Bulletin Board


Main Page


BOMBARDIER GETS ORDER FOR 100 SPANISH LOCOMOTIVES: Bombardier Inc., won a $549-million (U.S.) contract for 100 freight locomotives for the Spanish National Railways. The order includes a 14-year maintenance service agreement, the company said. Delivery will begin in the second half of 2008 and end in 2010. [United Transportation Union, 12-29-06, from Toronto Star report]

MEXICAN TRAIN SMASHES INTO BUS KILLING 24: A freight train smashed into a bus as it crossed a railroad track outside Mexico City Dec.28 killing at least 24 people and injuring 12. The bus collided with the 36-car train as it headed north on a highway in the town of Cuautitlan. The bus driver, who apparently misjudged the speed of the train, was detained by police after he tried to flee the scene. [United Transportation Union, 12-29-06, from Associated Press report]

LOS LUNAS TO ALBUQUERQUE RAIL RUNNER LINE OPENED: New Mexico's Mid-Region Council of Governments recently launched Rail Runner Express commuter-rail service along a 20.6-mile corridor between Los Lunas and Albuquerque. In July, the agency opened the first leg of the 46-mile line between Albuquerque and Bernalillo. Early next year, the agency plans to open the Albuquerque-to-Belen segment. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 12-29-06]

COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF DM&E EXPANSION PLAN: Opponents of the planned expansion of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad lost another round on Dec.28 when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the federal Surface Transportation Board legally approved the project. The opponents argued the transportation board didn't properly evaluate the environmental impact of the plan to expand rail traffic from Wyoming's coal fields to eastern Minnesota through Rochester. [United Transportation Union, 12-29-06, from Associated Press report]

RAIL TON-MILEAGE SETS 9TH CONSECUTIVE ANNUAL RECORD: For the ninth consecutive year, total freight volume on U.S. railroads as measured in ton-miles has set an annual record. Total volume for the first 51 weeks of 2006 reached 1.712 trillion ton-miles during the week ended December 23, breaking the 52-week record of 1.696 trillion set during 2005. This year's total was 2.6 percent above the total for the first 51 weeks of 2005. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-28-06]

WESTERN AUSTRALIA TO BUY 15 M.U. TRAINS FOR PERTH: The Western Australia Government recently awarded a $123-million contract to a Bombardier Transportation/EDI Rail joint venture to supply 15 B-Series three-car electrical multiple unit trains for the city of Perth. The order is an extension of a contract awarded to the joint venture in 2002 to supply and maintain 31 B-Series trains. The cars are scheduled to be delivered between 2009 and 2011. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 12-28-06]

NETHERLANDS RAILWAYS BUYING 50 DOUBLE-DECK ELECTRICAL MULTIPLE UNITS: The Netherlands Railways recently awarded a $569-million contract to Bombardier Transportation to provide 50 double-deck VIRM electrical multiple units (EMU). Beginning in June 2008, Bombardier will deliver the cars to the railway, which currently operates 378 VIRM EMUs. The vehicles feature air conditioning units, transparent partition walls, wide doors, and storage space for luggage and bicycles. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 12-27-06]

AMTRAK PRESIDENT SEES GROWTH FOR COMPANY: Amtrak could see a ridership growth spurt of 50 percent in the next five to 10 years, but it would require billions of state and federal dollars invested in the tracks of other railroads, and millions more of private investment in passenger rail cars, Alexander K. Kummant, the new president of the railroad said. He indicated that Amtrak was backing away from some ideas that had upset Amtrak supporters, including putting the Washington-to-Boston corridor under separate ownership. He also said he did not intend to slash the long-distance network because it was a national asset that, once lost, would probably never be recovered. [United Transportation Union, 12-22-06, from New York Times report]

OTTAWA TERMINATES CONTRACT FOR NORTH-SOUTH LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: The Ottawa City Council has voted to terminate the North-South Light Rail Transit Project Agreement between the city and Ottawa LRT Corp., a joint venture comprising Siemens Transportation Systems and PCL Dufferin. Signed on Sept.15, the agreement was conditional on the city obtaining matching funds for the $674-million project from the federal and provincial governments. Federal funding and acquisition conditions for the project were not met. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 12-22-06]

RAILROADS BREAK INTERMODAL RECORD FOR 5TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR: For the fifth consecutive year, and the 18th time in the past 20 years, intermodal freight on U.S. railroads has set an annual record. Intermodal volume for the first 50 weeks of 2006 reached 11,875,340 trailers or containers during the week ended December 16, breaking the 52-week year record of 11,693,512 set last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-21-06]

ST.CHARLES STREETCARS ARE RUNNING AGAIN IN NEW ORLEANS: This week, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) launched service on a portion of the St.Charles streetcar line that had been closed since August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina wiped out the line's catenary system. Streetcars now are operating along the 1.2-mile Central Business District loop. The remainder of the St. Charles Line is scheduled to open in late 2007. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 12-21-06]

AMTRAK DROPS PLANS TO OUTSOURCE CALL CENTER JOBS: Amtrak has come to a new five year labor agreement with the Transportation Communications Union, who represents Amtrak's call center employees.  The agreement calls for Amtrak to abandon efforts to outsource call center jobs, but lowers the pay rate of new hire employees.  The agreement is seen as a positive sign for further progress in labor negotiations at Amtrak; many of the railroad's unions have been without contracts for up to five years. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 12-21-06]

HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE SET TO OPEN IN TAIWAN: Taiwan's new high speed rail line, linking Taipei and Kaohsiung (214 miles), is due to open by Christmas. The line will cut travel time between the two cities from five hours to 90 minutes.  Top speeds will be 315 kilometers per hour, as fast as the Japanese Shinkashen.  A one-way ticket will cost about $45 US.  This is 30 percent less than a comparable airline ticket. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 12-21-06]

TORONTO ORDERS 234 NEW RAPID TRANSIT CARS: Toronto Transit Commission has signed a $431-million contract with Bombardier Transportation for 234 new rapid transit cars. Bombardier's Thunder Bay, Ontario, facility will carry out the manufacturing and final assembly work. Delivery is slated to begin in 2009 and wrap up in 2011. [RailwayAge.com, 12-21-06]

CSX DROPS PLANS FOR NEW INTERMODAL YARD IN N.C.: CSX won't pursue plans to build an intermodal shipping yard in Chester County, N.C.. Instead, the company will focus on its existing operations in Charlotte, said CSX spokeswoman Meg Sacks. Last week, CSX said it was considering building a shipping hub on S.C. Highway 9 about five miles west of Interstate 77. Some Chester County residents opposed the project, citing concerns about traffic and noise. [United Transportation Union, 12-19-06, from the Herald of Rock Hill report]

CSX, PHILADELPHIA SETTLE DISPUTE ON PARK ACCESS: The city of Philadelphia has reached a tentative agreement with CSX to resolve a long-standing impasse over access to the Schuylkill River Park. The two sides have battled more than two years over pedestrian access to the green space, on the Schuylkill's east side. CSX has agreed to permit the installation of at-grade crossings at Race and Locust Streets, and "to facilitate funding" of a pedestrian bridge below Locust Street. [United Transportation Union, 12-17-06, from Philadelphia Inquirer report]

CSX DERAILMENT IN MARYLAND SPURS EVACUATION: A CSX freight train with a tank car containing a hazardous chemical derailed early Dec.15 along the Patapsco River near the Carroll-Howard county line, prompting residents of 100 neighboring homes to briefly evacuate as a precaution. No one was injured in the accident, which occurred in Marriottsville. Twenty-one of the train's 91 cars derailed. [United Transportation Union, 12-16-06, from Baltimore Sun report]

MANAGEMENT SHAKE-UP AT AMTRAK: The new president of Amtrak fired four top officials Dec.15, and put a fifth in a 90-day temporary position. Among those who lost their jobs was the railroad's general counsel and corporate secretary, Alicia M. Serfaty, who was made a legal counsel to Mr. Kummant himself for the next three months, the current and former officials said. The officials said the four others removed were the chief financial officer, David Smith; the police chief, Alfred J. Broadbent; the vice president for marketing and sales, Barbara J. Richardson; and the head of the corporate communications department, William Schulz. [United Transportation Union, 12-15-06, from New York Times report]

AMTRAK CONDUCTOR CONVICTED FOR STEALING FARE MONEY: James A. Schulteis, a 54-year-old former railroad conductor from Shelby, Montana, was sentenced Dec.14 to five years of probation for stealing from the railroad, according to U.S. Attorney Bill Mercer. U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon also ordered Schulteis to pay $18,986 in restitution. From April 30, 1987, until April 1, 2002, Schulteis was an assistant conductor for Amtrak, responsible for collecting fares from passengers who had not bought tickets prior to boarding. In January of 2002, an Amtrak Office of Inspector General Revenue Protection Consultant initiated an audit that found Schulteis failed to account in any way for 100 tickets that he was issued and failed to remit for documented sales of 225, for a total of 325 tickets. Schulteis was arrested, charged with theft, and pleaded guilty. [United Transportation Union, 12-15-06, from Great Falls Tribune report]

N.J. TRANSIT TO UPGRADE METROPARK STATION: N.J. Transit has announced plans to upgrade the Metropark station in Iselin. The facility was built in 1971. The overhaul will replace virtually the entire facility, including new platforms, waiting areas, and elevators.  The station will remain open throughout the $49-million project, with an estimated 2010 completion. The station is popular, with over 7,200 riders a day, thanks to its direct access to the Garden State Parkway and close proximity to many other major roads. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 12-15-06]

AMTRAK UPGRADES ACELA FIRST-CLASS MEALS: Acela Express First-Class meal service has been upgraded, restoring a hot entree option at all three meals. The hot entrees were removed during the 2005 brake problems that sidelined the fleet and caused temporary reintroduction of Metroliners. Menus will rotate on a four week cycle, changing every other Wednesday. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 12-15-06]

BNSF REVIVES PACIFIC NORTHWEST TO MEMPHIS SERVICE: Responding to continued customer interest, BNSF Railway Company has announced it will reintroduce international intermodal container service from the Pacific Northwest to Memphis beginning in January 2007. To further support its customers' interest in this market, BNSF continues to increase capacity and improve efficiency on its route between the Pacific Northwest and Memphis as well as make facility expansions in the Pacific Northwest and Memphis. [BNSF, 12-12-06]

GOLDEN SPIKE TOWER TO ALLOW VIEWS OF WORLD'S LARGEST RAIL YARD: The location for the Golden Spike Tower, which will allow visitors to observe the world's largest rail yard, has been chosen, and the project is moving ahead after two years of delays because of a lawsuit. The 90-foot-tall tower will promote North Platte, Nebraska's, railroad heritage and provide a panoramic, 360-degree view of the rail yard. [United Transportation Union, 12-12-06, from Fremont Tribune report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO SPEND $1.34-B IN 2007: Norfolk Southern Corp. said it plans to spend $1.34-billion in 2007 on improvements to its railroad operations and subsidiaries, or about 11 percent more than it spent this year. The spending includes $884-million on roadway projects and $401-million on equipment. [United Transportation Union, 12-12-06, from Houston Chronicle report]

N.J. TRANSIT MULTILEVEL CARS BEGIN SERVICE: The first of New Jersey Transit's new multilevel train cars - featuring wider aisles and more leg room - makes its maiden trip Dec.11. The new cars, which replace aging ones that are at least 25-years old, offer commuters more room. NJ Transit will take delivery of 10 cars per month, beginning in the summer of 2007. [United Transportation Union, 12-11-06, from WINS-1010 website report]

BELLOWS FALLS TUNNEL TO BE MODIFIED FOR DOUBLE-STACKS: Early next year, New England Central Railroad will begin moving double-stack intermodal trains through a 280-foot Bellow Falls, Vt., tunnel. Built in 1851, the tunnel wasn't designed to accommodate double-stack cars or auto racks. The 370-mile short line is spending $2.5-million - provided by the Vermont Agency of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration - to lower the tunnel's invert about two feet. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 12-11-06]

THREE KILLED AS METRA TRAIN HITS MINIVAN: Authorities said Dec.8 that an infant and two women were killed when a minivan went around the crossing gates in Elgin, Illinois, and was struck by a Metra commuter train. Four other children were injured in the afternoon accident. Elgin Police Sgt. Sean Rafferty said the train partially crushed the minivan and pushed it about 150 feet down the tracks before it was able to come to a stop. [United Transportation Union, 12-9-06, from Associated Press report]

J.B. HUNT DIES, INTERMODAL PIONEER: J.B. Hunt, 79, founder of one of the nation's largest trucking companies, died Dec.7 from head injuries suffered in a fall. Hunt gave his name to one of trucking's largest businesses, a diversified carrier and intermodal services provider that had more than $3-billion in annual revenue and a fleet of 11,000 trailers. In 1990, Hunt signed a landmark deal with BNSF Railway predecessor Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway to put truck trailers on railcars, setting off the recent boom in intermodal transportation. [United Transportation Union, 12-8-06, from Journal of Commerce Online report]

RAIL TRAFFIC MIXED IN NOVEMBER: Freight traffic on U.S. railroads was mixed during November 2006, with intermodal up and carload freight down from November 2005, the Association of American Railroads has reported. U.S. railroads originated 1,622,455 carloads of freight in November, down 15,255 carloads (0.9 percent) from November 2005. U.S. railroads also originated 1,182,424 intermodal units in November 2006, an increase of 7,648 trailers and containers (0.7 percent) over November a year ago. Seven of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw U.S. carload increases in November 2006 compared to November 2005. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-7-06]

AMTRAK CHAIRMAN SKEPTICAL OF NEC TAKEOVER PLAN: Amtrak's chairman took a skeptical view Dec.5 of New Jersey's plan for a takeover of the Northeast Corridor, saying the proposal may rely too much on other states that have not funded the corridor in the past. "I would be the first to be surprised if the states in the Northeast would be willing and capable of working together," Amtrak Chairman David M. Laney said in a speech at Rutgers University. "They very well may be and this may be the kind of issue they can gather around." [United Transportation Union, 12-6-06, from NorthJersey.com report by David Michaels]

BNSF/UP JOINT LINE TRAIN LOADINGS SET RECORD: BNSF and Union Pacific loaded a record average of 67.1 coal trains a day on the Joint Line in Wyoming in November, beating the previous record of 66.5 trains set in June. BNSF announced the new record in a service advisory on Dec. 5 that also updated ongoing construction projects in Nebraska. Six miles of new second main track between Bayard and Degraw are scheduled to go into service late this month. Fourteen miles of new second main between Angora and Northport will be opened in January, and 6.4 miles between Ashland and South Bend will be completed in the second quarter of 2007. [RailwayAge.com, 12-6-06]

F.R.A. PROPOSES INCREASED FINES FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS: The civil penalty guideline amounts assessed against railroads for violating numerous federal rail safety regulations would be substantially increased under a proposal announced Dec.5 by Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman. He explained that FRA evaluated each of the more than 2,000 provisions of the federal rail safety regulations using a five-point severity scale. Under the proposal, most fines would increase, but in some instances the amounts would remain unchanged or be reduced where data and experience have shown that a failure to comply with a specific regulatory provision poses less of a safety risk. [Federal Railroad Administration, 12-5-06]

CSX ISSUES UPDATE ON ANACOSTIA BRIDGE PROJECT: CSX Transportation has been rerouting north and southbound traffic around the Anacostia Bridge in the Washington, D.C., area after inspections in late November revealed issues concerning the bridge's support structure. Currently, CSXT is working to ensure the structural integrity and continued safe operation of the bridge. We have been working to restore normal service as soon as possible. Please be advised that one track of the Anacostia Bridge is scheduled to reopen on Thursday, Dec.7. As a result, rerouted traffic will begin to return to its normal patterns on that date. [CSX, 12-3-06]

INVESTIGATION FAULTS CSX FOR JANUARY VRE DERAILMENT: A worn, chipped switch that wasn't replaced by CSX Corp. likely caused January's derailment of a Virginia Railway Express commuter train, federal investigators have determined. The National Transportation Safety Board's investigation of the Jan.5 derailment found that CSX delayed replacing a switch just north of the Quantico Marine Corps Base that had been "repeatedly identified as deteriorating," according to the NTSB report, adopted Nov. 20. Seven VRE passengers and two crew members were injured when three passenger cars on the morning train jumped the rails at Possum Point, Va. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 12-1-06, from Associated Press report]

SAVAGE ALBERTA RAILWAY SOLD TO CANADIAN NATIONAL: Canadian National Railway Co. is buying the 555-kilometre Savage Alberta Railway from Savage Companies of Salt Lake City, Utah, for $25-million. The Savage Alberta Railway transported about 35,000 carloads of freight last year, and CN said it will upgrade the shortline's track to transport more coal, grain and forest products. [United Transportation Union, 12-1-06, from Canadian Press report]

TRAIN CREW WORK SCHEDULES CONTRIBUTE TO ACCIDENTS, FRA SAYS: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today released a study which provides a strong scientific rationale for evaluating railroad employee work schedules to address worker fatigue. According to the FRA, human factor errors were responsible for nearly 40 percent of all train accidents over the past five years. MORE... [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 11-29-06]

REPORT URGES CHANGE IN NORTHEAST CORRIDOR OWNERSHIP: A report prepared for a New Jersey business group says Amtrak's ownership of the 456-mile Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston should be transferred to a new entity made up of federal officials and representatives of the eight states and the District of Columbia. The report, commissioned by the Newark Regional Business Partnership and prepared by the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, calls for replacing Amtrak's management of the line with one that reflects the growing use of the Northeast Corridor by state-run commuter trains. [United Transportation Union, 11-29-06, from New York Times report by Ronald Smothers]

GROUND BROKEN FOR SILVER SPRING, MD., TRANSIT CENTER: Officials broke ground on a $75-million dollar transit center in Silver Spring that will be named after retiring Senator Paul Sarbanes,. The center has been in the works since 1980 and is supported by nearly $54-million dollars in federal funds. Officials say the center will make it easier to transfer among the various rail and bus lines that serve the Silver Spring Metro station and will improve pedestrian safety. [United Transportation Union, 11-28-06, from ABC-7 News website report]

SOUND TRANSIT TO BEGIN UNIVERSITY LINK EXTENSION FINAL DESIGN: Sound Transit announced Nov.27 it received Federal Transit Administration approval to begin final design on the University Link light-rail extension, moving the transit agency one step closer to securing a $750-million federal grant for the $1.5-billion project. To be located underground, the 3.1-mile extension would connect downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and the University of Washington. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 11-28-06]

S.T.B. REJECTS SALE OF RAIL LINE IN MONTANA: A bid by an orthodontist to buy the Helena-to-Great Falls rail line from BNSF Railway has been rejected by the federal Surface Transportation Board. Office of Proceedings Director David Konschnik said Daniel Fiehrer failed to show he had the financing necessary to purchase and operate the route for at least three years. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 11-26-06, from Associated Press report]

AMTRAK TO TEST PROTOTYPE DINER-LOUNGE ON CAPITOL LIMITED: As part of its efforts to improve the economic performance of overnight trains, and to give passengers more choices about when they can enjoy sit-down meals, Amtrak plans to convert dining cars and lounge cars to 'diner-lounges.' One of the major service improvements in the converted car will be continuous sit-down meal service from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm with a wider menu variety. In some situations, Amtrak will reduce mechanical and fuel expenses by running a single food car. Superliner diner conversions will happen first because they are simpler than conversions of Sightseer lounges. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 11-22-06]

'STEAM TRAIN MAURY' DIES, KING OF THE HOBOS: Maurice Graham, who began hitching rides on trains as a teenager and was known as the "King of the Hobos," has died at the age of 89. Graham, who recently suffered a stroke, died Nov.18 at the Northcrest Nursing Home, his family said. Graham, nicknamed "Steam Train Maury," was a founding member of the National Hobo Foundation and helped establish the Hobo Museum in Britt, Iowa. [United Transportation Union, 11-22-06, from Cleveland Plain Dealer report]

SEATTLE MAY TAKE OVER KING STREET STATION: Seattle's century-old King Street Station could become more than just a train depot. The Nickels administration plans to buy back the worn brick station for $1 from the BNSF Railway, clearing the way for public ownership of the historic structure and for completing a $29-million renovation, which could resume next year. [United Transportation Union, 11-22-06, from Seattle Post-Intelligencer report]

TRAIN COLLISION IN GERMANY INJURES 33: Officials said a Berlin commuter train rear-ended a stationary maintenance vehicle at a busy station Nov.20, injuring 33 people, two of them seriously, according to this Associated Press report. The accident occurred in the morning at the Suedkreuz station, an interchange south of downtown Berlin. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, railway spokesman Burkhard Ahlert said. [United Transportation Union, 11-20-06, from Associated Press report]

DENVER OPENS NEW COMMUTER RAIL LINE: A new 19-mile-long commuter rail line, projected to carry at least 38,000 passengers each day, officially opened Nov.19. The latest section connects downtown with the Denver Tech Center. The new line is the city's third, built at a cost of $939 million. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 11-19-06, from Associated Press report]

RAILROADS DROP EFFORT TO REDUCE CREW SIZE: Railroads have dropped their effort to negotiate the issue of one-person train crews during the current round of contract bargaining with labor unions. The National Carriers' Conference Committee sent a letter to railroad supervisors late this week informing them of the move. [United Transportation Union, 11-18-06, from Omaha World-Herald report by Stacie Hamel]

AMTRAK RIDERSHIP IN MICHIGAN SETS RECORD: Michigan transportation officials report that fiscal year 2006 was the best ever for Amtrak in the state.  More than 664,000 people rode Amtrak trains between October 2005 and October 2006, generating over $20-million in revenue on the three Michigan routes. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 11-17-06]

STEVEN WAIT NAMED PRESIDENT, CEO OF OHIO SCENIC RAILROAD: Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) recently named Steven Wait president and chief executive officer to succeed Douglas Cooper, who has returned to practicing corporate law after serving CVSR the past five years. With more than 30 years' experience overseeing railroad operations, marketing and sales. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 11-16-06]

RAILAMERICA TO BE BOUGHT BY FORTRESS INVESTMENT: RailAmerica Inc., the largest short-line railroad operator, said on Nov.14 that it agreed to be bought by investment firm Fortress Investment Group LLC for $16.35 per share. That is a 32 percent premium to the company's most recent trading price of $12.38 on the New York Stock Exchange. Including debt, the deal is worth about $1.1-billion, the company said. Fortress, which has private equity funds, hedge funds and alternative investment funds, has filed for an initial public offering. [United Transportation Union, 11-15-06, from Reuters report]

UNION STATION DEVELOPER CHOSEN IN DENVER: The successful bidder emerged Nov.15 for the redevelopment of Denver's Union Station. A team headed by East West Partners and Continuum Partners was chosen as the master developer of the project, which involves adding office, retail and residential space to the lower downtown train station and the surrounding 19.5-acre site. [United Transportation Union, 11-15-06, from Denver Business Journal report]

PATRIOT RAIL FORMED AS NEW HOLDING COMPANY: Gary O. Marino, co-founder and former chairman, president and CEO of RailAmerica, Inc., has formed Patriot Rail Corp. for the purpose of acquiring short line and regional freight railroads. The newly formed company announced its first acquisition, the 118-mile Tennessee Southern Railroad. [United Transportation Union, 11-15-06, from BusinessWire.com report]

JOHN CATOE TO HEAD D.C. TRANSIT AGENCY: John Catoe, the second in command at the Los Angeles MTA, plans to take a job as head the transit agency in Washington, D.C., the second-busiest subway system in the country. In Washington - where he applied for the position - he will oversee a strained system that serves 3.5 million passengers. [United Transportation Union, 11-15-06, from Los Angeles Daily News report]

BNSF COMPLETES 'HIGH-TECH' WIND FENCE IN MONTANA: The installation of a $1.8-million, three-quarter mile long, high-tech wind fence near Browning, Montana, was completed this fall. The state-of-the-art fence will protect trains and railcars from bolstering winds. Browning is known for its 60 to 100 mile-per-hour high wind speeds, which can cause damage to locomotives and railcars. [BNSF Today, 11-14-06]

CSX TRAFFIC DISRUPTED THROUGH D.C. DUE TO BRIDGE PROBLEM: CSX is rerouting north and southbound traffic around the Anacostia Bridge in the Washington, D.C. area. The rerouting is necessary due to issues with the bridge structure. In addition to rerouting, CSX is working to restore limited service on the bridge itself as the longer-term repairs are made. [CSX, 11-14-06]

U.P. LOCOMOTIVE FACILITY OPENED IN NEBRASKA: A cooperative effort between Union Pacific, General Electric and UP craftspeople has resulted in a state-of-the-art locomotive maintenance and repair facility at North Platte's Bailey Yard. On Nov.13, officials from UP and GE were in North Platte to officially open the facility designed to reduce the amount of time coal trains spend at the yard. The new locomotive shop will support GE locomotives, which haul more than 95 percent of the coal handled by UP. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 11-14-06, from North Platte Telegraph website report by Teresa Wickens]

BLET, UTU CONTINUE JOINT EFFORTS ON CSX DISCIPLINE: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the United Transportation Union are continuing to work together to protect their members in light of ongoing harassment and intimidation of their members at CSX Transportation. Unnecessarily harsh discipline and harassment of injured employees, efficiency testing, and continued contract violations are "completely out of control on CSXT," the General Chairmen said. MORE... [Joint report,11-14-06]

TRAIN COLLISION KILLS 27 IN SOUTH AFRICA: A commuter train smashed into a truck pulling a trailer packed with farm workers Nov.13, 2006, killing 27. Metrorail, the company operating the commuter train, said that eyewitnesses reported seeing the truck stall at the rail crossing. No rail commuters were injured. The crossing did not have barriers but had the legally required warning signs. [United Transportation Union, 11-13-06, from New York Times report]

MEXICO REJECTS FERROMEX-FERROSUR MERGER: Mexico's antitrust commission has upheld an earlier ruling that Grupo Mexico's proposal to merge two railroad subsidiaries, Ferromex and Ferrosur, would be anticompetitive. Grupo Mexico had appealed the original finding, handed down in June. Kansas City Southern de Mexico opposed the merger, which would have created Mexico's largest railroad. Grupo Mexico said it was considering its legal options. [RailwayAge.com, 11-13-06]

UNION PACIFIC DROPS MODEL TRAIN ROYALTY FEES: Union Pacific has reversed its decision to charge model railroad manufacturers royalty fees, a practice the Omaha-based railroad began in 2003. Model train makers now will be allowed a perpetual license to use UP's trademarks and paint designs, the railroad said. UP announced its decision as part of a joint statement with M.T.H. Electric Trains regarding a settlement reached in the federal trademark infringement case UP filed against M.T.H in January. In 2003, UP started licensing and charging model makers for use of its logo and the logos of railroads it purchased over the years as part of a larger brand- awareness program intended to place logos on a wider range of merchandise and result in significant revenue. [United Transportation Union, 11-11-06, from Omaha World-Herald report by Stacie Hamel]

MAN OBSESSED WITH TRAINS IN TROUBLE AGAIN: For years, Darius McCollum's obsession with New York's transit system has landed him in trouble. He has been arrested nearly two dozen times for offenses like impersonating transit workers, taking a subway train and buses for joyrides and trying to steal a locomotive. Now, Mr. McCollum, who has spent about a third of his 41 years behind bars for transit-related crimes, is back on familiar charges. He was charged Nov.10 with criminal impersonation, one day after the police arrested him in Manhattan on allegations that he broke parole and unlawfully had transit paraphernalia. Mr. McCollum, whose transit-system rap sheet began more than a quarter-century ago, had a Metropolitan Transportation Authority-style badge, a construction hat and train conductor manuals, which violated his parole terms, a police official said. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 11-11-06, from New York Times website report]

PORT OF TACOMA COMPLETES RAIL UPGRADES: The Port of Tacoma on Nov.8 said it has completed two rail projects. The $10.5-million rail capital projects increase rail throughput velocity at two key access points for port terminals - Bullfrog and Chilcote junctions. [United Transportation Union, 11-9-06, from Journal of Commerce Online report by Bill DiBenedetto]

BOMBARDIER WINS $530-MILLION SPANISH ORDER: Renfe (Spanish National Railways) announced that it plans to acquire 100 electric freight locomotives from Bombardier Transportation under a contract expected to be worth more than $530-million. The contract will also cover 14 years of maintenance. [RailwayAge.com, 11-9-06]

N.J. TRANSIT PROCEEDS WITH TWO STATION PROJECTS: On Nov.8, the New Jersey Transit board approved contracts for two station projects. NJ Transit awarded an $11.8-million contract to construct a new entrance at New York Penn Station. To be located at 7th Avenue and 31st Street, the entrance will enable passengers to bypass the main entrance and directly access the NJ Transit concourse. The board also approved site preparation and platform construction contracts for the South Amboy Station modernization project. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 11-9-06]

BNSF SETS COAL TONNAGE RECORD IN OCTOBER: Last month, BNSF Railway Co. loaded 25 million tons of coal - a new monthly record. The company also loaded 213,141 coal cars, which established a high-water mark for October. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 11-8-06]

GREENVILLE & WESTERN ASSUMES CONTROL OF FORMER CSX LINE: Greenville & Western Railway Co. L.L.C. has two weeks under its belt as the operator of a line CSX Transportation had planned to abandon. On Oct. 21, the new short line began operating trains on a 12.8-mile line between Belton and Pelzer, S.C., that parent Western Carolina Railway Service Corp. purchased. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 11-6-06]

FLORIDA EAST COAST REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Florida East Coast Railway's third quarter revenues increased 5.8 percent to $63.4-million compared with the prior-year period. A decline in volume was offset by improved pricing, including fuel surcharges totaling $6.4-million, an increase of $2.8-million over the 2005 quarter. Railway operating income increased 33.7 percent to $22.1-million, primarily due to net insurance recoveries of $5.8-million related to 2005 hurricane damages. [RailwayAge.com, 11-3-06]

ALBANY-NYC EXPRESS TRAIN BEING PLANNED: The state of New York and Amtrak are nearing an agreement to operate an Albany-New York City 'super' express. The trains, which appear in the new Amtrak timetable with a footnote that service, will begin "on a date to be announced." They would reinstate a service last operated in 1998 which was very popular with state employees. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 11-3-06]

SAMUEL CASEY DIES, PRESIDENT OF PULLMAN IN 1970'S: Samuel B. Casey Jr., who as president, chief executive and chairman of Pullman Inc. in the 1970s oversaw the company's transformation from a manufacturer of luxury railroad cars to a builder of vast construction projects, died Oct. 12 in Naples, Fla.. He was 78. [United Transportation Union, 11-3-06, from New York Times report by Dennis Hevesi]

RAIL CARLOAD, INTERMODAL TRAFFIC UP IN OCTOBER: Both carload and intermodal freight increased during October on U.S. railroads in comparison with October, 2005, the Association of American Railroads has reported. Railroads originated 1,355,091 carloads of freight in October 2006, up 24,116 carloads (1.8 percent) from October 2005. Intermodal volume of 1,006,812 intermodal units represented an increase of 18,913 trailers and containers (1.9 percent) over last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-2-06]

DAVID WRIGHT TAKES SEAT AS VIA RAIL CHAIRMAN: Via Rail Canada Inc. recently appointed Donald Wright to serve a three-year term as board chairman. A private and public equity investor since 2002, Wright currently serves as chairman of Fralex Therapeutics Inc. and Richards Packaging Income Fund. He also is a board member at Saxon Energy Services Inc., Black Bull Resources Inc., GMP Capital Trust and DHS Ltd. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 11-1-06]

AMTRAK INCREASES SPEED OF KEYSTONE TRAINS: Amtrak trains hit 110 mph on some stretches as high-speed rail made its debut in the 104-mile Keystone Corridor from Harrisburg to Philadelphia. Express trains, which stop only in Harrisburg, Elizabethtown, Lancaster, Paoli and Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, take 90 minutes to make the trip, one-half hour less than the old service. Local trains that include stops in Middletown and Mount Joy take 105 minutes. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 10-31-06, from Associated Press report]

K.C.S. REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Railroad company Kansas City Southern said quarterly net profit fell from a year earlier, when a tax settlement boosted results. The company reported third-quarter net income of $26.4-million or 32 cents a share, compared with $110.5-million or $1.14 a share a year earlier. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 10-31-06, from Reuters report]

STB TO REDUCE TIME, COST OF RAIL RATE CASES: The Surface Transportation Board's rate dispute resolution process just got easier. In an announcement late Oct.30, the agency said it will reduce the time and expense required for captive shippers to seek relief in large rail rate cases, which in recent years have averaged three-plus years to resolve, with both sides shelling out more than $3-million apiece. [RailwayAge.com, 10-31-06]

SHORTLINE PROPOSED BETWEEN GREAT FALLS AND HELENA: An unused railroad line between Great Falls and Helena, Montana, would reopen as an independent short line to foster competition in freight rail under an application filed with the federal Surface Transportation Board. Daniel Fiehrer, a dentist from Helena, is asking the federal agency to award him "running rights" and let him purchase the 92-mile stretch of railroad from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. [United Transportation Union, 10-31-06, from Great Falls Tribune report]

BNSF EYES EXPANSION OF GALESBURG SHOPS: The city of Galesburg received BNSF Railway Company's preliminary plans for an expansion to its diesel shop, should the state approve the expansion of the Galesburg Enterprise Zone. The $37-million project, likely not to begin until 2007, includes expansion to the diesel repair shop, a new locomotive wheel truing and wash facility, track work that would include telecommunication and signal work, a new service track office and miscellaneous expenses. [United Transportation Union, 10-31-06, from Register-Mail report]

UNION PACIFIC TO EXPAND USE OF REMOTE CONTROL: Union Pacific started using remote control locomotives at the Bluffs' two rail yards earlier this month. The railroad plans to expand RCL to a yard in downtown Omaha, as well as on tracks leading to industrial customers in downtown Omaha, Carter Lake and north Omaha. No date has been set for the Omaha expansion, a railroad official said. [United Transportation Union, 10-30-06, from Omaha World Herald report]

PRINCETON, W.V., SHOP BUILDINGS BEING DEMOLISHED: The former Virginian Railway shop buildings in Princeton are being demolished. The smaller buildings and boxcar bodies are almost all gone already, with just a couple of them standing. The largest of the brick buildings, the shop which at one time had a transfer table, is about half gone. The only thing left which has not been damaged or destroyed is the large metal shop building, with the hopper panels making up the lower parts of the walls. [Blue Ridge Dispatcher, newsletter of Blue Ridge Chapter National Railway Historical Society, 10-30-06, from item by Ed Burnett]

AMTRAK ILLINOIS EXPANSION BACK ON TRACK: A dispute that threatened to sidetrack expanded Amtrak operations in Illinois has been resolved in time for the new service to begin Oct.30 as scheduled, officials said Oct.27. The Canadian National Railway Co. agreed Oct.26 to allow Amtrak to use the freight railroad's lines to run more trains from Chicago to St. Louis and Carbondale. Both railroads agreed on the plan in July, but the Montreal-based CN attempted to back out of the deal last week due to concerns about disruptions to freight operations. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 10-28-06, from Chicago Tribune website report]

NEW RULE LIMITS LOCOMOTIVE CAB NOISE: Train crews will be less likely to suffer problems with hearing loss as the result of revised federal standards aimed at enhancing the safety and well-being of railroad employees by limiting locomotive cab noise.. MORE... [Federal Railroad Administration, 10-27-06]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA GETS ORDER FOR 7,650 ALUMINUM HOPPERS: FreightCar America Inc. recently landed a deal to be TXU Generation Development Co. L.L.C.'s exclusive supplier of up to 7,650 aluminum AutoFlood III coal cars. The car builder will deliver the aluminum automatic-discharge hoppers between second-half 2008 and 2009's end. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 10-26-06]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern Corporation reported record third-quarter net income of $416-million, or $1.02 per diluted share, a 38 percent increase compared with $301-million or $0.73 per diluted share for the same period of 2005. Third-quarter income from railway operations increased 35 percent to a record $715-million. [Norfolk Southern 10-25-06]

U.S. REVIEW FINDS AMTRAK MISMANAGED LEGAL BILLING: Amtrak mismanaged its legal affairs over a three-year period by failing to properly maintain billing and other records related to its outside lawyers, transportation investigators have said. The Transportation Department inspector general and Amtrak's in-house auditor found the passenger railroad spent an estimated $102-million for private counsel between 2002-05. More than $40-million in fees went to 10 law firms. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 10-25-06, from Reuters report]

NEW PRODUCE TRAIN ARRIVES AHEAD OF SCHEDULE: The inaugural run of an express produce train from Washington state arrived a full two days ahead of schedule. Union Pacific Railroad and CSX Transportation jointly operate the train for Railex LLC, a unit of Ampco Distribution Services LLC of Riverhead, Long Island. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 10-24-06, from Albany Times Union website report by Eric Anderson]

BNSF REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation has reported record quarterly earnings of $1.33 per diluted share, a 22-percent increase over third-quarter 2005 earnings of $1.09 per diluted share. Third-quarter 2006 freight revenues increased $597-million, or 19 percent, to an all-time quarterly record of $3.82-billion compared with $3.22-billion in the prior year. [BNSF, 10-24-06]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway announced Oct.24 third-quarter net income of $162-million. Net income was lower in 2006 by $42-million when compared to the same period in 2005 due primarily to the impact of foreign exchange on long-term debt and a one-time special reduction to an accrual taken in third-quarter 2005. [Canadian Pacific, 10-24-06]

N.S. AGREES TO SETTLE LAWSUIT OVER 2005 CHEMICAL SPILL: Norfolk Southern Corp. has agreed in principle to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by those injured by a deadly chemical spill in Graniteville, S.C., in January 2005. Nine people died and more than 554 residents were injured when a Norfolk Southern train derailed, piercing a tank car carrying chlorine gas. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 10-24-06, from Virginian-Pilot report by Gregory Richards]

SMALL PLANE CRASHES IN CSX'S ROCKY MOUNT RAIL YARD: A single-engine plane crashed Oct.22 in the CSX train yard on South Church Street in Rocky Mount, N.C., killing the two people on board, according to the Rocky Mount Telegram. The crash impacted the traffic flow on the CSX railroad, which is a major north-south traffic route. [United Transportation Union, 10-23-06, from Rocky Mount Telegram report]

METRO-NORTH COMPLETES BEACON STATION IMPROVEMENTS: MTA Metro-North Railroad recently completed a two-year, $9-million project under which the commuter railroad expanded parking at Beacon Station. Metro-North added 365 and rehabilitated 600 parking spaces, eliminating a waiting list for passengers seeking permits to park at the station. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 10-23-06]

TRI-MET TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION ON COMMUTER RAIL LINE: Next week, the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) will begin building the 14.7-mile Washington County Commuter Rail line. To open in September 2008, the line will serve Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 10-20-06]

CANADIAN NATIONAL REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Canadian National Railway Co. posted a 21 percent increase in net profit for the third quarter on Oct.19, saying that higher train speeds and improved yard efficiency produced a record-low operating ratio. The company also said it was raising its full-year earnings forecast for 2006 to about C$3.40 per diluted share, and that it sees earnings per share growth in 2007 of about 10 percent. [United Transportation Union, 10-19-06, from Reuters report by Allan Dowd]

N.T.S.B. CITES FAULTY CROSSTIES IN 2005 EMPIRE BUILDER DERAILMENT: The National Transportation Safety Board has reported that improper track maintenance and inadequate federal standards are to blame for an Amtrak derailment last year near Home Valley, Wash. That April 3, 2005, derailment of Amtrak's Empire Builder train injured 30 of the 115 people on the train as it headed from Spokane toward Portland. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 10-19-06, from Spokane Spokesman Review website report]

JOHN SNOW TO CHAIR INVESTMENT FIRM: Private investment firm Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. said on Oct.19 that John Snow, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, has been appointed as the company's chairman, according to this Reuters report. Before Snow became Secretary of the Treasury in February 2003, he was chairman and chief executive officer of rail company CSX. [United Transportation Union, 10-19-06, from Reuters report]

THIRD BNSF LOGISTICS PARK UNDER WAY IN KANSAS: BNSF's third Logistics Park, which will be located near Gardner, Kansas, is expected to open in late 2008. It's being developed with The Allen Group, a developer of industrial sites, and will occupy 1,000 acres. Design plans for the new intermodal facility are expected to be completed within a few months, and BNSF has begun the permitting and review process with local, state and federal agencies in order to begin construction in 2007. [RailwayAge.com, 10-18-06]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation has reported third-quarter 2006 net income of $420-million or $1.54 per diluted share. Last year's third quarter net income was $369-million, or $1.38 per diluted share, which included a non-cash income tax expense reduction of $118-million after-tax. [Union Pacific, 10-19-06]

BLUE RIDGE AFTON TUNNEL TO BE BOUGHT BY COUNTY: The Nelson County Board of Supervisors has voted to set the ball rolling in a purchase from CSX of the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Afton, Virginia, which closed in the 1940's. The approval gives the green light for Whitesell Group, the lead consultant on the project, to restore the tunnel and to draw a net for more funding sources. The tunnel is slightly shorter than a mile in length and extends into Augusta County. Pedestrians and bikers would have access to it once it is reconstructed. [Blue Ridge Dispatcher, newsletter of Blue Ridge Chapter National Railway Historical Society, 10-18-06, from Nelson County Times report]

LONG ISLAND R.R. TO REDUCE GAP AT EIGHT STATIONS: Faced with increased scrutiny following the death of a Minnesota teenager, the Long Island Rail Road will reduce the gap between trains and platforms at eight stations. The LIRR has already elevated the tracks at the Shea Stadium stop in Queens, and moved them as much as 4.5 inches toward the platform. Similar changes will be made in at least seven other stations. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 10-18-06, from Associated Press report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN EYES INDIANA SITE FOR RAIL YARD: Norfolk Southern Corp. is considering building a major rail yard by an Indiana town 75 miles from Chicago to bring consumer goods to the Midwest, local officials have said. "They're looking at a site west of LaPorte and are negotiating with property owners to buy land," said Leigh Morris, mayor of LaPorte. Morris said Norfolk Southern was looking to build an intermodal transfer yard on a 2,000 acre site near the town of 22,000 people. [United Transportation Union, 10-18-06, from Reuters report by Nick Carey]

CSX ANNOUNCES 3-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corporation on Oct.17 reported third-quarter 2006 net earnings of $328-million or 71 cents per share. Earnings in the quarter included a 17 cent per-share benefit from Hurricane Katrina insurance recoveries and the resolution of certain income tax matters. Excluding these items, earnings were 54 cents per share, up 50 percent from 36 cents per share reported in the same quarter of 2005. [CSX, 10-17-06]

TWO TRAINS COLLIDE IN ROME: One person was killed and about 60 were injured when two metro trains collided during the morning rush hour in Rome, officials say. The crash took place at Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II station in the centre of the Italian capital. The trains were travelling on metro line A. Passengers said the crash happened when one train arriving at the station crashed into the back of another. [United Transportation Union, 10-17-06, from British Broadcasting Corp. report]

AMTRAK REGISTERS FY-06 RIDERSHIP, REVENUE GAINS: Amtrak's streak of record-breaking years now stands at four. In FY2006, the national intercity passenger railroad's ridership and ticket revenue exceeded FY2005's figures and FY2006 projections. During the fiscal year ending Sept.30, Amtrak carried 24.3 million passengers, up 1.3 percent compared with FY2005's adjusted figure of 24 million and 3 percent compared with the FY2006 projection. The Acela Express carried two percent more passengers than expected, but ticket revenue dropped six percent. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 10-17-06]

LYCOMING VALLEY R.R. GETS STATE HELP ON LOCOMOTIVE PURCHASE: Lycoming Valley Railroad, a short-line railroad that operates in central Pennsylvania, has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection toward the estimated $1.5 million cost of a diesel locomotive that exceeds tough environmental standards. It is estimated that the locomotive would save about 9,000 gallons of fuel a year and reduce emissions significantly. [United Transportation Union, 10-17-06, from Patriot News report]

AMTRAK TO ADD 'THE SALUKI': A little more than a year ago, the question was whether Amtrak would run a train service from Carbondale, Illinois, at all. Today, with another bullet dodge from federal budget cutbacks and double the state support for the three routes that run Illinois trains, Amtrak has not only introduced an additional train to the Carbondale station's daily itinerary, the company is calling it "The Saluki." Oct.30 is the first date the Saluki train will be available to the public. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen. 10-14-06, from Southern Illinoisan website report]

BNSF, CSX CREATE HIGH-VOLUME INTERMODAL CORRIDOR: BNSF Railway Company and CSX Corporation's rail transportation and intermodal companies have announced plans to create a high-volume rail corridor for intermodal services on the lines connecting California, Atlanta and the rest of the Southeast Region. The planned service will initially include two intermodal trains each day between the West Coast and Southeast in each direction. CSX will expand its rail line between Birmingham and Atlanta, as well as its intermodal terminal in Fairburn, Ga., near Atlanta. [Joint BNSF-CSX press release, 10-12-06]

L.A. TO STUDY REOPENING OF ANGELS FLIGHT FUNICULAR: The Los Angeles City Council's Transportation Committee has agreed to ask the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to study whether the agency can make safety improvements needed to reopen Angels Flight. Dubbed the "shortest railway in the world," Angels Flight was shut down after one of the rail cars slid downhill on the tracks and collided with a vehicle below it in 2001. The accident killed a man and injured seven other people. The railway opened in 1901 and was dismantled in 1969. It was restored in 1996 as part of a $4.1 redevelopment plan, operating until the 2001 accident. [United Transportation Union, 10-12-06, from Associated Press report]

UNION PACIFIC TO BUILD NEW MEXICO INTERMODAL HUB: Union Pacific Railroad will build a $150-million intermodal terminal as part of an agreement with the state of New Mexico,. In exchange for the Strauss hub, the state will eliminate a locomotive fuel tax and provide road improvements. The 934-acre facility will handle 100,000 containers per year, and include a fueling station, train inspection area and yard. The railroad expects to complete the terminal in 2010. [United Transportation Union, 10-11-06, from Journal of Commerce Online report]

TEN DIE AS TRAINS COLLIDE IN FRANCE: A passenger train collided with an oncoming freight train in northeastern France Oct.11, killing 10 people and injuring at least 10 others. The passenger train was traveling from Luxembourg to the French city of Nancy. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 10-11-06, from Associated Press report]

NEW AMTRAK TRAIN TO BE NAMED FOR CARL SANDBURG: Amtrak is increasing the frequency of trips between Chicago and Quincy. The train will be called the Carl Sandburg, after the late Chicago poet who won two Pulitzers. The Quincy train line will run twice a day, and expansion also includes more trips between Chicago and Carbondale. [United Transportation Union, 10-8-06, from Chicago Tribune report]

UNION PACIFIC PLANS NEW MEXICO FACILITY: Union Pacific Corp. plans a $150-million facility just west of Santa Teresa, N.M. Gov. Bill Richardson told a group of U.S. and Mexican dignitaries that Union Pacific will build the facility only if the state Legislature approves $5-million for a road to the planned site and removes a statewide tax on the sale of train fuel. The project would initially entail a rail yard and fueling stop at Strauss, about four miles west of Santa Teresa. [United Transportation Union, 10-6-06, from Las Cruces Sun-News report]

K.C. UNION STATION SPAN TO OPEN: The long-awaited bridge extending from Union Station to the Freight House District will open to walkers this week. The 1892 steel-truss bridge grabbed lots of attention in January, when movers hauled it through downtown from the River Market, where it had sat unused since the 1960s. [United Transportation Union, 10-5-06, from Kansas City Star report by Adjoa Adofo]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC UP IN SEPTEMBER: Both intermodal and carload freight were up on U.S. railroads during September. The last three weeks of September 2006 were the three highest-volume intermodal weeks in the history of U.S. railroading, as railroads originated 987,903 intermodal units during the month, up 50,543 trailers and containers from the same month last year. Carload volume also rose. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-5-06]

NEW STATION PLANNED FOR EDGEWOOD, MD.: The state transportation department has approved $2.6-million for a new train depot to serve MARC commuter trains at Edgewood, Md., for completion in 2008, according to press reports.

AMTRAK POWER FAILURE WAS PARTLY CAUSED BY TREE TRIMMING: Routine tree-trimming by an Amtrak maintenance crew set in motion a chain of events that ended with a power failure at the peak of the Oct.3 rush hour, stalling 100 NJ Transit trains carrying about 70,000 commuters. The problems stemmed from Amtrak's decision to shut down two of the four power lines on the Northeast Corridor to allow crews to cut branches hanging near the rails in Pennsylvania. But then there was a break in the third power line somewhere in New Jersey - an accident unrelated to the tree-trimming - that left only one electric line in service. "The fourth line was unable to handle the power of the two lines, tripping circuit breakers," said an Amtrak statement. [United Transportation Union, 10-4-06, from Newark Star-Ledger report]

FINAL DESIGN TO BEGIN ON NORFOLK LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Last month, the Federal Transit Administration gave Virginia's Hampton Roads Transit the green light to begin final design for the Norfolk Light Rail Project. Scheduled to be completed in late 2009 or early 2010, the 7.4-mile line would run from the Eastern Virginia Medical Center through downtown Norfolk along the Interstate 264 corridor. The line will include 11 stations. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 10-4-06]

OKLAHOMA, TEXAS AGREE TO SHARE COST OF HEARTLAND FLYER: Oklahoma and Texas state officials have agreed to share the cost of funding an already-established rail service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth. The Heartland Flyer, operated by Amtrak, costs $4-million annually to operate. Federal funds for the route are ending, and the Oklahoma Legislature last year approved $2-million a year in funding for the rail line. Texas transportation officials have agreed to share the cost of the Heartland Flyer, Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Phil Tomlinson said. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-30-06, from Associated Press report]

TEXAS APPROVES MOVING TRACKS OUT OF BROWNSVILLE: The Texas Department of Transportation has approved $13-million to move the railroad tracks out of downtown Brownsville. The money was previously designated to build three overpasses. Instead, the $13-million will be used to reroute the railroad six miles to the west, bypassing those streets altogether. [United Transportation Union, 9-29-06, from Brownsville Herald report]

BART PICKS TEAM FOR OAKLAND AIRPORT CONNECTOR: The Bay Area Rapid Transit District has selected the team of Balfour Beatty and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., to bid on the Oakland Airport Connector, an automated people-mover system that will replace bus transfer routes between BART's Coliseum Station and the airport. BART envisions the project as a public-private partnership both in funding and implementation. [RailwayAge.com, 9-29-06]

KAZAKHSTAN ORDERS 310 EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVES FROM G.E.: GE-Transportation has announced it obtained a contract valued at more than $650-million from Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) to supply 310 Evolution Series locomotives - GE's first Evolution Series order outside North America. Within two years, the locomotive builder will produce 10 units at its Erie, Pa., plant and ship the locomotives to Kazakhstan's national railway. Between 2008 and 2012, GE will deliver the remaining 300 units, which will undergo final assembly at a new locomotive assembly plant in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 9-29-06]

AMTRAK PRESIDENT VAGUE ON RAIL LABOR, BLET SAYS: Amtrak's new President and CEO Alexander Kummant provided vague answers to questions about rail labor in a hearing Sep.28 before the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Railroads. Under questioning by Representative Steven LaTourette, the Chairman of the Subcommittee, Kummant acknowledged that only 30 percent of employees were currently under contract and many of Amtrak's employees were not paid at rates competitive to those in freight service. However, he also noted, to the consternation of rail labor, Amtrak needed to be able to flexibly manage its workforce. BLET members who work for Amtrak have been without a contract for more than six years. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-28-06]

FIFTY-MILE PASSENGER RAIL LINE TO BE BUILT IN SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa's Gauteng Provincial Government recently awarded a $3.3-billion contract to the Bombela Consortium, a public-private partnership that will finance, design, build, operate and maintain a 50-mile passenger-rail line. Construction will begin immediately on the line, which will link Johannesburg, Tshwane and the Johannesburg International Airport. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 9-28-06]

REHABILITATION SET FOR EDGEWOOD STATION IN PITTSBURGH: The Port Authority of Allegheny County recently awarded two contracts to rehabilitate the historic Edgewood, Pa., Station. The $420,000 general construction contract includes removing asbestos and lead paint, replacing the station canopy, restoring or replacing windows and doors, restoring the interior finish and decorative railings, and painting the interior and exterior. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 9-28-06]

AMTRAK ASSUMES CONTROL OF ACELA MAINTENANCE: Amtrak has assumed full responsibility for maintenance of its Acela trains, formally ending its day-to-day relationship with a foreign consortium that built the railroad's premium service. The transfer of management and oversight from Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. and French engineering group Alstom within the past couple of months is seven years earlier than originally planned, Amtrak said. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-27-06, from Reuters report by John Crawley]

VA. COUNTY SAID POWERLESS TO STOP N.S. INTERMODAL YARD: Federal law bars Montgomery County, Va., from denying rezonings for Norfolk Southern's proposed intermodal freight yard in Elliston, despite county supervisors' surprise vote Sep.25 to oppose the project. The Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act pre-empts local zoning powers, County Attorney Marty McMahon wrote in an e-mail. "Local police powers such as zoning were pre-empted from regulating transportation by rail carrier when Congress enacted the ICC Termination Act," he wrote. [United Transportation Union, 9-27-06, from Roanoke Times report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN BOARD ADOPTS NEW MAJORITY VOTING RULES: Norfolk Southern Corp., which operates a freight railroad system, said its board amended the company's corporate governance guidelines to include majority voting for election of directors in an uncontested election. Under the changes, directors who receive more 'withhold' than 'for' votes will resign, and the board's governance and nominating committee will consider whether to accept the resignation. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-27-06, from Associated Press report]

TRAIN CARRYING WASHINGTON NATIONALS BASEBALL TEAM DERAILS: A chartered Amtrak train carrying the Washington Nationals derailed early Sep.26 near Wilmington, Del., but no one was injured. "It was a very minor derailment," Amtrak spokeswoman Tracy Connell said. "The rear wheels of the locomotive went off the track." About 50 passengers on board were transferred to another train that arrived in Washington just before 5 a.m. The Nationals were traveling home from New York. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-26-06, from Associated Press report]

AMERICAN RAILCAR WINS ORDERS FOR 2400 NEW CARS: American Railcar Industries (ARI) has received orders from American Railcar Leasing (ARL) for 2,000 new tank cars and 400 covered hoppers. The new tank car orders include a new agreement to build 1,000 at the company's new manufacturing plant adjacent to an existing plant at Marmaduke, Ark., for delivery in 2008 and 2009; and another 1,000 representing the exercise of an option to be built at the existing Marmaduke plant for delivery in 2008. The hopper cars will be built at ARI's Paragould plant in 2008 under another option. [RailwayAge.com, 9-26-06]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN LINE IN PENNSYLVANIA REOPENS AFTER LANDSLIDE: One of two tracks buried by a massive landslide Sept.19 has reopened for rail traffic. Crews have been working around the clock to remove the dirt, rocks and other debris from two of three Norfolk Southern railway tracks in Kilbuck Township. [United Transportation Union, 9-25-06, from Associated Press report]

SOUND TRANSIT BREAKS GROUND ON AIRPORT LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Last week, Sound Transit and the Port of Seattle broke ground on a project designed to extend light-rail service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The parties will extend the 14-mile Seattle-to-Tukwila, Wash., Central Link light-rail line - which currently is under construction - 1.7 miles to the airport. Scheduled to be complete in December 2009, the extension will open in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 9-25-06]

MAGLEV TRAIN DERAILS IN GERMANY, KILLING AT LEAST 21: A high-speed maglev train derailed in Northern Germany Sept.22, killing at least 21 people and injuring others.  The train which was reportedly traveling around 120 mph, derailed after colliding with a maintenance vehicle that was parked on the track. High-speed magnetic levitation trains are propelled by electrically charged magnets that allow the train to hover just above the track, eliminating friction.  The train is capable of reaching 280 mph. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 9-22-06] 

UNION PACIFIC OPENS SALT LAKE CITY INTERMODAL TERMINAL: Union Pacific Railroad opened an $83-million, 260-acre intermodal terminal in Salt Lake City Sept.20. Designed to handle 250,000 trailers or containers annually, the facility triples the railroad's international and domestic container capacity in the area. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 9-21-06]

TOXIC TRAIN DERAILS IN CRAWFORD, TEXAS: A train derailed and spilled a hazardous liquid Tuesday night [Sept.19], prompting about half the population of Crawford to temporarily evacuate, officials said. President Bush's ranch is several miles away from the town and was not near the area evacuated. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-20-06, from Associated Press report]

BOMBARDIER PLANT IN PLATTSBURG TO LAY OFF MORE THAN HALF ITS WORKFORCE: Layoffs at Bombardier Transportation in Plattsburgh, N.Y., will affect more than half the workforce. Bombardier Transportation Plattsburgh Plant General Manager James Tooley said hundreds of the facility's 554 employees will lose their jobs as the contract to build 1,172 M-7 railcars for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is completed. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-19-06, from Plattsburgh Press Republican report]

DAVID HUGHES LEAVING AMTRAK: In a Sep.15 letter to employees, Amtrak announced David Hughes is leaving the railroad. Hired as Amtrak's chief engineer in 2002, Hughes served in that capacity until taking over as interim president last November, when former President David Gunn was terminated. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 9-18-06]

THREE N.J. TRANSIT STATIONS TO GET UPGRADES: NJ Transit is launching a $135-million rehabilitation project at three Central Jersey rail stations. Under the project, the agency will reconstruct platforms and refurbish the station building at Metropark in Iselin, create high-level platforms and a parking deck at South Amboy, and add 800 parking spaces near the Edison station. [United Transportation Union, 9-18-06, from Home News Tribune report]

AMTRAK, CSX SEEK SOLUTIONS IN VIRGINIA: CSX Corp., often blamed for favoring its freight trains over passenger service, is working with Amtrak to improve on-time performance, a state rail group has learned. The governor's Rail Advisory Board was looking at how long-term growth could affect Virginia's public investment into private railroads. Some members of the board questioned whether CSX is making good-faith efforts to help Amtrak run smoothly and whether passenger rail service will ever improve. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-15-06, from Richmond Times-Dispatch report by Chip Jones]

N.J. CONSIDERS TAKEOVER OF STATE'S PORTION OF NORTHEAST CORRIDOR: A state takeover of Amtrak's busy Northeast Corridor rail line might be worth pursuing, Gov. Corzine said Sep.13. Corzine said he would leave the details and research up to George Warrington, NJ Transit's executive director who is a former head of Amtrak, along with other experts. NJ Transit leases space on the Northeast Corridor from Amtrak for use by about 400 commuter trains a day. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-14-06, from Asbury Park Press website report by Larry Higgs]

N.J. TRANSIT OK'S RIVER LINE UPGRADES: By next summer, riders on the River Line will be able to go farther, later. The NJ Transit board of directors have approved spending $1.3-million to upgrade signals on the line between Camden and the Route 73 Park & Ride in Pennsauken. When the changes are made, the agency says, it will be able to run trains between Camden and the Pennsauken station until midnight seven days a week. [United Transportation Union, 9-14-06, from Associated Press report]

WASHINGTON METRO TO ROLL OUT NEW 6000-SERIES CARS: Last week, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority approved a plan to deploy the first of WMATA's new 6000 series cars and considered proposals to improve service. The cars will help relieve crowding during rush-hour periods by enabling WMATA to operate eight-car train service on the Red and Green lines and six-car train service on the Yellow Line, as well as convert two four-car trains to six-car trains on the Blue Line. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 9-12-06]

RUNAWAY BARGE CRASHES INTO R.R. BRIDGE IN CONNECTICUT: A runaway barge slammed into Amtrak's railroad bridge connecting Old Lyme and Old Saybrook, shutting down rail service Sep.9 for two hours and stranding boat traffic. The barge remained lodged in the bridge Saturday night as Amtrak officials waited for a favorable tide to hopefully free the vessel. Five Amtrak trains were delayed from 32 minutes to 110 minutes, Amtrak said. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-10-06, from Hartford Courant website report]

RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC UP IN AUGUST: U.S. railroads originated 1,701,997 carloads of freight in August 2006, up 19,032 carloads (1.1 percent) from August 2005. U.S. railroads also originated 1,247,653 intermodal units in August 2006, an increase of 73,154 trailers and containers (6.2 percent) over August 2005, the Association of American Railroads has reported. Eight of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw U.S. carload increases in August 2006 compared to August 2005. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-7-06]

TRAIN TUNNEL PORTIONS MEET IN THE ALPS: Construction workers made the first breakthrough in what will be the world's longest rail tunnel Sep.6, meeting under the Swiss Alps to join up its northern and southern sections. The tunnel will be 35.4 miles long when completed in 2016 and cut Zurich-Milan journey times by an hour compared with an existing tunnel link. [United Transportation Union, 9-7-06, from Associated Press report]

NORTHWEST PRODUCE TO HEAD EAST BY RAIL: A New York-based shipping company has completed its $20-million refrigerated warehouse and rail loop in Wallula,Washington, and plans to send its first train of Mid-Columbia produce to the East Coast in mid-October. Jim Kleist, general manager of Railex Washington's Wallula facility, said as soon as a similar facility under construction in Rotterdam, N.Y., is complete, the first mile-long unit train full of potatoes, apples and other produce will leave Wallula on a five-day run to New York. [Railtex, 9-7-06, from Tri-CityHerald.com report]

MARY PETERS PICKED AS TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: President Bush has chosen Mary Peters, a former federal highway administrator, to succeed Norman Mineta as secretary of transportation. Since November, Peters has been national director for transportation policy and consulting in the Phoenix office of Omaha-based architectural, engineering and consulting firm HDR Inc. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-5-06, from Associated Press report]

FUNDING CLEARED FOR NORFOLK SOUTHERN TUNNEL PROJECTS: Norfolk Southern joined three states and the federal government in announcing Sep.5 that the financing is now in place for the central part of the Heartland Corridor project: raising the ceilings of 28 tunnels to permit the passage of taller trains between Hampton Roads and Chicago. An agreement has been reached to permit the release of $95-million of federal money to modify the tunnels so trains stacked two-high with truck-size cargo containers can pass through. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-5-06, from Virginian Pilot website report by Gregory Richards]

FIVE KILLED IN EGYPTIAN TRAIN CRASH: A passenger train collided with a cargo train north of Cairo Monday, killing 5 people and injuring 30 others, two weeks after a major train crash in the same area killed 58 people. The collision occurred the evening of Sep.3 near Shebin al-Qanater, north of the capital, officials said. [United Transportation Union, 9-4-06, from Associated Press report]

AMTRAK REVERSES TIDEWATER SERVICE CUT: Amtrak is backing off a plan to drop one of two daily round trips serving Tidewater and Richmond's Main Street Station. After a two-hour meeting Aug.31 with Amtrak executives in Richmond, state rail director Matt Tucker said, "Amtrak is not planning to make any changes to Virginia service at this time." [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-1-06, from Richmond Times-Dispatch website report by Chip Jones]

RAIL ACCIDENT RATES DROP IN FIRST HALF 2006: The Federal Railroad Administration has released incident/accident rates for the first six months of 2006. The train accident rate dropped 18.4 percent and the yard accident rate declined 20.3 percent. The rate of highway-rail incidents was down 3.45 percent, although the actual number of fatalities at crossings increased 5.8 percent. [RailwayAge.com, 9-1-06]

GENESEE & WYOMING BUYS TWO RAILROADS: Railroad operator Genesee & Wyoming Inc. said Aug.30 it has acquired two privately-held railroads for $6-million in cash. The company said H&S Railroad Company Inc. and the Chattahoochee & Gulf Railroad Co. Inc., both affiliates of Gulf & Ohio Railways, primarily serve traffic between Norfolk Southern and the Bay Line, but also provide interchanges with CSX. [United Transportation Union, 8-31-06, from Reuters report]

SPRINTER TRAIN UNVEILED IN CALIFORNIA: North County, Calif., Transit District officials showed off a sparkling Sprinter train at a ceremony Aug.29 for invited guests. The 67-ton Desiro Classic Diesel Multiple Unit vehicles, manufactured by Siemens AG Transportation Systems of Germany, link together to form a 135-foot-long 'married pair.' The $440 million Sprinter project - with 15 stops - is on schedule for passenger service to begin in Dec.2007. [United Transportation Union, 8-20-06, from North County Times report]

AMTRAK APPOINTS NEW PRESIDENT, CEO: Amtrak's board of directors announced Aug.29 that it has chosen Alexander Kummant, a veteran rail and industrial executive, as its new president and chief executive officer. Kummant will assume the job Sept.12. He will take over for David Gunn, who was fired last November. Kummant previously served as regional vice president of the Union Pacific Railroad. Most recently, he served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Komatsu America Corp. [United Transportation Union, 8-29-06, from Associated Press report]

PHOTOS NOW OK ON METRA PLATFORMS: Faced with opposition from railroad enthusiasts, Union Pacific Railroad announced Monday that it will once again allow people to take pictures from Metra platforms on the routes it operates. [United Transportation Union, 8-29-06, from Chicago Tribune report]

TWO ELECTED TO CSX BOARD OF DIRECTORS: CSX Corporation has announced that Donna M. Alvarado and Steven T. Halverson have been elected to the company's board of directors effective September 1, 2006. Alvarado is founder and president of Aguila International, a Columbus, Ohio-based business consulting firm specializing in human resources and leadership development. Halverson is CEO of The Haskell Company, a design-build company based in Jacksonville, Florida. [CSX. 8-29-06]

SIX TRAINS ADDED TO CAPITOL CORRIDOR IN CALIFORNIA: The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) began operating six additional trains Aug.28 between San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. Coupled with a recent 30 percent increase in service between Oakland and Sacramento, the San Jose train additions mark the authority's largest-ever service expansion, according to a prepared statement. A total of 14 trains now operate to and from San Jose daily. CCJPA used $72-million in state transportation funds to upgrade track and add infrastructure. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 8-29-06]

UNION PACIFIC BANS PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM METRA PLATFORMS: In a move that has Chicago area railroad enthusiasts fuming, Union Pacific Railroad recently banned photography of its trains from Metra station platforms. Union Pacific, which contracts with Metra to operate three commuter rail lines, said the new rule was issued in response to heightened security concerns. That argument doesn't wash with the Railroad Club of Chicago, whose president said the restrictions will have the opposite effect. "UP is targeting those who are most likely to observe and report something out of the ordinary," Railroad Club president William Shapotkin said, noting that rail fans spend much of their free time riding and taking photos of trains. [United Transportation Union, 8-28-06, from Chicago Sun-Times report]

MAN RIDING A LAWN MOWER ON TRACK KILLED BY TRAIN: A Georgia man going down the railroad tracks on a riding lawn mower was hit and killed by a train early Aug.26. Anthony Todd Potts, 38, was traveling southbound on the Norfolk Southern tracks south of Ga.96 when he was hit by a northbound train at 1:13 a.m., said Cpl. Sean Alexander of the Houston County Sheriff's Office. "Alcohol is a contributing factor," Alexander said. [United Transportation Union, 8-27-06, from Macon Telegraph report]

AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS NEAR TACOMA, WASHINGTON: An Amtrak train en route to Seattle from Portland derailed about a quarter of a mile north of the Tacoma station just after noon Aug.25. None of the nearly 205 passengers and five crew members was injured in the 9-mph incident, said Burlington Northern, which owns, maintains and controls the tracks at the derailment site. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 8-25-06, from Seattle Post-Intelligencer report by John Iwasaki]

POTENTIAL LOSS OF AMTRAK TRAIN CAUSES CONCERN IN VIRGINIA: The potential loss of one of two daily Amtrak trains serving Tidewater sparked an outcry from rail supporters and raised concerns about traffic gridlock for the Jamestown 2007 celebration. Amtrak has confirmed that it is studying the elimination of one of two sets of daily trains linking Tidewater with Washington. The change could cut nearly half of the 30 trains that traverse the corridor each week. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 8-25-06, from Richmond Times-Dispatch report by Chip Jones]

BRONX FIRE NEAR RAIL TRACKS DELAYS AMTRAK TRAINS: An auto parts store burst into flames Wednesday afternoon [Aug.23], spewing thick black smoke that could be seen from miles away, forcing area residents to leave their homes and hampering train service on nearby tracks. Amtrak said eight trains, including four that turned back to Manhattan's Pennsylvania Station, were delayed. [United Transportation Union, 8-23-06, from Associated Press report]

HISTORIC L.I.R.R. INTERLOCKING TOWER TORN DOWN: One of three remaining historical wooden Long Island Rail Road signal towers was demolished Aug.22 in Patchogue, N.Y., after village officials determined that restoration would be too expensive. MORE... [United Transportation Union, 8-23-06, from Newsday report by Bill Bleyer]

AMTRAK ADDS 24 RAIL CARS TO NEW ORLEANS FOR STANDBY SERVICE: Under a $700,000 contract, Amtrak has refurbished 24 mothballed rail cars and brought them to the New Orleans train station, where they are now on standby for the current storm season, said Brian Turmail, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation. The arrangements are part of an evacuation program financed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 8-22-06, from Cox News Service report by Julia Malone]

WASHINGTON STATE GRAIN GROWERS RESUME SHIPMENTS ON SHORTLINE: Eastern Washington grain growers have resumed shipping wheat by railroad, using the 108-mile CW Line between Coulee City and Cheney that was shut down last winter by its owner. The CW Line, owned by Watco Cos. Inc., was shut down in December as farmers protested surcharges added by the owner to cover operating costs. [United Transportation Union, 8-22-06, from Spokane Spokesman Review report by Tom Sowa]

RAIL SERVICE IMPROVING, SHIPPERS SAY IN SURVEY: Service on the nation's railroads is showing marked improvement over year-earlier levels, according to a recent survey of shippers by Bear Stearns. "Our second-quarter survey results indicate that rail service levels improved on both a sequential and year-over-year basis," the financial services company said. It said that the survey results generally agreed with its own analysis of Class I metrics, which showed improvements year over year in both dwell time and velocity. [BNSF Today, 8-22-06]

TRAIN CRASH IN EGYPT KILLS DOZENS: A passenger train barreled into a northern Egypt railway station Aug.21 and collided with a second train, killing at least 51 people and injuring more than 100. The collision occurred in the town of Qalyoub, about 12 miles north of the capital, during the morning commute, Adly Hussein, governor of Qalyoubia province, told Egyptian state television. Officials said the train was going at least 50 mph. [United Transportation Union, 8-21-06, from Associated Press report]

ALASKA R.R. SERVICE DISRUPTED BY FLOODING: Floodwaters are receding in Alaska after cutting off access between the state's two largest cities, and the Alaska Railroas resumed service late Sunday night (Aug. 20), but more rain was in the forecast Monday. The Alaska Railroad had suspended all freight and passenger train traffic between Talkeetna and Denali National Park. [United Transportation Union, 8-21-06, from Associated Press report]

RALEIGH-DURHAM PUTS REGIONAL RAIL PROJECT ON HOLD: After spending $140-million on a planned 28-mile regional rail line serving North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham area, and contracting for another $15 to 20-million, the Triangle Transit Authority is ready to call at least a temporary halt to the project. Acting on a staff recommendation from General Manager John Claflin, the authority's board is asking the Federal Transit Administration to remove the project from FTA's New Starts process, due to recent changes in the federal "cost-effectiveness" formula. [RailwayAge.com, 8-21-06]

FRA TO SUPPORT DEPLOYMENT OF IMPROVED TRAIN BRAKING TECHNOLOGY: The Federal Railroad Administration has announced its intention to propose revised federal rail safety regulations to facilitate the installation of Electronically Controlled Pneumatic brake systems capable of preventing derailments and shortening train stopping distances. ECP brakes are applied uniformly and virtually instantaneously on every rail car throughout the train, rather than sequentially from one rail car to the next as is done with current technology. The system can reduce stopping distances up to 60 percent. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 8-18-06]

TWO MAJOR ADDITIONS ON BNSF TRANSCON ARE COMPLETE: The second of three major 2006 southern Transcontinental ("Transcon") double-track additions has been cutover and is now fully operational. The Transcon is BNSF's 2,239-mile long mainline connector between Southern California and Chicago and points in-between. On the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 16, the 8.5-mile segment between Mulvane and Cicero, Kan., on the Emporia Subdivision was completed one month ahead of schedule. [BNSF Today, 8-18-06]

COURT RULES ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA, MAY BUY BACK RAILROAD LAND: The city of Alameda can enforce an 81-year-old contract that allows the city to buy back up to about 40 acres of former railroad land for less than $1-million, an Alameda County judge has ruled. The tentative decision ends an East Bay developer's plan to build nearly 200 homes on 22 acres of Alameda Belt Line land. The railroad company agreed to sell the land for $18-million in 1999. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 8-10-06, from San Francisco Chronicle website report by Patrick Hoge]

PROJECT TEAM ESTABLISHED TO DEVELOP NEXT-GENERATION TANK CAR: Dow Chemical Company, Union Pacific and Union Tank Car Company have assembled a joint project team to develop what they're calling the 'next-generation tank car' for transportation of highly hazardous chemicals. Work will focus on all aspects of hazmat transport, not the least of which is design of the tank car itself. [RailwayAge.com, 8-9-06]

CSX GOING 'WRONG WAY' ON DISCIPLINE, UNIONS SAY: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the United Transportation Union have told CSX CEO Michael Ward to stop the "targeted selective stalking, harassment and intimidation of its train and engine service crews." MORE.. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 8-7-06]

PENNSYLVANIA PLANS TRANSIT AND RAIL FREIGHT SPENDING: Pennsylvania's Transportation Commission has approved a four-year investment program that includes $9.4-billion for public transit improvements and $174-million for freight rail projects. The new plan, announced Aug.3, also lists $9-billion for highways and bridges and $614-million for aviation projects. [RailwayAge.com, 8-7-06]

UNION PACIFIC PAINTS LOCOMOTIVE IN C&NW LIVERY: The latest addition to Union Pacific's Heritage Series of locomotives, the Chicago & North Western locomotive, was introduced recently during a special employee event in Chicago. The new locomotive incorporates C&NW's historic colors and graphic elements to honor the men and women of the Chicago & North Western. [United Transportation Union, 8-3-06, from Missouri Valley Times report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OPENS NEW LINE IN PENNSYLVANIA: Norfolk Southern Corporation has announced that the first train will run on the new Shelocta Secondary on Aug.7. This culminates a five-year, $44-million project to establish a direct rail connection between Norfolk Southern's Conemaugh Line in Saltsburg, Pa., to the coal-powered Keystone Generating Station in Shelocta, Pa. [Norfolk Southern, 8-3-06]

U.S. RAIL TRAFFIC UP IN JULY: U.S. railroads capped off a strong July with a record-breaking week for intermodal traffic. Intermodal volume for the week ended July 29 reached 250,966 trailers or containers, breaking a weekly record that was set during the week ended October 22, 2005, when they moved 250,1152. For the entire month of July, intermodal volume on U.S. railroads totaled 938,160 trailers or containers, an increase of 58,540 units (6.7 percent) over July 2005. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-3-06]

CSXT, FLORIDA SIGN PACT PROMOTING COMMUTER RAIL: Governor Jeb Bush (R) and CSX Transportation announced Aug.2 the signing of an agreement in principle that would change CSXT traffic flows in Central Florida and allow for commuter rail operations in this fast growing and congested region. This plan, while driven by the State's commuter needs, is 100 percent compatible with CSXT's goals for growth in Florida and across the CSXT network. [From CSXT letter to employees, 8-2-06]

VRE TO BUY 50 NEW CARS: The Virginia Railway Express will order a new fleet of railcars to will start arriving next summer. The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded VRE a $72-million loan to buy 50 new railcars. The purchase will let VRE swap its older, scruffier railcars for ones with fresh upholstery, more restrooms and space for luggage and bicycles. All of the new cars will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and two-thirds will have restrooms. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 8-2-06, from Free Lance Star website report]

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q RESULTS: U.S. railroad Kansas City Southern has posted a quarterly net profit compared with a loss a year earlier, citing higher margins and rising revenue. The company reported second-quarter net income of $19.2-million or 24 cents a share, compared with a loss of $27.3-million or 33 cents a share a year earlier. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 8-2-06, from Reuters report]

MICHIGAN TO IMPROVE TROY AMTRAK STATION: The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to put $350,000 toward developing the Troy/Birmingham Regional Transit Center,. The center - a transportation hub that will provide Amtrak, cab and bus services - will be at Coolidge and Maple in Troy. The project is expected to cost about $3.5-million. [United Transportation Union, 8-1-06, from Detroit Free Press report]

AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN TEXAS: An Amtrak train carrying more than 100 passengers derailed about five minutes after leaving the Beaumont, Texas, station July 30. There were no injuries. The train was traveling from California to New Orleans when the accident occurred at 3:15 p.m. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-31-06, from Associated Press report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES TWO TO KEY OPERATIONS POSITIONS: Norfolk Southern Corporation named two people to key positions in its operations division, effective Aug. 1, 2006. Gerhard A. Thelen has been named vice president operations planning and support, headquartered in Norfolk. Tim A. Heilig has been named vice president mechanical, headquartered in Atlanta. [Norfolk Southern, 7-28-06]

UNION PACIFIC DERAILMENT DISRUPTS AMTRAK SERVICE ON SUNSET ROUTE: A Union Pacific freight train derailed in the desert town of Glamis near the California-Arizona border, disrupting Amtrak service. No injuries were reported. The derailment forced Amtrak to cancel portions of its daily Texas Eagle line, which travels between Los Angeles and Chicago. Service on the line will be canceled west of San Antonio, the company said. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-27-06, from Associated Press report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: U.S. railroad Norfolk Southern Corp. said July 26 that its quarterly net profit decreased, citing strong volume growth and one-time items that boosted the bottom line in the second quarter of 2005. The Norfolk, Virginia-based company reported net income of $375-million or 89 cents a share, compared with $424-million or $1.04 a share a year earlier. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-26-06, from Reuters report]

PORTAL SWIVEL BRIDGE IN NEW JERSEY STICKS IN OPEN POSITION: New Jersey's main commuter rail route to Manhattan was shut down for about 90 minutes July 26, leading to lengthy delays for thousands of passengers. The problem occurred at the Portal Bridge, which carries Amtrak and NJ Transit trains across the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus. Technicians manually closed the bridge at 4:51 p.m. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-26-06, from Newark Star-Ledger website report by Ron Marsico and Mark Mueller]

FRA OPENS DIALOGUE ON PRIVATE-CROSSING SAFETY: The Federal Railroad Administration is seeking comments on how private highway-rail grade crossings can be improved nationwide. About 400 accidents and 30-40 fatalities occur annually at these largely unregulated crossings. Public meetings are being planned for this year to discuss determining when a private crossing has a public purpose and whether the state or federal government should assume a greater role in setting safety standards. [RailwayAge.com, 7-26-06]

FLORIDA EAST COAST TO MOVE HEADQUARTERS TO JACKSONVILLE: Florida East Coast Industries is moving its headquarters to Jacksonville and selling the building it has occupied since the 1920s to nearby Flagler College. The company - the largest in St. Augustine, comprised of railroad operations and a land developing division - will consolidate its employees in two buildings owned by the development arm, Flagler Development. [United Transportation Union, 7-26-06, from Florida Times-Union report by Timothy J. Gibbons]

BNSF REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation has reported record quarterly earnings of $1.27 per diluted share (including a $0.04 benefit from lower income tax rates), a 32-percent increase over second-quarter 2005 earnings of $0.96 per diluted share. Second-quarter 2006 freight revenues increased $549-million, or 18 percent, to an all-time quarterly record of $3.59 billion compared with $3.04 billion in the prior year. [BNSF, 7-25-06]

V.R.E. SEES DECLINE IN RIDERSHIP: The Virginia Railway Express, after years of strong growth, has suffered about a 2 percent drop in daily ridership that cost the commuter railway more than $1-million in operating revenue. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, about 178 fewer passengers used VRE per day than the previous year. Its counterpart, the Maryland Area Rail Commuter (MARC), posted a jump of 107,000 more riders from July 2005 through May, MARC documents show. [United Transportation Union, 7-25-06, from Washington Times report]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. said its second-quarter 2006 profit more than tripled, thanks to a lower future income tax expense and a favorable swing in foreign exchange on long-term debt. CP Rail earned C$378-million, or C$2.36 per share, in the quarter, on revenue of C$1.09 billion. That's up significantly from a profit of C$123-million or 77 Canadian cents per share, and revenue of C$1.09-billion in the same quarter a year earlier. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-25-06, from Reuters report]

DOWNEASTER HAS RECORD YEAR: Amtrak's Downeaster finished its fiscal year with the biggest jump in ridership since the start of the Portland-to-Boston service, and that was before numbers spiked because of recent problems plaguing Boston's Big Dig. The Downeaster wrapped up the fiscal year that ended last month with 329,265 passengers - an increase of 31 percent over the previous year. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-24-06, from Associated Press report]

MERIDIAN SPEEDWAY PROJECT BEGINS IN AUGUST: Next month, Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern Corp. will begin improving the Meridian Speedway through the newly formed joint venture, Meridian Speedway L.L.C. Crews will start installing 80,000 wood ties in the Vicksburg and Meridian subdivisions in August and complete work by year's end. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 7-24-06]

KAWASAKI LOW BIDDER IN METRO-NORTH CONTRACT: Kawasaki Rail Car is the apparent low-bidder in a contract for up to 380 new M-8 commuter cars for MTA Metro-North Railroad. Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell announced the $522-million contract today. If granted final approval, new railcars will enter service on the New Haven, Conn., line by 2009. [RailwayAge.com, 7-24-06]

CLASS I RAILROAD EMPLOYMENT CONTINUES UPSWING: Railroad employment is facing a new hiring trend - new employees and employee retirement. Employment is continuing to increase in the United States for Class I railroads as mid-April stood at 165,850, up 2.6 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the Surface Transportation Board. [BNSF Today 7-24-06]

U.P. PLANS 300-ACRE TERMINAL IN SAN ANTONIO: Union Pacific Railroad said July 20 that it will build a $90 million, 300-acre intermodal terminal in San Antonio to serve its growing Pacific coast traffic as well as the new Toyota plant in the city. The terminal will supplement UP's existing intermodal facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at Mesquite and in the Wilmer-Hutchins area of southeast Dallas. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-21-06, from Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report by Dan Pillar]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corp. said its quarterly net profit rose 67 percent due to rising commodity volumes and fuel surcharges, beating market expectations. The company said second-quarter 2006 net income increased to $390-million or $1.44 a share, from $233-million or 88 cents a share a year earlier. [United Transportation Union, 7-20-06, from Reuters report]

AMTRAK TURNS OFF ELECTRICAL OUTLETS ON ACELA TRAINS: Passengers on Amtrak's premium, high-speed Acela service who tried to plug in their laptops or recharge their cell phones in recent weeks have been unexpectedly disappointed. Amtrak turned off the juice to the electric outlets on the trains two weeks ago after at least six incidents in which the outlets were short-circuited by unwitting passengers. Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said that the outlets would remain out of service indefinitely until the maker of its trains, Montreal-based Bombardier Inc., fixes the problem. [United Transportation Union, 7-20-06, from Associated Press report]

BNSF HIKES ITS QUARTERLY DIVIDEND: Directors of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation voted today, July 20, to increase BNSF's next quarterly dividend by 25 percent, or 5 cents per share, to 25 cents per share on outstanding common stock. This represents an annualized $1 per share dividend. [BNSF Today, 7-20-06]

CANADIAN NATIONAL REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: CN reported its financial and operating results for the three-month and six-month periods ended June 30, 2006. The company had net income of C$729-million, or C$1.35 per diluted share, including a deferred income tax recovery of C$250-million (C$0.46 per diluted share) largely attributable to lower corporate tax rates in Canada. Excluding this deferred income tax recovery, adjusted net income was C$479-million, or C$0.89 per diluted share, a 22 per cent increase over year-earlier diluted EPS. [Canadian National, 7-20-06]

TRANSIT RIDERSHIP POSTS STRONG FIRST-QUARTER GAINS: With 2.5 billion trips taken, U.S. public transportation ridership grew 4.25 percent in this year's first quarter, according to an American Public Transportation Association report. While all modes experienced growth, light rail - including streetcars and trolleys - had the biggest ridership jump of 11.2 percent over the same period last year. Many saw increases due to the addition of new services in the past 12 months and high gasoline prices. [RailwayAge.com, 7-19-06]

SENATE PANEL APPROVES $1.4-MILLION FOR AMTRAK: Clashing with President Bush and House conservatives, Senate committees transferred $9-billion from Bush's proposed defense budget July 18 to domestic programs. Subcommittees approved bills adding to Bush's budgets for some domestic programs. Amtrak was a big winner as the Transportation Subcommittee approved $1.4-billion for the financially ailing passenger railroad, $500-million more than allowed for in Bush's budget. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-18-06, from Associated Press report]

CSX REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS, ANNOUNCES STOCK SPLIT: CSX Corporation July 18 reported second quarter 2006 net earnings of $390-million, or $1.66 per share. Earnings for the second quarter included insurance recoveries related to Hurricane Katrina and benefits associated with the resolution of tax matters with a combined impact of $0.50 per share. Last year's second quarter earnings were $165-million, or $0.73 per share. In addition, the company announced its board of directors has approved a 2-for-1 stock split for shareholders and a $0.10 quarterly dividend on the post-split shares, representing a 54 percent increase. [CSX, 7-18-06]

CSX TO SELL RACELAND CAR REPAIR SHOP: CSX Transportation and Progress Rail Raceland Corp. announced an agreement July 14 for Progress Rail to acquire CSXT's heavy rail car repair shop in Raceland, Ky. The agreement calls for Progress Rail to buy the shop and the land it sits on. Most of the shop's employees will continue to work for CSXT. [United Transportation Union, 7-15-06, from Herald-Dispatch report by Bob Withers]

BNSF ORDERED TO RESTORE BLOCK SIGNALS ON LINE IN OKLAHOMA: BNSF Railway has been ordered by the Federal Railroad Administration to restore its block signal system over 142 miles of track between Sapulpa, Okla., and Mill Creek, Okla., on the Creek Subdivision of its Texas Division. BNSF had been in the process of eliminating its block signal system and, instead, governing train movements by track warrant control. The order followed FRA monitoring of rail traffic over the subdivision, with FRA's Safety Board concluding "that the continuation of the proposed signal system discontinuance is not in the public interest and not consistent with railroad safety." FRA gave BNSF until Sept. 30, 2007, to restore completely the system. [United Transportation Union, 7-14-06]

RAIL RUNNER SERVICE BEGINS: July 14 was the first day of operation for New Mexico's first commuter rail line, the Rail Runner.  Service is initially offered only at peak weekday hours, but future expansion of service levels and extensions both north and south of Albuquerque (including eventually to Santa Fe) are planned.  Rides are free for the first three months. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-14-06]

EUROTUNNEL COMPANY HAVING FINANCIAL PROBLEMS: The company that owns and operates the rail tunnel under the English channel between England and France is in financial trouble.  Eurotunnel is seeking the equivalent of America's Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while it restructures its debt and negotiates with creditors.  [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 7-14-06]

DRILLING BEGINS TO REACH LONG-BURIED TRAIN IN VIRGINIA: A team began drilling July 13 into the hillside of Richmond's Jefferson Hill Park, trying to reach a locomotive buried in a collapsed tunnel for nearly 81 years. A camera will be lowered into the hole to determine whether Chesapeake and Ohio Railway locomotive 231, which was trapped under the park when the Church Hill Tunnel collapsed Oct.2, 1925, can be retrieved. An engineer and two workers were killed in the collapse. Historians believe at least one body is still inside the tunnel. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-13-06, from Richmond Times-Dispatch report by Tiffany Hsu]

SOUND TRANSIT TO ADD TRAINS IN 2007: In September 2007, Sound Transit plans to add two Sounder trains between Seattle and Tacoma - including the agency's first reverse-commute train. Under an agreement with BNSF Railway Co., one morning train will operate in the traditional "peak direction" and the other from Seattle's King Street Station to Tacoma Dome Station. In the afternoon, one train will serve reverse commuters between Tacoma and Seattle. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 7-13-06]

CHICAGO SUBWAY TRAIN DERAILS: A northbound Chicago subway train derailed July 11 during rush hour, forcing the evacuations of hundreds of soot-covered commuters, a transit official said. More than 100 people were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, officials said, but none appeared to be seriously hurt. Chicago Transit Authority President Frank Kruesi said there was also a fire, likely caused by a spark from the derailment. [United Transportation Union, 7-12-06, from CNN website report]

POLICE IN INDIA PURSUE LEADS IN BOMBINGS: Indian investigators on July 12 combed through the twisted and torn wreckage of train cars for clues as to who set off well-coordinated bombings that killed 183 people and wounded more than 700 during the city's evening rush hour. A senior police official said investigators had some leads and were looking into a possible link with Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a Kashmiri militant group that earlier Wednesday denied any role. [United Transportation Union, 7-12-06, from Associated Press report]

BLASTS ROCK TRAINS IN INDIA: Seven bomb explosions rocked rail stations and trains in India's financial hub Tuesday, killing 135 people and injuring 300, officials said. India's major cities were put on high alert after the blasts. Police Chief A.N. Roy said 135 people were killed and more than 250 injured. The Press Trust of India, citing railway officials, said all the blasts had hit first-class cars. All of India's major cities were reportedly on high alert following the attacks. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-11-06, from CNBC News report]

LABOR SHORTAGE LOOMS FOR UNION PACIFIC: Union Pacific Railroad expects 40 percent of its work force to retire over the next decade, prompting the company to seek new hires while older employees are around to help train them. "What we're doing now, rather than waiting until the last minute, we are advertising and promoting jobs -- especially train service jobs," said UP spokesman James Barnes. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-10-06, from Gazette News Services report]

CSX TRAIN STRIKES GARBAGE TRUCK IN MARYLAND: Commuter rail service through Gaithersburg, Md., was shut down early July 7 after a freight train collided with a garbage truck that had been left on the rails. No one was hurt when the CSX train barreled into the truck about 5:45 a.m., said a dispatching supervisor with the Montgomery County police. But, he added, "trash from the garbage truck is everywhere." [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-7-06, from Washington Post website report by Debbi Wilgoren]

TRAIN DERAILS OUTSIDE N.Y. PENN STATION: An empty train car derailed early Thursday [July 6] outside a tunnel leading to Pennsylvania Station, causing delays and service cancelations at the height of morning rush hour. The Long Island Rail Road car came off the tracks around 4:30 a.m. at one end of a rail yard on Manhattan's West Side. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-6-06, from Associated Press report]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC UP IN JUNE: With coal and intermodal traffic again leading the way, U.S. railroads reported strong traffic gains in June 2006. Overall, U.S. railroads originated 1,381,947 carloads of freight in June 2006, up 47,167 carloads (3.5 percent) from June 2005. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-6-06]

CANADA STUDIES BUILDING NEW RAIL LINE TO ALASKA: The Yukon village of Carmacks could become the hub of rail traffic if a consultant's report on a proposed rail route is accepted. The $6-million report, compiled by 10 different firms looking into the project, suggests that a new railway connecting southern Canada to Yukon and Alaska should not follow the Alaska Highway. Instead, the report's authors say the railroad should take a more easterly and northerly route, along the Robert Campbell Highway and the Tintina Trench. [United Transportation Union, 7-5-06, from CBC News report]

CSX, UNION PACIFIC TO DROP 'STAX' CONTAINER PROGRAM: CSX Intermodal and Union Pacific Railroad are ending the STAX container program they launched in May 2003. The companies will stop offering STAX interline prices August 1. Through STAX, CSXI and UP had been offering domestic intermodal shippers 53-foot high-cube containers and coast-to-coast logistics services. The railroads are suspending the program to improve the utilization of 53-foot containers currently assigned to STAX. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 7-5-06]

FOUR DIE AS AMTRAK TRAIN STRIKES CAR: A railroad official said an Amtrak train passing through Castle Rock, Washington, collided with a sedan, killing the four people in the car. No one aboard the train was injured, said BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas. The 14-car train, en route from Seattle to Portland, Ore., was carrying 123 passengers. The rail crossing was marked by stop signs, Melonas said. [United Transportation Union, 7-4-06, from Los Angeles Times report]

AT LEAST 30 DIE IN SPAIN SUBWAY DERAILMENT: A regional government spokesman said a subway train derailed in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia on Monday (July 3), killing at least 30 people, according to this Associated Press report. ''Initial investigations show it was an accident,'' said Vicente Rambla, spokesman for the Valencia regional government. [United Transportation Union, 7-3-06, from Associated Press report]

MORE THAN 3,100 JOIN BNSF'S CITIZENS FOR RAIL SECURITY PROGRAM: On July 3, BNSF's new program, Citizens for Rail Security, made the front page of Tarrant Business in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The program encourages rail fans to help keep BNSF properties safe by reporting suspicious activities and to help prevent possible security breaches. It does not give rail fans access to BNSF property or facilities. Since the program's launch last month, more than 3,100 rail fans have registered to be additional eyes and ears for BNSF. [BNSF Today, 7-3-06]

WORK BEGINS ON N.Y.- MEADOWLANDS RAIL LINE: Construction has begun on a rail line to link the Meadowlands sports complex with Penn Station in New York, as well as with New Jersey Transit lines around New Jersey. The rail line, about 2.5 miles long, will be capable of transporting 7,000 people per hour to an event. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is financing the $150-million rail line expansion, scheduled to open in 2008. [United Transportation Union, 7-3-06, from Associated Press report]

AMTRAK SAID FACING ELECTRICAL POWER CRUNCH: The number of power-related train delays on Amtrak-owned tracks in New Jersey has increased 64 percent between 2000 and 2006, according to NJ Transit figures. Former Amtrak officials, veterans of the annual battle for money with Congress, said the electric system must be upgraded for the network to remain a viable transportation option. MORE... [United Transportation Union, 7-3-06, from Bergen Record report]

WORLD'S HIGHEST RAILWAY OPENS: China on July 1 opened the first train service to Tibet on the world's highest railway, an engineering marvel meant to tie the Himalayan region to China. The $4.2-billion railway is part of the government's efforts to develop China's poor west and bind its restive ethnic areas to the country's booming east. The 710-mile line crosses some of the world's most forbidding terrain, climbing mountain passes up to 16,500 feet high and passing over ground that is frozen year-round. The train's specially designed cars have oxygen supplies to help passengers cope with the thin air and window filters to protect them from ultraviolet rays. High-tech cooling systems are to keep permafrost under the railbed frozen and stable. [United Transportation Union, 7-1-06, from Associated Press report by Joe McDonald]

FLOODS DISRUPT RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC IN NORTHEAST: Freight traffic on railroads across the Northeast is stopped dead because widespread flooding has either blocked or undermined tracks and bridges along rail corridors from Binghamton to Philadelphia and from Binghamton to New Jersey. There were no reports of freight trains or locomotives swamped by the flood. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-30-06, from Press & Sun-Bulletin website report by Jeff Platsky]

N.J. TRANSIT UNVEILS PLANS FOR RIDGEWOOD DEPOT: NJ Transit has presented a $27-million plan for the railroad station at Ridgewood that adds elevators, shifts tracks, and raises the platforms to coach level so they are handicapped-accessible. The Ridgewood Mission Revival-style station serves 1,300 passenger trips per weekday. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-30-06, from NewJersey.com report by Evonne Coutros]

METRA TRAIN COLLIDES WITH TRUCK IN CHICAGO: A Metra train struck a semi-trailer truck at a railroad crossing on Chicago's West Side June 28, injuring four people and stranding an unspecified number of commuters. Outbound Union Pacific West line train No.39 hit the truck, which was hauling garbage, at Kinzie Street and Kilbourn Avenue around 3:45 p.m. The semi apparently caromed into a utility truck that was hoisting a bucket above the ground with two workers inside. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-28-06, from Chicago Tribune website report by Jeremy Gorner]

F.R.A. ISSUES CRASHWORTHINESS STANDARDS: Train crews involved in a locomotive collision will have a better chance of survival with reduced injuries as a result of the first-ever federal freight locomotive crashworthiness standards issued by the Federal Railroad Administration. The regulation is intended to prevent the locomotive cab from being crushed during a head-on collision with another locomotive, or when it strikes the rear of another train, a shifted load on a train on an adjacent track, or a vehicle at a highway-rail grade crossing. [Federal Railroad Administration, 6-28-06]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PLANS NEW INTERMODAL FACILITY IN VIRGINIA: Norfolk Southern's $18-million intermodal shipping yard will be built in Elliston, Va., on the eastern edge of Montgomery County. Virginia will pay 70 percent of the cost. The railroad will pay for the rest. [United Transportation Union, 6-28-06, from Roanoke Times report]

AMTRAK ADDING SEATTLE-TO-PORTLAND TRAIN: A fourth daily rail passenger train will be added between Seattle and Portland on June 30, a response to growing demand,. The train will be an extension of Seattle-Bellingham service and will reduce layover times in Seattle for southbound passengers from Bellingham. [United Transportation Union, 6-28-06, from Seattle Post-Intelligencer report]

NINE INJURED ON AMTRAK TRAIN IN LOUISIANA: Amtrak passenger cars lurched off the tracks momentarily before righting themselves after hitting an apparent defect in the rail line June 26, jostling passengers and injuring nine people. The City of New Orleans was headed north to Chicago on its daily run on the Canadian National line in Tangipahoa Parish when it hit what is believed to be a defect in the track around 3:40 p.m. The injuries were minor and not life threatening. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-28-06, from Advocate website report by Debra Lemoine]

FLOODING CLOSES ROADS, DELAYS TRAINS IN D.C.: Washington-area commuters faced delays as floodwaters closed Metro subway stations and snarled traffic after weekend downpours. A record 5.19 inches of rain fell June 26. Metrorail commuter service was delayed on some lines and the Federal Triangle subway station remained closed at 12:15 p.m. Amtrak canceled most service between Washington and Richmond because portions of the tracks washed out. The Virginia Railway Express canceled commuter service, and the Maryland Transit Administration canceled service on its Brunswick and Camden lines and limited service on its Penn line into Baltimore. [United Transportation Union, 6-27-06, from Bloomberg News Service report]

PUSHING TRAINS IS NOT UNSAFE, F.R.A. STUDY FINDS: Pulling commuter trains with a locomotive in front rather than pushing them from behind might not have saved lives in the Metrolink crash near Glendale 18 months ago, according to a federal study released June 26. The Federal Railroad Administration report further concluded that there is little difference in safety between passenger trains pushed by locomotives and those that are pulled. Researchers noted, however, that more people have died in accidents involving pushed trains. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-27-06, from Los Angeles Times website report by Dan Weikel]

CSX EYES NEW INTERMODAL CENTER IN FLORIDA: CSX Corp. plans to buy 1,250 acres for an integrated logistics center that would bring together an intermodal terminal and an automotive rail yard with warehousing and distribution operations. At full build-out, the center is to include 3 million square feet of warehouse space, 1.5 million square feet of industrial sites and 500,000 square feet of office space. [United Transportation Union, 6-26-06, from Tampa Bay Business Journal report]

CANADA TO PROVIDE FUNDS FOR ALGOMA CENTRAL'S PASSENGER SERVICE: The Canadian government recently announced it will provide Algoma Central Railway $2.1-million in operating funds until March 31, 2007, to continue operating passenger-rail service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, Ontario. The government also will provide the Canadian National Railway Co. subsidiary about $1.5-million to replace its passenger-rail fleet. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 6-26-06]

UNION PACIFIC TO ELIMINATE ONE REGION IN REALIGNMENT: Union Pacific will realign its regional operating regions, cutting them from four to three. As of July 1, the Kansas City-based central region will be eliminated. The Kansas City and St. Louis service units will join the Northern Region. The North Little Rock and Wichita service units will join the Southern Region. The Western Region, based in Roseville, Calif., remains unchanged. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-24-06, from Omaha World-Herald website report by Stacie Hamel]

MINETA RESIGNING AS SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta will resign from President Bush's cabinet effective July 7. In addition, DOT Deputy Council Jeffrey Rosen, who has been Mineta's representative to the Amtrak Board, will also resign, effective July 3, to take a position at Office of Management and Budget. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 6-23-06]

SEPTA ADOPTS $438-MILLION CAPITAL BUDGET: The Philadelphia area's SEPTA system has adopted a capital improvement budget totaling $438-million providing for the acquisition of new Silverliner regional railcars, a continuing bus purchase program, the Market Street Elevated Reconstruction Project, Regional Rail Route R5 Paoli Line improvements, and rehabilitation of the Girard and Spring Garden stations on the Broad Street line. [RailwayAge.com, 6-23-06]

METRA TRAIN STRIKES SEMI TRAILER TRUCK, DERAILS: A Metra train from Chicago to Joliet struck a semitrailer truck June 21 in Lemont, Illinois, derailing its locomotive but causing no injuries. Train No. 921 had just left the Lemont station about 6:45 p.m. when it struck the truck just east of the station at a private crossing. There was no gate at the crossing, Metra said. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-22-06, from Chicago Tribune website report]

TIMETABLE SET FOR NEW L.I.R.R. PENN STATION: Private developers and state officials signed an agreement June 21 on a timetable to convert the old James Farley Post Office into a modern extension of Pennsylvania Station. The Related Companies and Vornando Realty Trust will oversee the $850-million transformation of the historic Beaux-Arts postal complex into a train station serving the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit. Eventually, the station will take up to one-third of all passengers using the existing Penn Station. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-22-06, from Newsday website report by Chuck Bennett]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TRAINS DELAYED AGAIN BY POWER OUTAGE: Rail service between Newark and New York City was temporarily suspended June 21 because of power problems on the Northeast Corridor, officials said. Cliff Black, an Amtrak spokesman, said there was a brief power fluctuation at 8:05 a.m. in the New York area. He said trains were stopped briefly but were moving again by 8:33 a.m. New Jersey Transit trains were operating with delays of between 30 and 45 minutes. [United Transportation Union, 6-21-06, from WCBS website report]

CASINOS, N.J. TRANSIT REACH NYC-ATLANTIC CITY TRAIN SERVICE PACT: A one-seat ride from New York City's Penn Station to Atlantic City, N.J., is in the cards. NJ Transit has agreed to operate a three-year demonstration service paid for by casino and hotel interests in the New Jersey resort city. Eighteen trains will be operated on weekends, from Friday afternoon to Sunday night, beginning in late 2007. NJ Transit will buy eight multi-level cars and lease four Amtrak diesel locomotives for the service. [RailwayAge.com, 6-20-06]

EARLY 1900'S BOXCARS BEING SALAVGED IN SANTA FE: On June 19 a crane hoisted the second of two boxcars that were salvaged from the wreckage of a building near the railroad tracks in downtown Santa Fe. MORE... [United Transportation Union, 6-20-06, from New Mexican report]

METRO NORTH, N.J. TRANSIT REACH SERVICE AGREEMENT: Metro-North Railroad and NJ Transit have approved a new contract that ensures that NJ Transit will transport nearly 3,000 train riders a day from Rockland and Orange counties until 2012, and Metro-North has been guaranteed it can add service on the Port Jervis Line. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-20-06, from Journal News website report by Khurram Saeed]

AMERICAN CHEMISTRY COUNCIL OPPOSES ONE-PERSON CREWS: A major shipper organization told Congress it shares with train and engine service employees an urgent safety concern. The American Chemistry Council told the House Railroad Subcommittee that "proposals to permit one-person train crews should not be considered until proven technology solutions are in place to allow for safe operations with a single crew member." [United Transportation Union, 6-16-06]

SUNSET LIMITED COLLIDES WITH TRACTOR-TRAILER IN LOUISIANA: An Amtrak train heading for Los Angeles collided with a tractor-trailer at a private railroad crossing in Paradis, La., June 14, sending three people to the hospital. The Sunset Limited, which travels from New Orleans to Los Angeles three times a week, was less than an hour into its trip when the 18-wheel truck, towing a flatbed trailer, crossed the tracks in front of it about 1 p.m. [United Transportation Union, 6-15-06, from Times-Picayune report]

AMTRAK LOCOMOTIVE DERAILS IN CONNECTICUT: An Amtrak locomotive derailed near the South Norwalk train station June 14, stranding 230 passengers for nearly three hours and shutting down Metro-North Railroad's Danbury line for the evening commute. At about 1:15 p.m., the engine of a train traveling from Boston to New York City jumped the tracks crossing over Washington Street in SoNo. The adjoining train cars lost power but did not derail.[Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-15-06, from Stamford Advocate website report by Brian Lockhart]

'POLAR EXPRESS' BACK ON TRACK AFTER DEAL: A dispute between a railroad and a Hollywood studio has been settled, allowing the Polar Express to run this holiday season after all. The nonprofit Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad announced in May that it was ending the Polar Express-themed rides because it could not afford to pay licensing fees to Warner Bros., which owns the rights to the popular children's book and movie. An agreement June 14 allows the railroad to keep the Polar Express name on the attraction. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-15-06, from Associated Press report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO BUY 1,600 COAL CARS: FreightCar America Inc. said June 15 Norfolk Southern Railway Co., a unit of Norfolk Southern Corp., has committed to buy 1,600 coal cars. Chicago-based FreightCar America will begin delivery of the new order in the first quarter of 2007 and will complete it in calendar 2007. The order is made up of 400 AutoFlood III aluminum bottom discharge coal cars and 1,200 hybrid stainless steel/aluminum coal gondola cars. [United Transportation Union, 6-15-06, from MarketWatch report]

ARTHUR SHOENER NAMED PRESIDENT OF K.C.S.: Kansas City Southern has promoted senior executive Arthur L. Shoener to president of the company. Shoener will retain his title of chief operating officer, which he has held since January 2005 when he joined Kansas City Southern as executive vice president. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-14-06, from Kansas City Star website report by Randolph Heaster]

BOMBARDIER WINS $91-MILLION LONDON ORDER: Bombardier Transportation announced that it will supply an additional 31 automatically guided cars to Docklands Light Railway of London at a price of $9- million. Docklands placed an initial order with Bombardier for 24 cars in May 2005. [RailwayAge.com, 6-14-06]

CANADIAN NATIONAL ACQUIRING 50 LOCOMOTIVES FROM EMD: CN has announced it will acquire 50 SD70M-2 locomotives from Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD) for delivery in the second half of 2007. The acquisition will prepare CN to handle new international freight traffic to and from the Port of Prince Rupert, B.C., intermodal terminal, which is scheduled to open for business next year. [Canadian National, 6-14-06]

NTSB ISSUES FINDINGS ON 2004 BNSF ACCIDENT NEAR GUNTER, TEXAS: The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that BNSF Railway Company's use of after-arrival track warrant authority in non-signaled territory, and the Federal Railroad Administration's failure to prohibit the use of such authority, were contributing causes to an accident that took the life of an employee on May 10, 2004, near Gunter, Texas. MORE.. [National Transportation Safety Board, 6-13-06]

AMTRAK EXPANDS BUS SERVICE IN CALIFORNIA: Amtrak is extending bus service from its Sacramento train station to four more northern California cities and two cities in Oregon, according to this report published by The Record. A bus route from Sacramento to Redding has been extended up to Medford, Ore., with stops along the way in Dunsmuir, Mt. Shasta, Weed, Yreka and Ashland, Ore. [United Transportation Union, 6-12-06, from The Record report]

RENOVATED DEPOT IN MINEOLA, TEXAS, DEDICATED: On June 10, Amtrak and the city of Mineola, Texas, dedicated a recently renovated train station. The city used grants from the Texas Department of Transportation, Mineola Development Inc. and Meredith Foundation to fund the more than $800,000 project. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 6-12-06]

UNION PACIFIC EYES NEW CARGO TERMINAL IN TEXAS: Union Pacific Railroad wants to build a new cargo terminal in Southwest Bexar County, Texas, that could dramatically increase truck traffic in the area, while potentially reducing train traffic through the city's core. The facility would allow cargo containers to be moved quickly from train cars to 18-wheelers. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-10-06, from San Antonio Express-News website report by Tracy Idell Hamilton]

U.S. RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC UP IN MAY: U.S. railroads reported solid gains in freight volume during May in comparison with the same month last year, the Association of American Railroads has reported. Overall, U.S. railroads originated 1,716,182 carloads of freight in May 2006, up 65,031 carloads (3.9 percent) from May 2005. U.S. railroads also originated 1,167,578 intermodal units in May 2006, an increase of 79,431 trailers and containers (7.3 percent) over May 2005, the AAR said. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-8-06]

CHICAGO METRA CHAIRMAN TO RETIRE: A change of leadership for the first time ever at Metra is in the works. Chairman Jeffrey Ladd is stepping down. He has led the agency for more than two decades. [United Transportation Union, 6-8-06, from ABC-7 Chicago website report by John Garcia]

BNSF ASKS RAILFANS TO HELP KEEP AMERICA'S RAIL SYSTEM SAFE: BNSF is recruiting rail fans to help keep BNSF properties safe by reporting suspicious activities and to help prevent possible security breaches. "Keeping America's rail transportation network safe from crime and terrorist activity is a high priority for the railroad industry," says William Heileman, BNSF general director, Police and Protection Solutions. "Every day across the country, rail fans photograph and watch trains as they pass through communities. It seems natural to harness their interest to help keep America's rail system safe." [BNSF Today, 6-7-06]

HIGH-SPEED TRAIN PROPOSED FOR LAS VEGAS: Southern Californians could park their cars in Victorville and be in Vegas in little more than an hour, if a privately funded high-speed train gains momentum. According to a "work plan" document, DesertXpress Enterprises Inc. is in talks with federal, state and local agencies about a 200-mile, high-speed train system with stations in Victorville and Las Vegas. The train would have a top speed of 125 mph. [United Transportation Union, 6-6-06, from Victorville Daily Press report by Tatiana Prophet]

AMTRAK LOSES POWER AGAIN: A week after a major power failure shut down most of its train service in the Northeast, Amtrak suffered another electrical problem just as the weekend getaway rush was June 2. At 3:30 p.m., the loss of one of Amtrak's main sources of power in the region slowed trains running between New York City and Philadelphia. A utility spokesman said that Amtrak's problem might have been a result of breakdown in its own electrical system. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-3-06, from New York Times website report by Patrick McGeehan]

CSX DERAILMENT HALTS AMTRAK SERVICE IN N.Y. STATE: One track was cleared late May 31 and a second was expected to be ready for traffic sometime that night after a CSX freight train derailed May 30 in the Montgomery County, N.Y., hamlet of Tribes Hill. CSX said the itwas able to resume routing some trains through the area by 4:15 p.m., and Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited from New York City to Chicago also ran on Wednesday afternoon after a cancellation on Tuesday. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 6-1-06, from Albany Times-Union website report by Cathy Woodruff]

INTERMODAL VOLUME UP 6.3 PERCENT IN 1ST-QUARTER: The Intermodal Association of North America said North American container and trailer volume totaled 3.37 million units in the first quarter, up 6.3 percent on-year. Intermodal volume has increased every quarter since the second quarter of 2002, during which time intermodal loads have risen by more than 500,000 units. Volume had increased 5.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005. [United Transportation Union, 5-31-06, from Journal of Commerce Online report]

TREASURY SECRETARY SNOW RESIGNS: Treasury Secretary John Snow has resigned and will be replaced by Goldman Sachs Chairman Henry M. Paulson Jr. President Bush was to announce the changes in a White House ceremony later Tuesday. Snow, the former head of railroad giant CSX Corp. who has a Ph.D. in economics, has been Treasury secretary since February 2003. His departure has been rumored for more than a year. [United Transportation Union, 5-30-06, from Associated Press report by Terence Hunt]

LUCAS OIL RAIL LINES BUYS LOUISVILLE, NEW ALBANY & CORYDON R.R.: Lucas Oil Rail Lines Inc. recently acquired the 8-mile Louisville, New Albany & Corydon Railroad. Lucas Oil Rail is a newly formed subsidiary of Lucas Oil Products Inc., which manufactures petroleum additives and oils, and operates a blending and bottling plant in Corydon, Ind. The short line's employees will work part time at the railroad and part time at the Corydon plant. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 5-30-06]

UNION PACIFIC TRAINS COLLIDE IN SAN ANTONIO: Two trains hauling tanks with sulfuric acid and flammable liquids collided head-on May 27 but didn't spill hazardous material. Four people aboard the two Union Pacific trains jumped off before the collision, which derailed four cars that were either empty or carrying sand. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 5-29-06], from Associated Press report]

NORTHEAST CORRIDOR SERVICE DISRUPTED BY POWER OUTAGE: A massive power outage brought all electric-powered trains to a stop yesterday [May 25] on the Washington-New York segment of the Northeast Corridor.  MORE... [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 5-26-06]

CAPITOL LIMITED REAR-ENDED AT PITTSBURGH STATION: The Capitol Limited was rear-ended by a slow-moving Allegheny Railroad freight train at the Pittsburgh Amtrak station May 24. The freight train was traveling at about 10 mph when it hit the rear-most of three Express Trak box cars on the Amtrak train. Three minor injuries to passengers were reported; none to the crew. Passengers were bussed to Washington and the equipment deadheaded later after a safety inspection. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 5-26-06]

C.P. COMPLETES SALE OF INDIANA RAIL LINE: Canadian Pacific Railway Co. said May 26 it has completed the sale of its Latta rail line in Indiana as part of its efforts to streamline operations and become more efficient. The Latta subdivision consists of 160 km of track from Fayette, near Terre Haute, to Bedford, Ind. The sale includes trackage rights over CSX from Chicago to Terre Haute and from Bedford to Louisville, Ky. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 5-26-06, from Canadian Press report]

BNSF TO TAKE DELIVERY OF 1000TH GE EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVE: General Electric Corporation announced May 25 that it is preparing to ship its 1,000th Evolution Series locomotive. The milestone will be achieved just 17 months after GE began commercial production of Evolution locomotives. The 1000th unit, which bears road number 5972, will be delivered to BNSF. [BNSF Today, 5-25-06]

FIRE DISCOVERED ON AMTRAK TRAIN IN MARYLAND: A fire discovered aboard an Amtrak train May 22 forced the evacuation of more than 400 people. Firefighters from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport evacuated the train passengers at the station near the airport at about 12:30 p.m. Firefighters found smoke on the fourth car of train No. 141, which was traveling south to Washington. Found was a a smoldering fire in the insulation beneath the main floor and quickly put it out. [United Transportation Union, 5-23-06, from Associated Press report]

MINNESOTA LEGISLATURE APPROVES FUNDS FOR NORTHSTAR RAIL PROJECT: The Minnesota legislature has approved a measure to provide the funds for the state's first commuter-rail line. Gov. Tim Pawlenty is expected to sign the bill, which will allow the state to seek federal matching funds for the project. Of Northstar's $307.3-million price tag, the state will cover 33 percent, including the $60-million and $37.5-million approved last year. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 5-23-06]

CSXT NAMES DAVID BROWN CHIEF TRANSPORTATION OFFICER: CSX Transportation has announced that David A. Brown has been named Vice President and Chief Transportation Officer, assuming operational responsibility for the railroad's 21,000-mile transportation network. Brown, 47, comes to CSXT from Norfolk Southern where he most recently served as vice president-strategic planning. [CSX, 5-22-06]

BOMBARDIER, SIEMENS WIN GERMAN ORDER: Bombardier Transportation and its consortium partner Siemens will supply an additional 14 ET 425.2 electric multiple units (EMUs) to DB Regio AB in Germany at an estimated cost of $81 million. Bombardier will build nine of the trains and Siemens, five. According to Bombardier, a total of 236 EMUs from the ET series have been delivered to Germany since March 2000. [RailwayAge.com, 5-19-06]

BNSF TRAIN REAR-ENDED IN NEBRASKA: A coal train rammed the rear of another about 15 miles east of Alliance in Nebraska's Panhandle Wednesday morning (May 17), according to the Associated Press. The impact derailed a total of seven coal cars and two engines. Two BNSF employees were taken to Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance as a precaution. [United Transportation Union, 5-18-06, from Associated Press report]

TWO BEING NOMINATED TO AMTRAK BOARD: President Bush has announced he intends to nominate R. Hunter Biden of Delaware and Donna R. McLean of the District of Columbia to five-year terms on the Amtrak Board. If Biden and McLean are confirmed by the Senate, there will remain one vacancy for a voting member on the Amtrak board. Current board members include David Laney, Floyd Hall and Enrique Sosa. Amtrak's acting president, David Hughes, is a non-voting member of the board. [United Transportation Union, 5-17-06]

TRANSPORTATION NEEDS HELP, DAVID GUNN SAYS: The national transportation system is on a collision course with gridlock, the former head of Amtrak said May 16. Addressing members of the Virginians for High Speed Rail, Gunn and other rail experts said it probably would take something like the 1970 bankruptcy of the Penn Central Railroad to spark action in Washington. For now, Gunn and others said, the country is not addressing core issues of funding and planning ways to ease highway congestion, such as improved passenger rail service. [United Transportation Union, 5-17-06, from Richmond Times Dispatch report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN WINS HARRIMAN GOLD AGAIN: Another year, another gold Harriman for Norfolk Southern Corp. The company has won the E.H. Harriman Memorial Safety Awards' top Group A honor for the 17th-straight year. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) presented the awards during a luncheon in Washington, D.C. BNSF Railway Co. took the silver and CSX Transportation grabbed the bronze in Group A, which recognizes railroads whose employees worked a combined 15 million hours or more last year. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 5-17-06]

AMTRAK SOUTHWEST CHIEF BOX CAR DERAILS IN ILLINOIS: No one was hurt after one of 19 cars on an Amtrak train derailed May 14 in DeKalb, Ill. The Southwest Chief, headed to Los Angeles, was about 60 miles into its journey when it was passing through Somonauk and a trailing refrigerated box car went off the tracks. The car was dragged for less than a mile. [United Transportation Union, 5-16-06, from Daily Chronicle report]

WATCO SELLS W.VA. SHORT LINE TO FOUR RIVERS TRANSPORTATION: The Watco Cos. Inc. recently agreed to sell the 158-mile Appalachian and Ohio Railroad (A&O) to Four Rivers Transportation Inc. In March 2005, Watco launched the A&O to operate a line between Grafton and Cowen, W.Va., that the holding company leased from CSX Transportation. Four Rivers Transportation also owns the 300-mile Paducah & Louisville Railway Inc. and 124-mile Evansville Western Railway Inc. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 5-16-06]

LOCOMOTIVES COLLIDE AT PROMONTORY SUMMIT: Replicas of the locomotives depicted on Utah's commemorative state quarter collided May 10 as the Jupiter and 119 were being returned to the engine house, several hours after they were used to commemorate the 117th anniversary of the Golden Spike celebration. MORE... [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 5-12-06, from Salt Lake Tribune website report by Jason Bergreen]

TRIMET TO PURCHASE 21 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FROM SIEMENS: The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) recently awarded a $75-million contract to Siemens Transportation Systems Inc. for 21 S70 light-rail trains. Costing $3.4-million each, the cars will operate on the I-205/Portland Mall light-rail line once it opens in September 2009. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 5-11-06]

HISTORIC BNSF PHOTOS NOW AVAILABLE ON LINE FROM COMPANY: Selections from the BNSF Railway archival photo collection are now available online for the first time, at photos.bnsf.com. More than 170 historic images are available now, and new images are being added continually. [BNSF, 5-10-06]

ILLINOIS BUDGET HIKE TO ADD AMTRAK TRAINS: Two additional daily Amtrak roundtrips between Chicago and St. Louis and an extra run each on the Quincy and Carbondale lines are being planned as a result of the 2007 state budget, which doubles funding for the passenger railroad, officials said May 9. The budget for Amtrak service in the state will increase to about $24-million from $12-million. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 5-10-06, from Chicago Tribune website report]

MAN DIES AS TRAIN DRAGS CAR SEVEN MILES: The Dodge County, Wisc., Sheriff's Department says a man is dead after his car slammed into a train and was dragged for about seven miles. Around midnight Wednesday morning (May 10), the car crashed near the back of the train at the crossing on Highway near Highway 26, just south of Waupun. Investigators say the car became hooked on the train, and was dragged until it broke loose at a crossing in Burnett. [United Transportation Union, 5-10-06, from WBAT-TV website report]

BNSF OPENS LOGISTICS CENTER IN CALIFORNIA: BNSF on May 9 celebrated the grand opening of BNSF Logistics Center-Fontana , a 38-acre transload operation that will provide shippers with transload services for all types of commodities, from building materials and manufactured products to bulk materials. Logistics Center-Fontana is located at the Kaiser Commerce Center about 13 miles west of San Bernardino, Calif. [BNSF Today, 5-10-06]

VIRGINIA COMMITS $22-MILLION FOR NORFOLK SOUTHERN PROJECT: Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Norfolk Southern Chief Executive Wick Moorman finalized an agreement May 8 for the state to contribute $22.3-million to the $251-million Heartland Corridor. The project involves raising 28 railroad tunnels so Norfolk Southern trains stacked two high with truck-sized cargo containers can run between the port of Hampton Roads and Chicago. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 5-9-06, from Virginian-Pilot report]

RENOVATION PLANNED FOR MATTAPAN TROLLEY STATION IN MASSACHUSETTS: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) recently awarded a $6.2 million contract to S&R Co. Inc. to renovate the Mattapan Station, the terminus of the Mattapan-Ashmont trolley line. The project includes building new platforms with shelters and benches, and adding signage, lighting and a communication system. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 5-9-06]

UP, BNSF PLAN POWDER RIVER LINE EXPANSION: Union Pacific Corp. and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. said May 8 they plan to begin another $100-million capacity expansion on their jointly owned rail line serving the Southern Powder River Basin coal fields. Both railroads have agreed on preliminary work to construct more than 40 miles of third and fourth main line tracks over the next two years. [United Transportation Union, 5-8-06, from Dow Jones Newswires report by Katherine Hunt]

CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR TO SIGN RAIL IMPROVEMENT PACKAGE: A $2.3-billion transportation package that includes expansion of the Norwalk to Danbury rail line and statewide road, rail and bus improvements is awaiting Gov. M. Jodi Rell's signature. The state Senate approved the bill after House action last week. [United Transportation Union, 5-3-06, from The Hartford Advocate report]

CHARTWELL INTERNATIONAL BUYS MIDDLETOWN & NEW JERSEY RWY: Chartwell International Inc. recently acquired the Middletown and New Jersey Railway Co. Inc. (M&NJ) for $2.2-million. Founded in 1947 and headquartered in Middletown, N.Y., the 15-mile M&NJ serves a plastic packaging company and local utility, and interchanges with Norfolk Southern Railway. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 5-3-06]

K.C.S. REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern said that quarterly net profit rose on the year on higher margins, improved service, fuel surcharges and a strong pricing environment. The company said its first quarter profit totaled $8-million or 11 cents a share, compared with $7-million or 9 cents a share a year earlier. The company said that revenue in the first quarter rose more than five percent to $388.4-million. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 5-2-06, from Reuters report]

SCRANTON-HOBOKEN RAIL STUDY NEARS COMPLETION: The proposed Scranton to Hoboken, N.J., passenger railroad will roll a rail ahead later this month when a key planning study is submitted for federal approval, New Jersey Transit Penny Bassett Hackett said. The study, an assessment of the project's environmental effects, is a key step in the planning process. [United Transportation Union, 5-2-06, from Scranton Citizens Voice report by Borys Krawczeniuk]

CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY BEGINS REHABILITATION OF CLARK JCT: The Chicago Transit Authority recently began rehabilitating track and signals at the century-old Clark Junction, where the Brown, Red and Purple lines converge just north of Belmont on the north side. Trains will use the upgraded junction to cross over to adjacent tracks. Scheduled to be complete by year end, the project also includes rehabilitating Clark Tower, which houses the switches, locks and signals needed to route trains through the junction. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 5-2-06]

K.C.S., N.S. AGREE ON MERIDIAN SPEEDWAY VENTURE: Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern announced May 1 that they have closed on the joint venture to increase capacity and improve service on KCS' Meridian Speedway between Meridian, Miss., and Shreveport, La. The joint venture involves the contribution of KCS' 320-mile line between Meridian, Miss., and Shreveport, La., to the joint venture company and an NS investment of $300-million in cash. [Joint KCS, NS press release, 5-1-06]

MORE ILLINOIS AMTRAK SERVICE PROPOSED: Under a plan that could be approved as part of the Illinois state budget next week, the state would finance extra passenger trains on three Illinois routes between Chicago and St. Louis, Carbondale and Quincy. If the $12-million to $18-million is included in the spending plan, new trains could be on the tracks by next fall, said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. [United Transportation Union, 4-28-06, from Journal Gazette & Times-Courier report by Kurt Erickson]

NEW DESIGN FOR N.Y. PENN STATION: The fourth new design for an expanded Pennsylvania Station within the landmark General Post Office across Eighth Avenue was unveiled April 26 by state officials and the developers. It is the most modest to date, but it may prove to be the one that can actually get built, after a 14-year prelude. MORE... [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 4-27-06, from New York Times website report by David W. Dunlap]

RAILROADS SEEK TAX CREDIT FOR EXPANSION: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., Union Pacific and other U.S. railroads are asking Congress for a 25 percent tax credit to help expand amid rising demand to haul freight. The credit on spending to increase capacity would help double to $4-billion the amount the industry invests annually for such projects, said Matthew Rose, chief executive officer of Burlington Northern. [United Transportion Union, 4-27-06, from Bloomburg News report published by Omaho World-Herald]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: U.S. railroad Norfolk Southern Corp. said that its quarterly net profit rose, citing increasing volumes and an improved operating ratio. The Norfolk, Virginia-based company reported net profit for the first quarter of $305-million or 72 cents a share, compared with $194-million or 47 cents a share a year earlier. Wall Street analysts were expecting earnings per share of 67 cents, according to Reuters Estimates. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 4-26-06, from Reuters report]

UTILITY SUES UNION PACIFIC CLAIMING OVERCHARGES: We Energies filed a federal lawsuit against Union Pacific Corp. April 25 accusing the railroad of overcharging the utility by millions of dollars for transporting coal to its plants in Wisconsin and Michigan. The utility said the overcharges have contributed to higher electric prices for Wisconsin consumers - a claim disputed by rail advocates. [United Transportation Union, 4-26-06, from Associated Press report]

UNION PACIFIC FORMING INLAND TRUCK CHASSIS POOL: Union Pacific Railroad is creating its own truck chassis co-op to improve equipment availability. The company recently signed an agreement with the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association to launch the rail industry's first inland cooperative truck chassis pool in the United States, according to UP. The co-op will comprise16 international customers that agreed to pool their truck chassis. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 4-26-06]

C.P. REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway said its first-quarter profits increased by 38 per cent to $111 million. Earnings for the quarter ended March 31 amounted to 69 cents a diluted share, up from 50 cents on $80.7 million profit a year earlier. Before one-time items, profit totalled 74 cents per share. Revenue for the quarter increased 10 per cent to $1.11 billion. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 4-26-06, from Canadian Press report]

BNSF REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation has reported record first-quarter earnings of $1.09 per diluted share, a 31-percent increase over first-quarter 2005 earnings of $0.83 per diluted share. First-quarter 2006 freight revenues increased $470-million, or 16 percent, to a first-quarter record of $3.37-billion compared with $2.90-billion in the prior year. [BNSF, 4-25-06]

FUNDING APPROVED FOR MICHIGAN AMTRAK TRAINS: Michigan's two state-supported trains, the Pere Marquette and the Blue Water, will continue operation through September 30, the end of the fiscal year, under a deal announced April 20 by Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) and Republican Legislative leaders. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 4-21-06]

U.P. REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP) today reported earnings of $1.15 per diluted share, or net income of $311 million. This compares to $0.48 per diluted share, or net income of $128 million in the first quarter of 2005, which included the estimated $34 million net income impact of the January West Coast storm. This was the best first quarter earnings ever posted by the company. [Union Pacific, 4-20-06]

MUDSLIDE STOPS SEATTLE-B.C. AMTRAK ROUTE: Amtrak passenger train service between Vancouver, B.C., and Seattle was suspended April 18 because of a mudslide near Everett. Passengers with tickets are being bused between the two cities, and stations affected include Edmonds, Everett, Mount Vernon and Bellingham. [United Transportation Union, 4-19-06, from Seattle Post-Intelligencer report]

TACOMA RAIL MIGHT EXPAND: BNSF and Union Pacific executives say transferring some of their Tacoma operations to Tacoma Rail will streamline their business. David Dealy and Jeff Koch, vice presidents of transportation for BNSF and UP, respectively, and Tacoma Rail Superintendent Paula Henry pitched the business deal to the Tacoma Public Utility Board and the City Council during a joint study session April 18. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 4-19-06, from News Tribune website report by Kelly Kearsley]

HOUSTON METRO TO BEGIN DESIGN WORK ON LIGHT-RAIL LINES: The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, board recently authorized the agency to proceed with initial design work on five light-rail corridors outlined in the METRO Solutions Phase 2 plan. Preliminary engineering will take six to nine months to complete. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 4-19-06]

C.N. TO UPGRADE ITS MEMPHIS RAIL YARD: Canadian National Railway Co. is investing $100-million to rebuild and upgrade its major train yard in Memphis. The reconfigured yard will have capacity for more than 3,100 freight cars when it is finished in 2008, compared with 2,800 today, CN said, and will be able to handle 35 or more freight trains a day, compared with a current maximum of 25 to 30. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 4-19-06, from Canadian Press report by Alan Swift]

CSX REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corporation has reported first quarter 2006 net earnings of $245-million, or $1.06 per share, a 56 percent increase in earnings per share from continuing operations versus the same quarter last year. Earnings per share from last year's first quarter included a $1.88 per-share gain on the sale of the Company's discontinued operations. [CSX, 4-18-06]

BNSF EYES SITE IN KANSAS FOR LOGISTICS PARK: BNSF said it is studying the feasibility of locating its third logistics park in Gardner, Kansas. The study will analyze options for funding public infrastructure improvements, identify potential third-party development partners, recommend a facility design and determine whether BNSF would obtain an acceptable return on its capital investment. [United Transportation Union, 4-18-06, from Journal of Commerce Online report]

U.P. TESTING CLEANER DIESEL ENGINE TECHNOLOGIES: Union Pacific is testing technologies to reduce diesel engine emissions in older railroad locomotives. Through collaboration with staff at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from Ann Arbor, Mich., U.P. is providing a 3,800-horsepower SD60M locomotive to serve as the first freight locomotive in North America to be equipped with a set of oxidation catalyst or 'oxicat' devices manufactured by the MIRATECH Corporation of Tulsa, Okla. [Union Pacific, 4-17-06]

NJ TRANSIT TO BEGIN DESIGN STUDY FOR NEW PENN STATION CONCOURSE: New Jersey Transit's board recently authorized Transit Link Consultants to begin preliminary design for a concourse at New York City's Penn Station. To connect with a new Moynihan Station and MTA Long Island Rail Road's 8th Avenue concourse, the Penn Station concourse will enable NJ Transit to operate up to four more trains per hour. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 4-17-06]

MARK ROSENKER NOMINATED TO CHAIR NTSB: President Bush on April 13 nominated Mark Rosenker to be chairman of the board that investigates major transportation accidents, according to this Associated Press report. Rosenker is acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and has been on the board since 2003. The nomination requires Senate approval. [United Transportation Union, 4-13-06, from Associated Press report]

L.A.-PALM SPRINGS TRAIN SERVICE GATHERS STEAM: By 2010, people could board a daily train in Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Indio and arrive in Los Angeles within hours, according to the Desert Sun. The proposed state plan could result in service for at least 100,000 passengers a year. State officials hope to have two daily round-trip schedules in place by 2013. The concept has been discussed for more than a decade. [United Transportation Union, 4-12-06, from Desert Sun report]

GRAND CANYON RAILWAY MAY BE SOLD: Twenty years ago, Max and Thelma Biegert bought the Grand Canyon Railway, which had been abandoned in 1968 after providing passenger-train service to the Grand Canyon for almost 70 years. The couple restored the route and reinstated service in 1989. Now, they're ready to retire and become less involved with the railroad's day-to-day operations. So, the couple recently contracted investment banking and brokerage firm Peacock, Hislop, Staley and Given Inc. to "pursue strategic business options," including a possible sale of the railroad in one to two years. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 4-6-06]

BNSF SETS $150-MILLION IN TRACK UPGRADES: BNSF Railway Co. plans track upgrades of $46.2-million in Wyoming, $42-million in New Mexico, $27.5-million in Texas, $21.4-million in Washington and $13-million in Missouri, to expand capacity and maintain infrastructure. [United Transportation Union, 4-3-06, from Journal of Commerce Online report]

N.S. LAUNCHES DELMARVA BUSINESS UNIT: Norfolk Southern has established the Delmarva Business Unit (DBU) to manage 191 miles of NS-operated track in Delaware and Maryland. A similar operation, the East Carolina Business Unit, was established in North Carolina in 2002. NS's objective is to bring the railroad closer to its local customers while improving the use of its assets. [RailwayAge.com, 4-3-06]

INTERLOCKING TOWER PLACED ATOP HARPERS FERRY STATION: A recreated interlocking tower (Morse call letters 'HF') was lifted into place atop the railroad depot at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, the morning of March 31. The intent is to replicate the building as it appeared 55 years ago when the tower - then no longer needed for service - was removed. The depot was constructed in 1894 and stood along an alignment near the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. It was moved in 1931 to a new main track alignment several hundred feet away. The tower was closed in the mid-1950's and later was removed from the building. The building is now owned by the National Park Service which began an extensive restoration effort in 2003. Harpers Ferry is still maintained as a commuter train stop on the MARC Martinsburg (W.V.) line, and as a stop for Amtrak's Capitol Limited. [From a report by Rob Brzostowski]

FOUR STAINLESS STEEL COACHES IN SERVICE AT B&O MUSEUM: Four stainless steel passenger coaches that lumbered along the Pennsylvania Railroad for more than two decades will spend their retirement confined to a mile-and-a-half span of track as the newest additions to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum. Built in 1949, the cars will add to the museum's fleet of tour coaches that carry visitors along the oldest length of commercial railroad track in the Western hemisphere. The four coaches were originally sleeping cars. [United Transportation Union, 4-1-06, from Baltimore Sun report by Joe Palazzolo]

CANAL STREET TROLLEY LINE RESUMES IN NEW ORLEANS: Streetcar service to all of Canal Street resumes April 2, but restoration of the Carrollton spur may be months away. The RTA needs to purchase and install a custom-made switch box from Germany at the intersection of Carrollton Avenue and Canal before it can use the spur that extends streetcar service to City Park, near the New Orleans Museum of Art, said Eddy Moore, the RTA's director of maintenance. [United Transportation Union, 3-31-06, from Times-Picayune report by Leslie Williams]

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIF., APPROVES FUNDS FOR METROLINK IMPROVEMENTS: The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) recently approved allocating more than $14.5-million for Metrolink commuter-rail improvements. The funds will enable Metrolink to begin operating weekend service this spring between Los Angeles and Oceanside, Calif. OCTA - which funds and supervises Metrolink - will purchase 59 passenger cars to accommodate the new service. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 3-30-06]

ALSTROM SIGNS $80-MILLION CONTRACT WITH AMTRAK: Alstom Transport has signed a five-year, $80-million parts supply agreement with Amtrak for work associated with the Northeast passenger fleet. The contract is for managing spare parts supply for Amtrak. It also has the company providing technical assistance for Amtrak's Acela passenger fleet. [United Transportation Union, 3-28-06, from Hornell Evening Tribune report]

AMTRAK TRAIN COLLIDES WITH TRUCK IN N.C.: At least one person aboard an Amtrak train suffered injuries March 28 after it collided with a truck east of Greensboro, N.C. The Piedmont was headed into Greensboro when the wreck occurred about 8:36 a.m. at a private rail crossing on McLeansville Road near Burlington Road. The train struck a dump truck, said Cliff Black, an Amtrak spokesman. [United Transportation Union, 3-28-06, from Greensboro News-Record report]

CSXT CONVERTING SD50 LOCOMOTIVES: CSX will reduce the horsepower of selected SD50 locomotives from 3500 to 3000 horsepower, effectively giving them the same characteristics as an SD40-2. The purpose of the downgrade is to improve fuel consumption and reliability, according to a company report. The class designation of locomotives affected by this conversion will be SD50-2.

CSX TURNAROUND PLAN ON RIGHT TRACK, MERRILL LYNCH SAYS: With its turnaround plan on target, Merrill Lynch research analyst Ken Hoexter reiterated a "buy" rating and $70 price objective on CSX Corp. "We believe the company's operational turnaround is benefiting CSX's operations to a greater extent than we anticipated, as is evident by the consistent improvement in its velocity measures," the analyst said in a report. [United Transportation Union, 3-28-06, from Forbes Magazine report]

POUGHKEEPSIE TRAIN STATION GETTING FACELIFT: The sound of jackhammers greeted passengers at the Poughkeepsie Train Station March 27, as it has in recent weeks, while workers perform $3-million worth of renovations at the historic station overlooking the Hudson River. The work will give the station a new pavilion off Main Street, refurbished staircases, add new floors and apply fresh coats of paint to help the building regain some of its former grandeur. [United Transportation Union, 3-28-06, from Poughkeepsie Journal report]

FORMER CAR SHOP AT HOLLIDAYSBURG, PA., ACQUIRED BY DEVELOPMENT GROUP: Norfolk Southern Railways has announced it reached a tentative agreement to transfer ownership of the former Hollidaysburg Car Shop in Hollidaysburg, Pa., to Blair County Development Corp. III (BCDC). D Holdings Inc., the initial tenant, will serve as the private financer and developer for the redevelopment project under which the former shops - which NS shuttered in 2001 - will be converted into mixed-use commercial, industrial and open space. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 3-27-06]

U.S. TRANSPORT SYSTEM NEARING CRISIS, BNSF CHAIRMAN SAYS: The head of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. warned March 23 of a coming crisis in the nation's ability to move goods because of an aging and increasingly congested transportation system. "In 10, 15 or 20 years, there is a crisis coming in how we move commerce," said Matthew Rose, chairman and chief executive of BNSF. After years of suffering from excess capacity, BNSF, like other railroads, is struggling to handle an unprecedented increase in shipments. The railroad is investing $2.4 billion this year to maintain its tracks and expand its ability to carry more freight. But railroads are only one part of the transportation network. "Things are going to get worse before they get better," Mr. Rose said. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-24-06, from Dallas Morning News website report by Katherine Yung]

VANCOUVER ISLAND RAIL DEAL ANNOUNCED: The Vancouver Island Rail Corridor Foundation has struck a deal with Rail America that now gives the not-for-profit group 100 per cent control of the corridor, setting the stage to reinvigorate rail service on the island. The foundation announced the agreement with Rail America on March 21, three weeks after a similar deal with CP Rail gave it control of the historic Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway line. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-21-06, from Canadian Press report]

BNSF DONATES RAIL LINE IN KANSAS FOR TRAIL: BNSF has donated a 2.88 mile-long rail line in South Hutchinson, Kan., to use as a nature trail. The unused railroad right-of-way falls under the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) which authorized BNSF's railbanking of the right-of-way with the City of South Hutchinson. "The rail line no longer served a useful purpose for freight transportation," says Jerry Johnson, assistant vice president of BNSF's Network Rationalization Unit. [BNSF Today, 3-21-06]

SOUTH SHORE LINE MAY GET NEW CARS: The South Shore commuter line between South Bend and Chicago may soon be getting a dozen new passenger cars, perhaps some double-deckers. The South Shore line has seen ridership grow on its route by over seven percent last year and nearly eleven percent for the first two months of this year. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District spokesman John Parsons says the system is now at full capacity. [United Transportation Union, 3-21-06, from WQAD-TV website report]

BNSF PLANS THIRD TRACK THROUGH CAJON PASS: Plans are under way to build a third rail line along the Cajon Pass. Officials with BNSF said the construction of a third rail line from Devore through the Cajon Pass will cost an estimated $50-million, a price the company is willing to pay to increase capacity to move freight out of California. The project will start construction at the end of this year and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007. [United Transportation Union, 3-19-06, from Victor Valley Daily Press report]

K.C.S. DELAYS ANNUAL REPORT: Railroad operator Kansas City Southern said it is delaying the release of its annual report after discovering that it understated its deferred tax liability balance. The understatement was $8-million at the end of 2002 "and subsequent dates," the company said. It will not affect the company's earnings, Kansas City Southern said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-17-06, from Reuters report]

CALIFORNIA APPROVES $208-MILLION FOR LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: The California Transportation Commission approved $208-million to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority build a 9.5-mile light rail line from downtown L.A. to Culver City. The Exposition Line will share two stations with the Blue Line. The transit agency eventually plans to extend the line to Santa Monica. [United Transportation Union, 3-17-06, from Los Angeles Times report]

AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE TRAINS SCRUTINIZED FOR EFFICIENCY, CHAIRMAN SAYS: Amtrak's chairman said the railroad will scrutinize all of its long-distance routes this year for efficiency and could scrap, reconfigure or add lines as it tries to prove to Congress and the Bush administration that the rail system is reforming itself. "There's nothing, as far as I'm concerned, that's off the table," David Laney told reporters following an abbreviated Senate hearing on Amtrak's funding request for the 2007 budget year. [United Transportation Union, 3-16-06, from Dow Jones Newswires report]

AMTRAK REQUESTS $1.6-BILLION FOR FY-07: At a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing held March 16, Amtrak Chairman David Laney and acting President and CEO David Hughes requested $1.6-billion for its fiscal-year 2007 budget and outlined the national intercity passenger railroad's reform plans. The railroad lowered its request for operating support from $540-million in FY2006 to $498 in FY2007. However, Amtrak officials propose increasing capital funding by $235-million in FY2007 to $730 million to cover projects such as replacing the span on the Thames River Bridge and upgrading centralized dispatching systems. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 3-16-06]

RAILROAD CAPITAL SPENDING TO RISE 21 PERCENT THIS YEAR: The Association of American Railroads has said that U.S. Class I railroads will spend more than $8-billion this year on capital improvements to track, equipment, and infrastructure - 21 percent more than they spent last year. Infrastructure spending will be at a new one-year high. [RailwayAge.com, 3-16-06]

BNSF TO EXPAND CHICAGO-AREA LOGISTICS PARK: BNSF Railway Co. is expanding BNSF Logistics Park - Chicago (LPC) - the company's largest facility expansion this year. By June 1, BNSF plans to complete a 20-acre wheeled parking area, 50-acre public container yard and fourth 8,000-foot track at LPC, which provides direct rail, truck, intermodal, transload, warehousing and distribution services. Later this year, BNSF also expects to complete 5,500-foot support tracks, add 90 car spots and 10 checkpoint lanes, and acquire eight MiJack cranes. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 3-15-06]

PLAN FOR HOTEL AT BALTIMORE'S PENN STATION REVIVED: Amtrak has revived a plan to open a boutique hotel inside Baltimore's historic Penn Station, which would be a first in an Amtrak-owned station. MORE.. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-14-06, from Baltimore Sun website report by Lorraine Mirabella]

CHINA APPROVES TWO HIGH-SPEED RAILWAYS: China announced $22-billion plans March 13 to build two new high-speed train lines linking Shanghai with Beijing and another city, including one using magnetic levitation technology that can reach speeds of 260 mph. Both lines are among the world's most ambitious railway-building projects. [United Transportation Union, 3-13-06, from Associated Press report by Joe McDonald]

BNSF PLANS $100-MILLION CALIFORNIA EXPANSION: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. said it plans to invest more than $100-million to expand its rail capacity in California and maintain its track, facilities and equipment. The investments include a $26-million expansion of parking and stacking capacity at its Hobart intermodal facility in Los Angeles; a $16-million track expansion on BNSF's main line near East Barstow; and a $9-million expansion of parking capacity at its San Bernardino intermodal facility. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-11-06, from Dallas Morning News report]

RAILROAD FUELING CENTER PLANNED FOR MINOT, N.D.: The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad plans to build a train fuel station and rail car repair shop in Minot, a spokesman said. If the station is built, it will improve rail service in the region by allowing trains to be refueled more quickly, said Gus Melonas, a BNSF spokesman in Seattle. Design work and efforts to get permits will begin later this year, Melonas said. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-10-06, from Associated Press report]

FORMER CSX SUPERVISOR SAYS SAFETY EFFORTS STYMIED: After a long career in the railroad business, Michael C. Baker became a supervisor with CSX in the Rochester, N.Y., area in 2002. Right away, he says, he began to notice problems and tried to have them corrected. But because of staff and funding shortages, Baker now claims, he was stymied in some of his attempts to improve the safety of track signals and crossing equipment. MORE.. [United Transportation Union, 3-10-06, from Democrat and Chronicle report]

UNION PACIFIC IMPROVING ST.LOUIS TO KANSAS CITY TRACK: Union Pacific Railroad said it is spending $32-million this year on track improvements between St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., in an effort to enhance safety and to improve train velocity on this highly used rail corridor. Many of the improvements are being made to track between Sedalia and Pleasant Hill and Kirkwood and Hermann. [Union Pacific, 3-9-06]

RAIL SHIPPERS ON CAPITOL HILL URGE REFORM: More than 200 consumers and executives of industries dependent on rail to ship their goods visited Capitol Hill today to advocate for relief from the high prices, poor service and lack of competition they increasingly face. Rail service problems have contributed to this winter's spiraling electricity and natural gas prices, prompting increased calls for reform to federal rail policy, according to this press release by Consumers United for Rail Equity. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-9-06, from Consumers United for Rail Equity press release]

BNSF DONATES KANSAS DEPOT TO HONOR ORPHAN TRAINS: BNSF Railway is helping preserve the history of orphan trains, and the children and agents who rode them. The company recently donated a depot in Concordia, Kan., to the National Orphan Train Complex, which aims to collect, preserve and disseminate information on orphan trains. The organization plans to renovate and redevelop the depot into a museum and headquarters building. Between 1854 and 1929, about 250,000 orphaned, abandoned and homeless children were placed in what became known as orphan trains to travel across the United States and Canada. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 3-9-06]

FRA REVISES POST-TRAIN ACCIDENT TESTING: The Federal Railroad Administration has revised its post-accident, drug- and alcohol-testing procedures for hours-of-service and passenger railroad employees to reflect changes in the reportable property damage threshold and to assist railroad supervisors in identifying the type of accident. The new monetary threshold for reporting railroad accidents/incidents involving damage to railroad property is now $7,700. [United Transportation Union, 3-7-06]

N.J. TRANSIT TO IMPROVE RARITAN VALLEY SERVICE: New Jersey Transit's board has approved two projects designed to offer more convenient service for Raritan Valley Line passengers. The agency got the OK to construct a quarter-mile passing track in Readington Township near White House Station, which will enable NJ Transit to operate bidirectional traffic on the single-tracked line. Now, trains only operate east in the morning and west in the evening. By mid-2007, the agency plans to add eight trains west of Raritan Station. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 3-3-06]

RAIL TRAFFIC MIXED IN FEBRUARY: Freight traffic on U.S. railroads was mixed during February, with intermodal traffic up and carload freight down from February 2005, the Association of American Railroads has reported. U.S. railroads originated 1,322,876 carloads of freight in February 2006, down 26,957 carloads (2.0 percent) from February 2005. U.S. railroads also originated 904,473 intermodal units in February 2006, an increase of 19,435 trailers and containers (2.2 percent) over February 2005. Seven of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw U.S. carload increases in February 2006 compared to February 2005. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-2-06]

KCS REPORTS LARGER 4-Q LOSS: Railroad company Kansas City Southern Industries Inc. on Thursday reported a larger fourth-quarter loss, which the company blamed on hurricane-related disruptions along the Gulf Coast and integrating its new Mexican subsidiary. For the three months ended Dec.31, the company said it lost $4.1-million 5 cents per share, compared with $1.4-million or 2 cents per share during the same period a year ago. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-2-06, from Associated Press report]

UTU REJOINS AFL-CIO: The United Transportation Union rejoined the AFL-CIO Febr.27 and UTU International President Paul Thompson was elected unanimously as a vice president on the federation's Executive Council, which guides the work of the federation. Both actions took place at the AFL-CIO Executive Council's winter meeting in San Diego. [United Transportation Union, 2-27-06]

AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN MISSOURI: Amtrak's Kansas City Mule, train #311, derailed Febr.22 in Morrison, east of Jefferson City, Missouri. The minor derailment sent one truck of the first passenger car off the rails.  No injuries were reported and passengers continued their trip by bus. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 2-24-06]

BNSF PRESIDENT DEFENDS RAILROAD'S FUEL SURCHARGES: The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad would be unprofitable without levying fuel surcharges on its shippers, and the charge does not cover higher fuel prices, its top executive said. Matthew Rose, speaking Febr.21 at the annual meeting of the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association, also praised Bismarck's development of a new shipping center, saying it will be important to the railroad's business and the region's growth. Some of BNSF's largest shippers, primarily grain elevators, have raised questions about fuel surcharges the railroad began levying as oil prices rose. [United Transportation Union, 2-22-06, from Associated Press report]

CSX ON HUNT FOR CARGO TRANSFER SITE IN INDIANA: CSX continues to evaluate sites in Northwest Indiana and the southeast Chicago suburbs for a new intermodal freight center to avoid the congestion that plagues Chicago. The project will cut the trip from East Coast ports to Chicago by as much as 224 miles. [United Transportation Union, 2-20-06, from Northwest Indiana Times report]

CSX READY TO MOVE ON THIRD TRACK EFFORT IN VIRGINIA: CSX can handle both freight and passenger trains and do it well, said Jay Westbrook, the company's assistant vice president for public-private partnerships. But to do that, CSX needs a third track between Washington and Richmond. VRE has agreed to pay for engineering work for a third track between Powell's Creek in Prince William County and Arkendale Road in Stafford County - a distance of about 11 miles. A third track already exists between Crystal City in Arlington and a junction in Alexandria - about five miles. Construction of another seven miles from the Alexandria junction south toward Springfield was funded in 2000, but construction has not yet begun. [United Transportation Union, 2-20-06, from Free Lance Star report]

TRI-RAIL TO ADD 10 DAILY TRAINS: Tri-Rail will add 10 trains to its daily schedule March 27, using a new set of tracks. For riders from Miami to Mangonia Park, it means trains that run more often and on time. The new schedule will boost the number of weekday trains from 30 to 40, restore service in the middle of the day and add two trains on Saturday and Sunday. By the end of February, the bulk of the $334 million double-tracking project should be finished. [United Transportation Union, 2-17-06, from Sun Sentinel report by Michael Turnbell]

CPR TO PAY $1.86-MILLION IN MINOT DERAILMENT: Canadian Pacific Railway must pay four people nearly $1.86-million for injuries they suffered as a result of a 2002 derailment near Minot, N.D., that spilled a cloud of anhydrous ammonia, a jury has decided. The railroad had admitted it was at fault for the derailment, so the jury of 11 men and women was responsible for deciding how much money each plaintiff would receive. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 2-16-06, from Associated Press report]

N.S. AIMS TO COMPLETE HEARTLAND CORRIDOR PROJECT BY 2009: Norfolk Southern Corp. expects to complete a $311-million rail project, shaving 225 miles off container train trips between Hampton Roads and the Midwest, by 2009, company officials said. Donald W. Seale, the railroad's executive vice president of sales and marketing, told rail analysts at a conference in Miami about the project, which also will increase clearances along the route to allow trains carrying cargo containers stacked two high. [United Transportation Union, 2-16-06, from Virginian Pilot report]

STB OK'S DM&E POWDER RIVER BASIN LINE PROJECT: The Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced that it has issued a decision Febr.15 granting final approval to Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (DM&E) to construct a 280-mile rail line into Wyoming's Powder River Basin, subject to extensive environmental mitigation conditions, according to this release issued by tthe STB. The issuance of this decision completes the board's review of DM&E's proposed construction project. [U.S. Surface Transportation Board, 2-15-06]

U.P. SUES PHOTOGRAPHER OVER TRAIN CALENDAR: A photographer with a passion for old trains is being sued by Union Pacific Railway, the largest railway corporation in North America, over a calendar featuring its trains. MORE... [United Transportation Union, 2-14-06, from Vancouver Sun report by Glenn Bohn]

BALTIMORE, CSXT SETTLE IN TUNNEL DISASTER: Four and a half years after a derailment and fire in the Howard Street tunnel created havoc in downtown Baltimore, the city and CSX Transportation have reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit against the railroad company. MORE... [United Transportation Union, 2-13-06, from Baltimore Sun report by Michael Dresser and Associated Press]

CSXT FINED FOR GRADE CROSSING VIOLATIONS: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has fined CSX Transportation (CSX) $227,000 for failure of a highway-rail grade crossing warning system to activate in advance of approaching trains in Fonda, New York. MORE... [Federal Railroad Administration, 2-13-06]

WITH EQUIPMENT SHORTAGE, AMTRAK CANCELS SOME RUNS: An equipment shortage suddenly developed a week ago after Amtrak inspected cars in its Sunnyside Yard.  The southbound Silver Meteor today [Febr.10] was canceled for the fifth straight day. An expanded Silver Star is running (today with five coaches, and three Viewliner sleepers plus Heritage dorm), but "no alternate transportation" is provided to passengers along the Charleston route of the Silver Meteor (where the Palmetto currently is not running Monday-Thursday due to CSX track work). [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 2-10-06]

RAIL EMPLOYEES' INJURY RATE LOWEST IN HISTORY: U.S. freight railroads continue to set new safety records. The most recent available data available shows that during the first eleven months of 2005, rail employee safety was the best in the history of the railroad industry. This is the eleventh consecutive FRA report to show improvements in the employee casualty rate for the railroad industry. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-8-06]

CSX AMENDS CORPORATE GOVERNANCE GUIDELINES: The board of CSX has announced an amendment to the company's governance guidelines regarding the election of directors. The amendment requires a director candidate to submit a resignation to the board's governance committee if he or she receives more 'withhold' votes than 'for' votes in an uncontested election. The governance committee will evaluate the tender of the resignation, taking the best interests of the company and its shareholders into account, and will make a recommendation to the board. The board will then make a decision within 90 days of the certification of election. [CSX, 2-8-06]

ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES $900-MILLION FOR AMTRAK: The Bush administration unveiled a $900-million Amtrak budget Febr.6 that calls for cutting funding for the rail line by about 30 percent and raises the prospect of service reductions on some money-losing long-distance lines. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said at a budget briefing that funding for Amtrak in the proposed budget also would be tied in part to progress by the rail line in cutting costs for food service and overnight accommodations on some of its trains. [United Transportation Union, 2-7-06, from Philadelphia Inquirer report by Chris Mondics]

W. THOMAS RICE DIES, RETIRED RAIL OFFICIAL: William Thomas Rice, a decorated soldier and railroad visionary who was instrumental in the 1980 creation of CSX Corporation, died in Richmond, Va., Febr.5 after a brief illness. MORE... [CSX, 2-7-06]

LIRR, AMTRAK AGREE ON GRAND CENTRAL LINK: An agreement was reached recently by the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak over a rail link to Grand Central Station. But federal funding of the $7-billion plus East Side Access project still must be secured. The railroad and Amtrak have agreed to allow the LIRR to tunnel under the Amtrak-owned Sunnyside yard so LIRR trains can reach the tunnel to Grand Central. Also, railroad officials and Amtrak agreed on a configuration of Harold Interlocking. [United Transportation Union, 2-7-06, from Newsday report by Joie Tyrrell]

IOWA INTERSTATE TO OPERATE CSXT LINE IN ILLINOIS: Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. (IAIS) recently completed a deal to lease a 32-mile line between Utica and Henry Ill., from CSX Transportation. The 552-mile regional will operate the line, which serves shippers in LaSalle, Peru, Depue, Putnam and Henry. A Railroad Development Corp. subsidiary founded in 1984, IAIS operates between Omaha, Neb., and Chicago on lines formerly owned by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, which was liquidated in 1980. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 2-6-06]

NEW SHORT-LINE STARTS UP IN N.D.: A new railroad is taking over about 80 miles of track in northeastern North Dakota. Dakota Northern Railroad is leasing the track from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. One stretch runs about 60 miles from Grafton to Walhalla, while the other goes about 22 miles from Grafton north to Glasston, said Thomas Kotnour, one of the three partners in KBN Inc. [United Transportation Union, 2-5-06, from Bismarck Tribune report]

N.J. TRANSIT TO OPEN TWO LIGHT-RAIL STATIONS: NJ Transit this month will open two new stations on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system and will begin more frequent service on the line. Stations on Bergenline Avenue in Union City and Tonnelle Avenue Station in North Bergen are to open Febr.25. The Tonnelle Avenue station will become the northern terminus of the five-year-old light rail system. Riders also will see more frequent service on the light rail line beginning Febr.11. [United Transportation Union, 2-3-06, from Associated Press report]

C.N. PLANS ENLARGED MEMPHIS RAIL YARD: Canadian National Railroad will invest $100-million in the next several years to beef up capacity in Memphis. In an announcement expected this spring, CN will outline plans for the investment at Johnston Yard in southwest Memphis, including track and other infrastructure. Memphis gives CN easy access to the East Coast, Southeast and its growing NAFTA markets in Mexico. [United Transportation Union, 2-3-06, from Commercial Appeal report]

U.S. RAIL TRAFFIC UP IN JANUARY: U.S. rail carload traffic rose 4.2 percent (52,844 carloads) to 1,325,473 carloads, while U.S. rail intermodal traffic rose 6.1 percent (51,173 trailers and containers) to 890,704 units in the first four weeks of 2006 compared with the first four weeks of 2005. Total volume for the first month of 2006 was estimated at 129.4 billion ton-miles, up 5.9 percent from January 2005. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-2-06]

K.C.S. REPORTS 4Q LOSS: Kansas City Southern said its quarterly net loss nearly tripled, hurt by the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The net loss for the fourth quarter totaled $4.1-million, or 5 cents, compared with a net loss of $1.4-million, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier. Operating income for the quarter was $46.6-million, compared with $27.4-million a year earlier. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 2-1-06, from Reuters report]

CSX PONDERS FATE OF MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST RAIL LINE: Railroad experts say CSX faces a monumental decision when it comes to the possible abandonment of its rail line through South Mississippi, but a local leader privy to those discussions remains optimistic. A CSX spokesperson said there was no timeframe for making a decision, but if the company decides to make a change, it would be in its best interest to do so quickly. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 2-1-06, from Biloxi Sun-Herald website report by Don Hammack]

F.E.C. BUYS FOUR NEW LOCOMOTIVES: Florida East Coast Railway has reached an agreement to buy four new locomotives Electro-Motive Diesel for delivery in the third quarter. These will be the first new locomotives added to FEC's fleet in more than 20 years, said Vice President and Chief Mechanical Officer Gary Griffiths, though the company has bought refurbished locomotives since then. It will bring to 80 the number of locomotives the company owns. [United Transportation Union, 2-1-06, from Jacksonville Business Journal report]

C.P. REPORTS RECORD EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway has reported new fourth-quarter and full-year earnings records. In 2005, CPR earned all-time-high net income of $477-million, a 32 percent increase compared with 2004. Revenue totaling $3.9-billion rose 13 percent and the railroad's annual operating ratio of 77.2 improved 2.6 points. During the fourth quarter, CPR earned record net income of $148-million, a 45 percent increase compared with fourth-quarter 2004. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 2-1-06]

CN, CSXT SIGN HAULAGE AGREEMENT FOR SARNIA FREIGHT TRAFFIC: CN and CSX have announced a long-term agreement for CN to haul CSX traffic to and from Sarnia, Ont., and CSX connections in Buffalo and Toledo. CSX will retain track and continue to serve its customers in Sarnia, and maintain operations on 27 miles of its line between Sarnia and Wallaceburg, Ont. CSX plans to discontinue about 26 miles of track between Wallaceburg and Chatham. CN will purchase 12.5 miles of CSX track between Chatham and Blenheim, Ont., acquiring control of trackage connecting CN's network to its Windsor classification yards and the Detroit-Windsor rail tunnel. [Joint CN & CSX press release, 1-30-06]

WASHINGTON METRO BEGINS EIGHT-CAR TRAINS ON ORANGE LINE: Today [Jan.30], the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) launched a pilot program to test eight-car train service during morning rush hour on the Orange Line. During the six-month test, WMATA will operate fewer but longer trains along the line between 6:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. WMATA plans to expand the eight-car train program - which is designed to improve service reliability - to other lines later this year. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 1-30-06]

EMPIRE BUILDER DERAILS NEAR SPOKANE: Amtrak's Chicago-bound Empire Builder derailed early Jan.28 near Spokane, causing minor injuries. Preliminary reports indicated that a rail was broken, but it wasn't immediately clear when it broke or how. A few of the 86 passengers and six crew members were treated for minor injuries in the town of Sprague, near the accident site about 45 miles west of Spokane. The engine and four cars that derailed remained upright. [United Transportation Union, 1-28-06, from Associated Press report]

AMTRAK CHANGES FARE SYSTEM FOR ACELA TRAINS: Amtrak's high-speed Acela trains are moving to an airline-style fare system next month, pushing higher fares for last-minute business travelers but better deals for flexible leisure travelers. Instead of three fare levels pegged only to what time of day people ride, Amtrak will offer five levels. They will include a top fare 15 percent higher than current levels for peak-period trips bought at the last minute, as well as a new discount fare 15 percent below today's lowest prices for people willing to travel in the middle of the day or late night and buy tickets weeks or months ahead. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-28-06, from Boston Globe websi9te report by Peter J. Howe]

AMTRAK'S CARDINAL DERAILS IN KENTUCKY: Amtrak's New York-Chicago Cardinal passenger train derailed at Garrison, Ky., early Jan.26. No injuries were reported. The second and third of the train's three coaches jumped the track but remained upright. The 71 passengers aboard were bused to destinations between Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Chicago. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-27-06, from Huntington Herald-Dispatch website report by Bob Withers]

30TH STREET STATION NAME CHANGE PLAN DROPPED: The Pew Charitable Trusts no longer wants 30th Street Station renamed in honor of Benjamin Franklin to highlight the founding father's 300th birthday. The Philadelphia-based trust said that it had decided not to pursue the project, which was proposed by Pew's president, Rebecca W. Rimel, over the summer. The station has been known as 30th Street Station since it was opened by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1930s, the name distinguishing it from the since-demolished Broad Street Station and the North Philadelphia Station still in use by Amtrak and SEPTA commuter-rail lines. [United Transportation Union, 1-26-06, from Associated Press report]

U.P. TO START L.A. TRACK RENEWAL PROJECT: Next month, Union Pacific Railroad plans to begin a three-month, $21.3-million track renewal project in the Los Angeles Basin area. The project includes replacing 43.3 miles of rail between east L.A. and Riverside, Calif., replacing more than 110,000 wood ties with concrete ties and resurfacing grade crossings. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 1-26-06]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 4Q EARNINGS: U.S. railroad Norfolk Southern said Jan.24 its net income rose 37 percent in the fourth quarter, reflecting a strong economy and demand for commodities like coal, as well as fuel surcharges. The Norfolk, Virginia-based company said net profit jumped to $362-million, or 87 cents a share, from $264-million, 65 cents a share, a year earlier. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-25-06, from Reuters report]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES CHARLES MOORMAN CHAIRMAN: Norfolk Southern Corp. named Charles W. Moorman to succeed David R. Goode as chairman, effective Febr.1. Moorman, who has served as president since 2004 and chief executive officer since 2005, will continue in those positions. Goode will continue as a member of Norfolk Southern's board of directors until the corporation's annual meeting of stockholders in May. [United Transportation Union, 1-24-06, from Journal of Commerce Online report]

C.N. BOOSTS DIVIDEND, SPLITS STOCK: Shareholders of Canadian National Railway got a triple dose of news Tuesday Jan.24 - a stock dividend boost, a two-for-one stock split, and higher Q4 profits that beat analysts' expectations. After the markets closed, CN announced fourth-quarter profits of $430 million ($1.56 a share), up 14 per cent from last year's $376-million ($1.29 a share). That was 2 cents better than the consensus estimate from 10 analysts surveyed by Thomson One Analytics. Operating income in the quarter rose 19 per cent to $720-million and revenues climbed nine per cent to $1.89-billion. [United Transportation Union, 1-24-06, from CBC News report]

BNSF 4Q EARNINGS RISE 24 PERCENT: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., the second largest U.S. railroad, said quarterly profits rose 24 percent on double-digit increases in revenue in three of its four business groups. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company said net income increased to $430-million, or $1.13 a share, in the fourth quarter, from $347-million, or 91 cents, a year ago. Wall Street analysts predicted earnings per share of $1.15, according to Reuters Estimates. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-24-06, from Reuters report]

BNSF ANNOUNCES $2.4-B CAPITAL COMMITMENT PROGRAM: BNSF Railway Company has announced its $2.4-billion capital commitment program for 2006. BNSF anticipates investing about $400-million in track and facilities to expand capacity. Some of the major 2006 capacity expansion programs are: Double- or triple-track another 40 miles and start building a second main line across Abo Canyon; expand Lincoln, Nebraska, Yard, and add about 50 miles double- and triple-track on the Powder River Basin Joint Line in Nebraska. [BNSF, 1-24-06]

CSX REPORTS 4TH QUARTER EARNINGS: CSX Corporation reported fourth quarter 2005 net earnings of $237-million or $1.03 per share, a 45 percent increase in earnings per share from continuing operations versus the same quarter in 2004. "CSX delivered another quarter of strong performance in our Surface Transportation businesses," said Michael J. Ward, CSX Corporation chairman and chief executive officer. "Our operations team is gaining traction in executing the ONE Plan, even while reconstructing our storm-damaged infrastructure on the Gulf Coast." [CSX, 1-24-06]

AMERICAN ORIENT EXPRESS IS A 'RAIL CARRIER,' STB RULES: A decision by the Surface Transportation Board affecting American Orient Express and carrier payments into the Railroad Retirement system has important implications for Amtrak and freight railroads. MORE... [United Transportation Union, 1-24-06]

TRAIN DERAILMENT HALTS 700 SKIERS IN COLORADO: About 700 skiers who took the popular Ski Train from Denver to the Winter Park ski resort Jan.21 were stranded for a few hours without transportation home after a 15-car, Union Pacific coal train derailed near Rollinsville. Passengers found their own rides or waited for buses to arrive from Denver to take them down the mountain. The derailment also forced Amtrak to detour its California Zephyr train through Wyoming. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-23-06, from Associated Press report]

CSX TO WORK WITH VRE TO IMPROVE RELATIONS: CSX is working to improve passenger rail service for Virginia Railway Express and its riders. CSX has for the first time appointed a liaison to work with the commuter line. The short-term goal is to provide more information faster about delays on the VRE, said Jay Westbrook, a CSX assistant vice president who will spearhead the effort. Westbrook will report to a CSX executive in Jacksonville, Fla., but will spend most of his time in Washington and Richmond, working to improve train performance. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-23-06, from Associated Press report]

METRA EXTENDING TWO LINES: Chicago's Metra commuter rail system will open two service extensions and one service enhancement next week. On January 23, the Union Pacific-West line will be extended 10 miles west from Geneva to new stations at LaFox and Elburn. The Southwest Service will be extended 11 miles south from Orlando Park to Manhattan and additional service frequencies will be added on January 30. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 1-20-06]

CSX TO BUILD HUB IN WINTER HAVEN: CSX plans to build a hub for truck, rail and warehousing operations in Winter Haven, Florida, in a move local officials hope will spin off thousands of new jobs in the long term. The new center would be a place for rail cars and trucks to load and unload, and also would have warehouses for a variety of goods. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-19-06, from Orlando Sentinel website report by Kelly Griffith]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 4Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation has reported 2005 fourth quarter net income of $296-million or $1.10 per diluted share, compared to $79-million or $0.30 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2004. The 2004 results include the impact of a non-cash charge for unasserted asbestos claims of $154 million after-tax, or $0.58 per diluted share. Excluding the asbestos charge, 2005 fourth quarter diluted earnings per share increased by 25 percent. [Union Pacific, 1-19-06]

CSX REOPENING GULF COAST RAIL LINE TO LOCAL SERVICE: CSX Transportation announced Jan.18 that it is resuming local freight rail service on its Gulf Coast line, a vital transportation artery to New Orleans. Service through the entire area is expected to be restored beginning in early February. The largest engineering challenge was the nearly two-mile bridge at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. [CSX, 1-18-06]

U.P. TRESTLE IN ARIZONA BURNS; TRAINS REROUTED TO SALT LAKE CITY: Train traffic heading east from California was diverted north to Salt Lake City after fire destroyed a 780-foot trestle crossing a wash in southwest Arizona. The wooden bridge over the Fortuna Wash in Yuma went up in flames Sunday morning (Jan.15) and burned for much of the day after collapsing into the dry wash. [United Transportation Union, 1-17-06, from Associated Press report]

WET WEATHER, MUDSLIDES HINDER AMTRAK IN NORTHWEST: All rivers in Thurston County, Washington, dropped below flood stage Jan.16, but the wet weather continued to take a toll when a mudslide halted passenger Amtrak train service from Seattle to Portland. The slide occurred around 1 p.m. just northeast of Lacey, said a spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, which owns the tracks. [United Transportation Union, 1-17-06, from Olympian report]

R.J. CORMAN R.R. LEASES MEMPHIS-AREA LINE FROM BNSF: On Jan.15, R. J. Corman Railroad Co. began moving trains over more trackage in the Memphis, Tenn., area. The company's Tennessee Terminal short line recently leased 36.6 miles of industrial track from BNSF Railway Co. - R. J. Corman's first trackage deal with the company - to serve more shippers in and around the city as well as attract new customers in nearby Olive Branch, Miss. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 1-17-06]

N.J. TRANSIT DROPS PROPOSED PHOTO BAN: New Jersey Transit has given up on a proposal to restrict amateur photographers from taking pictures of trains. Transit officials said the proposed anti-terrorism measure, which would have required photographers to get an identification card and call railroad police 24 hours before taking photos, was not well-received by the public. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-15-06, from Associated Press report]

MEXICO TO OPEN BIDDING FOR BULLET TRAIN: Mexico is about to open bidding on a $12-billion, 180-mph 'Tren Bala,' or bullet train, the western hemisphere's first, that will run 360 miles between Mexico City and Guadalajara. There are also plans for a new cargo rail line that could cut 10 hours off the trip from the Pacific port of Manzanillo and Aguascalientes in central Mexico. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 1-13-06]

AMTRAK MOVES INTO RENOVATED RENO STATION: Amtrak has officially moved into the renovated former Southern Pacific station in Reno after completion of the Reno Trench Project and agreement with the city on a lease. The trench was open November 18, but a dispute with the city meant the California Zephyr did not stop in Reno for over month, during which Amtrak bussed Reno passengers to and from Sparks. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 1-13-06]

WASHINGTON METRO'S GENERAL MANAGER LEAVING POST: Richard White will resign as Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) general manager and chief executive officer, the authority has announced. White and WMATA's board reached an agreement under which he will continue to serve in his current position until an interim replacement assumes control over the authority's day-to-day operations. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 1-12-06]

TRIBE IN NEVADA ALLEGES IN LAWSUIT RAILROADS STOLE ITS LAND: An American Indian tribe is suing the Union Pacific Railroad and seven other landholders, claiming the companies stole land in vast stretches of the west in violation of an 1860s treaty with the U.S. government. MORE... [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-11-06, from Associated Press report]

AMTRAK TO REPLACE THAMES RIVER BRIDGE IN CONNECTICUT: Amtrak will spend $76-million to replace the 87-year-old Thames River Bridge between New London and Groton, Conn. The national intercity passenger railroad recently awarded a contract to Cianbro Corp. to complete the two-year project, which calls for replacing the bridge's bascule lift span. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 1-11-06]

CHICAGO'S UNION STATION REDEVELOPMENT IN TALKS: Amtrak said it is negotiating with a joint venture that includes real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. and its former chairman and chief executive, Stuart Scott, for a proposed redevelopment of Chicago's Union Station. The redevelopment plans are similar to a proposal by Chicago-based Prime Group Realty Trust, but that deal fell apart in 2002. The current, $250-million proposal calls for a conversion of the historic structure into a mix of offices, hotel rooms, condominiums and retail space. [United Transportation Union, 1-10-06, from Chicago Tribune report]

RAILROAD STRUGGLING TO KEEP UP WITH POWDER RIVER COAL DEMAND: Railroads are trying to keep up with the increasing demand for coal shipped out of Wyoming, an industry official says. As of Dec.24, Wyoming produced an estimated 399.2 million tons of coal last year, including about 385.5 million in the Powder River Basin of northeast Wyoming alone, according to the Energy Information Administration. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-9-06, from Associated Press report]

CSX RAILS ALONG GULF COAST MAY BE REPAIRED BY MARCH: Barring a deal to sell railway land to the state, Mississippi's Gulf Coast could have its CSX train system running by early March. The state plans to turn the land into an east-west connector road. If a deal goes through, it is unclear where, or if, CSX would relocate. [United Transportation Union, 1-9-06, from Associated Press article published by the Jackson Clarion Ledger]

PRESIDENT REAPPOINTS TWO TO AMTRAK BOARD: President Bush has renamed Floyd Hall and Enrique Sosa to Amtrak's board through recess appointments. In 2003, the president nominated the two men to the board, but their nominations weren't confirmed by Congress. Bush recess appointed Hall and Sosa to the Amtrak board in 2004 and their terms ended when the Senate adjourned at the end of its 2005 session. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 1-5-06]

VRE TRAIN DERAILS, INJURING FIVE: The engine and three cars of a train carrying 400 passengers derailed just north of Quantico in Prince William County, Va., early Jan.5 as the region was draped in fog, injuring five people. Virginia Railway Express train no. 304 jumped the tracks just before 7 a.m. Five people were taken to the hospital. [United Transportation Union, 1-5-06, from Washington Post report by Daniela Deane]

BOMBARDIER TO BUILD 73 TRAIN SETS FOR FRANCE: The French National Railways (SNCF) recently awarded a $343-million contract to Bombardier Transportation to supply 73 Autorail Grande Capacite (AGC) type trains. To be delivered between September 2007 and June 2010, the dual-mode/dual-voltage trains are designed to run on diesel fuel or electricity. In 2001, SNCF awarded a contract to Bombardier for 500 high-capacity AGC type trains for the French Regions. [ProgressiveRailroading.com, 1-4-06]

C.P. ANNOUNCES 2006 CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM: Canadian Pacific Railway is planning a 2006 capital investment program in the range of $810-million to $825-million. Principal expenditures will be $570-million to maintain and upgrade track and signal systems and build sidings; $160-million for locomotive acquisition, overhaul, and maintenance; $50-million for information technology; and $25-million for expanded intermodal and other freight facilities. [RailwayAge.com, 1-3-06]

CSX SUES PROGRESS ENERGY OVER SIGNAL PROBLEMS: CSX has filed suit against Progress Energy Inc., alleging some of the power company's equipment in Longwood, Florida, has caused railroad-signal problems for four years. The suit alleges the railroad signed a utility-easement contract with Progress Energy in 1994, agreeing to let the company put equipment on railroad property. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-3-06, from Orlando Sentinel website item]

TOWN RELOCATES JOHNNY CASH'S TRAIN DEPOT: The Amqui station along the Louisville & Nashville Railroad tracks in Madison was vacant and close to demolition when Johnny Cash bought it in 1979 and moved it a few miles northeast to his property in Hendersonville. After the singer's death in 2003, Halo Properties purchased the depot and is now donating it back to Madison, where community leaders want to use it as a museum and possibly as part of a planned commuter rail system for Nashville and its suburbs. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 1-2-06, from Associated Press report]

DM&E CLEARS REGULATORY HURDLE: The largest new railroad construction venture in more than 100 years cleared a regulatory hurdle Dec.30 when a federal agency reaffirmed its approval for the Dakota Minnesota and Eastern Railroad's coal train project. The Surface Transportation Board released its final supplemental environmental impact statement, requiring that the DM&E perform community liaison work to help affected towns establish quiet zones if those communities want them. [United Transportation Union, 1-1-06, from Associated Press report published by Helena Independent Record]