-18]

STEPS TAKEN TO BRING HIGH-SPEED RAIL TO SAN FRANCISCO: A San Francisco transportation board has granted preliminary approval to a $6.1-billion rail line between the Salesforce Transit center and a Caltrain station in Mission Bay. The project is expected to be finished in 2027, and is part of a larger effort to bring high-speed rail to the city. [San Francisco Examiner, 9-11-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending September 9, 2018. The remaining trains arrived, on average, one hour and 45 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-10-18]

NEW WORLD TRADE CENTER SUBWAY STATION OPENS: New York's new WTC Cortlandt subway station opened Sept. 8, replacing the original station in lower Manhattan which was destroyed in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The station provides a main accessible transfer point given its location adjacent to the World Trade Center transportation hub, which offers connections to numerous subway lines. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-10-18]

UNION PACIFIC TO ACQUIRE 1,000 HIGH-TECH REFRIGERATED BOXCARS: Union Pacific plans to procure 1,000 high-tech refrigerated boxcars - and up to 1,600, if needed - which would mark one of the largest equipment acquisitions in the railroad's history. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-10-18]

THE WESTERN GROUP WINS BID TO OPERATE WASHIGTON STATE SHORTLINE: The Western Group has been chosen by the state of Washigton and Spokane County as the preferred bidder for operation of Washington Eastern Railroad between Cheney and Coulee City. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-10-18]

TRENITALIA PENDOLINO REACHES 132 MPH IN GREEK TESTS: A Trenitalia ETR 485 Pendolino electric multiple-unit underwent high-speed tests in Greece September 7, reaching a maximum speed of 132 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-10-18]

NJT TRANSIT TRAINS DISRUPTED BY ELECTRICAL ISSUE: Two N.J. Transit tranis were disabled Sept. 7, stranding more than 1,000 travelers for more than an hour, after a pantograph pierced the roof of one of the cars. No injuries were reported, and regular commuter service has since resumed. [U.S. News & World Report, 9-10-18]

TRAIN SERVICE DISRUPTED BY SOUNDS OF GUNSHOTS IN SEATTLE: BNSF halted trains on its busy mainline late Sept. 8 after possible gunshots were heard by a crew at a switching yard near Seattle's Boeing Field. Two Amtrak trains were delayed along with BNSF trains. A multi-agency police response resulted, no damage was found, and train service resumed. [Seattle Times website report, 9-8-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN MULLS MOVING HEADQUARTERS FROM NORFOLK: Norfolk Southern is considering moving its corporate headquarters from Norfolk to Atlanta, according to Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The move could bring as many as 1,400 jobs to the Atlanta area. [Norfolk Virginian-Pilot website report, 9-8-18]

CSX STILL 'CONSIDERING' HOWARD STREET TUNNEL EXPANSION: A plan to expand the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore is not completely off the table, but CSX says a path forward is dependent on a solution that meets the long-term goals of the railroad, the state of Maryland and the port of Baltimore. Height restrictions within the 121-year-old tunnel prevent the shipment of double-stacked containers to and from the port, which is seeing a significant increase in activity. CSX halted plans to expand the tunnel in Nov. 2017. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-7-18]

N.Y. PENN STATION TO GET NEW ENTRANCE: Plans have been unveiled for a new Penn Station entrance to provide direct access to Long Island Rail Road's main concourse and New York City Transit subways. Situated at 33rd street and 7th avenue, the entrance is designed to accommodate tens of thousands of LIRR passengers each day. In addition, the LIRR main concourse will be widened from its current 30 feet to 57 feet. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-7-18]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS TO SUPPORT VIETNAMESE LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: A Russian Railways subsidiary will partner with a Vietamese investors consortium for the Tan Tao-Lin Dong-Long Thanh Airport light-rail project in Ho Chi Minh City and the Dong Nai Province. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-7-18]

DOWNEASER TO BE DISRUPTED BY TRACK WORK: Construction on the rail line in southern Maine and New Hampshire will disrupt weekday service starting this coming weekend through early October. Passengers destined for stops in Maine should expect to take part of their trip by bus. Weekend service will operate normally, but maybe with some delays. Some fares are being reduced during the work period to compensate passengers. [Portland Press Herald, 9-7-18]

TRIMET MULLS CLOSING FOUR PORTLAND LIGHT-RAIL STATIONS: Tri-County Metropolitan District of Oregon is contemplating closing four downtown Portland light-rail stations to help improve the flow of trains through the area. Each station is less than a quarter mile from another stop, and has low ridership. Closing the stations would shave two minutes running time. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-6-18]

CSX ELIMINATING CERTAIN TRAFFIC END-POINT PAIRS: CSX has announced numerous changes to interline service as of Sept. 17. The company is eliminating 197 of 301 origin-destination pairs provided through interline service, citing low volume. A number of the affected CSX destinations include Union Pacific shipments to Baltimore, Charleston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Portsmouth, Savannah, Nashville and Columbus. [Railway Age website report, 9-6-18]

CSX SEES PTC PAVING THE WAY FOR ONE-PERSON CREWS: CSX will eventually seek to operate trains with one-person crews under the protection of positive train-control, the company's chief financial officer has told an investor conference. [Train Magazine website report, 9-6-18]

NTSB ISSUES REPORT ON FATAL 2017 BNSF ACCDIENT IN S.D.: A series of human errors led to a BNSF train striking and killing two workers clearing snow and ice from a switch near Edgemont, S.D., in Jan. 2017, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board. One of the workers killed was the designated lookout, and that worker did not devote his full attention to approaching trains, was not furnished the necessary equipment required, and the sight distance at the switch was inadequate with only one lookout assigned. [U.S. News & World Report, 9-6-18]

SERBIA REOPENS LINE TO BOSNIAN BORDER: Passenger services on the 40-mile Serbian rail line from Sabac to Loznica and Brasina on the Bosnian border restarted Sept. 1, having been suspended since 2005. Service will be further extended to Zvornik Novi in Bosnia-Herzegovina in December. The modernized route is suitable for a maximum speed of 50 MPH. [Railway Gazette website report, 9-6-18]

AUSTRALIA RAISES CONCERNS OVER SIEMENS-ALSTOM MERGER: The merger of Siemens Mobility and Alstom could have a potentially negative impact on competition in the signaling market in Australia, according to a statement of issues published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-6-18]

CN ORDERS 60 MORE EVOLUTION-SERIES LOCOMOTIVES: Canadian National will acquire 60 additional Evolution-Seires diesel locomotives from GE Transportion, in addition to the 200 units ordered in Dec. 2017. The order includes further ET44AC units, which are compliant with U.S. EPA Tier 4 emissions standards. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-5-18]

NJT ATLANTIC CITY LINE CLOSES FOR SAFETY UPGRADE: The Atlantic City Rail line has been temporarily closed for a safety upgrade. The suspension is expected to last four months, and expanded bus service is being offered. [6ABC News website report, 9-5-18]

D.C. METRO SEEKS BUILDER FOR 8000-SERIES RAIL CARS: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has issued a request for proposals for the design and construction of at least 256 new 8000-series rail cars. Options in a potential contract would allow the agency to purchase up to 800 cars, total, and allow the retirement of their 6000-series fleet in liue of a midlife overhaul. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-5-18]

RAIL UNIONS FILE PETITION AGAINST FRA OVER CREW DISPUTE: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers have filed a petition alleging that the Federal Railroad Administration is allowing Mexican crews from Kansas City Southern de Mexico to operate trains in the U.S. in violation of federal law and safety practices. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-5-18]

SAN DIEGO RECEIVES FIRST NEW SIEMENS LRV: San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has received the first of 45 new S70 low-floor light-rail vehicles from Siemens for the San Diego Trolley. The remaining cars are scheduled for delivery over the next two years. [Railway Age website report, 9-5-18]

VIA RAIL LOGS RIDERSHIP, REVENUE GAINS IN 2-Q: VIA Rail Canada served 1.13 million passengers in the second quarter 2018, a 10 pct increase over the same period a year ago. Revenue increased 8.4 pct. Ridership was highest along the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-5-18]

STORM DISRUPTS AMTRAK SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS: Crescent train 19 arriving in Atlanta Sept. 4 and 5 will terminate at that location without continuing to New Orleans. Train 20 of Sept. 5 and 6 will originate at Atlanta instead of New Orleans. Sunset Limited train 2 of Sept. 2 will terminate in Houston, and Sunset Limited train 1 of Sept. 5 will originate at Houston. [Amtrak, 9-4-18]

OMNITRAX SELLS HUDSON BAY RAILWAY: OmniTRAX has sold the Hudson Bay Railway along with the Port of Churchill to the Arctic Gateway Group and a consortium of First Nations and communities in association with Missinippi Rail. The acquisition will allow for the repair and restoration of the rail line, which has been out of service between Gillam and the port for the past 15 months due to flood damage. Work will begin immediately to repair the line, and all efforts will be made to restore service before winter, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-4-18]

NEW YORK COMMITS TO BROOKLYN-QUEENS LIGHT-RAIL: New York City will develop the Brooklyn-Queens Connector light-rail project following the completion of a two-year feasibility study. The 11-mile line will follow the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, and is forecast to serve around 50,000 passengers per day. [Railway Age website report, 9-4-18]

AMTRAK COMPLETES EMPIRE LINE UPGRADE TO N.Y. PENN STATION: Amtrak trains are running to New York's Penn Station from the Empire Line once again, following millions of dollars in work. Trains had been diverted to Grand Central Terminal during the rehab project this summer. [Albany Times Union website report, 9-4-18]

NJT DELAYS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR, STATE WARNS: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy pulled no punches when he warned commuters that N.J. Transit's problems with canceled trains will continue until the end of the year. Meanwhile, of 19 trains canceled during the most recent Friday evening peak period, 10 were blamed on equipment out of service for positive train-control installation, eight were canceled because an engineer was not available, and one was canceled because of a mechanical problem. [, 9-4-18]

UNDERGROUND ORBITAL RAILWAY PLANNED FOR MELBOURNE: The Victoria state government has unveiled plans for a 56-mile underground orbital railway linking key points on the existing Melbourne suburban rail network, and has set an estimated price tag of $36-billion for the project. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-3-18]

AUGUST 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in August 2018. The remaining 79 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 50 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-1-18]

BALTIMORE'S LIGHT-RAIL SERVICE TO HUNT VALLEY TO BE INTERRUPTED BY MAINTENANCE WORK: Between Sept. 14 ad Oct. 4, light-rail service will be suspended between Warren road and Hunt Valley as the Maryland Transit Administration carries out planned track maintenance and rail replaceent. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-31-18]

PLANS MOVING AHEAD TO RESTART INTERMODAL TRANSFER PROJECT IN L.A.: The Port of Los Angeles and BNSF will comply with a court order that could get development of a major intermodal transfer project moving once again. The Southern California International Gateway, which would be located adacent to Union Pacific's Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, was stopped in 2016 by a court ruling, but may now proceed with the filing of a revised environmental impact analysis. [Railway Age website report, 8-31-18]

UNION PACIFIC TO PROVIDE CRUDE-BY-RAIL SERVICE FOR TEXAS TERMINAL: Vista Proppants & Logistics, through an agreement with Jupiter MLP, will ship Permian Basin crude oil via Union Pacific from Vista's terminal in Pecos, Texas, through 2019, or beyond, depending on pipeline construction and capacity. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-31-18]

AMTRAK ADDRESSES SERVICE OVER NON-PTC SEGMENTS: In response to a request by the Rail Passengers Association to Amtrak concerning a report that certain trains would be discontinued or truncated due to the lack of positive train-control, Amtrak said, "For those carriers and routes operating under an extension or under an FRA-approved exemption, Amtrak is performing risk analyses and developing strategies for enhancing safety on a route-by-route basis to ensure that there is a single level of safety across the Amtrak network." [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-31-18]

PANAMA TO BUILD MONORAIL SYSTEM FOR METRO LINE 3: Panama will establish a 16.6-mile, 14 station monorail system for line 3 of the Panama Metro. Twenty-eight trains of six cars will be employed. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-31-18]

UNION PACIFIC HAS 70 PCT OF ROUTE MILES IN PTC OPERATION: Union Pacific says as of Aug. 17, the company has installed positive train-control to 11,920 route miles, approximately 70 percent of its system. [Railway Age website report, 8-30-18]

BRIGHTLINE BOND ISSUE APPROVED FOR INFRASTRUCTURE EXTENSION: The Florida Development Finance Corp. has approved a $1.75-billion bond issue that will finance infrastructure for Brightline's passenger rail service in five Florida counties. The company expects to extend service to Orlando in 2021. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-30-18]

EMPIRE BUILDER STRANDED OVERNIGHT BY FLOODING: Amtrak says its Empire Builder trains were moving once again after about 400 passengers were stranded overnight by flooding in Wisconsin. The eastbound train became more than 18 hours late, and the westbound train more than 22 hours late. Amtrak said it was safest to shelter the passengers on the trains as roads in the area were impassable. [Winona Daily News, 8-29-18]

FEDS ALLOW SMALL RAILROADS TO AUTOMATE HOURS-OF-SERVICE RECORDS: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a final rule to allow eligible smaller railroads and their contractors to use automated systems instead of paper records to comply with federal employee hours-of-service recordkeeping requirements. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-29-18]

MBTA PREPARES TO BEGIN GREEN LINE TRACK, SIGNAL REPLACEMENT: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in October will begin construction on a major Green line track and signal replacement project. The project includes installing 25,000 feet of track and 6.5 miles of modernized signal infrastructure, and is expected to continue through December 2020. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-29-18]

DOWNEASTER TO RUN WITHOUT PTC: Officials say Amtrak's Downeaster will continue to run from Massachusetts to Maine, even without positive train-control. The service is exempt from the technology because fewer than 12 trips travel the line each day. [WMTW website report, 8-29-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending August 25, 2018, was 565,706 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.9 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-29-18]

AMTRAK SERVICE IN WISCONSIN DISRUPTED BY FLOODING: Flooding north of Madison, Wisconsin, disrupted Amtrak's Empire Builder Aug. 28 between Mauston and Wisconsin Dells. The track, maintained by Canadian Pacific, runs alongside the area of an interstate highway which also closed due to the flooding. [WKOW website report, 8-28-18]

FUNDING GAP BEING FILLED FOR N.C. LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: Durham County, N.C., is filling a $57.6-million funding gap for the $2.5-billion Durham Orange light-rail project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-28-18]

STADLER DELIVERS SECOND PANORAMIC COACH FOR ROCKY MOUNTAINEER: Stadler has shipped the second of 10 GoldLeaf panoramic coaches for the Rocky Mountaineer luxury train. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-28-18]

CASCADES ROUTE WILL HAVE PTC BY DEC. 31, OFFICIALS SAY: Amtrak and Washington state officials anticipate a positive train-control system will be installed on the Amtrak Cascades corridor prior to the Dec. 31 deadline. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-28-18]

INFINITY TO ADD REFRIGERATED INTERMODAL CONTAINERS: Infinity Transportation Logistics this fall will add new next-generation domestic refrigerated intermodal containers to its fleet in various lanes to and from Washington state and Oregon. The new units will more than double the company's existing fleet. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-28-18]

NYS&W SELECTS ROCKWELL COLLINS FOR PTC IMPLEMENTATION: New York Susquehanna & Western has chosen Rockwell Collins' ARINC RailwayNet platform for positive train-control implementation. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-28-18]

SRI LANKA RAILROAD STRIKE SUSPENDED: A Sri Lankan trade union has suspended a nationwide railroad strike planned for Aug. 29 following talks with the country's president. [Garda World website report]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 26, 2018. The remaining 70 percent, on average, arrived on hour and 14 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-27-18]

TWO DEAD, 11 INJURED AS TRINITY EXPRESS TRAIN STRIKES DUMP TRUCK: Authorities in Euless, Texas, say a Trinity Expess train collided with a dump truck late Aug. 25, killing two people inside the truck and injuring 11 people on the train. Two of those injured on the train are in critical condition. [New Jersey Herald website report, 8-25-18]

TGV TRAIN DERAILS IN FRANCE: Rail disruptions were reported in Marseilles, France, the evening of Aug. 24 following the derailment of a TGV train near the Saint-Charles train station. According to local sources, no passengers were injured in the incident. [Garda World, 8-24-18]

UNITED RAIL ACQUIRES U.S. RAIL HOLDINGS: United Rail has acquired U.S. Rail Holdings, a shortline operator that leases about 72 miles of track in Indiana and operaes it via the Winamac Southern Railway. United Rail is a shortline consolidator owning the X Train brand and license. X Train will provide passenger rail service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-24-18]

BNSF UNVEILS THREE NEW CERTIFIED SITES: BNSF has awarded Certified Site designations to three new industrial locations: Esterly Industrial Park in Enid, Oklahoma; Kootenai Business Park in Libby, Montana; and Cares Northgate Terminal in Saskatchewan, the first such designation for a site in Canada. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-24-18]

SWISS RAILWAYS INTRODUCES NEW DOUBLE-DECK DINING CARS: Swiss Federal Railways has unveiled the restaurant cars for its new fleet of RABDe 502 double-deck intercity electric multiple-unit trains which will gradually come into service following the launch of the new timetable Dec. 9. The cars, which can accommodate up to 30 passengers, will initially be used mainly on trains between Geneva and St. Gallen. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-24-18]

IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED FOR TRAIN STATION IN GROVER BEACH, CALIFORNIA: The Grover Beach, California, train station is about to receive $3.1-million in improvements and enhancements that will benefit Amtrak passengers. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-24-18]

INTEREST GROWING IN RESTORING PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE IN READING, PA.: The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance in Pennsylvania is interested in restoring passenger rail service from Reading to Norristown. The route would run along the Schuylkill River, and would allow passengers to easily connect from Berks County to Philadelphia by rail. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-24-18]

SEATTLE'S CHINATOWN PLANNED FOR NEW LIGHT-RAIL HUB: Seattle's Chinatown Inernational District is set to become a new light-rail hub connecting Bellevue, West Seattle and Ballard over the next five to 17 years. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-24-18]

AMTRAK DISTORTS COSTS OF LONG-DISTANCE SERVICES, RPA SAYS: The Rail Passengers Association has published a study that finds the policy debate over the future shape of Amtrak's national network has been distorted by the railroad's use of fully-allocated costs, rather than avoidable costs, as required by statute. The adverse outcome is the incorrect perception that Amtrak's Notheast corridor is financially self-sufficient, and that the need for taxpayer funding results entirely from its operation of trains in the rest of the nation, according to the study. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-24-18]

RAIL STRIKE SLATED FOR SRI LANKA: A railway trade union is set to launch an 'indefinite' national rail strike in Sri Lanka beginning Aug. 29. The country's rail network is 974 miles long with 179 main stations. [Garda World website report, 8-24-18]

NEPAL, CHINA AGREE ON RAIL STUDY: Nepal and China have agreed on the technical details of the Kathmandu-Kerung railway line, and will soon begin the process of preparing a report for the nine-year project. [Kathmandu Post, 8-24-18]

RAIL TRAIL TO BE DEVELOPED IN WESTERN N.Y. STATE: A 27-mile recreation trail will come to fruition in the western New York Southern Tier after a 49-year agreement was made between the Buffalo Pittsburgh Railroad and the Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail. The Orchard Park depot will serve as the trail head, and the trail will run through Aurora, Concord and Springville, terminating in Ashford. [East Aurora Bee, 8-23-18]

TEMPE STREETCAR PROJECT GETS FEDERAL CLEARANCE TO ENTER CONSTRUCTION: Valley Metro has received a clearance of 'No Prejudice' from the Federal Transit Administration for the Tempe, Arizona, streetcar project to proceed to the next phase of construction. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-23-18]

SHON YATES NAMED VICE-PRESIDENT COAL FOR CSX: CSX has appointed Shon Yates vice-president of coal, responsible for coal sales and marketing. He replaces Russ Epting, who is leaving the company. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-23-18]

U.S. CLASS I WORKFORCE RELATIVELY STABLE IN JULY: In mid-July, U.S. Class I railroads employed 147,426 people, up 0.1 pct from the month earlier, and down less than one-tenth of a percent from July 2017, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-23-18]

BWI AIRPORT RAIL STATION RENOVATION SET TO BEGIN: A $4.7-million project to renovate the BWI Airport rail station in Anne Arundel County, Md., is set to begin Aug. 27. Included is an expanded waiting area, new ticketing facilities and concession area, and new restrooms. The work is expected to take 14 months, and a temporary station at the north end of the site will be in use. The station serves both Amtrak and MARC trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-23-18]

BOMBARDIER OPENS ELECTRONICS RESEARCH LAB IN GERMANY: Bombardier Transportation has opened a new laboratory in Mannheim, Germany, where it will develop and test electronics systems for train control and signaling control systems. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-23-18]

CANADIAN CRUDE-BY-RAIL EXPORTS SET RECORD IN JUNE: Canada's National Energy Board says crude-by-rail exports from Canada set a record in June 2018, rising to 204,558 barrels per day, an 86 pct increase from June of last year. [Canadian Press website report, 8-22-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: Rail freight traffic in the U.S. for the week ending August 18, 2018, was 567,477 carloads and intermodal units, a 3.7 pct increase compared with the corresponding week last year, as reported by the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 8-22-18]

PROGRESSIVE RAIL TO LEASE UNION PACIFIC TRACK IN OREGON: Progressive Rail has agreed to lease a 1.6-mile industrial lead track from Union Pacific in Clackamas, Oregon, and is seeking federal approval to create the Clackamas Valley Railroad to operate the track. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-22-18]

GEORGIA'S NEW INLAND TERMINAL OPENED: The new CSX-served Appalachian Regional Port in northwest Georgia's Murray County was officially opened for business on Aug. 22. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-22-18]

BOMBARDIER LANDS CZECH ORDER FOR UP TO 50 TRAXX LOCOMOTIVES: Czech Railways' subsidiary CD Cargo has signed a purchase agreement for up to 50 Traxx multi-system locomotives. The units will be equipped with the latest version of Europe's train-control system, and has 'last mile' feature to function in non-electrified track sections. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-22-18]

FEDS GRANT $73-M TOWARD PTC IN FOUR STATES: Metra, Chicago Rail Link and Belt Railway of Chicago; New Mexico Rail Runner; Dallas Area Rapid Transit; and Middletown and New Jersey Railroad have, in total, been granted $73-million toward the cost of installing positive train-control by the Federal Railroad Commission. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-22-18]

PROSECUTORS, DEFENSE SAY NTSB IS WITHHOLDING CRUCIAL INFORMATION IN AMTRAK 188 CASE: The engineer of train 188 that tipped over in Philadelphia more than three years ago is facing many charges, but attorneys on both sides say they are not getting crucial information such as videos of the crash, audio recordings and interview tapes from the National Transportation Safety Board. Meanwhile, the agency says it is working to compile the information. [KYW website report, 8-22-18]

FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS EAST OF L.A., CAUSING SPILL: Thirteen tank cars derailed on the south side of Cajon Pass Aug. 21, with at least three of the cars leaking. No injures were reported, but there was a precautionary evacuation of nearby buildings and a homeless camp along a riverbed in San Bernardino. [U.S. News & World Report, 8-21-18]

LIRR DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT TO BE DONE BY END OF SUMMER: Long Island Rail Road says its project to double-track is line from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma will be completed by the end of summer. For the first time in its 184-year history, LIRR will operate on at least two tracks on its main line from Manhattan to Ronkonkoma. [CBS New York website report, 8-21-18]

LOUIS GAMBACCINI DIES, FIRST CHAIRMAN OF NJT: Louis J. Gambaccini, the founding chairman of the board of New Jersey Transit, died Aug. 19. He was 87. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-21-18]

HYUNDAI ROTEM LANDS SEOUL LIGHT-RAIL CONTRACT: Hyundai Rotem has been awarded a $323.2-million contract to equip an automated light-rail line in Seoul, including 50 trains, signaling, track and various equipment. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-21-18]

GREENBRIER, WATCO DISSOLVE RAILCAR REPAIR JOINT VENTURE: Greenbrier and Watco companies have discontinued their railcar repair joint enture, saying the retrofit market never fully materialized. Work will revert to shops of the two respective companies. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-21-18]

BNSF OPENS LOGISTIC CENTER IN OKLAHOMA CITY: BNSF on Aug. 21 officially debuted Logistics Center Oklahoma City, the railroads newest logistics center. It is designed to accommodate manifest and unit train customers, plus providing a storage site. [Railway Age website report, 8-21-18]

MBTA, KEOLIS TO BEGIN EIGHT-WEEK RAIL REPLACEMENT PROJECT: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and its commuter rail operating partner Keolis will launch the Worcester Commuter Rail line improvement project Aug. 25 and continue through Oct. 20. Service delays may result, but it is intended that the work will not impact weekday rush hour trains. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-21-18]

DUTCH RAIL NETWORK WARNED OF NETWORK CAPACITY CRUNCH: Infrastructure manager Prorail has warned the Dutch rail network it will be increasingly difficult to allocate track capacity among train operators if investment is not made to optimize capacity by the year 2030. In the meantime, a new passenger operator is set to begin operation on the network in 2019. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-21-18]

NYC PREPARES FOR L-TRAIN SHUTDOWN: The looming shutdown in April 2019 of New York City's L-train for 15 months of repairs has officials preparing to deal with the diversion of 275,000 Brooklyn subway riders. Among the changes are 80 new bus shuttles to cross the Williamsburg bridge, a street closing to allow for a four-lane busway, and Citibike's addition of 1,250 bikes and 2,500 bike stations in affected areas. [CityLab website report, 8-21-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 19, 2018. The remaining 78 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 47 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-20-18]

B&O STATION AT MOUNT AIRY, MD., TO BE OPENED AS A MUSEUM: The 19th century B&O train station at Mount Airy, Md., will be opened as a museum for the Mount Airy Historical Society with a ceremony at 4PM Aug. 25. [Carroll County Times, 8-20-18]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TRAINS DELAYED BY FIRE IN PHILADELPHIA: A fire in a Frankford, Pa., junk yard next to the tracks late Aug. 19 impacted Amtrak and SEPTA rail service. [WPVI website report, 8-20-18]

AMTRAK CHARTER TRAIN POLICY: Charter trains must operate on existing Amtrak routes; must not be one-time trips; use of Amtrak resources such as equipment and crews are subject to availability without impact on regular operations; must generate sufficient financial benefit for Amtrak to justify resources and assets; and terms and conditions are subject to final written agreement signed by Amtrak and charter customer. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-17-18]

METROLINK LANDS GRANT TOWARD RAIL PROJECTS IN ADVANCE OF 2028 OLYMPICS: The California Transportation Commission has awarded a $6.5-million grant to Metrolink to begin design, operations modeling and environmental assessment toward the first projects to improve regional rail in time for the 2028 Olympic games in Los Angeles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-17-18]

AMTRAK STATION VOLUNTEER PROGRAM SET TO BEGIN: The Rail Passengers Association has announced it is about to launch a nationwide station volunteer program. Participants will provide helpful information and directions for travelers, assist those who need help with luggage, and provide an insightful conversation about train travel. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-17-18]

PROGRESS UPDATE ON PTC IMPLEMENTATION BY U.S. TRANSIT AGENCIES: The American Public Transportation Association reports progress on positive train-control implementatiion by U.S. transit agencies: 91 pct of spectrum has been acquired; 85 pct of on onboard equipment has been installed on locomotives and cab-control cars; 79 pct of wayside installations have been completed; 78 pct of back-office control systems are ready; 74 pct of affected employees have been trained; and 34 pct of commuter railroads are in testing, revenue service demonstration, or are already operating with PTC. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-17-18]

BICYCLES TO BE ALLOWED ON HARTFORD LINE TRAINS: Beginning Aug. 18, Connecticut will allow Hartford Line passengers to store up to 20 bicycles on board trains in a bike-only car located on the rear of the train. It is a temporary solution; the state is working on a permanent solution of installing bike racks on each of the trains. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-17-18]

NEW YORK SUBWAY TURNAROUND PLAN TO COST $40-B: A 10-year 'Fast Forward' plan to repair New York City Transit's subway and bus systems is expected to cost about $40-billion, the agency said. The plan calls for updating the subway system's signals and track infrastructure with communications-based train control. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-16-18]

CHICAGO TRANSIT TO MODERNIZE THREE BLUE LINE STATIONS: The Chicago Transit Authority has approved a $30-million contract for renovations at the Grand, Chicago and Division Blue line stations. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-16-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Aug. 11, 2018, was 556,887 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-15-18]

JOHN ORR NAMED CHIEF TRANSPORTATION OFFICER OF CN: John Orr, an experienced operator across three CN regions, has been named senior vice-president and chief transportation officer responsibile for day-to-day rail operations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-15-18]

TOM LISCHER NAMED TO LEAD OPERATIONS OF UNION PACIFIC: Tom Lischer has been named executive vice-president of operations at Union Pacific, replacing Cameron Scott, who plans to retire next February. [Railway Age website report, 8-15-18]

NJT AWARDS ENGINEERING CONTRACT: New Jersey Transit has awarded a task order contract for bridge and railway engineering to Modjeski and Masters. The firm will lead a project team of subconsultants to provide expertise on heavy- and light-rail systems, facilities and equipment, as needed, throughout the state. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-15-18]

CHILD ON BICYCLE STRUCK BY TRAIN IN PA.: Officials say a child riding a bicycle on CSX tracks in Dawson, Pa., Aug. 15 was struck by a train and flown to a hospital in Pittsburgh. [U.S. News & World Report, 8-15-18]

POD TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM PLANNED FOR BENEATH L.A.: Elon Musk's Boring Co. plans to build a 3.6-mile tunnel beneath Los Angeles and transport people on eight- to 16-passenger pods. The tunnel will stop at Dodger Stadium, but the number of passengers will be limited to 2.5 pct of the stadium's capacity during the pilot phase's measured approach. [Wired website report, 8-15-18]

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK BY NJT TRAIN ON RIVER LINE: A person was struck by a New Jersey Transit train early Aug. 14 at the Beverly-Edewater Park River Line light-rail station, and rail traffic was then suspended in both directions between Burlington South and Delanco for a period of time. [6ABC News, 8-14-18]

SHENANDOAH VALLEY R.R. TO SERVE NEW COLD STORAGE SITE: InterChange Cold Storage plans to build a new $41-million facility in Rockingham County, Va., to be served by Shenandoah Valley Railroad, which has connections to CSX and Norfolk Southern. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-14-18]

SANTA CLARA VALLEY TO CUT EXPRESS LIGHT-RAIL SERVICE IN OCT.: Effective Oct.8, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in California will end its express light-rail service to reduce costs. Regular service will continue, to run every 15 minutes, making all stops. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-14-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifteen (15) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 12, 2018. The remaining 85 percent, on average, arrived two hours and two minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistial Dept., 8-13-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN PA.: An automobile that had become disabled while crossing railroad tracks in Tipton, Pa., late Aug. 12 was struck by a Norfolk Southern intermodal train, but the occupants of the car were able to exit in time and there were no injuries. The tracks were shut down for about three hours. [Altoona Mirror website report, 8-13-18]

KCS OPENS SECOND LAREDO CUSTOMS STATION: Kansas City Southern and U.S. Customs & Border Protection celebrated completion of the second Examination station at Laredo yard in Texas Aug. 10. [Railway Age website report, 8-13-18]

FIRST PHASE OF SAN FRANCISCO TRANSBAY CENTER OPENS: The first phase of San Francisco's $2.26-billion Transbay Salesforce Transit Center, which connects Amtrak, Greyhound, AC Transit, WestCAT Lynx and Muni Treasure Island line on the bus deck, began operating Aug. 12. The second phase will eventually include Caltrain and California High-Speed trains into an underground station. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-13-18]

BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD SIGNALMEN ELECT FLOYD MASON PRESIDENT: Floyd Mason has been electred president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen. Previously he served as vice-president East. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-13-18]

BALTIMORE AIRPORT LIGHT-RAIL SERVICE TO RESUME AUG. 20: Light-rail service to Baltimore-Wshington International Airport is expected to resume Aug. 20 following storm damage repairs. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-13-18]

ROCHELLE R.R. BREAKS GROUND ON $7-M EXPANSION: City of Rochelle Railroad in Illinois has broken ground on a $7-million expansion. Included is a four-track bridge, a three-track extension, and a double-track transloading yard. The system connects local industries with Union Pacific and BNSF. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-13-18]

BUS STRIKES OVERPASS AT NEWARK, N.J., PENN STATION; SEVERAL INJURED: A bus operated by Liberty Coach en route from Washington DC to New Jersey with over 40 passengers on board hit an overpass at Newark Penn Station late Aug. 12. Sixteen people were treated at hospitals. [WTOP website report, 8-13-18]

NYS&W TRAIN DERAILS, SPILLS FUEL INTO DELAWARE RIVER: An New York Susquehanna & Western train derailed east of Binghamton, N.Y., early Aug. 9, with up to 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel from a locomotive being spilled into the West branch of the Delaware River. [Pocono Record website report, 8-10-18]

GOVERNMENT FUNDING COMMITTED FOR RAIL BRIDGE IN QUEBEC: The governments of Canada and Quebec have made a combined $36.1-million (C) commitment to building a rail bridge spanning the Mistassini River in Dolbeau-Mistassini to serve an industrial park. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-10-18]

METRO-NORTH TO INSTALL PTC ON NEW CANAAN BRANCH: Metro-North will begin installing positive train-control equipment on the New Canaan branch Aug. 10, with train service suspended. Substitute buses will be in use between New Canaan and Stamford through Aug. 12. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-9-18]

L.A. TO BEGIN BLUE LINE OVERHAUL IN JANUARY: Los Angeles County Transportation Authority will begin work on a $350-million modernization of its 28-year-old Blue Line between Los Angeles and Long Beach in Jan. 2019. Portions of the line will be closed for four months apiece, beginning with the south end, and ending with the north end. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-9-18]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN ALONG N.E. CORRIDOR IN N.J.: Amtrak and NJ Transit service resumed early Aug. 9 between Trenton and New York following the death of a person who was struck by a train in Metuchen, N.J., resulting in lengthy delays. [New Jersey Herald, 8-9-18]

GREENBRIER BUYS MAJORITY STAKE IN TURKISH RAILCAR MANUFACTURER: Greenbrier has acquired a 68 pct stake in Turkish railcar manufacturer Rayvag, expanding its European operations in an area offering a key connection between Europe and Asia. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-9-18]

INTERIOR FEATURES OF NEW ACELA FLEET: Amtrak has released renderings of the interior of its new Acela fleet that will operate on the Northeast corridor. Twenty-eight train sets, each designed to accommodate 386 passengers, are included in its contract with Alstom. Cars will have six LED screens to provide real-time information such as train speed and announcements, on-board Wi-Fi, a seat reservation system, streamlined overhead luggage compartments, and ADA compliant restrooms. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-9-18]

D.C. METRO TO REWIRE ITS NEW 7000-SERIES CARS: In a process expected to take more than a year, Washington Metro will need to pull 548 of its new 7000-series rail cars from service to address wire-crimping defects. Two hundred of the new cars have yet to be delivered. The cars were intended to accelerate the retirement of Metro's 1000- and 4000-series cars. [Progressive Railroading website report,8-9-18]

GRENADA RAILROAD CHANGES HANDS: International Rail Partners has acquired rights to Grenada Railroad from Iowa Pacific. The new owner is leasing, and can eventually buy the 180-mile railroad from North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority. [U.S. News & World Report, 8-8-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Aug. 4, 2018, was 570,995 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.2 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-8-18]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS ON BRIDGE IN ST. PAUL, DIESEL FUEL SPILLED INTO RIVER: A Union Pacific train derailed on a St. Paul bridge early Aug. 8, causing 3,200 gallons of diesel fuel to spill into the Mississippi River. [Minneapols Star-Tribune, 8-8-18]

FIBER OPTIC SENSORS MAY BOOST RAIL SAFETY: Fiber Optic Acoustic Detection is an emerging technology with the potential to enhance safety in the railroad industry by continuously monitoring the condition of rail, track and rolling stock. The system pulses laser light down a fiber optic cable buried near a track to detect train movement, wheel impacts, rail breaks and dragging equipment. [, 8-8-18]

FRA ISSUES ADVISORY ON ELECTRIC WELDING: The Federal Railroad Administration has published a safety advisory on potential damage to rails caused by pressure electric welding. The advisory cautions that stray arcing from the process can result in electrode-induced burns or pits on the rail that may lead to fractures. [Safety & Health Magazine, 8-8-18]

VLS RECOVERY ACQUIRES BEAUCHAN RAIL SERVICES: VLS Recovery has acquired Beauchan Rail Services, a provider of railcar cleaning and product transfer services. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-8-18]

CSX DECENTRALIZES OPERATIONS: CSX has implemented a new operating management structure that decentralizes operational and support functions. Four operating entities have been established: Operations East, Operations West, Network Operations, and Intermodal Operations. The company says it is making a fundamental shift from a headquarters-centric organization to one in which all functions are aligned with its core mission. [Railway Age website report, 8-7-18]

LIRR COMPLETES CROSSING SAFETY INITIATIVE: Long Island Rail Road has completed its visible railroad crossing safety initiative, five months ahead of schedule. Reflective delineators and additional devices have been installed, as well as extended roadway markings, at each of its 296 grade crossings. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-7-18]

CITY, CSX FAULTED IN FATAL 2017 TRAIN COLLISION WITH BUS IN MISSISSIPPI: A train crash into a tour bus that killed four in Mississippi last year stemmed from the city of Biloxi and CSX failing to improve an unsafe rail crossing, the National Transportation Safety Board has concluded. The bus bottomed out on a crossing on which motor vehicles were known to ground frequently. [U.S. News & World Report, 8-7-18]

BNSF REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: BNSF reported second-quarter 2018 net income rose 37 pct to $1.3-billion, and total revenue climbed 12 pct to nearly $5.9-billion, compared with the same quarter last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-7-18]

GAS TURBINE LOCOMOTIVE TESTED IN RUSSIA UNDER LOAD: Russian Railways GT1h-002 prototype natural gas-fueled turbine-electric locomotive has completed a series of test runs in western Siberia hauling trains with a gross weight of up to 9,000 tons. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-7-18]

SINK HOLE IN TEXAS DELAYS AMTRAK TRAIN: A sink hole opened up along Union Pacific railroad tracks in Van Zandt County, Texas, early Aug. 6, causing traffic to be delayed. Amtrak's westbound Texas Eagle was stopped outside of Mineola for six years while the tracks were being repaired. [Tyler Morning Telegraph, 8-6-18]

DERAILMENT IN PITTSBURGH MISSED LANDING ON LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN BY TWO MINUTES: Pittsburgh avoided disaster by a scant two minutes Aug. 5 when a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed and sent cars tumbling over a hillside onto light-rail tracks. The light-rail train would have been crushed if it had been there when the derailment occurred. [Tribune Live, 8-6-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fourteen (14) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 5, 2018. The remaining 86 percent, on average, arrived two hours and 12 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept.]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN PITTSBURGH: Seven cars from a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed Aug. 5 in Pittsburgh, near Station Square, sending shipping containers tumbling down a hillside onto light-rail tracks. No injuries were reported. [6ABC Action News website report, 8-5-18]

CSX WORKER STRUCK BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN FLORIDA: A CSX employee was struck and injured by an Amtrak train late Aug. 4 in Jacksonville, Florida. The incident is being investigated. [Florida Times-Union, 8-4-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN'S LEAD ENGINE DERAILS IN D.C.: Amtrak train 20 en route from New Orleans to New York derailed at low speed just south of Washington DC Union Station Aug. 2. The derailment was confined to a set of wheels on the lead locomotive, and no injuries were reported. Considerable delays to other trains resulted. [WTOP News, 8-4-18]

GATX ANNOUNCES LONG-TERM RAILCAR ORDER: Leasing company GATX will purchase 7,650 railcars from American Railcar Industries over five years, beginning April 2019, with an option for up to 4,400 more. [Railway Gazette website report, 8-3-18]

SIEMENS SPLITS MOBILITY DIVISION INTO SEPARATE COMPANY: Siemens' Mobility division will be transferred into a separate company owned by Siemens in anticipation of its merger with Alstom. The company's divisions will be eliminated with operations reorganized into three operating and three strategic companies. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-3-18]

SEPTA TO PERFORM WORK ON MEDIA-ELWYN RAIL LINE: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will perform work this month aimed at rebuilding mainline infrastructore on the Media-Elwyn regional rail line. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-3-18]

BNSF DERAILMENT IN MONTANA DISRUPTS AMTRAK SERVICE: Rail traffic resumed early Aug. 3 across northern Montana after a dozen loaded grain cars of a BNSF train derailed the previous day just east of the Blackfeet Nation in Cut Bank. There were no injuries. Amtrak said passengers on the Empire Builder were bused between Whitefish and Shelby, and the trains were returned to their starting points. With the trains out of place, eastbound trains on Aug. 3 from Seattle and Portland and the westbound train from Chicago Aug. 4 were canceled. [Herald Whig website report, 8-3-18]

NJT TO SUSPEND ATLANTIC CITY RAIL SERVICE: N.J. Transit will suspend service on its Atlantic City line in September, continuing for about four months, as part of the agency's effort to outfit train cars with positive train-control. [New Jersey 101.5 website report, 8-3-18]

TRANSPORT CANADA ANNOUNCES RAIL SAFETY FUNDING: Transport Canada has announced $20-million (C) in federal money will go toward 105 rail safety projects. Most of the projects focus on infrastructure, technology and research, including safety improvements and grade-crossing closures. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-3-18]

CHINA CELEBRATES DECADE OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL: China marked a decade of high-speed rail development on Aug. 1 with celebrations to mark the beginning of the country's first railway designed for operation at speeds of more than 155 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-3-18]

BUCKINGHAM BRANCH R.R. LAUNCHES NORFOLK DIVISION: Buckingham Branch Railroad on Aug. 1 launched its new Norfolk Division, which will serve the Norfolk region via a seven-mile line linking Coleman Place with Little Creek, Va. The division's primary customer is the Chesapeake Tunnel Joint Venture, a link in the supply chain for materials needed for the bridge-tunnel expansion project. [Railway Age website report, 8-2-18]

AUCKLAND'S CITY RAIL LINK TO BE EXPANDED: Passenger capacity on Auckland's new City Rail Link (currently under construction) is set to be expanded as a result of patronage on the city's rail network rising faster than originally projected. Peak capacity, originally to be 36,000 passengers per hour, is to be boosted to 54,000 passengers per hour with the expansion. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-2-18]

BOTSWANA RAILWAYS LAUNCHES DMU TENDER: Botswana Railways has issued a call for tender for the supply of three diesel multiple-units. Each five-car train will be formed of two powered cars and three trailer cars. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-2-18]

JULY 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PEFORMANCE: For the month of July 2018, the Bull Sheet has calculated that 20 percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier. The remaining 80 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 56 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-1-18]

SENATE PASSES FUNDING BILL; SOUTHWEST CHIEF TO CONTINUE ITS ESTABLISHED ROUTE: The Senate on Aug. 1 voted to pass a funding bill that includes $2.5-billion for passenger rail, and ensures the Southwest Chief continues along its established route, turning back a proposal to fragment the service with a bus-bridge. [Rail Passengers Assn., 8-1-18]

JULY 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight originations in July 2018 were 2,156,435 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.2 pct compared with the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads increased 3.5 pct, and intermodal units increased 6.9 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-1-18]

THE ANDERSONS INC. ACQUIRING FREIGHTCAR AMERICA'S DANVILLE PLANT: The Andersons Inc. has signed an agreement to purchase FreightCar America's Danville, Illinois, currently idle railcar facility. Situated along a CSX line, the facility can store up to 400 railcars and provide a wide range of services. [Railway Age website report, 8-1-18]

CORTEX LIGHT-RAIL STATION OPENS IN ST. LOUIS: Metro Transit in St. Louis has opened its new Cortex MetroLink light-rail station, the agency's first new light-rail station in more than a decade. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-1-18]

CANADA AWARDS FUNDS FOR CENTRAL MANITOBA RAILWAY PROJECT: Transport Canada has awarded $5.6-million (C) in government funding for Central Manitoba Railway's Pine Falls subdivision upgrading along nearly nine miles from CN's Symington Yard to the Imperial Oil terminal at Birds Hill. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-1-18]

BNSF GIVEN PERMIT TO BUILD SECOND BRIDGE IN NORTHERN IDAHO: Idaho officials have approved BNSF's application for a permit to build a second railroad in northern Idaho across Lake Pend Oreille and Sand Creek in Sandpoint. [Construction Equipment Guide, 7-31-18]

MAN WEARING EARPHONES STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN MISSISSIPPI: Officials say a 20-year-old man wearing earphones while listening to music was struck and killed by an Amtrak train early July 30 in Picayune, Mississippi. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-31-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN DEPLOYS 3D SIMULATION-BASED TRAINING: Norfolk Southern is developing and deploying 3D simulation-based training apps built in partnership with Heartwood 3D. The first pilot of the technology is a 3D simulator covering freight-car air-brake inspection for new conductors and freight-car mechanics, and allows students to conduct virtual inspections and interact with brake components on a tablet or desktop computer. [Norfolk Southern, 7-31-18]

PATH AWARDS $240-M ORDER WITH KAWASAKI FOR SUBWAY CARS: Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which built the PATH PA-5 subway cars, has struck a $240-million deal for new and upgraded cars. Seventy-two new cars and 350 existing cars to be refurbished are included in the deal. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-31-18]

AMTRAK AUDIT FAULTS D.C. STATION PROJECT: Amtrak will improve its project management processes for a series of projects at Washington Union Station following an audit by the Amtrak Office of Inspector General which found the projects were at risk of delays and cost overruns. The projects are designed to triple passenger capacity over a 20-year period. [Railway Track & Sructures website report, 7-30-18]

SUNRAIL OPENS SOUTHERN EXPANSION: Sunrail, the Orlando-area commuter operator, inaugurated service on its southern expansion July 30, with stations at Meadow Woods, Tupperware, Kissimmee and Poinciana. The agency now operates a total of 32 miles of track serving 16 stations. [Railway Age website report, 7-30-18]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Genesee & Wyoming reported second-quarter 2018 operating revenue rose 10 pct and operating income increased 3.4 pct compared with the same quarter last year. Adjusted diluted EPS jumped 17.5 pct to 94 cents. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-30-18]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY 36 ADDITIONAL FRANCILIEN TRAINS FOR PARIS: French National Railways has placed an order with Bombardier for 36 Francilien trains for Ile-De-France Mobility in Paris. The agency will have a fleet of 313 Francilien trains. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-30-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixteen (16) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 29, 2018. The remaining 84 percent, on average, arrived two hours and three minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-30-18]

NYS&W BRIDGE PARTIALLY COLLAPSES INTO CREEK: Authorities say a New York, Susquehanna & Wesern railroad bridge in Ridgefield Park, N.J., spanning Overpeck Creek, partially collapsed early July 28 as a train was crossing. One railcar was damaged but there were no injuries or spills. The 100-year-old bridge carries 25,000 cars a year, and was scheduled for replacement this year. [New Jersey Herald website report, 7-29-18]

PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILS IN EGYPT, SIX INJURED: An Egyptian passenger train derailed July 29 near the southern city of Aswan, injuring at least six people. It is not clear what caused the derailment, but hours after the incident the head of the country's railway authority was fired. [Washington Post website report, 7-29-18]

MOTORIST WHO DROVE AROUND CROSSING GATES KILLED BY A TRAIN IN IOWA: An 18-year-old woman died early July 28 after her car was struck by a BNSF train in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. According to police, the driver went around lowered crossing gates and ignored flashing lights. [Des Moines Register website report, 7-28-18]

AMTRAK SUSPENDS COAST STARLIGHT DUE TO FIRE: Amtrak has suspended Coast Starlight service due to the Carr fire in California. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-27-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN HIKES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND 11 PCT: Norfolk Southern's board has approved an 11 pct increase in its quarterly common stock dividend from 72 to 80 cents per share. Combined with an 18 pct hike in the first-quarter, the company has increased its dividend by 29 pct this year. [Norfolk Southern, 7-27-18]

RSI LOGISTICS ACQUIRES SPECIALIZED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES: RSI Logistics has acquired Specialized Transportation Services which provides bulk liquid intermodal services from Portland, Oregon. The newly-acquired company will operaed under the name STS Intermodal, and its existing equipment, staff and management will remain in place. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-27-18]

RAIL SHORT LINES ADD $6.5-B TO U.S. ECONOMY, STUDY SAYS: An industry economic impact report prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers finds industries reliant on short line rail services provided 478,820 jobs, $26.1-billion in employee income and $56.2-billion in value added to the U.S. economy in 2016. [Railway Age website report, 7-27-18]

HIGH-SPEED RAIL BETWEEN VANCOUVER AND PORTLAND UNDER STUDY: A $1.5-billion ultra high-speed ground transportation business study in underway evaluating options to connect Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-27-18]

WOMAN WHO WAS KILLED BY UNION PACIFIC STEAM TRAIN WAS TAKING PICTURES: The 56-year-old woman who was struck and killed by the Union Pacific steam train July 21 was taking pictures of the locomotive and had gotten too close to the tracks. [Denver Post website report]

AMTRAK TO INVEST $370-M OVER 3 YEARS IN NEW MAINTENANCE EQUIPMENT FOR NEC: Amtrak plans to double its engineering efforts on the Northeast corridor with the purchase of $370-million in new equipment over a three-year period. Included are a Harsco track-laying system, two undercutters, five high-speed surfacing machines, heavy lift cranes for New York Penn Station, and locomotives and cars. [Railway Track & Structures website report]

UNION PACIFIC NAMES LYNDEN TENNISON CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER: Union Pacific has appointed 26-year veteran Lynden Tennison executive vice-president and chief strategy officer effective Aug. 1. Currently he is senior vice-president and chief information officer. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-27-18]

EXCAVATION OF SOUND TRANSIT'S BELLEVUE TUNNEL COMPLETED: Crews have completed excavation of Sound Transit's Bellevue tunnel, five months ahead of schedule. The tunnel will eventually connect the East Main and downtown Bellevue stations once the East Link begins service in 2023. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-27-18]

SENATE APPROVES MEASURE TO ANALYZE AMTRAK'S ON-TIME PERFORMANCE: The U.S. Senate has passed an amendment directing Amtrak's inspector general to update an earlier audit of the impact of the railroad's disappointing on-time performance. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-26-18]

METRO-NORTH NOW SAYS IT WILL MEET PTC DEADLINE, BUT NEEDS TIME FOR TESTING: Despite reports to the conrary, Metro-North says it will be meeting the year-end deadline to install postive train-control on its trains, but likely it will not be fully-operational because of the need for testing. [WCBS 880 website report, 7-26-18]

CSX TO PAY $2.2-M IN PENALTIES FOR W.VA. DERAILMENT, OIL SPILL: The federal government and state of West Virginia have announced a proposed settlement calling for CSX to pay $2.2-million in penalties for water pollution violations related to a 2015 derailment, fire and subsequent oil spill in Mount Carbon, W.Va. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-26-18]

BOMBARDIER AWARDED SINGAPORE METRO TRAIN CONTRACT: Bombardier has been awarded to contract to supply 396 Movia metro cars to run on the north-sough and east-west Singapore metro lines. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-26-18]

UNION PACIFIC INCREASES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND 10 PCT: The board of Union Pacific has voted to increase the quarterly common stock dividend by10 pct to 80 cents per share. [Union Pacific, 7-26-18]

ANIMAL REPELLENT APPROVED FOR RAIL USE IN THE NETHERLANDS: Following successful trials, the use of Tupoleum, a non-toxic organic product designed to harmless repel wild animals, has been approved for use in the Netherlands to reduce collisions with animals and damage they can cause to rail infrastructure. [Railway Gazewtte website report, 7-26-18]

POWER PROBLEMS DISRUPT METRO-NORTH: Power and circuit problems delayed some Metro-North trains early July 25. Lines impacted included New Haven line from Mount Vernon East to Larchmont, and Harlem line near Woodlawn. [lohud website report, 7-25-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reported record second-quarter financial results. Net income increased 43 pct year-over-year, a results of an 18 pct increase in income from operations and a lower effective tax rate. Diluted earnings per share were $2.50, up 46 pct year-over-year and a second-quarter record. [Norfolk Southern 7-25-18]

LIRR LAUNCHES ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAM: Long Island Rail Road has launched a program to assist riders with mobility ssues. Through its LIRR Care program, the railroad will offer help to passengers who need assistance boarding or exiting trains. The service will be available continuously. Riders are asked to call ahead two hours in advance of their trip, although at main terminals, where customer service ambassadors are on duty, riders may request assistance 15 minutes prior to departure. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-25-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending July 21, 2018, the Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight originations was 553,024 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 4.9 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 7-25-18]

LIRR SEEKS 2-YEAR EXTENSION TO IMPLEMENT PTC: The Long Island Rail Road is hoping to be granted a two-year extension as it works to fully implement positive train-control throughout its system. [News 12 N.J., 7-25-18]

CN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Canadian National reported second-quarter 2018 net income increased by 27 pct to $1.31-billion (C). Diluted EPS increased by 30 pct to $1.77. Revenues increased by 9 pct to $3.631-billion. [CN, 7-24-18]

BNSF TO LIMIT RETROFIT TANK CARS: Following a June derailment, BNSF is moving to limit the use of older tank cars retrofitted to upgraded DOT-117 federal safety standards, Reuters has reported. Fourteen DOT-117 tank cars derailed June 22 near Doon, Iowa, spilling 230,000 gallons of crude into the Little Rock River. [Railway Age website report, 7-24-18]

JEAN-JACQUES RUEST NAMED PRESIDENT, CEO OF CN: The board of directors of CN has announced the appointment of Jean-Jacques Ruest as president and chief executive officer. Ruest, 63, has been with the company for 22 years, the last eight as executive vice-president and chief marketing officer. [CN, 7-24-18]

FIRST ELECTRIC TRAIN REACHES JERUSALEM: The first electrically-hauled test train on Israel's A1 Link between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem has traveled the full length of the line. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-24-18]

SOUTHERN END OF BALTIMORE'S LIGHT-RAIL LINE CLOSED DUE TO FLOOD DAMAGE: Flood damage has closed the southern end of Baltimore's light-rail system for at least two weeks. The suspension affects service from Patapsco station to Cromwell and BWI Airport. Bus service will be substituted. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-23-18]

TRAIN FIRE DISRUPTS SERVICE ON NEC: Rail service on Amtrak's Northeast corridor was briefly disrupted early July 23 when a fire on a train caused the line to be shut down between Tenton and Metropark. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-23-18]

SMOKE AT HOBOKEN STATION SNAGS PATH TRAIN SERVICE: A smoke condition at the Hoboken, N.J., PATH train station shut down service for a while on July 23. [WCBS website report, 7-23-18]

LIRR TRACKS BEING RELOCATED TO MAKE WAY FOR GRAND CENTRAL ENTRANCE: Crews have begun relocated hundreds of feet of track in Queens by several yards to create space for an entrance to a newly-built tunnel to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. Built beneath Sunnyside Yard, the new tunnel will carry Long Island Rail Road trains to connect with the railroad's main line at Harold interlocking. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-23-18]

AMTRAK SALVAGES HISTORY FROM RALEIGH'S TRAIN STATION: Seven classic benches from Raleigh's soon-to-be-demolished former train depot will be saved. Brought from Chicago's Union Station 17 years ago, where they had been in use since 1925, they are now once again being returned to Chicago where Amtrak plans to refurbish them and put them back to use. [News & Observer website report, 7-23-18]

CPR MANAGER GUILTY IN 2015 MOUNTAINSIDE INCIDENT: A Canadian Pacific manager has been found guilty for his role in illegally parking a freight train carrying explosive materials on a mountain slope above Revelstoke, B.C., without proper handbrakes. A provincial court judge found the manager guilty of two charges of contravening an emergency directive, a breach of the Railway Safety Act. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date. [CBC website report, 7-23-18]

GROUND BROKEN FOR CHARLOTTE GATEWAY STATION, PHASE ONE: Officials broke ground July 20 for the first phase of the Charlotte, N.C., Gateway Station project. Phase 1 entails building infrastructure for passenger rail to access the station district. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-23-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 22, 2018. The remaining 80 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 53 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-23-18]

UNION PACIFIC STEAM TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON: One person is dead after being struck by a Union Pacific steam train with locomotive 844 late July 21 in Brighton, Colorado. The train was returning to Denver from Cheyenne Frontier Days. Buses were used to transport the passengers to their destination following the incident. [KOAA website report, 7-22-18]

FREIGHT TRAIN WITH HAZMATS DERAILS IN MASSACHUSETTS: One railroad employee was slightly injured July 21 after a freight train derailed in Worcester, Massachusetts. Two of the cars were said to be carrying hazardous materials, but there were no reported leaks. [WHDH website report, 7-21-18]

COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF AMTRAK IN SETTING ON-TIME PERFORMANCE STANDARDS: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled in favor of Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration to set their own standards for measuring passenger rail service on-time performance. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-20-18]

KCS POSTS RECORD 2-Q RESULTS: Kansas City Southern reported second-quarter revenue of $682-million, up 4 pct, and record operating income of $246-million, up 3 pct, compared with second-quarter 2017. Diluted EPS were $1.45, up 14 pct, and record adjusted diluted EPS of $1.54, up 16 pct compared with the same period a year ago. Net income rose 11 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-20-18]

BRIGHTLINE TO INCREASE WEEKDAY SERVICE: Brightline will increase daily weekday train service to give riders more flexibility. Sixteen round-trips between Miami and West Palm Beach will be offered beginning Aug. 6. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-20-18]

NJT TO SPEND $320-M TO IMPLEMENT PTC, BUT MISS DEADLINE: NJ Transit will now spend $320-million on implementing positive train-control on its trains, but it will still miss the Dec. 31, 2018, deadline mandated by Congress. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-20-18]

'GREAT DOME CAR' TO RUN THROUGH ADIRONDACKS THIS FALL: From Sept. 27 to Nov. 2, passengers may enjoy the fall scenery on certain trains in Amtrak's 'Great Dome' between Albany and Montreal. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-20-18]

RAIL LOOP PROJECT IN OHIO COMPLETED: Long Ridge Energy Terminal has completed its rail loop construction project in Hannibal, Ohio, which makes the facility the first in the Appalachian Basin to offer unit-train and barge transloading capabilities. CSX serves the terminal. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-20-18]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT STEADY IN JUNE: As of mid-June, U.S. Class I railroads employed 147,282 workers, up 0.19 pct from mid-May, but down 0.9 pct from one year earlier. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-20-18]

SIEMENS WINS CONTRACT TO SUPPLY LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS FOR AUSTRIA: Austrian Federal Railways has confirmed that Siemens has submitted the best offer for a framework contract to supply a new fleet of long-distance trains, including new vehicles for Nightjet services. The contract will include an initial order for 21 trains. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-20-18]

TEAMSTERS MEMBERS RATIFY 4-YEAR AGREEMENT WITH CPR: Members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference at Canadian Pacific have voted to ratify a four-year agreement covering over 3,000 conductors and locomotive engineers. [TCRC, 7-20-18]

TWO KILLED BY CSX TRAIN IN GERMANTOWN, MD.: Police say two women were killed by a CSX train late July 18 while walking along the tracks in Germantown, Md. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-19-18]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported 2018 second-quarter net income of $1.5-billion, or a second-quarter record $1.98 per diluted share, compared to $1.2-billion or $1.45 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Operating revenue of $5.7-billion was up 8 pct compared to the second-quarter 2017, and carloads increased 4 pct. [Union Pacific, 7-19-18]

UNION PACIFIC'S 2-Q PERFORMANCE HURT BY CREW SHORTAGES: Union Pacific's second-quarter results might have been better if not for shortages of train crews, said its CEO Lance Fritz. Also, a tunnel collapse in Oregon added about $65-million in expenses. [Yahoo Finance, 7-19-18]

GE SECURES LOCOMOTIVE DEAL IN CHILE: Chile's Antofagasta Railway has awarded GE Transportation a contract to supply five C23EMP single-cab ac/dc diesel-electric locomotives for delivery in 2019. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-19-18]

PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN CALIFORNIA: Officials say a 50-year-old pedestrian was killed July 19 when he was struck by an Amtrak train in Montecito, California. His death is being ruled as an accident. [Edhat Santa Barbara, 7-19-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending July 14, 2018, the Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight originations were 559,064 carloads and intermodal units, up 5 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-18-18]

CPR REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific reported its net income for the second-quarter was $436-million (C) compared with $480-million in the same quarter last year. Revenue rose to $1.75-billion (C) from $1.64-million. [CNBC, 7-18-18]

ALSTOM SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE SIEMENS MERGER: Alstom shareholders have approved resolutions related to the proposed merger of Alstom with Siemens Mobility business. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-18-18]

UNION MEMBERS AUTHORIZE STRIKE AT WASHINGTON METRO: Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 members have voted to authorize a strike against Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The union, however, had not released a timeline for the potential strike as of July 17. Diaglogue between the authority and union is ongoing. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-17-18]

CSX 2-Q PROFIT JUMPS 72 PCT.: CSX delivered a 72 pct jump in its second-quarter profit as the railroad continues to cut expenses and improve operations. The company earned $877-million or $1.01 per share, compared with $510-million or 55 cents per share in the same quarter last year, when an $81-million restructuring charge limited profit. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-17-18]

N.Y. CITY PLANS $100-M FREIGHT DISTRIBUTION MODERNIZATION: A $100-million plan to improve how freight moves in and around New York City has been unveiled. Known as Freight NYC, it is an ambitious overhaul of the city's aging freight distribution system to modernize the maritime and rail assets, create new distribution facilities and improve its supply chain network. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-17-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 15, 2018. The remaining 74 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 57 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-16-18]

RAIL ENTERPRISE GROUP ADDING LINES IN IOWA, TENNESSEE: Rail Enterprise Group, owner of Raritan Central Railway and Pennsylvania & Southern Railway, effective Jan. 1, 2019, will add Iowa & Middletown Railway in Iowa and Wolf Creek Railway in Tennessee to its group of rail logistics providers. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-16-18]

U.S. ENGINEERING FIRM TO HELP DEVELOP TRANS-ARAB RAIL PROJECT: Jacobs Engineering Group, based in Dallas, is set to play a key role in development of the Gulf Railway, linking six countries from Oman to Kuwait. The Jacobs group will deliver engineering and design services and supervision for the 559-mile network. [Railway Age website report, 7-16-18]

PATH ALMOST CLEARED FOR MINNEAPOLIS LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: A settlement with Twin Cities & Western Railroad comes closer to allowing light-rail and freight trains to share almost 15 miles of a link between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The $2-billion extension of the Green line would open in 2023. [Star Tribune website report, 7-16-18]

TALGO RAIL CARS IN WASHINGTON STATE COLLISION LACKED CRASH-PROTECTION STANDARDS: The Talgo rail cars on an Amtrak train that derailed near Seattle last December, killing three people, were allowed by federal regulators to remain in service even though they did not meet current crash-protection standards, investigators said. [Bloomberg report, 7-16-18]

AMTRAK ADDS HOT MEAL SLEEPING-CAR OPTION ON CAPITOL, LAKE SHORE LIMITEDS: Amtrak is now offering a hot entree option - slow braised beef short rib - as well as other new meals, for sleeping car customers on the Capitol and Lake Shore limiteds. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-13-18]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY LIRR TRAIN IN QUEENS: Authorities say a person was struck and killed by a Long Island Rail Road train early July 13 in Queens, leading to widespread travel disruptions. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-13-18]

FIRST OF SEPTA'S ACS-64 GETS INAUGURAL RUN: SEPTA peformed an inaugural run of its new ACS-64 electric locomotive. The agency ordered 15 of the locomotives from Siemens to replace its aging fleet. All of the new locomotives are planned to be in service by this October. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-13-18]

ATTEMPTED TRAIN HIJACKER PLEADS GUILTY: A26-year-old man from Missouri who broke into the compartment of Amtrak's California Zephyr train last October, bringing it to a stop, has pleaded guilty to a charge of violence against a mass U.S. transportation system. He will be sentenced in October. He also faces charges for possession of an unregistered weapon. [McCook Gazette website report, 7-13-18]

LIRR UPGRADES HAROLD INTERLOCKING: Known as the 'busiest interlocking in North America,' Long Island Rail Road's Harold interlocking in Sunnyside, N.Y., has been upgraded with a new microprocessor-based signal system, designed to boost reliability and ensure trains continue to run even if problems arise. The upgrade clears the way for the start of the final East Side Access construction project to start later this year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-13-18]

CHAIRMAN OF METROLINX RESIGNS: Robert Prichard, chariman of Ontario's Metrolinx for the past seven year, has resigned. He will be replaced, on an interim basis, by Bryan Davies, vice-chair. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-13-18]

CSX EXECUTIVE RESIGNS TO JOIN BRIGHTLINE: Bob O'Malley, vice-president of state and local government relations for CSX, has left his post to join Brightline. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-13-18]

N.Y. STATE AWARDS $19-M TO EXPAND CSX'S DEWITT TERMINAL: The New York State Dept. of Transportation has awarded $19-million in state funding toward a CSX rail yard expansion in DeWitt. The project will create central New York's first inland port, to become operational by the end of next year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-12-18]

DEAF WOMAN STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN MICHIGAN: A 48-year-old woman who was deaf was struck and killed by a train late July 12 on Canadian National tracks in Battle Creek, Michigan. [Battle Creek Enquirer, 7-12-18]

RALEIGH UNION STATION OPENS FOR PASSENGERS: Train travel has eased up for commuter in Raleigh, N.C., with the July 10 opening of service from the city's new union station. [Railway Track & Structures website report]

L.A. METRO TO RETIRE REMAINING P865 LIGHT-RAIL CARS: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority next month will retire its remaining P865 light-rail cars. The agency has 54 of the cars, one of which will be given a new home at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-12-18]

BOSTON-AREA COMMUTER TRAPPED BETWEEN TRAIN, PLATFORM: A commuter was trapped between and train and a platform at the Central Square station in Cambridge, Massachusetts, early July 12. The person was freed and taken to a hospital, and train service was disrupted. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-12-18]

PROJECT ANNOUNCED TO TRIPLE THE SIZE OF GARE DU NORD IN PARIS: French National Railways has released details of a plan to more than triple the size of Gare du Nord in Paris by 2023, in time for the Olympic games to be staged in 2024. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-12-18]

FEDS OK ABANDONMENT OF CSX LINE IN OHIO: Thge Surface Transportation Board has cleared the way for CSX to abandon 14 miles of line in Ohio, despite objections from the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. The board requires that CSX preserve culverts, tunnels and bridges. The abandonment could allow the line to be converted to a trail to help finish the last four-mile Trumbull County leg of the Western Reserve Greenway. The line travels in a semi-circle between Newton Falls and Niles, and the company voicing its objection sought to preserve it for potential future development. [Tribune Chronicle website report, 7-11-18]

DURANGO & SILVERTON PLANS RESUMPTION OF STEAM OPERATIONS: The Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad is planning to resume coal-fired steam engine operations after shutting down June 1 due to fire restrictions. The loss of operations caused an estimated economic loss of about $33-million to the area. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-11-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight originations for the week ending July 7, 2018, was 485,193 carloads and intermodal units, an 8.6 pct increase compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-11-18]

CZECH RAILWAYS ORDERS 50 PASSENGER CARS: Czech Railways has placed a $135-million order for 50 Viaggio Comfort passenger cars from a consortium of Skoda Transportation and Siemens. Deliveries are expected to begin in 32 months. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-11-18]

GE INTRODUCES FIRST TE33A LOCOMOTIVE FOR UKRAINIAN RAILWAYS: GE Transportation in Erie, Pa., has unveiled its first nearly-completed TE33A locomotive bound for Ukrainian Railways. GE will supply 30 of the six-axle units with further supplied as kits over a 10-year period. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-11-18]

OMNITRAX ACQUIRES TWO RAIL LINES FROM CSX: An OmniTRAX affiliate has acquired the 120-mile Alabama & Tennessee River Railway and the 25-mile Fulton County Railway from CSX. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-10-18]

NYS&W TO REMOVE DECORATIVE CONCRETE FROM BRIDGE IN SYRACUSE: Decorative concrete on 17 pieces of railroad bridge will be removed this week after chunks of that concrete collapsed onto a city street July 5. New York Susquehanna & Western, which owns the bridge, will hire contractors to remove remaining fascia from the bridge. [, 7-10-18]

NJT WRAPS UP CRANFORD RAIL STATION REHAB: New Jersey Transit has completed a $4-million platform rehabilitation and transit-arts project at its Cranford commuter-rail station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-10-18]

TRAIN DERAILS IN TEXAS: Up to six cars of a train derailed early July 10 in Manor, Texas, spilling contents of sand and dirt. No injuries were reported. [CBS Austin website report, 7-10-18]

RAIL-TRAIL IN PA. GETS NEW NAME: The Clinton County Rail-Trail in Pennsylvania has been renamed Bald Eagle Valley Trail. [The Express website report, 7-10-18]

TWO APPOINTED TO KEY POSITIONS AT CSX: CSX has appointed Mark Wallace executive vice-president sales and marketing, and Diana Sorfleet executive vice-president and chief administrative officer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-10-18]

NEGOTIATIONS TO SELL CHURCHILL RAIL LINE ARE BACK ON: Hudson Bay Railway says negotiations with a consortium of northern communities to sell the broken rail line to Churchill, Manitoba, and restore it, are back on, almost a week after talks had broken down. [680 News website report, 7-10-18]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN ARIZONA: An estimated 40 rail car derailed in the middle of a Union Pacific train in Marana, Arizona, late July 10. The cause is under investigation, but officials said there was heavy rain with strong wind at the time of the accident. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-10-18]

SAUDI RAILWAYS SEES 139 PCT INCREASE IN PASSENGERS: Saudi Railway saw a 139 pct increase in the number of passengers on its trains during the second-quarter 2018 compared with the same period last year. The company says the increase is linked to several initiatives, increased service, 96 pct punctuality, social awareness, and with rail regarded as more comfortable and safer than other modes. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-10-18]

NJT TRAIN COLLIDES WITH BUS: A New Jersey Transit bus was struck by a New Jersey Transit train late July 9 near the Plauderville station on the Bergen line. One minor injury was reported to a passenger aboard the bus. [ABC-7 website report, 7-9-18]

FIVE SIEMENS CHARGER LOCOMOTIVES ORDERED FOR SAN DIEGO: San Diego's North County Transit District has ordered five new Tier-4 compliant Siemens Charger diesel locomotives for service on Oceanside-San Diego Coaster trains. They will replace an equivalent number of older units built between 1975 and 1992. [Railway Age website report, 7-9-18]

DRUNKEN STATION MASTER DELAYS TRAINS IN INDIA: Several trains were delayed in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh after the station master got drunk and fell asleep while on duty, officials said. After repeated attempts to contact the man, he was discovered asleep with empty alcohol bottles under his cot. He was so inebriated that he was barely able to walk, and a medical exam showed a 'high level' of alcohol in his blood. [BBC website report, 7-9-18]

CSX TO REOPEN HUMP YARD NEAR NASHVILLE: CSX will reopen its hump yard operation at Radnor Yard near Nashville, the company has confirmed. CSX closed the yard's hump a year ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-6-18]

MOBILE COUNCIL TO VOTE ON CONTRACT TO DESIGN AMTRAK STATION: Mobile, Alabama, has not had Amtrak service since 2005, but its city council is set to vote on a contract to design a new downtown station. The plan is aimed at showing the state's governor that the city has a 'shovel-ready' project in the event Gulf Coast train service is restored. Four cities along the proposed route plan to improve or expand their stations, while Mobile would need to build an entirely new one. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-6-18]

BRIGHTLINE IMPLEMENTS PARKING CHARGE AT STATION GARAGES: Parking at Brightline station garages is no longer free. Rates at up to $6 per day now apply at Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-6-18]

DOGS, CATS NOW ALLOWED ON AMTRAK'S CHICAGO-ST. LOUIS CORRIDOR: Dogs and cats are now allowed on Amtrak's Lincoln service and Texas Eagle trains between Chicago and St. Louis for a $25 charge. Certain conditions apply. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-6-18]

CAMBODIA COMPLETES PHNOM PENH-POIPET RAIL LINE RECONSTRUCTION: After being out of service for 45 years, Cambodia Royal Railway restored rail service July 4 with the inauguration of the final section of the reconstructed Phnom Penh-Poipet line. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-6-18]

KEOLIS GRADUATES 16 NEW ASSISTANT CONDUCTORS: Keolis, which operates the Massachusetts Bay commuter rail system, has graduated 16 new assistant conductors following an eight-week program. Keolis now employs 423 conductors, a 21 pct increase over three years, company officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-5-18]

HONOLULU'S PASSENGER RAIL SYSTEM FACES $134-M SHORTFALL: The $8-billion budget for Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's proposed 20-mile passenger rail system remains $134-million short, a local news report said. The project may not be completed until 2026, about a year behind schedule. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-5-18]

HUDSON BAY RWY SALE IS OFF, ONCE AGAIN: Negotiations for the sale of Hudson Bay Railway and the Port of Churchill in northern Manitoba and related assets have once again broken down, railroad officials said. Current owner OmniTrax closed the Hudson Bay Rail line in May 2017 due to severe flooding and washout conditions, declining to make the needed repairs. Meanwhile, the company has issued a request for repair proposals through an engineering firm. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-5-18]

PORTION OF R.R. BRIDGE COLLAPSES IN SYRACUSE: Part of a railroad bridge collapsed July 5 in downtown Syracuse with large chunks of concrete scattered along the street below. [, 7-5-18]

WOMAN KILLED BY TRAIN IN MONTANA: A 57-year-old woman died after being struck by a train July 5 near Arlee, Montana, along Montana Rail Link tracks. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-5-18]

JUNE 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight originations - carload and intermodal units - were 2,240,742 in June 2018, an increase of 4.2 pct compared with the same month last year. [Assn. of American Railroads]

NETHERLANDS TO INCREASE CAPACITY OF AMSTERDAM TRAIN STATIONS: The Netherlands government plans to reconstruct and expand Amsterdam's Central and South stations to improve accessibility and capacity. Passenger numbers through the city and expected to grow in the coming decades, with the number using Amsterdam South to grow from about 80,000 daily passengers to around 250,000. [International Railway Journal, 7-4-18]

BOMBARDIER LANDS AUSTRIAN ORDER FOR 25 TALENT 3 EMU'S: National operator Austrian Federal Railways has place an order for 25 six-car Talent 3 regional electric multiple-units. This is the second order to be placed under a framework agreement for up to 300 Talent 3 units. [Railway Gazette, 7-4-18]

TRAIN DERAILS IN KALAMAZOO, SEVERAL CROSSINGS BLOCKED: Authorities say about 15 cars of a freight train derailed early July 3 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, blocking several roads near downtown. No injuries were reported. [WOOD-TV website report, 7-3-18]

SEPTA SEEKS ENGINEERING PROPOSALS OF KING OF PRUSSIA RAIL EXTENSION: SEPTA has released a request for proposals to advance engineering work for its proposed 4.5-mile King of Prussia extension of the Norristown High-Speed rail line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-3-18]

BNSF TRAIN STRIKES DUMP TRUCK IN NEBRASKA, DRIVER KILLED: Officials say a dump truck driver was killed early July 3 near Mahoney State Park in eastern Nebraska when his truck was struck at a crossing by a BNSF train. [U.S. News & World Report, 7-3-18]

CANADA CALLS FOR INCREASED TRAINING AFTER RUNAWAY TRAIN INCIDENT: Transport Canada has concluded that increased training is needed in response to an investigation of a runaway train in the Toronto area in June of last year. Two locomotives and 72 cars rolled uncontrolled from CN's MacMillan yard for over three miles at speeds of up to 30 MPH until it stopped upon reaching an upward slope. [CBC website report]

WATCO EXPANDING AUSTRALIAN RAIL-FREIGHT OPERATIONS: Watco is set to expand its Australian operations after signing a contract with GrainCorp to operate its trains in Queensland. About one million tons of grain are consigned by the customer for movement by rail annually. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-3-18]

JUNE 2018 LONG-DISTANCE AMTRAK TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Nineteen percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in June 2018. The remaining 81 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 47 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-1-18]

FUTURE USE OF CSX RAIL LINE IN OHIO UNDER REVIEW: CSX is seeking permission to abandon a rail line between Newton Falls and Niles, Ohio, that has had seen no traffic for two years. Currently under discussion is a proposal to convert the line into a recreational trail. Meanwhile, a local company is proposing to preserve the line for future rail use to bolster economic development. With a 65-foot wide easement, it is possible that the property could even be used for both. [Tribune Chronicle website report, 7-1-18]

RAIL TRAIL IN NEW YORK STATE APPROVED FOR CONSTRUCTION: A decision by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board has cleared the way for construction of an 11-mile recreational trail over an officially-declared abandoned segment of a railroad line along the Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County, N.Y. [U.S. News & World Report, 6-30-18]

AMTRAK INITIATES PLAN TO REPLACE ITS AMFLEET-I CARS: Amtrak has issued a Request for Information from rail-car manufacturers for the eventual replacement of its 40-year-old Amfleet-I cars. The cars have been used primarily on the Northeast corridor, Keystone, Carolinian and Illinois trains. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-29-18]

CSX REVIVES PLAN FOR N.C. INTERMODAL HUB: CSX will build an itermodal hub in North Carolina, but it will be a scaled-down verson of the plan the company invisioned two years ago and then put on hold in 2017. Known as the Carolina Connector, the 330-acre site will be built along the CSX mainline in Edgecombe County. The center is expected to be completed in 2020. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-29-18]

OPENING OF RALEIGH UNION STATION POSTPONED: Amtrak had planned to begin service to the new Raleigh Union Station on June 27, but work on the station's platform was not completed in time. Service is now expected to begin sometime next month. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-29-18]

L.A. METRO TO BUILD LIGHT-RAIL IN E. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportion Authority has chosen a 9.2-mile light-rail line, serving 14 stations, as its preferred alternative for the East San Fernando Valley transit corridor project. Light-rail was determined to be faster, with more capacity than a bus rapid transit line, the agency said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-29-18]

MARC AT RISK OF MISSING PTC DEADLINE: The Federal Railroad Administration has warned Maryland officials that the MARC train system is at risk of failing to meet the end-of-year deadline to install positive train-control. [U.S. News & World Report, 6-28-18]

FEDS APPROVE PLAN TOWARD TWO-YEAR PTC EXTENSION FOR NJT: New Jersey Transit has received approval from the Federal Railroad Administration of a plan that could buy the agency another two years of time to complete implementation of positive train-control. [North Jersey website report, 6-27-18]

MILWAUKEE COMPLETES STREETCAR CONSTRUCTION: Construction has concluded on Milwaukee's new streetcar route, with operations scheduled to begin in the fall. The 2.5-mile route links Milwaukee's intermodal station with the city's lower east side. A second lakefront line is scheduled to begin operation in 2019. [Railway Age website report, 6-27-18]

RAIL PRODUCTS PLANT OPENS IN ILLINOIS: Getzner USA has opened its first North American production facility in Decatur, Illinois. The plant manufactures rail and construction products, including elastic bearings for rail traffic. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-27-18]

CSX COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN W.VA.: A CSX coal train derailed about 18 cars in St. Albans, W.Va., early June 27. No injuries were reported. [Charleston Gazette-Mail website report, 6-27-18]

PROGRESS RAIL TO UPGRADE CP UNITS: Progress Rail, a subsidiary of Caterpillar, has been chosen by Canadian Pacific to upgrade 30 EMD SD70ACU locomotives, a modernized version of SD90AC. Once upgraded, the units will primarily serve in heavy-haul service. [Railway Age website report, 6-26-18]

PEDESTRIAN HIT BY TRAIN ALONG SEPTA LINE: Rail service along SEPTA's Warminster line was suspended between Willow Grove and Warminster, Pa., late June 26 involving a pedestrian being struck by a train. [6ABC Philadelphia, 6-26-18]

NJT SAYS IT WILL NOT MEET END-OF-YEAR PTC DEADLINE: New Jersey Transit will not meet the Dec. 31 deadline for implementation of positive train-control, its executive director said June 26. Instead, the agency will ask for an extension of up to two years. [NBC N.Y. website report, 6-26-18]

HARTFORD LINE RIDERSHIP EXCEEDS 10,000 IN FIRST FULL WEEK: CTrail's Hartford line ridership exceeded 10,000 in its first full week of regular operations, double what the line previously served via Amtrak, officials said. [Meridian Record-Journal website report, 6-26-18]

PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILS IN AUSTRIA: A passenge train derailed on a local railway in Austria, west of Vienna, early June 26, leaving two cars lying on their side and three people seriously injured. A further 31 people were slightly injured. Authorities say the accident was caused by excessive speed. [Hastings Tribune, 6-26-18]

PACT SIGNED FOR TRANS-HIMALAYAN RAILWAY: A memorandum of understanding on the construction of a rail link between Tibet and Nepal has been signed. The link would be a continuation of the line between Lhasa and Xigaze, which was completed in 2014. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-26-18]

TRACTOR-TRAILER STRUCK BY COMMUTER TRAIN IN MASSACHUSETTS: An MBTA Fitchburg line commuter train struck the rear of a tractor-trailer in Littleton, Massachusetts, June 25. There were no injuries, but there was damage to crossing lights and significant delays to the line resulted. [7News Boston, 6-25-18]

BNSF DERAILMENT RESULTS IN OIL LEAKING INTO RIVER IN IOWA: About 230,000 gallons of oil leaked into the Little Rock River south of Doon, Iowa, as of early June 23, from a BNSF train derailment. [Sioux City Journal website report]

WASHINGTON METRO TO CORRECT UNSAFE BARRIERS IN NEW RAIL CARS: The Federal Transit Administration has instructed Washington Metro to address an unsafe condition created by rubber barriers between its new 7000-series rail cars. The barriers leave as much as a nine-inch gap between cars at the platform level, and a visually-impared rider late last month fell onto the track by mistaking the opening as a doorway. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-25-18]

MONTREAL BIDS FAREWELL TO MR-63 RAIL CARS: The transit system in Montreal has ended the service of final set of MR-63 rail cars. The MR-63 cars were manufactured in 1963, and have been gradually retired and replaced by new Azur cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-25-18]

GROUND BROKEN FOR GREEN LINE EXTENSION IN MASSACHUSETTS: The $2.3-billion Green line extension in Massachusetts broke ground June 25, and heavy construction is expected to begin in the fall and wrap up in 2021. [Boston Patch website report, 6-25-18]

ADIRONDACK SCENIC R.R. PLANS RAIL-BIKING ON ITS LINE: The Adirondack Scenic Railroad wants to get into the rail-bike business this summer. The rides would be between Saranac Lake and Lake Clear, N.Y.. Rail Bikes are pedal-powered vehicles that travel on tracks. Permits for the operation are currently pending. [Adirondack Daily Enterprise, 6-23-18]

WOMAN ON TRACKS KILLED BY CSX TRAIN IN FLORIDA: Authorities say a 56-year-old woman was struck and killed while walking on the tracks by a CSX train early June 22 in Orange Park, Florida. [U.S. News & World Report, 6-22-18]

FUNDING DEADLINE MISSED FOR RESTORATION OF AMTRAK'S GULF COAST SERVICE: The Southern Rail Commission will be unable to apply for federal funding toward restoration of Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast, which had been suspended by damage from hurricane Katrina in 2005. The states of Mississippi and Alabama did not commit the required matching funds. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-22-18]

WATCO SEEKS PASSENGER RAIL OPERATOR IN OKLAHOMA: Stillwater Central Railroad, an indirect subsidiary of Watco Companies, is seeking comprehensive proposals from passenger rail service providers to operate Eastern Flyer service in Oklahoma between Sapulpa and Del City. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-22-18]

NYSW'S UTICA LINE REOPENED: The New York Susquehanna & Western's Utica line has transported freight for the first time in a dozen years, signaling the completion of a lengthy restoration project. The line had been shut down in 2006 after floodwaters severely damaged the line in more than 20 locations in Chenango County, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-22-18]

AMTRAK CONSIDERS BUS SUBSTITUTION FOR SEGMENT OF SOUTHWEST CHIEF ROUTE: Citing the high costs of maintenance and implementing positive train-control, Amtrak has submitted a 'proposal' to substitute bus service on the Southwest Chief between Albuquerque and either La Junta or Dodge City. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-22-18]

KCS TO SERVE NEW INDUSTRIAL PARK IN TEXAS: Kansas City Southern will serve a 540-acre industrial park in El Campo, Texas, ground for which was broken earlier this week. Six Texas ports are located within 250 miles of the facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-22-18]

UTLX EXPANDING KANSAS TANK CAR CENTER: Union Tank Car Company this summer will begin to expand its railcar repair facility in El Dorado, Kansas. [Railway Age website report, 6-22-18]

STUDY RELEASES COST OF NORTH-SOUTH RAIL-LINK TUNNEL IN BOSTON: The proposed north-south rail link in Boston could cost between $12.3-billion and $21.5-billion, based on the initial draft of a feasibility study prepared for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The study considered options of tunnelsaccommodating two or four tracks linking North and South stations, which sit 2.8 miles apart. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-22-18]

FLORIDA SEEKS HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINKING TAMPA, ORLANDO: Florida officials will consider private bids to build a high-speed rail link between Tampa and Orlando. Brightline has submitted its own bid to build the line along Interstate 4 without using taxpayer money. [Tampa Bay Times website report, 6-22-18]

S. KOREA OPENS NEW COMMUTER RAIL LINE: Korea's national operator has opened its 14.5-mile Seohae commuter rail line between Sosa and Wonsi, connected to the Seoul Metropolitan network. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-22-18]

TWO BRIDGES DAMAGED BY CSX TRAIN IN CUMBERLAND, MD.: Officials say a CSX train struck two road bridges in Cumberland, Md., June 21. The bridges were Fayette and Washington streets on the city's west side. Fayette street was closed by the incident, while Washington street had previously been closed due to deteriorating conditions. The extent of damages is being investigated. [Cumberland Times-News website report, 6-21-18]

KCS TO ACQUIRE 50 GE LOCOMOTIVES: Kansas City Southern will acquire 50 new tier-4 locomotives from GE Transportation. Deliveries are expected to begin early next year, and the units will include digital solutions to help improve operations and fuel efficiency. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-21-18]

RAILROADS, AIRLINES SAY LOCAL SICK-PAY LAWS DON'T APPLY TO THEM: Railroads and airlines have filed suit, claiming that state and local laws requiring employers to offer paid sick days should not apply to them, due to the interstate nature of their business. [Bloomberg News, 6-21-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending June 16, 2018, was 558,098 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 4.1 pct compared with the same week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 1.9 pct, while intermodal volume was up 6.3 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-20-18]

GROUND BROKEN ON CHICAGO'S GARFIELD GATEWAY PROJECT: Ground has been broken on the $50-million Garfield Gateway project, designed to make major improvements to Chicago Transit Authority's Garfield Green line station. Among other improvements, the historic station house will be restored to its original look. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-20-18]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT UP SLIGHTLY IN MAY: As of mid-May, Class I railroad employment was up 0.71 pct from mid-April, but down 1.36 pct compared with mid-May the previous year, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-19-18]

W&LE TRAIN DERAILS IN OHIO: About 15 cars of a Wheeling & Lake Erie train derailed near McCutchenville, Ohio, late June 18, spilling contents of stone. A road crossing was damaged, and is expected to be closed for one to two weeks, according to officials. [Advertizer-Tribune website report, 6-19-18]

THALYS TO LAUNCH BRUSSELS-BORDEAUX RAIL SERVICE: Thalys announced June 19 that it will launch direct rail services between Brussels and Bordeaux next summer, connecting the Belgian capital with the Atlantic coast in little over four hours. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-19-18]

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 June 17, 2018. The remaining 75 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 42 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-18-18]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS 23 CARS IN INDIANA, FOUR CARS CATCH FIRE: Twenty-three cars of a CSX freight train derailed late June 17 near Princeton, Indiana, resulting in a fire involving four of the cars. Homes within a mile of the accident were evacuated as a precaution. No injuries were reported. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-18-18]

LIGHT-RAIL SELECTED FOR SAN FERNANDO CORRIDOR: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has selected a 9.2-mile, at grade, light-rail option for the East San Fernando Valley Transit corridor. It would run in the median of Van Nuys boulevard for 6.7 miles where it would transition onto an agency-owned right-of-way hosting Antelope Valley Metrolink. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-18-18]

NEW HAVEN-SPRINGFIELD RAIL LINE OPENS: A project decades in the making to speed train service between New Haven and Springfield has officially opened. Both Amtrak and CTrail Hartford line trains share the line, and cross-ticketing is accepted. [Western Mass website report, 6-15-18]

AMTRAK RELEASES NEW NORTHEAST CORRIDOR MENU: Amtrak's updated Northeast corridor food options include hummus and wine and cheese plate, sandwiches featuring Boar's Head brand deli meats & cheeses, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, salads, snacks and breakfast sandwiches. The menu is now available on Regional and Acela trains. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-15-18]

MASSACHUSETTS SEEKS STUDY LINKING BOSTON WITH WESTERN HALF OF THE STATE BY PASSENGER RAIL: Massachusetts is seeking proposals for a consultant team to study the feasibility of passenger rail service to link Boston with the western half of the state. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-15-18]

TRAIN STATION IN RALEIGH TO OPEN JUNE 27: A new downtown $111-million train station in Raleigh, N.C., will open June 27 providing people with access to Amtrak. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-15-18]

AMTRAK'S COAST STARLIGHT PASSENGERS BEING BUSED BETWEEN EUGENE AND KLAMATH FALLS: Due to a tunnel collapse last month in Oregon, Amtrak will continue busing Coast Starlight passengers between Eugene and Klamath Falls through June 20. Work to clear the tunnel is taking longer than expected. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-15-18]

GREYHOUND BUS CRASHES IN MARYLAND: Several people suffered minor injuries when a Greyhound bus and tractor-trailer crashed early June 15 along Interstate 70 in Hagerstown, Md. Preliminary investigation revealed that the bus had rear-ended the truck. Approximately 60 people were on the bus, and the bus driver had to be cut from the vehicle. [WMAR website report, 6-15-18]

BOMBARDIER OPENS FINAL ASSEMBLY FACILITY IN GERMANY: Bombardier Transportation inaugurated a new final assembly hall at its Bautzen plant in Sachsen, Germany, on June 15. [Railway Gazette website report, 6-15-18]

GROWTH FOR GUELPH JUNCTION RAILWAY: Canada's Guelph Junction Railway hauled record carloads last year, declated its first dividend in more than 20 years to sole owner City of Guelph, Ontario, and extended its operating contract with Ontario Southland Railway for up to five more years. [Railway Age website report, 6-15-18]

CAR COLLIDES WITH AMTRAK TRAIN IN N.D., DRIVER INJURED: Amtrak's westbound Empire Builder was struck by a car early June 13 east of Devils Lake, N.D. The car struck the front of the second locomotive, and the 20-year-old driver of the car was taken to a hospital. There were no injuries to anyone on board the train, but there was minor damage to the locomotive. [Minot Daily News, 6-14-18]

BNSF REQUESTS TWO-YEAR EXTENSION TO PTC DEADLINE: BNSF has asked the U.S. Dept. of Transportation for a two-year extension to the deadline for implementation of positive train-control due to 'interoperability delays with other railroads' due to the current interpretation of the law. At issue is the operation of other railroads on BNSF trackage, some of which will not have completed their own PTC installation by the deadline, the end of this year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-14-18]

CHICAGO TO BUILD HIGH-SPEED TUNNEL TO O'HARE: The Chicago Infrastructure Trust has selected a firm headed by Elon Musk to build, finance, operate and maintain a new high-speed tunnel between downtown and O'Hare International Airport. Known as the Chicago Express Loop, the system will feature 'electric skate' vehicles that will whisk passengers through tunnels at a speed up to 150 MPH. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-14-18]

NORTH KOREAN RAIL LINE OPENS: A new railway viaduct crossing Sokjon Bay supporting a rail line connecting a fishing port development on the Songjon peninsula to the national rail network opened late last month. [Railway Gazette website report, 6-14-18]

CARLOAD EXPRESS LEASES 14.8 MILES OF TRACK ON DELMARVA PENINSULA: Carload Express is expanding with the lease of 14.8 miles of track between Pocomoke City, Md., and Hallwood, Va., on the DelMarVa peninsula. Service had been previously operated by Bay Coast Railroad. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-13-18]

SIEMENS REVEALS NEW HIGH-SPEED TRAIN CONCEPT: Siemens has revealed details of a concept for its next-generation high-speed train, the Velaro Novo. The new design will offer a 30 pct reduction in energy consumption at 186 MPH, compared with previous Velara models. Aerodynamic improvements include streamlined bogie housing, gangway connections, pantograph shrouding and covered high-voltage equipment on the roof. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-13-18]

EXCLUSIVE, LUXURY TRAIN IN INDONESIA: While trains in Indonesia are not typically known as a luxurious means of transportation, the state-owned railway company does operate a 'luxury car,' consisting of 18 seats. It is part of a train that plies the Argo Bromo Anggrek Jakarta-Surabaya route. [Jakarta Post, 6-13-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported total U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending June 9, 2018, increased 4.2 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-13-18]

N.C. INKS CONTRACT FOR NEW CHARLOTTE RAIL STATION: North Carolina has awarded a $48.6-million contract for track structures for the future Charlotte Gateway station. The station will serve as a hub for Amtrak and other intercity and local transit options. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-12-18]

FEDS ALLOW ENGINEERING WORK TO BEGIN ON CALIFORNIA RAIL EXTENSION: The Federal Transit Administration has given its approval to start engineering work on the Bay Area Rapid Transit's Silicon Valley phase II six-mile extension into downtown San Jose and Santa Clara, California, and to apply for a $1.5-billion federal grant. [Construction Dive website report, 6-11-18]

CN RAMPING UP CAPACITY: CN is investing $400-million (C) in new capacity this year, primarily in western Canada and the Edmonton-Chicago corridor. Projects currently in progress include 60 miles of double track, 11 new sidings or siding extensions, and eight yard expansions. All should be completed in November. [Railway Age website report, 6-11-18]

FORD MOTOR COMPANY BUYING DETROIT'S MICHIGAN CENTRAL STATION: Ford Motor Company has completed a deal to purchase Detroit's 105-year-old Michigan Central Station, which has been unused since 1988. [National Public Radio, 6-11-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending June 10, 2018. The remaining 78 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 48 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-11-18]

ABANDONED RAIL LINE IN PHILADELPHIA BECOMES AN ELEVATED PARK: A quarter-mile elevated rail park is scheduled to open to visitors June 14, the first phase of a linear park that supporters envision to eventually span three miles through the center of Philadelphia using a former Reading Railroad right-of-way. [Roanoke Times website report, 6-10-18]

MBTA ADVANCES GLOUCESTER DRAWBRIDGE REPLACEMENT: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will halt service later this month along a portion of its Newburyport-Rockport commuter rail line to advance work on the Gloucester drawbridge replacement project. Buses will replace trains between Rockport and West Gloucester from June 18 through August 31. The original bridge was built in 1911. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-8-18]

TRUCK DRIVER INDICTED OVER FATAL WRECK WITH AMTRAK TRAIN IN JANUARY: A garbage trauck driver who drove into the path of an Amtrak train carrying members of Congress Jan. 31 in Crozet, Va., killing one and injuring others, has been indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence. [Grand Island Independent website report, 6-8-18]

WHITE PASS & YUKON TO BE ACQUIRED BY CRUISE COMPANY: Cruise operator Carnival Corp. has agreed to acquire the White Pass & Yukon Railway. The $290-million transaction is expected to close July 31. The rail line was built during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, closed in 1982, and revived as a tourist service in 1988. It operates in Alaska, British Columbia and Yukon. [Railway Gazette website report, 6-7-18]

FINAL AMTRAK TICKET AGENT IN W.VA. ELIMINATED: The final West Virginia ticket agent position for Amtrak was abolished June 6 at Charleston. Earlier the company announced that stations generating fewer than 40 passengers a day would lose their ticket agent, citing also a decline in over-the-counter sales nationwide in favor of phone and on-line ticket purchases. [Register-Herald website report, 6-7-18]

TEST TRAIN HITS 110 MPH ON HARTFORD LINE IN CONNECTICUT: Recent track improvements have allowed an Amtrak train to reach a top speed of 110 MPH on the Hartford Line. Connecticut says the test runs were part of the final preparations for the launch of the rehabilitated Hartford Line between New Haven and Springfield. [Laredo Morning Times, 6-7-18]

CSX SEEKS TO SELL SIX RAIL LINES: CSX is soliciting bids on six rail segments totaling more than 650 miles of track as part of its continuing strategy to sell underused assets. Included are the Massena line north from Syracuse; the Baldwinsville subdivision west of Syracuse; a collection or properties near Albany; feeder lines extending east of Corbin, Kentucky; North Carolina lines terminating in Grangers and Plymouth; and the Marietta subdivision north from Parkersburg, W.Va. CSX is committed to making sure local operators continue service for freight customers as it seeks buyers. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-7-18]

CPR TO ORDER 5,900 GRAIN HOPPER CARS: Canadian Pacific will spend more than $500-million (C) on new high-capacity grain hopper cars to serve its grain shippers. The plan begins with an order for 1,000 cars, with plans to order an additional 4,900 cars over a four-year period. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-7-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN WORKS TO RESTORE WASHED OUT LINE IN N.C.: Norfolk Southern continues to work to restore service to its main line east of Asheville, N.C., following a washout that occurred the end of May. The company projects its return to service in early July. In the meantime, trains are being rerouted. [Norfolk Southern, 6-7-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PLANS HIRING SPREE: Norfolk Southern is going on a 'massive hiring spree' to meet demand for railway workers in Indiana. The railroad needs to hire up to 65 train conductors within the next year, and plans to hold job fairs across northeast Indiana to fill those positions. [WANE website report, 6-7-18]

KANSAS TAXED RAILROADS UNFAIRLY, JUDGE RULES: A judge found the Kansas Dept. of Revenue discriminated against several railroad companies operating in Kansas by charging more in taxes compared to other properties across the state. The ruling was in response to a complaint filed by the affected railroads for the 2018 assessment year. [KWCH-12 website report, 6-6-18]

MAY 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 2,717,623 carloads and intermodal units in May 2018, an increase of 4.9 pct compared with the same month last year, according to data supplied by the Association of American Railroads. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-6-18]

ILLINOIS AWARDS $241-M TO FREIGHT PROJECTS: Illlinois has awarded $241-million to 23 state freight projects. From this amount, $49.9-million went to help fund the Columbus Avenue & Belt Railway Co. of Chicago grade separation project. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-6-18]

GE ROLLS OUT FIRST OF 200 LOCOMOTIVES FOR CN: GE Transportation has compleed the first of 200 Evolution-series diesel locomotives for Canadian National, which it is building at its plant in Texas. GE says this is the largest order placed by any Class I railway in North America since 2014. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-6-18]

ONE KILLED, ONE INJURED IN TRAIN COLLISION IN ARIZONA: The Mohave County, Arizona, Sheriff's office says one person died and another was injured in a train collision near Truxton, northeast of Kingman, June 5. Deputies reported one train had derailed and the other sustained 'significant damage.' The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. [ABC News, 6-5-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES FARM TRACTOR IN PA., FIVE INJURED: Authorities say an Amtrak Keystone train hit a farm tractor stopped on the tracks June 5 in Rapho Twp., Lancaster County, Pa., and five people were injured and sent to hospitals. [U.S. News & World Report, 6-5-18]

FEDS GRANT $132-M TO ILLINOIS TO REDUCE SOUTH SIDE R.R. DELAYS: The federal government has awarded a $132-million grant to help pay for a project that aims to clear up rail congestion around 75th street in Chicago, cutting delays to Amtrak, Metra and freight railroads. Included in the project are a new CSX flyover bridge, a street underpass, and new tracks and crossovers at belt railroads. Construction is expected to begin this fall. [Chicago Tribune website report, 6-5-18]

STATEN ISLAND RWY'S RICHMOND VALLEY STATION GETTING REHAB: Staten Island Railway has begun a comprehensive $2.2-million repair and rehabilitation project at its Richmond Valley station, one of the oldest stops in the New York Transit system. The station opened in 1860. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-5-18]

CONNECTICUT'S ANN STREET R.R. BRIDGE PROJECT TO BEGIN THIS MONTH: Connecticut will begin the first half of the Ann Street Railroad Bridge superstructure replacement the weekend of June 8, continuing the following weekend. The renewed bridge, which accommodates Metro-North service, will carry a third track to provide train storage. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-5-18]

AMTRAK TO REBUILD OR BUY UP TO 75 LOCOMOTIVES: Amtrak is looking to either purchase or upgrade between 50 and 75 locomotives that will primarily replace its aging P40 and P42 diesel locomotives. The company says the units are nearing the end of their life-expectancy. [Global Rail News, 6-4-18]

PITTSBURGH LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES TO GET REHAB: The Port Authority of Allegheny County, Pa., will begin this fall a two-year project to rehabilitate 55 Siemens-built light-rail vehicles that date back to the opening of the system in the mid-1980's. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-4-18]

R.J. CORMAN OPENS NEW FACILITY IN ALABAMA: R.J. Corman Railroad Switching Co. has opened a new rail-car switching and track maintenance location in Montgomery, Alabama, for SABIC, a global chemical and plastic company. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-4-18]

VIA RAIL LOGS 1-Q RIDERSHIP GAIN: In the first-quarter 2018, Via Rail Canada saw a 12.4 pct increase in passengers compared with the same period last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-4-18]

'DRAMATIC' CHANGES TO NJT RAIL SCHEDULES TAKE EFFECT: The commute for thousands of NJ Transit train riders will face a dramatic change in schedules that includes temporarily cutting trains or changes in origin and destination in order to accommodate installation of positive train-control technology. [NBC N.Y. website report, 6-4-18]

UNION IRKED BY AMTRAK'S NEW FOOD SERVICE CHOICES: Amtrak's just-instituted practice of providing sleeping-car passengers on two long-distance trains with so-called 'contemporary and fresh dining choices' is 'nothing more than a cold snack in a cardboard box being delivered to passengers in their rooms,' the Amtrak Service Workers Council of the Transport Workers Union of American says. 'Riders are paying close to $1,000 a ticket, only to be fed yogurt and sandwiches?' [Railway Age website report, 6-4-18]

SERBIA CARGO ORDERS SIEMENS VECTRONS: Rail freight operator Serbia Cargo has ordered eight multi-system Vectro locomotives from Siemens Austria for delivery by the end of March 2019. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-4-18]

AMTRAK SERVICE BETWEEN PORTLAND AND SEATTLE SUSPENDED DUE TO LANDSLIDE: A landslide June 2 caused the suspension of Amtrak service between Portland and Seattle. Service is expected to resume after 48 hours. [Fox 12 website report, 6-2-18]

MAY 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in May 2018. The remaining 74 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 30 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-1-18]

FEDS AWARD $277.5-M TO TRANSIT AGENCIES FOR HURRICANE REPAIRS: The Federal Transit Administration has allocated $277.5-million in emergency relief funding for transit systems damaged last year by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The bulk of the funding will go to Puerto Rico, which will receive $223.5-million. The 10.7-mile Tren Urbano subway system was heavily damaged during two of the hurricanes. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-1-18]

UNION PACIFIC PLANS $20-B STOCK BUYBACK: Union Pacific plans to buy back about $20-billion worth of stock between 2018 and 2020. Also, the company expects to achieve a 60 pct operating ratio on a full-year basis by 2020. [Marketwatch website report, 6-1-18]

NEW PACT REACHED FOR HUDSON BAY RAIL, PORT OF CHURCHILL: A new partnership agreement has been reached to transfer ownership of the Port of Churchill, Manitoba, and restore rail service to northern Manitoba, the Canadian government has announced. Rail service on the Hudson Bay line was stopped in May 2017 due to severe flooding and washouts. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-31-18]

AMTRAK INTRODUCES ASSIGNED-SEATING ON ACELA TRAINS: Amtrak has begun offering assigned-seating for passengers traveling first-class on Acela trains. On select departures, passengers may now choose a single or double seat, a window or an aisle seat, or a two- or four-person conference table. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-31-18]

BOMBARDIER PRESENTS TRAXX DC3 LOCOMOTIVE: Four Italian operators are the first customers for the Bombardier Traxx DC3 electric locomotive design. The DC3 can be supplied or retrofitted with 'last mile' capability for use on non-electrified tracks in freight terminals and ports. [Railway Gazette website report, 5-31-18]

STRIKE ENDS AT CP RAIL: The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference reached a tentative agreement May 30 with Canadian Pacific to renew the collective agreement for over 3,000 conductors and locomotive engineers, ending a strike that began May 29. Full service will resume May 31 at 6 A.M. local time. The tentative agreement must now be ratified by members, a process which will take place over the coming months. [Teamsters, 5-30-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending May 26, 2018, was 565,502 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 4.4 pct compared to the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carload traffic increased 3 pct, while intermodal traffic increased 5.8 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-30-18]

CP RAIL ON STRIKE: More than 3,000 Canadian Pacific Railway workers walked off the job late May 29, but a tentative agreement was reached with the Teamsters Union just hours later to end the strike. Full operations are expected to resume early May 31. [Canadian Press, 5-30-18]

VIRGINIA TO STUDY AMTRAK EXTENSION BEYOND ROANOKE: A study by the Virginia Dept. of Rail and Public Transportation is expected to begin in FY-2018-19 on extending Amtrak service beyond Roanoke to potential destinations, including the New River Valley. [Railway Age website report, 5-30-18]

UNION PACIFIC LINE IN OREGON IMPACTED BY TUNNEL DEBRIS: Officials with Union Pacific say trains are being rerouted after debris from a tunnel fell on the track during maintenance operations southwest of Eugene, Oregon. There were no injuries. Trains are being rerouted through Bend. [U.S. News & World Report, 5-30-18]

CALTRAIN MARKS PROGRESS ON NEW ELECTRIFIED FLEET: The first new cab car shell in Caltrain's 96-car electrified fleet has been cleared for painting, and the second cab car shell is being sent to a lab to undergo structoral verification testing. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-30-18]

NEW CHIEF SAFETY OFFICER JOINS CSX: James Schwichtenberg, a 20-year railroad veteran, has joined CSX as vice-president and chief safety officer, overseeing coordination efforts with DEKRA, the company's safety consulting firm. He comes to CSX after most recently serving as senior director of regulatory and operating practices at Canadian National. [CSX, 5-30-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 27, 2018. The remaining 72 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 34 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-28-18]

DETROIT'S TRAIN STATION MAY GET A NEW LIFE: The105-year-old Michigan Central Station in Detriot closed in 1988. After years of failed plans to repurpose the 18-story building, the Ford Motor Company is now in talks to possibly buy the facility. [Washington Post website report, 5-27-18]

MALAYSIA CANCELS PROJECT TO BUILD HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINK WITH SINGAPORE: Malaysia is cancelling a $17-billion project to build a high-speed rail line between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. [U.S. News & World Report, 5-27-18]]

A RAILROAD DOG REMEMBERED: In the year 1901, a free-spirited pup named Roxey ruled the rails. A lady boarded a Long Island Rail Road train and handed per puppy to a railroad employee. Then, due to some mysterious mixup en route, Roxey and his owner were never reunited. The orphaned puppy spent the next dozen years riding the rails. He gained a new family among the railroad staff and passengers. He would ride the various branches of the train system with a special travel pass on his collar that was issued by the company president. Roxey even got to ride with President Teddy Roosevelt, who once found the dog in his private car on a trip to Oyster Bay. Roxey died peacefully in 1914, where he is remembered with a special headstone donated by commuters. It is still there. A water bowl built into the memorial is often filled with flowers. [Untapped Cities, 5-25-18]

ACE, BART RAIL SYSTEMS TO BE CONNECTED: California has approved a grant to help connect the Altamont Corridor Express and Bay Area Rapid Transit systems. The project's first phase calls for building new rail from River Islands, Tracy, Mountain House and Livermore to connect with a BART termimus. Later phases will include stops at Lathrop/Manteca and Stockton. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-25-18]

NJT ROLLS OUT INTERACTIVE TOUCHSCREENS AT RAIL STATIONS: New Jersey Transit has begun piloting new interactive touchscreen kiosks at Newark Penn Station, Hoboken Terminal, and two light-rail stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-25-18]

TEAMSTERS UNION MEMBERS VOTE TO REJECT CP RAIL CONTRACT OFFER: Members of the Teamsters Union at Canadian Pacific have rejected a contract offer from the company, and say they will resume negotiations immediately. [Canadian Press, 5-25-18]

AMTRAK SAYS LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS ARE NOT CURRENTLY THREATENED: Amtra says there are no immediate plans to suspend service on any long-distance trains. The company sought to ease concerns among rail advocaes that management was moving towards abandoning service on large parts of the national network in favor of corridor investments. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-25-18]

AMTRAK'S NEW MEALS FOR CAPITOL, LAKE SHORE LIMITEDS 'A WORK IN PROGRESS': Amtrak says its new 'contemporary menu' for the Capitol and Lake Shore limiteds is a 'work in progress,' with more work to be done. The company expects to eventually restore at least one hot-food option, as well as the ability for coach passengers to buy meals from that menu. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-25-18]

SUPERLINERS NEARING END OF SERVICEABLE LIVES, AMTRAK SAYS: Amtrak will be identifying ways to replace its superliner equipment since it is reaching the end of its reasonable service lives. It has been determined that the cars are simply too old and have too many serious concerns, such as the need for all-new frames, and the best move forward is their replacement rather than refurbishment. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-25-18]

CONSORTIUM TO BUILD MONORAIL IN BRAZIL: Skyrail Bahia, a consortium of Build Your Dreams and Metrorail, has been selected for a $420-million contract to construct and operate a 12-mile, 22-station monorail in Bahia, Brazil. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-25-18]

TWO KILLED, 18 INJURED WHEN TRAIN CRASHES INTO TRUCK IN ITALY: Two people died and 18 were injured late May 23 when a passenger train crashed into a truck in Italy's Piedmont region. The train's operator and truck driver were killed. The local train connects Turin with the northern city of Ivrea. [Jerusalem Post, 5-24-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S GENESEE ARCH BRIDGE DEDICATED: Norfolk Southern on May 24 officially dedicated its $75-million, 963-foot-long Genesee Arch bridge in New York state's Letchworth State Park spanning the 'Grand Canyon of the East' along the railroad's Southern Tier line. [Norfolk Southern, 5-24-18]

NTSB TO HOLD HEARING ON RECENT AMTRAK CRASHES: The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a two-day investigative hearing on recent Amtrak crashes. The hearing is scheduled for July 10 and 11 in Washington. [NTSB, 5-23-18]

HUDSON BAY RWY ACQUISITION CALLED OFF: The agreement by the company known as iChurchill, and Manitoba First Nations, to acquire the Hudson Bay Railway and Port of Churchill, Manitoba, has been canceled. The rail line, which operates between Gillam and Churchill, has been out of service since May 2017 due to flooding damage. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-23-18]

HURON CENTRAL RWY TO HALT OPERATIONS: Genesee & Wyoming Canada's subsidiary Huron Central Railway plans to halt service on its 176-mile line from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to Sudbury, Ontario, by the end of the year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-23-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending May 19 was 546,415 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.6 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Intermodal volume for the week was the third highest ever. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-23-18]

TEXRAIL TRAIN STORAGE FACILITY OPENS: All eight TexRail train sets will be housed and maintained at a new 53,000-square-foot facility in Fort Worth, which had its grand opening May 22. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-23-18]

CHICAGO TRANSITS BEGINS BLUE LINE STATION IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS: The Chicago Transit Authority on May 22 launched its next two Blue Line station improvement projects. The work will tackle the Belmont Blue Gateway project, and renovate the Jefferson Park Transit Center. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-23-18]

CSX PUTTING MORE RESOURCES INTO SAFETY: CSX will put more resources into safety, company executives say. A new chief safety officer will be added soon, and an outside consulting firm will be brought in to help with safety issues. CSX reported 1.11 personal injuries per 200,000 employee hours in the first-quarter 2018, but that index rose from 0.97 in the same quarter last year. "This is unacceptable," the company's president and CEO James Foote said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-22-18]

LIRR UNVEILS PLAN TO TACKLE DELAYS: The Long Island Rail Road has announced plans to repair faulty infrastructure and boost operating efficiency following a year of poor on-time performance. The plan calls for updates to 10 switches that caused almost half of the railroad's 205 switch failures last year. There will also be inspections and upgrades on 370 track circuits along with installation of 14 additional third-rail heaters to prevent power failures during snowfall. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-22-18]

NYC SUBWAY IMPROVEMENTS COULD COST MORE THAN $19-B: Implementing a comprehensive plan to improve New York City's subway and related transportation facilities could cost more than $19-billion, sources say. A key element is to accelerate the installation of a new signaling system. [N.Y. Times website report, 5-22-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 20, 2018. The remaining 76 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 34 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-21-18]

AMTRAK, VRE TO OPERATE NORMAL SCHEDULES FOLLOWING CSX DERAILMENT IN VA.: Officials say Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express expect to operate normal schedules while investigators determine what had caused a CSX freight train to derail in Alexandria, Va., May 19. [U.S. News & World Report, 5-21-18]

GE LOCOMOTIVE BUSINESS, WABTEC AGREE TO MERGE: General Electric's chief executive officer John Flannery is taking the biggest step yet in his plan to revitalize his company, agreeing to merge its century-old locomotive business with Wabtec, in a deal valued at $11.1-billion. [Bloomberg website report, 5-21-18]

CLASS I RAIL WORKFORCE UP SLIGHTLY IN MID-APRIL: As of mid-April 2018, U.S. Class I railroads employed 145,959 workers, up 0.59 pct since mid-March, but down 2.11 pct compared with April 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-21-18]

CLEANUP CONTINUES AT ALEXANDRIA DERAILMENT SITE: A CSX freight train derailment early May 19 in Alexandria, Va., could wind up hindering the Monday morning commute. The train derailed 31 cars after approaching a bridge that partially collapsed, impacting VRE and Amtrak train service. [WTOP website report, 5-20-18]

NEW TRANSPORTATION CENTER IN ALTON, ILLINOIS, IS POPULAR: In the eight months since the Alton, Illinois, Multi-Modal Transportation Center opened, about 15,000 Amtrak passengers have embarked from or disembarked to the more spacious, modern facility. The station and other new depots along the St. Louis-Chicago route are just part of numerous transformations making Amtrak travel faster and smoother. [Alton Telegraph, 5-20-18]

CSX FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS IN ALEXANDRIA, VA., AMTRAK SERVICE IMPACTED: A CSX freight train derailed early May 19 in Alexandria, Va., blocking all tracks. There were no injuries, but Amtrak service south of Washington was suspended with passengers being transferred by bus. It was unclear how long the derailment will affect service. [King5 website report, 5-19-18]

AMPUTEES SUE RAILROAD: Two women who lost limbs when they were trying to climb through trains that were blocking the road in Waterloo, Iowa, have sued Canadian National for their injuries. They claim that the stopped trains presented a danger, prompting people to walk a considerable distance to an unblocked crossing, or risk crossing between rail cars that may move without notice. [Times-Republican website report, 5-18-17]

CN FINED FOR RENEWABLE FUELS VIOLATION: CN has pleaded guilty to violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and will pay a $25,000 fine as well as a $1.1-million for unpaid compliance credits to promote environmental protection. The violation relates to the railroad importing a fuel that did not meet renewable fuels regulations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-18-18]

TWO STEAM LOCOMOTIVES GET GRANT TOWARD PTC: The Emery Rail Heritage Trust has awarded $60,000 in grants to Friends of the 261 and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society toward funding of positive train-control on steam locomotives Milwaukee Road 261 and Nickel Plate Road 765. Each organization will receive $30,000 to begin individual fund-raising efforts to cover the estimated $120,000 cost per locomotive for PTC implementation. [Railway Age website report, 5-18-18]

CP TO DEMOLISH VACANT R.R. DEPOT IN MASON CITY, IOWA: Canadian Pacific intends to demolish a vacant former Milwaukee Road train depot, built about 1895, in Mason City, Iowa. The building has been unused since 2013, and the company does not want it to remain in its current location due to its proximity to an active rail yard. The local historical society would like to move and restore it, but the community does not likely have the funds to do it. [U.S. News & World Report, 5-18-18]

VOLOGRAD AIRPORT RAIL LINK OPENS: Passenger services on Russia's new Volograd airport rail line began May 18 following an inauguration ceremony the previous day. [Railway Gazette website report, 5-18-18]

BLACKLANDS R.R. OPENS TERMINAL AT NORTHERN NEVADA RAILPORT: A Blacklands Railroad subsidiary has opened a transloading and storage terminal at the Northern Nevada Railport and Logistics Center in Fernley. Rail service at the terminal is available five days a week, and is served by Union Pacific and BNSF. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-17-18]

MAJOR WASHOUT DISRUPTS MARC MARTINSBURG, BRUNSWICK SERVICE MAY 17: Continuing storms this week have once again affected MARC service from Martinsburg and Brunswick. A major washout occurred between Brunswick and Point of Rocks, and trains serving Martinsburg, Duffields, Harpers Ferry and Brunswick have been annulled May 17. Only those trains from Frederick will be getting through, serving those stations between Point of Rocks and Washington that are normally served by trains from Martinsburg and Brunswick. Officials say full service may not be restored until Monday. [WTOP, 5-16-18]

AAR PRESIDENT TO RETIRE NEXT YEAR: Association of American Railroads' president and chief executive officer Edward Hamberger will retire from the organization early next year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-16-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending May 12, 2018, was 550,029 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 5.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-16-18]

SENATE BILL WOULD MAKE ASSAULTING RAIL CREW MEMBERS A FEDERAL OFFENSE: On the one-year anniversary of the shooting of an Amtrak conductor in Illinois, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) has introduced a bill that would make assault or intimidation of passenger rail crew members a federal offense. [Chicago Tribune website report, 5-16-18]

MARC PASSENGERS TRAPPED ON TRAIN FIVE HOURS DUE TO HIGH WATER: A dramatic scene unfolded late May 15 as more than 80 people were trapped aboard a MARC train during a flash flood that hit Frederick County, Md. The water around the train was coming up to the step of the train, and passengers were told they needed to go to the upper deck of the coaches to stay safe. The train was en route to Brunswick, Md., and it was too dark and dangerous to safely offload the passengers. From around 7 P.M. until midnight, the passengers were stuck, waiting for the water to recede. Following the incident, MARC suspended all service on its Brunswick Line May 16, citing damage to train tracks. [WTOP website report, 5-16-18]

CANADA TO PROVIDE FUNDS TOWARD LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT IN CALGARY: The Canadian government will provide up to $1.53-billion (C) toward the Green line light-rail project in Calgary, the largest federal contribution for any infrastructure project in Alberta. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-16-18]

STRONG STORMS DISRUPT METRO-NORTH SERVICE: Trains into and out of Grand Central Terminal were canceled for a while during the evening rush hour May 15 due to a severe thunderstorm rolling through the area with wind gusts of up to 75 MPH. [Curbed website report, 5-15-18]

CANADA PROVIDING FUNDS TOWARD BYPASS RAIL LINE IN QUEBEC: The Canadian government will provide $62.4-million (C) toward the construction of an eight-mile cutoff which will enable freight trains to bypass the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, where an oil train derailed and exploded in July 2013, killing 47 people. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-15-18]

BRIGHTLINE AIMS TO SOLVE SOUTH FLORIDA CONGESTION: Brightline, a new high-speed rail line, could offer a solution to South Florida's traffic congestion by removing an estimated three million private vehicles from area roads. The company, which is privately-funded, runs between West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and downtown Miami, and eventually will extend to Orlando. [FastCoDesign website report, 5-15-18]

COST TO BUILD MINNESOTA LIGHT-RAIL RISES TO $2-B: The expected cost of the planned Southwest Light-Rail line in Minnesota, scheduled to open in 2023, has jumped to more than $2-billion, a $145-million increase from the previous estimate. An official blames a 7.8 pct increase on costs associated with freight rail negotiations, enviromental analysis, rebidding of the construction contract, and other factors. [Finance & Commerce website report, 5-15-18]

GPS CONFUSION LEADS MORE DRIVERS ONTO ACTIVE TRAIN TRACKS: GPS apps are apparently causing more confusion around railroad tracks than people realized. According to the Long Island Rail Road, there have been 21 instances of confused drivers following directions and turning onto tracks in the first four and one-half months of 2018. [CBS N.Y., 5-15-18]

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 May 13, 2018. The remaining 75 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 16 minutes late. MORE.. {Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-14-18]

FEDS GRANT $75-M TOWARD SOUND TRANSIT'S TACOMA LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: Sound Transit's Hilltop Tacoma Link light-rail extension project has received $75-million from the Federal Transit Administration. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-14-18]

ICE JAMS HALT ALASKA R.R. TRAIN: Ice jams along the Susitna River flooded about three miles of railroad north of Talkeetna, Alaska, May 12, and an Alaska Railroad passenger train heading north was forced to turn back at Talkeena. [KTVA website report, 5-12-18]

EX-CEO BOARDMAN KNOCKS AMTRAK MANAGEMENT DECISIONS: Former president and CEO Joseph Boardman, who retired from Amtrak in 2016, is raising concerns about the railroad's direction under its current management. He said that current management is endangering the national network's sustainability. He also questioned the company's transparency. Amtrak officials declined to comment when asked to respond to Boardman's concerns. MORE.. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-11-18]

FIRM CHOSEN TO MANAGE REDLANDS PASSENGER RAIL FACILITY CONSTRUCTION: The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority has chosen Kockwood, Andrews & Newnam to manage construction of a new15,000-square-foot storage and maintenance facility for the Redlands passenger rail project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-11-18]

PLANS FOR DOWNTOWN BAKERSFIELD HIGH-SPEED RAIL STATION APPROVED: The Bakersfield, California, city council has approved the 'Making Downtown Bakersfield Station' area vision plan and environmental impact report, supporting the state's high-speed rail project. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-11-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN MEETING KEY BUSINESS GOALS, CEO SAYS: Norfolk Southern is meeting key financial targets, improving operating efficiencies and advancing sustainable growth, James Squires, CEO and president, told shareholders attending the company's annual meeting May 10. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-11-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS TWO IN VA.: Two people walking on railroad tracks in Chester, Va., late May 9 were struck and killed by Amtrak's northbound Palmetto. None of the train's passengers were hurt, but the incident caused several delays to Amtrak service. [U.S. News & World Report, 5-10-18]

FORMER AMTRAK HEAD CONCERNED OVER PTC ISSUE IS AN 'EXCUSE' TO DROP SERVICE: Joseph Boardman, former Amtrak chief executive, recently published an open letter expressing concern that the current Amtrak leadership is using the upcoming positive train-control deadline as an excuse to shut down the Southwest Chief, which operates between Chicago and Los Angeles via Kansas City and Albuquerque. MORE.. [Star-Telegram website report]

CP HIKES DIVIDEND 15.5 PCT: Canadian Pacific's board has declared a quarterly dividend of 65 cts per share, an increase of 15.5 pct. [Canadian Pacific, 5-10-18]

MAN KILLED BY LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN IN BALTIMORE: A man was struck and killed by a light-rail train on Howard street in downtown Baltimore early May 10. Rail service through the area was suspended following the incident. [WJZ website report, 5-10-18]

MBTA TO REPLACE SAUGUS RIVER DRAWBRIDGE: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has awarded a contract for design of a replacement for the 530-foot former Boston & Maine drawbridge spanning the Saugus River. [Railway Age website report, 5-10-18]

ATLANTA PLANS TRANSIT PROJECTS WITH SALES TAX REVENUE: Atlanta voters approved a sales tax increase in 2016, and transit officials are planning to use the extra revenue for 21 miles of light-rail and 18 miles of bus rapid transit. The work will also include new transit centers and renovation of existing stations. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution website report, 5-10-18]

CHINA TO CONSTRUCT RAIL LINE LINKING HOTAN AND RUOQIANG: China has approved a $3.5-billion project to construct a 513-mile railway linking Hotan and Ruoqiang. Trains will operate at a maximum speed of 75 MPH and serve 69 stations when completed in three and one-half years. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-10-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ENGAGES FIRM TO SEEK SAFETY, SERVICE, OPERATIONS SOLUTIONS: Norfolk Southern has announced a strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a technology startup accelerator, to identify and connect Norfolk Southern with startup companies offering technology to align the railroad's safety, service and operations goals. Focus areas include automation, drone inspections, internet tracking, blockchain for supply-chain management, and predictive maintenance. [Norfolk Southern, 5-9-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending May 5, 2018, increased 7.5 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads jumped 6.4 pct, while intermodal was up 8.5 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-9-18]

WASHINGTON METRO TO REBUILD 20 OUTDOOR STATION PLATFORMS: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will undertake a three-year capital project to rebuilt outdoor platforms at 20 rail stations. The overall project will continue through 2021. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-9-18]

CHINA TESTS TRACKLESS AUTONOMOUS ELECTRIC-RAIL SYSTEM: A three-month test of the world's first trackless autonomous rail rapid transit system has begun in China's Hunan province. The three-car electric vehicle is about 105 feet long with rubber tires, and can carry more than 300 passengers. [Xinhua News Agency, 5-9-18]

BNSF REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Burlington Northern Santa Fe reported first-quarter 2018 net income of $1.1-billion, an increase of 37 pct compared to the first-quarter 2017. Operating income climbed 11 pct to $1.7-billion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-8-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Twenty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at the final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 6, 2018. The remaining 71 percent, on average, arrived one hour, 27 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-7-18]

ROLLING FRENCH RAIL STRIKES TO CONTINUE, UNIONS SAY: French railway unions have warned that the rolling strikes at national rail company SNCF will continue indefinitely. The warning came after a meeting with the French prime minister. The eighth sequence of rolling strikes of 48 hours were slated to begin late May 7. [RFI website report, 5-7-18]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN PHILADELPHIA: Authorities say a person was hit and killed by an Amtrak train in Philadelphia late May 7. The incident resulted in delays to trains on the Northeast corridor. [Lancaster Online, 5-7-18]

HAVRE & SHELBY, MONTANA, TO LOSE AMTRAK TICKET AGENTS: Amtrak will close two ticket counters in Montana in early June with company officials citing cost-saving and the fact that nine of 10 riders now buy tickets either on line or phone. The stations losing agents are Havre and Shelby. [Great Falls Tribune, 5-7-18]

FOR VIA RAIL, A STRONG 2017: Continuing a four-year trend, VIA Rail Canada posted strong ridership and revenues in 2017, carrying 4.4 million passengers, an increase of 10.5 pct over 2016. [Railway Age website report, 5-7-18]

PATH ON TRACK TO MEET PTC DEADLINE: Port Authority Trans-Hudson this month will begin weekend tunnel and station closures to finish installing and testing positive train-control equipment and software. The railroad remains on track to meet the year-ending deadline to install the technology, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-7-18]

EXPANSION SLATED FOR CRUDE-OIL TRANSLOAD FACILITY IN N.M.: Murex and Celane Energy have agreed to a major capacity expansion of a BNSF-served crude-oil transloading facility in Carlsbad, N.M. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-7-18]

TRAIN CARS BURN IN OHIO RAILROAD YARD: Authorities say a fire began late May 5 in a Norfolk Southern rail yard in Bellevue, Ohio, involving 10 cars loaded with suspected ethanol. [U.S. News & World Report, 5-5-18]

NEC TRACK REPAIRS FOLLOWING FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT COULD TAKE WEEKS: Work to repair tracks damaged by a freight train derailment on the Northeast corridor in Delaware County, Pa., late May 2 is continuing to disrupt Amtrak and SEPTA service, and officials say it could take up to four weeks before the project is completed. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 5-4-18]

AMTRAK, TEXAS CENTRAL TO IMPLEMENT THROUGH-TICKETING: Texas Central has announced that it has reached an agreement with Amtrak to allow for through-ticketing and marketing collaboration for the Dallas-Houston high-speed rail corridor currently being developed by the Texas-based company. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-4-18]

PARTNERSHIP TO ACQUIRE HUDSON BAY RAIL LINE, PORT: A group of Manitoba First Nations, through a newly-formed partnership with private company iChurchill Inc., has entered into an acquisition agreement with OmniTRAX to acquire the Hudson Bay Railway and Port of Churchill. The rail line, which operates between Gillam and Churchill, has been out of service since portions of it were flooded in May 2017. The rail line and port are crucial to the existence of all First Nations in northern Manitoba, leaders say. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-4-18]

BRIGHTLINE TO COVER COSTS OF RAIL CROSSING MAINTENANCE IN SELECTED COUNTIES: Officials with All Aboard Florida Brightline have agreed to cover the costs of rail crossing maintenance in those counties that have not shown opposition to the rail line. Counties that have opposed the service, such as with lawsuits to stop the service, the company will not cover the costs. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-4-18]

BRIGHTLINE, FEC AT RISK OF MISSING PTC DEADLINE, FRA SAYS: Brightline and Florida East Coast are 'at risk' of not meeting the deadline for installing positive train-control, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. [TCPalm website report, 5-4-18]

FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS IN PA., IMPACTS NEC SERVICE: A Norfolk Southern freight train derailed late May 2 in Ridley Park, Pa., blocking most Northeast corridor tracks, causing delays to Amtrak and Septa rail service well into the following day. Heavy equipment was called in to clean up the derailment scene. No injuries were reported. [6ABC website report, 5-3-18]

AMTRAK SEEKS DEVELOPER TO FURTHER ENHANCE 30TH STREET STATION: As part of its ongoing work to enhance the customer experience at Philadelphia's 30th street station, Amtrak released a request for qualifications for a master developer partner to update the facility. [Amtrak, 5-3-18]

TWO INJURED IN CSX DERAILMENT IN INDIANA: Two crew members sustained minor injuries in a CSX train derailment near Nappanee, Indiana, early May 3 during severe weather involving two locomotives and about 30 loaded cars. [WSBT website report, 5-3-18]

NJT TO CUT SOME TRAINS TO INSTALL PTC: Facing increasing difficulty meeting a year-end deadline to install positive train-control, N.J. Transit plans to discontinue some trains beginning June 4 to accelerate the installation of the collision-avoidance system. [North Jersey website report, 5-3-18]

APRIL 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. combined carload and intermodal freight traffic comprehended 2,150,026 originations, an increase of 5.1 pct compared with the same month last year. [Railway Age website report, 5-3-18]

ATLANTA TRANSIT PLAN COULD BETTER CONNECT SYSTEMS: Georgia's governor plans to sign a bill encouraging projects that will connect mass transit across 13 metro counties in the Atlanta area. The newly-formed ATL would help solve Atlanta's rapid transit authority's effort of uniting different services, schedules and payment methods. [Associated Press website report, 5-3-18]

CSX CLOSES LOCUST POINT YARD IN BALTIMORE: CSX closed its Locust Point yard in Baltimore effective the end of April. Operations were moved to Curtis Bay and Mount Clare yards, also in Baltimore. [Robert Michaels, 5-3-18]

AMTRAK SERVICE IN N.C. TO INCREASE NEXT MONTH: The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation says a fourth daily round-trip Amtrak train will be added between Raleigh and Charlotte beginning June 4. [Spectrum Local News websie report, 5-2-18]

UNION PACIFIC TO UPGRADE 10 LOCOMOTIVES INTO EPA TIER 4 SWITCHERS: Union Pacific has partnered with two California air-management districts to upgrade 10 low-horsepower yard switcher locomotives into EPA Tier 4 standards in a bid to reduce their nitrogen emissions. [Railway Technology website report, 5-2-18]

AMTRAK'S PACIFIC SURFLINER ROUTE GETS IMPROVEMENT FUNDING: California has awarded $188.3-million to construct double-track, siding extensions, signal upgrades, station improvements, layover facilty improvements and host-railroad incentives along Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner route. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-2-18]

RAIL FACILITY COMING TO JERSEYVILLE, ILLINOIS: Kansas City Southern will be adding a major rail facility in Jerseyville, Illinois, expected to have a 'significant impact' on the region's transportation infrastrucure. The new logistics center will be used for offloading cargo to semi-trucks, and also include light manufacturing. [Fox2New, 5-2-18]

APRIL 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in April 2018, according to the Bull Sheet. The remaining 63 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 15 minutes late. The best performing train in April was the Coast Starlight, arriving on time 75 percent of the time. The worst performing train was the Crescent, arriving on time just two percent of the time. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-1-18]

TWO KANSAS AMTRAK STATIONS TO LOSE TICKET AGENTS THIS MONTH: Amtrak says the depots at Topeka and Garden City, Kansas, will remain open, but will not have agents on site to sell train tickets. The Topeka ticket window closes May 20, while Garden City's window closes May 15. Amtrak says that most customers are now purchasing their tickets online or by telephone, and the need for agents has dimished. Fewer than one in 10 tickets are now sold at the ticket counter, Amtrak said. [CJ Online, 5-1-18]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Genesee & Wyoming reported first-quarter revenue increased 10.7 pct from the same quarter last year to $574.7-million this year. Operating income rose 14.5 pct, while adjusted operating income climbed 2.7 pct. Diluted earnings per share rose to $1.19 versus 42 cents a year ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-1-18]

NEW ORANGE LINE TROLLEY STATION OPENS IN SAN DIEGO: Courthouse Station, the first new trolley station to open since 2005, is now the downtown San Diego termimus for the Orange Line, which runs to El Cajon. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-1-18]

UNION PACIFIC IS SAFEST CLASS I RAILROAD: Union Pacific is the safest U.S. Class I railroad in employee safety for the third consecutive year, according to Federal Railroad Administration data. [Business Insider website report, 4-30-18]

LIRR'S DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT NEARS COMPLETION: Beginning April 30, Long Island Rail Road crews work to connect new track to existing second track west of Central Islip. Work will continue through May 18, working around the clock. Workers will also install third-rail in the same area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-30-18]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN KILLS MAN AT CROSSING IN KANSAS: Authorities say man was struck and killed by a Union Pacific train while struggling with a trailer that had detached from his pickup truck late April 27 in northwest Kansas. He was trying to get back into his truck when the train came around a curve. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-29-18]

SOME RAILROADS OFFERING SIGNING BONUSES: Union Pacific is offering $25,000 signing bonuses. The reason is to attract more employees. In some areas of the nation, employment rate is as low as 2.8 pct, which means hiring has become a more difficult. The bonuses will be paid out over a period of time. The employee is locked into a location for at least three years. If the employee decides to quit before the period is over, the bonus must be repaid. BNSF is offering comparable bonuses as well. [WSMV Nashville, 4-28-18]

AMTRAK TO CUT MORE AGENTS FROM LOW-VOLUME STATIONS: Amtrak will be resuming its efforts to de-staff stations with 40 or fewer daily passengers. These include Charleston, WV., Cincinnati, OH., Fort Madison, IA., Garden City, KS., Hammond, LA., Havre, MT., La Junta, CO., Lamy, NM., Marshall, TX., Meridian, MS., Ottumwa, IA., Shelby, MT., Texarkana, AR., Topeka, KS., and Tuscaloosa, AL. The changes will take place sometime after June 1. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-27-18]

UNION PACIFIC RECALLS FURLOUGHED EMPLOYEES, PULLS LOCOMOTIVES FROM STORAGE: Union Pacific has recalled all of its furloughed employees and has pulled 650 locomotives from storage to address congestion in the southern part of its network, particularly Texas. The congestion stemmed from a myriad of reasons, and its souther region has too many railcars and too much demand for its hauling capacity, the company said. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 4-27-18]

AMTRAK SHOULD FOCUS ON MEDIUM-DISTANCE CORRIDORS, ITS CEO SAYS: Amtrak's chief executive officer Richard Anderson believes that the company should focus on medium-distance corridors, typified by the Chicago-St. Louis route. Dense mega corridors are going to get denser, he said, and the best and cheapest way to serve them is to use existing rights-of-way that do not take a big environmental approval process. He added that there is probably a continuing role for some long-distance trains, but Amtrak's current services are not meeting the needs of the market. Only four to six percent of passengers ride such trains from end to end. [Railway Gazette, 4-27-18]

BRIGHTLINE TO RUN SIMULATED SERVICE TO MIAMI: Brightline begins April 28 to operate trains without passengers between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The simulated service is part of required training and testing before regular service begins, the company said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-27-18]

SIEMENS TO BUILD FOUR CHARGER LOCOMOTIVES FOR ALTAMONT CORRIDOR EXPRESS: The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission has awarded Siemens a contract to build four diesel-electric locomotives, with an option to purchase four additional units, to operate on the Altamont Corridor Express between Stockton and San Jose, California. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-27-18]

DRIVER KILLED IN RAIL CROSSING ACCIDENT IN MISSOURI: Authorities say an Arkansas & Missouri Railroad train struck and killed a 73-year old driver at a private crossing April 25 near Exeter, Missouri. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-27-18]

BART EXTENSION TO ANTIOCH BEGINS MAY 26: Passenger service for the Bay Area Rapid Transit's 10-mile extension to Antioch will begin May 26. The $525-million extension includes two new stations, and the agency expects to serve 2,400 riders per hour in each direction during rush hours. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-27-18]

CALIFORNIA GRANTS FUNDS TOWARD RAIL CAPITAL PROGRAM: The California State Transportation Agency has awarded 28 recipients more than $2.6-billion for Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program grants. In addition, the agency is providing additional funding for seven projects through multi-year agreements, bringing the total awarded to more than $4.3-billion. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-27-18]

SENATOR QUESTIONS APPROVAL OF TAX-EXEMPT BONDS FOR BRIGHTLINE: Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is questioning the company's funding approval for $1.75-billion in tax-exempt bonds. The senator wrote in a letter to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation that the company needs to provide 'increased transparency' as Brightline looks to use the bonds to fund connecting Miami and Orlando in its next phase. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-27-18]

RAILROAD SUES OVER LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT IN MINNEAPOLIS: Twin Cities & Western Railroad has filed a lawsuit against the Minneapolis Metropolitan Council which is overseeing the development of the Southwest light-rail project. The suit claims that agreements outlining how freight and light-rail trains will operate alongside one another breach previous contracts and laws, and will interfere in the railroad's ability to provide its own freight service. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-27-18]

N.Y. MTA ADDS $800-M TO TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS: New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is increasing major transportation projects spending by $800-million. This marks an increase in the agency's five-year spending program to $33.3-billion, but the increase will be met by utilizing unspent money from older plans. Included will be upgrading station accessibility and other improvements to subway service. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-27-18]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported 2018 first-quarter net income of $1.3-billion, or a first-quarter record $1.68 per diluted share. This compares to about $1.1-billion, or $1.32 per diluted share, in the first-quarter 2017. Operating revenue was up 7 pct, and business volumes increased 2 pct. Quarterly freight revenue improved 7 pct. [Union Pacific, 4-26-18]

MARKS, MISSISSIPPI, BEING ADDED AS AMTRAK STOP: Passenger rail service returns to the Delta next month with a daily stop on the New Orleans-Chicago Amtrak route. Officials will cut the ribbon at the town's new station at Marks, Mississippi, on May 4, and officials hope the stop will help revitalize downtown and increase tourism. [Delta Daily News website report, 4-26-18]

BALTIMORE LIGHT-RAIL DISRUPTED BY FALLEN CONCRETE FROM BRIDGE: Baltimore's light-rail line was disrupted April 26 after chunks of concrete fell from the overhead Kelly avenue bridge in the Mount Washington area of Baltimore onto the tracks. Service was suspended through the area as a precaution while crews made repairs. [WBAL website report, 4-26-18]

TWELVE SCHOOL CHILDREN KILLED AS TRAIN STRIKES VAN IN INDIA: A train crashed into a school van at a rail crossing in northern India early April 26 killing 12 school children. The van driver, who ignored a guard's signal to stop, was also killed. Another 12 children were injured, five of them critically. The children, all between five and 14 years of age, were on their way to school. [Reuters website report, 4-26-18]

TRUCK CRASHES ON R.R. TRACKS IN CALIFORNIA, DISRUPTING SERVICE: Train passengers faced disruptions early April 26 in Pasadena, California, after a Fedex truck crashed on a Los Angeles-area freeway and landed on Metro Gold line tracks. Buses were used to transport stranded train passengers around the crash scene. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-26-18]

CSX OFFICIAL AWARDED JOHN H. CHAFEE ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARD: Charles Bailey, director of design and construction engineering for CSX, has been awarded the 2017 John H. Chaffee environmental excellence award by the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 4-26-18]

KCS RELAUNCHES INTERMODAL SERVICE BETWEEN NEW ORLEANS AND DALLAS: Kansas City Southern is relaunching a weekly intermodal service between the Portof New Orleans and Wylie, Texas, beginning next month. Previous service had been discontinued following hurrican Katrina in 2005. [Kansas City Southern, 4-25-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern reported first-quarter net income was $552-million, up 27 pct year-over-year, a result of a 10 pct increase in income from railway operations and a lower effective income tax rate. Diluted earnings per share were $1.93, up 30 pct year-over-year and a first-quarter record. [Norfolk Southern, 4-25-18]

RAIL-SERVED AUTO FACILITY COMING TO ALABAMA: The Alabama State Port Authority and AutoMobile International Terminal have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop and operate a rail-served automotive processing facility at the Port of Mobile. The $60-million, 57-acre project will have access to five Class I railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-25-18]

BELT RAILWAY OF CHICAGO GETTING NEW PRESIDENT: Mike Grace, a veteran of Norfolk Southern, most recently superintendent of the Dearborn division, has been named to head the Belt Railway of Chicago upon the retirement of Pat O'Brien this summer. Jointly owned by North America's Class I railroads, the Belt Railway of Chicago is the largest switching and terminal railroad in the U.S. [Railway Age website report, 4-25-18]

TEEN STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN MICHIGAN: A male teenager was struck and killed by a freight train April 25 in Belleville, Michigan. According to police, the individual was lying on the tracks when he was struck. [WWJ website report, 4-25-18]

WESTERN AUSTRALIA TO ADD, UPDATE RAIL EQUIPMENT: Public Transport Authority of Western Australia has issued a request for prequalification for a tender to supply a fleet of 17 six-car electric multiple-units for its Metronet project, plus 24 six-car trains to replace aging A-series trains on its Perth commuter rail network. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-25-18]

REHAB OF SERBIAN RAIL LINE UNDERWAY: Work has begun to rehabilitate two sections of the Serbian 40-mile single-track line from Sabac to Loznica and Brasina on the Bosnian border. Two train stations will also be renovated. This will enable passenger rail service, which was suspended in 2005, to be reinstated in September this year. [Railway Gazette website report, 4-25-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending April 21, 2018, was 539.425 combined carloads and intermodal units, up 6.2 pct compared with the same week last year. Calculated separately, carloads increased 3.5 pct, and intermodal was up 8.9 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-25-18]

AMTRAK WORKER KILLED BY TRAIN IN MD.: An Amtrak employee died April 24 after being struck by an Amtrak train near Baltimore. The employee was a lookout for a crew doing track work on the center set of tracks while northbound and southbound tracks were being used. [Baltimore Sun website report, 4-24-18]

CN UNABLE TO 'PICK UP THE SLACK' IF CP WORKERS STRIKE: The CEO of Canadian National says his railroad would not be able to pick up much of the slack of a labor dispute at rival Canadian Pacific were to lead to a strike. [Business News Network website report, 4-24-18]

GROUP SEEKS TO FINISH RAIL-TRAIL IN W.VA.: Rails-to-Trails Conversancy has released a feasibility study to fill gaps in three West Virginia counties for completion of a 238-mile rail-trail connecting Pittsburgh, Pa., with Parkersburg, W.Va., to be known as the 'P2P.' The trail will mostly follow former B&O trackage. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-24-18]

METRO-NORTH SAYS PTC WILL BE READY BY DEADLINE: Despite a recent setback, Metro-North president Catherine Rinaldi says positve train-control technology will be installed by a year-end deadline. [Journal News website report, 4-24-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 22, 2018. The remaining 67 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 20 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-23-18]

CRUDE OIL TANK CARS DERAIL IN TEXAS: Union Pacific is investigating the cause of 12 tank cars of crude oil derailing near mid-day April 22 in Texarkana, Texas. No injuries were reported, and no spillage was detected. [Texarkana Gazette, 4-23-18]

CN REPORTS REDUCED 1-Q EARNINGS: Canadian National reported first-quarter net income fell by 16 pct from the same period last year to $741-million. Earnings were impacted by severe winter weather and lower network resiliency. [Financial Post, 4-23-18]

STRIKE AT CP RAIL POSTPONED: A strike against Canadian Pacific has been postponed in order for members to vote on a new company offer. Both affected unions have recommended that the offer be rejected. [Teamsters Canada, 4-20-18]

KCS REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: Kansas City Southern reported record first-quarter 2018 revenues of $639-million, and increase of 5 pct from the same quarter last year. Overall, carload volumes increased 1 pct. Record first-quarter operating income of $219-million was 4 pct higher than a year ago. Diluted first-quarter earnings per share was $1.40. [Kansas City Southern, 4-20-18]

MERIDIAN STATION IN CONNECTICUT OPENS: Connecticut commemorated the grand opening of its new CTRail Hartford Line Meridian station on April 19. The facility will provide service to existing Amtrak trains and future Hartford Line trains when CTRail service begins in June 2018. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-20-18]

AMTRAK TO ADJUST MEAL OFFERINGS ON CAPITOL, LAKE SHORE LIMITEDS: Amtrak will be replacing traditional hot meal-dining car service for sleeping car customers on the Capitol and Lake Shore limiteds beginning June 1. Lunch and dinner will be offered with chilled beef tenderloin, vegan wrap, chicken caesar salad or turkey club sandwich, all delivered to the train just prior to originating departure. These meals will be delivered to customers' rooms, or may be eaten in a private cafe or lounge car. Unlimited soft beverages will be offered, plus a complimentary serving of beer, wine, or a mixed drink and an amenity kit. Kosher meals will be available with advance notice. Cold items will also be offered for breakfast. [Amtrak, 4-19-18]

CP RAIL PROFIT FALLS 19.3 PCT: Canadian Pacific announced first-quarter net income of $348-million (C) or $2.41 per share for the first-quarter 2018, compared with $431-million or $2.93 per share in the first-quarter last year. While ton-miles increased 6 pct, carloads were 4 pct higher, and revenued increased by 4 pct, expenses surged, mostly due to extreme weather and unprecedented demand. [Railway Age website report, 4-19-18]

CTA MOVES TO NEXT STATE OF O'HARE BLUE LINE PROJECT: Chicago Transit has awarded a signal improvement contract that will allow for work to begin on the next stage of the 'Your New Blue,' a project that will overhaul the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-19-18]

'POO-POO CHOO-CHOO' LEAVES ALABAMA TOWN: The poop is gone. Parrish, Alabama, is now free of smelly containers of human waste that had been parked in the small Walker County town for more than two months. At one point, about 250 containers of the sludge were spotted in the town. [Alabama Media Group, 4-19-18]

CP BEGINS OPERATIONS SHUTDOWN AHEAD OF POSSIBLE STRIKE: Canadian Pacific says it has begun shutting down train operations ahead of a possible strike set to begin April 21 by two unionized workforces. [Canadian Press, 4-19-18]

CN TO ACQUIRE 350 BOXCARS TO MEET GROWING DEMAND: Canadian National will acquire 350 boxcars to meet growing demand among industrial customers across its North American network. The leased 50-foot plate F cars will be delivered beginning late summer, with all cars in service by the end of the year. [Railway Age website report, 4-19-18]

HAWAII CONFRONTS RISING COST OF RAIL: Honolulu has been building a 20-mile rail system, but rising costs have created uncertainty about the project. The city must allocate $44-million to the project next year, and an engineering professor estimates the cost to build the system could increase from $8-billion to $13-billion. [Construction Dive website report]

FIRST COMMERCIAL HYPERLOOP TO BE DEVELOPED IN UAE: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has partnered with Aldar to develop the first commercial hyperloop, a 6.2-mile system that would connect Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It is anticipated that the first section would be operational by Oct. 2020 in time for Expo 2020 in Dubai. [Mass Transit magazine online, 4-19-18]

CONNECTICUT'S HARTFORD LINE UPGRADE NEARS COMPLETION: The upgraded Hartford Line will open operations June 16 from Hartford to New Haven, and Springfield, Massachusetts. Planning for the line began in 2004. Operations that had been scheduled for late 2015 were repeatedly delayed in a search for funding. With a new top speed of 110 MPH, construction involved new roadbed, track, bridges and culverts. [Railway Age website report]

CSX OUTLOOK BRIGHT, ANALYST SAYS: Of CSX's first-quarter earnings report, Jason Seidl, managing director of Cowen & Co., wrote: "We continue to expect that CSX will become a more nimble, dynamic railroad in the coming years, as many layers of management have been reduced. The company has consolidated its structure into four operating regions from nine. The number of hump yards has been cut by two-thirds to four, from 12. There could be more to go on that front. Decentralization of operational decision-making will likely prove to be a key component to customer service improvement and employee retention over time." [Railway Age website report, 4-18-18]

REPORT SUGGESTS COMBINING LIRR, NJT, METRO-NORTH INTO ONE SYSTEM: A report from the Regional Plan Association details a proposal to join the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Metro-North into one rail system. The proposal would bring crosstown rail service from New Jersey through Long Island, and eventually adding 60 new stations and more than 200 new or reactivated track miles for a rail system to be named 'Trans-Regional Express.' [AM New York website report, 4-18-18]

PORT OF MONTREAL TO IMPROVE RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE: Canada will invest $18.4-million to improve rail infrastructure at the Port of Montreal. The intermodal project will 'optimize' the port's rail network capacity and include relocating underground and above-ground infrastructure. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-18-18]

FRENCH RAIL STRIKE CONTINUES: Striking French rail workers disrupted train services for the seventh day this month on April 18, spurning government calls to end the industrial action over reforms at the state-owned SNCF railway company. The rolling strikes are due to stretch on until the end of June. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-18-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending April 14, 2018, was 534,198 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.3 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carload volume was up 1.6 pct, and intermodal volume was up 6.9 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-18-18]

SLOVENIAN RAILWAYS ORDERS 26 MULTIPLE UNITS: Slovenian Railways has signed a contract for 26 single- and double-deck multiple units from Stadler. The order comprises 11 four-car Flirt single-deck EMU's, five three-car Flirt DMU's, and 10 three-car Kiss double-deck EMU's. The units will be designed for 99 MPH operation and equipped to run into Austria and Croatia. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-18-18]

CSX REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: CSX's first-quarter profit nearly doubled thanks to further cost cuts and a restructuring. The company posted net income of $695-million or 78 cents per share, compared with $362-million or 39 cents per share in the first-quarter 2017. CEO Jim Foote said CSX is drastically changing the way it operates by reducing the number of locomotives it uses and running trains on a lighter schedule. [WTOP website report, 4-17-18]

CHICAGO TRANSIT OPENS NEW SOUTH TERMINAL 95TH STREET STATION: The Chicago Transit Authority has opened the first of two new rail and bus terminal facilities at 95th street. The 95th/Dan Ryan station is one of the agency's busiest facility, serving more than 20,000 rail and bus passengers per day. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-17-18]

BUDAPEST-ESZTERGOM ELECTRIC RAIL SERVICE BEGINS: Regular electric rail service on the Budapest-Esztergom route began on April 9, building on a single daily electric train between Piliscsaba and Budapest Nyugati which had been operating on a trial basis since December 2017. Some service is still operated using diesel multiple-units, with full switch to electric traction scheduled for later this year. [Railway Gazette website report, 4-17-18]

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 April 15, 2018. The remaining 62 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 20 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-16-18]

CSX-SERVED INLAND PORT OPENS IN S.C.: A $50.5-million cargo-transfer hub inland port has opened in Dillon, S.C., linking Charleston via CSX. [Post & Courier website report, 4-16-18]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN NEW RIVER GORGE, W.VA.: An empty CSX coal train struck a rock slide early April 16 in the New River Gorge near Thurmond, W.Va. The company said 10 of the train's 97 cars, along with one locomotive, derailed. No injuries were reported. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-16-18]

MUDSLIDE HALTS RAIL SERVICE BETWEEN SEATTLE AND EVERETT: A 20-foot-wide mudslide on the BNSF Railway shut down all passenger rail service between Seattle and Everett, Washington. [San Francisco Chronicle website report, 4-16-18]

CP RAIL AGREEMENT WITH UNION 'ELUSIVE' AS STRIKE DATE NEARS: Canadian Pacific says a new labor agreement with thousands of train conductors and others remains elusive, less than a week before the deadline for a possible strike. [Bloomberg website report,4-15-18]

LOCOMOTIVE BURNS IN WYOMING RAIL YARD, TWO U.P. EMPLOYEES HURT: Officials say a fire department responded to a locomotive fire in a Rock Springs, Wyoming, rail yard. Two Union Pacific employees were hospitalized for smoke-inhalation. [Sweetwater Now website report, 4-14-18]

CSX TO ADD COLLISION AVOIDANCE SYSTEM FOR TRACK MACHINERY: CSX has ordered Protan Technology's collision-avoidance sysem for installation on several hundred of its railway track machines. The system uses a radio solution to provide consistent distance measurements and alerts to other vehicles in the area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-13-18]

NEW RAIL SYSTEM TO BE BUILT AT LOS ANGELES AIRPORT: The Los Angeles city council has approved a contract for design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a new automated rail system at the Los Angeles International Airport. The contract is the largest ever awarded in the city's history. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-13-18]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT FACES FEDERAL AUDIT: California's high-speed rail project is facing an audit from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation as costs continue to climb. [San Jose Mercury News website report, 4-13-18]

AMTRAK ANNOUNCES SUMMER WORK PLANS FOR N.Y. PENN: Amtrak has announced its plans for infrastructure renewal at New York Penn Station during the summer. Projects feature critical reconstruction of the Empire Tunnel and Souyten Duyvil Bridge and renewal work on the station's track 19. The projects are not expected to be as disruptive to passengers as they were last year. Empire Service trains, which currently use Penn Station, will be diverted to Grand Central Terminal. The Lake Shore Limited will connect at Albany with Empire Service trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-12-18]

NEW PRESIDENT FOR LIRR: According to multiple sources, Phil Eng, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority's chief operating officer, will succeed Pat Nowakowski as president of Long Island Rail Road. [Railway Age website report, 4-12-18]

AMTRAK 'CONSIDERING' OPERATION OF NEW RIVER TRAIN: W.Va. officials say Amtrak is working to keep the New River train service in southern West Virginia running this fall. While nothing is definite, Amtrak might allow an exception to its recently-announced policy to discontinue operation of special and charter trains, citing low profit margins and disruption to paying customers of the company's regularly-scheduled runs. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-12-18]

TWO CHARGED WITH SABOTAGING RAILROAD SIGNALS: Two Pittsburgh-area men have been charged with sabotaging railroad signals. Prosecutors say they severed signal cables, damaged wire connections and removed railroad antennas last year, imparing the operation of a train-control system. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-12-18]

FLAMES ENGULF FORMER RAILROAD TRESTLE IN LANCASTER COUNTY, PA.: Flames engulfed an old railroad trestle turned pedestrian bridge on the Enola Low Grade Trail in Lancaster County, Pa., late April 11. The bridge was opened as a public walkway linking Conestoga and Martic townships in 2015. [Lancaster Online, 4-12-18]

NEW RAIL INTERMODAL SERVICE LINKS LONDON WITH CHINA: A new intermodal rail freight service began April 10 from London via the Channel Tunnel to Duisberg, Germany, with connections to Poland and China. The train operates once a week, but has to potential to expand to up to six train per week if demand warrants. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-12-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic climbed 3.8 pct to 524,905 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending April 7 compared with the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Calculated separately, carload traffic increased 4.6 pct, and intermodal traffic increased 3.1 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-12-18]

LIRR PRESIDENT STEPPING DOWN: Patrick Nowakowski, president of the Long Island Rail Road, will resign from his office effective April 13. [Newsday website report, 4-12-18]

VIA RAIL'S CANADIAN GETTING 25 COACHES UPGRADED: VIA Rail has awarded Cad Railway Industries a $46-million (C) contract to upgrade 25 coaches used on The Canadian service between Toronto and Vancouver. The stainless steel coaches date from the 1950's. [Railway Gazette website report, 4-11-18]

NJT TO RECONSTRUCT ELIZABETH COMMUTER-RAIL STATION: New Jersey Transit has approved a $71-million plan to reconstruct a commuter-rail station in Elizabeth. Crews will construct new inbound and outbound station buildings with longer platforms, along with improved security, communication, and accessibility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-11-18]

FATIGUE CITED IN 2015 RAIL ACCIDENT IN N.M.: The National Transportation Safety Board said fatigue was the probable cause of a 2015 accident between two Southwestern Railroad trains in Roswell, N.M. The accident occurred when a train traveled through a switch left in the wrong position and collided with a train stopped in a siding. An engineer was killed and a conductor was seriously injured. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-11-18]

BICYCLIST KILLED IN COLLISION WITH LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN IN MINNEAPOLIS: A bicyclist was killed when he crossed in front of and collided with a Blue Line light-rail train in south Minneapolis late April 10. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-11-18]

BOY INJURED AFTER HANGING ONTO LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN AND FALLING: New Jersey Transit officials said a boy was injured when he tried to hang from a light-rail train and then falling from it in Jersey City late April 10. He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and has been charged with defiant trespassing. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-11-18]

AMTRAK PLANS TO DIVERT CERTAIN TRAINS TO GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL: Upcoming repairs to Empire tunnel and Spuyten Duyvil bridge connecting upstate New York with Penn Station will result in Amtrak diverting affected trains to Grand Central Terminal instead of Penn Station May 26 to September 4, 2018. Washington-New York-Boston trains will not be impacted. [N.Y. Daily News website report, 4-10-18]

NJT TO BORROW 10 TRAIN CARS FROM MARC: New Jersey Transit is set to borrow 10 train cars from the Maryland Transit Authority within the coming weeks to ease overcrowding. In turn, one NJT locomotive will be sent to Maryland. [N.J. News 12 website report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ADDRESSES SERVICE SHORTFALLS: In a communication with the Surface Transportation Board, Norfolk Southern acknowledged that its service was not where it needs to be, and restoring service levels is a 'top priority.' The company suffered the effects of hurricanes in September and October, and snowstorms in December and January. To increase fluidity, through freight service was resumed on its Central of Georgia route, which had ceased (but not idled) in the first part of last year. Moreover, there are no current plans to dispose of or close main lines, and the company's 2018 capital budget is up more than $120-million over 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-10-18]

HIGH-SPEED FREIGHT RAIL PLANNED FOR ITALY: Italian State Railways' freight subsidiary Mercitalia has unveiled plans for a high-speed 12-car container train linking Caserta Marcianise and Bologna in 3 hours and 20 minutes, at an average speed of 112 MPH. Service is planned to begin in October. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-10-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending April 8, 2018. The remaining 67 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 23 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-9-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS WOMAN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The San Diego, California, sheriff's department says a woman walked past railroad crossing signals in Del Mar late April 8 and was struck and killed by an Amtrak train. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-9-18]

CSX SELLING 176 MILES OF RAIL LINES IN ALABAMA, GEORGIA: CSX is in the process of selling 176 miles of lines in Alabama and Georgia to HGS Railway Holdings, according to a notice filed with the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-9-18]

FRA TO FILL NEARLY 100 KEY POSITIONS: The Federal Railroad Administration, with a new leader in place and a confirmed budget, is seeking to fill nearly 100 key vacant positions across the country. [Railway Age website report, 4-9-18]

ONTARIO TO INVEST $11-B TOWARD HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Ontario will invest more than $11-billion (C) to build the first phase of a Toronto-to-London high-speed rail line. Electric trains will travel at speeds up to 155 MPH, and intermediate stops include Kitchener and Guelph. A second phase of the project will add stops in Windsor and Chatham. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-9-18]

ABANDONED STREETCAR TRESTLE IN D.C. SLATED FOR DEMOLITION: A more than 120-year-old streetcar trestle near the Potomac River in Washington DC, that was abandoned many years ago, is slated for demolition. The D.C. Metro system, which owns the bridge, has filed for a permit to have the Foundry Branch trestle demolished. Preservationists have suggested that the structure be included as part of a trail, but the trestle is crumbling and is said to be so unsafe that it could collapse at any minute.

NASHVILLE PROPOSES PLAN TO ADD SUBWAY, LIGHT-RAIL: Nashville's acting mayor has signed a 'Declaration of Traffic Independence' in support of a plan to add a subway and 26 miles of light-rail transit to the city. The $5.4-billion referendum will face election May 1. [Nashville Tennessean website report]

FRENCH RAIL STRIKES CONTINUE: French rail workers launched their latest two-day strike April 8 over plans to overhaul train operator SNCF. Neither side appeared ready to back down, with the country's prime minister warning that the government would not be deterred despite union pledges for three months of rolling stoppages, possibly more. [ATP website report, 4-8-18]

BRISTOL, VA., SEEKS AMTRAK SERVICE: Officials in Bristol, Virginia, and a consulting firm are looking into economic effects of extending Amtrak service from Roanoke to Bristol. A study is being developed to look at what possibilities exist if Bristol were to become a transit and travel hub for the area. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-6-18]

FUNDING SOUGHT FOR PENNSYLVANIA RAIL-TRAIL PROJECT: Clinton County, Pa., is seeking grant funding for a Susquehanna Bridge project, cemeting an affordable way forward for the county's rail-project linking Wayne Twp to Pine Creek Twp to connect with the 62-mile Pine Creek Rail Trail. [Lock Haven Express, 4-6-18]

CHINESE COMPANY SEEKS TO DEVELOP INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN N.C.: China-based Triangle Tire plans to build its first overseas production facility on the 1449-acre Kingsboro, N.C., CSX Select Megasite. [Railway Age website report, 4-6-18]

MBTA'S WELLINGTON RAIL YARD TO BE REBUILT: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has awarded a $192.7-million contract to rebuild the Wellington rail yard in Medford. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-6-18]

SOUTH SHORE LINE TO BEGIN PTC TESTING: The South Shore Line between South Bend and Chicago will commence testing of positive train-control beginning the week of April 9. Some trains will operate with fewer cars during the period. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-6-18]

SAN FRANCISCO CENTRAL SUBWAY GETS AGENCY FUNDING: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's board has approved a $1.2-billion operating budget that includes funds for adding rail cars and launching the Central Subway to extend the T Third line route to Chinatown. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-6-18]

CONNECTICUT LEASING OLD RAIL CARS FOR HARTFORD LINE: Connecticut officials are blaming their decision to lease 16 aged rail cars for the new Hartford line commuter service on Amtrak's failure to complete electriification of the Shore Line East railroad. Amtrak, however, claims bad weather for the delay. [Hartford Courant, 4-6-18]

BERKSHIRE SCENIC RAILWAY MUSEUM PURCHASES BOSTON & MAINE LOCOMOTIVE 1849: The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum has purchased former Boston & Maine locomotive 1849, one of three from the B&M that are still in existence. The museum plans to use it for its Hoosac Valley rides. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-6-18]

GATEWAY PROGRAM ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW DELAYED: The environmental review process for the Gateway program, which includes a new Hudson River tunnel, has been delayed by the Federal Railroad Administration. The deadline had been March 30, but the FRA said the application required a detailed review by multiple federal agencies to resolve legal requirements and to address concerns by local communities. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-6-18]

BRIGHTLINE ADDING LATE TRAIN ON FRIDAYS: Due to increased demand, Brightline will add a late train on Friday nights. It will leave West Palm Beach at 9 P.M. to Fort Lauderdale, and will leave Fort Lauderdale at 10:55 P.M. to West Palm Beach. One way fares are $10 for Smart coach, and $15 for Select coach. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-6-18]

CP RAIL CONDUCTORS, ENGINEERS AUTHORIZE STRIKE: Canadian Pacific conductors and locomotive engineers have voted to authorize a strike action that could have the 3000 workers walk off the job as early as April 21, Teamsters Canada said. [Reuters website report, 4-6-18]

SEPTA SET TO UPGRADE CHESTNUT HILL EAST RAIL LINE: SEPTA crews and contractors are set to perform work beginning April 7 to improve service reliability on the Chestnut Hill East Regional rail line. Train service will cease at Chestnut Hill East stations for three consecutive Saturdays, through and including April 21. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-6-18]

BNSF PLANS NORTHERN COLORADO INDUSTRIAL PARK: BNSF is preparing to break ground on an industrial park to serve Denver and northern Colorado. The center will occupy 430 acres east of I-76 in Hudson Industrial Park with rail-served transload and warehouse facilities. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-5-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SUES CREW OVER KENTUCKY TRAIN CRASH: Norfolk Southern has filed suit against two crew members it contends were negligent and failed to prevent a March 18 train crash and derailment in Georgetown, Ky. The crash destroyed two locomotives and caused the derailment of 13 rail cars. [Lexington Herald-Leader, 4-5-18]

METRA PLANS 54 SAFETY BLITZES THIS YEAR: Metra will conduct 54 Operation Lifesaver safety blitzes in 2018 at 54 train stations across its region around Chicago. The blitzes are part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the importance of safe behavior around trains and tracks. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-5-18]

CAMBODIA REVIVES RAIL LINK TO THAI BORDER: Cambodia restored on April 4 the 30-mile section of the Northern Line between Sisophon and Poipet on the border with Thailand. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-5-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN PA.: A Norfolk Southern train derailed early April 4 in Huntingdon, Pa., on a bridge spanning Standing Stone Creek. No injuries were reported. [Altoona Mirror website report, 4-4-18]

PERSON KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN N.J.: A person was struck and killed by an Amtrak train early April 4 near the New Brunswick, N.J., train station. No injuries were reported aboard the train, and service on the line was disrupted prior to resumption with up to 45-minute residual delays. [, 4-4-18]

SUBWAY COLLISION IN GERMANY: On the Duisburg subway line in the district of Meiderich, Germany, a train collided with another train the afternoon of April 3, and more than 30 people were injured, at least two of them seriously. [Sputnik website report, 4-4-18]

MONTHLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic was 2,132,892 combined carload and intermodal units in March 2018, an increase of 5 percent compared with March 2017. For the first 13 weeks of this year, rail traffic increased 2.6 percent compared to the same period last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-4-18]

'POO-POO CHOO-CHOO' STUCK IN RAIL YARD IN ALABAMA: Right now, dozens of train cars carrying 10 million pounds of human waste are stranded in a rural Alabama rail yard. Techically, its 'biowaste,' but to the 982 residents in the small town of Parrish, that's just semantics. They want it gone. The loads have been there for almost two months, and it's making the whole place smell like a rotting animal carcass. The town's mayor said she is doing everything in her power to get the cars out of town. Still, nobody knows when they will get moved, and as the weather gets warmer, the stench will become that much greater. And to add insult to injury, the poop is not even from the local area. [CNN website report, 4-3-18]

BOMBARDIER TO UPGRADE 17 VIA RAIL PASSENGER CARS: Via Rail has awarded Bombardier a $54-million (C) contract to upgrade 17 train cars for long-distance use. Built in the 1950's, the renovations will be used to transform the cars into a new generation of fully-accessible cars, and elevate standards of accessibility. [Fliegerfaust website report, 4-3-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S SAFETY TRAIN PROGRAM BEGINS: Norfolk Southern's safety train began its program April 3 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with three days of free training for first-responders. The train will be stopping in 23 cities this year as part of its Operation Awareness & Response program. Those attending the classes will become acquainted with railroad operations, safety precautions, initial-response procedures, types of rail equipment, and contact procedures. [Norfolk Southern, 4-3-18]

RAILROAD STRIKE IN FRANCE: A major railway strike brought France's high-speed trains to a halt April 3. The national rail authority said only about 12 pct of trains were running during the first of a series of weekly two-day strikes that unions have called for the next three months. International travel was also impacted. [U.S. News & World Report, 4-3-18]

BOSTON STUDIES LINKING RED, BLUE LINES: A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority study will look at connecting the Red and Blue lines of Boston's subway system. [Boston Globe website report, 4-3-18]

BNSF FILES PERMIT TO BUILD SECOND LAKE PEND OREILLE BRIDGE: BNSF has applied for permits to construct a second bridge adjacent to its existing bridge spanning lake Pend Oreille in Idaho. Construction could begin this coming fall. The bridge will increase capacity for both Amtrak and freight trains, the company said. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-2-18]

SEATTLE HALTS WORK ON STREETCAR PROJECT: Seattle has halted work on a planned streetcar project, and advocates are concerned the decision will result in killing the project. A recent newspaper report said officials had not included labor costs in original estimates. [Route Fifty website report, 4-1-18]

MARCH 2018 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 March 2018. The remaining 61 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 32 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-1-18]

AMTRAK DROPPING MOST CHARTERS, SPECIAL TRAINS: Amtrak will no longer support special trains or private charters, 'except in very limited circumstances,' according to an alert the company sent to employees. Such trains were not significantly profitable, and caused operational distraction or delay to paying customers on scheduled trains, Amtrak said. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-30-18]

AMTRAK TEMPORARILY REMOVES N.Y. PENN'S TRACK 18 FROM SERVICE FOR RENEWAL: Amtrak has taken track 18 at New York's Penn Station out of service as part of its renewal effort. Work will included localized concrete demolition, and replacement of ties and rail. Amtrak is also continuing its work on the stations C Interlocking. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-30-18]

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, ORDERS EIGHT NEW STREETCARS: The Orange County, California, Transportation Authority has approved a $51-5-million order for eight new streetcars, spare parts and tools from Siemens. At any given time, the system will run six cars, with two acting as spares. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-30-18]

FOUR CARS OF AMTRAK'S AUTO TRAIN DERAIL; NO INJURIES: Four rail cars loaded with vehicles of Amtrak's southbound Auto Train en route to Sanford, Florida, derailed but remained upright late March 28 in Halifax County, N.C. There were no injuries, and none of the passengers' vehicles were damaged. The train was delayed, but later continued its journey, and the cars carrying vehicles were rerailed and also continued to destination. The incident is under investigation, and several other Amtrak trains operating on the same line were canceled or truncated. [11 ABC website report, 3-29-18]

AMTRAK ISSUES 'REPORT CARD' ON HOST FREIGHT CARRIER PERFORMANCE: Amtrak has published its first-ever host railroad performance report card, grading six Class I railroads' networks based on scheduling data and the frequency of their Amtrak train delays. Canadian Pacific got an A, BNSF received a B-plus, Union Pacific got a B-minus, CSX received a C, and Norfolk Southern and Canadian National both got failing grades. By law, freight railroads must priortize Amtrak trains on their networks, an old rule that simultaneously freed freight carriers from public transport responsibilities. Amtrak added that that a poor grade may also indicate that the host is doing an ineffective job of running its own freight operations, which in turn causes Amtrak passengers to suffer. Amtrak's report card was published at an opportune time: The Surface Transportation Board recently sent a letter to the same freight railroads, demandig a report on their service conditions, after it received two scathing letters from shippers' associations. [Supply Chain Drive website report, 3-28-18]

GROUND BROKED ON MASON MEGA RAIL TERMINAL IN GEORGIA: The Goergia Ports Authority broke ground on its $126.7-million Mason Mega Rail Terminal on March 26. The project is intended to boost the Port of Savannah's rail lift capacity to one million containers annually, in addition to opening new markets. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-28-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending March 24, 2018, was 526,521 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 1.4 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-28-18]

DOWNEASTER PILOT RUNS TO ROCKLAND SCRUBBED FOR THIS SUMMER: Amtrak was unable to put all of the pieces together for Downeaster trips to Rockland, Maine, this summer, including crew qualifying and a risk assessment of 58 miles of track between Brunswick and Rockland. Three weekends this summer had been included in the program, but officials say the goal is to be in a position to implement the program next summer. [WCAX website report, 3-28-18]

CN RAIL BACKLOG IMPACTING B.C.: Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of grain, lumber and other products are sitting idle in northern British Columbia due to a months-long backlog of CN rail lines, causing industry groups to warn Canada is losing its competitive edge in international trade. [CBC News website report, 3-18-18]

SUIT FILED BY INDIANA LANDOWNERS OVER RAIL-TRAIL CONVERSION: A federal class action lawsuit has been filed seeking compensation for landowners adjoining an abandoned railroad slated to be converted to trail use. The line was originally built by the New Albany and Salem Railroad, later merged into CSX. At issue is compensation for the taking of land which should have been reverted to landowners upon abandonment of the rail line, according to those filing the suit. [News & Tribune website report, 3-27-18]

GO TRANSIT TO EXPAND REGIONAL EXPRESS RAIL SERVICE: Ontario is adding new stations and performing upgrades across its GO Regional Express Rail network to prepare for additional all-day, two-way service for commuters in the greater Toronto and Hamilton area. GO service has already been boosted more than 70 pct, adding about 800 train trips each week than were offered in 2013. In the weeks ahead, the province plans to begin the design-build process for six new GO stations and six new Toronto SmartTrack stations. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-27-18]

TWO APPOINTED TO NEW POSITIONS WITH NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Norfolk Southern has appointed Michael R. McClellan vice-president strategic planning, and Claude E. Elkins vice-president industrial products. Both appointments are effective April 1. [Norfolk Southern, 3-27-18]

SIEMENS, ALSTOM AGREE TO MERGER TERMS: The merger of Siemens' mobility business and Alstom reached a milestone on March 23 with the signing of a business combination agreement setting out terms and conditions agreed to by the two companies. [Railway Age website report, 3-27-18]

BNSF RESPONDS TO STB'S SERVICE CONCERNS: BNSF's $3.3-billion capital investment plan will put the railroad in a position to meet customers' growth and service expectations this year, its president and CEO told the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-27-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty percent of Amtrak's named long-distamce trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 25, 2018. The remaining 60 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 31 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-26-18]

NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPRESS MOVES TO DESIGN-CONSTRUCTION PHASE: The proposed Northern Lights Express passenger rail line between Twin Cities and Duluth has moved into the next phase of design and construction. The line plans to run four daily round trips, with additional stops in Coon Rapids, Cambridge, Hinckley and Superior, at a speed of up to 90 MPH. [Duluth News Tribune website report, 3-26-18]

FUNDING NEARS FOR D.C. METRO UPGRADES: The $500-million in annual funding Washington DC Metro says it needs for infrastructure upgrades could be within reach. Virgiia lawmakers approved $154-million, Maryland legislative leaders committed to $167-million, and Washington's mayor has propsoed a budget that earmarks over $178-million. [Governing Magazine online, 3-26-18]

CREWS WORK TO FIX SAGGING UNION PACIFIC TRESTLE IN CALIFORNIA: Emergency repairs are being made to an unstable Union Pacific trestle in Marysville, California, spanning the Yuba River. The operation will continue for the next few days. The track is shut down to trains, including Amtrak, which have been rerouted through the Sacramento subdivision. [13 CBS Sacramento website report, 3-26-18]

BOMBARDIER LANDS SWEDISH ORDER FOR 40 REGIONAL EMU'S: Vasttrafik, the public transport authority for the Swedish county of Vastra Gotaland, has selected Bombardier to supply 40 regional electric multiple-units capable of 124 MPH operation. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-26-18]

AMTRAK GETTING NEARLY $2-B IN FEDERAL FUNDING: Amtrak will receive nearly $2-billion in federal funding in FY-2018, including $1.3-billion for the national network and $650-million for the Northeast corridor. The bill also includes funding for other critical passenger rail projects: $593-million for the consolidated rail improvement, which includes $250-million for positive train-control; $250-million for the state of good repair program; and $20-million for the rail restoration program, which will provide support for restoring rail service to the Gulf Coast. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-23-18]

AMTRAK RESTORING NEC OPERATING PLAN FOLLOWING SNOWSTORM: Amtrak's Northeast corridor train schedules revert to normal operation March 23, except for train 111, which has been annulled. Service had been considerably modified the previous day due to heavy snow conditions. [Amtrak]

MODERNIZED PCC STREETCARS BEING RECEIVED BACK IN EL PASO: The first of six Presidents' Coference Committee (PCC) streetcars dating to 1937 has been returned to El Paso followng a detailed restoration and modernization program at Brookville Equipment's manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania. The streetcars had been removed from service in 1974 and kept in outdoor storage for decades. Three different paint schemes are being applied: green-orange-white for the 1950's, blue-green-white from the 1960's, and light blue-red-white from the late 1960's through 1974. [Railway Age website report, 3-22-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic increased 10 pct to 537,338 combined carloads and intermodal units compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were up 7.5 pct, and intermodal volume was up 12.7 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-22-18]

AMTRAK'S ROCHESTER DEPOT TO BE RENAMED FOR LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Amtrak will rename its train station in Rochester, N.Y., after the late U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, who died last week at age 88, the railroad announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-22-18]

LIRR SHARES PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLAN: Long Island Rail Road has shared details of its performance improvement plan. It outlines nearly 60 actions it will take to boost service reliability, seasonal preparedness and customer communications. As part of the plan, LIRR will take steps to maintain and upgrade signals, switches, track, snow covers, snow fighters, third-rail heaters, market research and focus groups. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-22-18]

UNION PACIFIC BIG BOY 4014 TO BE CONVERTED TO BURN OIL: Since disassembling Union Pacific Big Boy locomotive 4014, the 'steam team' has cleaned, inspected and repaired nearly every part of the locomotive down to its smallest piece. Although originally designed to burn coal, the locomotive will be converted to burn oil. The oil used in the locomotive is very similar to what comes out of an auto during an oil change. In today's railroad network, the use of coal would present numerous challenges and safety risks, whereas the use of fuel oil makes for a cleaner, safer operation, the company said. [Union Pacific, 3-22-18]

GE TO 'MODERNIZE' 80 CANADIAN PACIFIC LOCOMOTIVES: GE Transportation has received an order to modernize 80 Canadian Pacific locomotives this year. The process involves outfitting aging units with customized solutions, such as upgraded control systems. In some instances, units are converted from DC to AC traction. So far this year, the company has secured 225 orders for locomotive modernizations from various railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-21-18]

ANN BEGEMAN INSTALLED AS STB CHAIR: President Trump has designated Ann Begeman as chair of the Surface Transportation Board. Her term runs through the end of 2020. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-21-18]

FREIGHT RAILROADS 56 PERCENT PTC COMPLIANT: Positve train-control systems are operating on about 56 pct of freight railroads' route miles that are requred to be governed by PTC systems, up from 45 pct in the third-quarter 2017, the Federal Railroad Administration announced. Passenger railroads have made less progress, with just 24 pct of required route miles, as of the fourth-quarter 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-21-18]

TRANSIT RIDERSHIP DIPS IN 31 OF 35 MAJOR CITIES: Transit ridership dropped in 31 of 35 major cities in 2017, and was at its lowest level overall since 2005, according to a recent TransitCenter research study. [Washington Post website report, 3-21-18]

RALEIGH'S UNION STATION TO OPEN LATER THIS SPRING: Union Station, Raleigh's new downtown train station and future transit hub, will open later this spring. Amtrak passengers will begin using the new $87-million station sometime in the second half of May, following a ribbon-cutting on April 30. The station was built around the shell of a former steel warehouse in the center of a rail junction known as Boylan Wye. [News & Observer website report, 3-20-18]

AMTRAK ENDS DISCOUNTS FOR STUDENTS, AAA MEMBERS: Amtrak has ended discounts for students and AAA members, and has raised the age requirements for senior discounts to 65, an increase from age 62. Meanwhile, Amtrak will evaluate other discount programs. [KFVS website report, 3-20-18]

METRA'S AURORA LINE TO BE FIRST WITH PTC: Metra officials say the BNSF line between Chicago and Aurora will be the first line to implement Positive Train-Control, and is to become effective in June or July. The rail line's schedule has been revised to take into account the extra time needed to initialize the system. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-20-18]

LASALLE STREET STATION IN CHICAGO TO BE RENOVATED: Metra is set to begin a $2.95-million project to renovate the LaSalle Street Station concourse in downtown Chicago. Crews will replace the 20,000-square-foot concourse surface, as well as support pillars. The station serves as the downtown terminal for Metra's Rock Island line to Joliet. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-20-18]

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 March 18, 2018. The remaining 62 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 16 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-19-18]

FREIGHT TRAINS COLLIDE IN KENTUCKY, FOUR INJURED: Two freight trains collided and derailed shortly before midnight March 18 near Georgetown, Kentucky, injuring four people and igniting a fire that forced nearby residents to evacuate, authorities said. [USA Today website report, 3-19-18]

LYNX BLUE LINE EXENSION OPENS IN CHARLOTTE: The Charlotte Area Transit System has opened its 9.3-mile LYNX Blue line light-rail extension. The largest infrastructure project in the city's history, the $1.1-billion project runs connects Center City to the University of North Carolina's Charlotte campus, and features 11 new stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-19-18]

CSX CUSTOMERS SHOULD NOW BE 'SATISFIED,' COMPANY SAYS: CSX freight customers had a reason to complain about service disruptions as the railroad overhauled operations last summer, the company's CEO admits. However, while there is still more work to be done, the company believes operations have now improved enough that customers should be 'satisfied.' [Jacksonville Daily Record website report, 3-19-18]

JAPAN UNVEILS ITS 'SUPREME' BULLET TRAIN: Japan has unveiled a 'Supreme' prototype version of its 186 MPH Shinkansen bullet train, which features a sharper nose profile. Coined the N700S, the trains are slated to debut in 2020 on the line linking Tokyo and Shin-Osaka. [The Verge website report, 3-19-18]

CSX NAMES NEW CONTROLLER: CSX has announced the appointment of Angela C. Williams as vice-president and controller. She replaces Andrew Glassman, who is leaving he company at the end of June. [CSX, 3-19-18]

'RAILS-WITH-TRAILS' PROJECT URGED FOR NKP LINE IN INDIANA: A group that promotes trails and greenways is trying to persuade officials in two Indianapolis suburbs to include both a railway and a trail in the redevelopment of an old 9.2-mile stretch of a former Nickel Plate corridor in Hamilton County. The Hoosier Rails to Trails Council has written county commissioners and the mayors of Fishers and Noblesville to meet to discuss the merits of the proposal. [U,S, News & World Report, 3-18-18]

CONRAIL EXONERATED IN GIRL'S 2011 DEATH IN MICHIGAN: While a jury says Contrail was 'negligent,' it did not 'cause' the death of a 13-year-old girl who was struck by a train at a crossing in suburban Detroit in 2011. The girl's family believed the girl's bike became stuck at the crossing. CSX, which operated the train, was not found negligent either. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-17-18]

CANADA TO FURNISH FUNDING FOR 32 VIA RAIL PUSH-PULL TRAINSETS: Funding for the procurement of 32 push-pull trainsets to replace aging locomotive-hauled equipment which VIA Rail operates in Quebec and Ontario has been confirmed in the 2018 federal budget. [Railway Gazette website report]

MARC SERVICE INTO W.VA. TO CONTINUE: MARC commuter rail service will continue to run from Maryland into West Virginia following West Virginia's governor signing the FY-19 budget for the state. Under the budget, H.B. 4389 will allow the transfer of $1.5-million from the securities division in the state auditor's office to the W.Va. Commuter Rail Access Fund. The funding will last for one year, and it will be paid to the Maryland Transit Administration. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-16-18]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TRAINS IMPACTED BY BRIDGE FAILURE IN N.J.: Northeast corridor and North Jersey Coast Line trains were disrupted early March 16 when the 111-year-old Portal Bridge spanning the Hackensack River became stuck in the open position. The swing-bridge had been opened for an inspection, and it failed to close. Train delays were as much as one hour, and residual delays followed after the bridge was restored to service. [, 3-16-18]

CSX PLANNING TO CUT 2,200 JOB BY END OF YEAR: CSX is ready to cut 2,200 jobs by the end of this year, and to reduce the number of rail cars on its tracks by 20 pct by the year 2020. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-16-18]

NJT GETTING $242-M FROM STATE: New Jersey's governor has assured NJ Transit riders that they will not face a fare hike, thanks to a new state budget that provides an additional $242-million for the agency. The amount will nearly triple NJ Transit's current budget, and it will be put towards supporting, maintaining and repairing light-rail, rail and bus operations, and help fill staffing gaps. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-16-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RESPONDS TO TRC'S MINI-TENDER OFFER: TRC Capital Corp. has made an unsolicited 'mini-tender' offer to purchase up to one million shares of Norfolk Southern stock at $136 per share, or 4.65 pct below the closing share price on the date of the offer (Febr. 23), with the right to terminate the offer. 'Mini-tender' offers are often used to catch shareholders 'off guard,' tricking investors to sell at below-market prices. Norfolk Southern is in no way associated with TRC, and remains neutral toward the offer. [Norfolk Southern, 3-16-18]

NEW VRE STATION BEING PLANNED AT POTOMAC SHORES, VA.: The final design of a new Virginia Railway Express train station is making progress following an agreement between the state and CSX. The station will be located on the banks of the Potomac River 30 miles south of D.C. to serve a 1,920-acre community being developed by SunCal, whish is sponsoring the station construction work. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-16-18]

INCREASE IN HIAWATHA SERVICE BEING DISCUSSED: Transportation officials have spoken with community members in Glenview, Illinois, regarding proposed projects along Amtrak's Hiawatha line. They are currently studying an increase in service from seven to 10 daily round-trips between Chicago and Milwaukee. Some citizens, however, voiced concerns about health and safety issues, and a proposal to build a holding track for freight trains, which would involve a 20-foot retaining wall that would reduce green space between residential areas and existing tracks. A revised environmental assessment will be released in April. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-16-18]

TWO OUT OF THREE COMMUTER RAILROADS MAY MISS PTC DEADLINE, FEDS SAY: As many as two-thirds of the 29 commuter railroads required to implement positive train-control might not meet the Dec. 31 deadline or qualify for an extension, according to a new U.S. Government Accountability Office report. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-16-18]

HUGE FIRE IN JAMAICA, N.Y., DISRUPTS LIRR SERVICE: A five-alarm fire at the Royal Waste Plant in Jamaica, N.Y., led to massive service suspensions before evening rush-hour March 16 on the Long Island Rail Road. Most service east of Jamaica was affected. [QNS website report, 3-16-18]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN CONSTRUCTION PACKAGE 4 BEGINS: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has begun major activity for its construction package 4, a 22-mile rail segment in Kern County, including a 102-foot bridge spanning Garces Highway. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-16-18]

B.C. COMMITS FUNDING TO STUDY HIGH-SPEED RAIL TO SEATTLE, PORTLAND: A study looking at high-speed rail connecting Vancouver, B.C., to Seattle and Portland is getting $300,000 from the government of British Columbia. Meanwhile, up to $1.2-million in funding for the study has been approved by Washington State. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-16-18]

GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI, SEEKS TO SPRUCE UP ITS TRAIN DEPOT: The mayor of Greenwood, Mississippi, has been in discussion with Canadian National to either purchase or lease the railroad-owned depot which serves Amtrak passengers. Much of the structure is used by CN for storage, while the waiting room has just 10 chairs against a wall and a water fountain. The mayor would like the depot refurbished for the benefit of visitors to Greenwood. [Delta Daily News website report, 3-15-18]

UNION PACIFIC'S USE OF DRONES TO WATCH WORKERS IRKS UNION: Union Pacific was using drones to monitor their workers and see if safety guidelines were met. The company stopped using the drones, temporarily, earlier this month, but the response from the workers has been to flood the Union Pacific safety hotline with complaints that the drones actually make their work more dnagerous. Meanwhile, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers has advised its members to file complaints with both the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration. Union Pacific says it plans to resume the surveillance in coming weeks. Drone DJ website report, 3-15-18]

LAST YEAR SAW LIRR'S WORST ON-TIME PERFORMANCE IN 18 YEARS, STATE SAYS: New York's state comptroller says 2017 marked Long Island Rail Road's worst on-time performance in 18 years, with over nine million riders inconvenienced by delays and cancelations. The railroad says it is working hard on improvements. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-15-18]

WAVE OF RAIL STRIKES PLANNED NEXT MONTH IN FRANCE: French rail unions have called a wave of strikes, setting up a confrontation with the country's president as he tries to push through an overhall of the state-run rail operator. The strikes a planned to begin April 3. [Reuters website report, 3-15-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending March 10 was 534,282 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 6.2 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 3-14-18]

SEPTA TO REPLACE TRACK ALONG ROUTE 36 TROLLEY LINE: The Southeastern Pa. Transportation Authority is set to begin a project to renew over 3000 feet of 1970's-era track along its Route 36 trolley line on Elmwood avenue between 59th and 65 streets in Philadelphia. Slated to run through June 9, buses will replace the trolleys during the project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-14-18]

METRA TO RENEW OVER 17-MILES OF TRACK ON MILWAUKEE DISTRICT NORTH LINE: Chicago's Metra will replace 17,000 ties, replace five switches and upgrade the signal system to accommodate positive train-control over a 17-mile single-track span along the Milwaukee District North line from Libertyville to Fox Lane beginning April 5 and continuing through April 27. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-14-18]

CSX EMPLOYEE KILLED IN MAINTENANCE ACCIDENT IN NASHVILLE: A 59-year-old CSX employee with 39 years of service was killed in a work-related accident late March 12 in Nashville when he was struck by a piece of equipment while performing maintenance work. [WKRN website report, 3-14-18]

PASSENGER TRAINS TO RUN ON GERMAN RAIL LINE AFTER 44-YEAR HIATUS: A 17-mile freight-only rail line linking Bad Bentheim and Neuenhaus, Germany, will have its passenger service reintroduced in December, some 44 years after it was withdrawn by German Federal Railway. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-14-18]

TRACK WORK TO IMPACT LINCOLN SERVICE, TEXAS EAGLE: From March 18 through 20, track work will impact Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle. Trains 303 and 304 will only operate between Chicago and Bloomington-Normal, and southbound Texas Eagle will hold at the Bloomington station until 4:15 P.M. for an open track. [Amtrak]

HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE SET TO OPEN IN MOROCCO THIS YEAR: Moroccan National Railways says it is on course to open Africa's first high-speed rail line in the third-quarter of this year. A fleet of 12 Alstom Euroduplex trains will operate at up to 199 MPH on the new line. [International Railway Journal website report]

AMTRAK SUSPENDS N.Y.-BOSTON SERVICE DUE TO STORM: Amtrak service was temporarily suspended between New York and Boston on March 13 due to 'inclement weather,' the company said. Most of the service was slated to be restored the following day.

AMTRAK'S AUTO TRAIN STRIKES VEHICLE IN VA.: An Amtrak Auto Train struck a vehicle on the tracks near Lorton, Va., early March 13, after the driver ended up on the tracks after making a wrong turn. Nobody was injured, but rail traffic was considerably disrupted, including trains on the VRE Fredericksburg line. [WTOP website report, 3-13-18]

FATE OF HISTORIC GRAIN ELEVATORS IN HOBSON, MONTANA, IN JEOPARDY: The destruction of more-than-a-century-old grain elevators along BNSF tracks in Hobson, Montana, is planned for this coming fall, unless a suitable plan is presented to save them. [Great Falls Tribune website report]

RAILWAY AGE NAMES REGIONAL, SHORT-LINE RAILROADS OF THE YEAR: Railway Age Magazine has named Class II Indiana Rail Road as Regional of the Year, and Class III railroad Lake State Railway as Short Line of the Year. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-13-18]

SIEMENS LANDS DANISH ORDER FOR 26 VECTRON LOCOMOTIVES: Danish State Railways has selected Siemens to supply 26 Vectron dual-voltage locomotives with an option for an additional 18 units, all subject to parliamentary finance committee approval. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-13-18]

OVER 100 FORMER CSX EMPLOYEES SUE CSX: More than 100 CSX employees who were fired or suspended for their use of federally-protected medical leave filed suit against the company March 13 in Baltimore. [Jacksonville Business Journal website report, 3-13-18]

RAIL INDUSTRY MAINTAINS STRONG SAFETY RECORD, FEDS SAY: Data from the Federal Railroad Administration confirm that recent years remain the safest ever for U.S. railroads. Since the year 2000, the train accident rate is down 44 pct, equipment-caused accident rate is down 38 pct, track-caused accident rate is down 55 pct, human factor-caused accident rate is down 45 pct, and derailment rate is down 42 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-13-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 11, 2018. The remaining 59 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 29 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-12-18]

FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS, TO BENEFIT WITH RAIL TRAIL EXTENSION: By the year 2024, a three-mile extension of the Old Railroad Trail (a.k.a. May Branch Trail) will be the first city trail in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to carve a parth through the middle of town. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-11-18]

FEDS REPORT RAIL TRESPASSING FATALITIES IN 2017.: The Federal Railroad Administration reports that 888 people died from railroad incidents last year, 575 of whom were considered trespassers. The majority of those killed while trespassing were between 20 and 39 years of age. [NBC News website report, 3-11-18]

FINLAND, NORWAY TO EXPLORE BUILDING ARCTIC RAIL LINK: Finland and Norway have agreed to explore building an Arctic rail link connecting Finland with the Barents Sea coast. The $3.6-billion project would run from Rovaniemi to the deep-water port of Kirkenes, near the Russian border. [Deutsche Welle website report, 3-10-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON IN N.J.: Amtrak's Palmetto train en route to Georgia struck and killed a person on the tracks near Secaucus Junction, N.J., early March 9, disrupting service between New York and Newark and causing some NJ Transit trains to be detoured to Hoboken. [North Jersey website report, 3-9-18]

BRIGHTLINE'S RIDERSHIP EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS: Brightline is seeing ridership at a rate three times greater than it expected since it launched service in Florida earlier this year. Current service runs between Fort Luaderdale and West Palm Beach. Service to Miami is expected to begin by the end of April, with later expansion to Orlando. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-9-18]

VERMONT SERVICE LIKELY TO CONTINUE WITHOUT PTC, AMTRAK NOW SAYS: Amtrak currently has no plans to suspend any service in Vermont, despite not having positive train-control installed. Earlier, the company said it would probably not operate on routes that have not installed the technology by the year-ending deadline. Vermont service, however, is exempt from the PTC requirement due to its lower ridership and frequency, and Amtrak is looking into what to do with this and similarly exempt routes. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-9-18]

AMTRAK'S CARDINAL TO BE CUT BACK TO D.C.: Beginning March 29, Amtrak is reducing the route of the westbound Cardinal by originating at Washington DC instead of New York, and beginning April 1 the eastbound train will terminate at Washington instead of New York. It is not a permanent reduction, Amtrak said, but part of efforts to address state-of-good repair backlogs in the Northeast corridor and reduce congestion in New York during track work at Penn Station. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-9-18]

INDIANA SENATE NIXES BILL TO ALLOW DEVELOPMENT OF LIGHT-RAIL IN INDIANAPOLIS: Lawmakers in the Indiana Senate have put a stop to a bill that could have cleared the way for development of a new light-rail project in Indianapolis. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-9-18]

BALTIMORE'S METRO SYSTEM REOPENS FOLLOWING EMERGENCY REPAIRS: After replacing rails on Baltimore's metro subway system, the Maryland Transit Administration reopened the line March 9. The system was shut down Febr. 11 due to the discovery of unexpected wear on 11 sections of track. The reopening was implemented three days ahead of schedule. [Roads & Bridges website report, 3-9-18]

WINTER STORM ONCE AGAIN DISRUPTS N.E. RAIL SERVICE: Passenger rail operators were returning some lines to service in the Northeast March 8 after a second straight winter storm brought heavy snow. Snow in some places fell at the rate of three inches per hour and disrupted commuter and intercity services from New Jersey to Massachusetts. In New York, some commuters let out of work early were forced to spend the night at Grand Central Terminal after Metro-North canceled service on the Harlem, New Haven and Hudson lines due to fallen trees and power problems. N.J. Transit had reopened service on just one of eight lines by early March 8. The Raritan Valley line was operating only between Raritan and Newark. Amtrak deployed a modified schedule March 7 and canceled dozens of trains ahead of the storm from Washington to Boston. [Railway Age website report, 3-8-18]

MBTA COMMUTER TRAIN DERAILS; NO INJURIES: A Massachusetts Bay commuter train derailed early March 8 on the Lowell line in Wilmington, Massachusetts, after the train struck a fallen tree which the train dragged until it wedged into a switch. There were no injuries. More than 100 passengers aboard the train were safely evacuated. [CBS Boston website report, 3-8-18]

FED'S DECISION ALLOWS NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPRESS PROJECT TO SEEK FUNDING: A decision by the Federal Railroad Administration signifies that the Northern Lights Express project, to link Minneapolis with Duluth, will not significantly impact the environment, and it may move forward in efforts to seek funding for its final design and construction. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-8-18]

MAJOR UPGRADE PLANNED TO SYDNEY'S ICONIC CENTRAL STATION: The New South Wales government has announced that work on upgrading Sydney's iconic Central Station and landmark Central Walk will begin immediately following the award of a contract for the project. More than 270,000 people use the facility daily, with that number expected to increase to 450,000 in the next two decades. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-8-18]

KNOXVILLE LOCOMOTIVE WORKS PICKS ROLLS-ROYCE FOR SE-SERIES LOCOMOTIVES: Knoxville Locomotive Works has chosen Rolls-Royce to provide MTU-series 4000 and 2000 engines for its SE-series four- and six-axle locomotive designs. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-7-18]

CN TO INVEST TO CLEAR WESTERN CANADA GRAIN BACKLOG: Canadian National says it will invest more than $250-million (C) this year to improve its infrastructure to east grain supply issues in western Canada. [Reuters website report, 3-7-18]

BMWE REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH RAILROADS: The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees has reached a tentative agreement, subject to ratification by members, with the National Carriers' Conference Committee. More tha 70 pct of the almost 145,000 unionized freight rail employees have now ratified agreements with the more than 30 freight railroads. [Railway Age website report, 3-7-18]

XLOAD SENSORS BEGIN PILOT TRIALS ON HAZMAT TANK CARS: The Association of American Railroads has certified TransRail Innovation Group's XLOAD sensor to begin pilot trials on tank cars shipping hazardous commodities such as crude oil and refined fuels. The sensor is used to measure track commodities inside of moving cars, and help shippers safely increase their volume. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-7-18]

CP SAYS SERVICE IMPROVING AFTER EXTREME WINTER CONDITIONS: Canadian Pacific continues to deliver overall for the grain supply chain with year-to-date shipments through week 31, up 3 pct, or approximately 400,000 metric tons. While extreme weather took its toll on the entire supply chain through much of February, the railroad's network is now starting to recover, according to the company. [CP Rail, 3-7-18]

WINDS CAUSED FREIGHT CARS TO TIP OVER INTO SUSQUEHANNA RIVER, CSX SAYS: CSX is attributing extreme wind gusts to the derailment of a freight train near Perryville, Md., last week, resulting in four cars falling into the Susquehanna River. Normal rail service has resumed, but crews are still working to remove two of the cars from the river. [ABC News website report, 3-6-18]

THREE INJURED AS TRAIN STRIKES ACID TRUCK IN PA.: A CSX train operating on Norfolk Southern tracks near Fredericktown, Pa., broadsided a tank truck hauling a corrosive solution of hydrochloric acid as the rig's driver crossed the tracks early March 6. The driver's truck was life-flighted to a Pittsburgh hospital, and two crewmembers from the train were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. [Observer-Reporter website report, 3-6-18]

KCS-SERVED LOGISTICS PARK TO BE DEVELOPED IN ILLINOIS: Kansas City Southern will serve a new multimillion-dollar logistics park that will be developed in Jerseyville, Illinois, east of the existing rail line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-6-18]

BNSF SET TO ADD TRACK CAPACITY ON GALLUP SUBDIVISION IN N.M.: BNSF is preparing to start a two-year project to construct 10 miles of third mainline on its Gallup Subdivision between Belen and Dalles, N.M., to enhance capacity along the Southern Transcon route. [Railway Age website report, 3-6-18]

UNION PACIFIC BEGINS CONSTRUCTION ON BRAZOS YARD IN TEXAS: Union Pacific last month began construction on the Brazos rail yard, a $550-million project in Robertson County, Texas. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the project represents the largest capital investment in a single Union Pacific facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-6-18]

TWO LOCOMOTIVES MOVED THROUGH JAXPORT EN ROUTE TO WEST AFRICA: Master riggers at the Jacksonville Port Authority moved two 363,000-pound locomotives through the heavy life and special cargo berth at the Blount Island Marine Terminal on March 5. CSX delivered the 68-foot units from Illinois, and they are en route to Guinea, West Africa. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-6-18]

'POO-POO CHOO-CHOO' TO BE MOVED INTO BIRMINGHAM RAIL YARD AFTER ODOR COMPLAINTS: Several dozen train cars loaded with what appears to be sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants in New York and New Jersey will be pulled into a yard yard and off the tracks in North Birmingham, Alabama, according to officials. A 'death smell' emanated from the train cars resulting in complaints from the neighborhood. [, 3-6-18]

CP TO DISCONTINUE ITS TORONTO-MONTREAL 'EXPRESSWAY' SERVICE: Canadian Pacific's 'Expressway' (x-Iron Highway) service will close effective June 1, the company announced. The objective of the concept was to serve standard trailers and containers on chassis that are not reinforced for lift-on and lift-off operations, and to extend the economies of intermodal traffic to the short-haul market. At its peak, the service operated with four daily trains each way between Detroit and Montreal. The portion between Detroit and Toronto was later dropped, and frequency between Toronto and Montreal was reduced to one train a day. [Railway Age website report, 3-5-18]

CEO OF CN STEPS DOWN: Canadian National has announced the abrupt departure of Luc Jobin, chief executive officer, less than two years after he took over the position. Jean-Jacques Ruest, the company's executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, is is filling the position temporarily until a permanent leader is named. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-5-18]

COURT UPHOLDS $1.25-M WHISTLEBLOWER VERDICT AGAINST BNSF: A panel of judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a $1.25-million verdict awarded in 2015 to a railroad whistleblower who claimed he was retaliated against and fired for reporting safety violations to federal regulators. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-5-18]

STRONG WINDS DISRUPT AMTRAK SERVICE IN N.E.: Amtrak suspended service along its Northeast corridor after strong winds caused extensive issues March 2. Service was later restored with modified schedules, and full scheduled service was restored March 5.

METRO-NORTH TO REHAB ITS WHITE PLAINS STATION: Later this month Metro-North will begin a $94-million project to rehab its station in White Plains, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-5-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 4, 2018. The remaining 68 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 49 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-5-18]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS ON SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BRIDGE IN MD.: A CSX derailment involving six cars, four of which toppled over into the Susquehanna River late March 2 on a bridge spanning the river near Perryville, Md. There were no injuries. High winds may have contributed to the accident, but the incident is under investigation. [CBS Baltimore website report, 3-3-18]

VIA RAIL SERVICE DISRUPTED BY CN FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT IN ONTARIO: Via Rail passenger service was disrupted early March 3 after a CN freight train derailed just east of Kingston, Ontario. The delay came about when two cars at the rear of the freight train derailed, one of the cars on its side. [Toronto City News website report, 3-3-18]

LIRR TRAIN STRIKES VEHICLE ON TRACKS, KILLING ONE: A Long Island Rail Road train struck a vehicle on the tracks March 3 near Suffolk, N.Y., killing one person. [Newsday website report, 3-3-18]

AMTRAK 'WORKING WITH' NJT, METRO-NORTH ON PTC IMPLEMENTATION: Amtrak says it is working with NJ Transit and Metro-North on positive train-control implementation. Otherwise, Amtrak would ban the use of its tracks, potentially halting service for thousands of passengers who rely on commuter transportation. Amtrak's CEO said in a hearing that it would not be prudent to force more commuters onto highways in already congested urban regions. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-2-18]

AMTRAK EXPLORING EUROPEAN TECHNOLOGY AS PTC ALTERNATIVE: Amtrak's CEO Richard Anderson says his company has a research & development project underway to determine whether a European technology that does not require trackside investment would supply information on speed restriction and signal location in lieu of positive train-control, which might benefit carriers exempt from the PTC mandate, such as the route of the Vermonter. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-2-18]

DALLAS TO EXTEND LIGHT-RAIL PLATFORMS TO ACCOMMODATE THREE-CAR TRAINS: Dallas Area Rapid Transit has selected a firm to oversee platform extensions at 28 light-rail stations. The $124-million project calls for modifying platforms along the Red and Blue lines from the present two-car length to three cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-18]

U.S. DOT SAYS FEDERAL LOANS DO NOT COUNT TOWARD STATES' SHARE FOR HUDSON TUNNELS: U.S. Transportation secretary Elaine Chao told a U.S. Senate committee that federal loand should not count toward states' financial contributions to replace Hudson River rail tunnels between New Jersey and New York. Known as the Gateway program, the project would replace aging tunnels under the Hudson River used by Amtrak and N.J. Transit, along with replacing the North Portal bridge. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-18]

AMTRAK, BLET REACH TENTATIVE CONTRACT: Amtrak and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen have reached a tentative contract agreement governing rates of pay, benefits and work rules for about 1400 locomotive engineers, subject to a vote by the union membership. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-18]

MARC AWARDS AMTRAK FIVE-YEAR OPERATING AGREEMENT FOR PENN LINE: The Maryland Transit Administration has awarded Amtrak a five-year contract to continue operating MARC Penn Line service between D.C. and Perryville, Md. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-2-18]

TRIMET NAMES DOUG KELSEY GENERAL MANAGER: The TriMet board of directors has named Doug Kelsey, its chief operating officer, as the agency's next general manager. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-2-18]

STADLER TO SUPPLY 12 VEHICLES FOR BOLIVIAN LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Stadler Rail has been selected to supply 12 vehicles for the initial phase of a 25-mile light-rail network in Bolivia's fourth largest city, Cochabamba. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-2-18]

ALABAMA LAWMAKERS CONSIDER BILL TO SUPPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS: Lawmakers in Alabama are pushing new legislation that would allow the state to support public transportation projects. Currently, Alabama is one of only five states in the country that does not allow for state funds to support public transit. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-2-18]

RAPID TRANSIT PROPOSAL TO CONNECT N.J., MANHATTAN TO BE STUDIED: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is interested in developing a new rapid transit line between New Jersey and Manhattan, and plans to hire a consultant to study its feasibility. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-2-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Febr. 24, 2018, increased 2.8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 1.3 pct, and intermodal volume increased 6.7 pct. [Association of American Railroads]

FEBRUARY 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in February 2018. The remaining 63 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 27 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-1-18]

NTSB ISSUES PRELIMINARY FINDING IN AMTRAK ACCIDENT IN S.C.: The Febr. 4 Amtrak collision in Cayce, S.C., caused $25-million in damage, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report. The southbound Amtrak train diverted through a hand-throw switch and collided with a parked CSX train on a siding. Signals had been suspended as CSX was installing components for positive train-control, and a track warrant system using absolute blocks had been implemented. Amtrak's engineer and conductor were killed. The CSX conductor saw the Amtrak train approaching and ran to the back of the locomotive where he was thrown off, sustaining minor injuries. The CSX engineer had already exited the locomotive and was not injured. In response to the incident, the NTSB asked the Federal Railroad Administration to issue an emergency order providing instructions to follow when signal suspensions are in effect and a switch as been reported relined for a main track. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-1-18]

CSX AIMS FOR 60 PCT OPERATING RATIO BY 2020: CSX will aim for a 60 percent operating ratio by 2020 and revenue growth at a compound annyual rate of 4 percent by 2019-2020, the company says. Officials added that CSX produced six consecutive months of performance improvement, hitting record levels for dwell and velocity in 2018. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-1-18]

CANADIAN BUDGET FUNDS VIA RAIL FLEET RENEWAL: State suppoort for Via Rail's fleet renewal program was confirmed Febr. 27 with the publication of the Canadian government's 2018 budget, which allocates funds for the procurement of new trains for the Windsor-Quebec City corridor. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-1-18]

TRAINS COLLIDE IN EGYPT, AT LEAST 15 KILLED: A head-on crash between two trains killed at least 15 people and injured dozens near Cairo, Egypt, Febr. 28. The country's health ministry said the number of casualties was likely to increase. [Aljazeera website report, 2-28-18]

N.Y. STATE TO GRANT FUNDING TOWARD RAIL SIDING ALONG NORFOLK SOUTHERN: A rail siding project along a Norfolk Southern line in Central Bridge, N.Y., has qualified for a $200,000 state grant. The siding will allow Hoober Feeds to receive ingredients by rail and expand its operations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

ONE KILLED, ONE INJURED BY TRAIN ON R.R. BRIDGE IN KANSAS: Authorities say a train struck and killled a person on a railroad bridge near Topeka, Kansas, Febr. 27, and another who jumped from the bridge was injured. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-28-18]

INDIANAPOLIS LAWMAKERS CONSIDER ALLOWING LIGHT-RAIL: Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that would roll back a state law that prevents certain counties from developing or operating a light-rail project. This would allow Indianapolis to explore pursuing light-rail as a mass transit option. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR ANALYSIS, DESIGN FOR BUFFALO'S LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION TO AMHERST: The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has awarded a contract for environmental review and engineering design on the first phase of the seven-mile extension of the Buffalo light-rail network to Amherst. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

RONALD BATORY SWORN IN AS FRA ADMINISTRATOR: Ronald L. Batory officially became the 14th U.S. Federal Railroad administrator on Febr. 28. [Railway Age website report, 2-28-18]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN TO TAKE LONGER TO BUILD, COST MORE: The California bullet train will take longer to build and cost more than previously estimated under a soon-to-be-released business plan, but plans to begin the project by linking the Bay Area to the Central Valley remain intact, according to the rail authority's new chief executive, Brian Kelly. [L.A. Times website report, 2-28-18]

RIBBON CUT FOR CHARLOTTE'S BLUE LINE EXTENSION: The Charlotte Area Transit System has cut the ribbon for its soon-to-open 9.3-mile Blue line light-rail extension from the central city to the University of North Carolina, Charlotte campus. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

MANY COMMUTER RAILROADS LACK TIME TO IMPLEMENT PTC BY DEADLINE: A government report has found as many as two-thirds of commuter railroads required to install positive train-control by the end of this year have not allocated enough time to accomplish implementation, or qualify for an extension. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-28-18]

METROLINX TO INTRODUCE GROCERY PICKUP SERVICE FOR COMMUTERS: Metrolinx this spring will roll out a 'click-and-collect' grocery shopping service at selected GO Transit commuter rail stations. It will enable riders to shop online and pickup groceries when they arrive at their suburban stops. Initially five stops are included, but the service will later expand to more stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-28-18]

CSX SCRAPS PLAN FOR CAROLINA CONNECTOR RAIL HUB: The CSX train-to-trucks terminal, known as the 'Carolina Connector,' originally scheduled to be completed on a site in Rocky Mount, N.C., has been scrubbed by the railroad. Local officials believe that CSX may have other uses for the site, but not as had been planned. [Rocky Mount Telegram website report, 2-27-18]

GROUND BROKEN ON L.A. PURPLE LINE EXTENSION: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has broken ground on the second phase of the Purple line extension. The project involves adding 2.6 miles of subway service to downtown Beverly Hills and L.A.'s Century City neighborhood. The entire extension project is in three phases. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-27-18]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA TO ACQUIRE NAVISTAR RAILCAR OPERATIONS IN ALABAMA: FreightCar America has agreed to acquire Navistar's railcar operations in Cherokee, Alabama. [Railway Age website report, 2-27-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending February 25, 2018. The remaining 56 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 41 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-26-18]

BNSF TO ADD 4.4 MILES OF SECOND TRACK IN IDAHO, WASHINGTON: In response to increasing train traffic, BNSF is planning to build a second track from Hauser, Idaho, to Spokane Valley, Washington. The project for the 4.4-mile addition, currently in the design phase, will also involve construction of a new railroad bridge spanning the Spokane River. [Spokesman-Review website report, 2-26-18]

TEENAGER STRUCK, KILLED BY NORTHSTAR TRAIN: A teenager died after being hit by a Northstar Commuter train near Elk River, Minnesota, late Febr. 25. The teen was walking with another person on the right-of-way, but the other person was unhurt. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-26-18]

GLASS-ROOFED TRAIN TO RUN IN KASHMIR: A glass-roofed train with large windows for sightseeing to admire the beauty of Kashmir Valley is set to be introduced by Indian Railways between Baramulla and Banihal. Limited seating for 40 passengers along with catering and other amenities will be available. The train is designed for sightseeing, officials say. [Tourism News Live website report, 2-25-18]

W.VA. PONDERS FARE INCREASE TO MAINTAIN MARC SERVICE FROM MARTINSBURG: West Virginia officials are considering a $4 fare increase to help maintain MARC service from Martinsburg, Duffields and Harpers Ferry into Maryland and D.C. The state of Maryland, which operates the service, says it needs $3.2-million, or the trains would stop running as early as this summer. West Virginia has already identified $500,000 in funding, and the fare increase could generate another $600,000 per year, leaving a funding gap of about $2.1-million. Amtrak service along that line (but not Duffields) would not be affected, but that service is not particularly scheduled toward commuter times. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-23-18]

NEW PACIFIC SURFLINER SERVICE TO BEGIN APRIL 2: A long-awaited commuter rail service involving a 'precisely-timed' Amtrak Pacific Surfliner will begin April 2 between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in California. The demand has been high for the service for years. The train will have stops in Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta. [KEYT website report, 2-23-18]

RAIL BRIDGE SPANNING WISCONSIN RIVER GETS EXTENDED LIFE SPAN: One of the oldest railroad bridges in Wisconsin, a more-than-century-old, 2200-foot timber structure spanning the Wisconsin River at Green Spring, has undergone a major improvement project. Sixty-two spans were replaced. The bridge, known as B-256, is owned by the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission and operated by Wisconsin & Southern as part of the Prairie subdivision. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-23-18]

LIRR TO REPLACE TIES, CROSSINGS ON MONTAUK BRANCH: Long Island Rail Road will be working from the end of Febr. through mid-May to replace crossties and grade crossings on the Montauk branch between Patchogue and Speonk, N.Y., as part of the system's annual track program. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-23-18]

CALTRANS, SAN JOAQUIN LINES WILL INSTALL PTC BY DEADLINE, OFFICIALS SAY: Caltrans and San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority plans to fully-implement positive train-control before the end-of-the-year deadline to avoid concerns of service suspension. Amtrak has previously said it will suspend service over non-PTC line segments after the December 31 deadline. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-23-18]

RAIL LINES EXEMPT FROM PTC MIGHT LOSE AMTRAK SERVICE NONETHELESS: Amtrak's president Richard Anderson has said that for those instances where positive train-control is not required by statute, such as the Ethan Allen Express and Vermonter, "we have a question about whether we're going to operate at all, and I doubt we will." [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-23-18]

FRONT RUNNER SERVICE TO SUSPEND SERVICE TO PLEASANT VIEW, UTAH, IN AUGUST: FrontRunner commuter rail service to Pleasant View, Utah, which extends north of Salt Lake City, will end indefinitely in August. This stretch of service has the lowest ridership in the Utah Transit Authority system, and officials have said that implementing positive train-control is too expensive. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-23-18]

TRANSSHIPMENT CENTER TO BE DEVELOPED IN QUEBEC: The Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions has awarded funds for a transshipment center in Mekinac, Quebec, to be developed on 8.5 acres of land adjacent to a Canadian National rail line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-23-18]

GE TO SUPPLY 30 EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVES TO UKRAINE: GE Transportation has signed a $1-billion framework agreement with Ukranian Railways for supply of 30 TE33A Evolution series freight locomotives, additional locomotive kits over 10 years, rehabilitation of locomotives in the railway's legacy fleet, and long-term maintenance. [Railway Age website report, 2-23-18]

SILVER STAR TO DETOUR IN CAROLINAS FEBR. 26-27: Due to track work, Amtrak's Silver Star will detour Febr. 26 and 27 in both directions between Hamlet and Savannah, missing station stops at Camden, Columbia and Denmark. No alternate transportation will be offered to missed stops, and delays of up to two hours can be expected through the detour route. [Amtrak]

METRA TO BUY UP TO 21 USED F59PHI LOCOMOTIVES: Metra's board has approved the purchase of up to 21 previously-owned F59PHI locomotives for $1.3-million apiece. Built by EMD in 1998, the units will enable the railroad to quickly supplement its fleet and continue a longer-term procurement for additional locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-22-18]

CATHERINE RINALDI NAMED PRESIDENT OF METRO-NORTH: Catherine Rinaldi has been appointed president of Metro-North. She has been the railroad's acting president since July 2017, and had previously been its executive vice-president. She succeeds former president Joseph Guilietti, who retired. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-22-18]

N.Y. STATE TO AWARD $26.5-M FOR RAIL, PORT PROJECTS: New York state has $26.5-million in funds available for rail and port projects as part of the Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance program. The state last year awarded $25-million to 19 applicants to enhance safety, alleviate congestion, increase capacity, facilitate economic development and increase competitiveness. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-22-18]

FIRE DISRUPTS NEC RAIL TRAFFIC IN PHILADELPHIA: A warehouse fire near train tracks in Philadelphia in late morning Febr. 22 disrupted Amtrak and local train service. Trains were moving again around noon, but speeds were reduced due to the smoke, and some SEPTA lines were rerouted. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune website report, 2-22-18]

GARBAGE TRUCK RAN CROSSING GATES IN AMTRAK COLLISION IN VA., NTSB SAYS: The garbage truck was on the tracks despite lowered gates whten it was struck by an Amtrak train carrying lawmakers last month in Crozet, Va., the National Transportation Safety Board said Febr. 21. Data from the on-board camera showed the gates were down, and witnesses to the crash reported that the truck had entered the crossing after the gates were lowered. A passenger on the truck was killed, and two others on the truck were injured. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-21-18]

MBTA TRAIN CAR DERAILS, NO INJURIES: The last car of a six-car Massachusetts Bay commuter train derailed while the train was heading north toward Andrew Station early Febr. 21. The car rerailed prior to entering the station, and riders were able to exit the train safely. About 300 feet of third-rail was damaged, officials said, and extensive delays to service resulted. [WBUR website report, 2-21-18]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN JANUARY: As of mid-January 2018, class I railroads in the U.S. employed 144,329 workers, down 0.75 pct since mid-December, and down 2.76 pct compared with the year-ago level. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-21-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN CHAIRMAN SELLS $1.5-M IN COMPANY STOCK: Norfolk Southern's chairman James Squires sold 10,000 shares of his company's stock in a transaction dated Febr. 1 for a total value of over $1.5-million. [The Lincolnian website report, 2-21-18]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN IN FAIRFIELD, CONNECTICUT: A man was struck and killed by a southbound train at the Fairfield, Connecticut, metro station early Febr. 21. Trains on the New Haven line were subject to delays, Metro-North said. [WFSB website report, 2-21-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 539,963 carloads and intermodal units were moved by U.S. railroads in the week ending Febr. 17, 2018, an increase of 3.1 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carload volume dropped 0.6 pct, while intermodal volume gained 6.8 pct. [Railway Age website report, 2-21-18]

FEDS CERTIFY EMISSIONS-REDUCTION SYSTEM FOR N.C. PASSENGER LOCOMOTIVE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has certified an emissions-reduction system for one of the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation's passenger locomotives. Known as a blended after-treatment system, the technology uses catalytic reduction to chemically remove diesel engine emission pollutants from the exhaust before it is released into the air. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-21-18]

BOMBARDIER TO BEGIN ASSEMBLY OF AVENTRA EMU'S: Bombardier is preparing to start assembly at its Derby, Britain, plant of the 111 Aventra electric multiple-units which it is supplying to Abellio Greater Anglia. The fleet will comprise 665 vehicles formed into 22 trains of 10 cars and 89 trains of five cars, slated to enter commuter service in 2019 from London. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-21-18]

MODIFIED LERMAK LOCOMOTIVE ON TEST IN RUSSIA: Trials are underway in Russia with a three-section 3ES5K Yermak 25kV 50Hz locomotive rated a 9.2 MW, fitted with VIP4000D traction converters. The aimis to lower the cost of the locomotive and to reduce energy consumption. [Railway Gazette website report, 2-21-18]

BAKU SUBURBAN RAILWAY PLANNED: Funding is to be provided for the development of a circular suburban rail service in Azerbaijan on the Abseron Peninsula [Railway Gazette website report, 2-21-18]

CP INTRODUCES NEW SERVICE FOR SHIPPING PERISHABLE PRODUCTS: Canadian Pacific has launched CP TempPro for shipping perishable products. CP has a growing fleet for perishable protective services requiring strict temperature settings. CP will invest in over 400 new 53-foot reefers this year to support the growing temperature-control market. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-20-18]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 20 MORE TRAINS FOR PARIS METRO: Alstom has ordered an additional 20 MP14 rubber-tired five-car metro trains for operation on Paris' Line 11. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-20-18]

A LOOK AT THE TEXAS BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: Texas High-Speed Rail involves no grade crossings, and the train will not share tracks with other trains. At least 50 pct of the 240-mile track will be elevated. Construction could begin in 2019, with a timeline of up to five years. The project is financed through the pre-construction phase, but there are still hurdles to leap before it can move forward. Comments from the last round of public meetings will be incorporated into a final report, which the Federal Railroad Administration still has to approve. [ABC13 website report, 2-20-18]

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 Febr. 18, 2018. The remaining 62 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 26 minutes behind schedule. The worst-performing train during the week was the Crescent, all of its 14 runs arriving into its destintion late, with an average arrival of three hours and 21 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-19-18]

DENVER SEEKS TO DISCONTINUE HUMAN FLAGGERS AT TRAIN CROSSINGS: Denver officials say they should be allowed to discontinue the use of human flaggers at road crossings along a commuter train line. Experts argued at a recent hearing that they do little to improve safety. [Route Fifty website report, 2-18-18]

AMTRAK TO SUSPEND SERVICE IF PTC DEADLINE NOT MET: Amtrak says it will suspend services on routes operated over host carriers that have not advanced positive train-control installation enough to apply for potential extensions through 2020. Moreover, it might suspend service on routes that do not have PTC fully installed and implemented by the end of 2018, even if an extension is granted. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-16-18]

BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION DELIVERED 'SUPERIOR FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE' IN 2017: Bombardier closed out 2017 with 'superior financial performance,' the company said. Transportation revenues grew 13 pct year-on-year to $8.5-billion, and order backlog was up 14 pct at the end of the year. [Railway Gazette website report, 2-16-18]

'UNEXPECTED RAIL WEAR' WAS CAUSE FOR BALTIMORE METRO SHUTDOWN: Officials say the closure of the Baltimore metro system was due to unexpected wear on 11 sections of elevated track. The rail wear was found during an inspection where the gauge face angle exceeded internal standards. The line is expected to remain closed through March 11, although a partial reopening is possible. An additional line closure is slated for August. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-16-18]

STANTEC SELECTED AS LEAD ENGINEER ON LIRR EXPANSION PROJECT: Stantec has been selected as lead engineer on a $1.9-billion design-build expansion project for the Long Island Railroad, which involves adding a third track along a 9.8-mile segment between Floral Park and Hicksville, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-16-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE IN N.Y. STATE, TWO INJURED: Two crew members were injured when a NorfolkSouthern freight train carrying automobiles derailed and caught fire Febr. 15 in a rural area in the town of Attica, N.Y., officials reported. The injuries were not life-threatening. [Buffalo News website report, 2-15-18]

NJT APPROVES ALIGNMENT FOR HUDSON-BERGEN LIGHT-RAIL EXPANSION: New Jersey Transit has approved a proposed alignment for a 10-mile, double-track Hudson-Bergen light-rail expansion from North Bergen to the Englewood Hospital. It would largely use CSX's northern branch running track. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-15-18]

RAIL CAR SHORTAGE LEAVES OIL, WHEAT STRANDED ON CANADIAN PRAIRIES: A shortage of rail cars in Canada is leaving oil and grain shipments stranded on the Prairies, sending crude prices plummeting and leaving farmers in a cash crunch. Harsh winter conditions have contributed to the shortage. [Reuters website report, 2-15-18]

HYPERLOOP COMPANY GETS APPROVAL FOR CROSS-STATE FEASIBILITY STUDY: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has received approvals from Ohio and Illinois to conduct a feasibility study on a possible route between Cleveland and Chicago. [TechCrunch website report, 2-15-18]

THELMA DRAKE TO BE NOMINATED TO HEAD FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION: The White House reported that President Trump intends to nominate former Virginia Congresswoman Thelma Drake to be Federal Transit Administrator. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-15-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight carload and intermodal traffic for the week ending Febr. 10, 2018, rose 1.6 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-15-18]

FIRST LRV DELIVERED FOR OKLAHOMA CITY STREETCAR: The first of seven light-rail vehicles for the Oklahoma City Streetcar project arrived in the city Febr. 13. Supplied by Brookville Equipment Corp., the seven bi-directional vehicles, each to accommodate 104 passengers, are equipped with batteries for catenary-free operation. The network is due to open in December. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-14-18]

BOMBARDIER ROLLS OUT FIRST TRAXX DC3 LOCOMOTIVE: The first Bombardier Traxx DC3 electric locomotive has been delivered to a test center near Florence, Italy, where static and dynamic testing will be carried out. Launch customer for the DC3 is Mercitalia Rail, which has ordered 40 of the locomotives. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-14-18]

DAVID COLLENETTE TO HEAD ONTARIO HIGH-SPEED RAIL BOARD: The province of Quebec has named former Canadian transport minister David Collenette as chair of the Ontario Rail Planning Advisory Board. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-14-18]

BNSF PLANS PROJECTS ON KOOTENAI RIVER SUBDIVISION: BNSF is planning multiple projects this year on the Kootenai River subdivision between Sandpoint, Idaho, and Whitefish, Montana. Various sidings will be signalized to enable centralized traffic control, and improvements will be made to the seven-mile-long Flathead Tunnel in northwest Montana. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-14-18]

CSX MORALE AT 'NEW LOW,' SOME EMPLOYEES SAY: The rate of accidents involving CSX trains have been rising as its work force has been dramatically slashed, with some workers saying morale at the Jacksonville-based railroad is at a new low. [Jacksonville Business Journal website report, 2-14-18]

TRIMET TO REPLACE ITS OLDEST LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon will begin the process to replace all 26 of its oldest light-rail vehicles this spring. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-14-18]

SHALE SUPPORT HOLDINGS OPENS NEW RAIL TERMINAL IN LOUSIANA: Shale Support Holdings has opend a new rail terminal in Gibson, Louisiana. The terminal features 100-car capacity, on-site storage for containerized sand boxes and room for future storage capabilities. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-14-18]

WHITE HOUSE BUDGET PLAN CUTS AMTRAK'S FUNDING: The White House budget, released Febr. 12, proposes that states begin to share the operating subsidy costs of Amtrak's long-distance routes. It suggests cutting the federal subsidy from $1.4-billion to $738-million. Many states, however, ar not likely to come up with such funding to support long-distance trains. [CBS News website report, 2-13-18]

SENATE CONFIRMS RON BATORY AS FRA ADMINISTRATOR: The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Conrail president Ron Batory as the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. [Reuters website report, 2-13-18]

CSX TRAIN INJURES PEDESTRIAN IN FLORIDA: Authorities say a man was seriously injured when he was hit by a CSX train while he was trying to cross tracks south of Orlando, Florida, early Febr. 12. The man was taken to a hospital in critical condition. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-13-18]

BALTIMORE METRO SHUTS DOWN FOR ONE MONTH: Baltimore's only metro line was abruptly shut down for maintenance issues Febr. 9, and it is now expected to remain closed for about a month. At issue was rail inspections uncovering concerns needing immediate attention. The metro line extends from Owings Mills to Johns Hopkins Hospital, about half of it above ground and the rest below ground. Buses are now providing substitute service for metro riders. Baltimore also has a light-rail system between Hunt Valley and BWI Airport, with stub lines serving Baltimore's Penn Station and Glen Burnie, but that system is not affected by the metro closure.

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 11, 2018. The remaining 69 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 31 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-12-18]

CSX HIKES DIVIDEND 10 PERCENT: The board of CSX has authorized a 10 percent increase in its quarterly dividend, and to increase its current share repurchase program to $5-billion. [CSX, 2-12-18]

FATAL TRAIN COLLISION IN AUSTRIA: A fatal train crash Febr. 12 brought transport to a standstill in Austria. One woman was killed and 22 were injured after two passenger trains collided in the southeastern state of Styria. Several cars were derailed in the impact. [EuroNews website report, 2-12-18]

FRA'S ACTING ADMINISTRATOR RESIGNS: Heath Hall, acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration since June 2017, has resigned effective immediately, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation reported Febr. 10. [Politico website report, 2-10-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS WOMAN IN VA.: Authorities say an Amtrak train struck and killed a woman near the Williamsburg Premium Outlets in Virginia on Friday, Febr. 9. A witness told police that the woman was wearing headphones as she attempted to cross the tracks. She was struck by train 67 en route to Hampton Roads. This incident came after a man was hit by a CSX train the previous evening near the Williamsburg-York county line. That person died a short time later. [13 News Now website report, 2-9-18]

CSX TRAIN STRIKES TRACTOR-TRAILER IN POINT OF ROCKS, MD.: A CSX freight train crashed into a tractor-trailer early Febr. 9 in Point of Rocks, Md. The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries, but there were no injuries to the crew members of the train. [Washington Post website report, 2-9-18]

MARC COMMUTER SERVICE INTO W.VA. MAY BE IN JEOPARDY: MARC commuter train service to Harpers Ferry, Duffields and Martinsburg could disappear this summer if W.Va. does not pay Maryland up to $3.8-million per year to continue the service. A 2012 agreement between the two states expired this past October, but it was agreed to continue the service on a month-to-month basis. But if a new deal is not met, Maryland could end MARC service to W.Va. as early as July. In addition, host carrier CSX has indicated that it might not welcome commuter trains back onto the line should that service cease. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-9-18]

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK BY BRIGHTLINE TRAIN IN SOUTH FLORIDA: A Brightline train hit a pedestrian in South Florida Febr. 8. The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. [E&E News website report, 2-9-18]

EUROSTAR TO BEGIN LONDON-AMSTERDAM RAIL SERVICE IN APRIL: Eurostar will launch its first direct London-Amsterdam passenger rail service April 4, offering two trains per day, but initially only in one direction. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-9-18]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 30 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES TO MOROCCO: Morocco's national railway ONCF has ordered 30 Prima M4 electric locomotives to be supplied by Alstom as part of a planned acquisition program to include locomotives, multiple-units and cars. [Railway Gazette website report, 2-9-18]

JANUARY 2018 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail freight traffic in January 2018 logged a 0.1 pct increase in carloads and intermodal units compared with the same month in 2016. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 3.4 pct, and intermodal rose 3.5 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-8-18]

UNION PACIFIC HIKES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND 10 PERCENT: The board of Union Pacific has voted to increase the quarterly dividend on the company's stock by 10 percent to 73 cents per share. [Union Pacific, 2-8-18]

AMTRAK CEO TO TESTIFY BEFORE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN WAKE OF RECENT ACCIDENTS: Amtrak's chief executive officer Richard Anderson is slated to testify Febr. 15 before a U.S. House of Representatives panel in the wake of a number of recent accidents involving the railroad. [Reuters website report, 2-8-18]

VIA RAIL TRAIN COLLIDES WITH VEHICLE IN ONTARIO, ONE KILLED: One person died after a Via Rail passenger train collided with a delivery vehicle Febr. 8 at an unguarded crossing near Breslau, Ontario, east of Kitchener. The train, with 54 passengers on board, was en route from Toronto to London, Ontario. There were no injuries to passengers or employees on the train. [CP24 website report, 2-8-18]

CHARGES REINSTATED AGAINST AMTRAK ENGINEER IN 2015 PHILADELPHIA WRECK: A judge in Philadelphia has reinstated criminal charges against the engineer in the fatal 2015 derailment of Amtrak train 188 that killed eight passenger and injured more than 100. In September 2017 a different judge had thrown out the charges, ruling the derailment as 'accidental,' not criminal, but that decision was appealed. [Railway Age website report, 2-7-18]

LAGRANGE LOCOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING FACILITY MAY BE CLOSED, PROGRESS RAIL SAYS: Progress Rail is contemplating closing its engine manufacturing facility in LaGrange, Illinois. The company is considering transitioning manufacturing and assembly to other U.S. facilities, including Wiston-Salem, N.C., and certain component manufacturing to outside suppliers. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-7-18]

NEW RAIL BRIDGE SPANNING SAN DIEGO RIVER OPENED TO SERVICE: The San Diego Association of Governments has opened the first track on its new 900-foot rail bridge over the San Diego River. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-7-18]

'FATIGUE' CAUSED BUMPING BLOCK ACCIDENTS IN N.Y. AREA, FEDS SAY: The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that two commuter train accidents in the New York area were caused by engineer fatigue. Both accidents involved commuter trains crashing into end-of-track bumping blocks, one at Hoboken in 2016, killing one and injuring 110, and the other at Brooklyn in 2017, injuring 108. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-7-18]

CARS OF ACELA TRAIN BREAK APART AT HIGH SPEED: A northbound Acela train broke apart at high speed early Febr. 6 on its way through Maryland. The cause of the separation appears to have been the failure of a connecting pin bolt. There were 52 passengers aboard the train, and there were no reported injuries. [Railway Age website report, 2-6-18]

TWO KILLED AS CSX TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK IN INDIANA: Authorities say a woman and a seven-year-old boy died after the truck they were riding in was struck by a CSX freight train early Febr. 6 in Gary, Indiana. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-6-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 4, 2018. The remaining 58 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 10 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-5-18]

EUROSTAR PLANS THIRD LONDON-AMSTERDAM SERVICE: Netherlands Railways says it is in talks with Eurostar over the introduction of a third London-Amsterdam service in 2019, potentially offering a significant improvement in journey times. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-5-18]

LORAM TO ACQUIRE GREX: Loram Maintenance of Way and Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. (GREX) have completed a merger agreement where Loram will acquire all outstanding shares of privately-held GREX. The GREX brand will remain. [Railway Age website report, 2-5-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN CRASHES INTO CSX FREIGHT TRAIN IN S.C., TWO KILLED: Amtrak's Silver Star collided into a standing CSX freight train early Febr. 4 in South Carolina killing two Amtrak crew members and injuring 116 people, authorities said. A misaligned switch may have been the cause, which is under investigation. [CNN website report, 2-4-18]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS ORDERS 22 ELECRIC MULTIPLE-UNIT TRAINS: Russian Railways has ordered 22 class EP30 four-car electric multiple units from Demikovsky Engineering for service in Volograd and Rostov. [Railway Gazette website report, 2-3-18]

AMTRAK MOVES TO NEW DEPOT IN BIRMINGHAM: Amtrak has moved into the new Birmingham Intermodal Facility, served by the Crescent. Work will continue this year to complete renovations to the passage and tunnels connecting the new facility with the boarding platform. Megabus also uses the facility, and Greyhound plans to begin service Febr. 21. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-18]

AMTRAK TO BEGIN SPECIFIC SEAT ASSIGNMENTS ON CERTAIN ACELA TRAINS: On a trial basis, Amtrak is providing first-class passengers with specific seat assignments on two New York to Boston Acela trains. The seat assignments will be assigned upon making reservations, but they may be changed after the reservation has been completed. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-18]

NJT UNLIKELY TO MEET YEAR-END PTC IMPLEMENTATION: New Jersey Transit is not likely to meet the year-end mandate to install positive train-control, the agency says. Budget concerns appear to be the issue. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-2-18]

LIRR TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PERSON ON TRACKS: Long Island Rail Road service was disrupted late Febr. 2 after a Babylon-bound train struck a person on the tracks at the Seaford station. Service was later restored, but with residual delays and some cancelations. [Long Island News 12 website report, 2-2-18]

MIKE O'MALLEY ASSUMES AS PRESIDENT OF RAILWAY SUPPLY INSTITUTE: Mike O'Malley has begun his tenure as president of the Railway Supply Institute, succeeding Tom Simpson, who has retired. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-2-18]

AUSTRIA'S ZILLERTAL RAILWAY OPTS FOR HYDROGEN TRAINS: The board of Austria's Zillertal Railway has opted for hydrogen trains as an alternative to electrification of its 20-mile narrow-gauge line from Jenbach to the Tyrolean ski resort of Mayrhofen. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-2-18]

NTSB RULES OUT 'FOUL PLAY' IN AMTRAK TRAIN COLLISION WITH TRUCK IN VA.: The National Transportation Safety Board has ruled out foul play in the case of the Amtrak train carrying congressional members that crashed into a trash truck Jan. 31 in Crozet, Va. [UPI website report, 2-1-18]

JANUARY 2018 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destinatin on time or earlier in January 2018. The remaining 65 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 41 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-1-18]

CARLOAD EXPRESS NAMES NEW TOP EXECUTIVES: Carload Express has announced steps in its corporate success plan, which includes naming Russell Peterson as chairman, Mark Rosney as president, and Jim Streett as chief executive officer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-1-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads moved 543,515 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Jan. 27, 2018, a 4 pct increase compared with the volume in the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-1-18]

AMTRAK CONGRESSIONAL SPECIAL STRIKES TRUCK IN VA., KILLING ONE: An Amtrak special train carrying Republican members of Congress en route to a legislative retreat struck a trash truck in Crozet, Va., west of Charlottesville, on Jan. 31. A passenger in the truck was killed. Six people were transported to a hospital, one in critical condition. Sources say the members of Congress and their families who were on board the train were all right, with the exception of a few minor injuries. The train had been heading to White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. [Various news reports, 1-31-18]

BNSF PLANS $3.3-B IN CAPITAL INVESTMENTS IN 2018: BNSF plans to spend $3.3-billion on capital investments in 2018, the same as the previous year, for maintenance and expansion projects. [Railway Age website report, 1-31-18]

KEVIN CORBETT NOMINATED TO SERVE AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NJ TRANSIT: New Jersey's governor has nominated Kevin Corbett to serve as executive director of New Jersey Transit. If approved by the board, he will succeed Steven Santoro, who plans to retire. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-31-18]

GROUP TO ANALYZE PROPOSED MISSOURI HYPERLOOP: The Missouri Hyperloop Coalition says Black and Veatch and Virgin Hyperloop One will donae time and staff for a feasibility study regarding the state's propoosed hyperloop system, which could transport travelers from St. Louis to Kansas City in less than half an hour. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch website report, 1-31-18]

GRAPE, ALMOND GROWERS IN CALIFORNIA SUE BNSF OVER HERBICIDE USE: A group of grape and almond farmers in Oakley, California, is suing BNSF, alleging that the railroad used herbicides along its tracks to eradicate vegetation that ended up damaging their crops.[The Press website report, 1-31-18]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFRMANCE: Forty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final terminal on time or earlier in the week ending January 28, 2018. The remaining 56 percent, on average, arrived one hour and three minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-29-18]

SOUTH SHORE R.R. LEASING FIVE MILES OF CN TRACK IN INDIANA: Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad is leasing five miles of track from CN in Gary, Indiana. The arrangement is designed to improve interchange, shipping options and a higher frequence of service. [Anacostia Rail Holdings, 1-29-18]

TEXAS STATE R.R. ADDS VINTAGE FP9 DIESEL TO ITS ROSTER: During the coming spring, Texas State Railroad will place into service a restored FP9streamlined passenger locomotive, TSR 125. The locomotive first saw service in 1957 by Canadian National, but it is identical to units used by several railroads in Texas. It will be painted in the Katy scheme. [WDRB website report, 1-29-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS MAN IN EFFINGHAM, ILLINOIS: Officials say a 53-year-old assistant high school principal was struck and killed by an Amtrak train just after midnight Jan. 28 in Effingham, Illinois. Preliminary information indicates the lights and gates at the crossing were functioning properly. [97.9 XFM website report, 1-28-18]

NJT'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO RESIGN IN APRIL: After 15 months as executive director, Seven Santoro will resign from the agency in April. He first joined NJT in 2000 as director of the Hudson-Bergen light-rail project. [Rail Passengers Assn.]

NJT LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN STIKES, KILLS PERSON IN BAYONNE: One person is dead after being struck by a New Jersey Transit light-rail train in Bayonne late Jan. 26, according to authorities. [Jersey Journal website report, 1-27-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO CONSOLIDATE ITS EIGHT DISPATCHING CENTERS: Norfolk Southern plans to close its eight dispatching centers throughout the system to one location in Atlanta. About 450 positions are affected. [Roanoke Times website report, 1-26-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PLANS $1.8-BILLION IN CAPITAL SPENDING THIS YEAR: Norfolk Southern will implement a capital program of over $1.8-billion in 2018, continuing what the company describes as a 'balanced deployment of capital.' The program is about $100-million above what Norfolk Southern spent in 2017. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-26-18]

SEPTA MOVES FORWARD WITH KING OF PRUSSIA RAIL PROJECT: SEPTA's board has approved an alternative in the draft environmental impact statement for the King of Prussia Rail project, which will connect one of the largest out-of-town shoipping malls in the U.S. to Philadelphia's urban rail network. The 4.5-mile line will branch off the Norrisville high-speed line north of Hughes Park and follow an elevated alignment with five stations - two of which will serve the mall. The project is estimated to cost up to $1.2-billion. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-26-18]

CINDY SANBORN HIRED BY UNION PACIFIC: Cindy Sanborn, the first woman to hold a senior operating executive role at a Class I railroad, an who was unceremoniously axed by the late E. Hunter Harrison in a management purge at CSX, has joined Union Pacific as regional vice-president transportation, Western Region, effective Febr. 16. [Railway Age website report, 1-26-18]

MONTANA RAIL LINK WORKFORCE EXPANDING: Montana Rail Link will hire 90 new track laborers and switchmen in what is shaking out to be a milestone maintenance year for the railroad. [The Missoulian website report, 1-26-18]

COMMUTER TRAIN DERAILS IN ITALY, AT LEAST THREE KILLED: A commuter train derailed as it was nearing Milan, Italy, early Jan. 25, killing at least three people, seriously injuring 13, and about 100 others with minor injuries. [Telegraph Media website report, 1-25-18]

UNION PACIFIC BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF $500-M RAIL YARD IN TEXAS: Union Pacific has begun construction on a major rail yard near Hearne, Texas, a $500-million project that is the largest in the railroad's 155-year history. [Houston Chronicle website report, 1-25-18]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS YEAR-ENDING EARNINGS: For the year 2017, Union Pacific reported net income of $10.7-billion or $13.36 per diluted share, compared to $4.2-billion or $5.07 in the previous year. Excluding adjustments reflecting corporate tax reform, adjusted net income in 2017 was $4.6-billion or $5.79 per diluted share. [Union Pacific, 1-25-18]

LAS VEGAS RAILWAY EXPRESS ACQUIRES UNITED RAIL: Las Vegas Railway Express has acquired United Rail, owner of the Rail Management Services shortline management package. RMS will become the primary business for the company, which will seek short lines to use the system for the business management backbone. The system is slated to be used for future Los Angeles to Las Vegas service, which is slated to start in June. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-25-18]

TRAIN STRIKES TRACTOR-TRAILER IN GEORGIA: Police say a tractor-trailer became stuck on a railroad crossing in Buford, Ga., early Jan. 25, and was struck by a Norfolk Southern freight train. The roadway was closed for about five hours. [CBS 46 website report, 1-25-18]

TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN CALIFORNIA: A driver lost control of his car about mid-day Jan. 25, and his vehicle was struck by a freight train in Modesto, California. The driver escaped from his car prior to impact, and there were no injuries. [Modesto Bee website report, 1-25-18]

AMTRAK ENGINEER IN WASHINGTON STATE DERAILMENT MISJUDGED LOCATION: National Transportation Safety Board investigators have interviewed both the engineer and qualifying conductor about the deadly Dec. 18 accident in DuPont, Washington. The 55-year-old engineer did not see the 30 MPH advance speed sign two miles ahead of the restriction that would have alerted him to reduce for an upcoming curve. He did see the 30 MPH speed sign at the start of the curve, but the train was traveling too fast to avoid derailing. [NTSB, 1-25-18]

EXPANDED RUN FOR DOWNEASTER BEING PLANNED FOR SUMMER: Transportation officials say Downeaster train service, previously limited to Brunswick, is tentatively planned to run farther north in Maine this summer, at least during certain weekends. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-25-18]

CHINA OPENS NEW CHONGQING-GUIYANG RAIL LINE: Journey times between major cities in southwestern China were dramatically reduced on Jan. 25 with the opening of a new direct rail line between Chongqing and Guiyang. The 215-mile line has 12 stations and a design speed of 124 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-25-18]

RUSSIA-VIETNAM RAIL FREIGHT SERVICE TESTING COMPLETED: RZD Logistics and it Vietnamese partner Ratraco have successfully completed a test intermodal rail freight service between Vorsino Freight Village, southwest of Moscow, and Hanoi. The test run was completed in 20 days, about twice the equivalent journal by sea. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-25-18]

CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN ON ADELAIDE SUBURBAN RAIL PROJECTS: The state government of South Australia has signed construction contracts for three projects that will expand and enhance the Adelaide Metro suburban rail network. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-25-18]

CSX TO REQUIRE CEO'S TO GET MEDICAL EXAMS: CSX will require future chief executives to submit to an annual physical exam that will be reviewed by the board, the Wall Street Journal reported. The action follows the hiring of Hunter Harrison as president and CEO, even though he declined to get a physical exam or provide access to his medical records. Harrison, 72, who was hired in March 2017, died in December. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-24-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2018 EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern's net income for 2018 was $5.4-billion and diluted earnings per share were $18.61. These results include effects of the tax reform act, which added $3.5-billion to net income and increased diluted earnings per share by $12 for the year. Looking forward in 2018, the company plans to invest $1.8-billion to maintain the safety of its rail network, enhance service, improve operational efficiency, and support growth. [Norfolk Southern, 1-24-18]

KCS'S MOSSVILLE YARD EXPANSION RECOGNIZED AS 'LARGE PROJECT OF THE YEAR': The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association has recognized Kansas City Southern's Mossville Yard expansion project in Westlake, La., as its 2017 'large project of the year.' [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-24-18]

STADLER ACQUIRES TRAIN MODERNIZATION FIRM: Stadler has acquired Knorr-Bremse subsidiary Swedtrac, which specializes in train modernization. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-24-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 20, 2018, was 508,239 carloads and intermodal units, a 2.9 pct decrease compared with the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Railway Age website report, 1-24-18]

DRIVER OF SUV DIES IN COLLISION WITH TRAIN IN ARIZONA: The driver of an SUV died in a fiery crash with a train at a crossing in Gilbert, Arizona, early Jan. 24. Witnesses told police that the crossing gates were down and lights were flashing when the vehicle collided into the train. The driver was trapped inside the vehicle, which ignited after the collision. [AZ Family website report, 1-24-18]

NEW GULF COAST CHEMICAL PLANTS WILL BENEFIT RAILROADS: New petrochemical plants on the Texas gulf coast are expected to increase volumes on the region's freight railroads, particularly Union Pacific and BNSF. In about the next 10 years, more than 100 petrochemical plants are expected to be built, the result of low-cost natural gas from North American shale deposits that drillers have only recently been able to produce economically. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 1-24-18]

CZECH RAIL FREIGHT OPERATOR LOOKS TO BUY 55 LOCOMOTIVES: Czech rail freight operator CD Cargo has launched its largest-ever procurement by seeking bids for up to 55 locomotives (50 multi-system electric, and five diesel) for international operations. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-24-18]

NEW PROPOSALS TO IMPROVE CHILEAN INTERCITY RAIL LINKS: Proposals have been introduced for two projects to improve passenger and freight lines between Santiago and nearby cities on the Pacific coast. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-24-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES, KILLS PEDESTRIAN IN GAITHERSBURG, MD.: A pedestrian was struck and killed by Amtrak's eastbound Capitol Limited at Gathersburg, Md., Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 23. Tracks were closed in both directions following the incident, and the train was delayed for more than two hours. [WJLA website report, 1-23-18]

TRUCK, TRAIN COLLISION IN B.C. RESULTS IN FIRE: Homes and businesses near a Canadian Pacific railway yard in Port Coquitlam, B.C., were evacuated for several hours late Jan. 22 after a collision between and truck loaded with ethanol and a train that sparked in a large fire. No injuries were reported, and the railroad says there were no toxic materials on the train. [CBC News website report, 1-23-18]

CN INCREASES DIVIDEND 10 PERCENT: CN's board has approved a 10 percent increase in the 2018 dividend on the company's common stock. [CN, 1-23-18]

JOHN SCHEIB NAMED CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER OF NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Norfolk Southern has named John M. Schieb executive vice-president law and administration, and chief legal officer, effective March 1. He succeeds William Galanko, who is retiring. [Norfolk Southern, 1-23-18]

U.S. CLASS I RAIL WORKFORCE SHRINKS IN 2017: As of mid-December, Class I railroads in the U.S. employed 145,416 workers, down 3.19 pct compared with mid-December 2016, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-18]

TWO MORE UNIONS RATIFY AGREEMENTS WITH MAJOR FREIGHT RAILROADS: Members of the Transportation Communications International Union and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen have ratified new contract terms with the nation's major freight railroads, covering more than 17,000 employees. [National Railway Labor Conference, 1-23-18]

AMTRAK'S MICHIGAN TRAINS TRAVEL FASTER AFTER RAIL UPGRADES: Trains on Amtrak's Wolverine and Blue Water lines in Michigan have begun traveling faster following recent rail infrastructure improvements. The maximum speed on the Amtrak-owned route between Porter and Kalamazoo is now 110 MPH. On the Michigan-owned portion, the maximum speed is still 79 MPH, but is expected to increase to 110 MPH this year after completion of PTC testing and the rollout of new Siemens Charger locomotives. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-18]

VRE TRAIN STOPPED DUE TO THREATS MADE TO PASSENGERS: A Virginia Railway Express train was stopped at the Leeland Road station in Stafford County early Jan. 23 because a passenger was making threats to other travelers before being arrested. [WJLA website report, 1-23-18]

N.Y. CITY SET TO SIGN CONTRACT FOR NEW SUBWAY CARS: New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is slated to sign a $3.7-billion contract with Kawasaki for 1,612 new subway cars, the New York Times reported late last week. The agency has already committed $1.45-billion for more than 500 cars, and has agreed to purchase the remainder if the company meets the contract's expectations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-18]

MASSACHUSETTS UPDATING ITS STATE RAIL PLAN: The Masachusetts DOT has begun working on a state rail plan to outline a 20-year vision and four-year plan for its rail system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN HIKES DIVIDEND 18 PCT: The board of Norfolk Southern has increased its quarterly common stock dividend 18 percent from 61 cents to 72 cents per share. The first-quarter dividend is payable March 10 to shareholders of record Febr. 2. [Norfolk Southern, 1-23-18]

RIO DE JANEIRO BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF LIGHT-RAIL LINE 3: Rio de Janeiro has begun construction of Line 3 of the Porto Maravilha light-rail network, due to be finished in one year. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-23-18]

CN REPORTS 2018 EARNINGS: CN reported 2017 net income increased by 51 percent to $5.5-billion (C) and earnings per share increased by 55 percent to $7.24. Included in net income was a deferred income tax recovery of $1.76-billion from the lower U.S. federal corporate income tax rate. Adjusted net income increased by 6 percent to $3.8-billion. Revenue increased by 8 percent. [CN, 1-23-18]

MORE TRUCKERS ARE RUNNING OUT OF CAPACITY: According to a study from transportation company Averitt Express, truckers seem to be running out of room. The report, polling 1,600 shippers, found that diminishing truck capacity is the industry's primary hurdle this coming year. Last year, about 20 pct of truckers faced capacity issues, a rate that doubled from the previous year. [Washington Post website report, 1-23-18]

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 January 21, 2018. The remaining 61 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 19 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-22-18]

MARYLAND'S PURPLE LINE SLATED TO OPEN IN 2022: Despite some legal challenges, Maryland's 16.2-mile Purple light-rail line is still slated to open in 2022. Officials are reworking the construction schedule due to the court battles, and they expect to have a better grasp of the more than $2-billion project's timeline in a couple of months. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-18]

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER ADDED TO CALIFORNIA'S HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY: Joseph Hedges has been named chief operating officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. He has more than 35 years of experience in construction, engineering and project management. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-18]

THREE ACQUITTED OF CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE IN 2013 DEADLY TRAIN DERAILMENT: A Canadian jury has found three former railway workers not guilty of criminal negligence in a 2013 Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train derailment that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The train, carrying volatile crude oil, came loose in the middle of the night, barreled towards the town center, derailed and exploded. It was one of the nation's worst train disasters. The train engineer, dispatcher and operations manager had all been charged in the incident. [Deutsche Welle website report, 1-19-18]

KCS REPORTS 2017 EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern repored 2017 net income was $964-million or $9.16 per diluted share, compared with $480-million or $4.43 per diluted share last year. Revenue was $2.6-billion, up 11 pct from 2016, on 5 pct carload growth. [Kansas City Southern, 1-19-18]

CARLOAD EXPRESS BUYS DELAWARE INDUSTRIAL PLANT: Carload Express, a short-line holding company which recently assumed control of Norfolk Southern's lines in Delaware, has purchased a BASF polymer plant in Seaford to develop a transload terminal. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-19-18]

TEXAS CENTRAL UNVEILS DETAILS OF BULLET TRAIN STATION: Developers of the Texas bullet-train project have unveiled details of a proposed rail station in Grimes County. It will be the only midpoint stop on the Houston-Dallas high speed rail line, and will be built on 60 acres in the Roans Prairie area, along Highway 30, west of Highway 90. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-19-18]

TORONTO AIRPORT RAIL LINE CONTENDS WITH EARLY CHALLENGES: The transit agency for Ontario says ridership tripled on its rail line from downtown Toronto to its airport after fares were cut by more than half. The rail line opened in 2015 and operated at a roughly 50 pct loss between April 2016 and March 2017. [CityLab website report, 1-19-18]

AMTRAK TO RETIRE PACIFIC PARLOUR CARS: The five Pacific Parlour cars that have been the hallmark of first-class travel on Amtrak's Coast Starlight train between Los Angeles and Seattle are set to be retired early next month. The final northbound run is slated for Febr. 2, and the final southbound run is slated for Febr. 4, according to Amtrak. The cars were the exclusive domain of sleeping-car passengers, and were a popular feature through the years. However, they were expensive to operate, were getting old - having been used in pre-Amtrak Santa Fe's El Capitain service - and their continued maintenance and shortage of spare parts had become an issue. Amtrak is reviewing what amenities offered in the Pacific Parlour cars may be made available in the future.

BICYCLIST KILLED BY BRIGHTLINE TRAIN: A 51-year-old bicyclist, who tried to beat a Brightline train to a crossing and biking around the lower gate, was killed by the train late Jan. 17 in Boynton Beach, Florida. ABC News website report, 1-18-18]

CP RAIL REPORTS 2017 RESULTS: Canadian Pacific reported 2017 revenues of $6.55-billion, an increase of 5 pct compared with 2016. Adjusted diluted earnings per share rose 11 pct to $11.39. Operating ratio was 58.2 pct from 58.6 pct. [CP Rail, 1-18-18]

CSX PLANS 2,000 MORE LAYOFFS IN 2018: CSX laid off more than 4,000 employees since fourth-quarter 2016, according to the company. Meanwhile, Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro said the plan is to cut approximately 2,000 more employees this year.[Supply Chain Drive website report, 1-18-18]

CSX REDUCES 2018 CAPITAL PLAN 22 PERCENT FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: CSX plans a 2018 capital program of $1.6-billion, a 22 pct decrease from the $2-billion capital program in 2017, and a drastic decrease from the $2.7-billion capital program in 2016. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-18-18]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PUSHING FOR 'MORE STABLE' RAIL SERVICE THIS YEAR: Norfolk Southern is working toward a 'more stable, resilient' network for 2018, following service issues in recent months, the railroad said. [Reuters website report, 1-18-18]

FREIGHT CAR CRUSHES HOUSE IN MEXICO, KILLING FIVE: A freight car derailed early Jan. 18 in the northern suburbs of Mexico City, killing five people in a house near the tracks. [ABC News website report, 1-18-18]

FIRE AT TRINITY INDUSTRIES RAIL PLANT IN TEXAS: Crews responded to a fire at Trinity Industries' rail plant in Longview, Texas, late Jan. 17. Fire officials said the fire was in the paint shop, but had no further information. [Longview News-Journal website report, 1-17-18]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY NAMES NEW CEO: Brian Kelly has been named chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, effective Febr. 1. The position was vacated by Jeff Morales, who left the job in early summer. Kelly has served as secretary of the California State Transportion Agency since it was created in 2013. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-17-18]

PLAN RELEASED TO OVERHAUL SEPTA TROLLEYS: The SEPTA trolley system serves nearly 100,000 people on weekdays, but the 36-year-old cars are nearing the end of their useful life. To maintain service, SEPTA plans to pursue an estimated $1-billion to replace the vehicles and overhaul the entire trolley system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-17-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 13, 2018, of 511,937 carloads and intermodal units represented a 0.5 pct gain compared with the corresponding week last year, the Association of American Railroads reported. [Railway Age website report, 1-17-18]

CSX STILL HASN'T WON BACK SOME SHIPPERS: CSX still has work to do to win back shippers following last year's service disruptions. James Foot, the company's new CEO, who replaced the late Hunter Harrison, said he has been visiting customers, and CSX is starting to win back some of that business, but still has to prove to some shippers that its railroad is more reliable. [Fox Business website report, 1-17-18]

EFFORTS MOVING AHEAD TO IMPROVE ELYRIA, OHIO, AMTRAK STOP: Lorain County, Ohio, is preparing to break ground on a platform to serve the county's transportation center at the former New York Central train depot in Elyria. Once completed, the facility will replace the current Amtrak waiting area and shelter on the site of a structure which had been fire-damaged in 2013. The project, which will include an enclosed bridge, elevators and staircases, is expected to cost at least $8-million, and is expected to improve the rail traveling experience at this location considerably. Chronicle-Telegram website report, 1-17-18]

BROKEN RAIL LIKELY CAUSE OF D.C. METRO DERAILMENT: The derailment of a Red line D.C. metro train Jan. 15 was likely caused by a broken rail, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-16-18]

CSX ANNOUNCES 4-Q, FULL YEAR EARNINGS: CSX announced fourth-quarter 2017 net earnings of $4.1-billion or $4.62 per share, compared with $458-million or 49 cts per share in the same period last year. Fourth-quarter net earnings included a $3.6-billion net tax reform benefit and a $10-million net restructuring charge. Excluding these two items, net per share earnings were 64 cts per share. Fourth-quarter revenue decreased 6 pct to $174-million. CSX had full-year earnings per share of $5.99, operating income of $3.7-billion, and an operating ratio of 67.9 pct. [CSX, 1-16-18]

AMTRAK REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH UNION: SMART Transportation Division has reached a tentative labor agreement for each bargaining group with Amtrak on behalf of the union's members employed by the railroad. The proposed agreement will be submitted to the membership for ratification vote. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-16-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN CALIFORNIA, MOTORIST KILLED: A motorist died in a collision with an eastbound Amtrak Capitol Corridor train in Solono County, California, late Jan. 16. The motorist was the only occupant in the vehicle, and there were no injuries on the train. [Sacramento Bee website report, 1-16-18]

TWO STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAINS IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS IN WASHINGTON STATE: A northbound BNSF train in Seattle struck and killed a 60-year-old man who buckled down on the tracks early Jan. 16. A second fatality occurred at about the same time when a freight train leaving Everett struck a person who was thrown by the impact into a nearby body of water. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-16-18]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN JUST GOT $2.8-B MORE EXPENSIVE: The estimated cost for the first phase of California's bullet train has climbed by 35 pct to $10.6-billion. The $2.8-billion increase for the 119-mile segment in the Central Valley puts the entire cost of the project at roughly $67-billion, compared with $40-billion when voters approved bond financing in 2008. [Southern California Public Radio, 1-16-18]

AMTRAK WORKER KILLED IN CHICAGO: A 42-year-old Amtrak worker was killed Jan. 16 at a mechanical facility in Chicago's South Loop, the railroad has confirmed. [ABC Chicago website report, 1-16-18]

BNSF L.A. RAIL PROJECT HALTED AMID ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS: A court has brought work to a halt on a planned rail project near the Port of Los Angeles after ruling that the port and its BNSF partner submitted an insufficient environmental impact report. [American Shipper website report, 1-16-18]

MD. ATTORNEY GENERAL QUESTIONS HYPERLOOP PERMIT: The Maryland Attorney General's office has expressed doubts as to whether the state can use a utility permit to authorize the construction of underground tunnels for the Elon Musk-backed hyperloop transportation system. At issue is that the system may not meet the definition of a 'utility.' [Baltimore Sun website report, 1-16-18]

SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA TO LINK RAPID TRANSIT RAIL: Rail operators in Singapore and Malaysia have partnered to operate a nearly 2.5-mile cross-border rail rapid transit system to carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction, when the link is ready by the end of 2024. [Singapore Straits Times website report, 1-16-18]

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 January 14, 2018. The remaining 64 percent, on average, arrived one hour and 20 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-15-18]

AMTRAK, NJT SERVICE DISRUPTED BY FIRE NEAR TRACKS: A fire in a vacant building near the tracks in Newark, N.J., disrupted Amtrak and NJ Transit service beginning shortly after 10 A.M. Jan. 13. Service later resumed, with delays of up to an hour. [ABC7 News website report, 1-13-18]

AMTRAK SERVICE RESUMES FOLLOWING CALIFORNIA MUDSLIDE CLEARANCE: Amtrak trains have resumed service between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in California, following deadly mudslides that shut down tracks. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-12-18]

FLORIDA EAST COAST NAMES NATE ASPLUND PRESIDENT, CEO: Florida East Coast Railway has named Nate Asplund president and chief executive. Previously he was president and CEO of Red River Valley & Western. [Railway Age website report, 1-12-18]

N.C. PIEDMONT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM COMPLETED: After seven years of work, North Carolina has completed its Piedmont Improvement Program to improve rail service between Charlotte and Raleigh. The projects included constructing 13 new bridges over or under highways; laying 27 miles of double-track between Greensboro and Charlotte; closing nearly 40 street-level crossings; adding locomotives and cars for the Piedmont passenger service; and improvements to four train stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-12-18]

ATLANTA TO REPLACE ENTIRE RAILCAR FLEET: MARTA, Atlanta's transit operator, plans to replace its entire railcar fleet, the single biggest item on its to-do list this year. The new cars are expected to cost about $1-billion. [Railway Age website report, 1-12-18]

SEPTA TRAIN COLLIDES WITH PASSENGER VEHICLE: A crash involving a train and a passenger vehicle caused delays on SEPTA's Lansdale-Doylestown line early Jan. 12. There were no serious injuries. [6ABC website report, 1-12-18]

WOMAN DIES AFTER TRAIN HITS CAR IN FLORIDA: Authorities say a woman died late Jan. 11 after driving into the path of a train on Florida East Coast tracks in Delray Beach, Florida. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-12-18]

OVER 400 PASSENGERS TRAPPED ON JAPANESE TRAIN BY HEAVY SNOW: About 430 people were stuck on a train overnight north of Tokyo because of heavy snow that blanketed much of the country's Japan Sea coast. The four-car train had electricity, heat and toilets, and it was stranded for about 15 hours. [ABC News website report, 1-12-18]

MAN GIVEN JAIL TIME FOR CUTTING R.R. SIGNAL WIRES: A judge has sentenced a former CN employee to five months in jail for cutting railroad signal wires in the Battle Creek, Michigan, area. Prosecutors say Jeffrey Alan Taylor cut 10 wires on three different days while visiting family, causing crossing lights and gates to activate, and trains to be delayed. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-11-18]

BRIGHTLINE TO BEGIN REVENUE SERVICE JAN. 13: Brightline will begin introductory service Jan. 13 between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Their 'Try Our Train' fares are $10 for basic service and $15 for select service. Initial service will be 10 daily weekday round trips, and nine on weekends, with trains running between the two points in 35 minutes. [Railway Age website report, 1-11-18]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads said U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Jan. 6 totaled 415,862 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 4.6 pct from the corresponding week last year. [Railway Age website report, 1-11-18]

AMSTERDAM NORTH-SOUTH METRO LINE CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED: Amsterdam announced Jan. 11 that construction has been completed on the North-South metro line, 15 years after work began on the project and more than a decade after it was due to open. Testing will begin in the coming week on the seven-station line, with revenue service due to begin July 22. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-11-18]

TEL AVIV-JERUSALEM A1 LINK SET FOR MARCH 30 OPENING: Israel announced Jan. 9 that the 35-mile A1 rail link between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will begin operating March 30, the eve of Passover. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-11-18]

AMTRAK NAMES KEN HYLANDER EXECUTIVE V.P., CHIEF SAFETY OFFICER: Amtrak has hired Ken Hylander as executive vice-president and chief safety officer. A former aviation industry executive, he most recently served as chair of the Flight Safety Foundation and previously was chief safety officer at Delta Airlines. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-10-18]

CHARLOTTE'S BLUE LINE LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION TO OPEN IN MARCH: The Charlotte Area Transit System plans to open its Blue line light-rail extension on March 16. Service testing begins Jan. 21. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-10-18]

ALASKA TO STUDY COMMUTER RAIL: Alaska's governor has issued an executive order establishing a task force to study possible commuter rail service between Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-10-18]

N.Y. SUBWAYS EXPERIENCE WIDESPREAD DELAYS: Signal problems, rail conditions, electrical repairs and other issues caused widespread New York City subway delays Jan. 8 that continued the following morning. [AM New York website report, 1-10-18]

CALIFORNIA MUDSLIDES DISRUPT RAIL SERVICE: Union Pacific tracks in Santa Barbara County, California, have been blocked by washouts. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight services and bus connections between Santa Barbara and Oxnard have been suspended. [Action News Now website report, 1-9-18]

STOLEN POLICE VEHICLE CRASHES INTO HOBOKEN RAIL TERMINAL DOORS: A person jumped into a police SUV early Jan. 8 and drove it into the doors of the waiting room at the Hoboken, N.J., rail terminal. No injuries were reported, and the suspect was arrested. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-8-18]

BNSF OFFERS NEW RAIL SERVICE AT PORT OF PORTLAND: BNSF is offering a new five-day-a-week service at Portland's terminal 6 enabling shippers to move products on a rail shuttle to the Puget Sound ports where they can be loaded onto ocean carriers. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

EDMOND HARRIS NAMED TO CSX MANAGEMENT TEAM: CSX has named Edmond L. Harris executive vice-president of operations, effective immediately. Harris has more than 40 years' experience in the railroad industry. [CSX, 1-8-18]

NORTH CAROLINA R.R. TO BUILD RAIL SPUR, TRACKS AT CSX SELECT SITE: The North Carolina Railroad will design and construct a rail spur and storage tracks at the future Triangle Tyre plant in Kingsboro, N.C., which is locating at a CSX Select Site. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

FEDS AUTHORIZE K.C. STREETCAR TO BEGIN EXTENSION PROJECT'S DEVELOPMENT: The Federal Transit Administration has authorized the Kansas City Area Transportion Authority to move its Main Street streetcar extension into the project development phase. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

RED RIVER VALLEY & WESTERN APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE TEAM: The board of Red River Valley & Western Railroad has named Victor Meyers president and Mark Wegner chief executive officer. The company serves customers in North Dakota and Minnesota. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $444-M FRENCH ORDER: Bombardier Transportation has received a repeat order for 32 double-deck trainsets from French national railway company SNCF Mobilities, part of a contract signed in 2010 to provide up to 860 double-deck trains to French regions. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

GREENBRIER COS. REPORT 1-Q EARNINGS: The Greenbrier Cos. report first-quarter FY-2018 net income of $26.3-million or 83 cents per diluted share, compared with $25-million or 79 cents per diluted share for the same period one year ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-8-18]

CHINA OPENS THREE NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINES: China added nearly 435 miles to its high-speed rail network at the end of December with the opening of three new lines: Jinan-Shijazhuang, Beijing-Guangzhou and Beijing-Shanghai. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-8-18]

NTSB ISSUES PRELIMINARY REPORT ON WASHINGTON STATE AMTRAK DERAILMENT: The Amtrak derailment near DuPont, Washington, last month caused $40.4-million in damage, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The authorized track speed north of the accident site is 79 mph and decreases to 30 mph prior to a curve. A 30 mph speed sign was posted 2 miles before the curve on the engineer's side of the track. Another 30 mph sign was on the wayside at the start of the curve on the engineer's side of the locomotive. The train did not slow prior to the accident and its final speed was recorded at 78 mph at the time of the derailment. About 6 seconds before the accident, the engineer in the locomotive cab commented on an over-speed condition. Also in the cab was a qualifying conductor. The crew was not observed using personal electronic devices in the cab, according to inward-facing video and audio from the train's recorders. Investigators have not yet been able to interview the engineer or conductor due to their injuries. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-18]

CSX UPDATES STB ON RESTRUCTURING PLAN: CSX has completed the first phase of its new operating plan, which has produced performance metrics that show a 'remarkable rate of positive change,' its president and CEO James Foote said in a Jan. 3 letter to the Surface Transportation Board. The board had asked for an update on the company's progress in five areas: car order fulfillment, local service performance, car trip plan performance, communication with customers and service in the Chicago area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-5-18]

AMTRAK'S CRESCENT TO BE IMPACTED BY TRACKWORK: Trackwork will affect Amtrak Crescent Trains 19 and 20, Monday through Thursday, between January 8 and February 8. As a result, Amtrak will provide bus service from Atlanta to Anniston, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Meridian, Laurel, Hattiesburg and New Orleans. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-5-18]

READING & NORTHERN SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD: Reading & Northern Railroad set a new record with its passenger services in 2017. Almost 120,000 people rode on Reading & Northern and Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway passenger services, a 15 pct increase from 2016's record-breaking year when Reading & Northern broke the 100,000- passenger mark for the second time running. In October, Reading & Northern shifted the starting location for its Fall Foliage specials from Port Clinton to Reading Outer Station. [Railway Age website report, 1-5-18]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC FOR 2017: Total U.S. rail freight carload traffic for 2017 increased 2.9 pct compared with the previous year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Intermodal traffic was up 3.9 pct. Combined traffic - carloads plus intermodal - increased 3.4 pct. [Railway Age website report, 1-4-18]

AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN GEORGIA: Three cars - a baggage car and two sleepers - of Amtrak's northbound Silver Meteor, with about 300 passengers on board, derailed late Jan. 3 while backing into the station in Savannah, Ga. No injuries were reported. [Atlanta Journal Constitution website report, 1-4-18]

MAN CHARGED WITH TERRORISM IN AMTRAK ATTACK: The FBI says an armed 26-year-old Missouri man who breached a secured area to stop an Amtrak train in southwest Nebraska in October has links to a white supremacist group and expressed an interest in 'killing black people,' according to court documents. Taylor Michael Wilson, of St. Charles, Missouri, is charged with terrorism attacks and other violence against railroad carriers and mass transportation systems. [Lincoln Journal Star website report, 1-4-18]

AMTRAK TO BEGIN N.Y. PENN STATION RENEWAL PROJECTS: Amtrak will begin its next round of renewal projects at New York's Penn Station on Jan. 5. The bulk of the infrastructure renewal work will occur on weekends, with the entire project slated to end May 28, the company says. The latest round of repairs will occur in the area of track 15, which requires concrete demolition and replacement, but crews will also perform localized concrete demolition and rail renewal for track 18, and renew and replace three turnouts within the C Interlocking. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-4-17]

BEIJING OPENS FIRST MAGLEV, LRT & AUTOMATIC METRO LINES: Beijing Metro opened its first maglev and light rail lines along with its first fully automated driverless metro line on Dec. 30. The 5.6-Mile elevated maglev line serves the western part of Beijing and runs from Jin'anqiao to Shichang. The line will eventually be extended east from Jin'anqiao to connect with metro Line 1 at Pingguoyuan. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-4-18]

TRAIN SLAMS INTO TRUCK IN SOUTH AFRICA, 18 KILLED: A passenger train slammed into a truck in rural South Africa on Jan. 5, killing at least 18 people and injuring about 260 others, authorities said. Officials said the truck driver allegedly tried to cross the tracks just ahead of the oncoming train, part of which burst into flames after the collision. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-4-18]

BRIGHTLINE SET TO BEGIN FT. LAUDERDALE-W. PALM BEACH SERVICE: Brightline, Florida's new private passenger operator, has announced that it will launch an introductory service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach during the week of January 8. [Railway Age website report, 1-2-18]

AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE IN 2017: Thirty (30) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in 2017, according to a survey by the Bull Sheet. The average arrival of all trains surveyed was one hour behind schedule. The average arrival of the 70 percent of trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 27 minutes late. The train with the best on time percentage was the Empire Builder, at 53 percent, and the train with the worst on time percentage was the Crescent, at 11 percent. The survey was conducted without grace allowance, mandating that a train must arrive into its final destination by its scheduled time to be considered on time. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-1-18]

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