Newswire Archives

Bull Sheet Newswire

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY QUEENS-BOUND TRAIN IN N.Y.: Police say a man was struck and killed by a Queens-bound 7-line train at Grand Central Terminal early Dec. 31. Service from Manhattan to Queens was disrupted for more than two hours because of the incident. [N.Y. Post, 12-31-20]

EAST END GATEWAY ENTRANCE OPENS AT N.Y. PENN STATION: The new East End Gateway entrance to the Long Island Rail Road councourse at New York's Penn Station opened to the public Dec. 31. Previously, customers had to wind their way through Penn Station's Amtrak level to reach the LIRR concourse. [Railway Age, 12-31-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic originations in the week ending December 26, 2020, were 405,111 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.4 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 3.4 percent, and intermodal was up 20.8 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-30-20]

BART TO HALT ACCEPTING NEWEST RAIL CARS FOR DEFECT CORRECTIONS: Bay Area Rapid Transit will temporarily stop accepting delivery of its newest Bombardier rail cars to allow time for the manufacturer to address reoccurring reliability issues. The new cars tend to stop while in service and not move again until the operator reboots the system, causing delay. Also, when trains stop under wet conditions, the wheels can develop flat spots. [Progressive Railroading, 12-30-20]

VOSSLOH SIGNALING DIVESTS FROM PARENT COMPANY, CHANGES NAME: Vossloh Signaling USA has divested from parent company Vossloh AG, and changed its name to Apex Rail Automation. Apex designs and manufactures products and systems for railroads and transit agencies. [Progressive Railroading, 12-30-20]

DESIGN WORK COMPLETED ON NYC PLAZA, TRANSIT HALL: Stantec has completed design work on a $220-million transit improvement project at One Vanderbilt avenue in New York City. Included is a 14,000-square-foot plaza between One Vanderbilt and Grand Central Terminal. The plaza includes a public transit hall, accessible concourses and corridors, enhanced connections to Metro-North and access to a planned Long Island Rail Road station. [Progressive Railroading, 12-30-20]

INFINITY TRANSPORTATION ACQUIRES REMAINING CAI INTERNATIONAL RAIL CAR FLEET: CAI International Inc has completed the sale of its remaining rail car fleet to Infinity Transportation for $228.1-million. [Progressive Railroading, 12-30-20]

NTSB INVESTIGATING FATAL OCT. 14 ACCIDENT IN CONNECTICUT: The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a rail accident that occurred Oct. 14 in North Canaan, Connecticut, that resulted in the death of a Housatonic Railroad employee. The employee had just measured a new switch panel, then walked to a clearing panel to talk with the track excavator operator, and finally, returning to the new switch panel, was pinned by the track excavator, which was then moving in the same direction. [Progressive Railroading, 12-30-20]

CANADA TO FUND ACCESS INCREASE TO CN, CP IN ALBERTA: The Canadian government will invest $5-million (C) toward a project aimed at increasing access to Canadian National and Canadian Pacific rail networks in Alberta. It calls for adding 460 railcar storage spots and more than 40,000 feet of new track, including a new connection to CP's Willingdon subdivision at the Alberta Midland Railway terminal. [Progressive Railroading, 12-30-20]

CZECH OPERATOR GETS APPROVAL TO BEGIN OVERNIGHT SERVICE: Czech independent operator RegioJet has gotten all needed approvals to launch its planned overnight service between Praha, Krakow and Przemysl. [Railway Gazette, 12-30-20]

SOUND TRANSIT BEGINS TESTING ITS NEWEST LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES DURING SERVICE HOURS: Seattle's Sound Transit has begun testing its newest Siemens light-rail vehicles during service hours. This phase of testing is one of the last steps prior to adding the vehicles to service in 2021. [Progressive Railroading, 12-30-20]

MOYNIHAN TRAIN HALL IN NEW YORK OPENS JAN. 1: The Moynihan Train Hall expands New York's Penn Station, the nation's busiest. Its grand hall - approximately the size of the main hall of Grand Central Terminal - features a sky-lit atrium. The new hall and Penn Station will operate as one complex. Combined with recent improvements to Penn Station, the new facility will help relieve crowding and improve passenger security and comfort. The hall opens to passengers on January 1. [Amtrak]

PTC TECHNOLOGY IN OPERATION ON ALL REQUIRED U.S. RAILROADS: The Federal Railroad Administration has announced that positive train-control is now in operation on all 57,536 required route miles. Railroads have reported that interoperability has been achieved between each applicable host and tenant railroad that operates on PTC-governed main lines. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-29-20]

MIKE MAHONEY NAMED PRESIDENT OF RAILSOLUTIONS: The board of RailSolutions has appointed Mike Mahoney president, effective Jan. 1. He has 40 years of experience in rail equipment leasing, valuation and financing. He succeeds Rob Blankemeyer, who will continue to serve as senior vice-president. [Progressive Railroading, 12-29-20]

CLEANUP CONTINUES ON BNSF DERAILMENT NORTH OF BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON: Crews on Dec. 29 were removing the train cars carrying crude oil that derailed north of Bellingham, Washington, near the Canadian border Dec. 22. BNSF said all of the cars would be removed later that day, and that 10 tank cars had derailed, five of which caught fire. Three cars were punctured and leaked oil. [Everett Herald, 12-29-20]

BELGIAN RAILROADS ORDERS 204 DOUBLE-DECK RAILROAD COACHES: SNCB, the Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer in Belgium, has placed a $546-million order with a consortium for 204 double-deck M7-type multifuctional railroad coaches. [Progressive Railroading, 12-29-20]

VBZ IN ZURICH ORDERS 40 ADDITIONAL LOW-FLOOR LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Zurich public transport operator VBZ has awarded a $194-million contract to Bombardier Transportation for 40 additional Bombardier Flexity low-floor light-rail trams for service in Zurich. [Progressive Railroading, 12-29-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 27, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 26 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-28-20]

CLEANUP ONGOING AFTER INDIANA TRAIN DERAILMENT: One of the main arteries into the Miller community in Gary, Indiana, was closed following a 20-car Norfolk Southern freight train derailment Dec. 23, and is not expected to reopen for as many as 10 days. The accident was on CSX tracks. No injuries were reported, but the derailment left mechanical debis around the tracks along U.S. 12 near the Indiana Dunes National Park. [Chicago Tribune, 12-28-20]

CHINA OPENS NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: A new high-speed rail line opened Dec. 26 linking western China's Yinchuan with Xi-an. The 379-mile line has a speed of 155 MPH, and cost over $12-billion to build. [Xinhua, 12-26-20]

BRIDGE COLLAPSES IN IOWA, UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS: Authorities say a small bridge collapsed early Dec. 25 near Des Moines, Iowa, causing the derailment of 20 to 25 cars of a Union Pacific train. No injuries were reported. The accident closed roads in the area for nearly 12 hours. [SiouxLandProud, 12-25-20]

AMTRAK TRAIN COLLIDES WITH VEHICLE IN CALIFORNIA, CAUSING FIRE: An Amtrak train collided with a vehicle Dec. 24 in Newark, California. There were no injuries, but a resulting fire caused damage to the train. [KTVU, 12-24-20]

COURT BLOCKS STRIKE AGAINST UNION PACIFIC OVER COVID-19 RESPONSE: A federal court has temporarily restricted Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way members from striking against Union Pacific in allegations that the railroad did not do enough to protect workers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The order expires Jan. 8, 2021. A hearing to be held Jan. 5 will reconsider or extend the restriction. [Freight Waves, 12-24-20]

BNSF CRUDE TRAIN DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE IN WASHINGTON STATE: Officials are investigating the derailment of a BNSF train carrying crude oil Dec. 22 in Whatcom County, Washington. The accident caused a fire that lasted well into the night. Residents within a half a mile were asked to evacuate, and Interstate 5 was closed for about an hour. No injuries were reported. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-23-20]

BOMBARDIER LANDS 30-YEAR MAINTENANCE CONTRACT WITH LIGHT-RAIL IN TORONTO: Bombardier Transportation ha signed a contract to provide 30 years of maintenance services for the Finch West light-rail project in Toronto. Included is the fleet of light-rail vehicles, and wayside track and overhead catenary for the line, scheduled to be completed in 2023. [Progressive Railroading, 12-23-20]

WABTEC, KEOLIS SIGN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PACT: Wabtec and Keolis have signed a three-year international business development agreement to partner on commercial activities and develop products for the transit and freight rail industries. [Progressive Railroading, 12-23-20]

NEW ORLEANS TRANSIT ASSUMES STREETCAR MANAGEMENT: The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has completed a transition to bring its streetcar operations and maintenance functions in-house. As of Dec. 20, all personnel will be employed by the authority. Transdev had been providing these services since 2009. [Progressive Railroading, 12-23-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending December 19, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 520.305 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.5 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 2.5 percent, but intermodal was up 10.3 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-23-20]

CEO OF CALTRAIN TO LEAVE HIS POST IN APRIL: Jim Hartnett will be leaving his position as chief executive officer and general manager of Caltrain in April 2021. Carter Mau will assume the position of acting CEO and GM, while Michelle Bouchard will serve as acting executive director. [Progressive Railroading, 12-23-20]

CP COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF DETROIT RIVER TUNNEL: Canadian Pacific has completed its acquisition of an 83.5 percent stake in the Detroit River Rail tunnel. [Progressive Railroading, 12-23-20]

CN, CP PENALIZED FOR EXCESSIVE GRAIN REVENUES: The Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled that Canadian National and Canadian Pacific grain revenues for the 2019-20 crop year were above their respective maximum revenue entitlements, and must pay the amount that exceeded the entitlements, plus a 5 percent penalty. The entitlements comprehend a form of economic regulation allowing the carriers to set their own western grain shipping rates, so long as the total revenue remains below the ceiling that was set. [Railway Age, 12-23-20]

U.S. CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN NOVEMBER: U.S. Class I railroads, as of mid-November, employed 114,960 people, down 1.58 percent from the October level, and down 13.71 percent from November 2019, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading, 12-23-20]

CONGRESS APPROVES $14-B IN PANDEMIC RELIEF FOR TRANSIT, $1-B FOR AMTRAK: The U.S. Congress has approved a pandemic relief package which includes $14-billion for transit and $1-billion for Amtrak. [International Railway Journal, 12-22-20]

N.C. HAS X-RINGLING BROS CIRCUS RAIL CARS FOR SALE: The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation wants to sell rail cars it had purchased following the demise of the Ringling Brothers Circus. The state had purchased the cars for $380,000 with plans to convert them into passenger rail use, but the plans were later put on hold when costs were calculated. Currently, half of the cars are stored in the state's rail yard in Raleigh, and the other half are stored on an abandoned rail line in Nash County. [WNCN, 12-22-20]

METRA, CP CROSSOVER PROJECT B1 COMPLETED: The Metra and Canadian Pacific crossover upgrades project B1 has been completed. The project eliminates passenger and freight train delays on the Milwaukee District West line with the installation of five crossovers and associated signaling, principally between Scott and Ruby streets. A crossover was also installed between the Indiana Harbor Belt and CN tracks between Chestnut street and Grand avenue. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-22-20]

TURKEY UPGRADES 113 MILES OF MAINLINE RAIL: Turkey has commissioned signaling and telecommunications upgrades on five sections of the Eskischir-Kutahya-Balikesir main line, nine years after work began. The upgrades cover 113 miles, including electronic interlockings, automatic train supervision and a new traffic control center. [International Railway Journal, 12-22-20]

SNCF ORDERS 33 DOUBLE-DECK EMU'S FOR HAUTS-DE-FRANCE REGION: Acting on behalf of the Hauts-de-France region, French National Railways (SNCF) has ordered 33 Omneo Regio2N double-deck regional electric multiple-units from Bombardier for 2024-25 delivery. [Railway Gazette, 12-22-20]

ELECTRIFICATION COMPLETED ON TAIWAN'S SOUTH LINK RAIL LINE: Electrification of Taiwan Railway's 1,067-mm-gauge main line network was completed Dec. 20 when electric trains began running over the South Link between Fangliao and Taitung. [Railway Gazette, 12-22-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 20, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and six minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-21-20]

NJT GETS PTC CERTIFICATION: The Federal Railroad Administration has certified New Jersey Transit's positive train-control system. NJT was the last railroad to implement the system, and the FRA had previously deemed NJT 'at risk' of not meeting the mandated end-of-year completion deadline. [Progressive Railroading, 12-21-20]

AMTRAK PASSENGER FOUND DEAD ALONG TRACK IN N.D.: A 54-year-old Maryland man with a ticket to Minot, N.D., was found dead along the track early Dec. 20 after exiting the train at speed a few miles east of Devil's Lake, N.D. [Grand Forks Herald, 12-21-20]

BOMBARDIER LANDS CONTRACT TO SUPPLY 205 RAIL CARS FOR SKYTRAIN: TransLink has announced that Bombardier Trasnportation has been chosen to manufacture 205 new rail cars for SkyTrain's Expo and Millennium lines in Vancouver, B.C. The $722.6-million contract is the largest rail car order ever for SkyTrain, and will allow the agency to retire older vehicles. [Progressive Railroading, 12-21-20]

N.C. GRANTS $16.7-M TO SHORT LINES FOR INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES: Seventeen short line railroads in North Carolina will be making improvements to their infrastructure thanks to approximately $16.7-million in matching grant funds being awarded by the state. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-21-20]

CP TO DEVELOP HYDROGEN FUEL CELL LOCOMOTIVE: Canadian Pacific has plans to develop North America's first hydrogen fuel cell-powered linehaul freight locomotive. The process will retrofit an existing diesel locomotive, replacing its prime mover and traction alternator. Once operational, the unit will undergo testing to evaluate its readiness for freight service. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-18-20]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN KENTUCKY: Two locomotives and eight loaded coal cars derailed when striking a rock slide early Dec. 17 in Wallins Creek, Kentucky. There were no injuries, and no impact to waterways. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-18-20]

CONSTRUCTION OF CRABTREE CREEK BRIDGE IN N.C. COMPLETED: Construction replacing a nearly 100-year-old railroad bridge spanning Crabtree Creek in Morrisville, N.C., is complete. The new North Carolina Railroad bridge allows for a future second track to accommodate added freight traffic and future passenger or commuter service. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-18-20]

CP, IBEW REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT: Canadian Pacific and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have negotiated a tentative five-year collective agreement for 360 signal maintainers. The agreement is subject to ratification by the membership. [CP, 12-17-20]

CN ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP FOR NEW ALABAMA LOGISTICS PARK: Canadian National, in collaboration with Alabama Export Railroad and Ray-Mont Logistics, is launching the first phase of a new high-tech logistics park in Mobile, Alabama, expected to open in late 2021. It will provide shippers with export capacity to access Asian, Latin American and European markets. [Progressive Railroading, 12-17-20]

MIKE MAHONEY NAMED PRESIDENT OF RAILSOLUTIONS: RailSolutions has promoted senior vice-president Mike Mahoney to president, effective Jan. 1, 2021, replacing Rob Blankemeyer, who will remain as senior vice-president. [Railway Age, 12-17-20]

AGREEMENT FINALIZED FOR SALE OF SIOUX VALLEY RAIL LINE TO D&I RAILROAD: The South Dakota State Railroad Board has finalized an agreement that allows the state to sell the Sioux Valley Rail line to D&I Railroad Co. for $10-million. The agreement transfers ownership of the entire 68-miles from Canton to Elk Point, and Beresford to Hawarden, Iowa. [Progressive Railroading, 12-17-20]

TEMPORARY RULES APPROVED TO KEEP CHANNEL TUNNEL OPEN: The European Parliament has approved temporary measures designed to ensure that rail operations through the Channel Tunnel may continue once the Brexit transition period ends on Jan. 1, 2021. [Railway Gazette, 12-17-20]

MONTREAL TO EXPAND LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: Officials in Montreal have decided to expand the REM light-rail project currently being built, making the line one of the largest automated transit networks in the world. The extension will be 20 miles featuring 23 stations. Altogether, Montreal will have 61 miles of rail and 49 stations. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-17-20]

CATHCART RAIL ACQUIRES APPALACHIAN RAILCAR SERVICES: Cathcart Rail and its financial patner Star Americas Infrastructure Partners have acquired Appalachian Railcar Services, a rail car repair and maintenance company based in Eleanor, W.Va. [Railway Age, 12-16-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN ROANOKE: Nine cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed in Roanoke, Va., early Dec. 16. No injuries were reported. [WSET, 12-16-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending December 12, 2021, U.S. rail freight traffic was 546,209 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.9 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 2.2 percent, and intermodal was up 11.1 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-16-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO FURLOUGH SOME MECHANICAL DEPT. EMPLOYEES: Some employees who work in Norfolk Southern's mechanical department will be furloughed. It is unclear how many employees and from which locations they will be affected. [WSLS, 12-16-20]

NTSB RECOMMENDS HAZARDOUS TANK CAR PLACEMENT IN TRAINS: The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a safety recommendation on DOT-111 rail tank cars in high-hazard flammable trains, requiring a minimum of five non-placarded cars between the locomotive and/or occupied equipment, regardless of train length. The recommendation stems from two separate derailments in Kentucky and Texas resulting in breached tank cars and hazardous material fires. [NTSB. 12-15-20]

CSX DESIGNATES SITE IN COLUMBIA, TENNESSEE, AS 'SELECT SITE': CSX announced that the Columbia, Tennessee, Rail Site has been designated as a CSX Select Site. The property is able to meet the needs of a wide variety of manufacturers, significantly reducing the time required to construct facilities and ultimately bring products to market. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-15-20]

FRA ISSUES FINAL RULE ON HIGHWAY-GRADE CROSSING ACTION PLANS: The Federal Railroad Administration has published a final rule requiring 40 states and D.C. to develop an implement highway-rail grade crossing action plans to improve public safety. The remaining 10 states are to update their plans and submit reports decribing the actions taken. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-15-20]

BIDEN NOMINATES PETE BUTTIGIEG TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation. [Railway Age, 12-15-20]

BNSF AWARDS THREE 'CERTIFIED-SITE' DESIGNATIONS: BNSF has awarded Certified-Site designations to New Century, Kansas, AirCenter Business Park; Wildwood Ranch in Joplin, Missouri; and Gateway Industrial Park in Gainesville, Texas. [Progressive Railroading, 12-15-20]

METRA EXPANDS ON-TRAIN BICYCLE-STORAGE PROGRAM: Chicago's Metra has deployed a second rail car with additional bicycle storage on the Milwaukee District North line. The bicycle car will have room for 16 bicycles, rather than the usual five. [Progressive Railroading, 12-15-20]

UNDERFLOOR BATTERY POWERPACK TO GO ON TRIAL ON U.K.'S GREAT WESTERN RWY: Leasing company Eversholt Rail and Hitachi Rail Express have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an underfloor battery-powerpack to go on trial on a Class 802 electro-diesel intercity tainset operated by Great Western Railway on the London-Penzance route. [Railway Gazette, 12-15-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 13, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 14 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-14-20]

HURON CENTRAL RWY SERVICE TO CONTINUE UNTIL JUNE 30, 2021: Genesee & Wyoming Canada had previously announced operation of the Huron Central Railway would end December 18, 2020, but it has since announced that service along the 173-mile line in Ontario will now continue until June 30, 2021. Meanwhile, the company will continue to work with stakeholders on a coinvestment to rehabilite the line. [Progressive Railroading, 12-14-20]

HARASSMENT, RETALIATION CLAIMS AT D.C. METRO CONTROL CENTER 'UNSUBSTNTIATED,' INVESTIGATION FINDS: Assertions of racial discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation by senior rail officials at the Washington DC Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's rail operation control center are 'unsubstantiated,' an independent investigation by a law firm has concluded. The investigation was in response to a September safety commission audit into complaints. Following that audit, officials did commit to an overhaul of the rail control center, which is ongoing. [Progressive Railroading, 12-14-20]

SEPTA TO TEMPORARILY CLOSE 14 REGIONAL RAIL TICKET OFFICES: SEPTA is making more cuts because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency says it will temporaily close 14 regional rail ricket offices beginning December 14. [3-CBS Philly, 12-14-20]

METRO-NORTH SEEKS APPROVAL TO ACQUIRE 27 SIEMENS DUAL-MODE LOCOMOTIVES: Metro-North is seeking MTA board approval to award a $335-million contract to Siemens Mobility for the design and manufacture of 27 dual-mode locomotives, plus options for up to 144 additional locomotives. [LIRR Today, 12-13-20]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN BALTIMORE: Police are investigating after a man was struck by an Amtrak train in southwest Baltimore late Dec. 12. [WJZ-TV, 12-12-20]

TWO TRAINS COLLIDE IN SOUTH AFRICA, SIX INJURED: A collision between a passenger train and a freight train has been reported outside of Leeudoringstad, South Africa, early Dec. 12. At least six people were wounded. [Garda World, 12-12-20]

FLORIDA TO FUND TAMPA STREETCAR EXTENSION: The Florida Dept. of Transportation has awarded Tampa $67.3-million in dedicated funding to support the extension and modernization of the Tampa Streetcar. The project would transform the city's 2.7-mile system by transitioning it to faster modern vehicles, and platforms with level boarding. The project also calls for extending the system by 1.3 miles from its western terminus through downtown to Tampa Heights. [Progressive Railroading, 12-11-20]

REPORT RECOMMENDS INTEGRATION OF MARC, VRE INTO ONE AGENCY: The Greater Washington Partnership has released a report entitled 'Capital Region Rail Vision,' recommending the integration of MARC and VRE into one commuter rail system. The goal is to create a more unified, competitive and modern rail network for the Washington DC area. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-11-20]

FRA CHANGES BRAKE SAFETY STANDARDS: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a final rule, extending the amount of time freight rail equipment may be parked with its air-brake system depressurized (left 'off air') before requiring a new brake inspection. The new rule permits trains to be off air for as long as 24 hours, reducing the number of Class I brake inspections by about 110,000 annually. [FRA, 12-11-20]

NTSB ISSUES REPORT ON 2017 CSX DERAILMENT AT HYNDMAN, PA.: The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its report on the CSX freight train derailment at Hyndman, Pa., of August 2, 2017. No injuries were reported, but the incident involved the release of hazardous materials, three homes being damaged, about 1,000 residents evacuated, and estimated damages were about $1.8-million. Thirty-three rail cars derailed. NTSB determined the probable cause of the derailment was the inappropriate use of hand brakes on empty rail cars to control train speed, and the placement of blocks of empty rail cars at the front of the train. CSX operating practices also contributed to the derailment. [NTSB, 12-10-20]

CN EYES OPPORTUNITIES IN UPPER MIDWEST WITH NEW INLAND TERMINAL: Canadian National seeks to expand its reach into the upper Midwest through a new inland distribution terminal in New Richmond, Wisconsin. It will have an automotive compound for finished vehicles and an intermodal terminal for shippers and receivers of greater Twin Cities. CN expects the facility to open on March 1, 2021. [Freight Waves, 12-10-20]

CALTRAIN PLANS TO REPLACE GUADALUPE RIVER BRIDGES IN SAN JOSE: Caltrain is in the planning stage for a $33-million replacement of two rail bridges in San Jose spanning the Guadalupe River north of Tamien commuter rail station. The northbound bridge will be replaced with a concrete structure, and the southbound bridge requires an extension on the southern end to reduce river flow speeds and riverbank erosion. The bridges are also used by Amtrak, Union Pacific, and Altamont Commuter Express. [Progressive Railroading, 12-10-20]

MBTA SERVICE TO BE REDUCED: MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services have announced that reduced rail service will be reduced beginning Dec. 14 from 541 to 246 daily trains due to the number of COVID-19 absences experienced over the past 10 days. The reduced service will run at least through Dec. 27. [Keolis, 12-10-20]

SEPTA TO TEMPORARILY CLOSE 14 REGIONAL RAIL TICKET OFFICES: SEPTA is making more cuts because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency says it will temporaily close 14 regional rail ricket offices beginning December 14. [3-CBS Philly, 12-14-20

AFGHANISTAN-IRAN RAIL LINK OPENED: Afghanistan's first standard-gauge railway, which links Herat province with Khaf in eastern Iran, was formally opened with a ceremony Dec. 10. [Railway Gazette, 12-10-20]

N.J. COMMITS $190-M TOWARD UPGRADES OF NEWARK PENN STATION: New Jersey is committing $190-million in state funding for renovations and upgrades at Newark Penn Station. The work is slated to begin this month with $30-million in renovations and restorations, with additional $160-million in upgrades over the next five years. The future goal is to make the station more of a destination, with added dining and shopping in the concourse. Opened in 1935, Newark Penn Station is listed on both national and state registers of historic places. [Progressive Railroading, 12-9-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. freight railroads originated 542,203 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending December 5, 2020, up 4.8 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 1.4 percent, and intermodal was up 10.5 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-9-20]

STATE OF WASHINGTON OUTLINES HIGH-SPEED TRAVEL FRAMEWORK: The Washington State Dept. of Transportation has released a report that sets a roadmap to bring ultra-high-speed ground transportation to the area. Dubbed '2020 Framework for the Future,' the report builds on previous studies conducted over the past three years and details next steps on governance, strategic outreach and financing a system linking Portland, Oregon; Seattle; and Vancouver, B.C. Using high-speed rail, magnetic levitation or hyperloop, the system would be 'stand-alone,' rather than sharing or relying on existing infrastructure. [Progressive Railroading, 12-9-20]

LOCOMOTIVE FUELED BY VEGETABLE OIL TESTED IN U.K.: DB Cargo UK has successfully tested the use of 100 percent renewable hydrotreated vegetable oil to fuel a Class 67 diesel locomotive, and on-track trials are to follow with two other locomotive classes. [Railway Gazette, 12-9-20]

CRAIG RICHARDSON PROMOTED TO EXECUTIVE V.P. OF UNION PACIFIC: Craig Richardson has been promoted to executive vice-president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary of Union Pacific. He succeeds Rhonda Ferguson, who left the company and joined Allstate. [Progressive Railroading, 12-9-20]

GEORGETOWN RAIL EQUIPMENT COMPANY CHANGING NAME: Loram Maintenance of Way has announced that Georgetown Rail Equipment Company will begin doing business as Loram Technologies Inc. effective Jan. 1. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-9-20]

NJT, FEDS AGREE ON HACKENSACK RIVER BRIDGE REPLACEMENT: The board of New Jersey Transit have approved an agreement with the Federal Transit Administration for the replacement of the 110-year-old moveable railroad bridge over the Hackensack River in Kearny. The old bridge is noted for getting stuck in the open position, delaying trains on Amtrak's Northeast corridor. The agreement sets the stage for a federal grant toward the project. [, 12-9-20]

AMTRAK ADDS PAYMENT OPTIONS: In addition to credit and debit cards, Amtrak customers may now use Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Pay Pal when purchasing tickets and other items on Amtrak's app and website. [Railway Age, 12-8-20]

R.J. CORMAN COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF THREE SHORTLINES, TRANSLOAD INTEGRATION: R.J. Corman Railroad Group has completed its acquisition of Owego & Hartford Railway, Lehigh Railway, and Luzerne & Susquehanna Railway. These increase the group's short lines to 17, and expands the company's transloading services with the integration of TranZ Sand & Transload. [Progressive Railroading, 12-8-20]

VRE TO INCLUDE UPGRADES TO 13 STATIONS IN 2022-27 IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM: The Virginia Railway Express FY-2022-27 capital improvement program includes projects at 13 stations, many of which involve platform extensions to handle longer trains. [Progressive Railroading, 12-8-20]

RAIL CAR STORAGE, SWITCHING, TRANSLOAD PARK OPENS IN PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS: Alpenglow Rail and USA Rail Terminals have announced the opening of a rail car storage, switching and transloading logistics park in Port Arthur, Texas. Over 30,000 feet of track was built as part of the facility's first phase. [Progressive Railroading, 12-8-20]

ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT DRAFTED FOR VALLEY LINK PROJECT: California's Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority has issued a draft environmental impact report for the proposed Valley Link passenger rail project. The link is a 42-mile, seven-station service that would link an existing station in Alameda County to North Lathrop Station in San Joaquin County. [Progressive Railroading, 12-8-20]

RAIL OPERATORS AGREE ON EXPANSION OF INTERNATIONAL NIGHT TRAINS IN FOUR COUNTRIES: National rail operators of Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland have agreed to cooperate on the expansion of international night train services. [Railway Gazette, 12-8-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending December 6, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived 54 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-7-20]

SOUTH CENTRAL LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION PROJECT IN PHOENIX AWARDED ADDITIONAL GRANT: An additional $638-million U.S. grant will help complete the 5.5-mile South Cental light-rail extension project in Phoenix. The grant comes $530-million from the Federal Transit Administration, and $108-million from the Federal Highway Administration. The project is slated for completion in 2024. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-7-20]

BART GETS $60-M STATE GRANT FOR TRAIN-CONTROL UPGRADE: California has granted the Bay Area Rapid Transit $60-million toward the addition of a communications-based train control system to enable closer headways and increased train frequencies along the Transbay corridor between San Francisco and East Bay. [Railway Age, 12-7-20]

CSX SELECTS TRANSYSTEMS TO MANAGE 75TH STREET CORRIDOR PROJECT IN CHICAGO: The Chicago Region Environmental & Transportation Efficiency Program partners have announced that CSX has selected TransSystem to provide construction management services for the Forest Hill Flyover and 71st Street grade separation projects, both part of the 75th Street Corridor Improvement project. [Progressive Railroading, 12-7-20]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR CAPACITY PROJECT COMPLETED IN DELAWARE: A $71.2-million capacity improvement project has been completed on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor between Wilmington and Newark, Delaware. It included a 1.5-mile third main track between Ragan and Yard interlockings, bridge replacement and other work. [Railway Age, 12-7-20]

FEDS, AMTRAK RESOLVE ADA ISSUE: The U.S. Dept. of Justice has reached an agreement with Amtrak to resolve the department's findings of disability discrimination in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Amtrak has committed to design at least 135 stations to be accessible, and pay $2.25-million to victims hurt by inaccessible stations. Over the next decade Amtrak will complete upgrades at 90 of those stations, and have at least 45 more under construction. [Progressive Railroading, 12-4-20]

CALIFORNIA AWARDS $100-M GRANT FOR SOCKTON DIAMOND GRADE SEPARATION: California's transportation commission has awarded a $100-million grant toward the Stockton Diamond grade separation project. The $237-million project calls for the construction of a grade separation at the state's most congested at-grade rail junction. [Progressive Railroading, 12-4-20]

W.VA. TO ACQUIRE ELK RIVER RAILROAD: The West Virginia State Rail Authority plans to acquire and operate 18 miles of the Elk River Railroad in Clay County, W.Va. The authority already owns and operates the 52.4-mile South Branch Valley Railroad, and owns and overses operation of the 132-mile West Virginia Central Railroad. [Progressive Railroading, 12-4-20]

SHORT LINE, REGIONAL INSURANCE PROVIDER CHANGES HANDS: Hub International has acquired the assets of United Shortline Insurance Services, which has provided insurance services to short line and regional railroads for more than 30 years. [Progressive Railroading, 12-4-20]

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY GETS GRANT TO STUDY PEDESTRIAN DETECTION AT NJT CROSSINGS: The Federal Transit Administration has awarded Rutgers University a $357,000 grant to study pedestrian detection at New Jersey Transit rail crossings. The intention is to develop an artificial intelligence-aided computing system to assist transit agencies in developing trespasser avoidance solutions. [Progressive Railroading, 12-4-20]

N.Y. TO CLOSE 53RD STREET QUEENS-MANHATTAN TUNNEL NINE DAYS FOR SIGNAL UPGRADE: New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority will close its 53rd street tunnel between Queens and Manhattan for nine days encompassing the Christmas-New Year period while crews advance the installation of a modern signaling system and undertake track maintenance along the Queens Boulevard line. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-4-20]

THREE NEW ORLEANS STREETCARS MODIFIED WITH WHEELCHAIR LIFTS: The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has welcomed three newly-modified Riverfront streetcars that are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Each have wheelchair lifts at the front and rear, and are now in service on the St. Charles line. The project also included modification of 12 streetcar stops which were rebuilt to feature platforms wide enough for the deployment of ramps. The St. Charles line is the oldest continuously-operating streetcar line in the U.S. [Progressive Railroading, 12-3-20]

TWO CHARGED WITH SHUNTING BNSF TRACKS NEAR BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON: Two Washington state women have been charged after they allegedly placed a shunt on BNSF tracks near Bellingham, Washington. Shunting of tracks can disrupt rail signal systems, and authorities have been investigating similar occurrences on BNSF tracks since Jan. 19. [Progressive Railroading, 12-3-20]

CP PROPOSES MULTIMODAL TRANSLOAD FACILITY IN B.C.: Canadian Pacific has proposed the construction of a multimodal, multicommodity transload and logistics facility next to its existing intermodal terminal in Pitt Meadows, B.C. The railroad will solicit public comments on the proposed facility later this month, and has already begun gathering input from First Nations. The facility would be within the Katzie Firsst Nation Traditional Territory. [Progressive Railroading, 12-3-20]

CN, CP SET NOVEMBER GRAIN MOVEMENT RECORDS: CN moved more than 3.12 million metric tons of Canadian grain in November, following a record high of 3.27 metric tons the previous month. CP announced its best-ever November and second-best-ever month with 2.96 million metric tons, exceding the previous November record in 2019 by 8 percent and second to October 2020 for total monthly tonnage. [Railway Age, 11-3-20]

EMPLOYEE INJURED AT WASHINGTON UNION STATION: Officials said an Amtrak employee was injured early Dec. 3 at Washington Union Station and taken to a trauma center after the golf-cart-type baggage-moving vehicle he was operating was struck by a train. [Washington Post, 11-3-20]

WABTEC'S GREEN FRICTION BRAKING SOLUTION TO BE TESTED IN FRANCE: Wabtec and RATP, a Paris region and international public transport operator, have partnered to test Wabtec's Green Friction braking solution. The test will study the solution's ability to improve air quality in Paris tunnels by reducing micro-particles emitted from friction braking. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-3-20]

NOVEMBER 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 2,036,889 carloads and intermodal units in November 2020, up 3.1 percent compared with the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 5.8 percent, and intermodal was up 11.5 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-2-20]

TEN CARS OF A NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAIL IN OHIO: Ten cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed Dec. 2 in Amherst, Ohio, in the midst of a winter storm that slammed the area with snow and ice. [Chronicle Telegram, 12-2-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN LAYS OFF 71 WORKER IN BELLEVUE, OHIO: According to the Bellevue, Ohio, director of economic development, Norfolk Southern has laid off 22 electricians, 27 machinists and 22 laborers at the Moorman yard terminal outside Bellevue, leaving just 10 machinists employed at that location. [Sandusky Register, 12-2-20]

D.C. METRO CONSIDERS ELIMINATING WEEKEND RAIL SERVICE: The Washington DC Metropolitan Transit Authority has proposed eliminating weekend rail service and closing 19 rail stations as part of its FY-2022 operating budget. The proposal comes as the agency faces a nearly $500-million budget shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Progressive Railroading, 12-2-20]

ALSTOM SET TO ACQUIRE BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION ON JAN. 29: Alstom and Bombardier say that all necessary regulatory approvals required to complete the sale of Bombardier Transportation to Alstom have been received, and they expect the transaction to close on Jan. 29, 2021. [Progressive Railroading, 12-2-20]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN N.M.: BNSF experienced a derailment early Dec. 2 in Vado, N.M. The company said two locomotives and 12 empty rail cars had derailed, and the engineer was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries. [Railway Track & Structures, 12-2-20]

NOVEMBER 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the survey period was 39 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 25 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 12-1-20]

STEPHEN GARDNER NAMED PRESIDENT OF AMTRAK: Stephen Gardner has been appointed president of Amtrak, effective today. He joined the company in 2009, and most recentely was its senior executive vice-president and chief operating and commercial officer. [Amtrak, 12-1-20]

FEDERAL COURT OVERRULES OKLAHOMA LAW REGARDING TRAINS BLOCKING CROSSINGS: A federal judge has permanently barred Oklahoma from enforcing a law that prevented trains from blocking streets for longer than 10 minutes. The judge ruled the 2019 state law is facially unconstitutional because it runs afoul of the federal Interstate Commerce Commission Terminaction Act. [Oklahoman, 12-1-20]

AMTRAK WINS 54-MONTH CONTRACT TO OPERATE METROLINK SERVICE: Southern California's Metrolink has awarded Amtrak a four-and-one-half-year contract for commuter train operation, beginning Jan. 1, 2021. [Amtrak, 12-1-20]

VIA RAIL RIDERSHIP DOWN 82 PCT IN 3-Q: VIA Rail Canada's third-quarter 2020 ridership had an 82 percent decrease compared with the same quarter last year, primarily due to the pandemic. Revenue was down 86 percent. [Railway Age, 12-1-20]

HYDROGEN FUEL CELL TRAIN COMPLETES THREE-MONTH TEST IN AUSTRIA: Alstom's Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell train has completed three months of test operations on Austrian regional lines. Austria is the second European country, after Germany, to fully approve the train as an emission-free alternative to diesel multiple units. [Global Railway Review, 12-1-20]

INDIAN RAILWAYS GETS CLEARANCES FOR AHMEDABAD-MUMBAI HSR CORRIDOR: The Indian Railways has secured all requisite wildlife, forestry and coastal zone clearances in the states of Gujarat and Maharashira for the 316-mile Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail corridor. [Economic Times, 12-1-20]

CSX ACQUIRING PAN AM RAILWAYS: CSX said that it is acquiring Pan Am Railways, a regional carrier in New England. CSX said its acquisition would bolster its network in the northeastern U.S., but rival Norfolk Southern says the deal could hurt competition. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. [The Hour, 11-30-20]

LIRR COMPLETES CONSTRUCTION OF EXPANDED STORAGE YARD: The Long Island Rail Road has completed major construction on the newly-named Mid-Suffolk Train Storage Yard in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. Formerly known as the Ronkonkoma Yard, the expanded yard will provide space to store, maintain and clean electric train cars. The 76.6-million project included the addition of 11 tracks, for a total of 22 yards, each with the capacity for a 12-car train set. [Progressive Railroading, 11-30-20]

MARYLAND GETS GRANT TO ASSESS ITS LIGHT-RAIL SYSTEM: The Maryland Transit Administration will receive a $150,000 federal grant to initiate an electronic inventory of its light-rail system. It will monitor, detect and identify track deficiencies and enable the agency to maintain a more accurate assessment of the system. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-30-20]

CP TO SERVE EXPANDED GRAIN-LOADING FACILITY IN MINNESOTA: Riverland Ag Corp. has agreed with Farmer's Co-op Grain & Seed Association to form a grain merchandising joint venture to be based in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. The venture will pursue an expansion project to enable unit-train loading, and it will be served by Canadian Pacific. [Progressive Railroading, 11-30-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending November 29, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and three minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-30-20]

JAPAN TO END ITS RAIL MOVEMENT OF COAL: The third sector Mikajiri line is due to close on Dec. 31, effectivly bringing to an end the movement of coal by rail in Japan. [Railway Gazette, 11-30-20]

EGYPT AWARDS CONTRACT FOR 12-MILE METRO LINE FROM CAIRO TO GIZA: The Egyptian National Authority for Tunnels has awarded a consortium a $800-million contract to build a 12-mile metro line with 16 stations from central Cairo to the Giza Pyramid area. [Railway Gazette, 11-27-20]

FIRST HYDROGEN-POWERED TRAINS FOR ITALY ORDERED: North Milan Railway has ordered six hydrogen fuel cell trains from Alstrom, with the option for eight more, the first order for hydrogen trains in Italy. The order is worth about $191.3-million, with the first train due to be delivered within three years. [International Railway Journal, 11-26-20]

MARYLAND, CONSORTIUM SETTLE DISPUTE OVER PURPLE LINE: The state of Maryland will pay $250-million to settle a legal dispute with the Purple Line Transit Partners, the consortium of firms hired to build the delayed 16-mile Purple light-rail line that would extend from Bethesda to New Carrollton. The settlement ends litigation and resolves what the firms said were $800-million in cost overruns on the project. A formal settlement agreement will go before the state's board of public works for review and approval next month. [Progressive Railroading, 11-25-20]

D.C. METRO REMOVES 6000-SERIES RAIL CARS FOLLOWING TRAIN-SEPARATION INCIDENT: The Washington DC Metro agency has removed its fleet of 180 Alstom 6000-series rail cars from service following a train-separation incident, the second such incident this year. On Nov. 24 an eight-car train broke in half following its departure from the Glenmont station in Maryland. Twelve passengers were aboard train, and nobody was injured. [Progressive Railroading, 11-25-20]

MOYNIHAN TRAIN HALL IN N.Y. TO OPEN IN JANUARY: Amtrak's Moynihan Train Hall in the former Farley Post Office building across from Penn Station in New York City is set to open in January 2021. The hall will offer enhanced facilities for Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road passengers. Included will be a sky-lit atrium, dedicated waiting areas, a combined ticketing and baggage area, improved accessibility, and a new Metropolitan Lounge. [Progressive Railroading, 11-25-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending November 21, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 534,607 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.5 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 7.2 percent, and intermodal was up 11.5 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-25-20]

ONE KILLED, ONE INJURED AS AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES SUV IN TEXAS: A woman was killed late Nov. 25 as the SUV she was traveling in was struck by an Amtrak train in Harris County, Texas. The driver, who was injured, reportedly drove around two cars and a lowered crossing gate. [KHOU, 11-25-20]

RAIL BRIDGE COLLAPSES UNDER TRAIN IN PA.: Rail traffic was halted and road traffic detoured after a bridge collapsed derailing a Norfolk Southern train early Nov. 25 on a branch line to a power plant near Clymer, Pa. No injuries were reported. [KDKA, 11-25-20]

AMTRAK REPORTS FY-20 RESULTS: Amtrak posted a fiscal year 2020 operating loss of $801-million on total operating revenue of $2.3-billion, down 32 percent compared with FY-2019 revenue. Just prior to the pandemic hitting the U.S., Amtrak was on track to break even financially, for the first time in its history. [Progressive Railroading, 11-24-20]

BRIGHTLINE, DISNEY AGREE TO BUILD TRAIN STATION IN ORLANDO: Brightline and Walt Disney World Resort have agreed to build a train station at the Disney Springs complex in Orlando, Florida. It is intended to provide a convenient travel option between the World Resort and Brightline stations at Orlando International Airport, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, along with stations planned in Aventura, Boca Raton and Port Miami. The agreement is conditioned on Brightline meeting certain obligations. [Progressive Railroading, 11-24-20]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN CALIFORNIA, BLOCKING HIGHWAY: Six cars of a Union Pacific train derailed early Nov. 23 in Tulare County, California, closing a 10-mile stretch of Highway 99 in Goshen for hours. One of the derailed cars was carrying hydrochloric acid which leaked upon impact. [ABC-30, 11-24-20]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN BALTIMORE: Twenty-one cars of a CSX train derailed late Nov. 23 in Baltimore along a portion of the railroad known as the 'Belt Line.' There were no injuries, and no hazardous materials were involved, officials said. [WBAL, 11-24-20]

NEW YORK MTA FACING HUGE DEFICIT DUE TO PANDEMIC: New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is facing a $16.4-billion deficit through 2024 as a result of a sharp and sustained decline in rideship stemming from the pandemic. In the absence of federal aid, the agency is considering slashing service on subways by 40 percent, and on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North lines by 50 percent. [Sean Jeans-Gail from Rail Passengers Assn. midweek report, 11-24-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN OHIO: An early-morning derailment of 12 to 16 cars of a Norfolk Southern train caused closures to U.S. 127 in Wayne Township, Ohio, Nov. 24. There were no injuries, and no hazardous materials were involved. [Dayton Daily News, 11-24-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending November 22, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 35 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-23-20]

CSX EMPLOYEE DIES ON THE JOB IN FOSTORIA, OHIO: A CSX employee is dead after a work-related injury early Nov. 22 at the rail yard in Fostoria, Ohio. [ABC-13 Action News, 11-22-20]

CP TO RECEIVE FIRST MAERSK VESSEL INTO VANCOUVER IN EARLY DECEMBER: Canadian Pacific will see the first vessel from Maersk arriving into the Port of Vancouver, B.C., in the first week of December, instead of the original timeline of March 2021. CP announced last month that it had secured a multiyear agreement with Maersk to move freight through the ports of Vancouver and Montreal. CP also has an agreement with Maersk to build a transload and distribution facility that would serve Maersk by shuttling their containers to and from the ocean terminals at the Port of Vancouver. [Freight Waves, 11-22-20]

AMTRAK TO STUDY BUILDING NEW DEPOT AT BRATTLEBORO, VT.: Amtrak will begin a feasibility study of a plan to construct a new station building and make platform improvements at Brattleboro Station, Vermont. Amtrak is in discussions with the twon of Brattleboro, New England Central Railroad and state officials on a proposal to make the station compliant with ADA standards. [Progressive Railroading, 11-20-20]

UNION PACIFIC TO EXPAND INTERMODAL SERVICE IN MINNEAPOLIS: Union Pacific's new Twin Cities Intermodal terminal in Minnesapolis will launch in January with domestic intermodal service connecting the Twin Cities with Los Angeles to reach upper Midwest markets. The railroad will evaluate additional service expansion opportunities into the terminal throughout 2021. [Railway Age, 11-20-20]

PANDEMIC IMPACTS AMTRAK'S REVENUES: For the calendar year through October, Amtrak's total ticket and passenger revenues are off 67 percent from year-ago levels. Since the pandemic began, Amtrak ticket and passenger revenues are down 81 percent compared with the like period a year ago. COVID-period Northeast corridor revenues are down 89 percent, state-supported services are down 81 percent, and National network is down 60 percent. The National network of long-distance trains accounts for 45 percent of ticket and passenger revenue booked during the pandemic, and nearly a third after including pre-pandemic revenue months going back to January. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 11-20-20]

FINAL PHASE OF TICKETED WAITING AREA COMPLETED AT N.Y. PENN STATION: Amtrak and N.J. Transit have completed the second and final phase of the ticketed waiting area refresh at New York Penn Station at the Amtrak concourse on the upper level and 8th avenue side of the station. The project, which included a $7.2-million total investment between Amtrak and NJT, features new furniture and fixtures, iseats with electrical and USB outlets, an upgraded ceiling with LED lighting, a new information desk, and a second entrance in close proximity to the NJT concourse. [Amtrak, 11-20-20]

BIDEN TRANSITION TEAM NAMES 18-MEMBER TRANSPORTATION PANEL: The Biden-Harris transition team has created an 18-member panel to review the Dept. of Transportation and related agencies to assist the incoming administration. The are Phillip Washington, L.A. Metro, team leader; Dave Barnett, United Assn. of Plumbers & Pipefitters; Austin Brown, University of California; David Cameron, Teamsters; Florence Chen, Generate; Brendan Danaher, Transport Union of America; Paul Kincaid; Gabe Klein, Cityfi; Jeff Marootian, District Dept. of Transportation; Therese McMillan, Metropolitan Transportation Commission; Brad Mims, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials; Robert Molofsky; Patty Monahan, California Energy Commission; Mario Rodriguez, Indianapolis Airport Authority; Mike Rodriguez; Nairi Tashjian Hourdajian, Figma; Polly Trottenberg, NYC Dept. of Transportation; and Vinn White. [American Trucker, 11-20-20]

LORAM TECHNOLOGIES CREATED THROUGH RESTRUCTURING: Loram Maintenance of Way has announced the creation of Loram Technologies. Under the restructuring, Loram and Georgetown Rail Equipment's track inspection, friction management and substructure monitoring solutions will combine within Loram Technologies. Meanwhile, Loram and Georgetown Rail's heavy rail-bound equipment fleet will combine within Loram Maintenance of Way. [Progressive Railroading, 11-20-20]

TALGO SETS SCHEDULE FOR HYDROGEN-POWERED TRAIN: Talgo has announced the timetable for the manufacture and launch of its hydrogen train, an alternative to replacing diesel engines. It is slated to be ready in 2023. The train will be named 'Talgo Vittal-One,' a reference to the place of hydrogen in the periodic table. Hydrogen technology is an emission-free alternative for non-electrified railway lines. [Talgo, 11-19-20]

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER TO RUN U.S. ROUTE IN SUMMER, FALL 2021: Rocky Mountaineer plans to launch a new two-day passenger rail service between Denver and Moab, Utah, in summer 2021. It will run the route with a preview season of 40 departures across 10 weeks from August 15 to October 23. The service will include an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The operation will be in addition to three rail routes the company runs in western Canada. [Progressive Railroading, 11-19-20]

CREDIT SUISSE ANALYST NAMES CSX 'TOP RAIL PICK': Credit Suisse analyst Alliston Landry has named CSX her 'Top Rail Pick,' citing the success of its precision scheduled railroading initiative on improving operations. [Jacksonville Daily Record, 11-19-20]

TUNNEL TROUBLES PLAGUE S.F. MUNI: San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency has issues with its two-mile-long Twin Peaks Tunnel. The project consisted of seismic retrofitting and the replacement of rails, ties and ballast. However, it was decided that the old ballast of the 100-year-old tunnel would be reused, a decision that went against the contract. Moreover, the ballast was not cleaned, and now there is more mud than rock serving as the track bed. Officials have not determined a timeline for reconstruction. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-19-20]

PIKES PEAK RAILWAY COACH READY FOR COMMISSIONING: The first of the coaches built in Switzerland for Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway in Colorado has been handed over to the commissioning team. The trains will be formed of a locomotive and three coaches, providing a total of 250 fixed and 13 folding seats. Four older diesel railcars will remain in passenger service, and one will be used for work duties. [Railway Gazette, 11-19-20]

TEN MODERNIZED DINING CARS DELIVERED TO POLAND'S PKP INTERCITY: PKP Intrcity has taken delivery of 10 dining cars which have been refurbished nd modernized. Each car offers 12 tables and 36 seats, along with luggage storage and coat racks. [Railway Gazette, 11-19-20]

CHARLES AMOS DIES, RAILROAD SCENE PAINTER: Charles L. Amos, a former locomotive engineer who later became a Western Maryland Railway superintendent, an official with the Federal Railroad Administration and the Association of American Railroads, died Nov. 11. He was also noted as a painter of railroad scenes. He was 90. [Baltimore Sun, 11-18-20]

MARYLAND EXPLORES FINDING NEW INVESTOR TO COMPLETE PURPLE LINE PROJECT: If Maryland and Purple Line Partners cannot reach a deal in the coming weeks, the state will be looking for another investor to take on what is left of the Purple Line project. The state has been exploring different ways it could finish the project since PLTP walked off the job two months ago. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-18-20]

MIAMI-DADE, BRIGHTLINE AGREE TO ACCESS FEE FOR NEW COMMUTER RAIL SYSTEM: The Miami-Dade County Commission and Brightline have approved an access fee arrangement that helps pave the way for a new commuter rail system on the Brightline/FEC corridor. The agreement calls for a $12-million annual access fee, in addition to an initial payment of $50-million. County officials will begin negotiating definitive documents with Brightline over the next 60 days and expect to decide on who will operate the system in the coming months. [Progressive Railroading, 11-18-20]

FORMER BALTIMORE STEEL MILL TAKES SHAPE WITH DISTRIBUTION CENTERS: Evidence of what was once the largest steel plant on the U.S. east coast has rapidly disappeared as distribution centers begin to cover the 3300-acre Sparrows Point site near Baltimore. After several years of remediation, the first distribution centers began to emerge. Since then, 9.3 million square feet of the property has been devloped, with a third of that amount built during the past year. The site is directly accessible by CSX and Norfolk Southern, and offers deepwater marine vessel access. [Freight Waves, 11-18-20]

PTC OPERATING OR IN ADVANCE FIELD-TESTING ON 99.6 PCT OF REQUIRED ROUTE MILES: All railroads subject to the federal positive train-control mandate are currently operating PTC systems in revenue service, or in advanced field-testing, says the Federal Railroad Administration. This translates to 57,314 of 57,537 route miles, or 99.6 percent of the mandate. But based on criteria used to evaluate the risk of noncompliance, New Jersey Transit is one railroad at risk of not fully-implementing the technology on all its required main lines by December 31. [Progressive Railroading, 11-18-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: In the week ending November 14, 2020, U.S. freight railroads originated 527,462 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.2 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 3.1 percent, and intermodal was up 12.9 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-18-20]

RAIL WORKER DIES IN ALABAMA ACCIDENT: According to police, workers from Continental Rails were replacing crossties on Nov. 17 when a CN locomotive operated by employees of Alabama Export Railroad heading toward Alabama State Docks collided with the workers. One of the workers died in the accident. [Fox 10 News, 11-18-20]

TEN TRAXX LOCOMOTIVES ORDERED FOR LUXEMBOURG: Luxembourg freight operator CFL Cargo has ordered 10 Traxx MS multi-system electric locomotives from Bomardier, following the signing of a contract on Nov. 18. [International Railway Journal, 11-18-20]

SIGNALING TO BE UPGRADED ON PORTION OF AMTRAK HARRISBURG LINE: SEPTA, in conjunction with Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportion, will upgrade the signaling and train-control system between Paoli and Overbrook along the Keystone-Harrisburg line. The new equipment will enable greater flexibility and higher speeds, Amtrak said. The state, Amtrak and SEPTA are restoring a third track and upgrading signals on a 10-mile segment of the line west of Paoli. [Railway Age, 11-17-20]

TEXAS BULLET TRAIN PROJECT HITS SNAG: Texas Central recently received approval from the Federal Railroad Administration for its Houston-Dallas bullet train proposal. But it was then found that the company has yet to apply for permits from the federal Surface Transportation Board, the Texas General Land Office, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Also, the Texas Dept. of Transportation would have to approve each and every railroad crossing. Whether construction begins in 2021 or not remains 'up in the air.' [Houston Chronicle, 11-17-20]

DELRAY TOWER IN MICHIGAN CLOSES: CSX's Delray interlocking tower in Detroit closed Nov. 16. The busiest interlocking in Michigan, one of just two remaining towers in the state, and said to be the last tower to use armstrong mechanical levers, it was built in 1945 by the Pere Marquette Railroad to replace an older tower from the late 1800's. The project to close the tower involved CSX, Norfolk Southern and Conrail Shared Assets, all of which own trackage at the site. CP and CN also operate through the interlocking under trackage-rights. The tower will likely be demolished unless a preservation effort develops. [Bill Haines from Trains Industry Newswire, 11-17-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN GEORGIA: Norfolk Southern experienced a derailment involving a locomotive and six cars late Nov. 15 on its main line that heads west from Atlanta, then splits at Austell, Ga., with one line going north to Chatanooga, and the other going west to Birmingham. One crew member was taken to the hospital. There was a small fire resulting from the accident, a minor diesel leak was detected from the derailed locomotive, and some electric lines were toppled. No waterways were impacted. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-16-20]

FEDS ISSUE RULE SETTING AMTRAK PERFORMANCE METRICS: The Federal Railroad Administration has published a final rule setting forth metrics and a minimum standard to measure the performance and service quality of Amtrak intercity passenger train operations, including metrics relating to on time performance and train delays, customer service, financial and public benefits. The rule requires Amtrak and its host railroads to certify schedules, and sets an on time performance minimum standard of 80 percent for any two consecutive calendar quarters. Other metrics include ridership, train delays, station performance and host running time. [Federal Railroad Administration, 11-16-20]

ASSESSMENT, PRELIMINARY ENGINEERING TO BEGIN ON 2.1-MILE TEXRAIL EXTENSION PROJECT: Trinity Metro in Texas has selected AECOM to conduct environmental assessment and preliminary engineering for a 2.1-mile TexRail extension project. Commuter rail service would continue south from the Fort Worth T&P station to a proposed station in the medical district. [Railway Age, 11-16-20]

SCRANTON-NYC PASSENGER RAIL PROJECT STILL BEING CONSIDERED: Over the next couple of days, Pennsylvania officials will listen to public comments concerning a plan laying out future spending on railroads. The Scranton-NYC route, however, is one of the last projects listed on the list. Officials started looking at the route back in 2006. Passenger trains would run 133 miles between Scranton and Hoboken, where a train would be available for a ride into New York City. A recent study indicates it would cost over $288-million to upgrade the line. Trains are not expected to run on the track until 2026. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-16-20]

D.C. METRO TO ADVANCE SIGNAL UPGRADES ON BLUE LINE IN VA.: The Washington DC Metroplitan Area Transit authority will speed up major capital work on the Blue line in Virginia. The work will occur over 10 weekends beginning Nov. 27 and ending March 14. Crews will replace all signal system components in the Alexandria rail yard. These include switches, signals, track circuits and signal control rooms. The upgrades are needed to modernize the agency's 40-year-old automatic train control system. [Progressive Railroading, 11-16-20]

SOUTH PLAINS LAMESA R.R. TO DEVELOP TEXAS TRANSLOADING FACILITY: The San Angelo Development Corp. has entered into a partnership with South Plains Lamesa Railroad for the development of a multicommodity rail port, through which bulk freight imports ad exports will be delivered to the U.S. and Mexico. It will connect to the Texas Pacifico branch of the South Orient Rail line, the portion that spans from Presidio, Mexico, to San Angelo Junction in Texas. [Progressive Railroading, 11-16-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending November 15, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 48 minutes late. This week set the record for the year 2020, so far, as the worst performing of any single week. The percentage of trains arriving on time was the lowest (by two percentage points), the overall average arrival was the worst (by 10 minutes), and the average arrival of the trains that were behind scheduled was also the worst (by nine minutes). MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-16-20]

LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES UNVEILED FOR MONTREAL'S AUTOMATED NETWORK: The project office of Montreal's automated light-rail network has unveiled the first four light-rail vehicles for its 41.6-mile, 26-station network to connect downtown to the South and North shores, West Island, and Trudeau International Airport. Partial service is slated to begin in 2022, with full operation in 2024. [Railway Age, 11-16-20]

BRIGHTLINE TALKS CONTINUE ON NEW MIAMI-DADE COMMUTER RAIL PROPOSAL: Florida's Miami-Dade County board of commissioners has agreed to continue talks with Brightline on new commuter rail service along Brightline's corridor. The service is slated to run between Brightline's Miami Central station and its new Adventura station, and possibly connect with stations at Florida Intrnational University, North Miami, El Portal, Little Haiti, Design District, and Wynwood. [Railway Age, 11-16-20]

S.F. SUBWAY PROJECT GETS FURTHER DELAYS: San Francisco's subway project to connect downtown with Chinatown, which was scheduled to be complete in 2018, is being further delayed. The project had been plagued with delays since ground was broken in 2010, and now the ongoing pandemic has pushed back the date until mid-2022. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-16-20]

RAIL BRIDGE REPAIRS CONTINUE AT ROANOKE RIVER DERAILMENT SITE: Repair work continues on the bridge spanning the Roanoke River near Salem, Va., where a Norfolk Southern train derailed Oct. 30 spilling coal into the river and damaging the bridge. It may require a few weeks to complete the repairs, according to the railroad. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-13-20]

SECOND N.Y.-PITTSBURGH TRAIN PROJECTED FOR FY-2023-24: A proposed second daily round-trip train between New York City and Pittsburgh is projected for the fiscal-year from Oct. 2023 through Sept. 2024, in the current Pa. state rail plan. The feasibility of adding the second train for the 440-mile route is under evaluation by the Harrisburg-Pittsburgh portion's host carrier Norfolk Southern. [Pittsburgh Tribune, 11-16-20]

FORMER KENTUCKY RAIL YARD ENVISIONED AS TOURIST SPOT: An economic development project is planned as a key part of eastern Kentucky's future at 'The Yard,' a 40-acre former railroad property in Irvine. It may someday feature a 75-year-old steam locomotive, a rail rehab facility, a machine shop, an interactive museum, a restaurant, and a pavilion. The project is led by Kentucky Steam, a nonprofit with a goal of restoring historic rail equipment and bolstering economic development. The pavilion would hold 4,500 people for concerts or other community gatherings. [Herald Leader, 1-13-20]

CSX SELECT SITE EXPORT FACILITY OPENS IN S.C.: A&R Logistics on Nov. 12 opened its new export facility at the West Branch Commerce Park in Moncks Corner, S.C.. Designated as a CSX Select Site, the 615,000-square-foot facility was developed in cooperation with the South Carolina Ports Authority and the state. [Progressive Railroading, 11-13-20]

PROGRESS RAIL TO SUPPLY BATTERY-ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE FOR DEMO PROJECT ON PACIFIC HARBOR LINE: Progress Rail has agreed to supply Pacific Harbor Line with a new EMD Joule battery-electric locomotive for a demonstration project in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. [Pacific Harbor Line, 11-13-20]

OHIO COMPANY INTRODUCES RAIL ICE-PREVENTION SYSTEMS: Midwest Industrial Supply in Canton, Ohio, has introduced a seasonal rail switch ice prevention system and a third-rail anti-icing system to help railroads prepare for winter. The systems are effective for temperatures as low as minus-70 degrees (F). The company also offers Enviro-Mlt, a liquid ice-melter. [Railway Age, 11-13-20]

EGYPT, SUDAN TO STUDY RAIL LINK: Egypt and Sudan have signed an agreement to carry out economic, social and environmental studies for the creation of a new cross-border railway between the two countries. The line's initial section would run from Aswan, Egypt, to Wadi Halfa, Sudan, with later phases integrating with existing networks to create a 559-mile direct connection between Sidi Gaber, Alexandria and Khartoum. [International Railway Journal, 11-13-20]

GO TRANSIT'S COOKSVILLE RAIL STATION REOPENS: The Cooksville GO Transit rail station in Mississauga, Ontario, has reopened following a $128.4-million (C) redevelopment. Included were upgraded pedestrian tunnels to platforms, an east pavilion and integrated six-level parking structure. [Progressive Railroading, 11-12-20]

BLUEPRINT RELEASED FOR PASSENGER, FREIGHT GROWTH IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The San Diego Pathing Study has been released outlining how to phase the expansion of passenger and freight rail services along the 351-mile San Diego-Los Angeles-San Luis Obispo rail corridor. The study draws on previous optimization studies to holistically consolidate the services into one executable operating plan, and to increase capacity in the near-, mid-, and long-term. The blueprint is intended to assist the North County Transit District and its rail partners in growing service along the corridor, currently bottlenecked by single-track and other deficiencies. [Railway Age, 11-12-20]

UKRAINE MODERNIZES SLEEPING CARS: Ukraine's national railway has unveiled two 18-berth sleeping cars that have been modernized to extend the life of the 28-year-old cars by an additional 14 years. [Railway Gazette, 11-12-20]

U.S. HIGH-SPEED RAIL ASSN. SHARES FIVE-POINT DEVELOPMENT PLAN: The U.S. High-Speed Rail Association has published a five-point plan to encourage te development of networks across the country. They are (1) create a new high-speed rail development authority within the Dept. of Transportation; (2) identify and designate the top five priority projects; (3) select second-tier projects; (4) coordinate closely with transit-oriented development planning with local cities and jurisdictions; and (5) work with airlines and airports to replace short-haul flights with rail, and extend rail lines to airports. [International Railway Journal, 11-11-20]

QUALIFIED UNION PACIFIC AGREEMENT EMPLOYEES TO GET $1,000 PANDEMIC BONUS: Union Pacific has announced that agreement employees who worked at least 30 days during the pandemic will receive a one-time gross bonus payment of $1,000 in December. [Progressive Railroading, 11-11-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic originations in the week ending Nov. 7, 2020, were 522,028 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.3 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 8.4 percent, and intermodal was up 10.3 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-11-20]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA SEEKS TO JUSTIFY PRODUCTION MOVE TO MEXICO: The pandemic, high number of rail cars in storage and low rail volumes hastended FreightCar America to move its rail car prodution to Mexico. The company reported a net loss of $40.3-million in the third quarter. The company said it must change its cost structure and cannot affort to sustain its current level of losses. However, the production of aftermarket parts will remain in Richland, Pa. [Freight Waves, 11-11-20]

PHILLIP WASHINGTON NAMED TO LEAD TRANSPORTATION REVIEW TEAM: Phillip Washington, CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has been named by President-elect Biden to lead the U.S. Dept. of Transportation review team. He will oversee 17 experts in a review of the department, the National Transportation Safety Board, Amtrak, and the Federal Maritime Commission. [Railway Age, 11-11-20]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN POTSDAM, N.Y.: A CSX train derailed in Potsdam, N.Y., late Nov. 10. Six grade crossings were blocked, some of which were reopened the following morning. There were no injuries, and there was no contamination. [WWNY-TV, 11-11-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER PENDING CSX ACQUISITION OF PAN AM RAILWAYS: Norfolk Southern is expressing concerns to the Surface Transportation Board about CSX's potential acquisition of Pan Am Railways. Since 2009, Norfolk Southern has been a partner in a joint venture with Pan Am to control Pan Am Southern, which provides access to New England via trackage rights. Norfolk Southern says it is concerned about the impact a CSX acquisition would have on competition, also about CSX using a voting trust to acquire Pan Am. [Progressive Railroading, 11-10-20]

KCS HIKES DIVIDEND 10 PCT: Kansas City Southern has increased its quarterly dividend from 40 cents to 44 cents per share to shareholders of record at the close of business Dec. 31, 2020. The company will implement a quarterly dividend approach that targets a low 20 percent range payout. [Kansas City Southern, 11-10-20]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 3-Q REVENUES: FreightCar America reported third-quarter revenues of $25.2-million on deliveries of 163 railcars, a 38 percent drop from the third-quarter last year. The company continues to move all rail car production to its facility in Mexico by early 2021. [Railway Age, 11-10-20]

LIRR TO PERFORM TRACK WORK NEAR HICKSVILLE, N.Y.: On weekends Nov. 14-15 and Nov. 21-22, Long Island Rail Road crews working near the Hicksville station will upgrade switches and install and test new signals, and install concrete ties. The work is in preparation for the new third track between Hicksville and Floral Park, and will require service adjustments. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-10-20]

MONTANA RAIL LINK PAINTING TWO LOCOMOTIVES HONORING VETERANS, ESSENTIAL WORKERS: Montana Rail Link has unveiled the first of two special locomotives to thank veterans for their service, and essential workers for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both will operate in regular freight service between Billings, Montana, and Sandpoint, Idaho. The second locomotive will be rolled out in the coming weeks. [Railway Age, 11-9-20]

CONSTRUCTION OF AMTRAK'S DOWNTOWN BUFFALO TRAIN STATION COMPLETED: Major construction has been completed on Amtrak's Exchange Street station in downtown Buffalo. It was designed to accommodate additional train routes and future expansion of intercity bus service. The new station was built on the same ground as the previous 66-year-old station, but was elevated and moved closer to the street to improve access and visibility. [Progressive Railroading, 11-9-20]

CLEVELAND-CLIFFS TO ACQUIRE SIX SHORT LINES: Cleveland-Cliffs, a mining company, intends to acquire control of six short lines owned by ArcelorMittal USA. The are Brandywine Valley Railroad, Steelton & Highspire Railroad, Lake Michigan & Indiana Railroad, Upper Merion & Plymouth Railroad, Cleveland Works Railway, and South Chicago & Indiana Harbor Railway. Cleveland-Cliffs already owns Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad. [Progressive Railroading, 11-9-20]

AMTRAK QUICKLY WELCOMES NEWS OF JOE BIDEN'S ELECTION WIN: Amtrak was one of the first organizations to welcome the news on Nov. 7 that Joe Biden had won the U.S. presidential election. President-Elect Biden has been a strong passenger rail advocate through his five decades in politics, and was a near-daily commuter for many years between Wilmington, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. [Railway Gazette, 11-9-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending November 8, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and eight minutes late. For 2020, year-to-date, 56 percent of the long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier, and the remaining trains arrived, on average, one hour and 14 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-9-20]

SINK HOLE DISRUPTS RAIL TRAFFIC ON MASS COASTAL R.R.: The failure of a railroad embankment adjacent to a pond used for cranberry operations failed on Oct. 27, halting service on Cape Cod's Mass Coastal Railroad. The track carries freight service that transfers trash. CapeFlyer passenger trains use the line during the summer, and holiday trains operate on it during the season. [Cape Cod Times, 11-9-20]

BNSF REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: BNSF's third-quarter operating revenues and pre-tax earnings fell 14.1 and 8.4 percent, respectively, due to the pandemic's continuing impact. Operating revenues were $5.0-billion, a decrease of approximately $800-million. Pre-tax earnings were $1.8-billion, a decline of 8.4 percent. [Railway Age, 11-8-20]

WABTEC SPURNS MINI-TENDER OFFER BY TRC CAPITAL: TRC Capital Investment Corp., a private Canadian investment firm, has made an unsolicted 'mini-tender' offer to purchase up to two million shares of Wabtec's common stock at $59.25 per share. Wabtec said the offer price was about 4.53 percent lower than the closing price of its stock on Oct. 23, the last trading day prior to the offer, and recommends its stockholders not to tender their shares at a price below market value, and it is subject to numerous conditions. [Railway Age, 11-6-20]

UNION PACIFIC RECALLS 125 EMPLOYEES TO ITS DE SOTO, MISSOURI, CAR SHOPS: Union Pacific has recalled 125 employees to return to work at its car shops in De Sotao, Missouri. [Leader Publications, 11-6-20]

SAVANNAH BOASTS ITS INTERMODAL TERMINAL PROJECT: The Port of Savannah's $200-million Mason Mega Rail Terminal is being promoted as the largest on-dock intermodal rail facility for a North American port. It will combine the current on-dock CSX and Norfolk Southern rail terminals into one facility, and provide each carrier with nine 2700-foot working tracks. [Memphis Business Journal, 11-6-20]

TRACK REALIGNMENT IN COLORADO SPRINGS PROPOSED: Residents in Colorado Springs have gotten their first look at a railroad project that calls for realignment and the replacement of two bridges. Moving the tracks would displace some residents and businesses. The route would be moved south of downtown, and the chosen alignment would help cure some noise problems. BNSF and Union Pacific both use the tracks and would help with some of the funding. [Railway Tract & Structures, 11-6-20]

TWO MASSIVE CONTAINER CRANES DELIVERED TO NORFOLK INTERNATIONAL TERMINALS: The Port of Virginia has accepted delivery of two massive container cranes at Norfolk International Terminals, the final pieces of equipment needed to complete the $450-million renovation of the terminal's south berth. [Progressive Railroading. 11-6-20]

JAGUAR TRANSPORT ACQUIRES INDUSTRIAL CENTER IN OHIO: Jaguar Transport Holdings has acquired the Marion, Ohio, Industrial Center, and it will be renamed Marion Industrial Rail Park. It features eight miles of rail infrastructure, rail switching, rail car maintenance, transloading, and third-party logistics services. [Progressive Railroading, 11-6-20]

PAT WILLIAMS DIES, FORMER GENERAL CHAIRMAN OF BLET: Pat Williams, former general chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen's BNSF general committee of adjusment, died Oct. 29. He began his rail career in 1969 on the Santa Fe, and was promoted to engineer in 1978. He was 68. [Progressive Railroading, 11-6-20]

NJT TO RESTORE SOME WEEKEND SERVICE: Beginning Nov. 8, New Jersey Transit will restore some weekend rail service that was cut back due to lower ridership during the pandemic. [Progressive Railroading, 11-6-20]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY MBTA COMMUTER TRAIN: Police are investigating after a male was struck and killed by an MBTA commuter rail train the afternoon of Nov. 5 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. [WHDH, 11-5-20]

MASSACHUSETTS RELEASES DRAFT STUDY FOR EAST-WEST RAIL PROPOSAL: The Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation has released a draft study of the potential benefits and costs of a passenger rail service to connect western, central and eastern Massachusetts. It identifies corridors that could provide connections between Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester, Boston and intermediate communities. [Progressive Railroading, 11-5-20]

BLET MEMBERS RATIFY LABOR AGREEMENT WITH INDIANA SOUTHERN: Members of the Brotherhood of Locomtive Engineers & Trainmen have ratified a collective bargaining agreement with Indiana Southern Railroad governing rates of pay, benefits and work rules for 17 members. [Progressive Railroading, 11-5-20]

VOTERS APPROVE CALTRAIN DEDICATED FUNDING: Voters in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties have approved a measure which will provide Caltrain with a dedicated source of funding. It is set for 30 years, and the agency will start collecting funds in July 2021. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-5-20]

JAGUAR TRANSPORT ACQUIRES FIVE SHORT LINE RAILROADS, ONE MAINTENANCE COMPANY: Jaguar Transport Holdings has acquired five short-line railroads and a maintenance company from the Western Group. They are Cimarron Valley Railroad, Washington Eastern Railroad, Texas & Eastern Railroad, Southwestern Railroad, Oregon Eastern Railroad, and Western Railroad Builders. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-5-20]

UNITA RAILWAY PROJECT ADVANCES: The proposed Unita Basin Railway to be built in Utah has established a recommended route. It is the 88-mile Whitmore Park alternative. It includes five tunnels. Also considered were the 81-mile Indian Canyon, and 103-mile Wells Draw alternatives. [Railway Age, 11-5-20]

AUSTIN VOTERS APPROVE TRANSIT-EXPANSION FUNDING: Voters have approved Proposition A in Austin, Texas, a $7.2-billion measure to provide local funding for transit expansion in the region, including Austin's first light-rail system. [Progressive Railroading, 11-5-20]

OCTOBER 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads in October 2020 moved 2,082,646 carloads and intermodal units, up 2 percent compared with the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 6.6 percent, while intermodal was up 10 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-4-20]

BOMBARDIER TO LEASE SPACE AT FORMER CATERPILLAR PLANT IN ILLINOIS: Bombardier Transportation will lease about 240,000-square-feet of space at a former Caterpillar plant in Kendall County, Illinois, which could eventually be used to build bi-level cars from Metra, if it is awarded a contract. [Progressive Railroading, 11-4-20]

BUCHAREST ORDERS 13 METROPOLIS TRAINS FOR NEW LINE-5: The state-owned operator of the metro system in Buchareat, Romania, has awarded Alstom a contract to provide 13 Metropolis trains for the system's new Line 5, plus an option for another 17 trains. [Progressive Railroading, 11-4-20]

READING & NORTHERN BEGINS DELIVERIES TO TRANSLOAD FACILITY IN DELTA, OHIO: Reading & Northern reports the first cars have been unloaded at their newest rail-truck transload at NorthStar/BlueScope, Delta, Ohio. NSBS is in the midst of epanding production at the Delta mill and was interested in improving delivery of anthracite coal from Pennsylvania. [Railway Track & Structures, 11-3-20]

CN, CP SET MONTHLY GRAIN RECORDS: Canadian National and Canadian Pacific each moved more than three million metric tons of grain in Oct. 2020 - a first, as neither had ever exceeded that amount in one month. [Railway Age, 11-3-20]

EDMONTON SELECTS DESIGN-BUILD FIRM FOR LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Edmonton, Alberta, has announced that Marigold Infrastructure Partners is the peferred proponent to design, build and partially finance its $2.6-billion (C), 8.7-mile Valley West light-rail extension. [Railway Age, 11-3-20]

VIRGINIA UPDATES DETAILS ON NEWINGTON ROAD BRIDGE PROJECT: Virginia officials have provided more details on the Newington Road bridge project in Fairfax County. The $37-million project calls for replacing the existing two-track rail bridge with a new, publicly-owned two-track structure, and a new two-track bridge for use by CSX trains. The result will be a four-track arrangement that separates passenger and freight trains. [Progressive Railroading, 11-3-20]

BLET REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH NYS&W: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen has reached a tentative labor agreement, subject to ratification vote, with New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway. The contract would govern rates of pay and work rules for about 45 members. [Progressive Railroading, 11-3-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending November 1, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and three minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-2-20]

SUNRAIL'S ADVISORY BOARD VOTES TO EXTEND COMMUTER LINE INTO DELAND: The Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission has voted to begin work to extend SunRail's rail system 12 miles into DeLand, Florida. The extension depends on $34-million in federal funding. [MSN, 11-2-20]

GARY THOMAS, DART PRESIDENT, TO RETIRE: Dallas Area Rapid Transit president and executive director Gary Thomas has announced his intention to retire after serving as the agency's leader for nearly 20 years. Under his leadership, DART's 20-mile rail system grew to 93 miles. [Progressive Railroading, 11-2-20]

CSX WORKER INJURED ON THE JOB IN RUSSELL, KENTUCKY: A CSX rail yard worker was serious injured Nov. 1 in a workplace accident in Russell, Kentucky, according to the company. [WSAZ, 11-2-20]

MOODY'S UPGRADES ITS RAIL INDUSTRY OUTLOOK: Moody's Investor Services has upgraded its outlook for the North American rail industry from 'negative' to 'stable,' amid expectations that rail volumes will continue to grow in 2021. [Freight Waves, 11-2-20]

OCTOBER 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final scheduled destination on time or earlier in October 2020. The average arrival of all long-distance tains in the survey period was 30 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and six minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 11-1-20]

ANNIVERSARY OF A TRAGIC RAIL ACCIDENT IN MISSOURI: On November 1, 1855, the Pacific Railroad's first passenger train to Jefferson City left from St. Louis with 600 prominent citizens. The railroad was an expression of the city's aspirations for a transcontinental railroad. Its bridge spanning the Gasconade River was not yet finished, but it was bolstered with a temporary trestle. Rain fell hard as the train chugged westward, and moved onto the first span of the bridge at 12 MPH. The trestle shuddered and collapsed, plunging the locomotive 30 feet into the mud, pulling with it all but one of the passenger cars. Thirty-one people died and 70 others were seriously injured. The incident dashed the dreams of this being the first transcontinental railroad. The Pacific Railroad became Missouri Pacific in 1867, and was later merged into Union Pacific. Seventeen years ago, crews digging beneath today's Gasconade bridge unearthed an old railroad wheel. It had been forged in 1854. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11-1-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN VA.: A Norfolk Southern train derailed overnight near the Roanoke County boundary with the city of Salem, Va., with rail cars being dumped onto a road and into the Roanoke River. [WDBJ, 10-31-20]

BRIGHTLINE'S LAS VEGAS BULLET TRAIN PROJECT ON HOLD DUE TO FINANCING: Fortress Investment Group is delaying its plan to build a high-speed rail line from southern California to Las Vegas after failing to sell a record amount of unrated municipal dept to finance the project. Since the end of September, Fortress, through its company Brightline Holdings, had been marketing $3.2-billion of debt to be issued through California and Nevada agencies. It subsequently reduced the size to an offering of $2.4-billion. [Bloomberg, 10-31-20]

AMTRAK ADDS RIDE QUALITY SENSORS FOR AMFLEET, VIEWLINER CARS: Amtrak has procured multiple sensor systems to perform vehicle and track interaction analyses on Amfleet and Viewliner in-service cars to assess ride quality, comfort and safety. [Progressive Railroading, 10-30-20]

CN RECEIVING INITIAL ORDER OF HIGH-CAPACITY GRAIN CARS: Canadian National is now receiving its first shipment of new-generation, jumbo grain hopper cars. The total order is for 1,500 cars, 100 of which have been received, and 500 more are to come by the end of the year. The cars can accommodate about 10 percent more than their older-generation cars. [Railway Track & Structures, 10-30-20]

EUROPEAN RAIL PASSENGERS GAIN ENHANCED BILL OF RIGHTS: The European Parliament committee on transport and tourism has backed an agreement on the rights of rail passengers to guarantee rerouting and help for passengers in delays and cancelations, improved assistance and access to people with mobility issues, and help in creating more spaces for bicycles. [International Railway Journal, 10-30-20]

SEPTA GETS FEDERAL IMPROVEMENT GRANTS: SEPTA has been awarded $1.2-million through competitive federal grants which will help fund the installation of automated right-of-way worker protection technology and the planning and design of future complete streets concepts for the Grays aveue corridor. [Railway Track & Structures, 10-29-20]

CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED ON CALIFORNIA'S POSO CREEK RAIL VIADUCT: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has completed construction of the 240-foot-plus-long Poso Creek rail viaduct in Kern County, the first completed structure in the 22-mile segment of line from the Tulare County line to Poplar avenue in Kern County. Also, it is the fourth high-speed rail structure completed in the Central Valley since August. [Progressive Railroading, 10-29-20]

PATRIOT RAIL AGREES TO ACQUIRE SALT LAKE, GARFIELD & WESTERN RWY.: Patriot Rail has agreed to acquire short-line operator Salt Lake, Garfield & Western and its related storage transload service provider entities. Based in Salt Lake City, the short-line handles more than 6000 carloads annually within its 26-mile line, which connects with Union Pacific and BNSF. [Progressive Railroading, 10-29-20]

WOMAN KILLED BY BNSF TRAIN IN MINNESOTA: A woman walking on the tracks east of Kandiyohi, Minnesota, on Oct. 28 was struck and killed by a BNSF train. [KNUJ, 10-29-20]

TRAIN DERAILMENT IN TEXAS PROMPTS EVACUATION: A train derailment early Oct. 29 in Mauriceville, Texas, near the Louisiana border, prompted officials to ask nearly 600 residents to leave their homes. The derailment involved 25 cars, according to Orange County officials, and four of five breached cars leaked petroleum. There were no injuries. [USA Today, 10-29-20]

AMTRAK URGED TO INCLUDE MORE CRAFTS IN DRUG TESTING: Amtrak's inspector general suggested in a recent report that Amtrak should include about 4,000 more employees from safety-related positions in random drug testing than it currently does. Operating train crews do get random tests, as required by law, but employees such as sheet metal mechanics, welders, on-board service employees and yardmasters do not. They do get tested prior to employment, or following accidents, but not on an ongoing, random basis, according to the report. [Roll Call, 10-29-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Oct. 24, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 522,653 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.9 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 6.5 percent, and intermodal was up 9.4 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-28-20]

VA. PASSENGER RAIL AUTHORITY HAS INITIAL MEETING: The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, established earlier this year, has met for the first time. It addressed potential infrastructure and access improvements. When fully operational, the authority's goals are to assume all administrative and ficuciary resposibility's for the state-supported passenger rail services, and provide funding to Virginia Railway Express. Moving forward, the authority will also administer capital expansion projects, infrastruture and land acquisitions for the initiative, which will double Virginia passenger rail services over the next decade. [Railway Age, 10-28-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported third-quarter 2020 operating revenues of $2.5-billion, down 12 percent from the same quarter last year, driven by a 7 percent decline in total volume and 5 percent decline in revenue per unit. Railway operating expenses were $1.7-billion, including a $99-million non-cash impairment charge related to an equity-method investment. Income from railway operations was $840-million, and the operating ratio was 66.5 percent. [Norfolk Southern, 10-28-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO CLOSE HUMP IN MACON, CLOSE SEVERAL YARDS IN ATLANTA: Norfolk Southern will cease humping operations at its yard in Macon, Ga., and will be closing an undisclosed 'several' yards in Atlanta. The company says it will be left with just four high-volume hump yards on its system. [Freight Waves, 10-28-20]

UNION WORKERS PICKET CP IN CLINTON, IOWA: Union workers picketed Canadian Pacific in Clinton, Iowa, on Oct. 27, saying that the company refuses to abide by an arbiter's decision in a wage dispute. According to the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, the railroad was told to implement a wage increase within 10 days of a Sept. 25 decision by the arbiter, but failed to do so. [Clinton Herald, 10-28-20]

TRINITY INDUSTRIES REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: Trinity Industries reported third-quarter revenue of $459-million, down from $813.6-million in the same quarter last year. Income from continuing operations was 21 cents per common diluted share. [Progressive Railroading, 10-28-20]

GROUND BROKEN ON SOUTH SHORE R.R. EIGHT-MILE EXTENSION: Indiana has broken ground on a $945-million extension of the South Shore commuter railroad. The new West Lake corridor will add two more stations in Hammond, and create an eight-mile southern leg to Munster and Dyer. Service is slated to begin in five years. [WIBC, 10-28-20]

PILSEN-BAVARIAN RAIL LINE TO BE UPGRADED: Czech infrastructure manaer SZ has announced plans for a new double-track, electrified rail line suitable for 124 MPH to replace the single-track, non-electrified line from Pilsen to Domazlice and the German border near Furth im Wald, Bavaria. The project is designed to improve services between the Czech Republic and Bavaria, including long-distance services between Prague, Pilsen, Regensburg and Munich, and regional services around Pilsen. [International Railway Journal, 10-28-20]

BOMBARDIER TO SELL ELECTRICAL WIRING FUNCTIONS IN HUEHUETOCA, MEXICO: Bombardier Transportation has agreed to sell the activities of Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems performed at its manufacturing site in Huehuetoca, Mexico, to Motherson Sumi Systems. [Progressive Railroading, 10-28-20]

FEDS GRANT $15.6-M TO MICHIGAN RAIL IMPROVEMENT: The Federal Transit Administration has awarded a $15.6-million grant to Michigan to improve rail infrastructures between Ypsilanti and Jackson. It go toward a project to improve 42 rail curves of Amtrak's Wolverine corridor and implement higher speeds between Chicago and Detroit. Outside of the Northeast corridor, Michigan currently supports the only American rail corridor offering speeds of up to 110 MPH. [Progressive Railroading, 10-27-20]

MINNESOTA LEGISLATURE DELAYS PROVIDING FUNDS FOR 2ND TWIN CITIES-CHICAGO TRAIN: A proposed second train between St. Paul and Chicago will be delayed after the Minnesota legislature declined to provide matching funds. Wisconsin had already pledged $6.2-million and Amtrak another $5-million; all that was needed was $10-million from Minnesota. The proposed second train was projected to serve 124,000 riders per year. [Twin Cities Pioneer Press, 10-27-20]

TORONTO TO PURCHASE 13 STREETCARS: The Toronto Transit Commission has approved funding for 13 streetcars for operation beginning in 2023. Their plan also includes an option to purchase 47 additional streetcars if funding permits. [Progressive Railroading, 10-27-20]

RAIL BLOCKAGE IN MEXICO ENDS: After over 60 days of protests, a railroad blockage in the Mexican state of Chihuahua has ended. While it is now over, an ongoing protest in the state of Michoacan is in its 25th day, interrupting connectivity to the Port of Lazaro Cardenas on Mexico's Pacific coast. [Freight Waves, 10-27-20]

BNSF TO RESUME PAYMENT TO SUPERIOR, WISCONSIN, RESIDENTS FOR DUST ACCUMULATION: For decades, BNSF had been reimbursing homeowners in Superior, Wisconsin, who live near the company's facility for costs to clean taconite dust off their homes. Recently, most of the payments stopped. Now, after some pushback, the company will pay once again. [KBJR6, 10-27-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 25, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived 56 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-26-20]

FORMER RAIL ROUNDHOUSE IN PA. PLANNED FOR REUSE: A 133-year-old railroad roundhouse in Hazelwood, Pa., is on its way to becoming the Pittsburgh location of a global entrepreneurship platform for economic development. Leaders working to redevelop the area known as Hazelwod Green learned from its developer that the project is on track for completion by spring. The roundhouse had originally been used to service locomotives that were used to move steel and steelmaking materials. [Pittsburgh Tribune, 10-26-20]

SHORT LINE GETS FEDERAL GRANT FOR TRACK RENOVATION IN NEBRASKA, COLORADO: The Nebraska, Kansas & Colorado Railway will use a $4.5-million federal grant to renovate more than 100 miles of track between Holdrege, Nebraska, and Sterling, Colorado. [Progressive Railroading, 10-26-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO ACQUIRE WORKPLACE APPLICATION PORTFOLIO: Norfolk Southern has awarded Phunware Inc. a multi-year contract to provide its Smart Workpace mobile application portfolio for the railroad. It will enable the company to better engage its office-based workforce with features that include room booking, parking reservations, food ordering and help requests. [Progressive Railroading, 10-26-20]

TWO ADDITIONAL CHARGER LOCOMOTIVES ORDERED FOR COASTER SERVICE: California's North County Transit District has ordered two additional Siemens Charger locomotives for the Coaster regional commuter rail service between Oceanside and San Diego. This brings to total order to nine. [Railway Age, 10-26-20]

METROLINX COMPLETES CONSTRUCTION OF NEW BRIDGE AT MILLIKEN GO TRANSIT STATION: Toronto's Metrolinx has completed construction of a new rail bridge at the Milliken GO rail station. Since spring 2019, trains at the station have been running on a temporary diversion track to allow for construction, but they have now shifted back to the new east track on the bridge. [Progressive Railroading, 10-26-20]

RAILQUIP TO OPEN FACILITY IN IMPERIAL, CALIFORNIA: Railquip, which serves freight railroads and transit industries as a supplier of maintenance equipment and machinery, will be opening a 12,000-square-foot facility, currently under renovation, in Imperial, California. [Railway Age, 10-26-20]

FIRST METRO LINE IN PAKISTAN OPENED: Pakistan's first metro rail line has opened in Lahore. Yhe 16.8-mile line includes 15.8 miles of elevated track, and 26 stations. [International Railway Journal, 10-26-20]

ONE KILLED, ONE INJURED AS TRAIN HITS PICKUP TRUCK IN KANSAS: A 60-year-old man who drove his pickup truck in front of a train died, and his 55-year-old passenger was injured, early Oct. 24 near Udall, Kansas. [KWCH, 10-25-20]

STADLER TO SUPPLY 22 FLIRT MULTIPLE UNITS TO PORTUGAL: Portuguese Trains has ordered 22 Flirt multiple units from Stadler for use on regional networks. The order comprises 10 electric multiple units and 12 electro-diesel bi-mode trains, with a maximum speed of 99 MPH under electric power, and 87 MPH under diesel power. [International Railway Journal, 10-25-20]

NEWARK'S PENN STATION UNDERGOING RESTORATION: Penn Station in Newark, N.J., is undergoing an ongoing restoration of historic wooden waiting room benches, and its restroom with new 'no touch' fixtures. Improved lighting and historic tile repairs are underway along with a deep cleaning of the station's exterior facade, and interior floor improvements. Proposals will be taken to restore the train shed and all platforms, improving the station interior layout, entries and exits. [, 10-25-20]

AMTRAK CONSIDERS EXPANSION IN TEXAS: Amtrak has made a recent presentation on expanding networks in underserved markets with help from potential programs developed through Congress. Among the projects is a route connecting San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. The potential funds would go toward new corridor routes and a fleet to provide expansion within existing and future routes, and flexibility. Amtrak said. [Houston Chronicle, 10-24-20]

CANADIAN MINISTRY SAYS CP VIOLATED LABOR LAW IN FATAL 2019 DERAILMENT IN B.C.: Canadian Pacific violated labor law by neglecting to identify hazards that led to a 2019 derailment near Field, B.C., according to Employment & Social Development Ministry in Canada. The railroad has been directed to address the problems. [Calgary Herald, 10-24-20]

VIA RAIL TO INTRODUCE NEW RESERVATION, TICKETING PROGRAM: Squills, a software company, has begun work to implement an inventory management, reservation and ticketing platform for VIA Rail. Included will be functions for self-service seat selection and reservation, easier sales of onboard services, ticket exchange and refunds without needing staff intervention. [Railway Gazette, 10-24-20]

NEW TELEMETRICS PLATFORM BEING DEVELOPED FOR RAIL CARS: Norfolk Southern, Genesee & Wyoming, Watco, GATX and TrinityRail are developing a telemtrics platform for rail cars to provide real-time car location and condition monitoring data. Called 'Rail Pulse,' it will help to better manage consists, incidents and maintenance. Early phases will incorporate hand brake and impact data; later it will include data from onboard bearing temperature and wheel impact detection sensors. Data will also be captured to support track-level visibility, such as open doors or hatches, whether a car is loaded or partially loaded, and other key metrics. [Railway Age, 10-23-20]

BNSF TO LAY OFF 104 EMPLOYEES AT TOPEKA LOCOMOTIVE SHOP: BNSF will be laying off 104 emplyees at its Topeka Locomotive Shop due to lower freight volumes and reduction in locomotives and rail cars required. [WIBW, 10-23-20]

CONNECTICUT'S WATERBURY BRANCH TO REOPEN OCT. 26: Connecticut has announced the resumption of train service on the Waterbury Branch line beginning Oct. 26. The restoration follows a six-month suspension, with substitute bussing, to allow a $116-million capital improvement project on the line. [Connecticut DOT, 10-23-20]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported third-quarter 2020 net income dcreased 12 percent to $1.4-billion or $2.01 per diluted share, from $1.6-billion or $2.22 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Operating revenue fell 11 percent to $4.9-billion, and business volumes as measured by total revenue carloads, decreased 4 percent. Premium volumes increased while industrial and bulk declined, the company said. [Progressive Railroading, 10-22-20]

DEVELOPMENT OF BATTERY-OPERATED SPIKE DRIVER ANNOUNCED: Focused Technology Solutions has announced the development of the first-ever battery-operated spike driver. Named 'SpikeForce,' paired with the award-winning 'SpikeEase' spike puller, it will eliminate the need for a claw bar, hydraulic fluid, hoses and generators. [Railway Track & Structures, 10-22-20]

WALES TAKES STEPS TO NATIONALIZE PASSENGER RAIL OPERATIONS: The Welsh government has announced that it will bring Wales and Borders rail franchise under public control, effectively nationalizing passenger rail operations in the country. Under the new arrangement, services will be operated by the Welsh operator of 'last resort,' which has been renamed Transport for Wales Ltd. [International Railway Journal, 10-22-20]

CHINA INTRODUCES PROTOTPE GAUGE-CHANGING HIGH-SPEED TRAIN FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: China's state-owned manufacturer CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles has unveiled a prototype gauge-changing high-speed train intended for international operation. It has been developed for cross-border operation between China's 56.5-inch gauge and Russia's 59.8-inch gauge. A multi-system traction package will allow the train to run on different power suplies. It is designed to run at a maximum speed of 248 MPH, and has gauge-changing trucks to be engaged by a matching changer to be installed on the track. [Railway Gazette, 10-22-20]

AMTRAK EXPECTS 70 PCT DROP IN REVENUE IN FY-2021: Bill Flynn, chief executive of Amtrak, expects travel and revenue to fall more than 70 percent from pre-coronavirus levels in 2021, as it considers more service and employee cuts. Amtrak projects just nine million passenger trips and $598-million in revenue for FY-2021, which began Oct. 1, down from $1.24-billion in the 2020 budget year. [Reuters, 10-21-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Oct. 17, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 518,763 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.2 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 7.5 percent, and intermodal was up 11.3 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-21-20]

CSX REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: CSX announced third-quarter 2020 net earnings of $736-million or 96 cents per share, versus $856-million or $1.08 per share in the same period last year. Operating ratio of 56.9 percent remained in line with the prior year. Revenue decreased 11 percent to $2.65-billion, as intermodal growth was more than offset by declines in coal and merchandise volumes and lower fuel surcharge revenue. Expenses decreased 11 percent. [CSX, 10-21-20]

CSX ANNOUNCES SHARE REPURCHASE PROGRAM: The board of CSX has authorized a new share repurchase program providing $5-billion of incremental authority to the approximately $1.1-billion remaining under the existing share repurchase program. [CSX, 10-21-20]

CLASS-I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN SEPTEMBER: Class-I railroads, as of mid-September, employed 118,123 people, down 0.3 percent from mid-August, and down 13.69 percent from September 2019, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading, 10-21-20]

NEW LIGHT-RAIL STATION OPENS IN AUSTIN: CapMetro of Austin, Texas, has opened a new MetroRail light-rail station downtown. It includes three tracks and accommodation for four trains at a time. [Progressive Railroading, 10-21-20]

KEOLIS IN BOSTON GETS RANSOMWARE ATTACK: Boston commuter rail operator Keolis was subjected to a ransomware attack on its computer systems Oct. 10. Some employee data may have been breached, but critical safety systems were not. The company does not store passenger data. [Railway Gazette, 10-21-20]

UNION PACIFIC NAMES ERIC GEHRINGER EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS: Eric Gehringer, a 15-year veteran of Union Pacific, will become executive vice-president of operations on Jan. 1, 2021. He succeeds Jim Vena, who will become senior advisor. [Railway Age, 10-21-20]

WILMINGTON, N.C., TO ENGAGE STUDY IN RAIL REALIGNMENT: The city of Wilmington, North Carolina, has selected Strategic Rail Finance for a feasibility study of a rail realignment to improve both passenger and freight movements and lessen the impact to streets and densely-populated areas. [Railway Age, 10-21-20]

WABTEC TO REDUCE WORK FORCE IN ERIE, PA.: Wabtec plans to let go of 150 employees at its facility in Erie, Pa., amid ongoing rail volume softness exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The layoffs, which will occur in the fourth-quarter, are on top of a 5 percent reduction in the second-quarter. [Freight Waves, 10-21-20]

SWEDISH RAIL OPERATOR INTRODUCES FASTER OVERNIGHT SCHEDULE: Swedish state-owned rail operator SJ has introduced a new route and timetable for its overnight services which will shorten travel times in the Vasterbotten and Vasternorrland regions. [International Railway Journal, 10-21-20]

CP REPORTS 3-Q RESULTS: Canadian Pacific reported third-quarter revenues of $1.86-billion, diluted earnings per share of $4.41, adjusted diluted EPS of $4.12, and an operating ratio of 58.2 percent. Revenues decreased by 6 percent to $1.86-billion from $1.98-billion in the same quarter last year. The company expects a low-single-digit decline in revenue ton-miles in 2020, and at least mid-single-digit adjusted diluted EPS growth. CP continues to expect capital expenditures of $1.6-billion this year. [CP, 10-20-20]

CONCEPT SELECTED FOR EUROPEAN INTENSIVE CARE UNIT TRAIN: A concept to develop an intensive care unit train has been selected by the European Space Agency. The train will be designed to respond to major health emergencies, earthquakes and floods around Europe. Testing is due to begin in the first half of next year. [International Railway Journal, 10-20-20]

NEW RAIL-SERVED GRAIN ELEVATOR TO OPEN IN SASKATCHEWAN: Viterra Inc. will open a new grain elevator in Biggar, Saskatchewan, that will be served by Canadian Pacific beginning in early 2022. It will have a storage capacity for 34,000 metric tons and be equipped with a loop track for rail loading. [Progressive Railroading, 10-20-20]

SITE-CLEARING BEGINS FOR SOUND TRANSIT'S LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION INTO REDMOND, WASHINGTON: Sound Transit will begin this week demolition, utility relocation and tree removal to accommodate its planned 3.4-mile light-rail extension into downtown Redmond, Washington. [Progressive Railroading, 10-20-20]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA ACQUIRES FULL OWNERSHIP OF MEXICAN MANUFACTURING PLANT: FreightCar America has completed the transaction and now owns 100 percent of its new facility in Castanos, Mexico, where all future rail-car manufacturing is expected to be based by Febr. 2021. [Progressive Railroading, 10-20-20]

CN REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Canadian National reported third-quarter revenues of $3.4-billion (C), a decrease of 11 percent from the same quarter last year. Diluted earnings per share of $1.38 dropped 17 percent. Operating ratio of 59.9 percent increased 2.0 points, and operating income of $1.37-billion decreased 15 percent. Operating expenses of $2.04-billion were down 8 percent. [CN, 10-20-20]

COG RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION ON PIKES PEAK REACHES HALFWAY POINT: Construction on the Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway has reached the halfway point with the reconstruction of Mountain View siding, about 4.5 miles into the 9-mile line. Originally built in 1891, the railway is the highest in America and the highest cog railway in the world. It has been undergoing a $100-million restoration of its tracks, cogs, rail cars and depot since 2019, with reopening anticipated for May 2021. [Railway Track & Structures, 10-20-20]

ALAN BOYD DIES, FORMER TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY, AMTRAK PRESIDENT: Alan S. Boyd, first U.S. transportation secretary, and later railroad president, died Oct. 18 in Seattle. The secretary of transportation beginning in 1966, he was later president of Illinois Central Railroad from 1969 to 1976, and president of Amtrak from 1978 to 1982. He was 98. [Railway Track & Structures, 10-19-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty (50) percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 18, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 22 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-19-20]

CSX NAMES ARTHUR ADAMS SR. VICE-PRESIDENT OF SALES: Arthur Adams, former CSX vice-president of sales and supply chain solutions, has been named senior vice-president of sales. He has served with the company since 2007. [Railway Age, 10-19-20]

EMPIRE BUILDER, PALMETTO REDUCED TO 3-X WEEK: Amtrak's Empire Builder and Palmetto are now operating three days a week, rather than seven. [Amtrak, 10-19-20]

DRIVER DIES AFTER PULLING IN FRONT OF NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN IN MISSOURI: A 20-year old woman died after she pulled her vehicle in front of a Norfolk Southern train in Hannibal, Missouri, late Oct. 17. [WGEM, 10-18-20]

HONOLULU RAIL PROJECT COST RISES TO $10-B: The cost estimate for Honolulu's 20-mile rail rapid-transit project has now risen to about $10-billion, which includes $841 million in financing costs and $832-million in higher construction costs, according to the agency's board. [Honolulu Business News, 10-17-20]

KCS REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern's third-quarter net profit rose 5.3 percent as a 16.7 percent decrease in operating expenses helped to offset a 12 percent decline in revenue. Net income was $189.7-million or $2.01 per diluted share, compared with $180.1-million or $1.81 per diluted share in the third-quarter last year. [Freight Waves, 10-16-20]

CP TO ACQUIRE FULL OWNERSHIP OF DETROIT RIVER TUNNEL: Canadian Pacific and OMERS, the defined pension plan for municpal employees in Ontario, have entered into a purchase agreement whereby the railroad will acquire full ownership of the Detroit River rail tunnel. The purchase price is about $312-million. CP previously owned a 16.5 percent stake in the tunnel in partnership with OMERS. [CP, 10-16-20]

HONDA SUES FOUR RAILROADS OVER PRICE FIXING: American Honda has alleged in a federal lawsuit it has filed that from 2003 until at least 2008 Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX and Norfolk Southern conspired to use rail fuel surcharges as a means to fix, raise, maintain and/or stabilize prices of rail freight services in the U.S. [Bloomberg Law, 10-15-20]

CANADA-MEXICO RAIL LINK PROPOSED: Mexico-based Caxxor Group is seeking investors for a proposed North American trade corridor aimed at connecting the Mexican Pacific coast with the U.S. and Canada through a new rail corridor. The proposed trade route would require building a logistics terminal in Winnipeg and expanding the shipyard at the Port of Mazatlan in Mexico. The project would also require the construction of 54 miles of rail lines in Mexico to go with the more than 146,000 miles of existing infrastructure that runs through the U.S., Mexico and Canada. [Freight Waves, 10-15-20]

LEGISLATION WOULD TRANSFER OWNERSHIP OF KEYSTONE EAST LINE TO PENNSYLVANIA: Legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would require Amtrak to transfer ownership of the Keystone East Line to Pennsylvania. The affected line, with 12 stations, runs between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and the state currently subsidizes it by $100-million annually. [Pennsylvania Business Report, 10-15-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Oct. 10, 2020, was 520,452 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.9 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 5.2 percent, and intermodal was up 8.4 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-14-20]

STAGGERS RAIL ACT IS 40 YEARS OLD: Oct. 14 is the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which partially deregulated the U.S. freight-rail industry so that railroads could operate in a more competitive market place. It lifted many restraints on railroads so that they could set their own rates and adjust their services to better meet shippers' needs. [Progressive Railroading, 10-14-20]

METRA SUES UNION PACIFIC FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT: Chicago's Metra has sued Union Pacific for breach of contract. The suit accuses the carrier of severely damaging the agency's bottom line, reputation and customer experience by a refusal to deploy its conductors on the three lines that Union Pacific owns and operates in the Metra system. The suit also seeks an injunction demanding that Union Pacific resume carrying out all of its required duties, which include selling and validating tickets, and making repeated passes through the train to assist customers and promote orderly conduct. [Metra, 10-14-20]

INDONESIA INAUGURATES DOUBLE-TRACK RAIL LINE IN JAVA: Indonesia inaugurated the first 342 miles of its upgraded double-track between West Java and East Java on Oct. 8. The upgrades are expected to increase capacity on the line from 172 trains to 221 trains per day. [International Railway Journal, 10-14-20]

MARYLAND ASSUMES MANAGEMENT OF PURPLE LIGHT-RAIL LINE PROJECT: The Maryland Transit Administration is taking over day-to-day management of the Purple light-rail line project after Purple Line Transit Partners wallked off the job. Back in September a judge ruled that the contractors involved were free to quit if problems with cost overruns and delays were not worked out with the state. Subcontractors will work with the state to jump start the stalled construction, but the project could be delayed by years. [Railway Track & Structures, 10-13-20]

CUMMINS TO UPGRADE ITS INDIANA ENGINE PLANT: Cummins Inc. will invest more than $25-million into upgrading its rail diesel engine manufacturing plant and high-horsepower headquarters in Seymour, Indiana, over the next several years. [Progressive Railroading, 10-13-20]

N.Y. MTA FACING FINANCIAL CRISIS: New York City's MTA, the largest transit system in the U.S., faces the greatest crisis in its long history if the feds do not come to the rescue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency says. The condition is dire and the agency needs an influx of federal funds or unheard of service cuts and workforce reductions will happen, it said. [USA Today, 10-13-20]

CSX EMPLOYEE DIES WHILE WORKING IN RICHMOND'S ACCA YARD: The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating after a CSX employee died from injuries sustained at the company's Acca Yard in Richmond on Oct. 12. [NBC-12, 10-13-20]

BNSF TO REPAIR SALMON BAY R.R. BRIDGE RATHER THAN REPLACE IT: Plans to replace the iconic Salmon Bay railroad bridge near Ballard Locks, Washington, have been changed. BNSF has now decided to repair the bridge, which was built in 1914. Its trunnion bearings, the mechanism that allows the bridge to raise and lower, have become fatigued over the bridge's lifetime. [My Ballard, 10-13-20]

CHINA INCREASES RAIL SERVICE WITH NEW TIMETABLE: China National Railways released its fourth-quarter timetable on Oct. 11. It includes the operation of 9,800 daily passenger and 20,163 freight services, in line with the opening of the Urumqi-Xi'an high-speed line. The new line is 1,457 miles long with a top speed of 155 MPH. [International Railway Journal, 10-13-20]

TWO TEEN BROTHERS KILLED BY TRAIN IN GERMANY: Two brothers, age 13 and 17, were killed Oct. 13 when they attempted to run cross tracks to catch another train outside the station in Bruckberg, northeast of Munich. The incident was witnessed by a number of people, including children, and crisis teams were sent to provide counseling. [WSIL-TV, 10-13-20]

CSX ORDERED TO PAY WHISTLE-BLOWER OVER $95,000: The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration has ordered CSX to reinstate and pay more than $95,000 in back wages to an employee terminated for reporting an unsafe customer gate and on-the-job injury. This is in addition to $75,000 in punitive damages and $27,000 in compensatory damages and attorney fees.. [OSHA, 10-13-20]

SPEEDS TO INCREASE ON EAST JAPAN'S TOHOKU SHINKANSEN: East Japan Railway is to raise the line speed limits on key sections of the Tohoku Shinkansen in order to make its trains between Tokyo and northeast Honshu more competitive with airlines. The maximum speed between Morioka, Hadchinohe and Shin-Aomori is to increase from the current 161 MPH to 199 MPH. [Railway Gazette, 10-12-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 11, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and eight minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-12-20]

MULTI-PURPOSE TERMINAL TO BE BUILT NEAR TROIS-RIVIERES, QUEBEC: The Canadian government will spend $33.4-million (C) for the construction of a multi-purpose terminal west of the Port of Trois-Rivieres' existing infrastructure, located between Montreal and Quebec City. The project includes construction of a wharf, road and rail access, as well as storage. It will be served by CN, CP and the Quebec Gatineau Railway. [Progressive Railroading, 10-12-20]

VIRGINIA PORT AUTHORITY GETS MONEY TO FINISH RAIL YARD PROJECT: The Virginia Port Authority will receive more than $20-million to complete its central rail yard expansion project at Norfolk International Terminals. The money builds on previous port investments at its two largest terminals - NIT and Virginia International Gateway - to allow for expansion of on-terminal rail capacity at NIT. [Suffolk News Herald, 10-12-20]

CSX TRAIN SLAMS INTO SEMI STUCK ON TRACK IN INDIANA: A CSX freight train slammed into a tractor-trailer stuck on the tracks about 15 miles northeast of Indianspolis late Oct. 9. The train pushed the rig down the track a couple of hundred yards, and both the truck and train caught fire. The driver of the truck escaped prior to impact, and there were no injuries. [Freight Waves, 10-11-20]

HOMES EVACUATED BRIEFLY IN LILBURN, GA., FOLLOWING CSX TRAIN DERAILMENT: Fire officials in Lilburn, Ga., say a CSX train derailment early Oct. 11 sparked a small fire involving hazardous materials and runoff concerns. Some residents were briefly forced from their homes. Two employees involved in the derailment were able to get to safety and were being checked for possible injuries. [WBNG, 10-11-20]

AMTRAK REQUESTS ADDITIONAL FEDERAL FUNDING: Amtrak says it needs up to an additional $4.857-billion from the U.S. government to support the company and employees for the remainder of the current fiscal year due to the impact of the virus. Amtrak has also identified $5.193-billion in additional need as part of an economic recovery proposal. [International Railway Journal, 10-9-20]

PLASSER AMERICAN EXPANDING VA. HEADQUARTERS: Plasser American says it is signing a contract to increase manufacturing capacities at its headquarters in Chesapeake, Va. The expansion is its committment to the facility and products made in the USA, 'as a big family and part of the railroad system.' [Railway Age, 10-9-20]

D.C. METRO RAIL CARS SEPARATE, STRANDING RIDERS FOR MORE THAN AN HOUR: Two rail cars of a D.C. Metro's red line train separated suddenly Oct. 9, stranding 108 riders in downtown Washington. All passengers were escorted safely from the train. Two passengers were treated on the scene for chest pains and shortness of breath. [Washington Post, 10-9-20]

BNSF INTERMODAL SERVICE TO BE ADDED AT MINOT, N.D.: North Dakota will soon see the launch of intermodal service. The city of Minot will receive an intermodal unit train at a newly-operational facility served by BNSF. [Progressive Railroading, 10-9-20]

PINC ACQUIRES RAILCARRX: PINC has acquired RailcarRx, a software and service provider offering maintenance, repair, fleet and asset management insights for the rail industry. [Progressive Railroading, 10-9-20]

FRA REVISES MINIMUM SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR R.R. TRACK: The Federal Railroad Administration is revising its regulations governing the minimum safety requirements for railroad track. The changes include allowing inspection of rail using continuous rail testing; allowing the use of flange-bearing frogs in crossing diamonds; relaxing the guard check gauge limits on heavy-point frogs in Class-5 track; removing an inspection-method exception for high-densite commuter lines; and other revisions. [Progressive Railroading, 10-9-20]

COOS BAY RAIL LINE GETS $9.9-MILE FEDERAL GRANT FOR TRACK REHAB: The Coos Bay Rail line, a 134-mile short line connecting the South Coast to the national rail network via the Union Pacific yard in Eugene, Oregon, is getting a $9.9-million federal grant for track rehabilitation and surfacing. [Bandon Western World, 10-9-20]

GERMANY'S DB CARGO TO OFFER NEW SERVICES TO NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM: German Rail's freight subsidiary DB Cargo will offeer new services linking the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp with economic hubs in Germany and Austria, beginning in December. [International Railway Journal, 10-9-20]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 49 CITADIS TRAMS FOR SERVICE IN FRANCE: Alstom will supply 49 Citadis trams to France's Nantes Metropole for nearly $236.2-million. Seven of Alstom's 13 sites in France will be involved in the design and manufacture of the trams. [Progressive Railroading, 10-9-20]

D.C. METRO SELECTS HITACHI FOR RAIL CAR PURCHASE: D.C. Metro has chosen Hitachi Rail for a contract that could be worth $1-billion for 256 rail cars, with the option to purchase up at a total of 800. The cars will be numbered in the 8000-series. Metro and Hitachi continue to negotiate the details of the contract. [Railway Track & Structures, 10-8-20]

GENERAL THOMAS BOSTICK NAMED TO CSX BOARD: Thomas Bostick, retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, has been appointed to the board of CSX Corp. He served in the Army for 38 years and beame the commanding general of its Corps of Engineers. Later, after retiring from the military, he was chief operating officer of Intrexon and president of Intrexon Bioengineering. [Progressive Railroading, 10-8-20]

AMTRAK WARNS OF 2,400 ADDITIONAL JOB CUTS WITHOUT NEW BAILOUT: Amtrak says that without a new government bailout it could be forced to cut more spending and train services which could lead to the loss of another 2,400 jobs. [Reuters, 10-8-20]

SEPTEMBER 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: In September 2020, U.S. railroads originated 2,543,429 carloads and intermodal units, down 1 percent from September 2019. Calculated separately, carloads were down 9.7 percent, but intermodal was up 7.1 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-7-20]

FIVE U.S. SHORT LINE RAILROADS BEING ACQUIRED: An Ontario pension fund is joining with Jaguar Transport Holdings and Jaguar Rail Holdings to acquire Cimarron Valley Railroad in Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado; Southwestern Railroad in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma; Texas & Eastern Railroad in Texas; Washington Eastern Railroad in Washington state; and Wyoming & Colorado Railroad in Oregon. [Progressive Railroading, 10-7-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TAKING $99-M IMPAIRMENT CHARGE: An approximately $99-million impairment charge will help lower third-quarter operating expenses and operating ratio for Norfolk Southern, according to an SEC filing. [Freight Waves, 10-7-20]

CN SETS 7TH STRAIGHT MONTH OF RECORD CANADIAN GRAIN MOVEMENT: September 2020 marks the seventh straight month of record grain movement for Canadian National. It hauled move than 2.8 million metric tons, compared with the previous record of 2.6 million metric tons, and a total of 7.76 million metric tons for the third-quarter. [Railway Age, 10-6-20]

SEPTA PHASING OUT PAPER TICKETS IN FAVOR OF FARE CARDS: SEPTA has begun phasing out paper ticket sales on its regional rail system. Riders are encouraged to switch to the agency's Key Card, a contactless, reloadable fare card. Paper tickets already sold will be valid for up to 180 days from their purchase date. [Progressive Railroading, 10-6-20]

ADDITIONAL AMTRAK KEYSTONE SERVICE RESTORED: Amtrak and the Pa. Dept. of Transportation have restored additional Keystone train service between Harrisburg and New York City. Trains 652 and 641 will be extended on weekdays, and trains 660, 672, 663 and 669 will b extended on weekends. Keystone service now includes 13 weekday round trips and seven weekend round trips. [Progressive Railroading, 10-6-20]

SUPREME COURT DECLINES FLORIDA COUNTY'S PETITION OVER TAX-EXEMPT BONDS FOR BRIGHTLINE: Indian River County, Florida, was in a fight with Brightline, which could have lost access to billions of dollars in tax-exampt private activity bonds, and the coounty knew its chances to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court were slim. A decision could also have impacted construction of Brightline's planned passenger line from West Palm Beach to Orlando's airport. The Supreme Court has denied the county's petition by not accepting the case. [Railway Track & Structures, 10-6-20]

NJT SERVICE DISRUPTED BY BEAR CUB: It was a 70-pound bear cub in a tree at the Radburn, N.J., train station on Sept. 28 that stopped service on NJ Transit's Main and Bergen lines. First responders roped off the station and wildlife personnel worked to tranquilize the bear, which was examined, tagged and relocated to a more natural habitat. [, 10-6-20]

D.C. METRO TO ADVANCE STATION IMPROVEMENTS: D.C. Metro's orange, green, yellow, red and blue lines will see station improvments over the next two years as the agency moves forward with scheduled construction. Meanwhile, D.C. Metro is still awaiting additional support to remedy its budget issues with lost ridership and decreased service. [DCist, 10-6-20]

DAVID INGLES DIES, RAIL JOURNALIST: Career rail transportation joournalist J. David Ingles. 79. died Oct. 4. He spent 47 years at Kalmack Publishing Company editing Trains and Classic Trains magazines. [Railway Age]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-six percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending October 4, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and three minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-5-20]

PREP WORK FOR ALASKA-ALBERTA RAILWAY TO BEGIN IN DECEMBER: The team behind the proposed Alaska-Alberta railway aims to start preparatory work for construction in December, with a goal of getting the $17-billion cross-border railroad running by 2025. [Bloomberg, 10-2-20]

UNION PACIFIC EMPLOYEES TO VERIFY METRA FARES: Beginning Oct. 5, Chicago commuters using the UP North, Northwest and West Metra lines must show a valid ticket when boarding an outbound train, or upon arrival at Oglivie Transportation Center. Union Pacific employees positioned behind protective, plexiglass booths will now verify fares, similar to how the railroad managed large-event crowds in the past. [Union Pacific, 10-2-20]

STB ANNOUNCES 'REVENUE ADEQUATE' RAILROADS FOR 2019: The Surface Transportation Board has announced that BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern's combined subsidiaries, Canadian Pacific's Soo Line and Union Pacific achieved 'revenue adequacy' in 2019. A railroad is considered to be revenue adquate if it achieves a rate of return on net investment equal to at least the current cost of capital for the railroad industry in a given year. [Progressive Railroading, 10-2-20]

CP SETS 3-Q CANADIAN GRAIN MOVEMENT RECORD: For Canadian Pacific, the third-quarter brought record shipments of Canadian grain and grain products. The railroad moved 7.72 million metric tons, up 10-8 percent since the previous third-quarter record of 6.97 million metric tons in 2014. It also set a new September record with 2.8 million metric tons. [Railway Age, 10-2-20]

AMTRAK SUSPENDS WINTER PARK EXPRESS: Amtrak has suspended its Winter Park Express service between Denver and Winter Park. Resort officials evaluated seating uptions on the route and determined that, with social-distancing, it was not possible to operate the train successfully this season. [Progressive Railroading, 10-1-20]

VALLEY METRO TO ADD 14 S700 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Valley Metro in Phoenix has awarded Siemens Mobility a contract for 14 additional S700 light-rail vehicles, primarily for the South Central Extension/Downtown Hub, now under construction. [Railway Age, 10-1-20]

METRA CELEBRATES EXPANSION OF ROCK ISLAND SHOPS: Metra has celebrated the $32.5-million expansion of its Rock Island Shop, which serves locomotives and passenger cars for rehabilitation and restoration to service. [Railway Track & Structures, 10-1-20]

ALBERTA'S CANDO STURGEON TERMINAL OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Cando Rail Services has opened Phase 1 of Cando Sturgeon Terminal in Alberta. It provides additional rail capacity to the province's industrial heartland. Served by CN, the terminal can store up to 1,900 rail cars utilizing a loop-track system. [Railway Age, 10-1-20]

SEPTEMBER 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in September 2020. The average arrival of all long-distance trains was 32 minutes late, and the average arrival of just those trains that arrived behind schedule was one hour and six minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 10-1-20]

WATCO ADDS TO ITS SHORT LINE NETWORK: Watco has just added to its network of short line railroads by buying property in Crest Hill, Illinois, to be operated by its new subsidiary the Elwood, Joliet & Southern Railroad. Watco also leased a rail line from Wisconsin Central to develop a storage and transit yard, and provide switching to adjacent customers. [Railway Track & Structures, 9-30-20]

BOMBARDIER INTRODUCES DESIGN FOR RAPID TRANSIT AERODYNAMIC TRAINSETS: Bombardier Transportation has unveiled a train design for India;s National Capital Region Transport's first regional rapid tansit system. The semi-high-speed aerodynamic trainsets will feature standing spaces, sliding doors, luggage space, air-conditioning and closed-circuit TV cameras. The trains can be expanded from three- to nine-car trainsets to accommodate 900 to more than 1,790 passengers. [Progressive Railroading, 9-30-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads has reported U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Sept. 26, 2020, was 518,290 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.1 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 10.5 percent, while intermodal was up 5.5 percent. [Railway Track & Structures, 9-30-20]

WORK TO UPGRADE HOMEWOOD, ILLINOIS, RAIL STATION BEGINS: Amtrak and Metra have begun work on a combined $29-million project to upgrade the Homewood, Illinois, passenger rail station. The project is part of a program to bring all 516 of Amtrak-served stations into ADA compliance. [Railway Age, 9-29-20]

XPRESS WEST BEGINS BOND OFFERING FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: Xpress West, backed by Brightline, has launched a bond offering of up to $3.2-billion for the initial financing of its $8-billion project for a 170-mile Las Vegas-Los Angeles high-speed rail line. The bond offering includes tax-exempt allocations from both Nevada and California. [Railway Track & Structures, 9-29-20]

CP WILL NOT OPERATE ITS HOLIDAY TRAIN TOUR THIS YEAR: Canadian Pacific will not operate its annual Holiday Train tour this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The railroad will, however, donate to food banks in communities along its network and host a virtual concert. [Progressive Railroading, 9-28-20]

VIA RAIL EXTENDS SUSPENSION OF LONG-DISTANCE ROUTES: VIA Rail Canada is extending its suspension of its long-distance service routes - the Canadian and the Ocean - due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in some regions. Suspension of sleeper-class on the Winnepeg-Churchill route is also being extended. A date for resumption of service has not been finalized. [Progressive Railroading, 9-28-20]

VALLEY METRO BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF NEW LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Construction on a new 1.6-mile extension of new Valley Metro light-rail in Phoenix, which will include the system's first elevated section, is now underway. In addition to a new metrocenter, the extension includes a rail-only bridge over I-17 amd two new stations. [Railway Track & Structures, 9-25-20]

N.Y. BEGINS RETURNING R179 FLEET TO REVENUE SERVICE: New York City Transit began returning its Bombardier R179 fleet to revenue service on Sept. 23. Three hundred eighteen cars had been removed from service in June after a train-separation incident on the A line, and it has now been determined that all known production quality issues have been addressed. [Railway Age, 9-25-20]

AMTRAK ADDS BOOKING FEATURE TO PROVIDE REAL-TIME SEATING AVAILABILITY: Amtrak has updated its website and mobile application to alow riders to view how full their reserved train will be while booking. The feature will give riders the opportunity to book a route that is less crowded for the purpose of social distancing. Amtrak has also limited the number of riders on reserved trains in seating areas. [Progressive Railroading, 9-25-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ENDING HUMP OPERATIONS AT ENOLA YARD: Sept. 25 will be the last day for the hump at Norfolk Southern's Enola Yard in Pennsylvania. Instead of using the hump, the railroad will sort and attach rail cars to outbound trains using flat switching. [Freight Waves, 9-24-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Sept. 19, 2020, was 521,956 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.3 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 9.6 percent, but intermodal was up 6.3 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-23-20]

PROPOSED SECOND TRAIN BETWEEN CHICAGO AND TWIN CITIES GETS FEDERAL GRANT: A proposed second train between Chicago and St. Paul has rolled a little closer to reality with the approval of a $31.8-million federal grant. Amtrak's Empire Builder is currently the only train serving that route. [Twin Cities Pioneer Press, 9-23-20]

FEDS GRANT $5.6-M TOWARD TRACK REHAB FOR AMTRAK'S S.W. CHIEF: The Federal Railroad Administration will provide a $5.6-million grant toward stabilization and rehabilitation of the route of the Southwest Chief between Trinidad, Colorado, and a point south of Lamy, New Mexico. Combined with other funds, the project will cost $11.5-million. [Hays Post, 9-23-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending September 20, 2020, The remaining trains, on average, arrived 50 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-21-20]

N.C. GETS FEDERAL GRANT TO PURCHASE RAIL LINE FROM CSX: North Carolina will use a $47.5-million federal grant to purchase a rail line needed to advance planned high-speed passenger train service between Raleigh and Richmond. The North Carolina portion is north from Raleigh into Warren County where it will link up with Virginia's portion north to near Petersburg. The service envisioned would include 110-MPH passenger trains. Construction remains years away. [Greensboro News & Record, 9-21-20]

TEXAS CENTRAL BULLET TRAIN GETS FEDERAL APPROVAL: The high-speed train that promises to transport passengers between Dallas and Houston in 90 minutes has been approved by the Federal Railroad Administration. Two key rulings have been issued which provide the regulatory framework and the environmental review for Texas Central, which expects to start construction in the first half of 2021. The Surface Transportation Board must still approve the project prior to that happening. [Texas Tribune, 9-21-20]

NYC'S A-TRAIN STRIKES DEBRIS, VANDALISM SUSPECTED: New York City police are investigating an incident of a northbound A-train striking debris on the tracks early Sept. 20 at 14th street. As the train was coming to a stop in the station after striking the debris, its first car scraped four columns separating two tracks. The 134 passengers were safely evacuated from the train. Vandalism is suspected. [Railway Track & Structures, 9-21-20]

EGYPT TO BUILD 337-MILE SUEZ-MEDITERRANEAN LINE: An Egyptian-Chinese consortium has reported won a $9-billion contract to construct a 337-mile, 155-MPH railway from Ain Sokhna on the Suez coast to the new Administrative Capital east of Cairo, and El-Alamein on the Mediterranean coast, passing through Sixth of October, Alexandria and Burj al-Arab. [International Railway Journal, 9-21-20]

U.K. ANNOUNCES END TO RAIL FRANCHISING: The United Kingdom government has announced the end of rail franchising. It said the model of privatization adoped 25 years ago has seen a significant increase in passenger numbers, but the pandemic has proven that it is no longer working. A simpler and more effective structure is to take shape over the coming months, but few details were announced. [Railway Gazette, 9-21-20]

NJT BREAKS GROUND FOR RARITAN RIVER BRIDGE REPLACEMENT: New Jersey Transit has broken ground on the construction of the Raritan River Bridge replacement project, which will replace the existing 112-year-old swing-span bridge that carries North Jersey Coast Line trains between Perth Amboy and South Amboy. The current bridge was damaged by superstorm Sandy in 2012 and has recurring maintenance issues. The new bridge is designed to withstand storm surges and to be less vulnerable to severe weather. [Progressive Railroading, 9-17-20]

CP TRAIN DERAILS IN FRASER VALLEY: Canadian National says work is underway to recover 60 freight cars from a Canadian Pacific train that derailed off a bridge near Hope, B.C., early Sept. 14 along a narrow stretch of shared CN-CP tracks in the Fraser Valley. [CBC, 9-16-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Sept. 12, 2020, was 474,785 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.9 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 15.2 percent, and intermodal was down 5 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-16-20]

BNSF NAMES KATHRYN FARMER PRESIDENT, CEO EFFECTIVE JAN. 1: BNSF has announced that its executive vice-president of operations Kathryn Farmer will succeed the retiring Carl Ice as president and chief executive officer on Jan. 1. She will become the first woman to lead a Class-I railroad. [Progressive Railroading, 9-15-20]

CP OPENS NEW TRANSLOAD FACILITY IN MONTREAL: Canadian Pacific has opened a new multi-commodity transload facility in Montreal. It offers transload services and supplementary intermodal transprtation and distribution services from Cote Saint-Luc yard, with more space available for future expansion. [Progressive Railroading, 9-15-20]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA TO MOVE MANUFACTURING FROM CHEROKEE, ALABAMA, TO MEXICO: FreightCar America has started to close its Shoals rail-car manufacturing plant in Cherokee, Alabama, which will continue to produce rail cars through the end of the year. After that, production will shift to the company's plant in Castanos, Mexico. [Progressive Railroading, 9-15-20]

VRE TO UPGRADE ITS QUANTICO STATION: Virginia Railway Express has selected Dewberry to provide construction management services for VRE's Quantico station improvement project. Existing platforms will be lengthened, and an island platform will be added. [Progressive Railroading, 9-15-20]

BNSF COMPLETES DRANO LAKE BRIDGE REPLACEMENT: The newest bridge on the BNSF Columbia River Gorge line is now installed, carrying trains across the entrance channel where Drano Lake connects to the river. [The Columbian, 9-14-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending September 13, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 22 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-14-20]

DENVER-AREA INDUSTRIAL PARK PROJECT APPROVED: A project to develop a 620-acre rail-served industrial park in the greater Denver area has been granted final approval by the local governments, paving the way for construction to begin in the fourth-quarter. The facility will have access to Union Pacific unit and manifest trains, and transloading services may also be available. [Freight Waves, 9-11-20]

KCS REJECTS TAKEOVER OFFER: According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Kansas City Southern has rejected a $20-billion takeover offer from a group of investors. The offer from Global Infrastructure Partners and the infrastructure arm of Blackstone was reportedly valued at $208 per share, which Kansas City Southern believes is undervalued. [, 9-10-20]

PATCO TO REOPEN FOUR STATIONS: Port Authority Transit Corp. will reopen four closed rail stations and add more frequent train service in New Jersey. The agency will reopen the Ashland, Westmont, City Hall and 12/13th and Locust street stations on Sept. 14, having been closed due to the pandemic on Marcvh 28. [Progressive Railroading, 9-10-20]

AMTRAK NEEDS NEARLY $5-B IN FEDERAL AID, ITS CEO TELLS CONGRESS: Under grilling from lawmakers, Amtrak chief executive William Flynn said on Sept. 9 that the railroad needs nearly $5-billion in federal assistance to help make up for losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. [Washington Post, 9-9-20]

UNION PACIFIC USES WATER TRAIN TO HELP FIGHT WILDFIRES: A team of Union Pacific employees has been at work on the front lines battling hot spots along the company's tracks as wildfires blaze across northern California. Their water train consists of two rail cars that each hold 12,500 gallons of water and a pumper. The train runs back and forth over a seven-mile stretch, traversing up to 50 miles in a day. [Progressive Railroading, 9-9-20]

COURT HEARS DISPUTES OVER MARYLAND'S PURPLE LINE IMPASSE: The dispute between Maryland and the investment group of the Purple light-rail line continues to be heard in court. A Baltimore circuit court judge had issued a temporary order on Aug. 10 to keep the project going until Sept. 14 while the two sides try to settle their differences. [Railway Track & Structures, 9-9-20]

SAFETY COMMISSION FINDS 'TOXIC WORKPLACE' AT D.C. METRO: The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission has reviewed the operations of the rail operations control center of D.C. Metro, and found a 'toxic workplace, where employees are bullied, racially and sexually harassed, and told by managers to ignore authories and operating procedures.' The review also found that workers were overworked and undertrained, and dealt with threats, fear, and instructions from managers that confliceted with each other. [Railway Track & Structures, 9-9-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending Sept. 5, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 509,637 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.6 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 6.9 percent, while intermodal was up 24.8 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-9-20]

AMTRAK RESTORES FULL HARRISBURG-PHILADELPHIA KEYSTONE SERVICE: Amtrak has restored full Keystone service between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, in coordination with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation. [Patriot-News, 9-8-20]

MIDWEST & BLUEGRASS RAIL ACQUIRES FOUR SHORT LINES: Camp Chase Railway, Chesapeake & Indiana Railroad, Vermilion Valley Railroad and Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad, are being acquired from Indiana Boxcar Corp. by the Midwest & Bluegrass Rail. The four short lines operate a combined 105 miles of branch line and industrial track. [Progressive Railroading, 9-8-20]

HOMELAND SECURITY TO ADD X-RAY SCANNERS TO SCREEN RAIL CARS AT BORDER CROSSINGS: The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has awarded a contract to Smiths Detection for HCVT side-view x-ray scanners for use at rail checkpoints at both the northern and southern borders to detect dangerous and illegal cargo in moving rail cars. [Progressive Railroading, 9-8-20]

UINTA BASIN RAILWAY PROJECT ADVANCED: Drexel Hamilton Infrastructure Partners and Utah's Seven County Infrastructure Coalition have executed an agreement to advance the Uinta Basin Railway, to be built and operated by Rio Grande Pacific, to serve northeastern Utah's Uinta Basin. [Railway Age, 9-8-20]

THE KCS HOLIDAY EXPRESS WILL NOT RUN THIS YEAR: Kansas City Southern will not operate its Holiday Express train this year. Instead, the company will celebrate the program with a fundraiser to benefit the Salvation Army in 20 communities along its U.S. rail network. [Kansas City Southern, 9-8-20]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN S.C.: CSX is investigating a nine-car train derailment that occurred early Sept. 7 in North Charleston, S.C. There were no injuries, leaks or spills, and the cars involved were empty. [WCSC Live-5 News, 9-7-20]

UNION PACIFIC TO LAY OFF EMPLOYEES DUE TO EFFICIENCY EFFORTS: Union Pacific will lay off an unspecified numbe of employees across its system as the company continues its push for operational efficiency. The company did not detail the number of employees affected. [Omaha World-Herald, 9-4-20]

RARE 19TH CENTURY LOCOMOTIVE SET FOR 900-MILE JOURNEY FOR REHAB: The 'Yankee,' a 19th century steam locomotive is set for a 900-mile journey by truck from Michigan to Pennsylvania for a year-long, $200,000 rehabilitation. The vertical boiler model built between 1862 and 1869 by Alexander Chaplin & Co. in Scotland, is thought to be one of only three surviving Chaplin locomotives in the world. Its home is the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee. [Michigan Live, 9-4-20]

ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING PROCESS CONCLUDES FOR LONG BRIDGE: The extensive environmental planning process for the Long Bridge spanning the Potomac River between D.C. and Virginia has concluded. Built in 1904, the current two-track rail bridge is owned by CSX and used also by Norfolk Southern, Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express. A second two-track bridge, dedicated to passenger trains and owned by Virginia, will be built next to the current bridge to increase capacity. [Progressive Railroading, 9-4-20]

GROUND BROKEN FOR BRIGHTLINE'S AVENTURA STATION: Ground was broken Sept. 3 for Aventura station, to be served by Brightline. It will include an 860-foot platform, a 17.500-square foot station, and 240 parking spaces. [Progressive Railroading, 9-4-20]

RICH DALTON NAMED CEO OF VRE: The governing bodies that oversee Virginia Railway Express have appointed Rich Dalton chief executive officer. He was appointed acting CEO in Nov. 2019, and had previously served as acting CEO in 2012. [Progressive Railroading, 9-4-20]

U.S. DOT RELEASES NATIONAL FREIGHT STRATEGIC PLAN: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has released its 'first ever' National Freight Strategic Plan. It lays out a 'vision' for long-range investments in infrastructure, the workforce and other essential parts of the freight system. Included in the plan are recommendations to minimize the effects of fatigue and human error, to protect the freight system from natural and human-caused disasters, and to reduce conflicts between passenger and freight traffic. [Railway Age, 9-4-20]

SHARED SASKATOON RAIL CORRIDOR IDEA GETS COLD RESPONSE FROM CN, CP: Efforts to remove railway choke points in Saskatoon appear to be at a logjam. Both CN and CP, whose rail lines go through the city and its outskirts, have respectively called a consultant's preferred relocation option 'not feasible' and 'fundamentally unworkable.' [CBC, 9-4-20]

BNSF RAIL BRIDGE IN N.D. DESTROYED IN FIRE: A BNSF-owned timber railroad bridge has been destroyed by a fire near Beulah, N.D., leaving Basin Electric without rail access to three of its energy production and product facilities. BNSF plans to replace the bridge, but it is not sure what type of structure it will be. [Railway Track & Structures, 9-3-20]

L.A. METRO ACCELERATES CRENSHAW NORTHERN EXTENSION: The board of Los Angeles Metro has approved advancing its $4.7-billion Crenshaw Northern Extension project along with a contract for environmental analysis. The extension will link the light-rail line north to the Purple line on Wilshire boulevard and then continue to the Red metro line in Hollywood. [International Railway Journal, 9-3-20]

METROLINX INSTALLS ANTI-TRESPASS MATS AT 18 GO TRANSIT GRADE CROSSINGS: Metrolinx has installed rubber anti-trespassing mats at 18 grade crossings across GO Transit's network so far this year as part of an ongoing program. The hard and uneven mat surface makes it nearly impossible to walk upon, helping to reduce trespassing risks at crossings. [Progressive Railroading, 9-3-20]

AUGUST 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail originations in August 2020 were 2,021,181 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.8 percent compared with the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 14.9 percent, but intermodal was up 3 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-2-20]

NJT TO PURCHASE EIGHT ADDITIONAL ALP-45 DUAL-POWER LOCOMOTIVES: New Jersey Transit has exercised an option to purchase eight additional ALP-45 dual-power locomotives from Bombardier Transportation, boosting its ALP fleet to 60. [Progressive Railroading, 9-2-20]

AUSTIN'S CAP METRO RECEIVES PTC CERTIFICATION FOR 32-MILE LINE: Cap Metro in Austin, Rexas, has received positive train-control certification for its 32-mile MetroRail line. [Progressive Railroading, 9-2-20]

DELMARVA CENTRAL GETS $18.8-M INFRASTRUCTURE GRANT: The Delmarva Central will use an $18.8-million federal grant to upgrade its nearly central-old infrastructure, including upgrades to its bridges spanning the Nanticoke and Pocomoke rivers and the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. [Progressive Railroading, 9-2-20]

OFFER MADE TO ACQUIRE KCS: Private equity firms Blackstone Group and Global Infrastructure Partners have made an offer to buy Kansas City Southern, according to someone familiar with the matter. It is unclear if the railroad has any interest in pursuing takeover talks. [Bloomberg, 9-2-20]

AGREEMENT PROPOSED FOR BNSF TO OPERATE, MAINTAIN ASBESTOS-CONTAMINATED TRACK: Federal and state officials have proposed an agreement in which BNSF would be responsible for operating and maintaining a 42-mile track in Montana the company is accused of contaminating with asbestos. BNSF is alleged to have transported vermiculite along the tracks, spreading asbestos. The agreement comes after a Montana Supreme Court ruling that the railroad could not shield itself from liability for transporting the product. [, 9-2-20]

AUGUST 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destintion on time or earlier in August 2020. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the survey period was 35 minutes late. The average arrival of just the trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 17 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 9-1-20]

UNION PACIFIC TO CONSOLIDATE OPERATIONS AT ITS BAILEY YARD IN NEBRASKA: Union Pacific will consolidate its North Platte, Nebraska, railcar-sorting operations in Bailey Yard's newest hump yard. The announcement marks a major operational change at what long has been considered the world's largest rail-classification yard. [North Platte Telegraph, 9-1-20]

AMTRAK TO FURLOUGH NEARLY 2,000 UNION WORKERS: Amtrak will furlough approximately 1,950 of its unionized workers as part of cutbacks for FY-2021. Additionally, approximately 100 management postions will be eliminated. [Trains Magazine, 9-1-20]

COLORADO PANEL PREDICTS 200-MILE RAIL LINE WOULD ATTRACT 9.200 RIDERS EACH WEEKDAY: A passenger rail line stretching nearly 200 miles between Fort Collins and Pueblo, Colorado, would carry 9.200 people every weekday and nearly three million in a year, according to new modeling. The group overseeing the project has yet to finalize details, but the modeling presented to the state's Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission represents a key step toward making the line a reality. [CPR News, 8-31-20]

DELIVERIES BEGIN ON NEW SIEMENS VENTURE SINGLE-LEVEL PASSENGER CARS FOR ILLINOIS: Illinois has begun taking delivery on 88 new Siemens single-level passenger cars. The first four arrived in Chicago in mid-August, and four more are en route. They will be used on Midwest Coalition service trains. [Railway Age, 8-31-20]

L.A. METRO PONDERS ELIMINATION OF ALL RAIL, BUS FARES: A Los Angeles Metro exoloratory task force is expected to begin working on a proposal to eliminate all rail and bus fares. No other major transit system has gone entirely fareless, the agency says. Eliminating fares would be an economic development tool that would help improve mobility and put money back into the pockets of riders. [Progressive Railroading, 8-31-20]

NJT PASSENGER TRAPPED IN OUT-OF-SERVICE TRAIN FOR 90 MINUTES UNTIL RESCUED: A woman was stuck on a New Jersey Transit train that went out of service at Newark Penn Station and trapped on board for 90 minutes before being rescued early Aug. 26. She said she did not hear the out-of-service announcement, and no rail employees checked the train to see if anyone was still on board. [, 8-31-20]

UZBEKISTAN RAILWAYS RECEIVES FIVE ELECTRIC FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVES: Uzbekistan Railways has reeived delivery of five 3ES5K electric freight locomotives from Russian manufacturer Transmashholding. [International Railway Journal, 8-31-20]

COURTS OVERTURN FRA DECISION OVER KCS'S CROSS-BORDER USE OF MEXICAN CREWS: Rail unions scored a pair of victories Aug. 28 overturning the Federal Railroad Administration's approval of use of Kansas City Southern de Mexico engineers for cross-border movements, and vacating an injunction that forced the union to bargain over crew size. [Trains Magazine, 8-29-20]

RAIL CARS BLOWN OVER, BLOCKING HIGHWAY IN TEXAS: Several train cars were blown over onto a highway late Aug. 29 by high winds in Carson County, Texas. BNSF is on the scene. [High Plains, 8-29-20]

COSTS INFLATE FOR HUDSON TUNNEL PROJECT: An updated financial plan for construction of the Hudson Tunnel project has been released by the Gateway Development Corp showing that overall costs have increased to $11.6-billion, and the projected start of major construction has been moved back one year to early 2022. [Mass Transit Magazine, 8-29-20]

RESTORATION OF STORM-DAMAGED RAIL LINES ALONG GULF COAST CONTINUES: Affected railroads expect to have service restored this weekend on tracks serving the ports and industrial facilities on the Gulf Coast between Houston and New Orleans. Hurricane Laura, packing 120-MPH winds when it made landfall early Aug. 27, caused significant damage in the Lake Charles area of Louisiana. [Freight Waves, 8-28-20]

CN TO PURCHASE 1,150 HIGH-CAPACITY GRAIN CARS: CN has awarded a contract to National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario, to build 1,150 new generation, 5,431 cubic foot high-capacity grain hopper cars. [Progressive Railroading, 8-28-20]

BNSF ADVANCES TO NEXT STAGE OF SANDPOINT JUNCTION CONNECTOR PROJECT: BNSF has moved to the next stage of its Sandpoint Junction, Idaho, Connector project, which includes the construction of a second rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille adjacent to an existing bridge. Engineering teams are now focused primarily on ermanent pile construction for the new, three-quarter-mile long span. [Progressive Railroading, 8-28-20]

NRE TO CONSOLIDATE RAIL OPERATIONS: NRE is moving ahead with a plan to consolidate several production lines. Over the next several months, the company will consolidate rail operations from plants in Dixmoor and Silvis, Illinois, and Milwaukee at production facilities in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and Paducah, Kentucky. Also, operations at a plant in Hagerstown, Maryland, will transfer to a new facility adjacent to the Paducah shops. [Progressive Railroading, 8-28-20]

KOPPERS TO UPGRADE CROSSTIE PLANT IN ARKANSAS: Koppers plans to spend $23-million on improvements to its North Little Rock, Arkansas, wood tie treating facility over the next two years. The plant treats more than 1.5 million wood ties annually. [Progressive Railroading, 8-28-20]

AMTRAK'S LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN REVENUE GAINS COMPARATIVE STRENGTH: Amtrak's long-distance intercity routes have contributed the largest single share of Amtrak's revenues since the pandemic began back in March. During that five-month period, the national network's have contributed 45 percent of Amtrak's revenues, compared with just 21 percent during those same months in 2019. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 8-28-20]

CSX ADVANCES TWO INTERMODAL TERMINAL PROJECTS: Although the pandemic has pushed back construction timelines, CSX is forging ahead with the construction of new intermodal terminals in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and North Baltimore, Ohio. [Freight Waves, 8-28-20]

D.C. METRO COMPLETES PLATFORM LIGHTING UPGRADES AT 48 STATIONS: The Washington DC Metro has marked the completion of platform-level lighting upgrades at 48 underbround stations. The project involved more efficient LED lighting, up to 10 times brighter than before, reducing energy usage by enough power for more than 1900 homes for a year. [Progressive Railroading, 8-28-20]

BOMBARDIER TO CUT WORK FORCE AT ITS THUNDER BAY PLANT: Bombardier Transportation plans to reduce the work force at its Thunder Bay plant in Ontario by 125 people by mid-October, and potentially by 75 more next March. [Railway Gazette, 8-28-20]

FEDS APPROVE USE OF ULTRASONIC INSPECTION TECHNOLOGY IN RAIL TESTING: The Federal Railroad Administration has submitted a final rule alowing railroads to use ultrasonic inspection technology, augmented with GPS technology, to employ continuous rail testing. The rule is expected to make it easier for railroads to test rail more frequently without stopping along the track and disrupting revenue rail traffic. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-28-20]

TRAIN DERAILS IN U.K., SPILLS OIL, BURNS: There are fears for wildlife after a train carrying up to 750 tons of diesel fuel derailed, causing an oil spill at a scientifically important site and caught fire in Carmarthenshire late Sept. 25. [BBC News, 8-28-20]

HURRICANE HAMMERS UNION PACIFIC TRACKS NEAR LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA: Hurricane Laura delivered 'heavy damage' to the Union Pacific main line and industrial tracks in the area of Lake Charles, Louisiana, resulting in them being taken out of service, the railroad said. [Freight Waves, 8-27-20]

BNSF PAINTING 10 LOCOMOTIVES IN 25TH ANNIVERSARY SCHEME: BNSF has unveiled ES44AC unit 5828, the first of 10 locomotives with a special paint scheme marking the railroad's 25th anniversary. All 10 will have the same scheme, labeled with the symbols of BNSF predecessor lines: Burlington Northern; Santa Fe; Great Northern; Northern Pacific; Spokane, Portland & Seattle; Colorado & Southern; and Frisco. [Progressive Railroading, 8-27-20]

UNION PACIFIC PREPARES FOR HOUSTON INTERMODAL YARD CONSOLIDATION: Union Pacific plans to consolidate its intermodal operations in the Houston area in the fall. Currently, both the Englewood and Settegast yards process intermodal shipments. But beginning Sept. 21, the railroad will consolidate all intermodal operations for international and domestic service at Settegast. [Progressive Railroading, 8-27-20]

RAIL TUNNEL PROJECT ADVANCES IN MIDDLEBURY, VERMONT: A rail tunnel project that will replace two bridges in Middlebury, Vermont, is moving along smoothly. The tunnel will replace two bridges which are deteriorating and lack the vertical clearance for double-stack cars. The tunnel will also change the rail alignment to reduce sharp curves. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-27-20]

S.F. TO SHUT DOWN MUNI LIGHT-RAIL LINES: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation agency will shut down all Muni Metro light-rail lines and replace them with buses for several weeks due to overhead electrical line failures, and because an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The shutdown occurs just days after the agency reopened rail service following five months of being closed due to the pandemic. [Progressive Railroading, 8-26-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending August 22, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 514,914 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.3 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 12 percent, but intermodal was up 5 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-26-20]

FEDS TO PROVIDE $9.9-M TOWARD NORTHERN COLUMBIA BASIN R.R. PROJECT: The Federal Railroad Administration has approveed a revised Northern Columbia Basin Railroad project in upgrades and new construction to connect the Port of Moses Lake, Washington, to the BNSF. When complete, rail traffic will be able to bypass the current line that runs through downtown Moses Lake. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-26-20]

FIRST OF FOUR REBUILT SW1200 LOCOMOTIVES EN ROUTE TO STEEL DYNAMICS IN TEXAS: Motive Power Resources has shipped the first EMD SW1200 locomotives of a four-unit order for Steel Dynamics' new facility in Sinton, Texas. The locomotives will be equipped with all new electrical wiring and control systems and newly-rebuilt mechanicals. [Progressive Railroading, 8-26-20]

METRA RIDERS ON UNION PACIFIC LINES GETTING FREE RIDES: Chicago's Metra says Union Pacific's refusal to require conductors to lift or punch tickets essentially gives passengers on those lines a free ride for the foreseeable future. Three of Metra's 11 lines are affected, and the practice is costing the agency about $1-million a month in lost ticket revenue. Metra had stopped validating or selling tickets on any of its lines in March, but resumed in-person ticketing in early June. However, Union Pacific chose not to allow its conductors back into the aisles. [Chicago Tribune]

RAILROADS ADJUST FOR TWO TROPICAL STORMS ALONG GULF COAST: This week, the Gulf coast is being walloped by separate storms, Marco and Laura. Railroads have issued service advisories associated with these storms. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-25-20]

MBTA APPROVES $403.5-M CONTRACT FOR RAIL CONSTRUCTION, UPGRADES: The MBTA fiscal and management control board has approved a $403.5-million contract to build the New Bedford main line, upgrade the Middleborough secondary line, and build the Phase 1 signal and communication system. This is the second of two maor construction packages of South Coast rail phase 1. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-25-20]

SACRAMENTO RETURNS $50-M TO FEDS FROM REJECTED STREETCAR LINE: The Sacramento Regional transit board has returned a $50-million federal grant for a four-mile streetcar line to connect Sacramento with West Sacramento after officials decided to scale the project down to a 1.1-mile-long light-rail line. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-25-20]

FEDS CALL ON CLASS I RAILROADS TO ADDRESS RECENT SERVICE ISSUES: The Federal Railroad Administration and Surface Transportation Board have written to each Class I railroad to address certain service issues related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials are concerned of missed industrial switches and excessively late or annulled trains due to crew availability issues. [Progressive Railroading, 8-25-20]

RESTORATION TO BEGIN ON RAIL LINE TO PORT OF ROSEDALE, MISSISSIPPI: The first phase in the restoration of the Great River Railroad to the Port of Rosedale in Bolivar County, Mississippi, is set to commence. [Railway Age, 8-25-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 23, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 18 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-24-20]

UNION PACIFIC GRAIN TRAIN DERAILS IN WYOMING: Union Pacific has not set a timeline on when a line of track in Albany County, Wyoming, will be reopened following a 57-car derailment over the weekend. The cars that left the track were carrying grain. Photos of the accident scene show one of the drailed cars came close to striking a large propane tank. No one was injured in the accident. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-24-20]

VIA RAIL TO INCREASE SERVICE BETWEEN QUEBEC AND ONTARIO: VIA Rail Canada will increase service between Quebec and Ontario on Sept. 1 due to an increase in demand for intercity travel during the pandemic. Service in the Quebec-Windsor corridor will be restored to 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, the Ocean service between Montreal and Halifax, and the Canadian between Toronto and Vancouver will remain cancelled until Nov. 1. [Progressive Railroading, 8-24-20]

TAX CREDIT LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN HOUSE FOR FREIGHT RAIL CAR OWNERS: Six U.S. representatives - three each Democrats and Republicans - have introduced legislation enabling a tax credit to freight rail car owners purchasing new or refurbishing existing equipment that will 'incentivize investment in safer, greener freight rail car manufacturing in the U.S.' [Railway Age, 8-24-20]

FIRST PERMANENT MAGNET POWERED TRAIN ENTERS SERVICE ON XIAMEN METRO: The first of a fleet of 10 trains powered by permanent magnet synchronous traction motors has entered service on Line 2 of Xiamen Metro. The system weights less than conventional traction equipment, is more efficient, and generates less noise. [International Railway Journal, 8-24-20]

METRA COMPLETES UPGRADES TO HAZEL CREST STATION: Metra has completed renovation on Hazel Crest station on the electric commuter rail line in Chicago. It is now fully compliant with ADA and features a new street-level depot, waiting area and restroom. [Progressive Railroading, 8-21-20]

CANADIAN EXPORTS OF CRUDE BY RAIL DROP TO EIGHT-YEAR LOW IN JUNE: Canadian exports of crude oil by rail fell to an eight-year low in June as North American fuel demand remained low due to measures taken to control the pandemic. Shipments were 10 times higher in February 2020. [Canadian Press, 8-21-20]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN JULY: Class I railroads employed 117,230 people as of mid-July, down 0.95 percent from the previous month and down 16.68 percent from July 2019, according to the Surface Transportation Board. Five of six employment categories showed decreases, but train & engine employment posted a 5.26 percent increase from mid-June. [Progressive Railroading, 8-20-20]

SOUND TRANSIT EAST LINK TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED: Sound Transit has announced that crews have completed the civil construction of the light-rail tunnel that will connect the East Main and Bellevue Downtown stations when the East Link extension begins operating in 2023. [Progressive Railroading, 8-20-20]

SOUTH DAKOTA APPROVES ACQUISITION OF SIOUX VALLEY LINE BY DAKOTA & IOWA R.R.: The South Dakota State Railroad Board has authorized finalization of a purchase agreement with the Dakota & Iowa Railroad to acquire the state-owned Sioux Valley line between Canton and Elk Point, with a spur to Beresford. [Progressive Railroading, 8-20-20]

CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR IMPACTED BY GRIZZLY CREEK FIRE IN COLORADO: After closing the rail line through Glenwood Canyon in Colorado last week because of the Grizzly Creek fire, the California Zephyr is once again traveling through Glenwood Springs, albeit slowly. The first train traveled through the canyon on Aug. 17. Typically, trains are permitted to travel at 25 MPH through that 18-mile stretch of canyon, but because of the fire the maximum speed was cut to 5 MPH. [Post Independent, 8-19-20]

N.Y. PENN STATION EXPANSION INTO FARLEY BUILDING MAY BE DELAYED: There may be a three-month delay in New York Penn Station's expansion across Eighth avenue into the Farley Post Office, says a report by Amtrak's inspsector general. Mishaps early in the project plus delays caused by the pandemic could push the debut back to March. The train hall will serve as Amtrak's New York hub and offer an alternative to Penn Station for N.J. Transit and Long Island Rail Road riders. [N.Y. Daily News, 8-19-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic was 500,563 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Aug. 15, 2020, down 6.9 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 15.9 percent, but intermodal was up 1.9 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-19-20]

METRO-NORTH PTC-COMPLIANT ON ALL THREE OF ITS MAJOR LINES: All three of Metro-North's major lines are now outfitted with postiive train-control. [Rockland/Westchester Journal News, 8-19-20]

NEW PRESIDENT, CEO NAMED FOR TRAC INTERMODAL: TRAC Intermodal announced that its president and chief executive officer Jennifer Polli will leave the company on Sept. 1. She will be replaced by Daniel Walsh, formerly president of the Last Mile business at XPO Logistics. [Progressive Railroading, 8-19-20]

TRAINS TO RUN AGAIN ON LONG-DORMANT RAIL LINE IN NEBRASKA: Coal trains will begin running twice a day beginning in January on a long-dormant rail line cutting across South Lincoln near Nebraska 2. An agreement has been reached to send trains through Lincvoln to fuel to Omaha Public Power District's plant in Nebraska City. The track has not had steady train traffic in about 17 years. [Lincoln Journal Star, 8-19-20]

R.J. CORMAN R.R. TO ACQUIRE THREE SHORT LINES, TRANSLOAD SERVICE PROVIDER: R.J. Corman Railroad Group has finalized an agreement to acquire Owego & Harford Railway, Lehigh Railway, and Luzerne & Susquehanna Railway, as well as TranZ transload servide provider. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-19-20]

GERMANY'S FLIXTRAIN EXPANDS AS REFURBISHED COACHES ARRIVE: German open access operator FlixTrain was able to step up its low-cost services on Aug. 13 when a fourth set of refurbished coaches was put into operation on its Hamburg-Koln route, and is now lengthening trains as additional vehicles arrive. [Railway Gazette, 8-19-20]

FLOODING CLOSED EDINBURGH-GLASGOW MAIN LINE: Britain's infrastructure manager Network Rail has reported that a section of track on the Edinburgh-Glasgow main line could take up to two months to fully reinstate following flood damage. [International Railway Journal, 8-19-20]

AMTRAK CONFIRMS RETURN-TO-FULL-SERVICE METRICS: Amtrak has confirmed that the return to daily services along its long-distance routes will be determined by the following metrics: COVID-19-related hospitalization rates in areas served must appear stable or declining. The number of available seat/room-miles booked in February 2021 for services in the coming June must be comparable with at least 90 percent of tickets booked for those services in June 2020 (taking account of the currently-reduced timetable). Projected network ridership for fall 2021 must be at least 90 percent of figures estimated in Amtrak's 2021 financial year operating plan. In the meantime, any plans to restore full service are dependent on sufficient levels of federal investment. [International Railway Journal, 8-18-20]

D.C. METRO TO REOPEN TWO STATIONS: Washington D.C. Metro will reopen two of its stations after months of closure on Aug. 23. East Falls Church station had been closed as part of a four-station platform reconstruction project, and Arlington Cemetery station had been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dunn Loring and Vienna stations are the last of the system's stations to remain closed, but they are scheduled to reopen on Sept. 8. [Progressive Railroading, 8-18-20]

LAKE SUPERIOR & MISSISSIPPI SUSPENDS 2020 EXCURSION SEASON: The Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad is the latest train excursion company to announce the suspension of its 2020 season due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. [Progressive Railroading, 8-18-20]

BNSF CLOSES MAINTENANCE FACILITY IN GLENDIVE, MONTANA: BNSF has closed a maintenance facility in Glendive, Montana, amid customers' changing business conditions and lower demand projections for railcars for commodities such as coal and energy. [Freight Waves, 8-17-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 16, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 17 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-17-20]

TWO CN WORKERS INJURED BY VEHICLE WHILE WORKING AT GRADE CROSSING: Global News reports that two CN workers who were repairing a grade crossing near Edmnton, Alberta, were struck by a pickup truck late Aug. 15, were seriously injured, and are in the hospital. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-17-20]

CSX SANTA TRAIN NOT RUNNING THIS YEAR: Santa Train sponsors do not want to encourage those kids of crowds this year, so Santa will not be riding the rails. But instead of stops along the CSX tracks between Kingsport and Shelby, members of Team Santa will distribute gifts at key Food City locations near the train's usual route. [Kingsport Times News, 8-14-20]

CP INSTALLING SOLAR ENERGY FARM AT CALGARY HEADQUARTERS: Canadian Pacific has begun installation of a solar energy farm at its corporate headquarters in Calgary. The farm is expected to generate more power than consumed annually at its main headquarters building by early 2021. [Progressive Railroading, 8-13-20]

AMTRAK COMPLETES PTC IMPLEMENTATION: Following installation on about a mile of slow-speed track in the Chicago terminal, Amtrak has now implemented positive train-control on all of its owned or controlled tracks and locomotives. [Railway Age, 8-13-20]

SOUND TRANSIT TO INCREASE SERVICE IN SEPT.: Sound Transit will add service in response to an uptick in rideship beginning Sept. 19 for light-rail and Sept. 21 for Sound Transit. [Progressive Railroading, 8-13-20]

CP RUNS FIRST INTERMODAL TRAIN FROM PORT OF ST. JOHN: Canadian Pacific officially launched its international intermodal service through the Port of Saint John, N.B., on Aug. 11. It carried containers for terminals on the railroad's network in both Canada and the U.S. Canadian Pacific gained access to the port through connections via its acquisition of Central Maine & Quebec Railway. [Progressive Railroading, 8-12-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic was 497,397 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending August 8, 2020, down 6.7 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads dropped 15.6 percent, but intermodal was up 1.9 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-12-20]

AMTRAK UPDATES WEBSITE TO PROVIDE SECURITY CONFIDENCE: Amtrak has updated its website and mobile app to help provide customers with an extra level of confidence and security. A new feature enables passengers to more easily see how full their reserved train will be, as bookings are limited on most rains to allow for physical distancing. Amtrak also updated its app to allow riders to more efficiently book, change and monitor travel. [Progressive Railroading, 8-12-20]

TWO WORKERS DIE IN RAIL CAR IN OKLAHOMA: Two workers are dead after being found unresponsive in a rail car early Aug. 12 in Hugo, Oklahoma. They were working for Trinity Rail, which refurbishes tank cars. [KXII, 8-12-20]

OHIO PROPOSES REHAB OF GREENFIELD LINE: The Ohio Rail Development Commission has proposed rehabilitating 30 miles of rail line operated by the Indiana & Ohio Railway. Owned by the village of Greenfield, the so-clled Greenfield line is located in Highland and Clinton counties, and the project calls for tie-replacement, installation and tamping of ballast, and replacement of grade-crossing surfaces. [Progressive Railroading, 8-12-20]

PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILS IN SCOTLAND, AT LEAST THREE KILLED: At least three people have died, including the engineer, after a passenger train in Scotland derailed Aug. 12. The country declared a major incident as aerial footage showed cars overturned and piled on top of each other on a steep, wooded slope, and black smoke rising from the rural area. [NBC News, 8-12-20]

CN ADJUSTS OPERATIONS AMID STRIKE AT PORT OF MONTREAL: Canadian National is relying on port terminals in Halifax and elsewhere on the East Coast as longshore workers continue to strike at the Port of Montreal. [Freight Waves, 8-12-20]

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY TO ADVISE AMTRAK'S PANDEMIC RESPONSE: Amtrak has engaged the Dept. of Environmental & Occupational Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health to provide ongoing technical expertise and guidance to enhance the railroad's response to the coronavirus pandemic. The research will supplement Amtrak's efforts to deliver a 'new standard of travel.' [Progressive Railroading, 8-11-20]

CONNELL RAIL INTERCHANGE PROJECT COMPLETES DESIGN PHASE: The track and infrastructue design for the Connell rail interchange project in eastern Washington state is completed. The project now becomes eligible for other sources of federal and state funding. [Progressive Railroading, 8-11-20]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN OKLAHOMA: A BNSF train derailment of 16 cars in western Oklahoma late Aug. 10 was likely caused by wind gusts of up to 70 MPH, officials say. There were no injuries, and no hazardous materials were involved. [Tulsa Public Radio, 8-11-20]

NEW AMTRAK STATION PLANNED FOR FULTON, KENTUCKY: Amtrak has committed to enter into an agreement to build a new passenger train station in Fulton, Kentucky. Funding and architectural plans are scheduled for 2021 with construction the following year. Fulton is the lone Kentucky stop on the City of New Orleans route. [West Kentucky Star, 8-11-20]

AUSTRIAN RAILWAYS TO PURCHASE 20 ADDITIONAL NIGHTJET TRAINS: Austrian Federal Railways has been granted permission to purchase an additional 20 seven-car Nightjet trains, plus locomotives. The order follows a 2018 order with Siemens to supply 13 trains for use on overnight services to Italy. The new order will take the total fleet of vehicles to 231 new sleeping cars, couchettes and seated vehicles. [International Railway Journal, 8-11-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-five perecent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending August 9, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 21 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-10-20]

ALSTOM MAY SEEK BETTER TERMS TO PURCHASE BOMBARDIER'S RAIL DIVISION: Alstom has hinted that it may seek better terms for its purchase of Bombardier's train arm after the Canadian company reported a second-quarter loss on writedowns at the unit. The earnings announcement turned up unexpected financial and operational performance issues. [Bloomburg News, 8-10-20]

UNIONS SUE CLASS-I RAILROADS OVER HEALTH, WELFARE PLANS: Twelve rail unions, whose members and their families are covered by the NRC/UTU Health & Welfare Plan and the Railroad Employees National Health & Welfare Plan, have filed a lawsuit against the Class I carriers asking the court to force the railroads to bargain in good faith over mandatory subjects of bargaining. At issue are the railroads' attempts to restrict certain medications and to forcibly reconfigure health-care networks, union officials said. [Progressive Railroading, 8-10-20]

CALTRAIN VOTES TO PLACE ONE-EIGHTH-CENT SALES TAX ON NOVEMBER BALLOT: Caltrain's board has voted to place a one-eight-cent sales tax on the November ballot, a measure that would provide the San Francisco commuter railroad with a dedicated revenue source. [Progressive Railroading, 8-10-20]

BIGHTLINE, VIRGIN RAIL SPLIT WAYS: Brightline will no longer use the Virgin Rail brand following termination of their licensing agreement. The rail line will change its name to Brightline Trains LLC following the expriation of the 'applicable notice period under the senior loan agreement.' [Railway Age, 8-10-20]

STB PUTS ON HOLD METRA, UNION PACIFIC DISPUTE: The Surface Transportation Board is holding in abeyance the dispute between Metra and Union Pacific over operation of commuter trains in the Chicago area. Union Pacific asked the board to hold the proceeding in abeyance pending a decision on Metra's motion to dismiss or stay a related case Union Pacific had filed this past December in federal court. [Progressive Railroading, 8-10-20]

BNSF REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Burlington Northern Santa Fe reported second-quarter net earnings of $1.13-billion compared with $1.34-billion in the same quarter last year. Revenues totaled $4.6-billion compared with nearly $5.9-billion last year. [Freight Waves, 8-10-20]

KCS PREVAILS IN ARBITRATION OVER USE OF TEX-MEX SHUTTLE CREWS IN LAREDO: Following an arbitration hearing, a majority of a special board of adjustment has ruled that Kansas City Southern and its Texas Mexican Railway affiliate may replace unon crews that shuttled trains on the nine-mile route between Laredo International Bridge and Laredo Rail Yard in Texas. [Progressive Railroading, 8-7-20]

FTA INTENDS TO FUND BART TRANSBAY CORRIDOR CORE CAPACITY PROGRAM: The Federal Transit Administration has notified Congress that it intends to issue a full funding grant agreement for Bay Area Rapid Transit's Transbay Corridor Core Capacity program to increase the number of trains through the rail tunnel under San Francisco Bay. A 30-day congressional review of the proposed grant is needed to realize funding. The program includes the addition of 306 rail cars, updated train control, new railcar storage yard, and five new traction power substations. [Progressive Railroading, 8-7-20]

AMTRAK REVEALS INITIAL SCHEME OF ALC-42 LOCOMOTIVES: Amtrak has released renderings of the first of the ALC-42 diesel locommotives to replace the current fleet on its national network. Five of the first six locomotives will be painted in Amtrak's current Phase VI scheme, and one will be painted to recognize the 50th anniversary of Amtrak's launch. A red chevron at the rear of the locomotive is an homage to Amtrak's original Phase I livery. A final livery will be unveiled later as part of a fleet-wide plan, Amtrak said. [Progressive Railroading, 8-6-20]

USA RAIL TERMINALS ACQUIRED BY TWO FIRMS: USA Rail Terminals has been acquired by Alpeglow Rail in partnership with Connor, Clark & Lynn Infrastructure, the companies announced Aug. 5. USA Rail owns a Union Pacific-served facility and a Kansas City Southern-served terminal, both in Texas. [Progressive Railroading, 8-6-20]

MAYOR OF NORMAL, ILLINOIS, NOMINATED TO AMTRAK BOARD: Chris Koos, Democratic mayor of Normal, Illinois, has been nominated to the 10-member board of directors of Amtrak. [Bloomington Pantagraph, 8-6-20]

NEVADA AWARDS XPRESS WEST $200-M IN PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS: Xpress West has been awarded $200-million in private activity bonds from the Nevada State Board of Finance toward construction of the high-speed rail line between southern California and Las Vegas. The project, to be built by Brightline (Virgin Trains USA), is on track to break ground by the end of this year. [Progressive Railroading, 8-5-20]

ILLINOIS TO PROVIDE $40-M TOWARD CONSTRUCTION OF INLAND PORT: Illinois will provide $40-million through the Rebuild Illinois capital plan toward a public-private partnership that will construct a new inland port in Cairo at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The site is served by Canadian National. About 80 percent of all inland barge traffic in the U.S. passes Cairo every year. [Progressive Railroading, 8-5-20]

CP SETS CANADIAN GRAIN MOVEMENT RECORD: Canadian Pacific hauled more Canadian grain and grain products in the 2019-2020 crop production year than any in its 139-year history. It moved 29.52 million metric tons, or 10 percent more than the record it set last year. [Railway Age, 8-5-20]

JULY 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 1,042,017 carloads in July 2020, down 17.6 percent from July 2019, and 1,295,960 intermodal units, down 1.4 percent. Combined originations (carload and intermodal) were down 9.3 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-5-20]

AMTRAK'S PIEDMONT RETURNING TO SERVICE AUG. 10: Amtrak's Piedmont between Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., resumes operations on August 10, 2020, as demand for passenger trains rebounds in the state. [News & Observer, 8-5-20]

TOURIST TRAINS RESUME AUG. 14 AT JIM THORPE, PA.: Reading & Northern will begin running passenger trains Aug. 14 under its Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway banner in Jim Thorpe, Pa. Trains will leave the Jim Thorpe station on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. [Progressive Railroading, 8-4-20]

MICHAEL FARRELL LEAVES NORFOLK SOUTHERN: After a year of leading Norfolk Southern's 'clean sheeting' initiative in a consulting role, Michael Farrell in Nov. 2018 was named senior vice-president transportation, and then senior vice-president of operations and mechanical the following year. On August 3, 2020, it was announced that he was no longer with the railroad. No explanation was offered. [Railway Track & Structures, 8-4-20]

ARTHUR MARATEA ELECTED PRESIDENT OF TCU: The Transportation Communications International Union/International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers elected Arthur Maratea national president to fill the interim position vacancy created by Robert Scardelletti, who has retired. [Progressive Railroading, 8-4-20]

SACRAMENTO TRANSIT AWARDED $3.75-M GRANT: California has awarded the Sacramento Regional Transit District $3.75-million in low-carbon transit operations funding to assist with mobility improvements projects, including support of additional low-floor light-rail vehicles and expanded evening service along the Gold line in Folsom. [Progressive Railroading, 8-3-20]

VIA RAIL TO LAY OFF 30 MANAGEMENT EMPLOYEES: VIA Rail Canada will temporarily lay off 30 management and other professional employees on Aug. 14 due to the financial impact of the virus pandemic. The layoffs are in addition to retirements and vacant positions that will not be filled. In total, 80 positions will be affected. Last month the company laid off 1000 union employees. [Progressive Railroading, 8-3-20]

TWO FIRMS PONDER ACQUISITION OF KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN: Global Infrastructure Partners and Blackstone Group's infrastructure segment, both major infrastructure investment firms, are mulling over whether to attempt to acquire Kansas City Southern, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. [Freight Waves, 8-3-20]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN RICHLAND, WASHINGTON: Eight cars carrying corn of a BNSF train derailed late July 31 near the Yakima River railroad bridge in Richland, Washington. There were no injuries. [Seattle Times, 8-1-20]

JULY 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in July 2020. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the survey period was 42 minutes late. The average arrival of just the trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 20 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 8-1-20]

AUSTIN COUNCIL APPROVES LIGHT-RAIL FINANCE PLAN: The Austin, Texas, city council and Capital Metro have approved a new $7-billion financial plan for the construction of the Project Connect light-rail transport system. [International Railway Journal, 7-31-20]

TCU PRESIDENT SCARDELLETTI RETIRING JULY 31: July 31 marks the retirement of TCU/IAM president Robert Scardelletti following 53 years of membership, 29 as president. He began his rail career as yard clerk in 1967 with the New York Central in Cleveland. [Transportation-Communications Union, 7-31-20]

CN UNVEILS 2020-2021 GRAIN PLAN: CN has unveiled its 2020-21 grain plan. It is prepared to move up to 7600 bulk and processed cars per week outside of winter, and up to 6100 per week during the winter. More than 30 million metric tons of grain were moved across Canada in the 2019-2020 crop year. [Progressive Railroading, 7-31-20]

ALSTOM'S PLANNED ACQUISITION OF BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION OK'D BY EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Alstom's proposed acquisition of Bombardier Transportation has been approved by the European Commission, subject to full compliance with a number of committments offered by Alstom. [Railway Gazette, 7-31-20]

PROGRESS RAIL DEVELOPS BATTERY-POWERED SWITCHING LOCOMOTIVE: Progress Rail has developed its 'EMD Joule' battery-powered switcher which includes smart lithium-ion battery technology and provides zero-emission, zero-idle and low noise operations. It goes into a pilot phase this year. [Progressive Railroading, 7-31-20]

ALSTOM TO PERFORM AUTOMATIC TRAIN OPERATION TESTS ON DUTCH SHUNTING LOCOMOTIVES: Alstom has signed an agreement with Dutch infrastructure operator Pro-Rail to perform automatic train operation tests on shunting locomitives next year. The objective is to demonstrate how the use of fully-automated trains can optimize rail operation to ensure cost-effective and sustainabile mobility. [Progressive Railroading, 7-31-20]

BUCKINGHAM BRANCH R.R. PURCHASES RAILCAR REPAIR FACILITY: The Buckingham Branch Railroad has purchased the Blue Ridge Railcar Repair facility in the Charlotte County Industrial Park in Keysville, Va. The railroad will offer multiple tracks with 80 spots for railcar storage, a transload shed and office building. Scheduled rail switching service will be provided in connection with Norfolk Southern five days per week. [Progressive Railroading, 7-30-20]

KCS GETS APPROVAL FOR SECOND BORDER-CROSSING BRIDGE IN LAREDO: Just five months after submitting an application, Kansas City Southern's presidential permit for a second international rail bridge in Laredo, Texas, was approved July 29. It will be built adjacent to the current single-track bridge which serves from 23 to 30 trains a day. [Laredo Morning Times, 7-30-20]

SAFETY BOARD FINDS 'ICE JACKING' CAUSE OF FEBR. 2020 CN DERAILMENT IN ONTARIO: The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has found a buildup of snow and ice between tie plate seats and underside of rail base, called 'ice jacking,' resulting in rail spread as the cause of the CN train derailment in Emo, Ontario, in which 33 cars derailed, including 29 loaded with crude oil, six of which leaked. No injuries were reported. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-30-20]

BANGLADESH RAILWAY TO PURCHASE 150 COACHES: A joint venture of South Korean firms has signed an agreement to supply 150 meter-gauge coaches to Bangladesh Railway for delivery beginning in 18 months. [Railway Gazette, 7-30-20]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS, BURNS ON BRIDGE IN ARIZONA: A Union Pacific train derailed early July 29 on a bridge spanning Tempe Town Lake in Arizona, and multiple cars caught fire. There were no immediate reports of casualties. [NBC News, 7-29-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported second-quarter net income of $329-million, diluted earnings per share of $1.53 and an operating ratio of 70.7 percent. Railway operating revenues of $2.1-billion decreased 29 percent compared with the same quarter in 2019. Income from railway operations was $610-million. [Norfolk Southern, 7-29-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending July 25, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 481,331 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.9 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 17.8 percent, and intermodal was down 2.4 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-29-20]

AGREEMENT SIGNED FOR REPLACEMENT OF PORTAL BRIDGE IN N.J.: The board of New Jersey Transit has entered into an agreement with Amtrak to begin replacement of the Portal Bridge in the spring of next year. The 110-year-old swing-span bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey is a frequent source of train delays on the Northeast corridor, regularly opening for marine traffic. [Progressive Railroading, 7-28-20]

METRA TO ADD EXPRESS TRAINS TO BNSF, ROCK ISLAND LINES: Chicago's Metra on Aug. 3 will add weekday express trains to its BNSF and Rock Island commuter rail lines. One express train will be added in each direction to the BNSF line, and two inbound and outbound express trains will be added to the Rock Island line. [Progressive Railroading, 7-28-20]

WABTEC'S TRIP OPTIMIZER REACHES 500-MILLION-MILESTONE: Wabtec's Trip Optimizer surpassed a milestone as railroads utilized the energy management system to operate their trains for more than 500 million miles. Installed in over 11,000 locomotives globally, the system has saved 400 million gallons of fuel to date and reduced CO2 emissions by over 500,000 tons per year, Wabtec says. [Progressive Railroading, 7-28-20]

ALSTOM CREATES CLASS 600 FOR HYDROGEN-POWERED TRAIN: Alstom and Eversholt Rail have announced a more than $1-million investment in British hydrogen trains to create a new class, the 600-series, known as 'Breeze.' [Progressive Railroading, 7-28-20]

TRINITY REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Trinity Industries reported second-quarter revenue of $500-million, a decrease of nearly $227-million from the same quarter last year. Trinity attributed the decrease to lower deliveries in the rail product group and fewer rail cars sold from their lease fleet. Quarterly loss from continuing operations was $1.76 per diluted share. [Progressive Railroading, 7-28-20]

AMTRAK TO OFFER RESERVED SEATS ON ACELA BUSINESS CLASS: Beginning Aug. 3, Amtrak will expand its reserved seating to travel in Acela business class. Customers will automatically be assigned a specific seat at the time of purchase. Only window seats will be assigned, although passengers may choose to sit together once on board. [Amtrak, 7-28-20]

CINDY SANBORN JOINING NORFOLK SOUTHERN AS CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: Sandy Sanborn, formerly of CSX for 30 years, joins Norfolk Southern from Union Pacific effective September 1 as executive vice-president and chief operating officer. She will succeed Michael Wheeler, who is retiring. [Norfolk Southern, 7-27-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Thirty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 26, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 36 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-27-20]

AMTRAK TIGHTENS REQUIREMENT ON USING FACE MASKS ON TRAINS: Amtrak has tightened requirements that passeners wear face coverings to help slow the spread of coronavirus infections. Amtrak says passengers may be banned or removed from trains for not wearing masks. [Progressive Railroading, 7-27-20]

VRE ADDS ONE DAILY FREDERICKSBURG-WASHINGTON ROUND TRIP: Virginia Railway Express has added a round trip on its Fredericksburg line to better support social distancing on platforms and trains in response to the virus pandemic. [Progressive Railroading, 7-27-20]

UNION PACIFIC POLICE WILL NO LONGER COLLABORATE WITH ICE: Police for the Union Pacific Railroad will no longer collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detail people and transfer them into federal custody. [CBS Los Angeles, 7-27-20]

GERMAN COALITION RECOMMENDS REOPENING 2495 MILES OF RAIL LINES: A coalition of German transport companies has proposed reopening up to 238 disused or freight-only rail lines to passenger services, totaling a potential 2495 miles of infrastructure. Their analysis shows that three million residents in 291 towns currently without rail services could benefit if the lines were reopened. [International Railway Journal, 7-27-20]

ALASKA R.R. REVISES SUMMER RAIL SERVICE: Alaska Railroad will end daily operations on Sept. 7, one week earlier than originally scheduled. Meanwhile, the Denali Star will end daily bi-directional service betwen Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks on Aug. 1, instead running two times a week in each direction through Sept. 13. [Progressive Railroading, 7-24-20]

FRA COMPLETES YEAR-LONG REORGANIZATION OF RAILROAD SAFETY REGULATION: The Federal Railroad Administration's office of railroad safety has completed a year-long reorganization to improve the regulation of railroad safety. Two key aspects of the reorganization are the creation of safety management teams for Class-I, shortline and commuter railroads, and the realignment of safety inspectors' reporting responsibilities. [Progressive Railroading, 7-24-20]

OPTIFUEL SYSTEMS FINALIZING GRANT TO DEMONSTRATE HYBRID LOCOMOTIVE: OptiFuel Systems is in the process of finalizing a $2.6-million Dept. of Energy grant to demonstrate a pre-production renewable natural gas hybrid 4300-HP line-haul locomotive. [Progressive Railroading, 7-24-20]

SWEDISH GOVERNMENT APPROVES NIGHT TRAINS TO BRUSSELS, HAMBURG: The Swedish government has approved plans to operate overnight services on the Malmo-Brussels and Stockholm-Hamburg routes. The requirement of such services is growing as passengers become more climate conscious and look increasingly to the train for business or leisure, the government says. [International Railway Journal, 7-24-20]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported second-quarter net income of $1.1-billion or $1.67 per diluted share, versus $1.6-billion or $2.22 per diluted share in the same period last year. Operating revenue of $4.2-billion was down 24 percent, and operating ratio was 61 percent. [Union Pacific, 7-23-20]

WABTEC TO SUPPLY BATTERY HYBRID LOCOMOTIVES TO N.Y. SUBWAY FOR WORK TRAINS: The board of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has voted to procure 25 Wabtec R233 diesel-battery hybrid locomotives to haul work trains on the subway system. [Railway Gazette, 7-23-20]

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER SUSPENDS RAIL EXCURSION PROGRAM: Rocky Mountaineer has suspended its passenger rail excursion service into the Canadian Rockies from Vancouver through the end of the 2020 season due to the virus pandemic. [Progressive Railroading, 7-23-20]

DIGITAL AUTOMATIC COUPLERS ON TEST: Trials with prototype digital automatic couplers from four manufacturers are to begin this month with a view to selecting a single type of coupler that could be introduced across Europe. [Railway Gazette, 7-23-20]

BRITAIN APPROVES MANCHESTER-LEEDS ELECTRIFICATION: The British government has allocated funds to kickstart electrification and upgrading of the Trans-Pennine main line linking Manchester, Huddersfield and Leeds. The most-congested section of the route will be doubled from two to four tracks. [International Railway Journal, 7-23-20]

CSX VIEWS 2020'S SECOND HALF WITH GUARDED OPTIMISM: CSX is 'cautiously optimistic' about volumes in the second half of 2020, noting that while volumes have rebounded significantly in recent weeks, the coronavirus, the election and overall economic uncertainty remain potential headwinds. [Freight Waves, 7-23-20]

CSX REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: CSX Corp. reported second-quarter net earnings of $499-million or 65 cents per share, versus $870-million or $1.08 per share in the same quarter last year. Revenue decreased 26 percent to $2.26-billion, primarily due to lower economic activity driven by the coronavirus pandemic. [CSX, 7-22-20]

GROUND BROKEN ON NEW TRANSPORTATION HUB IN NEWPORT NEWS: A multimodal transportation hub in Newport News, Va., for rail, buses, taxis and airport shuttles has been in the works for a decade. On July 21, ground was broken at the site, and travelers may anticipate using it beginning in August 2022. [Daily Press, 7-22-20]

CP REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific has announced second-quarter net income of $635-million (C), down from $724-million in the same quarte last year. Revenue was $1.79-billion, down 9 percent from $1.98-billion. Operating ratio was 57 percent, a new second-quarter record. [Railway Age, 7-22-20]

METRA ASKS STB TO INVERVENE IN UNION PACIFIC SERVICE DISPUTE: Chicago's Metra has asked the Surface Transportation Board to issue a temporary injunction preventing Union Pacific from taking steps to 'degrade' or 'halt' service on the three Metra lines (North, Northwest and West) operated by Union Pacific. Union Pacific maintains that it has no obligation to provide commuter service, but Metra disagrees. Union Pacific wants to turn over commuter operation to Metra, and both entities have been unable to negotiate a new agreement for nearly a year. [Progressive Railroading, 7-22-20]

AMERICAN RAILCAR INDUSTRIES REBRANDS: American Railcar Industries has rebranded as American Industrial Transport Inc. [Progressive Railroading, 7-22-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. freight railroads moved 481,597 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending July 18, 2020, down 8.5 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 15.7 percent, and intermodal was down 1.7 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-22-20]

'RAIL-READY' SITES PROGRAM BROUGHT TO WINCHESTER & WESTERN IN VA.: OmniTRAX is bringing its Rail-Ready sites program to the Winchester & Western Railroad in Virginia. The program connects rail-served properties with customers looking to maximize supply chain efficiencies. [Railway Age, 7-22-20]

CN TO ACQUIRE 1500 NEW GENERATION GRAIN HOPPER CARS: CN plans to acquire 1500 new-generation, high-capcity grain hopper cars with delivery starting in January 2021. [CN, 7-21-20]

CARL WARREN NAMED PRESIDENT OF NORTH CAROLINA RAILROAD: North Carolina Railroad has named Carl Warren president effective August 17. He comes from CSX where he led industrial, port and commercial development, and he replaces the retiring Scott Saylor. [Progressive Railroading, 7-21-20]

VOLKSWAGEN BEGINS OPERATIONS AT TRADEPOINT ATLANTIC AT PORT OF BALTIMORE: Volkswagen has begun operations at the Tradepoint Atlantic Vehicle terminal at the Port of Baltimore. Tradepoint Atlantic is the largest private terminal within the port, and Volkswagen's center is formerly the site of Bethlehem Steel. CSX and Norfolk Southern serve the port. Canton Railroad provides switching to private facilities, and Tradepoint Atlantic is served by its own shortline, Tradepoint Rail. [Progressive Railroading, 7-21-20]

CN REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: CN reported second-quarter revenues of $3.2-billion (C), a 19 percent decrease compared with the same quarter last year. Adjusted operating income of $1.27-billion was a decrease of 24 percent. Adjusted operating ratio was 60.4 percent. Results were adversely impacted by the pandemic, the company said. [CN, 7-21-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 19, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 32 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-20-20]

CONTRACT SIGNED FOR PHASE II OF N.W. LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION IN PHOENIX: Valley Metro has awarded a contract to construct Phase II of the Northwest light-rail extension in Phoenix. The project will extend the line 1.6 miles on Dunlap avenue from 19th avenue to a terminus on the west side of interstate 17. [Progressive Railroading, 7-20-20]

METRA TO INSTALL NEW PLATFORMS AT WEST HINSDALE STATION: Chicago's Metra in August will begin a two-month closure of the West Hinsdale station on the BNSF line to replace boarding platforms. [Progressive Railroading, 7-20-20]

RUTGERS TUBE ON N.Y. F-SUBWAY LINE TO BE REBUILT: A contract has been signed to rebuild the Rutgers tube that carries the F-subway line under the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The tube is the 11th and final New York MTA tunnel under a major body of water to be rebuilt from damage by superstorm Sandy. Work will be done at night and on weekends. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-20-20]

CLASS I R.R. EMPLOYEE DROPS IN JUNE: The number of employees working for U.S. Class I railroads in mid-June totaled 116,128, an 18 pct drop from June 2019, and a 2.3 pct drop from May 2020, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Freight Waves, 7-20-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN ALABAMA: Seventeen rail cars derailed, with one spilling vegetable oil, outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, late July 18. No injuries were reported. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-20-20]

GERMAN RAIL EXPANDS LUFTHANSA EXPRESS COVERAGE: German Rail and Lufthansa have expanded coverage of their 'Train to Flight' scheme to Hannover, Leipzig and Basle, increasing the number of available destinations to 17. [International Railway Journal, 7-20-20]

SOUND TRANSIT BEGIN CONSTRUCTION ON FEDERAL WAY LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Seattle's Sount Transit on July 16 marked the start of construction on the 7.8-mile Federal Way light-rail extension from SeaTac's Angle Lake station to the Federal Way transit center, slated to open in 2024. The route will include three stations. [Progressive Railroading, 7-17-20]

CONTRACT SIGNED FOR VANCOUVER'S BROADWAY SUBWAY PROJECT: British Columbia has signed a $2.8-billion (C) contract for design and construction of Vancouver's Broadway subway project, which includes a 4.4-mile extension, partly underground, of the Millennium line, with six new stations. [Railway Age, 7-17-20]

TEXAS CENTRAL IS PART OF THE U.S. RAIL NETWORK, STB RULES: The Surface Transportation Board has ruled that Texas Central's planned Dallas-Houston high-speed rail line, with its through-ticketing agreement with Amtrak, is officially part of the nation's passenger rail network, giving the STB jurisdiction over the project. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 7-17-20]

KCS REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: Kansas City Southern reported second-quarter revenue of $547.9-million, a 23 percent decline from the same quarter last year. Adjusted earnings-per-share was $1.15 compared with $1.64 a year ago. [Progressive Railroading, 7-17-20]

NJT TO ADD EIGHT ADDITIONAL DUAL-POWERED LOCOMOTIVES: N.J. Transit is spending $70-million to purchase eight additional dual-powered electric-diesel locomotives, the same design as 17 ordered in 2017. This will allow the agency to upgrade its fleet and replace aging locomotives. [, 7-16-20]

TALGO TRAINS WITHDRAWN FROM CASCADES SERVICE: Washington State Dept. of Transport has withdrawn from service its 1998-built Talgo VI train sets used to operate Cascades trains in the Pacific Northwest. The move was made ahead of the procurement of replacement rolling stock. Their withdrawal had been recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board following the fatal derailment in 2017. Amtrak Horizon coaches have been furnished as substitutes for the currently-operating Cascades train. [Railway Gazette, 7-16-20]

METRA TO BUILD STATION AT PETERSON RIDGE: Metra has awarded a $15.2-million contract to build a new commuter rail station at Peterson Ridge on the Union Pacific North line in the Edgewater area of Chicago. [Progressive Railroading, 7-16-20]

ELEVEN NEW COMMUTER CARS ORDERED FOR COASTER SERVICE: The North County Transit District in California has ordered 11 new commuter rail cars - eight coaches and three cab cars - and the agency has the option to purchase up to 27 additional cars. [Railway Age, 7-16-20]

AMTRAK NEEDS TO BETTER DEFINE ITS POLICE ROLE, INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORTS: Amtrak has not reached a consensus on the role and priorities of its police department, Amtrak's office of inspector general wrote in a report earlier this month. Moreover, the company cannot ensure that the department is of the right size and composition to meet its needs. Some issues management have not resolved include whether officers should provide a more visible presence on trains and in stations, or whether the department should focus on traditional policing or improving the rider experience. [Progressive Railroading, 7-15-20]

CALTRAIN AT RISK OF SHUTTING DOWN FROM LOSS OF SALES TAX MEASURE: A decision by the San Francisco board of supervisors to decline to introduce a one-eighth-cent sales tax to the November ballot - which would have provided about $100-million to Caltrain - has officials concerned that the rail system is on the brink of financial collapse. [S.F. Chronicle, 7-15-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending July 11, 2020, was 449,092 carloads and intermodal units, down 14.9 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 22.7 percent, and intermodal was down 7.4 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-15-20]

GERMAN RAIL IN EXPAND ICE-3 FLEET: German Rail has ordered a further 30 Siemens Velaro ICE-3 trains for delivery beginning 2022, with options for up to 60 additional trains. They are designed for speeds up to 199 MPH. [International Railway Journal, 7-15-20]

NEW TRANSIT HUB BEING BUILT IN JACKSONVILLE, N.C.: A 15,000-square-foot transit hub is now under construction in Jacksonville, N.C., which will serve Amtrak, Greyhound and local transit services. [Progressive Railroading, 7-14-20]

DOWNEASTER TO INCREASE FREQUENCY: Amtrak's Downeaster service will increase to four the number of round trips its trains will run between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston each day, starting July 20. [Bangor Daily News, 7-14-20]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS AT WASHINGTON UNION STATION TO BOOST RAIL CAPACITY: A major construction to increase rail capacity had begun at Washington Union Station. Track 22 will be converted from a storage track to a revenue track, complete with walkway, elevator, escalator and stairs, with it use planned for service beginning in 2022. Work will not interfere with scheduled train operations. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-14-20]

SURVEYING BEGINS FOR PLANNED ALASKA-ALBERTA RAIL LINE: The Alaska-to-Alberta Railroad Development Corp., which plans to build a 1500-mile railway between Fairbanks, Alaska, and Fort McMurray, Alberta, has begun detailed surveying of the planned route through Alberta. The proposed route would connect the Alaska Railroad via. Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta. [International Railway Journal, 7-14-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at ther scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 12, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 16 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-13-20]

MAJOR CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON FOOTHILL LIGHT-RAIL LINE IN CALIFORNIA: The Foothile Gold Line Construction Authority in California has begun major construction on the 9.1-mile Gold light-rail line between Glendora and Pomona. The project is expected to be completed in 2025, and will add stations to the L Line in Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona. [Progressive Railroading, 7-13-20]

'GHOST TRAINS' RUNNING ON RAIL RUNNER EXPRESS IN N.M.: The Rail Runner Express rolling into Santa Fe's downtown depot is a 'ghost train.' The cars are empty. No passengers have been allowed since mid-March, when the state of New Mexico shut down the service in response to the coronavirus. But trains actually make several runs a day, partly to keep the crews' skills sharp, and partly to finetune and test their recently-installed safety system. [Santa Fe New Mexican, 7-12-20]

VIA RAIL TO LAY OFF 1,000 EMPLOYEES: VIA Rail Canada will temporarily lay off about 1,000 unionized employees on July 24 due to a severe drop in passengers on account of the coronavirus. [International Railway Journal, 7-9-20]

JAMES WAINSCOTT JOINS CSX BOARD: James Wainscott, retired chairman of AK Steel Holding Corp., has been added to the board of CSX. [Progressive Railroading, 7-9-20]

WABTEC BEGINS FACTORY TESTING OF BATTERY-ELECTRIC ROAD LOCOMOTIVE: Wabtec has started factory testing at its Erie plant of a prototype 4400-HP battery locomotive ahead of trial operations with BNSF on a route in California. Both companies previously tested a battery shunting locomotive, but this will be their first test of one of a main-line design. [Railway Gazette, 7-8-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending July 4, 2020, U.S. intermodal volume was 245,222 containers and trailers, up 7.7 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Carload volume was 192,767, down 12.7 percent. Combined traffic for the week was down 2.4 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-8-20]

MAINLINE ACCIDENT RATE IN CANADA SURGED IN 2019: The accident rate on Canada's main arteries surged last year by 42 percent over the previous decade's average. [Calgary Herald, 7-8-20]

CN SETS BEST QUARTERLY RECORD FOR MOVEMENT OF GRAIN: CN saw a new all-time best quarter for the movement of grain with 8.15 million metric tons. [Progressive Railroading, 7-8-20]

FEDS AWARD GRANTS TO SIX STATES TO SUPPORT TRESPASSING PREVENTION: The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded $528,028 in grants toward 11 trespassing prevention projects in California, Florida, Massachusetts Montana, North Carolina and New Jersey. [Progressive Railroading, 7-8-20]

HOUSE BILL WOULD BLOCK AMTRAK SERVICE REDUCTIONS: House appropriators with jurisdiction over transportation programs have released a draft FY-21 proposal boosting regular Amtrak appropriations, setting aside at least $27-billion in additional emergency grant funds for Amtrak and public transportation, tying the money to a requirement that Amtrak not cut staff or routes. [Rail Passengers Assn., 7-8-20]

S.F. CABLE CARS REMAIN SIDELINED: The San Francisco cable cars were the first vehicles to be pulled from the transit fleet during the coronavirus shutdown, as they have such tight quarters and have no physical barriers between the public and the operator. There is still no timetable for when the cars may be returned to service. The last time the cars were off the streets for an exended period of time was in 1982, when they were being rebuilt. [S.F. Examiner, 7-8-20]

CHINA'S ANSHUN-LIUPANSHUI HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE OPENS: China's new Anshun-Liupanshui high-speed rail line, an extension of the Shanghai-Kumming line connecting Liupanshui to the national high-speed network, has opened. [International Railway Journal, 7-8-20]

D.C. METRO TRAIN DERAILS AT SILVER SPRING, MD.: A Washington DC Metro Red line train derailed at low speed at the Silver Spring, Md., station on July 7. There were no serious injuries, but a couple of people were trapped for a brief time because doors were jammed. The incident caused service to be suspended at that location. [WTOP, 7-7-20]

PITTSBURGH'S MOUNT WASHINGTON TRANSIT TUNNEL TO CLOSE NIGHTLY FOR REPAIRS: The Port Authority of Allegheny County, Pa., has begun nightly closures of the Mount Washington Transit tunnel in Pittsburgh for repairs. The project will require light-rail and bus detours between 8 P.M. and 4:30 A.M. for about two years. [Progressive Railroading, 7-7-20]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN WISCONSIN, SPILLING COAL INTO RIVER: Crews in Oostburg, Wisconsin, are dealing with a mess left behind by a Union Pacific train derailment that lost 13 cars on July 5, with some coal spilling into the Black River. No injuries were reported. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-7-20]

CRUDE-BY-RAIL GETS BOOST AS JUDGE ORDERS DAKOTA PIPELINE TO SHUT DOWN: A U.S. district court has ordered Energy Transfer to shut and empty its 557,000 barrel-per-day Dakota Access pipeline within a month, pending an environmental review that would keep the pipeline shut for at least a year. Companies that transport oil by rail are prepping for a surge in business. [Reuters, 7-6-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending July 5, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 10 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-6-20]

WATCO TO PROVIDE SELECT RAIL SERVICES AT SIX DOW LOCATIONS: Dow Inc. has selected Watco Companies to acquire the rail infrastructure assets and related equipment at six major North American sites. Watco will provide select rail services in Freeport and Seadrift, Texas; Saint Charles and Plaquemine, Louisiana; and Fort Saskatchewan and Prentiss, Alberta. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-6-20]

CZECH RAILWAYS ISSUES TENDER FOR 40 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES: Czech Railways has issued a tender for the supply of 40 electric locomotives rated for 124 MPH for use on national and cross-border services. The contract will include options for 50 additional units. [International Railway Journal, 7-6-20]

FEDS APPROVE ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTATION FOR NORTHERN COLUMBIA BASIN RAIL PROJECT: The Northern Columbia Basin Rail Project in Washington state has received environmental documentation approval from the Federal Railroad Administration. The work calls for creating a rail connection to the Port of Moses Lake by building 4.5 miles of track and linking it to a Columbia Basin Railroad line, and another three miles will be built to access industrial land adjacent to Grant County International Airport. [Progressive Railroading, 7-3-20]

HARPERS FERRY FOOTBRIDGE REOPENS FOLLOWING DERAILMENT REPAIR: The footbridge spanning the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry in West Virginia and Maryland reopened July 3 following repairs from a CSX train derailment last December. The footbridge connects the Appalachian Trail with the C&O Canal towpath and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. ]WV MetroNews, 7-3-20]

COURT UPHOLDS $3.1-M AWARD TO FORMER BNSF EMPLOYEE FOR UNLAWFUL TERMINATION: A federal appeals court has upheld a verdict allowing a former BNSF employee to be compensated $3.1-million for an unlawful 2015 termination and workplace injuries. [Freight Waves, 7-3-20]

TRAINS COLLIDE IN TUNNEL IN SWITZERLAND: Two trains collided in a tunnel on a mountain railway in Switzerland on July 3. A car-shuttle train transporting vehicles hit the side of a local passenger train running in the opposite direction with about 30 people on board. Several people were slightly injured. [ABC News, 7-3-20]

WABTEC DELIVERS SIX DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES TO MOLDOVA: The first six of 12 TE33AC diesel locomotives which Moldova's national railway ordered from GE Transportation (now Wabtec) are currently being delivered. [Railway Gazette, 7-3-20]

IOWA INTERSTATE OPENS NEW BRIDGE IN IOWA: The Iowa Interstate Railroad opened its new William J. Duggan bridge in Booneville, Iowa, to freight traffic on June 30. It spans the Raccoon River west of Des Moines, and replaces a 119-year-old through-truss bridge. [Railway Track & Structures, 7-2-20]

CSX TO ACQUIRE NEW COAL-CAR DUMPER FOR CURTIS BAY EXPORT TERMINAL: CSX has awarded a contract to Metso for the design, supply and installation of a rotary railcar dumper system to be used to unload coal at the Curtis Bay Export terminal in Baltimore. The system, with two complete dumper barrel assemblies, is expected to be operational in October 2021. [Progressive Railroading, 7-2-20]

JUNE 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in June 2020. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the survey period was 29 minutes late. The average arrival of just the trains that were behind schedule was one hour and nine minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 7-1-20]

VIRGIN TRAINS TO USE I-15 RIGHT-OF-WAY FOR LAS VEGAS BULLET TRAIN: Virgin Trains USA has entered into a lease agreement with Caltrains to use existing right-of-way along Interstate 15 for its Victor Valley to Las Vegas high-speed rail project. About 135 miles of the 170-mile system will be in California, and trains are expected to reach top speeds of 200 MPH. [Victorville Daily Express, 7-1-20]

JUNE 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads moved 1,799,189 carloads and intermodal units in June 2020, down 14.3 percent compared with the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 22.4 percent, and intermodal was down 6.6 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-1-20]

PAN AM RAILWAYS IS FOR SALE: Pan Am Railways, the largest regional railroad in North America and operator of 1700 miles of track in the Northeast, is for sale, Trains Industry Newsletter reported this week. [New Hampshire Business Review, 6-30-20]

PERSON STRUCK BY TRAIN IN IOWA: Police in western Iowa say a person hit by a train in Council Bluffs was taken to a hospital in critical condition. The incident happened late June 29. [KTTC, 6-30-20]

ANDERS VESTERGAARD NAMED CEO OF MUL RAILCARS: MUL Railcars Inc. appointed Anders Vestergaard chief executive officer effective July 1, replacing Jim Sharp, the company's founding CEO. [Progressive Railroading, 6-30-20]

RAILWAY SUPPLY INSTITUTE CANCELS EXPO & EDUCATION CONFERENCE: The Railway Supply Institute has canceled its expo & education conference that was scheduled for Sept. 9 through 11 in Chicago. [Progressive Railroading, 6-30-20]

LIRR COMPLETES REPLACEMENT OF BRIDGE IN CARLE PLACE, N.Y.: Long Island Rail Road crews this past weekend completed replacement of the 78-year-old rail bridge over Glen Cove road in Carle Place, N.Y. It is the sixth bridge to be replaced or improved in connection with the line's triple-track project between Floral Park and Hicksville. [Progressive Railroading, 6-30-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SELLS FORMER HEADQUARTERS BUILDING BELOW ASSESSED VALUE: Norfolk Southern sold its former 21-story downtown Norfolk headquarters to TowneBank and Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters for far less than the assessed value, according to a recorded deed with the city of Norfolk. The company, which moved its headquarters to Atlanta, sold the building for $30-million. The amount is lower than the $32.8-million the company thought the tower was worth more than 20 years ago, and even lower than the $55.2-million which was its most recent assessed value. [Virginian-Pilot, 6-30-20]

VIA RAIL MOVES FORWARD WITH ACCESSIBILITY UPGRADES: VIA Rail Canada has announced additional steps toward ensuring universal accessibility. They include attention to phone reservations for riders unable to use the railroad's website; curbside assistance for select station entrances to platforms; relief areas for service animals at 80 stations; improved digital strategy to make information more accessible; and on-demand menus and safety cards in braille or in large print. [Progressive Railroading, 6-30-20]

ALSTOM LAUNCHES NEW VERSION OF 'MASTRIA': Alstom has launched a new version of Mastria, its multimodal supervision and mobility orchestration solution that uses artificial intelligence to provide operators and transport authorities with enchanced passenger-flow management tools. [Railway Age, 6-30-20]

CN TO INVEST $1.3-B IN CAPITAL EXPENSES IN FOUR PROVINCES: CN will invest nearly $1.3-billion (C) this year in capital expenses on infrastructure in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. [Progressive Railroading, 6-30-20]

AMTRAK TO CUT BACK SERVICE BETWEEN NEW YORK AND FLORIDA: Starting next week, Amtrak is cutting back service between New York and Florida. Starting Monday, the Silver Star and Silver Meteor will run from New York to Miami three and four days a week, respectively, instead of every day. The Silver Star will depart New York Friday through Sunday, and the Silver Meteor will depart New York Monday through Thursday. Returning, the Silver Star will depart Miami Thursday through Saturday, and the Silver Meteor will depart Miami Sunday through Wednesday. The Silver Star, which has additional stops in North and South Carolina, takes three hours longer than the Silver Meteor. [USA Today, 6-29-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending June 28, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 13 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-28-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S MG TOWER SLATED FOR DEMOLITION: Norfolk Southern has sought bids for the demolition of its former Mid-Grade (MG) interlocking tower located in a remote part of the mountains about two miles west of Horseshoe Curve, Pa. Depending on the costs submitted, the railroad says it will evaluate how it moves forward. [Altoona Mirror via. Bill Haines, 6-28-20]

RAIL BRIDGE BURNS IN KANSAS: Montgomery County, Kansas, has issued a disaster declaration for a Southern Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad bridge destroyed by fire on June 24. Officials are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, and say it could take months to replace the bridge. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-26-20] .

TWO RAIL WORKERS HURT IN CRASH IN WISCONSIN: Two Union Pacific Railroad workers were hurt June 25 in Clinton, Wisconsin, where their parked work truck was struck by a Jeep along a road. Two who were in the Jeep were killed. [LaCrosse Tribune, 6-26-20]

HAMPTON ROADS COAL EXPORTS HIT THREE-YEAR LOW IN MAY: Coal exports out of the terminals in the Hampton Roads region in Virginia were at a three-year low in May, down 7.8 percent from April and 27.8 percent lower than May 2019, according to data from the Virginia Maritime Association. [S&P Global Platts, 6-26-20]

PORT OF LONGVIEW, WASHINGTON, TO ADD 5000 FEET OF NEW TRACK: The Port of Longview, Washington will begin this summer to add more than 5000 feet of new railroad track as part of its North Rail Connection project to boost rail capacity. [Progressive Railroading, 6-26-20]

MARTA COMPLETES REHAB OF INMAN PARK RAIL STATION: The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority has completed $6.9-million in safety and aesthetic upgrades to its Inman Park/Teynoldstown rail station on the system's east-west line. [Progressive Railroading, 6-26-20]

VTG RAIL LOGISTICS MODERNIZES TANK CAR FLEET: VTG Rail Logistics has modernized its tank car fleet to transport liquefield petroleum gas. The company has been renewing its fleet since 2014, with 800 of the nearly 1500 tank cars having been retrofitted or replaced. The cars now carry a larger payload and feature quieter braking systems and crash buffers. [Progressive Railroading, 6-25-20]

NJT TO RESTORE REGULAR WEEKDAY TRAIN SCHEDULES JULY 6: New Jersey Transit trains and light-rail service will return to a regular weekday schedule on July 6 for the first time in three months since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. [, 6-25-20]

DURANGO & SILVERTON LINE DAMAGED BY STORMS: A series of storms knocked debris into the Animas River and created a logjam which caused Elk Creek to rise. About 40 feet of track and a bridge used by the Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad are now impassable. The route is expected to be closed for eight to 16 weeks. The railroad will be making limited runs from Rockwood to Cascade. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-24-20]

AMTRAK'S PERE MARQUETTE LINE TO REOPEN JUNE 29-30: Amtrak is relaunching daily train service on its Pere Marquette line between Chicago and Grand Rapids on June 29 and 30. The trains had been suspended March 21 because of the virus pandemic. [Advance Local, 6-24-20]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY PUTS BLUEPRINT ON HOLD: The board of California's high-speed rail authority has put off approving its 2020 business plan laying out a $20.4-billion blueprint to build a partial operating system in the San Joaquin Valley under a 30-year contract that would have been issued this year. [L.A. Times, 6-24-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending June 20, 2020, was 457,278 carloads and intermodal units, down 12.9 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 21.8 percent, and intermodal was down 4.4 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-24-20]

BNSF INTRODUCES NEW DIRECT INTERMODAL SERVICE BETWEEN PACIFIC N.W. & OHIO VALLEY: BNSF has introduced a new, direct, five-day-a-week intermodal service option between South Seattle, Washington, and the Ohio Valley region. [Progressive Railroading, 6-24-20]

DENVER'S N-COMMUTER RAIL LINE TO OPEN SEPT. 21: Denver's new N-commuter rail line will open on Sept. 21. The 18.5-mile, six-station line will serve downtown, Commerce City, Northglenn and Thornton, plus a stop at Denver's National Western complex. [Progressive Railroading, 6-24-20]

MARYLAND'S PURPLE LINE TRANSIT PARTNERS SERVE TERMINATION NOTICE: Purple Line Transit Partners has filed a notice of termination over a dispute with the state of Maryland over delays and cost overruns involving the 16-mile Purple light-rail line project to connect Bethesda with New Carrollton. [Progressive Railroading, 6-24-20]

FRENCH NATIONAL RAILWAYS TO PURCHASE 11 ADDITIONAL DOUBLE-DECK TRAINS: French National Railways has exercised an option for an additional 11 Bombardier Omneo Premium double-deck, 10-car electric multiple-unit trains for Normandy's regional network. The order follows an agreement announced on May 16 for an additional 16 trains of the same type. [International Railway Journal, 6-24-20]

VIA RAIL RECORDS FIVE MILLION RIDERS IN 2019: VIA Rail Canada recorded five million riders in 2019, the railroad's highest annual ridership in 30 years, and a 5.5 percent increase compared with 2018. [Progressive Railroading, 6-24-20]

AMTRAK SELECTS DEVELOPMENT TEAM FOR RENOVATION OF 30TH STREET STATION: Amtrak has selected Plenary Infrastructure Philadelphia to form a master partnership via ground lease for the renovation of William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. The partnership will restore and highlight the historic nature of the station while adding new amenities, retail and commercial potential, improving and expanding office space and enhancing transit and pedestrial traffic flows. [Progressive Railroading, 6-23-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN DONATES SD40-2 LOCOMOTIVE TO KENTUCKY STEAM HERITAGE: Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. has received SD40-2 locomotive 6162 from Norfolk Southern. Built in 1978 by EMD in Illinois for the Norfolk & Western, it worked all over the railroad, predominantly hauling coal from Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. It remainined on the Norfolk Southern roster until June 18 this year, and will remain in operational condition while on display in Irvine, Ky. [Progressive Railroading, 6-22-20]

KC STREETCAR MAIN STREET EXTENSION GETS APPROVAL FROM FEDS: The Kansas City Main Street extension project has received the green light from the Federal Transit Administration to enter into the engineering phase of the Capital Investents Grants New Starts program. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-22-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending June 21, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived 59 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-22-20]

HOUSE COMMITTEE ADVANCES BILL PROVIDING $58-B IN RAIL OVER FIVE YEARS: The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure has advanced the Invest in America Bill providing a $58-billion investment in rail over five years and instituting a series of sweeping reforms to Amtrak governance, operations and onboard services. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-19-20]

RAIL EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN MAY: Rail employment on U.S. Class I railroad operations fell below 120,000 in May. Headcount levels within the train and engine crew category, which tends to be more sensitive to demand for freight rail service, totaled 43,660, a 25.7 percent decrease from the same month last year, and a 10.3 percent decline from April 2020. [Freight Waves, 6-19-20]

FEDS ISSUE RULE ON TRANSPORTATION OF LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS IN DOT-113 TANK CARS: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation and the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have issued a final rule authorizing the bulk transportation of liquefied natural gas by rail, permitting it in DOT-113 specification tank cars with enhanced outer tank requirements and additional operational controls. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-19-20]

CSX CUTS 86 MANAGEMENT EMPLOYEES: Eighty-six management employees of CSX have has their positions eliminated with severance packages and other support to assist them in transition. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-19-20]

CALGARY COUNCIL APPROVES 1ST STAGE ALIGNMENT FOR GREEN LIGHT-RAIL LINE: The Calgary, Alberta, city council has approved an updated alignment for the first stage of the planned Green light-rail line, as well as changes to construction staging. The alignment will connect 16 avenue north to Shepard southeast. [Progressive Railroading, 6-18-20]

NJT ANNOUNCES REOPENING GUIDELINES: New Jersey Transit has released guidelines detailing its steps aimed at protecting riders and employees as the region reopens during the virus pandemic. The 'clear and simple' actions call for riders and employees to wear face coverings while on trains, practice social-distancing, avoid loud talking and restrict phone conversations on trains. [Progressive Railroading, 6-18-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending June 13, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 449,291 carloads and intermodal units, down 14.9 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 22.8 percent, and intermodal was down 7.3 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-17-20]

PORT TAMPA BAY GETS FEDERAL GRANT TOWARD BERTH, CONTAINER YARD: Port Tampa Bay has received a $19.3-million federal grant to construct a 1300-foot berth and a 30-acre container yard as part of a larger project to improve intermodal transportation. [Progressive Railroading, 6-17-20]

TRANSITIO ORDERS ANOTHER 12 STADLER DOUBLE-DECK EMU'S: Transitio Sweden has exercised an option for 12 more four-car double-deck electric multiple-units, scheduled to begin operation on the Malaren line west of Stockholm in fall 2021. [International Railway Journal, 6-17-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN IDLES HUMP CLASSIFICATION AT MOORMAN YARD: After spending some $160-million eight years ago on doubling the size of its rail sorting yard in Bellevue, Ohio, Norfolk Southern has idled its entire classification hump. Recently named Moorman Yard in honor of its retiring chief executive, the yard, which had been the company's largest, will now concentrate on flat switching. An undisclosed number of jobs will be affected. [Toledo Blade, 6-16-20]

WABTEC LANDS $120-M SIGNAL, TRAIN-CONTROL AGREEMENTS WITH VIRGIN TRAINS: Wabtec has secured agreements worth $120-million to implement signaling and train-control systems for Virgin Trains USA. The project is a unique high-speed signaling and train-control application for the North America market. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-16-20]

CN WORKER DIES IN SWITCHING ACCIDENT IN B.C.: A Canadian National conductor was killed June 15 while working just outside of a rail yard in Prince Rupert, B.C. This is the second CN conductor to die on the job this month in B.C., the other died June 1 in Surrey. [Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, 6-16-20]

CAMERON SCOTT ELECTED OMNITRAX CHAIRMAN: OmniTRAX's board has elected former Union Pacific executive Cameron Scott chairman. [Progressive Railroading, 6-16-20]

OVERHEAD ELECTRIC DOUBLE-STACK RAIL SERVICE BEGIN ON INDIAN RAILWAYS: Double-stack intermodal trains have begun operating on Indian Railways on the country's Western Railway between Palanpur and Botad. [International Railway Journal, 6-16-20]

AMTRAK TO CUT SERVICE IN FY-21: Amtrak is planning to significantly cut service in the upcoming fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2020, and ending Sept. 30, 2021. The company anticipates 32 percent fewer frequencies on the Northeast corridor and 24 percent fewer frequencies on state-supported services. Most long-distance trains will be cut from daily to three days a week. The Auto Train will remain a daily train, and the Silver Meteor will be reduced to four days a week and run on the days the Silver Star will not operate once it is reduced to three days a week. The Sunset Limited and Cardinal, which already run three days a week, will continue to do so. The goal is to restore daily service to as many of the long-distance trains as demand warrants by the summer of 2021. ]Texas Rail Associates, 6-15-20]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE IN WYOMING: About 30 cars of a Union Pacific train derailed, igniting a fire to about 10 of the cars, late June 13 near Rock Springs, Wyoming. Two deputies were injured in an explosion that occurred. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-15-20]

BART'S SAN JOE-MILPITAS RAIL EXTENSION OPENS: Bay Area Rapid Transit's 10-mile Orange line rail extension from San Jose to Milpitas opened on June 13. [Progressive Railroading, 6-15-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-one percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending June 14, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 19 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-15-20]

GOLD BARS LEFT BEHIND IN SWISS RAIL CAR: Swiss police are looking for an individual who left a package of gold bars, worth more than $190,000, in a car of a Swiss Federal Railways train. [CNN, 6-15-20]

RAILROAD COACHES IN INDIA TO BE DEPLOYED FOR ISOLATING COVID-19 PATIENTS: Indian Railways, at the request of the Dehli government, is preparing to supply 500 railroad coaches for static use in isolating COVID-19 patients. [Financial Express, 6-14-20]

SEPTA TO RESTORE SOME REGIONAL RAIL SERVICE THIS MONTH: SEPTA is planning to restore some regional rail service later this month. The agency resumed most city transit service in mid-May, but regional rail is currently on a 'lifeline' schedule with five lines suspended and trains roughly only every two hours on the others. [KYW, 6-12-20]

SOUND TRANSIT'S TACOMA LINK LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION COST JUMPS BY $35-M: Seattle's Sound Transit's Tacoma Link light-rail extension needs another $35-million due to unexpected discoveries while handling utility work. If approved, the total cost of the extension will be $252-million rather than $217-million, a 16 percent increase. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-12-20]

ED HARRIS, EVP AT CSX, RETIRING: Ed Harris, an executive vice-president of CSX, will be retiring in August. The company will fold the safety and facilities group he oversaw into its operations group. He had been executive vice-president of operations before assuming his current role overseeing safety, performance metrics and operational planning. [Freight Waves, 6-12-20]

METRO-NORTH TO REPLACE PORT CHESTER RAIL BRIDGES: Metro-North next month will begin a $26.3-million project to replace two 130-year-old open-deck rail bridges on the New Haven line in Port Chester, N.Y., replacing them with ballast deck bridges. [Progressive Railroading, 6-11-20]

NORTH AMERICAN TRANSIT ALLIANCE FORMED: Six of the largest private transit operating firms have formed the North American Transit Alliance, aiming to promote 'innovative transportation solutions that ensure transit is safe, clean and prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.' [Railway Age, 6-11-20]

AMTRAK OFFERS JUNE SALE FOR ACELA, NE REGIONAL SERVICE: Amtrak is offering new, lower fares with 25 percent savings throughout the northeast on select Acela and Northeast Regional trains through June 30. [Railway Age, 6-10-20]

VRE EXTENDS OPERATIONS CONTRACT WITH KEOLIS: Virginia Railway Express has extended its operations contrct with Keolis Rail Service for five years. [Progressive Railroading, 6-10-20]

HYUNDAI ROTEM ENTERING HYDROGEN TRAIN MARKET: Korean manufacturer Hyundai Rotem is entering the hydrogen-powered rail vehicle market with development of light-rail vehicle currently underway. [International Railway Journal, 6-10-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending June 6, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 433.171 carloads and intermodal units, down 15.6 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 22.0 percent, and intermodal was down 9.6 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-10-20]

DOWNEASTER SET TO RESTART LIMITED SERVICE: Amtrak's Downester between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston will resume with a single round-trip each day beginning Monday, June 15, following a two-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. The cafe car will be closed. [Press Herald, 6-10-20]

AMTRAK MAINTENANCE FACILITY CONTRACT SIGNED: Skanska has signed a contract to rehabilitate and restore three maintenance facilities for the next-generation Acela service in Boston, New York and Washington. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-9-20]

CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS WANT HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY TO DEFER MAJOR CONTRACTS: A majority of the California general assembly has cosponsored legislation that directs its state's high-speed rail authority to defer awarding contracts this year for the proposed rail line between Merced and Bakersfield. The authority had planned to sign contracts for electrified tracks and rail cars this fall, and then request the remaining bond funds to complete its plan next spring. That would essentially force the legislature to support a path forward that many in the assembly have questioned. [Progressive Railroading, 6-9-20]

NUMBER OF STORED RAIL CARS INCREASES IN MAY: After hovering around the 400,000 mark all year, rail cars in storage spiked 25 percent in May to 520,729, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Freight Waves, 6-9-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN CHAIRMAN SELLS $9.7-M IN COMPANY STOCK: James Squires, Norfolk Southern chairman, sold 50,797 shares of his company's stock on June 4 at an average price of $191.48 a share, or a total sale of about $9.7-million. [Guru Focus, 6-8-20]

AMTRAK ASKS FEDS TO SETTLE CHICAGO UNION STATION COMPENSATION DISPUTE WITH METRA: Amtrak and Metra have been unable to agree on a new compensation contract for Metra's use of Chicago Union Station. Metra currently pays about $9.66-million a year in base operating expenses, and Amtrak wants the amount increased to $17-million in operating and 'tier-1' capital costs, plus an additional amount up to $10-million in 'tier-2' costs. Amtrak is asking the Surface Transportation Board to settle the matter. [Progressive Railroading, 6-5-20]

FEDS ASSESS WASHINGTON UNION STATION EXPANSION PLAN: The Federal Railroad Administration has released a draft environmental impact statement assessing a plan to expand and modernize Amtrak's Washington Union Station. The project would combine expansion and modernization with preserving the historic and recently restored main train hall. Plans include reconstructing and realigning the tracks and platforms, developing a train hall and new concourse, enhancing accessibility, establish new street and transit entrances, and improving multi-modal transportation services. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 6-5-20]

PORT HARBOR R.R. DEDICATES LOCOMOTIVES TO U.S. VETERANS, FIRST RESPONDERS: Port Harbor Railroad at America's Central Port in Granite City, Illinois, has dedicated two locomotives honoring U.S. armed forces veterans and first responders. GP40 unit 8955 (x-MILW) and GP40-2 unit 5730 (x-CP) were applied schemes designed by student engineer Dominic Montero. [Railway Age, 6-5-20]

GOLDEN SPIKE LOCOMOTIVES OPERATING: Replicas of the steam locomotives that were present for the driving of the golden spike at Promotory Summit will be making demonstration runs at the Golden Spike National Historical Park beginning Friday, June 5. [Standard-Examiner, 6-4-20]

MAY 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the month of May 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 1,653,093 carloads and intermodal units, down 20.2 percent compared with May of last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 27.7 percent, and intermodal was down 13.0 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-3-20]

ACELA SERVICE RESUMES WITH LIMITED SCHEDULE: Acela service on the Northeast corridor has resumed on a modified schedule with the restoration of three weekday round trips utilizing new safety initiatives providing for physical distancing and enhanced station procedures. [Revere Journal, 6-3-20]

CP COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF CENTRAL MAINE & QUEBEC: Canadian Pacific completed its acquisition of the Central Maine & Quebec Railway U.S. on June 3. CP had previously acquired Central Maine & Quebec Canada, so now CP's purchase of the entire CMQ network is complete. [CP, 6-3-20]

CN SETS RECORD GRAIN MOVEMENT FOR MAY: CN announced it moved more than 2.5 million metric tons of western Canadian grain last month, a new record for May. [Progressive Railroading, 6-2-20]

JOHN SCHEIB STEPS DOWN AS NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER: John Scheib has stepped down as Norfolk Southern's executive vice-president and chief strategy officer. The company will integrate the strategy operations and functions he previously led into the business. [Progressive Railroading, 6-2-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SHUFFLES THREE DEPARTMENTS: Norfolk Southern will move its strategic planning department into the finance division, its network planning and optimization department into the operations division, and its customer operations department into the marketing division. [Norfolk Southern, 6-1-20]

CN EMPLOYEE DIES IN B.C. SWITCHING ACCIDENT: A CN employee died early June 1 during switching operations at the rail yard in Surrey, B.C. The company provided no further details. [Global News, 6-1-20]

MAY 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final destination on time or earlier in May 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 11 minutes behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 6-1-20]

METRA SUSPENDS SERVICE: Chicago's Metra has suspended all service for Monday, June 1, because of municipal travel restrictions. [Railway Track & Structures, 6-1-20]

AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES TRACTOR, DERAILS IN MONTANA: A man driving a tractor was killed May 29 in a collision with Amtrak's Empire Builder near Bainville, Montana. Several cars of the train derailed, and there were multiple minor injuries to passengers on the train. [Great Falls Tribune, 5-29-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN VA.: Five locomotives and 14 cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed early May 29 east of Front Royal, Va. No injuries were reported. [Northern Virginia Daily, 5-29-20]

RAIL HISTORY UNCOVERED IN GREAT SALT LAKE: A recent storm has uncovered some railroad history in Utah's Great Salt Lake. Winds reaching 55 MPH nudged a steel boat free so it could be visible. The boat, believed to have been used by Southern Pacific over 120 years ago to transport material to maintain the railroad's treatle and causeway, was shipwrecked in the late 19th century or early 20th century. [Railway Track & Structures, 5-29-20]

TWO KILLED IN SUV STRUCK BY TRAIN IN CALIFORNIA: Two men in an SUV were killed early May 29 when their vehicle was struck by a Union Pacific train in Lancaster, California. There were no injuries to those on the train. [KTLA, 5-29-20]

N.Y. CULVER F LINE SIGNAL PROJECT BEGINS: New York MTA has begun the next phase of the agency's signal modernization project on Brooklyn's Culver F Line to replace 70-year-old signals between Church avenue and Coney Island. [Progressive Railroading, 5-29-20]

MINNEAPOLIS METRO SUSPENDS LIGHT-RAIL, COMMUTER SERVICES: Minneapolis Metro Transit has suspended light-rail and commuter rail services, except for its Blue line airport shuttle, through the weekend out of concern for safety due to civil unrest. [Progressive Railroading, 5-29-20]

BRIGHTLINE SEEKS TO BUILD COMMUTER RAIL SYSTEM IN MIAMI AREA: Brightline is seeking to build a five-stop commuter rail system between Aventura and Miami, which would entail a dedicated rail line separate and apart from its high-speed operation that has served Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami since 2018. [South Florida Sun Sentinel, 5-28-20]

CN HAS FURLOUGHED 3500 DUE TO PANDEMIC: Canadian National says it has furloughed 3500 workers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Including this number, 5800 employees, or 21 percent, have been cut since this time last year. [Canadian Press, 5-28-20]

AMTRAK TO RESTORE SOME HIAWATHA SERVICE: Amtrak, on June 1, will restore some Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee, offering morning and afternoon departures from each city, augmented by service already offered by the Empire Builder to all stops en route. Additional Hiawatha service is planned to begin on June 29. [Progressive Railroading, 5-28-20]

BOMBARDIER LANDS ORDER FOR 28 DOUBLE-DECK COACHES FOR TWO WEST COAST OPERATORS: Bombardie has landed a contract to suppy 28 double-deck coaches for two U.S. west coast transit operators. The procurement is led by Sound Transit which will receive 11 vehicles, with 17 vehicles to an unnamed second operator. Deliveries are scheduled to begin next year. [International Railway Journal, 5-28-20]

TURKEY RESUMING LIMITED INTERCITY TRAIN SERVICE: Intercity train service resumed May 28 in Turkey, on a limited basis, as the government eases restrictions imposed by the coronavirus. [Greensboro News & Record, 5-28-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending May 23, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 428,715 carloads and intermodal units, down 19.2 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 27.5 percent, and intermodal was down 11.2 percent. Still, the combined total of 428,715 was 12,600 units up from the previous week, and 16166 units up from the week prior to that. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-27-20]

LARGE PILE OF CROSSTIES BURN IN HUNTINGTON, W.VA.: A large pile of railroad ties on CSX property caught fire late May 27 in Huntington, W.Va. The pile included about 3000 to 5000 pieces. [Huntington Herald-Dispatch, 5-27-20]

AMTRAK EXPECTS TO SLASH WORK FORCE BY UP TO 20 PCT: Amtrak is preparing to slash its work force by as much as 20 percent in its upcoming fiscal year as it braces for a slow recovery to ridership from the coronavirus pandemic. [Bloomberg, 5-26-20]

FEDS AWARD $91.5-M TOWARD NORTH PORTAL BRIDGE REPLACEMENT: The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded $91-5-million to Amtrak and N.J. Transit toward replacement of the century-old North Portal bridge spanning the Hackensack River in Kearney, N.J. The bridge carries more than 450 Amtrak and N.J. Transit trains a day. [, 5-26-20]

NJT REOPENS WEST SIDE AVENUE STATION: New Jersey Transit has resumed Hudson-Bergen light-rail service at the West Side avenue station following completion of utility work. [Progressive Railroading, 5-26-20]

AMTRAK'S ACELA PROTOTYPE COMPLETES TESTING MILESTONE: Amtrak's first Acela prototype completed a high-speed testing milestone by traveling up to 165 MPH at the Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado. [Progressive Railroading, 5-22-20]

STADLER CEO LEAVES COMPANY: Stadler Group CEO Thomas Ahlburg has left the rolling-stock manufacturer following what the company describes as 'different views' with the board of directors regarding the Swiss supplier's strategic and organizational development. [International Railway Journal, 5-22-20]

UNION PACIFIC CUTS MECHANICAL FORCES AT BAILEY YARD IN NEBRASKA: Union Pacific has laid off an unspecified number of workers in its mechanical department at Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska. The layoffs were related to the virus pandemic. Bailey Yard had lost about 250 jobs last year as the company implemented its unified plan operating model. [Progressive Railroading, 5-22-20]

RAILINC RELEASES RAILCAR, LOCOMOTIVE RESEARCH REPORTS: Railinc has released research reports highlighting statistics and overall trends of North American railcar and locomotive fleets in 2019. The report revealed that the number of railcars in revenue-earning fleets increased slightly; more than 80 percent of all new fleet additions have a gross rail load of 286,000 pounds; and newer units in a locomotive fleet trend toward six-axle AC units. [Progressive Railroading, 5-22-20]

AMTRAK RESTORING 15 STATION AGENTS: Amtrak is restoring station agents at 15 of its stations across the network. They are Marshall (Texas), Texarkana, Maricopa, Fort Madison, Ottumwa, Garden City, Topeka, Hammond, Meridian, Havre, Shelby, Lamy (N.M.), Cincinnati, and Charleston (W.Va.). [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-22-20]

MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESSMEN RELEASES $205-B PLAN FOR U.S. HIGH-SPEED RAIL: U.S. representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) has released a new plan for high-speed rail in the U.S., investing $205-billion over five years to close the technology gap that has developed between the U.S. and other developed economies, while creating 2.6 million new American jobs in the process. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-22-20]

CONTEMPORARY DINING TO CONTINUE ON WESTERN LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER MONTH: Because of continued low ridership and virus restrictions, Amtrak is extending its use of its prepackaged contemprary dining menu on western long-distance trains for at least another month. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-22-20]

AMTRAK BUYS OFFICE BUILDING IN WILMINGTON, DELAWARE: Amtrak has purchased an eight-story office building in Wilmington, Delaware, that the company plans to fill with 200 employees. Purchase price was not disclosed. [Delaware News Journal, 5-21-20]

FORMER VIA RAIL CEO TO HEAD SIEMENS MOBILITY IN CANADA: Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, former president and CEO of VIA Rail Canada, has been appointed Canadian chief exective officer for Siemens Mobility. [Progressive Railroading, 5-21-20]

AMTRAK'S PENNSYLVANIAN TO BE RESTORED JUNE 1: Amtrak, in coordination with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation, will restore its Pennsylvanian beginning June 1. Amtrak will also restore some Keystone service trains between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. [Railway Track & Structures, 5-21-20]

LARGEST-EVER GRAIN TRAIN RUN ON CP: Paterson Grain has shipped the largest-ever grain train on Canadian Pacific with 167 new high-capacity hoppers and a total of 16,313 metric tons from Bowden, Alberta, to Vancouver, B.C. [Real Agriculture, 5-21-20]

ITALY STARTS TO RESTORE HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICES: Both Trenitalia and Italo-NTC have begun to reinstate high-speed train services which were greatly reduced due to the covid-19 travel restrictions in Italy. [International Railway Journal, 5-21-20]

MULTIMODAL TRANSIT CENTER OPENS IN WILMINGTON, DELAWARE: Delaware Transit Corp. has opened a multimodal transit center next to the Amtrak station in Wilmington, Delaware. The $10-million center serves as a hub for multimodal travel into Wilmington and New Castle County, providing access to passenger rail, bus, rental vehicles and bike shares. [Progressive Railroading, 5-21-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending May 16, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 416,115 carloads and intermodal units, down 22 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 30.2 percent, and intermodal was down 14.0 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-20-20]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN APRIL: Class I railroads employed 124,430 employees as of mid-April 2020, down 2.69 percent from the previous month, and down 13.72 percent from April 2019, according to the Surface Transportion Board. [Progressive Railroading, 5-20-20]

BART TO SERVE MILPITAS, BERRYESSA STATIONS IN JUNE: Bay Area Rapid Transit will open the Milpitas and Berryessa rail stations on June 13. The openings are part of the $2.3-billion, 10-mile Berryessa extension in San Jose. [Progressive Railroading, 5-20-20]

VIRGIN TRAINS MONTHS AWAY FROM RESTART OF SERVICE IN FLORIDA: Virgin Trains USA says that it wll not restart its Florida rail service for months, even as the state begins reopening from the coronavirus shutdown. [Yahoo Finance, 5-20-20]

FIRST ALSTOM PRIMA ELECTIC LOCOMOTIVE ENTERS SERVICE IN INDIA: Indian Railways has put into service the first of 800 Prima T8 two-section electric locomotives supplied by Alstom. [International Railway Journal, 5-20-20]

BIKE THROUGH HISTORY PROGRAM STARTUP ON HOLD: The NCR-Hereford Volunteer Association, sponsor of the Bike Through History program on the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail in Baltimore County, Md., has postponed the startup of its annual bicycle rides due to the coronavirus pandemic. MORE.. [NCR-Hereford Volunteers, 5-20-20]

TRAIN DERAILS IN EAST AURORA, N.Y., HOMES EVACUATED: Three locomotives and 15 cars of a train on the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad derailed late May 18 in East Aurora, N.Y. Residents in 41 homes had to be evacuated. About 1000 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from one of the locomotives. There were no injuries. It is expected to take up to four days to clear the scene. [Railway Track & Structures, 5-19-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES THREE TO FINANCE POSTS: Norfolk Souhern has named Jason Zampi vice-president of financial planning and analysis, Jake Allison vice-president and controller, and Chris Neikirk vice-president of treasury and investor relations, all to become effective June 1. [Railway Age, 5-19-20]

FEDS REPORT 1-Q PTC STATUS: As of March 31, positive train-control systems were already in operation or 'revenue service demonstration' on 98 percent of mandated Class I mainline route miles in the U.S., according to the quarterly status report by the Federal Railroad Administration. Meanwhile, commuter rail lines are in PTC-compliance on 63.2 percent of their requred route miles. Agencies 'at-risk' of not fully implementing mandated systems by the year-ending deadline are New Jersey Transit, TexRail, Metra and New Mexico Rail Runner Express. [Progressive Railroading, 5-18-20]

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER POSTPONES OPENING TO JULY 31: Rocky Mountaineer service from Vancouver, B.C., into the Canadian Rockies has been further postponed to open July 31, due to the virus pandemic. [Progressive Railroading, 5-18-20]

TWO BEING NOMINATED TO AMTRAK BOARD: Sarah Feinberg, interim president of MTA New York Transit, and Chris Koos, mayor of Normal, Illinois, are being nominated by President Trump to the Amtrak board. [Railway Age, 5-18-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 17, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived 50 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-18-20]

ADIRONDACK STATE PARK APPROVES PLAN FOR TRAIL, TOURIST TRAIN: The New York State Adirondack Park agency has approved a revised plan for the rail line that connects the Utica area with Lake Placid. It reduces and refurbishes the track to about 45 miles to allow trains to run from Utica to Tupper Lake, while removing the rest of the rail line and replace it with a 34-mile trail from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid. The rail portion should be ready for use by 2021, and the trail portion by 2023. [Adirondack Daily Express, 5-16-20]

CHARGE REINSTATED AGAINST AMTRAK ENGINEER IN 2015 FATAL WRECK: A judge has reinstated all charges brought against the Amtrak engineer of the train that derailed in Philadelphia in May 2015, that killed eight people. [NBC-10 Philadelphia, 5-15-20]

NJT AWARDS CONTRACT FOR 1ST PHASE OF RARITAN RIVER BRIDGE REPLACEMENT: New Jersey Transit has awarded a contract for the first of three construction phases of the Raritan River bridge replacement project on the electrified North Jersey Coast line. [Railway Age, 5-14-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending May 9, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 412,549 carloads and intermodal units, down 22.1 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 28.4 percent, and intermodal was down 16.0 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-13-20]

MBTA APPROVES CONTRACT FOR PHASE 1 OF SOUTH COAST RAIL PROJECT: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has approved a $159-million contract to help build a commuter rail line from Taunton to Boston with stops in Freetown, Fall River and New Bedford; a layover facility; and work on 12 miles of track for Phase 1 of the South Coast Rail project. [WBUR, 5-13-20]

TRAIN STRIKES VAN IN CHESWICK, PA.: A van was left mangled after it was struck by a freight train early May 13 in Cheswick, Pa. Passengers in the van had minor injuries, but on one on the train was hurt. [WPXI, 5-13-20]

OMNITRAX EXTENDS RAIL-READY SITES PROGRAM: OmniTRAX is extending its new Rail-Ready sites program to the W.Va. branch of Winchester & Western Railroad. Working with Berkeley County's development authority, the initial six sites, which total 795 acres, are considered ideal for rail-served facilities. [Railway Age, 5-13-20]

UNION TANK CAR TO CONVERT TEXAS MANUFACTURING PLANT TO REPAIR FACILITY: Union Tank Car plans to convert its tank car manufacturing plant in Sheldon, Texas, into a rail car repair facility. The plant currently employs about 350 workers, a number that is proejcted to be reduced to about 100 when the facility is converted. [Progressive Railroading, 5-12-20]

FREIGHT CAR AMERICA REPORTS 1-Q LOSS: Freight Car America reported a first-quarter loss of $16.9-million, compared with a net loss of $14.0-million in the same quarter last year. The company only delivered 11 cars in the quarter, down from 641 cars in the first-quarter 2019. [Progressive Railroading, 5-12-20]

BNSF CUTS 95 MECHANICAL EMPLOYEES IN NEBRASKA: BNSF has reduced its mechanical work force in Nebraska by 95 employees - 83 in Alliance, and 12 in Lincoln. [Railway Track & Structures, 5-12-20]

INDIA RESUMES LIMITED TRAIN SERVICE: India reopened parts of its huge passenger rail network May 12, running a limited number of trains as it looks at easing a nearly seven-week lockdown, despite a continuing rise in virus infections. Thousands of passengers waited in long lines outside New Delhi's station as police tried to maintain social distancing. [U.S. News & World Report, 5-12-20]

TURKEY REOPENS 268-MILE RAIL LINE FOLLOWING FIVE-YEAR REBUILD: Turkish State Railway has reopened its 268-mile line connecting Sivas with Samsun on the Black Sea coast following a nearly five-year rebuild. [International Railway Journal, 5-12-20]

INFINITY BEGINS SALT LAKE CITY-CHICAGO TEMPERATURE-CONTROLLED INTERMODAL SERVICE: Infinity Intermodal has begun a new expedited temperature-controlled intermodal service from Salt Lake City to Chicago. [Progressive Railroading, 5-11-20]

VERMONT RAIL TO ACQUIRE NEW HAMPSHIRE RAILROAD OPERATING RIGHTS: Vermont Rail System has agreed with New England Southern Railroad to purchase certain assets and operating rights from the New Hampshire Railroad. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to close on June 30. [Progressive Railroading, 5-11-20]

FEDS MOVE TO BLOCK WASHINGTON STATE RESTRICTIONS ON CRUDE-BY-RAIL SHIPMENTS: The federal government has moved to block a Washington state law imposing safety restrictions on oil shipments by rail. The Dept. of Transportation claims federal law preempts the state's mandate that crude from Northern Plains oil fields must remove more of its volatile gases prior to being loaded into rail cars. [NBC Montana, 5-11-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending May 10, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived 59 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept.. 5-11-20]

UNION PACIFIC SHUTS DOWN COLD CONNECT: Union Pacific has shut down its Cold Connect service for perishables from the West to East coasts, which it had acquired from Railtex in 2017. [Railway Age, 5-10-20]

AMTRAK TO RESUME SOME ACELA EXPRESS SERVICE ON JUNE 1: Amtrak will resume limited Acela Express service with three weekday round trips on the Northeast corridor on June 1. There will also be some increase to Northast Regional service. [NBC 10 Boston, 5-8-20]

MARC 'CORNERSTONE' PLAN VETOED BY MD. GOVERNOR: Maryland's governor has vetoed a bill to implement the MARC cornerstone plan, a measure that would have helped to pilot an extension of servive beyond Washington to Alexandria, Va.; an extension of service beyond Perryville to Newark, Del.; and a connection between the Penn and Camden lines. The governor cited financial uncertainties due to economic factors from the coronavirus pandemic. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-8-20]

SILVER STAR TO RUN THREE DAYS A WEEK DUE TO TRACK WORK: Amtrak's Silver Star is being annulled Monday through Thursday through May 28 due to track work (but the train will run on Memorial Day). [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 5-8-20]

FTA WANTS BUS OPTION CONSIDERED ALONG WITH BUFFALO'S LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The Federal Transit Administration has asked the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to look at the option of bus rapid transit along with its plan to extend Buffalo Metro Light-Rail. This could delay advancement of the project by three to six months. [Railway Age, 5-8-20]

KCS NAMES MANNY LOUREIRO CHIEF ENGINEER: Manny Loureiro has been named vice-president and chief engineer of Kansas City Southern, to replace Vernon Jones, who is retiring this summer. [Railway Age, 5-8-20]

AMTRAK PASSENGERS TO BE REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS: Amtrak, effective May 11, will be requiring passengers in stations, trains and thruway buses to wear facemasks. The masks may be removed while in private rooms, while seated by themselves in coaches or with their travel partner, or while eating in designated areas. Children are exempt if they cannot wear a mask. [USA Today, 5-7-20]

BNSF TO CLOSE TWO MAINTENANCE FACILITIES IN WYOMING: BNSF will close its Donkey Creek maintenance facility near Rozet, Wyoming, June 5, and its maintenance facility in Guernsey, Wyoming, July 7. The action is in response to changing conditions and lower demand for rail cars, the company said. About 130 workers will be affected. [Casper Star Tribune, 5-7-20]

BNSF TO FURLOUGH 28 WORKERS FROM TOPEKA MECHANICAL DEPT.: BNSF has announced the furlough of 28 workers in the Topeka, Kansas, mechanical department. [Railway Track & Structures, 5-7-20]

COURT RULES TEXAS CENTRAL IS A 'RAILROAD': A Texas appeals court has ruled that Texas Central, planners of a Houston-Dallas bullet train, is a 'railroad' under they eyes of the law. The ruling allows the company to move forward with the permitting process. [Houston Chronicle, 5-7-20]

CSX TO END MCKEES ROCKS INTERMODAL OPERATIONS: CSX will discontinue intermodal operations at its McKees Rocks, Pa., facility near Pittsburgh, and has contracted with Shell to lease the 70-acre property. Shell will use the site for a storage-in-transit rail facility. CSX had opened the intermodal terminal in 2017. [Progressive Railroading, 5-6-20]

FEDS GRANT MORE THAN $22-M TO THREE PASSENGER RAIL PROJECTS: The Federal Railroad Administration has announced more than $22-million in grant funding to three passenger rail projects: They will help fund an expansion of Amtrak service with a second train between Saint Paul and Chicago; increase of service with two additional weekday CTrail trains in Connecticut; and restoration of service (previously announced) along the Gulf Coast. [Progressive Railroading, 5-6-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES BARBARA PAUL VICE-PRESIDENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES: Barbara Paul has been promoted to vice-president of human resources with Norfolk Southern. She was previously assistant vice-president of human resources and diversity. She had also served 20 years in the U.S. Navy. [Progressive Railroading, 5-6-20]

WABTEC REPORTS 1-Q SALES: Wabtec reported first-quarter sales of $19-billion, up from $1.6-billion in the same quarter last year. [Progressive Railroading, 5-6-20]

APRIL 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in April 2020 was 2,075,958 carloads and intermodal units, down 21.2 percent from the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 25.2 percent, and intermodal was down 17.2 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-6-20]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN MISSOURI: Twenty-five cars of a Union Pacific train derailed late May 4 in Dunklin County, Missouri, blocking highway 62. No injuries were reported. [Railway Track & Structures, 5-5-20]

LIRR COMPLETES MURRY HILL STATION UPGRADES: Long Island Rail Road, on May 4, completed accessibility upgrades to Murray Hill station in Queens. [Progressive Railroading, 5-5-20]

CP SETS MONTHLY GRAIN MOVEMENT RECORD: Canadian Pacific posted a record-setting movement of Canadian grain and grain products in April, with 2.8 million metric tons to market. [Progressive Railroading, 5-5-20]

BELGIUM RESTORES MOST PASSENGER TRAINS: Beginning May 4, most passenger rail service in Belgium was restored following a decision to ease virus-related travel restrictions. [International Railway Journal, 5-5-20]

CHINA SUFFERS FROM DROP IN PASSENGER RAIL TRAFFIC: China National Railway had a $86.6-billion loss in the first-quarter of 2020 due to a substantial drop in passenger traffic from the coronavirus pandemic. [International Railway Journal, 5-5-20]

MD. PURPLE LINE CONTRACTOR TO EXIT PROJECT DUE TO PROJECT DELAYS: Purple Line Transit Constructors, design-build contractor, has announced its intent to exit its contract under an exit clause from work to build Maryland's light-rail line, after project delays. [Progressive Railroading, 5-4-20]

BNSF REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: BNSF has reported first-quarter operating income of $1.82-billion, up 2 percent from first-quarter last year, and net income of $1.19-billion, down 5 percent. Operating ratio was 65.2 percent. [Railway Track & Structures, 5-4-20]

N.Y. PENN STATION CONCOURSES TO CLOSE OVERNIGHT: Two train concourses at New York Penn Station will close to the public overnight in an effort to better clean and disinfect trains. Ticketed passengers for trains between 1 A.M. and 5 A.M. will still be allowed inside the station. [, 5-3-20]

APRIL 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their final scheduled destination on time or earlier in April 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour behind schedule. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 5-1-20]

UNION PACIFIC CUTS MOST OF STAFF AT N. LITTLE ROCK SHOP: Most of the employees at Union Pacific's Jenks locomotive shop in North Little Rock, Arkansas, are being furloughed due to a decline in business stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. [Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 5-1-20]

NJT RUNNING OUT OF FUNDS TO COVER OPERATIONS: New Jersey Transit, with the pandemic impacting ridership, says the agency only has enough cash on hand to fund operations through mid-June. NJ Biz, 5-1-20]

DOWNEASTER SUSPENDED THROUGH MAY 31: Amtrak's Downeaster service will now remain suspended through at least May 31. [Progressive Railroading, 5-1-20]

CONTRACT APPROVED TO REPLACE FOUR MILES OF RAIL FOR S.W. PENNSYLVANIA R.R.: A $2.4-million contract has been approved to replace more than four miles of rail for the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad as part of regular infrastructure upgrades. [Progressive Railroading, 5-1-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN IDLES LINWOOD HUMP YARD IN N.C.: Norfolk Southern is idling its Linwood, N.C., hump yard, resulting in the abolishment of about 85 positions over the month of May. The terminal will continue to provide swithching to local customers. [Railway Age, 5-1-20]

UNION PACIFIC LAYS OFF HUNDREDS AT DE SOTO CAR SHOPS IN MISSOURI: Hundreds of workers at Union Pacific's car shops in De Soto, Missouri, have been laid off. They are subject to possible recall in June, officials said. [My Leader Paper, 5-1-20]

WABTEC TO CUT 300 JOBS IN ERIE, PA.: Wabtec, which purchased GE Transportation in Febr. 2019, is expected to lay off about 300 union workers. This would bring the plant's union work force to about 1,200. [GoErie, 4-30-20]

CHILE APPROVES 2020-22 RAIL INVESTMENT PLAN: Chile has approved its 2020-22 state railway's $1.9-billion plan. It includes introduction of Santiago-Melipilla commuter service, construction of the Santiago-Batuco line, building the Biobio rail bridge in Concepcion, and modernization of the Santiago-Chilla intercity service. [International Railway Journal, 4-30-20]

UNION PACIFIC'S ANNUAL MEETING TO BE THROUGH 'LIVE AUDIO': Union Pacific will conduct its annual meeting May 14 through live audio, not an in-person event. Shareholders planning to vote or submit questions may do so on a special website. [Union Pacific, 4-29-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ANTICIPATES SOME COST CUTS AS PERMANENT: Norfolk Southern expects some of the cost cuts it made in response to the pandemic-induced rail volume decline to be permanent. The company has removed excess locomotives and reduced crew starts, with expectations to cut crew starts even further. NS is also examining which rail yards to close, including outlying smaller yards that it can 'live without,' said its chief operating officer. Another change has been to 'blend' trains so that a train that formerly carried a single commodity would carry verious commodities instead. [Freight Waves, 4-29-20]

AMTRAK'S KEYSTONE, PENNSYLVANIAN SUSPENSION EXTENDED: Suspensions of Amtrak's Keystone service and Pennsylvanian have been extended until at least May 18. [Pittsburgh Tribune, 4-28-20]

NEW WASTE-BY-RAIL FIRM BEGINS BUSINESS: Technical Rail Services is a new waste-by-rail company for the transportation of construction and demolition debris, municipal solid waste, contaminated soil and wastewater residuals. [Progressive Railroading, 4-28-20]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT STATS: Class I rail employment as of mid-March was 127,867, up 0,18 percent from mid-February, but was down 11.78 percent from March 2019, according to Surface Transportation Board data. [Progressive Railroading, 4-28-20]

REPAIRS TO NEW YORK TRANSIT'S CANARSIE TUNNELS COMPLETED: Both New York Transit's Canarsie tunnels between Brooklyn and 14th street Manhattan are now operating freely following a year of repair. [Railway Age, 4-28-20]

RAIL SAFETY WEEK IS SEPT. 21-27: Mexico will join the U.S. and Canada in observing Rail Safety Week this year from September 21 to 27. [Railway Age, 4-28-20]

K.C. MOVES FORWARD WITH MAIN STREET STREETCAR EXTENSION: A contract has been awaded for preconstruction activities for a 3.6-mile extension of the Kansas City Main street streetcar lin to continue south from Union Station, expected to open by 2025. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-27-20]

IRAN TO BUILD 317-MILE ELECTRIFIED RAIL LINE: Iran has signed a memorandum of understanding for construction of a 317-mile electrified passenger-freight rail line through mountainous terrain between Ahwaz and Isfahan. [International Railway Journal, 4-28-20]

CN REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: CN reported first-quarter revenues of $3.5-billion (C). Operating income was $1.2-billion, up 13 percent from the same quarter last year. Diluted earnings per share was $1.42, up 31 pct., and operating ration was 65.7 percent. [CN, 4-27-20]

D.C. METRO TO ADVANCE ORANGE, SILVER LINE PLATFORM PROJECTS: Beginning May 23, all D.C. Metro stations west of Ballston on the Orange and Silver lines will be closed through the fall for platform reconstruction. [Progressive Railroading, 4-27-20]

EFFORTS CONTINUE TO ESTABLISH MARC SERVICE INTO DELAWARE: There continue to be efforts in both Delaware and Maryland to extend MARC service north beyond Perryville to Newark, Delaware. This is the on segment left between New York and Washington lacking commuter service. With a new Newark rail station slated to open next year, some lawmakers want to connect MARC and SEPTA at that location. [Delaware Business News, 4-26-20]

AMTRAK EXPECTS $700-M LOSS DUE TO VIRUS: Amtrak expects to lose $700-million in adjusted operating earnings as a result of the COVD-19 pandemic, and the loss could climb higher as ridership drops by 95 percent across the network. [Progressive Railroading, 4-24-20]

UNION PACIFIC DEPLOYS RAIL-YARD VIDEO SURVEILLANCE NETWORKS: Union Pacific has deployed Radwin's portfolio of point-to-point and point-to-multipoint wireless connectivity solutions to help monitor and manage remote rail yards through video surveillance networks. [Progressive Railroading, 4-24-20]

AMERICAN TRACK SERVICE EXPANDS WITH ACQUISITION: American Track Service has acquired the track inspection, maintenance and repair services of Savage Industrial Rail Services. [Progressive Railroading, 4-24-20]

FIRM GETS GRANT FOR TRAIN DISPATCHING SYSTEM: The Transportation Research Board has granted $100,000 to Ross & Baruzzini Inc. to design, build and test a proof-of-concept augmented reality user interface for train dispatching. It outlines track layout, train information and movement, along with viewing schedule adherence, services and stations. [Progressive Railroading, 4-24-20]

BALTIMORE PENN STATION PROJECT MOVING FORWARD: Baltimore's Penn Station plan is going forward despite the pandemic's effects on Amtrak, officials told reporters. The station is expected to be the hub of a mixed-use development that could include a hotel. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-24-20]

HIAWATHA TRAINS REPLACED BY BUSES: Buses are now operating in place of reduced Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee, but they do not serve Glenview. The Empire Builder, however, is making all Hiawatha stops at Milwaukee Airport, Sturdevant and Glenview. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-24-20]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported first-quarter net income of $1.5-billion or $2.15 per diluted share, compared to $1.4-billion or $1.93 per diluted share in the same quarter of 2019. Operating revenue of $5.2-billion was down 3 percent. Operating ratio of 59 percent was a first-quarter record for the company, and the fourth consecutive record below 60 percent. [Union Pacific, 4-23-20]

SEPTA TO GENERATE 20 PCT OF ITS POWER BY SOLAR: SEPTA has signed with Lightsource BP for the company to finance, build and operate two solar farms in Franklin County, Pa., to generate nearly 20 percent of the agency's electricity demand. [Progressive Railroading, 4-23-20]

SACRAMENTO TO PURCHASE 20 NEW LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The Sacramento Regional Transit District has signed with Siemens Mobility to purchase 20 S700 light-rail vehicles to replace the agency;s aging fleet. They will be built locally. [Progressive Railroading, 4-23-20]

MILLER TOWER UPDATE: CSX's former B&O Miller Tower, which was retired from service in 2000, was moved to the roundhouse in Martinsburg, W.Va., over 19 years ago. The building was later put back together, placed upon a foundation, and it got a new roof. According to roundhouse management, their current priority in 2020 is to add restrooms to the roundhouse, but they have their intention of getting back to work on the tower itself to make it into a living-history display sometime this year. "It has been on the back burner for too long," the roundhouse manager wrote on April 22. [Martinsburg Roundhouse, 4-22-20]

CSX REPORTS 1-Q RESULTS: CSX reported first-quarter earnings were $770-million or $1.00 per share, versus $834-million or $1.02 per share in the same quarter one year ago. Revenue for the quarter decreased 5 percent as growth in merchandise revenue was more than offset by declines in coal and other traffic. Operating ratio was 58.7 percent, setting a Class I railroad first-quarter record. [CSX, 4-22-20]

UNION PACIFIC SENIOR EXECUTIVES TAKING 25 PCT PAY CUT: Senior Union Pacific executives will take a 25 percent salary cut from May through August, and non-union workers will be required to take a week of unpaid leave each month during that same period. This is in response to volume drop caused by the conoravirus outbreak. [Progressive Railroading, 4-22-20]

CALIFORNIA AWARDS $38.7-M GRANT TOWARD PACIFIC SURFLINER: The Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo passenger rail corridor has been awarded a $38.7-million state grant to improve Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner service. The grant includes funding to help overhaul and modernize cars, and to build two train layover facilities. [Progressive Railroading, 4-22-20]

PERSON KILLED BY TRAIN AT GLENVIEW METRA STATION: A person died early April 22 after being struck by a Wisconsin & Southern freight train at the Glenview, Illinois, Metra station. [Chicago Sun-Times, 4-22-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending April 18, 2020, U.S. rail freight carload and intermodal traffic was 403,282, down 23.3 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 27.5 percent, and intermodal was down 19.1 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-22-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ELIMINATING MORE POSITIONS IN WILLIAMSON, W.VA.: Norfolk Southern is eliminating about 35 more positions from the Williamson, W.Va., yard. A total of about 85 employees have been eliminated from that location in the past nine months. [Williamson Daily News, 4-21-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN HITS TRUCK IN VA., DERAILS: A conductor is being treated at a hospital after a Norfolk Southern train struck a week-spray truck and derailed April 20 in a rural location of Montgomery County, Va. [WDBJ7, 4-21-20]

BOBBY FRANKLIN NAMED GENERAL MANAGER OF TEXAS NORTH WESTERN: Bobby Franklin has been named general manager of Texas North Western Railway in Sunray, Texas. [Railway Age, 4-21-20]

UP TO ABOUT 200 LOCOMOTIVES ARE STORED IN SALT LAKE CITY: At least 150 or as many as 200 locomotives are currently stored in a Union Pacific yard north of downtown Salt Lake City just east of Interstate 15. [KSL-TV, 4-21-20]

RAIL CARS DERAIL INTO MISSISSIPPI RIVER: A BNSF freight train struck a Boulder and derailed about 12 cars, several falling into the Mississippi River early April 20 in Iowa. The crew members were not injured. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-21-20]

CP REPORTS RECORD CANADIAN GRAIN TRAFFIC IN 1ST-QUARTER: Canadian Pacific reported movement of more thn 6.35 million metric tons of Canadian grain and grain products in the first-quarter 2020, the company's best first-quarter on record. [CP, 4-20-20]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN CALIFORNIA: A derailment of six cars of a Union Pacific freight train in Emeryville, California, on April 19 is being investigated. No injuries were reported. Three grade crossings were blocked for about five hours. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-20-20]

RAYMOND KENNY DIES, NJT OFFICIAL: Veteran railroader Raymond P. Kenny, 69, senior vice-president and general manager of rail operations for NJ Transit, died from conoravirus complications, officials said April 18. [, 4-18-20]

AMTRAK DINING-CAR CHANGES DURING VIRUS OUTBREAK: In response to the virus outbreak, sleeping car passengers on California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle may choose either room service or flexible pre-packaged options in the diner, serviced by a single attendant. Cafe service remains in the lounge car for coach passengers. Traditional dining is retained for sleeping car passengers in Auto Train. [Rail Passenges Assn. hotline, 4-17-20]

ABOUT 4,000 PASSENGERS PER DAY RIDING AMTRAK: About 4,000 people per day are riding Amtrak trains, system-wide, compared to about 90,000 prior to the virus outbreak. [Rail Passenges Assn. hotline, 4-17-20]

COURT RULES BNSF VIOLATED AGREEMENT WITH SWINOMISH TRIBE: A 1989 agreement between BNSF and the Swinomish Tribal Community in Washington state limited the railroad to one train per day in each direction through the tribal reservation. The railroad was also required to furnish an annual report to the tribe identifying the cargo that was transported. A federal court has now ruled that BNSF violated these commitments. [Bonner County Daily Bee, 4-16-20]

GREENRIER SUSPENDS RAILCAR PRODUCTION IN PORTLAND, OREGON: Greenbrier Cos. has suspended new railcar prodution at its plant in Portland, Oregon, due to the economic impact of coronavirus. About 200 workers are affected. [Progressive Railroading, 4-16-20]

PROGRESS RAIL TO PROVIDE 36 GT38AC FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVES TO INDONESIA: Progress Rail has a contract to provide 36 new GT38AC freight locomotives to Indonesia for late 2021 delivery. [Railway Age, 4-16-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending April 11, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 412,503 carloads and intermodal units, down 21.9 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads wer down 23.8 percent, and intermodal was down 20.0 percent. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-15-20]

SEPTA REGIONAL RAIL CONDUCTOR DIES OF COVID-19: A SEPTA regional rail conductor has died of coronavirus, and two other workers are in critical condition. [NBC Philadelphia, 4-15-20]

MARYLAND AWARDS TRACK MAINTENANCE CONTRACT: Maryland's transit administration has awarded a three-year contract to RailWorks to provide track and maintenance services for the 77 miles of metro and light-rail within the state's system. [Progressive Railroading, 4-15-20]

THREE AMTRAK ACELA MAINTENANCE FACILITIES TO BE UPGRADED: Amtrak has selected Skanska to rehabilitate three maintenance facilities for the next-generation Acela high-speed rail service on the Northeast corridor. [Progressive Railroading, 4-14-20]

CALIFORNIA APPROVES $600-M BOND FOR VIRGIN TRAINS HIGH-SPEED LINE: California has approved a $600-million private activity bond allocation toward construction of the $5-billion Virgin Trains rail line to link southern California with Las Vegas. [Forbes, 4-14-20]

FOUR NEW RAIL CARS DELIVERED FOR HONOLULU RAPID TRANSIT: Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit contractor Hitachi Rail has received four new rail cars for the agency's future rail system along Oahu's south shore. With the new order, 11 four-car trains out of the 17-train order have been received. [Progressive Railroading, 4-14-20]

KCS WORKER SERIOUSLY INJURED: A Kansas City Southern worker was life-flighted to a St. Louis area hospital the afternoon of April 14 following injuries sustained on railroad property. [River Bender, 4-14-20]

DRIVER KILLED AS AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR IN FLORIDA: Amtrak's Silver Meteor traveling northbound struck a car April 10 at a crossing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, killing the driver. The impact was so severe that the car was thrown into a pair of signal box housings, and the crossing will be closed to traffic for several weeks. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-14-20]

AMTRAK'S DOWNEASTER SUSPENDED: Amtrak's Downeaster rail service has been suspended through at least the end of April. [Bangor Daily News, 4-13-20]

PILES OF CROSSTIES BURN IN COLORADO, TRAINS DELAYED: Two large stacks of railroad ties burned at a site near Pueblo, Colorado, on April 11, disrupting train service. About 10,000 ties were involved. Police believe the acts were intentional. [Railway Track & Structures, 4-12-20]

AMTRAK REMOVES NEC TICKET RESTRICTIONS: Multi-ride train and city-pair restrictions are removed on the Northeast corridor through May 31. [Amtrak, 4-10-20]

AMTRAK REDUCES SALES TO HALF OF CAPACITY: To help maintain CDC recommendations for social distancing, Amtrak is temporarily reducing coach and business class sales to just 50 percent of seating capacity. [Amtrak, 4-10-20]

AMTRAK'S CITY OF NEW ORLEANS SUSPENDED SOUTH OF MCCOMB: Amtrak's City of New Orleans is suspended between McComb and New Orleans due to emergency flood control. Bus transfer is implemented between these stations, with a stop in Hammond. There will be no service at Brookhaven or Maplehurst. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-10-20]

CSX-SERVED PORT OF WILMINGTON READY FOR HUGE SHIPS: The Port of Wilmington, served by CSX, is now ready to accept the world's largest container ships calling on east coast ports, made possible by expansion of the port's turning basin in Cape Fear River to over 1,500 feet. [Progressive Railroading, 4-9-20]

MILIN RAIL TUNNEL HOLED THROUGH: The 7.2-mile Milin tunnel has been holed through on the 270-mile Sichuan-Tibet railway which will connect Lhasa with Nyingchi in southeast Tibet. [International Railway Journal, 4-9-20]

WABTEC TO OVERHAUL 40 DMU TRAINS FOR BRITAIN'S ANGEL TRAINS: British rolling-stock leasing company Angel Trains has awarded Wabtec Rail a contract to overhaul 40 class 158 diesel multiple-units. [International Railway Journal, 4-9-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending April 4, 2020, was 429,095 carloads and intermodal units, down 15.9 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-8-20]

SEPTA FURTHER SLASHES SERVICES DUE TO VIRUS: SEPTA will further slash train, trolley and bus services as it moves to a 'lifeline' schedule amid the coronavirus outbreak. It is aimed at providing access for essential workers traveling to hospitals, life-sustaining services and grocery stores. [NBC Philadelphia, 4-8-20]

NEW JERSEY BEGINS BRIDGE PROJECT IN NORTH BERGEN: New Jersey has begun a $24.8-million project to replace the route 3 bridge over New York Susquehanna & Western and Conrail railroad tracks and a ramp in North Bergen. [Progressive Railroading, 4-8-20]

NTSB ISSUES REPORT ON 2018 CSX DERAILMENT, BRIDGE COLLAPSE IN ALEXANDRIA, VA.: A May 2018 CSX derailment and subsequent bridge collapse in Alexandria, Va., was caused by a subgrade fill failure of the track structure that displaced ballast, resulting in a cross-level deviation of the track to allow a wheel climb derailment, the National Transportation Safety Board has determined. The bridge structure and eight of the 31 derailed cars fell onto Norfolk Southern tracks below. [Progressive Railroading, 4-8-20]

HOOSAC TUNNEL OPENS FOLLOWING REPAIRS: Pan Am Railway's Hoosac tunnel in western Massachusetts reopened April 4 after being closed for repairs of a wall collapse in early February. The 4.9-mile tunnel dates from 1875. [Progressive Railroading, 4-7-20]

FEDS APPROVE B&LE ACQUISITION OF CSX'S MASSENA RAIL LINES: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has authorized CN subsidiary Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad's acquisition and operation of the 236-mile Massena rail lines from CSX. The lines operate between Valleyfield, Quebec, and Eoodard, New York. [Progressive Railroading, 4-7-20]

AMTRAK'S CAROLINIAN TO BE SUSPENDED DUE TO VIRUS: Amtrak's Carolinian, which operates daily between New York and Charlotte, will be suspended starting April 6 because of the coronavirus outbreak. [News & Observer, 4-6-20]

CN MARKS RECORD MONTH OF MARCH FOR GRAIN: CN moved 2.62 million tons of grain in March, a record for the month, and a 6 percent increase from the previous record set in 2017. The reailroad has been working to clear a backlog following political blockades in Febr. [Progressive Railroading, 4-6-20]

HITACHI UNVEILS UPGRADED VERSION OF MAGLEV: Hitachi has unveiled a more streamlined version of the series LO maglev test train which it is building for JR Central. [International Railway Journal, 4-6-20]

AMTRAK CUTS FREQUENCY OF DOWNEASTER: Amtrak's Downeaster, which serves riders from Boston into Maine, will be suspended in service to just one daily round-trip in response to the coronavirus. [Lewiston Sun, 4-5-20]

FRA'S PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD BEGINS ON AMTRAK METRICS PROPOSAL: A 60-dy public comment period is now open on the Federal Railroad Administration's proposal for new passenger rail service metrics and standards, which include a single customer-facing on-time standard, reports on customer-service and financial performance. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-3-20]

COVID-19 DELAYS TEXAS CENTRAL PLANS: As with many projects around the world, Texas Central's bullet train is being put on hold due to the global pandemic. The company has also announced it was laying off 28 employees, but it will maintain a core team to be ready to move forward. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 4-3-20]

ILLINOIS APPROVES $315-M FOR GRADE CROSSING PROJECTS: The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved a five-year, $315-million plan for grade crossing safety capital projects across the state. More than 1,400 crossings are involved. [Progressive Railroading, 4-3-20]

MAN CHARGED WITH INTENTIONALLY WRECKING LOCOMOTIVE IN L.A.: A 44-year-old man was arrested April 1 for allegedly derailing a locomotive, intentionlly, at full speed near the USNS Mercy hospital ship at the Port of Los Angeles. According to the complaint, the man ran the engine off the track before crashing through a series of barriers, ultimately coming to rest more than 250 yards from the ship. [CBS Los Angeles, 4-2-20]

OIL COMPANIES MAY USE RAIL TANK CARS TO STORE EXCESS CRUDE: North American oil producers, refiners and traders are now looking to store excess oil in rail cars in Texas, Saskatchewan and Manitoba amid the glut in crude oil and collapsing demand. [Yahoo Finance, 4-2-20]

ALASKA R.R. REPORTS YEAR-END RESULTS: Alaska Railroad reported 2019 net income of $21.6-million, a 7.5 percent increase from 2018. Operating ratio for the year was 0.97. [Progressive Railroading, 4-2-20]

OMNITRAX SELECTS 10 RAIL-READY SITES IN N.J.: OmniTRAX has kicked off its new Rail-Ready Sites program with 10 sites along the New Jersey division of the Winchester & Western Railroad. All are in Cumberland County and have access to both CSX and Norfolk Southern. [Progressive Railroading, 4-2-20]

METRA TO BEGIN PLATFORM RHAB AT ITASCA STATION: Metra, on April 4, will begin a project to rehabilitate platforms at the Itasca station on the Milwaukee District West line, designed to increase accessibility. [Progressive Railroading, 4-2-20]

CHENGDU TO OPEN TWO NEW METRO LINES: The Chinese city of Chengdu is gearing up to opens lines 17 and 18 later this year. They will operate as express lines with a maximum speed of 87 MPH. [International Railway Journal, 4-2-20]

MARCH 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-four percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in March 2020. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the monthly survey was 37 minutes late. The average arrival of just those trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 21 minutes late. The train with the best on-time performance was City of New Orleans (87 percent), and the train with the worst on-time performance was Sunset Limited (0 percent). MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 4-1-20]

UNION PACIFIC, CSX WARN OF FINANCIAL IMPACTS DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: Union Pacific and CSX say the coronavirus pandemic is creating 'huge uncertainties' that could translate into material financial impacts, according to filings with the Security and Exchange Commission. [Freight Waves, 4-1-20]

NEW ENGLAND CENTRAL LEASES LAND TO CONNECTICUT PORT AUTHORITY: New England Central Railroad has leased five acres to the Connecticut Port Authority to use for moving wind turbine components through the port of New London. [Progressive Railroading, 4-1-20]

XPRESS WEST SEEKS DEBT FUNDING FOR CALIFORNIA-LAS VEGAS HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Xpress West has taken steps to secure private debt funding for its $4.8-billion plan to build a 170-mile high-speed electric rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas. If funding is secured, construction could begin later this year, with service launching in 2023. The line would be marketed as Virgin Trains. [Progressive Railroading, 4-1-20]

MONTHLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight volume in March 2020 was 1,835,053 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.3 percent from the same month last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-1-20]

ROCKY MOUNTAINEER POSTPONES OPENING OF SERVICE UNTIL JULY: The 2020 opening day of the Rocky Mountaineer between Vancouver, B.C., and the Canadian Rockies, originally scheduled for April 13, has been postponed until July 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic. [Progressive Railroading, 3-31-20]

METRA BEGINS 2020 CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM: Chicago's Metra has begun several major projects as part of its 2020 construction pogram that will continue through the fall. Rail service reductions due to the coronavirus have enabled the agency to get an early start on its program. Included will be tie replacements, signal and communications improvements, construction of two new stations, a bridge replacement, a fiber optic project and construction of new track segments. [Progressive Railroading, 3-31-20]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA TEMPORARILY SUSPENDS PRODUCTION IN SHOALS, ALABAMA: FreightCar America has temporarily suspended production at its facility in Shoals, Alabama, after an employee tested positive for coronavirus. [Freight Waves, 3-31-20]

CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR SUSPENDED WEST OF DENVER OVER VIRUS THREAT: Following an apparent positive COVID-19 test amongst Amtrak staff, westbound passenger trains from Denver to Salt Lake City and San Francisco were canceled without warning March 29 and will remain closed until further notice. [Patch 30]

CANADA SCREENING INTERCITY RAIL PASSENGERS FOR VIRUS: Canada has implemented new requirements for intercity rail passenger companies to require them to screen passengers for the coronavirus before they board a train, and to refuse riders who present those symptons from boarding. This does not apply to commuter trains. [Progressive Railroading, 3-30-20]

TORNADO BLOWS TRAIN OFF TRACK IN ARKANSAS: A Union Pacific train was literally pulled from the tracks March 28, leaving wheels and axles almost in place, by an EF-3 tornado near Jonesboro, Arkansas. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-30-20]

DEADLY SHOOTING ON PHILADELPHIA EL TRAIN: Philadelphia police are investigating a deadly shooting on board an El tain. The body of a 41-year-old man was found at Kensington and Allegheny avenues early March 29. [CBS Philadelphia, 3-30-20]

WUHAN RESUMES PARTIAL OPERATION OF METRO: The Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, resumed partial operation of its six-line metro network on March 28, while mainline and high-speed trains are also stopping at Wuchang station for the first time since the city was locked down on January 23. [International Railway Journal, 3-30-20]

TRAC INTERMODAL ACQUIRED: Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners has completed the transaction to acquire TRAC Intermodal and its subsidiaries. [Railway Age, 3-30-20]

GERMANY'S DEUTSCHE BAHN CARRIES RECORD NUMBER OF INTERCITY PASSENGERS IN 2019: A record number of Deutsche Bahn's ICE and IC passengers were carried in 2019. Ridership was 150.7, an increase of 1.9 percent over the previous year. [Railway Gazette, 3-30-20]

AUTO TRAIN DERAILS IN FLORIDA: After leaving the station in Sanford, Florida, March 26, the northbound Auto Train derailed outside of DeLand around 4:15 p.m. None of the passenger cars were affcted, but nine of the vehicle cars ended off the tracks and on their sides. There were no injuries reported among the 294 passengrs, but one crew member was transported to a hospital with a foot injury. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-27-20]

AMTRAK TEMPORARILY BLOCKS CASH PAYMENTS: Amtrak is temporarily blocking cash payments on trains and in stations as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This measure may be an obstacle to Amish customers who typically do not use credit cards. Other changes include a number of stations being closed, due to declining patronage, and the suspension of cafe cars on certain trains. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-27-20]

CARES ACT PROVIDES $1-B FOR AMTRAK, $25-B FOR TRANSIT: The U.S. House voted to send the Cares Act to the President enacting a $2-trillion coronavirus relief package into law. Included are $1.018-billion in Amtrak and $25-billion in mass transit grants. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-27-20]

N.Y. SUBWAY OPERATOR DIES, 17 INJURED IN ONBOARD FIRE: The operator of a New York City subway train in Manhattan was killed early March 27, and 17 people were injured in a fire that broke out in one of the train cars at 110th street Central Park north station. There were two other fires in the subway at other locations that same morning. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-27-20]

VERMONT SUSPENDS TWO AMTRAK TRAINS IN STATE: Vermont has suspended Amtrak trains Ethan Allen Express and Vermonter within its state to slow the spread of coronavirus. [Progressive Railroading, 3-26-20]

CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS MOVED BY HIGH-SPEED MEDICALIZED TRAIN IN FRANCE: In a first for Europe, 20 critically ill coronavirus patients were evacuated aboard a fully-medicalized high-speed TGV train from the eastern region of France to the western Loire Valley. Four passengers were carried in each car, positioned across the tops of seats, with ventilators and oxygen and attended by medical staff. [National Public Radio, 3-26-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 21, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 459,966 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.6 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-25-20]

BRIGHTLINE SUSPENDS SOUTH FLORIDA SERVICE: Virgin Trains USA, parent company of Brightline, has confirmed that it laid off 250 out of more than 300 South Florida workers after suspending its South Florida service amid coronavirus concerns. [Miami Herald, 3-25-20]

ONE KILLED, ONE INJURED AS TWO JUMP FROM FREIGHT TRAIN IN ARIZONA: Union Pacific says a woman trespasser died and a second woman was injured March 24 after falling from a freight train in Nogales, Arizona. [KGUN, 3-25-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PROMOTES VANESSA SUTHERLAND: Norfolk Southern has promoted Vanessa Allen Sutherland to executive vice-president and chief legal officer, effective April 1. [Railway Age, 3-25-20]

ALLPRESS & MOORE RAILROAD SIGNAL ACQUIRES CDL ELECTRIC: The sale of Allpress & Moore Railroad Signal Contractors has bought CDL Electric Co., which installs and maintains railroad signals. [Progressive Railroading, 3-25-20]

STUCKI ROLLER BEARING OPENS SECOND FACILTY IN LINCOLN, NEBRASKA: Stucki Roller Bearing has opened a second facility in Lincoln, Nebraska, a 50,000-square-foot facility to house manufacturing, distribution and office space to support its bearings business for freight car, locomotive and transit applications. [Progressive Railroading, 3-25-20]

SEATTLE'S SOUND TRANSIT COMPLETES EAST LINK LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: Sound Transit has completed its Connect 2020, an 11-week project to connect the existing Link light-rail system to the 14-mile East Link extension in Seattle. Its existing rail tunnel is now configured for East Link in preparation for extended service to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond via 10 new stations in 2023. [Progressive Railroading, 3-24-20]

BOMBARDIER HALTS PRODUCTION DUE TO VIRUS: Bombardier is temporarily halting production and non-essential work, including aircraft and rail production in Quebec and Ontario, due to the coronavirus pandemic. [Canadian Press, 3-24-20]

LATVIA HALTS RAIL ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT: Latvian Railways has decided to halt a project to electrify its 1520mm-gauge rail network due to a sharp drop in freight traffic. [International Railway Journal, 3-24-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 22, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 25 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-23-20]

U.S. CLASS-I RAIL EMPLOYMENT DROPS IN FEBR.: Class-I railroads employed 127,634 workers as of mid-February, down 0.53 percent compared with the mid-January level, and down 12.46 percent compared with the year ago level, said the U.S. Suface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading, 3-23-20]

INDIA SUSPENDS TRAIN SERVICE UNTIL MARCH 31: Late March 23, passenger train services in India were suspended until March 31, even while crowds were still waiting to board. The country's national rail system carries more than eight billion passengers a year. [ABC News, 3-23-20]

AMTRAK TO SUSPEND ACELA TRAINS: Amtrak, on March 23, will cancel its flagsthip Acela trains in the Northeast as the threat of coronavirus continues to reduce demand for travel. The railroad will continue to operate its Northeast regional trains, but at only 40 percent of their regular weekday schedules. [USA Today, 3-22-20]

AMTRAK MANAGEMENT FACING SALARY REDUCTIONS: Amtrak's management employees now face tempoary salary reductions. This includes a full 100 percent reduction for its chief executive officer, according to a company memo. [Philadelphia Enquirer, 3-21-20]

FRA ISSUES PROPOSED RULEMAKING FOR AMTRAK PERFORMANCE: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for measuring the performance and service quality of Amtrak intercity passenger trains that operate on host freight railroads. It would define on-time performance and set forth a minimum average standard of 80 percent. [Railway Age, 3-20-20]

AMTRAK MAKES SERVICE MODIFICATIONS: Amtrak has adjusted some services due to reduced demand in key markets. The Northeast corridor is operating approximately 40 percent of its typical weekday schedules. Adirondack is terminated north of Albany. Cascades trains are terminated north of Seattle. Maple Leaf is terminated west of Niagara Falls, N.Y. Keystone service, Pennsylvanian, Pere Marquette and Winter Park Express are canceled. Certain other services are reduced in frequency. [Amtrak, 3-18-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending March 14, 2020, was 463,017 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.6 percent compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-18-20]

ALASKA R.R. SUSPENDING AURORA WINTER PASSENGER SERVICE: Alaska Railroad is suspending its Aurora Winter train passenger service between Anchorage and Fairbanks March 19 through April 30. The suspension will affect nine round-trips. Freight service is not affected. [Progressive Railroading, 3-18-20]

APTA REQUESTING $12.9-B FOR TRANSIT, PASSENGER RAIL TO OFFSET VIRUS COSTS: As Congress works on coronavirus legislation, the American Public Transportation Association is requesting $12.0-billion for public transit agencies and passenger railroads to offset their direct costs and revenue losses related to the outbreak. [Progressive Railroading, 3-18-20]

WEEKLY RAIL COAL VOLUME REACHES 10-YEAR LOW: U.S. coal carloads fell to a 10-year low of 55,542 in the week ending March 14, down 5.3 pct from a week earlier and 23 pct lower than the corresponding week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [S&P Global Platts, 3-18-20]

AMTRAK OFFERING ONBOARD BICYCLE STORAGE ON THREE MICHIGAN ROUTES: Amtrak is offering limited onboard bicycle storage on three routes between Michigan and Chicago. Routes can store bikes in an open area at the end of one of the coaches. Reservations are needed. [Progressive Railroading, 3-17-20]

EXPANSION CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN ON METROLINK LAYOVER FACILITY: The Riverside County, California, transportation commission will begin construction to expand the Metrolink train layover facility at the Riverside downtown station in early April. The expansion will allow seven trains to be housed overnight, two more than the facility's current capacity. [Progressive Railroading, 3-17-20]

CONTAINER SHORTAGE IMPACTS EXPORT TRAFFIC: As sailings from North American ports have been canceled, a lot of containers are sitting at ports waiting to be shipped. Until China's production for the U.S. is fully up and running once again, there will be a shortage of inbound containers to turn back for export. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-17-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-five percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 15, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 27 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet, Statistical Dept., 3-16-20]

AMTRAK CUTS NEC FREQUENCY BY 60 PCT: Amtrak is cutting its frequency on the Northeast corridor between Boston, New York and Washington by 60 percent of its typical weekday schedules in response to plummeting demand due to the coronavirus. [USA Today, 3-15-20]

JEROME MURPHY DIES, MA & PA HISTORIAN: Jerome E. Murphy, 95, who spent a lifetime collecting documents, photographs and hardware related to the old Maryland & Pennsylvania (Ma & Pa) Railroad, which operated a circuitous 77-mile route between Baltimore and York, died March 6. A former resident of Baldwin, Md., his interests in the Ma & Pa were stimulated by his uncle Henry Crilley, who was the line's station agent and postmaster at Long Green, Md., from 1883 until 1935. [Baltimore Sun, 3-15-20]

AMTRAK LOSING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN LOST REVENUE DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: Amtrak anticipates losing hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue due to covid-19, forcing the company to reduce train frequencies and cut costs. Future bookings have plunged to about half what they were this time last year, and Amtrak has target scaling back frequencies on the Northeast corridor. Meanwhile, Amtrak is doing extra deep-cleaning on its trains and stations. Change fees will not be charged for passengers who reschdule their travel out of concern over the virus. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 3-13-20]

N.Y. MTA PURCHASES GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL: New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has closed on its purchase of Grand Central Teminal from Midtown Trackage Ventures. The acquisition includes Metro-North's Harlem and Hudson lines. The purchase ends MTA's 280-year lease of Grand Central, and gives Metro-North control of its operating environment. [Progressive Railroading, 3-13-20]

CENOVUS ENERGY HALTS CRUDE-BY-RAIL PROGRAM: Falling crude oil prices have prompted Canadian oil and natural gas producer Cenovus Energy to temporarily stop is crude-by-rail program. [Freight Waves, 3-13-20]

FEDS PROPOSE DRAFT SAFETY STANDARDS FOR TEXAS CENTRAL BULLET TRAIN: The Federal Railroad Administration has proposed a 'rule of particular applicability' to establish safety standards for the Texas Central Railroad's Dallas-Houston high-speed system. The proposed rule takes a system approach, including signal and trainset control, track, rolling stock, operating practices, system qualifications and maintenance. Trains would operate at no more than 205 MPH. [Progressive Railroading, 3-12-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN MOVES 30 JOBS FROM WILLIAMSON, W.VA.: Norfolk Southern has 'repositioned' 30 jobs from its 100-plus-year-old rail yard in Williamson, W.Va., to the company's yards in Bluefield, W.Va., and Roanoke, Va. [Williamson Daily News, 3-12-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending March 7, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 462,303 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.1 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carload volume was down 3.5 pct, and intermodal was down 14.1 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-11-20]

NORTH CAROLINA TO EXPLORE ROUTE USING N.C. RAILROAD FOR LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: North Carolina's GoTriangle is circling back on a new light-rail line that would serve Durham and Johnston counties. The agency attempted to move forward with a line last year, but it was denied by Duke University for a needed right-of-way. Now there will be a study on a 34-mile route that would use existing rail owned by N.C. Railroad, plus several miles of new track. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-11-20]

DANELLA RENTAL SYSTEMS ACQUIRES ASPEN EQUIPMENT'S RENTAL DIVISION: Danella Rental Systems has acquired Aspen Equipment Company's rental division. Danella provides hi-rail vehicle and construction equipment, and Aspen Equipment builds hi-rail vehicles. Aspen will remain in the industry, focusing on production and service of new railroad equipment. [Progressive Railroading, 3-11-20]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO UPGRADE WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY: Genesee & Wyoming will implement PS Technology's CewPro Short Line railroad crew management and hours of service system, and the QualPro qualification and training management solution across its rail network. The systems automate much of crew calling processes and tracks qualification information and scheduling requirements. [Progressive Railroading, 3-11-20]

FEDS AWARD RAIL PROJECT GRANTS TO PORTS OF LOS ANGELES, LONG BEACH: The Federal Maritime Administration has awarded $18.2-million to the Port of Los Angeles, and $14.5-million to the Port of Long Beach for rail-related projects. [Progressive Railroading, 3-11-20]

AMTRAK WARNS OF SERVICE REDUCTIONS OVER CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS: Amtrak bookings have plunged about 50 percent amid concerns over the coronavirus, and the railroad told its employees to expect 'significant reductions' in train service and voluntary unpaid leave. [USA Today, 3-11-20]

SWEDEN AWARDS HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONSULTANCY CONTRACTS: The Swedish Transport Administration has awarded a contract for consultancy services for construction of three high-speed rail lines between Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo. The lines could potentially form part of a 410-mile network connecting the southern parts of the country. [Progressive Railroading, 3-11-20]

ALSTOM LANDS $58.7-M GERMAN LIGHT-RAIL CONTACT: Alstom will supply 17 additional Citadis trams to the Strasboug Transport Company and the Eurometropole of Strasbourg in Germany. The $58.7-million order will complete the 63-vehicle fleet delivered between 2003 and 2019. [Progressive Railroading, 3-11-20]

SUBWAY TRAINS COLLIDE IN MEXICO CITY, ONE KILLED, SCORES INJURED: At least man was killed and 41 other people were hurt after two subway trains collided in Mexico City on March 11. [Fox News, 3-11-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending March 8, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and nine minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-9-20]

FEDS GRANT $14.5-M TO ELLIS & EASTERN FOR TRACK REHAB: Ellis & Eastern Co. will receive a nearly $14.5-million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to help fund the rehabilitation of 7.5 miles of track between Brandon, Minnesota, and Valley Springs, South Dakota. The project calls for rebuilding six miles of track between Rushmore and Adrian, Minnesota, with 115-pound rail (to replace 80-pound rail), constructing a siding, and upgrading bridges and grade crossings. [Progressive Railroading, 3-9-20]

LIRR ACTIVATES PTC ON 108 MILES OF SYSTEM: Long Island Rail Road has activated positive train-control on the eastern 108 miles of its system, nearly doubling the route miles of its PTC-activated system. [Progressive Railroading, 3-9-20]

AMTRAK TO SUSPEND NON-STOP ACELA TRAINS BETWEEN N.Y. AND D.C.: Amtrak is suspending its Acela non-stop service between New York and Washington DC from March 10 until May 26 because of falling demand due to the coronaviris outbreak. [N.Y. Post, 3-7-20]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS IN ALABAMA: About five cars of a CSX train derailed early March 7 coming out of the rail yard in Flomaton, Alabama. No injuries were reported. [WEAR-TV, 3-7-20]

FEDS PUBLISH ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF REPLACING AMTRAK'S SAWTOOTH BRIDGE IN N.J.: The Federal Railroad Administration has published an environmental assessment of Amtrak's proposed replacement of the Sawtooth bridge on the Northeast corridor in New Jersey. The project calls for replacing two aging two-track bridges near the entrance to the North River tunnel, included as part of the Gateway program to increase rail capacity. [Progressive Railroading, 3-6-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN BEGINS AUTONOMOUS TRACK INSPECTION SYSTEM: Norfolk Southern is deploying an autonomous track geometry measurement system on its mainline between Norfolk, Virginia, and Portsmouth, Ohio. It is the first use of this particular system in North America, mounted on a locomotive between its pilot and first set of wheels, and supplies timely data used for track maintenance and capital budgeting. [Progessive Railroading, 3-6-20]

WARREN BUFFET PULLS OUT OF LNG PROJECT IN QUEBEC: Investor Warren Buffet has pulled out of a proposed $9-billion liquefied natural gas project in Quebec over concerns about railway blockades and infrastructue challenges. [Financial Post, 3-6-20]

FRENCH HIGH-SPEED TRAIN DERAILS: A French high-speed TGV train, traveling 170 MPH with about 300 passengers on board en route from Colmar to Paris, derailed early March 5 injuring 21 people, including the engineer. The derailment opened gash on the pointed nose of the train, which remained upright. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-5-20]

RECONSTRUCTION COMPLETED ON SEPTA'S EXTON STATION: SEPTA has completed reconstruction of the Exton station on the Paoli-Thorndale regional rail line. [Progressive Railroading, 3-5-20]

VIA RAIL RESTORING TRAINS TO NORMAL SCHEDULES: VIA Rail Canada will restore most of its trains to normal schedules by March 7, following protest blockades that prompted system-wide service cancelations. [Progressive Railroading, 3-5-20]

BNSF MAKING PROGRESS ON BUILDING SECOND BRIDGE NEAR SANDPOINT, IDAHO: Progress is being made in BNSF's plan to build a scond bridge, nearly a mile in length, parallel to its existing bridge acoss Lake Pnd Oreille near Sandpoint, Idaho. Within the city of Sandpoint itself, grade work includes construction of a pedestrian tunnel to allow public access to a beach and lakside trail. [Railway Age, 3-5-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES THREE TO V.P. POSITIONS: Norfolk Southern has appointed Greg Comstock to vice-president of network operations, Lorri Kleine to vice-president of law, and Patrick Whitehead to vice-president of transportation. [Progressive Railroading, 3-5-20]

HOOSAC TUNNEL TO REMAIN OUT OF SERVICE UNTIL AT LEAST THE END OF MARCH: Pan Am Railway continues to work on repairs to the Hoosac Tunnel, but the line between Mechanicville and Ayer is now expected to remain out of service until at least the end of March. Norfolk Southern trains continue to use alternate routes. The tunnel had a partial wall collapse early last month. [Norfolk Southern, 3-5-20]

APPEALS COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF TRIBAL COMMUNITY IN SUIT AGAINST BNSF: A federal appeals court has sided with the Swinomish Tribal Community in a lawsuit against BNSF over cargo and volume of traffic through tribal land. The ruling upholds a lower court ruling of the tribe's right to sue over enforcement. [Big Country News, 3-5-20]

N.Y. UNVEILS PLAN TO DECK OVER SUNNYSIDE YARD TO MAKE SPACE FOR APARTMENTS: New York City has unveiled a massive plan to deck over Sunnyside Yard to make space for 12,000 affordable apartments in Queens. The first of three phases in the process would include a new Sunnyside rail station for Long Island and Metro-North passengers. [Gothamist, 3-4-20]

FEBRUARY 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight volume for the month of Febr. 2020 was 1,924,767 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.1 pct from the same month last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 7.3 pct, and intermodal volume was down 8.9 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-4-20]

BOB SCARDELLETTI, PRESIDENT OF TCU, RETIRING: Robert Scardelletti, national president of Transportation- Communications Union/ IAM, has announced his retirement effective July 1. Arthur Maratea has been elected to be his successor. [TCU/IAM, 3-4-20]

MULTI-COMMODITY RELOAD YARD OPENS IN OREGON: The Lost Creek Rock Products Coastal Reload yard opened March 1 at the Port of Coos Bay in Oregon. Served by the Coos Bay Rail line, the multi-commodity rail-to-truck, truck-to-rail terminal will serve the southern Oregon coast with a link to domestic and global markets. [Progressive Railroading, 3-4-20]

AMTRAK STEPS UP PROCEDURES IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS THREAT: Amtrak is intensifying its cleaning protocol for trains and stations, and waiving reservation change fees through the end of April, in response to the coronavirus threat. [USA Today, 3-4-20]

CONNECTICUT GETS GRANT FOR NEW RAIL STATION AT WINDSOR LOCKS: Connecticut has received a $17.4-million federal grant toward construction of a new rail station at Windsor Locks on the Hartford line. The $64.9-million station will be part of a transit-oriented development project. [Progressive Railroading, 3-3-20]

SOME OF BOSTON'S NEW ORANGE LINE RAIL CARS TAKEN OUT OF SERVICE: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has again taken several new Orange Line rail cars out of service aftr identifying a fault with the bolsters. The trains are expected to return to service later in the week. [U.S. News & World Report, 3-3-20]

ONERAIL COALITION RESTRUCTURES: The OneRail Coalition has announced it has restructured into a standalone 501(c)(6) non-profit organization which will operate with its own board. Previously the coalition operated under the auspices of the Surface Transportation Policy project. Its mission is to educate policymakers and the public about the benefits of freight and passenger rail. [Progressive Railroading, 3-3-20]

WORKERS SUFFER FROSTBITE FROM ESCAPING TANK CAR REFRIGERANT: A worker suffered frostbite late March 3 when a refrigerant escaped from a rail tank car on Indiana & Ohio tracks in Springfield Township, Ohio. Workers were on top of the car preparing to transfer the refigerant from the car to a road trailer. [Dayton Daily News, 3-3-20]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON HUDSON-BERGEN LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: New Jersey has announced the start of construction of the first Hudson-Bergen light-rail extension since the line was extended in 2008 to the end of Bayonne. Known as the '440 Connection,' it will serve a new 8,000-unit Bayfront residential development on the Hackensack River. [, 3-3-20]

WILLIAM FLYNN APPOINTED AS NEXT PRESIDENT & CEO OF AMTRAK: Amtrak has appointed William J. Flynn as its next president and chief executive officer, to become effective April 15. Flynn, 66, has worked in various tansport modes, holding senior roles with CSX, Sea-Land and GeoLogistics Corp. He will succeed Richard Anderson, who will remain as a senior advisor until the end of the year. [Railway Gazette, 3-2-20]

PA. TOWNSHIP SEEKS TO BUILD TRAIL NEXT TO NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Manor Township, Pa., believes it can work with Norfolk Southern in order to connect two recreational trails, but the most preferred option runs along Norfolk Southern tracks. The railroad, however, says safety and liability reasons make the proposal risky. The five-mile trail would connect with the existing Northwest Lancaster County River Trail and the Enola Low Grade Trail. A study will take a closer look. [Railway Track & Structures, 3-2-20]

SOUND TRANSIT ADVANCES CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE FOR LIGHT-RAIL STATION IN SEATTLE: Sound Transit's board has advanced the construction schedule for the infill light-rail station at N.E. 130th street in Seattle to minimize disruptions when the Lynnwood Link extension opens in 2024. [Progressive Railroading, 3-2-20]

TECH ADVISOR SELECTED FOR SUBWAY LINE IN TORONTO: Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx have selected a technical advisory team for the $10.9-billion Ontario free-standing subway line in Toronto. It is proposed to have 15 stations and will run from Ontario Place/Exhibition Place through downtown to the Ontario Science Center. [Railway Age, 3-2-20]

FEBRUARY 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in February 2020. The average arrival of all long-distance trains in the survey period was 44 minutes late. The average arrival of the trains that were behind schedule was one hour and 26 minutes late. The train with the best on-time performance was City of New Orleans (88 percent), and the train with the worst on-time performance was Sunset Limited (4 percent). MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 3-1-20]

CSX TO LEASE MARIETTA SUB IN W.VA. TO OHIO COMPANY: An Ohio company, Belpre Industrial Parkersburg Railroad, is preparing to take over CSX's Marietta Subdivision between Parkersburg and Marietta. [Marietta Times, 2-29-20]

REPAIR HUDSON RIVER TUNNELS RATHER THAN REPLACE THEM, U.S. SAYS: U.S. Transportation secretary Elaine Chao has told the House Appropriations Committee that a plan to fix the again Hudson River rail tunnels would be a 'faster and more cost-effective method' than building new ones. The tunnels are vital to Amtrak and N.J. Transit service between New Jersey and Penn Station in New York. [Progressive Railroading, 2-28-20]

CN BEGINS TO RECALL FURLOUGHED WORKERS IN EASTERN CANADA: Canadian National has begun calling back many of the 450 workers it laid off earlier this month in eastern Canada when blockades crippled operations on strategic rail lines. [Reuters, 2-28-20]

JUDGE REMOVES HIMSELF FROM CASE INVOLVING MD. PURPLE LIGHT-RAIL LINE: A U.S. district judge has removed himself from a court case involving Maryland's light-rail Purple line over a permit on dredging and other activity in streams and wetlands along the route, which is opposed by a group, the judge citing that he lives near the site of a fuure station. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-28-20]

CSX TRAIN HAULING CRUDE DERAILS IN EAST CHICAGO: A CSX train pulling crude oil derailed 18 cars late Febr. 26 in East Chicago, eliciting response from firefighters and hazardous materials crews and the cautionary evacuation of nearby businesses. There were no reported injuries, and no product leakages or fires. [Fox 32 Chicago, 2-27-20]

PROGRESS RAIL LANDS LOCOMOTIVE CONTRACT IN UAE: ETIHAD Rail has awarded Progress Rail a contract to design, manufacture, test and deliver 38 EMD locomotives, marking a major expansion from the seven locomotives currently in operation across the United Arab Emirates. [International Railway Journal, 2-27-20]

HOOSAC TUNNEL STILL OUT OF SERVICE FOLLOWING PARTIAL COLLAPSE: Pan Am Southern's Hoosac Tunnel remains out of service following its partial collapse, and is expeced to remain out of service until at least mid-March. Norfolk Southern trains continue to use alternate routes. [Norfolk Southern, 2-27-20]

WYOMING HOUSE VOTES TO REQUIRE TWO CREW MEMBERS ON CLASS I FREIGHT TRAINS: The Wyoming House of Representatives has voted to advance legislation to the state senate to mandate crews of two persons or more on all Class I freight trains in Wyoming. [Casper Star Tribune, 2-27-20]

PTC IN OPERATION ON 96.3 PCT OF REQUIRED ROUTE MILES, FEDS SAY: As of the end of last year, positive train-control systems were in operation on 55,601 out of nearly 58,000 mandated route miles in the U.S., or 96.3 pct, which includes 99.8 pct of main lines used by Amtrak. Significant works remains on commuter railroads, however, as PTC is in operation on only 54.7 pct of their mileage, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. [FRA, 2-27-20]

RCMP BEGINS ENFORCING INJUNCTION AGAINST RAIL LINE PROTEST BLOCKAGES: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have begun enforcing an injunction that prevents interference with construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia which have blocked railroads in Canada disrupting service. [Canadian Press, 2-27-20]

HYDROGEN TRAIN BEING TESTED IN THE NETHERLANDS: The first hydrogen train arrived in the Netherlands on Febr. 26, and over a two-week period it will undergo test runs between Groningen and Leeuwarden. [Railway News, 2-27-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 482,690 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Febr. 22, 2020, down 7.6 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 9.3 pct, and intermodal was down 6.0 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-26-20]

OMNITRAX DONATES HISTORIC SW1200 LOCOMOTIVE TO READING R.R. HERITAGE MUSEUM: OmniTRAX and its subsidiary Stockton Terminal & Eastern Railroad has donated SW1200 locomotive STE-678 to the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum in Hamburg, Pa. The locomotive was one of just five similar units originally manufactured by EMD for the Reading Railroad. [Business Wire, 2-26-20]

CSX FAULTED FOR FAILURE TO NOTIFY TAMPA OF CROSSING CLOSURES: CSX has been doing rail maintenance this week in Tampa requiring some crossing closures. The company did provide warning to residents about the closures, but it neglected to notify the city in order for it to take steps to lessen traffic impacts. This resulted in some 10-minute trips taking 60 to 90 minutes. Moreover, some of the crossings that were closed had no maintenance work even being performed at all. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-26-20]

ENSCO RAIL DIVISION OPENS OFFICE IN COLORADO SPRINGS: ENSCO's rail division has opened a new office in downtown Colorado Springs to support the firm's railway research, condition assessment, asset management and cybersecurity business areas. [Progressive Railroading, 2-26-20]

TEXAS CENTRAL CONTRACTS WITH RENFE TO DEVELOP, OPERATE HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICE: Dallas-based high-speed rail developer Texas Central has awarded a $5.9-billion contract to Spanish firm Renfe to develop and operate the proposed rail service between Dallas and Houston, according to a report in Urban Transport News. [Dallas Innovates, 2-25-20]

N.C. PLANS $41.4-M IMPROVEMENT TO 13 MILES OF CSX TRACKS: North Carolina is seeking public comments on proposed improvements to CSX tracks and crossings along 13 miles of CSX tracks in Brunswick and New Hanover counties between Navassa and Wilmington. The $41.4-million project will be funded by the state's department of transportation improvement program. [Progressive Railroading, 2-25-20]

CALGARY TO ACQUIRE 15 ADDITIONAL LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: Siemens Mobility will continue to update Calgary's current light-rail vehicle fleet with 15 additional S200 vehicles. They will replace U2 vhicles, most of which have been running almost 40 years. [Railway Age, 2-25-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-seven percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending February 23, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 26 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-24-20]

DURANGO & SILVERTON NOW RUNNING WITH OIL-BURNER: The Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad has debuted its first oil-burning locomotive for a more environmentally-friendly fuel source that holds less fire risk than one that burns coal. Crews have worked for the past two years to convert No. 493, an early 1900's coal-burning locomotive, to run off oil. It is the first of what is expected to be several of such conversions. [Denver Post, 2-24-20]

NAVAJO NATION PLANS TO BUILD A RAIL LINE TO SERVE FOUR-CORNERS AREA: Navajo Nation and local officials have signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue construction of a new freight railroad system that would serve the Four Corners area of New Mexico. The agreement commits no funding, but it sets the stage for the Navajo Nation and San Juan County to plan for a railroad to serve several communities. [Progressive Railroading, 2-24-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ELECTS TWO TO BOARD: Norfolk Southern has elected John Huffard Jr., cofounder of a network security company, and Christopher Jones, former president of technology services for Northrop Grumman, to the board of directors. [Progressive Railroading, 2-24-20]

READING & NORTHERN TO RESTORE TOURIST TRAINS TO TAMAQUA, PA.: Reading & Northern will be bringing back tourist trains to the 146-year-old Tamaqua, Pa., train station this season, with a new, upgraded platform at the station. Construction of the platform will be this spring with completion in time for the borough's Summerfest June 21. Following Summerfest, trains will run from Reading to Tamaqua for dining at a local restaurant. [Railway Age, 2-24-20]

BNSF BRIDGE BURNS IN KANSAS: The investigation into a fire that engulfed a BNSF timber rail bridge near Kiowa, Kansas, Febr. 22, was still ongoing two days later. BNSF says it is going to determine if the bridge is worth salvaging, or if a new bridge should be built. The railroad already has a steel bridge parallel to the bridge that burned, and operations have not been disrupted. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-24-20]

N.Y. CITY TRANSIT TO ADD NEW OPEN-GANGWAY SUBWAY CARS: New York City Transit plans to develop and purchase up to 949 new subway cars with an open-gangway configuation, allowing passengers to move freely between cars and improving dwell time at stations. [Railway Age, 2-24-20]

U.S. RAILS MONITORING CANADIAN CRUDE: The derailment of two separate oil trains about two months apart near Guernsey, Saskatchewan, each spilling crude onto the ground and one igniting in flames, have raised questions not only the cause but also the durability of the tank cars involved. It is raising questions about the transport of Canadian crude on U.S. rails. [Railway Age, 2-24-20]

AMTRAK MOVES TO ADOPT AIRLINE-STYLE PRICING: Amtrak passengers who pay for the lowest train fares will be unable to claim a refund if they cancel, and others will pay a fee for changes made within 14 days of travel. The new fare structure will take effect on March 1, binging Amtrak closer to airline-style pricing. [USA Today, 2-24-20]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYMENT TUMBLES IN JAN. 2020: Employment at the Class I railroads fell to its lowest in years, with the total in January 2020 tumbling 12.4 pct year-over-year, according to data from the Surface Transportation Board. [Freight Waves, 2-24-20].

CHINA TO BUILD MAGLEV LINE IN YUNNAN PROVINCE: China is planning to build a 267-mile high-speed magnetic-levitation line in the country's southwest Yunnan province, at an estimated cost of over $14-billion. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-23-20]

SOUTH SHORE TRAIN DERAILS IN THE LOOP: A South Shore line train derailed while pulling into Chicago's Millennium station in the Loop early Febr. 22. Four passengers were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. [Chicago Sun-Times, 2-22-20]

AMTRAK PLANS TO SPEND $2.6-B ON NEW EQUIPMENT IN FY-2021: Amtrak has revealed that it plans on spending $2.6-billion on equipment in FY-2021, including over $1-billion for the national network. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-21-20]

PROTESTS CONTINUE TO IMPACT RAIL SERVICE IN CANADA: Freight Waves is reporting that the blockades of much of Canadian National lines by those protesting pipeline construction through British Columbia's Wet'suwet'en territory is also creating problems for other carriers as well. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-21-20]

CP CONDUCTOR FIRED FOR ONLINE POSTS GETS COMPENSATION, BUT NOT JOB BACK: An arbitrator says a former Canadian Pacific conductor who was fired over disparaging online posts is entitled to monetary compensation, but not her job back. The employee had also modeled photos that were taken on railroad property. [Canadian Press, 2-21-20]

BIARRI RAIL TO BE ACQUIRED: Navis has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Biarri Rail. After the acquisition is complete, the rail team will operate out of offices in Chicago and Australia. [Progressive Railroading, 2-21-20]

INFINITY TRANSPORTATION LOGISTICS CHANGES ITS NAME: Infinity Transportation Logistics has changed its name to Infinity Intermodal. The rebranding follows an increase in the company's refrigerated container fleet. [Progressive Railroading, 2-21-20]

COLORADO TO ACQUIRE UNION PACIFIC'S BURNHAM RAIL YARD IN DENVER: Colorado and Union Pacific have reached a preliminary agreement for the sale to the state of 59 acres of the Burnham Rail yard, south of downtown Denver, which the railroad closed four years ago. The site will be used for a number of projects, including the light-rail network. [Progressive Railroading, 2-21-20]

VIRGIN TRAINS PLANS TWO-FLOOR TERMINAL IN LAS VEGAS: Virgin Trains USA plans a two-story, 273,000 square-foot station and parking garage on a portion of a 110-acre plot of land across from South Premium Outlets in Las Vegas. Construction is to begin later this year, with operations planned to begin in 2023. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-21-20]

VIA RAIL LAYS OFF 1,000 EMPLOYEES DUE TO PROTEST BLOCKADES: VIA Rail Canada is temporarily laying off about 1,000 employees because of ongoing protest blockades on CN rail lines. [Progressive Railroading, 2-20-20]

ATLANTA-AREA VOTERS APPROVE PENNY SALES TAX TO FUND RAIL, BUS SERVICES: Voters in all four jurisdictions in the MARTA service area of Atlanta have approved a 1-cent sales tax to fund rail and bus service in Atlanta and Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties through 2057. [Progressive Railroading, 2-20-20]

BLET REACHES AGREEMENT WITH D&H: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen has reached a tentative agreement with the Delaware & Hudson Railway. Active members will now be voting on ratification of the agreement. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 2-20-20]

PASSENGER RAIL RETURNS TO SHORT GERMAN RAIL LINE FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1965: A two-mile rail line between Tornesch and Uetersen, Germany, north of Hamburg, has been reopened to passenger service on an experimental basis. The line lost its passenger service in 1965, but remained open for freight service to and from a paper mill. [International Railway Journal, 2-20-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Febr. 15, 2020, was 479,137 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.6 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-19-20]

CN FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS IN ONTARIO, LEAKS CRUDE OIL: A Canadian National freight train derailed late Febr. 18 with about 30 cars off the track near Emo, Ontario, and crude oil was leaking. [Globe & Mail, 2-19-20]

OPTIFUEL SYSTEMS GETS TIER-4 CERTIFICATION FOR INTERNAL CUMBUSTION ENGINE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted OptiFuel Systems a Tier-4 certification for its internal combustion engine that produces zero nitrogen oxide or particulate matter emissions. [Progressive Railroading, 2-19-20]

CN LAYS OFF 450 IN EASTERN CANADA: Canadian National is temporarily laying off about 450 employees in its Eastern Canada operations after canceling more than 400 trains over the past week in response to protest blockages along its rail lines. [Progressive Railroading, 2-19-20]

CLEANUP CONTINUES FOLLOWING CSX DERAILMENT IN KENTUCKY: Cleanup remained underway Febr. 18 at the site of a massive CSX train derailment, with crews working to remove the remaining locomotives from the crash site. The derailment occurred Febr. 13 sending two crew members to the hospital. [WSAZ, 2-18-20]

ALSTOM AGREES TO BUY BOMBARDIER'S RAIL BUSINESS: French train manufacturer Alstom has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire Canada-based Bombardier's rail business for $6.2-billion to $6.7-billion. Selling its rail business will allow Bombardier to focus exclusively on its aviation business. [Progressive Railroading, 2-18-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO CLOSE ITS ROANOKE DISTRIBUTION CENTER: Norfolk Southern has announced the closure of its Roanoke, Va, distribution center, and the planned transfer of the work of its Roanoke shop to Altoona, Pa. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-18-20]

RENFE LAUNCHES GRANADA-SEVILLE HIGH-SPEED TRAIN SERVICE: Spain's national rail operator Renfe has launched a new 155-MPH train service between Granada and Seville. [International Railway Journal, 2-18-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending February 16, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 30 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-17-20]

DAYTON SEEKS TO BUY 6.5 MILES OF ABANDONED RAIL LINE FOR TRAIL: Dayton, Ohio, wants to create a multi-use trail that would connect downtown with eastern neighborhoods over an abandoned rail line. But the city has been unable to agree with Norfolk Southern to a price. The city appraiser values the track at $785,000, but the railroad puts the asking price at $3.5-million. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-17-20]

EAST BROAD TOP RAILROAD TO RUN AGAIN: The East Broad Top narrow-gauge railroad in Pennsylvania now has a new owner. It is a non-profit foundation organized by a group of prominent rail-industry figures and longtime EBT fans. EBT Foundation Inc. will own 27 miles of the line along with its shops, rolling stock and equipment. EBT has been closed since late 2011, and before operations can be renewed, the foundation will need to overhaul track and equipment. The foundation will offer several events this year, but it is not anticipated that it will be in a position to run trains over the line until sometime in 2021. MORE.. [The Sentinel, 2-15-20]

NEW 224-MPH TRAIN BEING TESTED IN JAPAN: A prototype of the Alfa-X Shinkansen train made its first test run in Hokkaido, Japan, on Febr. 12. The new train is being developed by East Japan Railway with the aim to introduce it at the same time as the Hokkaido Shinkansen that is being extended to Sapporo. The railway seeks to operate the Shinkansen at a maximum speed of 224 MPH. The train has 10 cars, and has a defining characteristic of a lengthy nose on the front to mitigate shock when entering a tunnel at speed. [Japan News, 2-15-20]

BOMBARDIER REPORTS DROP IN REVENUE: Bombardier released its consolidated full-year 2019 results on Febr. 13, confirming a 7 pct drop in revenue for the Transportation division to $8.2-billion, just the day after the board of Alstom reportedly met to discuss a potential takeover deal. [International Railway Journal, 2-14-20]

FEDS GRANT $7.3-M TOWARD RAIL TRANSIT SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS: The Federal Transit Administration has made available $7.3-million for projects that demonstrate and evaluate new technologies, safer designs and practices to improve rail transit safety. [Progressive Railroading, 2-14-20]

MBTA ADVANCING CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS: Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority has announced a number of subway and commuter rail shutdowns over the coming year as part of plans to speed up construction projects system-wide. This will allow the work to be done nearly eight years ahead of the originally-planned schedule. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-14-20]

PLANS CONTINUE FOR AMTRAK SERVICE TO QUAD CITIES, ROCKFORD IN ILLINOIS: Plans are continuing smoothly for Amtrak's proposed service to the Quad Cities and Rockford. For the state of Illinois, the next step is getting a cosultant to manage the project. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 2-14-20]

STADLER RAIL LANDS NEXUS CONTRACT TO MAINTAIN 42 TRAINS IN U.K.: Stadler Rail has entered into a $914-million contract with Nexus to supply and maintain 42 new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro in northeast England. The new trains will replace the existing fleet by 2024. [Progressive Railroading, 2-14-20]

CSX ETHANOL TRAIN DERAILS IN KENTUCKY: A CSX train with 96 loaded ethanol cars derailed two locomotives and an unknown number of cars into the Big Sandy River in Draffin, Kentucky, early Febr. 13, after striking a rock slide. Two crew members made it safely to shore and were then transported to a hospital. One of the locomotives and some of the cars were burning. [WYMT, 2-13-20]

VIA RAIL HALTS PASSENGER SERVICE ACROSS CANADA DUE TO PROTESTS: VIA Rail is halting passenger services across Canada in the face of protests, and CN is shutting down its eastern Canada operations. [Calgary Herald, 2-13-20]

FREIGHT RAILROADS, UNION FREE TO NEGOTIATE TRAIN-CREW STAFFING, COURT SAYS: A federal court has issued an order allowing freight railroads to begin ngotiations over train crew staffing with the union that represents conductors. [Progressive Railroading, 2-13-20]

N.Y. CITY TRANSIT RETIRES REMAINING R-42 SUBWAY CARS: New York City Transit has retired the last remaining R-42 subway cars from service, ending a 51-year run. Two of the cars will be saved for housing at the New York Transit Museum. The retired fleet is being replaced by R-179 cars, and eventually R-211 cars. [Progressive Railroading, 2-13-20]

TESTING TO BEGIN ON NEW AMTRAK ACELA TRAIN SET: The first of Amtrak's new Acela train sets, scheduled to enter service on the Northeast corridor in 2021, will be arriving shortly at the Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado, for nine months of dynamic testing. [Amtrak, 2-13-20]

INDIANA DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT GETS CLEARANCE TO PROCEED: The Federal Transit Administration has given clearance for the addition of a second commuter-rail track between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana, along with the elimination of 21 grade crossings in Michigan City. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-13-20]

PAN AM RAILWAYS REPORTS PARTIAL WALL COLLAPSE IN HOOSAC TUNNEL: Pan Am Railways has reported a partial wall collapse in the Hoosac tunnel which affects all trains operating between Mechanicsville, New York, and Ayer, Massachusetts. The company's engineering department is evaluating the situation. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-12-20]

READING & NORTHERN, TOWN OF JIM THORPE RESOLVE AMUSEMENT TAX DISPUTE: Reading & Northern Railroad and the town of Jim Thorpe, Pa., have resolved their amusement tx dispute, and the railroad will resume tourist rail service to and from Jim Thorpe this spring, with the first trips coming at Winterfest on Febr. 15. [Railway Age, 2-12-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Febr. 8, 2020, was 485,329 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.6 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-12-20]

VEHICLE STRUCK BY METROLINK TRAIN: A vehicle was hit by a Metrolink train in Simi Valley late Febr. 12. There were no reported injuries to passengers on the train, but one occupant of the vehicle was transported to a hospital as a precaution. [VC Star, 2-12-20]

CSX HIKES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND: The CSX board of directors has increased the quarterly dividend 8 pct from 24 cents to 26 cents per share. [CSX, 2-12-20]

NEW RAIL CAR STORAGE YARD TO BE BUILT IN ALBERTA: The Canadian govrnment will invest $15-million (C) toward construction of a 1,930-railcar storage yard in Sturgeon County, Alberta, aimed at reducing bottlenecks on the western Canadian rail network. [Progressive Railroading, 2-11-20]

PRESIDENT'S FY-2021 BUDGET CUTS FUNDING FOR AMTRAK: President Trump's administration has proposed its FY-2021 budget calling for cutting Amtrak funding by more than 50 pct, compared with previous year's budget, and a plan to phase out support for long-distance trains. [Progressive Railroading, 2-11-20]

GRANT AWARDED TOWARD CONSTRUCTION OF RAIL SPUR TO INDUSTRAIL PARK IN INDIANA: The Indiana Economic Development Corp. will award up to $1-million to LaPorte County to halp pay for a $6-million prject to build a rail spur to connect Kingsbury Industrial Park to the CSX main line. CSX has designated the industrial park as a 'Select Site' for prospective developers. [Progressive Railroading, 2-11-20]

PIPELINE PROTESTS DISRUPT CN SERVICE: CN says it will be forced to shut down significant parts of its Canadian rail network unless blockades on its rail lines are removed. Individuals blocking the lines say their opposition to pipelines is not related to CN activities, but blockads have already caused cancelation of hundreds of trains over the past five days. [CN, 2-11-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-nine percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their schduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending Febr. 9, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 39 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-10-20]

CANADA IMPOSES SPEED RESTRICTIONS ON HAZMAT TRAINS: Transport Canada has ordered all freight trains hauling 20 or more cars of dangerous goods to limit their speed to 20 MPH in metropolitan areas, and 25 MPH outside of metropolitan areas, to last for 30 days. [Freight Waves, 2-10-20]

METROLINX TO INSTALL TRESPASS-RETARDANT PANELS AT 18 GRADE CROSSINGS: Toronto's Metrolinx will install rubber panels at 18 grade crossings on GO Transit's Lakeshore corridors to deter peple from trespassing on tracks. Three such panels were installed last year, testing their capability, and the agency noticed a drop in trespassing at the affected locations. The panels are made of material that is difficult to walk upon. [Progressive Railroading, 2-10-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN MAIN LINE BRIDGE WASHED OUT IN S.C.: A Norfolk Southern main line bridge near Columbia, S.C., washed out, and the line will remain out of service for about one week. Rail traffic is being rerouted. The bridge is about four miles west of a Febr. 7 derailment, but the two incidents are not related. [Norfolk Southern, 2-9-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN S.C.: Three locomotives and eight cars derailed Febr. 7 in Columbia, S.C., after a train struck a tree in Columbia, S.C., Norfolk Southern said. No injuries were reported. [WLTX, 2-8-20]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN ILLINOIS: A BNSF train derailed early Febr. 8 south of Sesser, Illinois. Approximately 20-25 cars derailed, some onto their sides. There was no risk to public safety, officials said. [WSIL-TV, 2-8-20]

DERAILED CP TRAIN STILL BURNING IN SASKATCHEWAN: It was the second fiery train derailment in two months near Guernsey, Saskatchewan, when the accident involving 31 cars of a 104-car train occurred Febr. 6. No injuries were reported, but twelve cars were still burning as of the evening. The previous derailment was Dec. 9, 2019, when 34 cars left the tracks. [CBC, 2-7-20]

CN TO CLOSE MONTREAL DISPATCHING CENTER: Canadian National has announced that it will close its rail traffic control center in Montreal on Sept. 14, and move 108 positions to Alberta. [CBC, 2-7-20]

MONTANA RAIL LINK PROMOTES THREE: Montana Rail Link has promoted Joe Racicot to vice-president of administration and general counsel, Jim Lewis to vice-president of sales and marketing, and Ross Lane to vice-president of corporate relations. [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-20]

WABTEC BRAKES GROUND ON PLANT IN BOCHUM, GERMANY: Wabtec has broken ground on a 200,000-square-foot plant for developing and manufacturing brakes, and maintaining brakes and couplers for transit vehicles in Bochum, Germany. [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-20]

SCI RAIL HOLDINGS ACQUIRES SALCO PRODUCTS: SCI Rail Holdings, through a subsidiary, has acquired Salco Products, a supplier of circular hatch covers, tank car valves and other rail-car components. [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-20]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 11 CORADIA CONTINENTAL BATTERY-ELECTRIC TRAINS FOR GERMANY: Alsom has entred into a $109.6-million contract to build, deliver and maintain 11 Coradia Continental battery-electric trains for the Leipzig-Chemnitz route in Germany. [Progressive Railroading, 2-7-20]

HIGH-SPEED TRAIN WRECK IN ITALY KILLS TWO, INJURES ABOUT 30: A high-speed passenger train derailed in northern Italy before dawn Febr. 6. Its detached engine slammed into the car of a work train on an adjacent track and ripped away part of a building wall. Two train employees were killed and about 30 people were injured. [ABC News, 2-6-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN N.J.: A Norfolk Southern train derailed early Febr. 6 on the main line in Bound Brook, N.J., causing the route to and from north New Jersey including Croxton and Ports of New York to be out of service. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-6-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN STOPS HANDLING CONTAINERS AT HARRIS YARD, MEMPHIS: Norfolk Southern has stopped handling intermodal freight containers at Harris yard in mid-city Memphis, and has moved those operations to suburban Rossville. [Daily Memphian, 2-6-20]

READING & NORTHERN OPENS NEW BRIDGE SPANNING LEHIGH RIVER IN PA.: Reading & Northern, on Febr. 5, opened a new $14-million rail bridge over the Lehigh River in Nesquhoning, Pa., connecting the line's Reading and Lehigh divisions. The bridge now allows expedited movement between Reading and Scranton. [Progressive Railroading, 2-6-20]

CP TRAIN DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE IN SASKATCHEWAN: A Canadian Pacific train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire early Febr. 6 in Guernsey, Saskatchewan. There were no injuries to the crew, and the railroad said there was no impact to waterways. Response teams were working to contain the fire. [Railway Track & Structures, 2-6-20]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN CONSTRUCTION SPANS 119 MILES: California's high-speed rail construction contracts now total nearly $4-billion with 30 active sites spanning 119 miles across five counties. Rail operations are anticipated to start in 2027 on 171 miles of rail. [Streetsblog California, 2-6-20]

JANUARY 2020 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 2,410,813 carloads and intermodal containers in January 2020, a drop of 5.6 pct compared with the same month last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-5-20]

BNSF ORDERED TO PAY FORMER EMPLOYEE IN WHISTLEBLOWER INCIDENT: A U.S. district court has ordered BNSF to pay over $696,000 in lost, back and future wages to a former employee who reported track defects, bringing the total paid to the individual to more than $1.74-million. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 2-5-20]

MOBILE COUNCIL COMMITS $3-M TOWARD GULF COAST AMTRAK RUNS: The Mobile, Alabama, city council has voted to commit around $3-million, starting in the year 2023, for restoration of Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast. But advocates stressed that more work is needed, and a train station will have to be built. [, 2-4-20]

ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS STRAND NEC TRAINS SOUTH FROM N.Y. PENN: A day after horror stories from stranded commuters in and out of New York's Penn Station via the Hudson River tunnels, the delays of 90 minutes or longer were from lost electrical power after contact with overhead wires failed. It happened whee the overhead catenary wires intersect with the tunnel's flood gates. [, 2-4-20]

ACUPUNCTURIST SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING AMTRAK: A licensed California acupuncturist has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for fraudulently billing Amtrak's healthcare plan for millions of dollars' worth of procedures that were not medically necessary, or were not provided at all. [Orange County Register, 2-4-20]

BNSF TO SPEND $3.4-B IN CAPEX THIS YEAR: BNSF will spend $3.4-billion on capital expenditures this year. The largest, $2.55-billion component, will be for replacing and upgrading its track and maintaining rolling stock. [Progressive Railroading, 2-4-20]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN ON NORTHEAST CORRIDOR IN MD.: Amtrak and MARC trains saw delays of 20 to 40 minutes the morning of Febr. 3 after a person was struck and killed by a train near the Seabrook, Md., MARC station. [WTOP, 2-3-20]

CAROLINA COASTAL RAILWAY TO BE ACQUIRED: Short line operator Regional Rail LLC has agreed to acquire Carolina Coastal Railway, which operates 180 miles of track in the Carolinas. [Progressive Railroading, 2-3-20]

LIRR REOPENS RENOVATED NOSTRAND AVENUE STATION IN BROOKLYN: Long Island Rail Road has reopened its Nostrand avenue station in Brooklyn following a more than two-year, $28-million renovation. [Progressive Railroading, 2-3-20]

MAGNOLIA PARK TRANSIT CENTER IN HOUSTON REOPENED: Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, has reopened the improved Magnolia Park Transit Center in Houston following an upgrade. [Progressive Railroading, 2-3-20]

PERSON STRUCK, KILLED BY MARC TRAIN IN ROCKVILLE, MD.: A pedestrian was struck and killed by a MARC train the afternoon of Febr. 3 near Randolph road, Rockville, Md., causing a suspension of Brunswick line train service due to the investigation. [WDVM, 2-3-20]

N.J. TRANSIT'S OLDEST LOCOMOTIVE IS 50 YEARS OLD: New Jersey Transit locomotive 4100, the agency's oldest unit, began its career as one of 13 FP40P engines, built by General Motors and purchased by NJT to keep commutr trains running on the bankrupt Central Railroad of New Jersey. [, 2-2-20]

AMTRAK SERVICE IN VA. EXPECTED TO DOUBLE WITHIN DECADE: Amtrak trains in Virginia carried nearly a million passengers last year. Virginia's pledge to invest $3.7-billion in rail over the next decade promises even more growth for Amtrak, and the number of trains in the state is expected to double by 2030. Virginia is one of 18 states to sponsor Amtrak service. [Roanoke Tims, 2-1-20]

JANUARY 2020 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in January 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 10 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 2-1-20]

CN MAIN LINE DAMAGED BY STORM IN B.C.: Heavy rainfall has caused significant flooding in the mountains of British Columbia, closing sections of highway 5 and washing away thr gound beneath a section of Canadian National main line near Hope. [Coast Mountain News, 2-1-20]

TRACK REPAIRS DELAY LONDON-PARIS TRAINS: Passengers on the first trains between London and Paris following Britain's departure from the European Union faced lengthy delays, some by more than two hours.. But overrunning engineering work and track problems - not Brexit - were to blame. Trains between London and Brussels were also delayed.. [U.S. News & World Report, 2-1-20]

AMTRAK'S DOWNEASTER BREAKS RIDERSHIP RECORD IN 2019: Amtrak's Downeaster between Maine and Boston broke its ridership record in 2019, when it attracted 574,404 passengers. This was an 8 pct increase over the previous year. [WHDH, 2-1-20]

TEEN KILLED BY MBTA COMMUTER TRAIN: An 18-year-old male is dead after he was struck late Jan. 30 by a Massachusetts Bay commuter train while on the right-of-way in Concord, Massachusetts. [Boston Herald, 1-31-20]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN BREAKS DOWN, BLOCKS TEXAS CROSSING 16 HOURS: A Union Pacific freight train that had broken down early Jan. 30 remained stationary over 16 hours blocking crossings in the town of West, Texas, until crews could arrive and make repairs. School zone traffic was described as being a 'nightmare' during the ordeal. [KWTX, 1-30-20]

STATE AUDITOR CRITICIZES N.J. TRANSIT RAIL OPERATIONS: A scathing report by the state auditor has critized N.J. Transit's operations, saying the cost to install positive train-control technology ballooned to $500-million, and expressed doubts that the agency will meet the year-ending mandate to have it running. The report also contends 47 bridges with poor or bad components were left off the priority repair list. [, 1-30-20]

MAN DRIVES AROUND GATE, KILLED BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN CALIFORNIA: A man was killed late Jan. 29 in East Oakland, California, after he drove his vehicle around activated railroad crossing gates and was struck by an Amtrak train. [S.F. Chronicle, 1-30-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 4-Q, FULL YEAR EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported fourth-quarter net income of $666-million and diluted earnings per share of $2.55; and full year 2019 net income of $2.72-billion and diluted EPS of $10.25. During its first year of its three-year strategic plan, the company produced a record operating ratio of 64.7 pct while managing the headwinds of a 5 pct decline in carload volumes. Railway operating revenues for the year were $11.3-billion, a drop of 1 pct compared with the prior year. [Norfolk Southern, 1-29-20]

N.Y. TRANSIT RETURNS R179 RAIL CARS TO SERVICE: New York City Transit has returned 298 Bombardier R179 rail cars to service after having removed them from the subway fleet in response to reports of door problems. [Progressive Railroading, 1-29-20]

FLORIDA OFFICIALS CONSIDER LEGISLATION TO CURB FATALITIES ON BRIGHTLINE TRACKS: In its first two years, more than 40 people have been killed by Brightline trains on tracks and crossings, a rate of more than one a month. Brightline trains run at up to 79 MPH, somewhat faster than the freight trains that operate on the same tracks, often through densely-populated areas. Fencing the right-of-way could be one solution, and Florida officilas are considering legislation would might require such an effort, but Brightline says that fencing would cost more than $200,000 per mile, something the company says could threaten its transportation project. [WUFT, 1-29-20]

CP REPORTS 4-Q, YEAR ENDING RESULTS: Canadian Pacific announced record revenues of $2.07-billion, an operating ratio of 57 pct, and record diluted earnings per share of $4.82 in the fourth-quarter 2019. For the full year, revenues increased 7 pct to a record $7.79-billion and adjusted diluted EPS of $16.44, and increase of 13 pct from the prior year. [CP, 1-29-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. rail freight traffic in the week ending Jan. 25, 2020, was 485,282 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.1 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-29-20]

MAN KILLED BY FREIGHT TRAIN IN WEST PALM BEACH: A man died Jan. 28 after being struck by a freight train in West Palm Beach while walking near the Florida East Coast right-of-way. Crossings were blocked for several hours because of the incident, police said. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-29-20]

UNION PACIFIC REOPENING 58 INTERLINE SERVICE LANES WITH CSX, NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Union Pacific will reopen 58 interline service lanes with CSX and Norfolk Southern beginning Febr. 1. The lanes had been originally cut in 2018 in connection with the company's version of precision railroading. [Supply Chain Dive, 1-29-20]

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS RECEIVES 12 THREE-SECTION DIESELS FOR NON-ELECTRIFIED SERVICE: Bryansk has delivered 12 three-section diesel locomotives with AC-DC transmission designed for harsh weather conditions in non-electrified sections in the far east of Russia. [Railway Gazette, 1-29-20]

MOBILE POSTPONES GULF COAST TRAIN FUNDING VOTE: The future of Amtrak passenger rail service remains hanging in the balance after city leaders in Mobile postponed their vote Jan. 28. A favorable vote would pave the way for the return of Gulf Coast Amtrak rail service. [WLOX, 1-28-20]

CN REPORTS 4-Q, YEAR-END RESULTS: Canadian National's fourth-quarter and year-ending results were impacted by its eight-day labor strike and weakened traffic demand. Quarterly revenues of $3.58-billion (C) were a drop of 6 pct compared with the same quarter last year. Adjusted diluted earnings per share of $1.25 were a decrease of 16 pct, and adjusted operating ratio of 65.2 pct increased 4.0 points. Full year 2019 revenues of $14.9-billion (C) represented an increase of 4 pct, and adjusted operating ratio of 61.7 was an increase of 0.2 points. [CN, 1-28-20]

SEPTA SHUTS DOWN ROUTE 15 STREETCAR: Philadelphia's SEPTA Route 15 streetcar, which operated 8.4 miles along Girard avenue, made its final run Jan. 24. SEPTA offered only a four-day notice, posting the discontinuance as a service advisory on its website, and did not issue a press release. Bus service has been substituted. SEPTA claimed that one of the reasons for shutting down the line was a shortage of operable vehicles. [Railway Age, 1-27-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Sixty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week nding January 26, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived 56 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-27-20]

CLASS I RAIL EMPLOYEMENT DOWN IN MID-DECEMBER: As of mid-December 2019, Class I rail employment was 131,486, down 1.31 pct since mid-November, and down 11 pct from one year earlier, according to the Surface Transportation Board. [Progressive Railroading, 1-27-20]

PROPOSED RAIL-TRAIL ADDITION IN NORTHERN VERMONT GETS BOOST FROM GOVERNOR: Vermont's governor has asked lawmakers to approve $2.8-million as the state's share toward completion of the remaining 60 miles of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, located on a rail line that operated until the 1980's.. A 30-mile section is already open, and the completed trail would connect with a number of other trails in Vermont and adjacent states. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-25-20]

MISSOURI OWES AMTRAK MILLIONS: For the last decade, Missouri has not paid its full contract for the River Runner service. The state has several million dollars in overdue bills. Two trains are involved, each making a round-trip every day between St. Louis and Kansas City, with eight stops in between. Amtrak, meanwhile, has been very patient with the state. It has not treatened to stop service. But a state official believes it could eventually come to that point if the bill remains unpaid. [News Tribune, 1-25-20]

EXTENSION OF HEARTLAND FLYER TO KANSAS BEING CALCULATED: Officials from Oklahoma and Kansas, along with advocates, met with Amtrak this week to discuss a possible extension of the Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City and Newton, Kansas, where there would be a connection with the Southwest Chief. Host carrier BNSF will release a cost analysis in February. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-24-20]

AMTRAK MAKES NEW BUS CONNECTION IN N.C.: Swansboro, N.C., is now a stop for the Amtrak Thruway Bus, which will provide service to and from Wilson, N.C. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-24-20]

BOMBARDIER IN TALKS WITH ALSTOM TO POTENTIALLY COMBINE RAIL BUSINESSES: Bloomberg reports that Bombardier has initiated discussions with Alstom to potentially combine their rail businesses. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-24-20]

SOUND TRANSIT GETS FEDERAL GRANT FOR LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The Federal Transit Administration has announced $1.4-billion toward Sound Transit's 10.9-mile Federal Way light-rail link extension from Angle Lake for completion in 2024. [International Railway Journal, 1-24-20]

AMTRAK TRAIN COLLIDES WITH MAINTENANCE TRUCK ON THE TRACK IN CONNECTICUT: An Amtrak train collided with a maintenance truck Jan. 24 on the tracks in Connecticut. Two workers in the truck were able to escape unharmed prior to impact, but six people on the train had minor injuries. [Associated Press, 1-24-20]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 4-Q, YEAR-END EARNINGS: Union Pacific reported fourth-quarter 2019 net income of $1.4-billion or $2.02 per diluted share, which compares with $1.6-billion or $2.12 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Operating ratio was 59.7 pct, a fourth-quarter record. Full year net income was $5.9-billion or $8.38 per diluted share, and operating income was $8.6-billion, flat compared with 2018. [Union Pacific, 1-23-20]

MAN STABBED TO DEATH ON MINNEAPOLIS LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN: A man riding on a light-rail train in a Minneapolis suburb was fatally stabbed by a fellow passenger early Jan. 23 following an argument. The suspect was arrested. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-23-20]

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY FREIGHT TRAIN IN GERMANTOWN, MD.: A 60-year-old man died after being struck by a CSX freight train the evening of Jan. 22 at the MARC train station at Germantown, Md. Initial investigation found that the man was crossing the tracks at the platform when he was hit. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-23-20]

NEW YORK CITY MTA TO STUDY PASSENGER SERVICE ON FREIGHT-ONLY LINE: New York City's Metropolitan Transporttion Authority has awarded a contract to study the feasibility of initiating passenger service on a freight-only line running from Sunset Park in Brooklyn to Astoria in Queens. [Progressive Railroading, 1-23-20]

UNION PACIFIC TO REDUCE WORKFORCE BY NEARLY 3,000 THIS YEAR: Union Pacific plans to run its railroad with nearly 3,000 fewer workers this year, its CEO told the Wall Street Journal. The company plans to reduce its average number of workers by about eight percent, after reducing staffing by 11 percent last year. [Seeking Alpha, 1-23-20]

GRAIN CAR ROLLS AWAY AT HIGH SPEED IN B.C.: A grain car rolled away at high-speed on Canadian Pacific tracks for about four miles Jan. 14 at Field, B.C., near the site where a derailment killed three crew members almost a year ago. There were no injuries in the runaway incident. [CBC, 1-23-20]

AMTRAK ENDS POLICY OF INFLATED SURCHARGE FOR WHEELCHAIR PASSENGERS: Amtrak says it will end a policy that led it to quote a price of $25,000 for a group of activists who use wheelchairs to travel when seats needed to be removed to accommodate the wheelchairs. The policy was never meant to be applied to this situation, Amtrak said, for passage between Chicago and Bloomington, Illinois, the regular fare for which is just $16. [The Hill, 1-23-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S TRIPLE CROWN TO MOVE ITS HEADQUARTERS: Longtime Fort Wayne business Triple Crown Services, a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern, is moving its headquarters out of Fort Wayne on July 31, an employee has confirmed. [WANE, 1-22-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending January 18, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 499,732 carloads and intermodal units, down 8 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. Calculated separately, carloads were down 8.4 pct, and intermodal was down 7.7 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-22-20]

TRAIL BUILT NEXT TO COMMUTER RAIL LINE IN TEXAS: The Denton County, Texas, Transportation Authority has completed a 19-mile mixed-use trail along its A-Line commuter rail line to connect pedestrians and bicyclists between the downtown Denton transit center and Hebron station in Lewisville, Texas. [Progressive Railroading, 1-22-20]

LIRR DELAYS HIT THREE-YEAR LOW: Long Island Rail Road's on-time performance was 92.4 pct in 2019, the highest since 2016, when it was 92.7 pct. Much of the success was due to the railroad's 'Forward' program, designed to eliminate problems before they result in delays. Elements of the program include replacement of old switches, new safety devices at grade crossings, vegetation management, and elimination of wet leaves on the rails. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-21-20]

SEVEN COMPLETE NJT ENGINEER TRAINING CLASS: New Jersey officials have recognized NJ Transit's latest locomotive engineer training class for completing classroom training. The class of seven trainees will graduate in the upcoming weeks after they complete their necessary certifications. [Insider NJ, 1-21-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-eight percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their schduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 19, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived 52 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-20-20]

DRIVER KILLED WHEN TRUCK STRUCK BY TRAIN IN FLORIDA: An 87-year-old Florida man died after he drove his truck onto the railroad tracks and was hit head-one by a freight train early Jan. 20 in Volusia County, Florida. There were no injuries to crew members aboard the train. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-20-20]

UNION PACIFIC TESTING NEW TIE-REMOVAL TECHNOLOGY: Union Pacific has begun using new tie-removal technology to accelerate used-tie cleanup. The railroad is testing the use of two excvators that ride along the top of a series of connected rail cars. Operators load tie bundles left in stacks and transport them to one of three facilities where ties are recycled or shredded for fuel. The system doubles the ties that can be disposed of per day compared with the traditional system. [Progressive Railroading, 1-20-20]

AUSTRIA BEGINS NEW 'NIGHTJET' RAIL SERVICE: Austrian Federal Railways, on Jan. 19, launched a new Nightjet rail connection with two services operating twice a week between Vienna and Innsburck. The new service is an extension of the existing Vienna/Innsbruck-Dusseldorf Nightjet, which has been diverted to Brussels via Aachen. [International Railway Journal, 1-20-20]

ESSEX COUNTY, N.Y., SEEKS TO RETAIN RAIL BRANCH FOR FREIGHT: Essex County, N.Y., supervisors are asking their counterparts in Warren County to hold off asking for a declaration of the Sanford Lake branch of the Saratoga & North Creek Railroad as 'abandoned.' The branch has trackage in both counties. Negotiations broke down for a new rail operator on the branch last fall, and Warren County has since passed a resolution to begin the process to declare the branch abandoned. Many push for conversion of it to recreational trail use. Essex County, meanwhile, says more effort should be made into finding a company to use the line to move freight. [Adirondack Daily Enterprise, 1-18-20]

KCS REPORTS 2019 EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported 2019 revenues of $2.9-billion, an increase of 6 pct on a 1 pct decline in carloads. Operating income was $886.3-million and the reported operating ratio was 69.1 pct. Full year net income was $540.8-million or $5.40 per diluted share. [Kansas City Southern, 1-17-20]

METROLINK'S VAN NUYS STATION UPGRADE NEARS COMPLETION: Metrolink has held a ceremony to mark the $32-million rebuilding of Van Nuys station in Los Angeles under a two-year project which is nearing completion. It is on the Ventura line, a Union Pacific route, which is also served by Amtrak. An island platform has been constructed, replacing side platforms. [Railway Gazette, 1-17-20]

AMTRAK EYES NEW ATLANTA-NASHVILLE TRAIN WITH CHATTANOOGA STOP: Amtrak has been discussing with Tennessee officials a proposal to establish an Atlanta to Nashville run. A stop could include Chattanooga. The state's house transportation committee chairman said the state is certainly interested, but he cautioned it's too early for anyone to conclude that it will happen within the next four of five years, if at all. [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 1-16-20]

RIDERSHIP ON HARTFORD LINE PASSES ONE MILLION MARK: Ridership on the Hartford line, which connects rail commuters between New Haven and Springfield, has passed the one million mark. The service was launched June 18, 2018, and passenger rail use has been growing at a rate of 25 pct year-over-year, said the Connecticut Department of Transportation. [Mass Live, 1-16-20]

CSX REPORTS 4-Q, YEAR-END RESULTS: CSX has announced fourth-quarter net earnings of $771-million or 99 cents per share, versus $843-million or $1.01 per share in the same period last year. Operating ratio set a fourth-quarter record of 60 pct. For the full year 2019, CSX generated net earnings of $3.33-billion or $4.17 per share, versus $3.31-billion or $3.84 per share in 2018. Full year operating ratio was 58.4 pct, which represents a new U.S. Class I railroad record. [CSX, 1-16-20]

MALMO-KOLN SUGGESTED AS FIRST ROUTE FOR NETWORK OF NIGHT TRAINS: Swedish transport agency Trafikverket has suggested that Malmo-Koln could be the first route to begin as part of a proposed network of overnight trains connecting Sweden with other European countries. [Railway Gazette, 1-16-20]

FIRST OF GREATER ANGLIA'S CLASS 720 COMMUTER EMU DELIVERED FOR TESTING: The first of the class 720 Aventra electric multiple-units which Bombardier is supplying for Greater Anglia's London commuter services has been delivered for testing. [Railway Gazette, 1-16-20]

BARCELONA-VALENCIA TRAINS ACCELERATED AS VANDELLOS CUTOFF OPENS: Commercial services began using a cutoff between Camp de Tarragona and Vandellos on Jan. 13 upon completion of a further section of upgrading of Spain's Barcelona-Valencia Mediterranean corridor. [Railway Gazette, 1-16-20]

READING & NORTHERN ADDING TWO F-UNITS FOR EXCURSION TRAINS: Reading & Northern recently purchased two F-unit diesels from Norfolk Southern to use in tourist passenger service. The locomotives date to the early 1950's, but they were rebuilt 15 years ago by Norfolk Southern. They have been repainted into the Reading & Northern scheme, and will be used on a mainline trip April 18 from Reading to Pittston, Pa. [Progressive Railroading, 1-15-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: For the week ending January 11, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 501,624 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.6 pct compared with the corresponding week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-15-20]

TRINITY INDUSTRIES NAMES JEAN SAVAGE CEO, PRESIDENT: Trinity Industries has named Jean Savage chief executive officer and president, effective Febr. 17. [Progressive Railroading, 1-15-20]

DUOS TECHNLOGIES IMPLEMENTS RAIL INSPECTION PORTAL FOR CSX: Duos Technologies has completed full-scale implementation of its Rail Inspection Portal for CSX. This installation allows automation of the railroad's railcar mechanical inspections, which historically wee conducted manually. The next phase of the project includes artificial intelligence algorithms, to be installed over the coming months. [Progressive Railroading, 1-15-20]

SECO MACHINE BEGINS PRODUCTION AT NEW PLANT IN OHIO: Seco Machine, a provider of machining services and products for rail customers, has begun production at its ew plant in Green, Ohio. [Progressive Railroading, 1-15-20]

TIDEWORKS TECHNOLOGY TO PROVIDE INTERMODAL SOLUTIONS FOR U.K. RAIL NETWORK: Genessee & Wyoming subsidiaries Freightliner and Pentalver have selected Tideworks Technology as the intermodal solutions provider for their rail and container terminal network in the United Kingdom. [Progressive Railroading, 1-15-20]

AMTRAK PRESENTS PROPOSAL FOR ADDITIONAL CHICAGO-MEMPHIS TRAIN: Rail passengers in Memphis could see an additional daylight route to Chicago if Amtrak;s visions for additional service in Tennessee reach fruition. Amtrak representatives were in Nashville on Jan. 14 seeking support for the idea with state lawmakers. Amtrak hopes to add routes throughout the country, and especially in the booming Southeast region. [Commercial Appeal, 1-15-20]

STRIKERS STOP TRAIN FROM LEAVING MINE IN KENTUCKY: For the second time in less than a year, striking coal miners in eastern Kentucky have occupied a set of railroad tracks, blocking a coal train from leaving. About a dozen employees of Quest Energy have pledged to hold their position until the company pays them back wages. [Lexington Herald-Leader, 12-14-20]

L.A. METRO ADVANCES PURPLE LINE EXTENSION WORK: Los Angeles Metro has announced its 2020 targeted construction goals for its Purple line extension project. Crews this year will tunnel west to Wilshire/La Cienega station and add 3,280 more feet of tunnels, finish piling for the Wilshire/Rodeo station, complete early utility relocation in Westwood, and begin piling for the Westwood/UCLA station. Once completed in 2023, the project will extend the route nine miles west of the line's current terminus and add seven stations to connect downtown L.A., Beverly Hills and Westwood. [Progressive Railroading, 12-14-20]

OMNITRAX NAMES TWO TOP EXECUTIVES: OmniTRAX has promoted Sergio Sabatini to president, and Gord Anutooshkin to chief operating officer, both effective immediately. [Railway Age, 1-14-20]

GERMANY, DEUTSCHE BAHN TO INJECT $100-B INTO RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE: The German government has signed a deal with state-owned train operator Deutsche Bahn to inject almost $100-billion into the country's rail infrastructure over the next decade. [My Northwest, 1-14-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 12, 2020. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 23 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-13-20]

AMTRAK MIGHT POSSIBLY TURN A PROFIT THIS YEAR: For the first time in its 50-year history, Amtrak is poised to post a profit. Fox Business reports that while the company posted a $29.8-million operating loss in 2019, it had record revenues of $3.3-billion, and set a nw ridership record of 32.5 million riders. [Business Traveller, 1-13-20]

N.Y. TRANSIT WITHDRAWS 298 BOMBARDIER R179 RAIL CARS FROM SERVICE: New York City Transit has withdrawn 298 Bombardier R179 rail cars from service as a result of reported door problems that could indicate a systemic problem. Older, spare cars have been substituted, and there has been no impact to service. [Progressive Railroading, 1-13-20]

MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SABOTAGING CSX RAILROAD SIGNALS IN PA.: A 26-year-old man has pleaded guilty to sabotaging railroad signals at locations along CSX rail lines in Braddock and McKeesport, Pa., in November 2017, resulting in signal failures. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 12-13-20]

WINTER STORM CAUSES DAMAGE TO PORT OF MILWAUKEE: A winter storm Jan. 11 caused damage to the port of Milwaukee. Parts of the port and Jones Island were under up to four feet of water, leaving behind ice up to a foot thick in some areas when the water receded. Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific officials will inspect the rails before cargo operations can be restarted. [WISN, 1-13-20]

NJT TO REPLACE TIER-I ENGINES WITH TIER-IV ENGINES ON RIVER LIGHT-RAIL LINE: New Jersey Transit is upgrading its River light-rail line vehicle engines with more than 20 Tier-IV diesel engines from Cummins to replace the current 15-year-old Tier-I engines. The upgrade should be completed by Spring 2022. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-13-20]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN WISCONSIN: A Union Pacific train derailed late Jan. 12 near the village of Knapp, Wisconsin, resulting in a massive pileup of rail cars and closing adjacent U.S. highway 12. There were no reported injuries, and no hazardous materials were involved. [WEAU, 1-12-20]

MOBILE FINANCIAL SUPPORT KEY TO RESUMPTION OF GULF COAST AMTRAK RUNS: The Mobile, Alabama, city council will decide on Jan. 28 if it will support committing $3-million over three years toward the restoration of Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast. The funds would be combined with a federal grant, similar to funds from Mississippi and Louisiana, to help pay operational costs to connect by rail New Orleans and Mobile, and four stops in between. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-10-20]

CONSUMER GROUP SUES AMTRAK OVER ARBITRATION CLAUSE: Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen will be suing Amtrak over the introduction of a forced arbitration clause included in the purchase of tickets, arguing the clause is unconstitutional and exceeds the railroad's Congressional-granted authority. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-10-20]

NEW DINING CAR SERVICE TO RETURN TO THE SILVER STAR: After a nearly five-year absence, first-class dining on Amtrak's Silver Star is returning on May 1. Featured will be the same flexible dining menu that is currently available on the Capitol and Lake Shore limiteds, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Crescent and Silver Meteor. The dining car and its menu will only be available to first-class passengers, not those in coach. Lounge car cafe service will still be available to all passengers. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-10-20]

AMTRAK'S CRESCENT TO BE SUSPENDED BETWEEN ATLANTA AND NEW ORLEANS ON CERTAIN DATES: Between Jan. 19 and Febr. 20, Amtrak's Crescent will not operate between Atlanta and New Orleans Monday through Thursday. Motor coach service will be substituted. The train will operate normally per schedule Friday through Sunday. [Rail Passengers Assn. hotline, 1-10-20]

GREENRIER COMPANIES REPORT 1-Q EARNINGS: The Greenbrier Cos. has reported $7.7-million or 23 cents per diluted share on revenue of $769.4-million in the first fiscal quarter ending Nov. 30, 2019. Results include $2.2-million of integration expenses from the American Railcar Industries acquisition. [Progressive Railroading, 1-10-20]

RAILWAY & INDUSTRIAL SERVICES TO SELL ITS CREST HILL, ILLINOIS, REPAIR FACILITY: Railway & Industrial Services is selling its 39-acre railcar repair facility in Crest Hill, Illinois. The site offers direct access to CN's mainline via an active spur. [Progressive Railroading, 1-10-20]

N.Y. PENN STATION GETTING UPDATED WAITING AREA: Work has begun to update a ticketed waiting area at Penn Station in New York City. As part of a $7.2-million investment, the seating area at the Amtrak upper-level concourse on the 8th avenue side will feature new furniture, fixtures, family area, and other features. The project will be in two successive phases, expected to be finished in June. [Progressive Railroading, 1-9-20]

LIGHT-RAIL SERVICE THROUGH PITTSBURGH'S MOUNT WASHINGTON TUNNEL DISRUPTED: Portions of Pittsburgh's Mount Washington tunnel were closed June 8 due to continued landslides caused by stormwater runoff. The outbound track has been taken out of service; inbound trains will be detoured through the Allentown neighborhood, and outbound trains will use the inbound track. [Progressive Railroading, 1-9-20]

BRIGHTLINE HAS HIGHEST PER-MILE DEATH RATE OF U.S. RAILROADS: Brightline, soon to be Virgin Trains USA, has 178 grade crossings and 66.5 miles of track between Miami and West Palm Beach. The line has the highest per-mile death rate of the nation's 821 railroads, according to the Associated Press. Most of the deaths were of trespassers, including suicides. [Florida Bulldog, 1-9-20]

METRO-NORTH TO MAKE THREE BRONX STATIONS ADA ACCESSIBLE: Metro-North will make the Williams Bridge, Woodlawn and Wakefield stations in the Bronx accessible to Americans With Disabilities act standards as part of its four-year capital plan. [Progressive Railroading, 1-9-20]

GREATER ANGLIA'S FIRST STADLER INTERCITY TRAIN SET ENTERS SERVICE: The first of 10 class 745/0 intercity train sets Stadler is supplying for Greater Anglia's Norwich-London Liverpool main line entered service Jan. 6. Remaining sets are expected to be in traffic by mid-April. [Railway Gazette, 1-9-20]

WEEKLY U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: In the week ending Jan. 4, 2020, U.S. rail freight traffic was 414,014 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.1 pct compared with the correspnding week in 2019. [Association of American Railroads, 1-8-20]

WABTEC ACQUIRES RELCO LOCOMOTIVES: Wabtec has acquired RELCO locomotives for $29-million on a cash and debt-free basis. RELCO's projected wales for 2019 are about $50-million. [Railway Age, 1-8-20]

ALSTOM TO OVERHAUL 56 PENDOLINO TRAINS IN U.K.: Alstom has signed a $839.9-million deal with Avanti West Coast to overhaul all 56 electric Pendolino trains deployed on the West Coast mainline in the United Kingdom. [Progressive Railroading, 1-8-20]

FERROMEX TRAIN, BUS COLLIDE, AT LEAST SEVEN KILLED, DOZENS INJURED: Ferromex said on Jan. 7 that at least seven people were killed and more than 30 injured after a bus collided with one of its trains in the northern border state of Sonora. [KFGO, 1-8-20]

INTERMODAL FACILITY ALONG NORFOLK SOUTHERN IN W.VA. FIZZLES: The excitement associated with a Norfolk Southern intermodal facility near Charleston, W.Va., has faded to frustration and doom in the four years the facility has been open. The railroad projected that there would be at least 15,000 lifts of containers, but in the most recent budget year there were only 579 lifts. It costs the state more than $500,000 per year to operate it, but the revenue generated between Dec. 2015 and Sept. 2019 was only $30,797. Then, in Oct. 2019, the railroad cut off access to the facility. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-8-20]

CSX ADDS AUTOMATED TRAIN INSPECTION PORTAL IN GEORGIA: CSX's first train inspection portal has been installed in Waycross, Ga., with ultra-high definition cameras and high-powered illumination to scan passing trains at track speed. The portal identifies defects and will automatically flag cars for repair. [Railway Age, 1-7-20]

LANDSLIDE BLOCKS RAIL LINE BETWEEN SEATTLE AND PORTLAND: Amtrak service between Seattle and Portland has been suspended because of a landslide blocking the tracks. Motor coaches will be used to ferry passengers between these points. [Oregonian, 1-7-20]

WEEKLY AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Fifty-two percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in the week ending January 5, 2020, The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and 37 minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-6-20]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC IN 2019: The Association of American Railroads reports that U.S. rail freight traffic fell 5 pct to 26.704.974 carloads and intermodal units in 2019, compared with the previous year's levels. Total carloads declined 4.9 pct, and intermodal units were down 5.1 pct. [Progressive Railroading, 1-6-20]

HUGE DELAYS ON N.Y. SUBWAYS: Signal problems near the Grand Central-42nd street station caused numerous delays to a number of New York City's subway lines the morning of Jan. 6. [4 NBC N.Y., 1-6-20]

SOUND TRANSIT BEGINS EAST LIGHT-RAIL CONSTRUCTION: Sound Transit, on Jan. 4, began construction to integrate a new light-rail segment to the east side of its existing Link System in downtown Seattle. [Progressive Railroading, 1-6-20]

N.Y. GOVERNOR PROPOSES EXPANDING N.Y. PENN STATION WITH EIGHT NEW TRACKS: New York's governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing acquisition of the block south of Penn Station to add at least eight new underground tracks, which, he says, will boost train capacity by 40 pct. The station now has 21 tracks, and operates at full capacity during peak periods, leading to delays when trains or infrastructure break down. [Daily Star, 1-6-20]

FATAL BUS CRASH IN PA.: A massive crash early Jan. 5 involving a New York to Cincinnati bus on the Pennsylvania Turnpike east of Pittsburgh left at least five people dead - three of whom were on the bus, including its driver and a nine-year old passenger - and about 60 injured. The Z&D Tour bus reportedly struck an embankment on a downhill curve, then was struck by two tractor-trailers, then another truck and a car. There were 56 passengers on the bus at the time, according to the bus company. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 1-6-20]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN IDAHO: A rapid response to a Jan. 1 derailment on BNSF's Kootenai River subdivision in northern Idaho got the track cleared by Jan. 4. A 113-car manifest train traveling from Minneapolis to Pasco struck a rock slide east of Bonners Ferry, derailing three locomotives and six cars. The lead locomotive slid nose-first into the river, and the crew was rescued by boat. During the two and one-half-day closure, Amtrak employed motor coaches to ferry passengers between Whitefish and Spokane. [Railway Age, 1-6-20]

UNION PACIFIC CUTS OPERATIONS AT ARMOURDALE YARD IN KANSAS: Union Pacific has severely cut operations at its Armourdale yard in Kansas City, Kansas, resulting in 20 to 50 layoffs. The railroad said operations will be moved to the 18th street yard. [Railway Track & Structures, 1-6-20]

BOMBARDIER RENEWS FIVE-YEAR TRANSIT-SYSTEM CONTRACT AT KENNEDY AIRPORT: Bombardier Transportation has renewed a $309-million, five-year contract with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to provide operations and maintenance services for the automated transit system at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading, 1-6-20]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FURLOUGHS NEARLY 70 IN ROANOKE: Norfolk Southern announced furloughs of nearly 70 employees in Roanoke, Va., early Jan. 6. The affected employees may still apply for other positions within the company. [ABC 13 News, 1-6-20]

CP SETS RECORD QUARTER FOR CANADIAN GRAIN MOVEMENTS: Canadian Pacific moved more Canadian grain and grain products in the fourth-quarter 2019 than in any prior quarter in the railroad's history. [Canadian Pacific, 1-6-20]

MOROCCO RECEIVES FIRST PRIMA M4 LOCOMOTIVE FROM ALSTOM: Alstom has delivered the first of 30 Prima M4 locomotivs that Morocco national railway operator ONCF ordered in 2018. [Progressive Railroading, 1-6-20]

GROUP RESTORING MAINE CENTRAL STEAM LOCOMOTIVE: A group of volunteers in Hancock, Maine, is restoring locomotive 470, the last steam locomotive operated by Maine Central Railroad. The locomotive has not run in 65 years, and until 2016 was on display in Waterville, out of doors. The plan is for Down East Scenic Railroad to eventually use the locomotive on train excursions. It may be another 10 to 15 years before restoration is complete. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-4-20]

CP TRAIN DERAILS IN IOWA: Local traffic resumed early Jan. 4 in LeClaire, Iowa, after a derailment the day before sent more than a dozen cars off Canadian Pacific tracks just yards from the Mississippi River. There were no injuries in the accident, but some vehicles in a nearby parking lot were damaged. The railroad said it found no significant air or water contamination. [U.S. News & World Report, 1-4-20]

AMTRAK BEGINS LATEST RENEWAL WORK AT N.Y. PENN STATION: Amtrak's latest round of renewal work at Penn Station in New York City has begun. Work is focused on tracks 11 and 14, and is expected to be completed by April 17. Unlike in previous years, the winter work will not involve service disruptions for Amtrak or N.J. Transit trains, but there will be minimal schedule modifications for Long Island Rail Road trains. [Progressive Railroading, 1-3-20]

FRED ROONEY DIES, FORMER CONGRESSMAN, RAIL ADVOCATE: Fred Bernard Rooney, former U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, died Dec. 23. He ws instrumental in passage of the 1976 Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act, which created Conrail, introduced the concept of railroad revenue adequacy, and provided steps toward greater railroad economic deregulation. He was 94. [Railway Age, 1-3-20]

TWO KILLED IN CAR STRUCK BY NJT TRAIN: Two women were killed when a New Jersey Transit train struck their vehicle at a crossing in Middlesex Borough on the Raritan Valley line early Jan. 3. [, 1-3-20]

DECEMBER 2019 U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: U.S. railroads originated 1,919,036 carloads and intermodal units in December 2019, down 9.4 pct from the same month in 2018. [Association of American Railroads, 1-3-20]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS IN IDAHO, CREW RESCUED BY BOAT: A BNSF train derailed late Jan. 1 leaving the crew members to be rescued by boat and authorities working to contain diesel fuel leaking into Kootenai River. [ABC News, 1-3-20]

NORWAY OPTING FOR BATTERY TRAINS, PARTIAL ELECTRIFICATION TO REPLACE DIESEL: A study by Norway's railway directorate has concluded that the best replacement for diesel traction is battery trains combined with partial electrification. Other options that were considered included hydrogen, biogas, biodiesel, and battery trains without partial electrification. [International Railway Journal, 1-3-20]

MD. ANNOUNCES FIRST PART OF PURPLE LIGHT-RAIL LINE WILL OPEN IN LATE 2022: The Maryland Dept. of Transportation has announced that the first part of its D.C.-area Purple line will open in late 2022 between New Carrollton and College Park. The second segment from College Park to Bethesda will open the following year. When completed, the 16-mile line with 21 stations will connect with MARC trains, Washington Metrorail and Amtrak at both ends. [Progressive Railroading, 1-2-20]

CP COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF CENTRAL MAINE & QUEBEC RWY: Canadian Pacific, on Dec. 30, completed its acquisition of Central Maine & Quebec Railway, subject to U.S. Surface Transportation Board approval. [Progressive Railroading, 1-2-20]

PROGRESS RAIL SELLS MAINTENANCE OF WAY LEASING UNIT: Paceline Equity Partners has acquired Progress Rail Equipment Leasing Corp. from Progress Rail for an undisclosed price. Progress Rail is a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. [Progressive Railroading, 1-2-20]

UKRAINE TO ACQUIRE 40 GE LOCOMOTIVES: Wabtec will supply 40 GE class TE33AC diesel locomoites to Ukrainian Railways, and will provided maintenance services for these and 30 other locomotives previously supplied. [International Railway Journal, 1-2-20]

DECEMER 2019 AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAIN PERFORMANCE: Forty-three percent of Amtrak's named long-distance trains arrived at their scheduled final destination on time or earlier in December 2019. The remaining trains, on average, arrived one hour and nine minutes late. MORE.. [Bull Sheet Statistical Dept., 1-1-20]

CHINA ADDS NINE DAILY SLEEPING-CAR TRAINS: China National Railway has added nine daily electric multiple-unit trains, seven of which connect with cities directly from Beijing. [International Railway Journal, 1-1-20]


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