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CN COMPLETES MERGER OF TWO RAILROADS: Canadian National recently merged EJ&E Railway with its Wisconsin Central subsidiary in an effort to improve service and operations in Chicago through a combined labor force, said Jim Vena, a senior vice president at CN. The merger was a result of voluntary agreements with labor unions representing the railroads' employees, according to CN. [Valparaiso Times website report, 12-31-12]

COAL USE RISING AS GLOBAL ENERGY SOURCE: Global energy production still depends on coal as one source of electricity generation, with the U.S. being among the world's largest coal consumers, according to a Worldwatch Institute report. Coal use all over the world rose 5.4 pct in 2011, with almost half of overall coal consumption attributed to China. [FuelFix website report, 12-31-12]

ARKANSAS TO STUDY DEVELOPING A MODERN RAIL SYSTEM: The State of Arkansas says it will move forward on a study to develop a modern rail line between Texarkana, Little Rock, and Memphis. Planners will also perform a study to look at how to integrate the state’s plan into a national vision for high-speed rail.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 12-28-12]

MEXICO TO DEVELOP HIGH-SPEED RAIL ALONG YUCATAN PENINSULA: In an effort to spur economic development, the Mexican government has announced plans to develop high-speed rail along the Yucatan Peninsula. The route will run from Merida to Punta Venado, connecting some of Mexico’s most economically vital tourist regions, giving cruise-ship visitors easy access to important Mayan heritage sites.  Trains will be capable of reaching speeds of 100 to 110 MPH.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 12-28-12]

PUBLIC TRANSIT SAVES COMMUTERS MONEY, STUDY FINDS: The American Public Transportation Association’s December Transit Savings Report revealed that public transportation riders will save $806 per month on average, and $9,667 annually, as compared to those who commute by car.   [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 12-28-12]

EAST COAST LONGSHOREMEN’S STRIKE AVERTED: An expired contract for workers in the International Association of Longshoremen will be extended for another 30 days while negotiations continue. The longshoremen had been preparing for a possible strike Dec. 30 that would probably have affected operations at ports that handle about 40 percent of all U.S. container cargo. [Associated Press website report, 12-28-12]

FEDS GRANT $2.4-M FOR NEW RAILROAD BRIDGE IN LYCOMING COUNTY, PA.: The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded the county of Lycoming, Pennsylvania, a $2.4-million Rail Line Relocation grant to build a new bridge spanning the Loyalsock Creek in Loyalsock Township and Montoursville Borough. The existing Lycoming Valley Railroad  bridge was severely damaged by flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011. [Federal Railroad Administration, 12-28-12]

JUDGE DISMISSES LAWSUIT AGAINST HONOLULU RAIL: A U.S. District Judge in Hawaii has ruled that the city and county of Honolulu can proceed with Oahu's $5.2-billion elevated rapid rail project. In the ruling, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) may continue with construction on most of the projected 20-mile route. Construction is still blocked on Phase 4 of the route, which still requires approval from the Federal Transit Administration. [Railway Age website report, 12-28-12]

TENTH SOUNDER ROUND-TRIP TO BE ADDED: Sound Transit's board has approved a service plan that will add a tenth Sounder commuter-rail round-trip train between Seattle and Lakewood, Washington, starting in September 2013. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-28-12]

CIVIL WAR-ERA TRAIN TO RUN IN PENNSYLVANIA IN 2013: A replica of a Civil War-era train will serve as a rolling history museum when it opens in 2013. Steam Into History Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, will combine the history of the Northern Central Railway and the Civil War in York County, Pa., and is expected to be on track for the 150th anniversary of the Confederate invasion of York and the Battle of Gettysburg in 2013. [Steam into History website report]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported gains for weekly rail traffic for the week ending December 22, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 290,223 carloads, up .9 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 240,119 trailers and containers, up 10.2 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-27-12]

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY DIVESTS WHITE CITY TERMINAL UNION RWY: Berkshire Hathaway has divested the White City Terminal Union Railway as part of the company's acquisition in 2010 of BNSF Railway. [Railway Age website report, 12-27-12]

TWO APPOINTED TO VIA RAIL’S BOARD: Stephen Mallory and Hind Sergieh have been appointed VIA Rail Canada’s board for a three-year term. Mallory is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Directors Global, an enterprise risk management advisory firm and commercial insurance brokerage. Sergieh is founder and president of Groupe Sergieh, a market research and consulting firm that specializes in the Arabian Gulf region. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-27-12]

RAIL LOOP ENHANCES CLEVELAND PORT ACCESS: A $4.5-million rail loop at the Port of Cleveland enhanced the port's rail access to CSX and Norfolk Southern, which improves service for customers, said David Gutheil, the port's vice president of maritime logistics. "When you go to any port in the country, they have much better rail connectivity," Gutheil said. "We have now caught up." [Cleveland Plain Dealer website report, 12-27-12]

RAIL INDUSTRY GAINS FROM U.S. OIL GLUT: Rail is becoming a viable alternative for U.S. crude oil shipments as new pipelines encounter several issues, leading companies such as BNSF to invest heavily in their infrastructure. Railroads are expected to haul an estimated 200,000 oil carloads this year, which is up from 66,000 carloads in 2011, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Wall Street Journal website report, 12-27-12]

CSX INSTALLS B&O-STYLE SIGNAL AT BRUNSWICK, MD., YARD OFFICE: A B&O-style color-position-light signal is now in place at the west entrance to the CSX yard office in Brunswick, Md. The signal, exclusively displaying a stop indication, does not govern movement on any track, but it is intended to be seen by employees entering the building from the parking lot. It is on display as part of the ‘Operation Redblock’ program, and was installed during Thanksgiving week 2012. It may be spotted by passengers of Amtrak and MARC commuter trains using No. 2 track passing the yard office, about a quarter mile east of Maple avenue road crossing. [Bull Sheet Newswire report]

CHINA OPENS WORLD’S LONGEST HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: China has opened the world’s longest high-speed rail line that more than halves the time required to travel from the country’s capital to Guangzhou. The Dec. 26 opening of the 1,428 mile line was commemorated by the 9 a.m. departure of a train from Beijing for Guangzhou. Another train left Guangzhou for Beijing an hour later. [Washington Post website report, 12-26-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO EXPAND INTERMODAL SERVICE: Norfolk Southern plans on Jan. 20 to inaugurate domestic intermodal service at the Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility, and open the Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility in Greencastle, Pa.The new services are a major component of the railroad’s Crescent Corridor, a $2.5 billion, 2,500-mile intermodal route between major markets in the Northeast and Southeast. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-26-12]

PLANT TO BE BUILT IN ALBERTA TO SUPPLY LIQUIFIED NATURAL GAS TO LOCOMOTIVES: Encana and Ferus LNG plan to build a plant in Alberta to supply liquefied natural gas to locomotives as an alternate fuel. The plan follows a research project by Canadian National into natural gas as a viable fuel source. [Fuel Fix website report, 12-26-12]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA TRAIN COULD ACHIEVE $145-M IN ANNUAL SALES, COMPANY SAYS: All Aboard Florida hopes its proposed Orlando-to-Miami train could be the first successful, privately financed passenger-rail system. Part of this success could stem from the 200 miles of track it would use that is owned by Florida East Coast Railway, a sister company. All Aboard foresees an inaugural trip in 2015, and says it could generate about $145-million in fares per year by 2018.  [Orlando Sentinel website report, 12-25-12]

CONSTRUCTION OF BRIDGE OVER TRACKS IN DEVORE, CALIFORNIA, TO BEGIN IN SPRING: Construction of a $26-million bridge over railroad tracks in Devore, California, is expected to begin in the spring. The project calls for a bridge over the tracks and Cajon Creek and the widening of Glen Helen Parkway. [San Jose Mercury News website report, 12-25-12]

ACQUISITION BY AMERICAN RAILCAR FOR $22 PER SHARE ‘UNACCEPTABLE,’ GREENBRIER SAYS: The Greenbrier Cos. Inc. reaffirmed that American Railcar Industries Inc.'s (ARI) conditional proposal to acquire the company for $22 per share is "unacceptable and not in the company shareholders' best interests." Greenbrier board members believe a combination of Greenbrier and ARI could benefit both companies, but they can't "support a transaction that undervalues the company and the potential benefits to American Railcar or overvalues American Railcar," Greenbrier said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-12]

BOMBARDIER GETS $937-M GO TRANSIT MAINTENANCE CONTRACT: Bombardier Transportation announced Metrolinx/GO Transit has exercised options for 10 years of fleet maintenance services for commuter-rail service in the Toronto area. The contracts are valued at $937-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-12]

INDIANA R.R. NAMES MIKE ENGEL SENIOR V.P.: The Indiana Rail Road has promoted Mike Engel to the newly created position of senior vice president and chief financial officer. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-21-12]

AMTRAK NAMES NEW MARKETING, SALES HEAD: Matt Hardison has been named Amtrak’s Chief Marketing and Sales Officer (CMSO) following the retirement of Emmett Fremaux. [Railway Age website report, 12-21-12]

FLORIDA GIVES OK FOR MIAMI-ORLANDO RAIL PROJECT’S INLAND SEGMENT: The privately run and financed Miami to Orlando passenger rail project cleared an important hurdle when it received a green light from the state to operate an inland segment, allowing All Aboard Florida to move ahead in developing the corridor. The corridor will connect Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando, with no other stops. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 12-21-12]

RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA, BEING ELIMINATED AS COAST STARLIGHT STOP: The Coast Starlight will no longer stop at Richmond, California, effective with the new timetable (Jan. 14’s Los Angeles and Seattle departures). [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 12-21-12]

FRA TO ALLOW PAPERWORK REDUCTION: Three actions announced by the FRA are intended to eliminate out-of-date duplicative paperwork for smaller railroads, as well as for engineers seeking dual engineer and conductor certification. Among the changes proposed: Streamlining the process for certifying locomotive engineers. Implementation of electronic recordkeeping for smaller freight and commuter railroads. Those smaller railroads that do not shift to electronic recordkeeping will also be permitted to manage their reports internally rather than submitting every report to the FRA. [United Transportation Union, 12-21-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending December 15, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 292,640 carloads, down 3.9 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 251,985 trailers and containers, up 8 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-20-12]

FEDS GRANT $1.55-B FOR HONOLULU RAIL TRANSIT LINE: U.S. Dept. of Transportation will provide $1.55-billion to the city and county of Honolulu to build Hawaii's first-ever transit-rail system, a 20-mile, 21-station line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-20-12]

ALSTOM LANDS GERMAN ORDER FOR 20 CARADIA CONTINENTAL TRAINS: Alstom obtained a $132-million contract from ZGB, through its subsidiary RGB, for 20 Coradia Continental regional trains in Germany. The contract includes an option for an additional 13 trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-20-12]

UNION PACIFIC TO ADJUST TIMING AT MIDLAND GRADE CROSSING: Union Pacific said that it will adjust the timing at the train crossing in Midland, Texas, where a parade float crossed into the path of an oncoming freight train, killing four veterans. Twenty seconds of warning time is given at grade crossings, which is the industry standard. The railroad is expected to increase that time. [San Antonio Express News website report, 12-20-12]

CSX MAKES MANAGEMENT APPOINTMENTS: Gary Bethel, currently CSX vice president-Mechanical, has been named vice president-Northern Region, succeeding Craig King, who is retiring. Frank Lonegro, currently president of CSX Technology, will succeed Bethel as vice president-Mechanical. Kathleen Brandt, who currently leads the integration of the company's major operating departments and initiatives, will become president of CSX Technology. [CSX, 12-19-12]

BNSF ETHANOL TERMINAL IN BIRMINGHAM COMPLETED: Construction of an ethanol unit train terminal on the BNSF line in Birmingham has been completed. The new terminal has an annual throughput capacity of 300 million gallons. [Biofuels Digest website report, 12-19-12]

FEDS ACCEPT HIGH-SPEED RAIL PLAN THROUGH SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS: The Federal Railroad Administration has agreed that passenger and freight rail traffic through Springfield, Illinois, can be consolidated on the 10th Street rail corridor. The agency’s much-anticipated ‘record of decision’ provides final environmental approval and clears the way for the full build-out of the Chicago to St. Louis high-speed rail corridor, funding permitting. [State Journal-Register website report, 12-19-12]

METROLINK TO BUY TIER 4-COMPLIANT LOCOMOTIVES: Metrolink’s board has authorized the agency to acquire 10 Tier 4-compliant locomotives, with an option to purchase up to 10 additional locomotives, under a contract with Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-19-12]

MUDSLIDE DERAILS BNSF TRAIN NEAR EVERETT, WASHINGTON: A mudslide has derailed a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train just south of Everett. BNSF says the slide came off a 100-foot slope and struck the train at about 1:30 p.m. Dec. 17, in the same area where a slide covered the tracks earlier in the day. Seven cars were derailed. [KOMO News website report, 12-18-12]

AMERICAN RAILCAR INDUSTRIES OFFERS TO BUY GREENBRIER COS.: American Railcar Industries Inc has offered to buy rival railcar maker Greenbrier Cos Inc. for about $543-million. [Reuters website report, 12-18-12]

WISCONSIN & SOUTHERN GETS STATE GRANT FOR LINE REBUILDING: A freight rail line project of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad has received a grant of $17.1-million from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The line that would connect Plymouth and Kohler will cost a total of $19.1-million, and WSOR will shoulder the balance, along with other cities and companies. The line will span about 11 miles and will be completed in 2014. Sheboygan Press website report, 12-18-12]

RAILS SPENDING MILLIONS TO ACCOMMODATE FRAC SAND IN BARRON COUNTY, WISCONSIN.: Canadian National is spending $35-million to lay new track in Wisconsin to help Barron County ship out frac sand, and Progressive Rail is spending $5-million to enhance a currently unused track to do the same. "Barron County is in a very enviable spot right now," said Jeff Plale, the state's Commissioner of Railroads. "You have two lines that converge there and the potential for economic development there is huge." [Superior Telegram website report, 12-18-12]

AMTRAK NAMES DAVID NICHOLS CHIEF TRANSPORTATION OFFICER: Amtrak has named David Nichols chief transportation officer. Nichols joined Amtrak in 1979 as a block operator and most recently served as senior director of operating practices. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-17-12]

MBTA TO REINSTATE SUMMER RAIL SERVICE TO CAPE COD: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority trains will link Boston and Hyannis beginning Memorial Day weekend 2013, re-establishing seasonal passenger rail service to Cape Cod. The service, dubbed the CapeFLyer, will run through Labor Day. Trains will depart South Station Friday evening , and Saturday and Sunday mornings. Trains depart from Hyannis Saturday and Sunday evenings, with a possible Monday morning departure still being discussed. [Railway Age website report, 12-17-12]

TWO NEBRASKA COMMUNITIES ADDED TO U.P. TRAIN TOWN REGISTRY: Schuyler and Columbus, Nebraska, have each been awarded a membership in Union Pacific's Train Town USA Registry as part of the railroad's year-long 150th anniversary celebration. [Union Pacific, 12-17-12]

DEAL FINALIZED FOR MICHIGAN TO BUY 135 MILES OF N.S. RIGHT-OF-WAY: The Michigan Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration and Norfolk Southern Railway Co. have finalized a $140-million agreement for Michigan to acquire ownership of 135 miles of NS right-of-way in the state. [Railway Age website report, 12-14-12]

DOWNEASTER RIDERSHIP BETTER THAN PROJECTED: The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority reported that the new segment of Amtrak’s Downeaster service, in the first month of operation, carried almost twice as many passengers as initially projected. The segment east of Portland carried an average of 190 passengers a day. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 12-14-12]

ST. PAUL UNION DEPOT IS NOW OPEN FOR METRO SERVICE: The St. Paul Union Depot Multi-Modal Transit Center began Metro Transit service on Saturday, December 8, opening to the public for the first time in 40 years.  It will eventually be a hub for intercity passenger trains, light rail and buses. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 12-14-12]

JEFFERSON CITY ADDED TO U.P. TRAIN TOWN REGISTRY: Jefferson City, Missouri., has been awarded a membership in Union Pacific's Train Town USA Registry as part of the railroad's 150th anniversary celebration. [Union Pacific, 12-14-12]

AMTRAK TO REPLACE ITS ACELA EQUIPMENT: Amtrak will replace its entire fleet of train sets used on its Acela service in the Northeast U.S. after scrapping plans to buy more passenger cars. The railroad plans in early 2013 to issue a ‘request for information’ from companies that could supply the equipment.  [Bloomberg website report, 12-13-12]

NJ TRANSIT RESUMES FULL SERVICE ON RARITAN VALLEY LINE: Full service on New Jersey Transit’s Raritan Valley Line will resume Dec. 17. The line has been operating on a modified schedule since Hurricane Sandy severely damaged NJ Transit's infrastructure last month. The agency now is operating more than 99 percent of its pre-Sandy rail service into New York Penn Station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-13-12]

RAIL LINE IN OHIO TO BE REVIVED: Carload Express Inc. and Hannibal Real Estate L.L.C. have reached agreement to operate a 12.2-mile line in Monroe County, Ohio. Ohio Terminal Railway Co., a new wholly-owned Carload Express subsidiary, will operate the route - known as the Omal line - and interchange with Norfolk Southern. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-13-12]

ALASKA R.R. PROJECT MOVES AHEAD DUE TO FRA DECISION: Alaska Railroad's North Pole Road/Rail Crossing Reduction project in Alaska is moving on to the next planning stages after the Federal Railroad Administration evaluated the project's environmental assessment and found "no significant impact." The railroad continues to secure funding as the plan accelerates. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-13-12]

COURT RULES CONSTRUCTION OF BNSF INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN KANSAS MAY PROCEED: Construction can continue on BNSF's $250-million intermodal facility in Gardner, Kansas, after an appeals court upheld a ruling that said the facility could be built. The terminal will handle additional volume moving through the area, according to BNSF. [Journal of Commerce website report, 12-13-12]

KANSAS CITY STREETCAR GAINS APPROVAL: Eligible voters in a special assessment district have approved plans for a two-mile streetcar line to run through downtown Kansas City, Missouri. [Railway Age website report, 12-13-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported declines in weekly rail traffic for the week ending December 8, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 292,206 carloads, down 1.6 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 240,098 trailers and containers, down 0.3 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-13-12]

U.P. UNVEILS GENSET LOCOMOTIVE IN CHICAGO: Union Pacific Railroad has unveiled one of the seven ultra-low-emitting, environmentally friendly ‘Genset’ locomotives that are being used in a rail yard in the Chicago area. [Union Pacific, 12-12-12]

LONGEVITY OF R.R. RETIREES: The most recent data from the Railroad Retirement Board's Chief Actuary, using data through 2009, the study indicated that, on the average, a male railroader retiring at age 60 can be expected to live another 21.9 years. A retired female railroader at age 60 is expected on the average to live 25.1 years, 3.2 years longer than a retired male railroader of the same age. [Railroad Retirement Board, 12-12-12]

CARLISLE, IOWA, ADDED TO U.P. TRAIN TOWN REGISTRY: Carlisle, Iowa, has been awarded a membership in Union Pacific's Train Town USA Registry as part of the railroad's 150th anniversary celebration. [Union Pacific, 12-12-12]

BOMBARDIER GETS $170-M MAINTENANCE CONTRACT FOR SUPER VOYAGER FLEET IN U.K.: Bombardier Transportation has obtained a $170 million contract from Virgin Trains to continue maintaining its Super Voyager fleet that operates on the United Kingdom's West Coast mainline, extending an existing agreement to March 2016. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-11-12]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $90.7-M CONTRACT IN B.C. FOR SKYTRAIN CARS: Bombardier obtained a $90.7-million contract from the British Columbia government and TransLink to supply 28 SkyTrain cars for the new Evergreen Line, as well as the existing Expo and Millennium lines. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-11-12]

AMTRAK HAS RECORD THANKSGIVING PERIOD RIDERSHIP: Amtrak carried a record 737,537 passengers during Thanksgiving 2012, up 1.9 pct over the previous year and the prior record set in 2011. In addition, Nov. 21, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, was the single busiest day in the history of Amtrak with 140,691 passengers. Ticket revenues were a best ever $56.1-million, up 8.4 pct versus 2011. Ridership was up 0.8 pct on the long-distance services. [Amtrak, 12-11-12]

PAULSBORO SCHOOLS REOPEN AS DERAILMENT CLEANUP CONTINUES: Paulsboro, N.J., public schools are to reopen Dec. 11, more than a week after they were closed because of the Nov. 30 derailment of freight-train tank cars carrying toxic chemicals.  [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 12-11-12]

U.P. OPENS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CENTER IN TEXAS: Union Pacific has opened a new information technology center in Austin, Texas. The center will serve as a software development and engineering research and development office for Union Pacific's technology group. The center has the capacity to support more than 40 programmers and engineers and is equipped with a lab and an audio/visual training room. [Union Pacific, 12-11-12]

WEST-KERBY LIGHT-RAIL STATION OPENS IN CALGARY: The Downtown West-Kerby Station has opened in Calgary, Alberta, making the completion of the 7 Avenue light-rail transit corridor refurbishment project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-10-12]

MBTA NIXES POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL ON BOSTON’S GREEN LINE: Citing cost concerns, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has deferred any installation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on Boston's Green Line light rail transit operation, saying lower-cost alternatives are available. [Railway Age website report, 12-10-12]

RUPTURED TANK CAR IN PAULSBORO FREE OF CHEMICAL: The Coast Guard said Dec. 6 that it had removed all traces of vinyl chloride from a freight-train tank car that fell off a bridge and breached last Friday, Nov. 30, and that it had not detected the hazardous chemical in the atmosphere in Paulsboro since Tuesday afternoon. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 12-7-12]

BOMBARDIER FORMS JOINT-VENTURE COMPANY IN CHINA: Bombardier Transportation and Shanghai Shentong Metro Group Co., Ltd. have announced the formation of a joint venture company, Shentong Bombardier (Shanghai) Rail Transit Vehicle Maintenance Company Ltd. The joint venture will focus on the repair and maintenance of urban public transit vehicles in China [Railway Age website report, 12-7-12]

FEC ADDS 200 CONTAINERS TO ITS FLEET: Florida East Coast Railway recently acquired 200 new 53-foot containers to expand its domestic intermodal business. The containers replaced older trailers, providing customers with cleaner and more efficient equipment to move their goods, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-7-12]

ALSTOM LANDS ITALIAN ORDER FOR CORADIA MERIDIAN TRAINS: Alstom obtained a $570.6-million order from Italian railway operator Trenitalia to supply 70 new Coradia Meridian trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-7-12]

CP ENTERS EXPORT COAL BUSINESS THROUGH POWDER RIVER BASIN: Canadian Pacific is grabbing a share of the growing export coal business due to increasing shipments from the Powder River Basin in the U.S. to Canadian rail terminals, said CP President and CEO Hunter Harrison. [SNL Financial website report, 12-7-12]

NOV. 2012 RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT The Association of American Railroads reports U.S. rail monthly rail traffic continued to show mixed results in November, while weekly rail traffic for the week ending Dec. 1, 2012, was down. Intermodal traffic in November saw an increase for the 36th straight month, totaling 934,595 containers and trailers, up 1.2 pct. Carloads originated in November totaled 1,130,770 carloads, down 4 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-6-12]

CSX TOUTS BENEFITS OF NEW FACILITY IN MASSACHUSETTS: A $20-million project that turned an auto terminal into a bulk transfer facility in Westborough, Massachusetts, is expected to provide a score of benefits to the area, as well as to the state's freight transportation network, according to CSX. "The move benefits customers, who have access to a modern, centrally located facility," said CSX. [Worcester Business Journal website report, 12-6-12]

ALASKA RECOGNIZES IMPORTANCE OF $272.5-M RAIL PROJECT: A $272.5-million rail line project at Port MacKenzie, Alaska, will be beneficial for the state's economy, said Marc Van Dongen, the port's director. The project recently resumed with construction work as state lawmakers were informed about rail's advantages. [Alaska Journal website report, 12-6-12]

AMTRAK ASKS CONGRESS FOR EMERGENCY FLOOD-PROTECTION FUNDING: Amtrak has asked Congress for $336-million in emergency federal funding, including $276-million that would be used to help protect Penn Station New York and its tunnels against future flooding, and fund construction related to its Amtrak's proposed Gateway Program, which calls for a new pair of Hudson River rail tunnels connecting North Jersey and New York. [The Record website report, 12-6-12]

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PORT STRIKE ENDS: Officials with the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have hammered out a deal that puts an end to the eight-day strike. Details of the agreement are not available, but L.A. Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa said, "The employers are not going to outsource." [Reuters website report, 12-5-12]

INTERMODAL RAIL YARD TO BE BUILT FOR CHARLESTON, S.C., PORT: The South Carolina Department of Commerce, South Carolina Division of Public Railways and city of North Charleston have reached an agreement that will enable the state to offer dual rail access at the Port of Charleston through a new intermodal rail yard to be located at a former Charleston naval base. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-12]

JOINT VENTURE TO PRODUCE EVOLUTION-SERIES LOCOMOTIVES IN KAZAKHSTAN: GE Transportation, Transmashdiesel and JSC National Co. Kazakhstan Temir Zholy subsidiary JSC Remlokomotiv have agreed to form a joint venture to produce 400 Evolution Series diesel engines annually in Astana, Kazakhstan. The joint venture will serve rail, marine and stationary power customers in the Commonwealth of Independent States region. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-12]

INVENSYS TO SELL INVENSYS RAIL TO SIEMENS: Invensys announced late Dec. 4 it will sell Invensys Rail to Siemens AG for $2.8 billion. [Railway Age website report, 12-5-12]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY METRO CARS FOR RIO DE JANEIRO: Alstom has signed a $137.5-million contract with railway operator SuperVia in Rio de Janeiro to supply 80 Metropolis metro cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-12]

N.C. AWARDS CONTRACT FOR RAIL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT: North Carolina has awarded a $10.9-million contract to Fred Smith Co. for a rail improvement project in Durham and Wake counties. The project calls for realigning 3.8 miles of North Carolina Railroad and Norfolk Southern Railway tracks from north of Interstate 40 to McCrimmon Parkway, and building a railroad bridge over Hopson Road. In addition, two grade crossings will be closed. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-12]

MARYLAND MTA GETTING WELDED-RAIL TEMPERATURE SENSORS: ProTran Technology and QinetiQ North America have partnered to provide the Maryland Transit Administration with a real-time network of remote sensors for continuous-welded rail to monitor changes in rail temperature and to provide alerts of detected buckling and breaks. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-12]

CSX TO SERVE PLANNED GEORGIA PORT FACILITY: Direct service from CSX to a warehouse to be built at the Port of Savannah, Georgia, is expected to create about 20 jobs when rail operations begin in April 2013. "CSX is committed to working closely with customers to identify new opportunities, help locate facilities and provide reliable transportation solutions to better connect them to the global supply chain," said the company. [Savannah Morning News website report, 12-5-12]

CP’S CHANGE IN CULTURE, SERVICE TO BE GAME CHANGER: Changing Canadian Pacific's corporate culture is a key tactic to help the company become more efficient, said CP CEO Hunter Harrison. In addition to that, enhancing service and operations will be another focus. "We're going to do more with less. We're going to make those assets really sweat," said he. [Toronto Globe and Mail website report, 12-5-12]

VARIOUS FACTORS BLAMED IN N.J. DERAILMENT: The freight train derailment last week in Paulsboro, N.J., likely was the result of human mistakes (overriding a red stop signal), automation (replacing a human bridge operator with an electronic system), and old infrastructure (a bridge with parts dating to 1873), rail experts say. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 12-4-12]

RAILROADS PARTNER TO INCREASE U.S.-MEXICO TRADING: CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific are partnering to increase cross-border trading between the U.S. and Mexico. These partnerships are a strategic move to reach areas not usually served by the companies. [Reuters website report, 12-4-12]

NTSB ON SCENE OF N.J. TRAIN DERAILMENT: Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene of a Nov. 30 train derailment in New Jersey that resulted in the release of hazardous materials. Close to 50 homes were evacuated following the accident. In their initial review, federal investigators said that train crews had reported signal issues. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 12-3-12]

NJT GLADSTONE BRANCH RESUMES SERVICE: New Jersey Transit resumed morning service on its Gladstone Branch Dec. 3 five weeks after the line suffered extensive damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. [Railway Age website report, 12-3-12]

N.S. USING 1926 PULLMAN CAR AS TRAVELING EXHIBIT: Norfolk Southern celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with a tour of an exhibit car across 10 states and 15 cities. The exhibit car is a restored 1926 Pullman passenger car that was converted to a mobile museum in 1971. Over the course of the 41 years since its restoration, more than 1.5 million people have viewed the car.  [Tryon Daily Bulletin website report, 12-3-12]

KINGSBORO INDUSTRIAL SITES RECEIVE CSX SELECT-SITE DESIGNATION : CSX Corporation announced that the Kingsboro Industrial Sites in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, are the first recipients in the state to receive CSX Select Site designation. CSX's Select Sites program reviews manufacturing and distribution development sites along the CSX network that can rapidly utilize freight rail service.  This designation confirms that standard land use issues have been addressed and that the site is ready for development. [CSX, 12-3-12]

GENESEE & WYOMING TO SERVE NEW FRACKING HUB IN UTICA SHALE AREA: A Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary will build a one-mile rail siding and upgrade a three-mile storage track in Scio, Ohio. The move comes after GWI signed an agreement to service a $900-million natural gas liquids fractionation hub being built by Utica East Ohio Midstream in the Utica Shale area.  [Wall Street Journal website report, 12-3-12]

FEDS PROVIDE $1.6-M GRANT FOR TRACKWORK IN ALABAMA: The Federal Railroad Administration recently provided the city of Sylacauga, Alabama, a $1.6-million Rail Line Relocation Program grant to relocate Eastern Alabama and Norfolk Southern railway interchange tracks away from the downtown area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-3-12]

CP RAIL TO DEFER PLANS TO EXTEND RAIL NETWORK INTO POWDER RIVER BASIN: Canadian Pacific will defer indefinitely plans to extend its rail network into the Powder River Basin coal mines based on continued deterioration in the market for domestic thermal coal.  The company will take a fourth-quarter pre-tax non-cash write-down of approximately $180-million on its Powder River Basin option. [Railway Age website report, 12-3-12]

CALIFORNIA SEEKS PRIVATE FUNDING FOR BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: California is looking for as much as $55.1-billion in private funding for its $68.4-billion high-speed rail project, according to Gov. Jerry Brown's administration. The project is looking at sovereign wealth funds, endowments and pensions. [Bloomberg website report, 12-3-12]

VIA COMPLETES SERVICE PROJECTS BETWEEN OTTAWA AND QUEBEC CITY: VIA Rail has completed a number of important projects including additional frequencies and the introduction of a new service between Ottawa and Quebec City. New scheduling options in the Ottawa-Toronto-Quebec City line were added, the F40 locomotives were renovated, and additional safety features were implemented at railway crossings in the Quebec-Windsor Corridor. [Via Rail Canada, 12-3-12]

N.S. ORDERED TO PAY DISMISSED EMPLOYEE $288,700: Norfolk Southern Railway Co. has been ordered to pay a Savannah-based employee $288,700 for punishing him because he said he was hurt on the job. The federal government says the employee, whose name it withheld, was fired on trumped-up charges and pressured into admitting misconduct. [Savannah Morning News website report, 12-2-12]

AMTRAK ASSUMES CONTROL OF HUDSON LINE: Amtrak has assumed control of the Hudson Line from CSX effective December 1, 2012. The territory begins just north of Poughkeepsie and ends west of Schenectady at Hoffmans, where westbound Amtrak trains continue over CSX-controlled track. Amtrak control permits the beginning of significant infrastructure improvement projects funded by New York State. Such projects include: Installation of a 4th station track at Albany-Rensselaer Station; construction of a 2nd mainline track between Albany-Rensselaer and Schenectady; and design and installation of new signal system between Hoffmans and Poughkeepsie. [Amtrak, 12-1-12]

ALASKA R.R. RESTRICTS IDLING OF LOCOMOTIVES: Alaska Railroad has restricted the idling of its locomotives to reduce emissions and save on fuel consumption. The railroad's decision stemmed from its employees' proposal. "This is a perfect example of an employee-driven idea producing great results not only for the company but for our Railbelt neighbors as well," said ARRC President and CEO Chris Aadnesen. [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website report, 12-1-12]

RAIL BRIDGE IN N.J. COLLAPSES CAUSING CONRAIL TRAIN TO DERAIL: A rail bridge collapse over Mantua Creek in New Jersey Nov. 30 led to the derailment of a Conrail freight train and a chemical spill, exposing residents to vinyl chloride.  Local officials are saying the spill has had only a minor impact on human health and environmental quality. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-30-12]

EMD OPENS LOCOMOTIVE ASSEMBLY PLANT IN BRAZIL: Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) has opened a locomotive manufacturing plant in Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The facility is the company's first locomotive assembly plant to open in Brazil in more than 20 years. The company plans to produce the EMD SD70ACe locomotive, as well as other models, at the plant. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-30-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN IS LAUNCH-CUSTOMER TO GE’S RAILCONNECT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: Norfolk Southern Railway is serving as the launch customer for GE's RailConnect Transportation Management System and Movement Planner System, which are designed to use analytics to provide real-time access to critical information. The systems will help railroads move more freight faster and "more intelligently," GE said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-30-12]

METROLINX APPROVES MISSISSAGUA LIGHT-RAIL PLAN: Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area transport agency Metrolinx has signaled its official support for light-rail transit beyond the traditional Toronto market, approving plans for a 14.2-mile, $1.6-billion light rail line in Mississaguga, Ontario. [Railway Age website report, 11-30-12]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 15 METRO TRAINSETS IN BRAZIL: Alstom, as part of a consortium with CAF Brazil, has been chosen to supply 15 metro trainsets to Urban Trains of Porto Alegre Brazil, Trensurb. The contract is worth $103.8-million to Alstom. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-30-12]

AMTRAK FILLS TWO MANAGEMENT POSITIONS: Amtrak filled two key positions this week, announcing Nov. 26 that it has named Bruce Pohlot as the railroad’s new Chief Engineer, and Tom Quigley as General Manager of State-Supported Services. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-30-12]

RENOVATIONS TO PHILADELPHIA'S 30TH STREET STATION TO BEGIN: Amtrak announced that beginning Monday, Dec. 3, Philadelphia's 30th Street Station will be the subject of renovations, affecting access to the station from the 30th Street side (the west plaza). Renovations to the west plaza and parking deck will provide additional parking at the station, enhance security, and improve access and safety for pedestrians and vehicles.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-30-12]

RAIL-LOOP PROJECT ADVANCES IN WASHINGTON STATE: The BP Cherry Point Refinery in Washington hopes to build a $60-million rail loop to accept Bakken oil shipments and has submitted an application to officials in Whatcom County. BNSF has said it will double-track a spur that will be connected to the loop if the project is approved. [Bellingham Herald website report, 11-30-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COMPLETES UPGRADE TO LAMBERTS POINT COAL FACILITY: Norfolk Southern has completed a major upgrade to its Lamberts Point export coal transload facility in Norfolk, positioning it to remain the largest and fastest coal transload facility in the Northern Hemisphere. More commonly known simply as Pier 6, the facility transfers coal hauled by train from Appalachian coal fields to ships bound for world markets. [Norfolk Southern, 11-29-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending November 24, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 252,931 carloads, down 4.6 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 194,538 trailers and containers, up 1.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-29-12]

STEEL DYNAMICS PLANS NEW RAIL-MAKING SYSTEMS: Steel Dynamics Inc. plans to install a heat-treating system at its Columbia City, Indiana, Structural and Rail Division. When operational, the system will be capable of producing up to 350,000 tons of standard-strength and head-hardened plain, carbon steel rails for North America's railroad industry. Capital investments are estimated to be nearly $27-million. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-29-12]

SIEMENS TO ACQUIRE INVENSYS RAIL FOR $2.8-B: Siemens AG has entered into an agreement to acquire Invensys Rail for about $2.8-billion. The transaction, which is subject to Invensys shareholder approval and regulatory clearances, is projected to close in second-quarter 2013. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-29-12]

SHUSTER TAKES HELM ON HOUSE T&I COMMITTEE: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will be under the chairmanship of Representative Bill Shuster, R-Pa., beginning in January. [The Hill website report, 11-28-12]

NTSB INVESTIGATORS LEAVE SITE OF MIDLAND, TEXAS, TRAIN CRASH: The last of the federal officials investigating the tragic train crash into a veterans’ parade in Midland. Texas, left on Nov. 27, but they had yet to interview the driver of a truck that the veterans and their wives were riding on Nov. 15. [Odessa American website report, 11-28-12]

COURT REJECTS QUEST TO HALT ST. PAUL LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT: Construction of St. Paul's Central Corridor light rail line can continue, a federal judge has rule, turning aside protests from the St. Paul NAACP and the city's Rondo neighborhood in an effort to stop construction. [Railway Age website report, 11-28-12]

AMTRAK CHIEF SAYS COMPANY IS MAKING STRIDES: At a meeting of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Amtrak CEO and President Joseph Boardman said the strategic plan and organizational overhaul of the railroad is paying off. The agency recorded record ridership and revenue levels this year. "When we’re done, Amtrak will look more like a business and less like a government agency," Boardman said. "And customers will find that our system is easier to use, more convenient, timelier and more comfortable." [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review website report, 11-28-12]

HOBOKEN STATION TO REMAIN CLOSED FOR WEEKS, PATH SAYS: The $300-million of damage Hurricane Sandy inflicted on the PATH train system is the most extensive in the rail line’s history and will keep the Hoboken station closed “for weeks,” officials said. [Bergen Record website report, 11-27-12]

EAST RIVER TUNNELS TO BE FULLY RESTORED BY CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY, AMTRAK SAYS: Amtrak says it is committed to restoring full Long Island Rail Road service "by the Christmas holiday" with repairs to two storm-damaged East River tunnels. [Wall Street Journal website report, 11-27-12]

METRO-NORTH BEGINS PORT JERVIS LINE SIGNALIZATION PROJECT: MTA Metro-North Railroad has begun a $67-million project to install a new cab signal system on the Port Jervis Line. The project calls for replacing the existing 40-year-old wayside system, and renewing 10 interlocking and four grade crossings from Suffern to Port Jervis, N.Y., a distance of about 66 miles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-27-12]

U.P. HIKING SPEED ON RAIL LINE IN KANSAS: Union Pacific plans to increase train speed from 40 mph to 49 mph on nearly 22 miles of track between Wellington, Kansas, and the Kansas-Oklahoma border. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-27-12]

KCS RINGS OPENING BELL AT N.Y. STOCK EXCHANGE: Kansas City Southern rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 27 as part of marking its 125 years in the industry. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-27-12]

RAIL DEVELOPMENT IMPORTANT TO PORT IN WASHINGTON STATE: Rail infrastructure upgrades, including the West Vancouver Freight Access Terminal project, are crucial for further growth at the Port of Vancouver USA, Washington, which is served by BNSF and Union Pacific, said the port's director of economic development and facilities. [Supply Chain Management Review website report, 11-27-12]

MICA WITHDRAWS BID TO REMAIN CHAIR OF HOUSE T&I COMMITTEE: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-FL., has dropped his attempt to remain chairman of the committee and has endorsed Rep. Bill Shuster, R-PA, for the chairmanship. [The Hill website report, 11-27-12]

DOWNTOWN PATH SERVICE RESUMES: PATH rail service resumed Nov. 26 between downtown Manhattan and New Jersey points, including Exchange Place Station in Jersey City, following weeks of repair work following damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. [Railway Age website report, 11-26-12]

FOUR CITIES ADDED TO UNION PACIFIC’S TRAIN TOWN USA REGISTRY: Sacramento, California; Colfax, California; Nogales, Arizona; and San Luis Obispo, California, have been awarded membership in Union Pacific's Train Town USA Registry as part of the railroad's year-long 150th anniversary celebration. [Union Pacific, 11-26-12]

CSX TO SERVE AS KEY TRANSPORT MODE FOR CORN DISTRIBUTION: CSX will play a major role in Interstate Commodities' plan to transport corn imported from Brazil. More than 52,000 tons of corn recently arrived at Port Manatee in Palmetto, Florida. "We have the capability to load rail shipments from Port Manatee throughout the U.S. via CSX Transportation," said Cliff Arfman, Interstate Commodities' vice president-southeast. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-26-12]

TWO FIRMS PLAN BAKKEN OIL SHIPPING UNIT TRAIN FACILITY NEAR PHILADELPHIA: Enbridge and Canopy Prospecting's $68-million infrastructure plan includes the construction of a unit-train facility near Philadelphia to receive Bakken crude oil shipments. "Rail is the fastest way to provide increased export capacity out of the Bakken, creating a near-term solution to transportation bottlenecks and the resulting crude oil pricing differentials," said Stephen Wuori, president of the liquids pipelines division of Enbridge. [Wall Street Journal website report, 11-26-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN CONSERVANCY CONTRIBUTES TO GREAT DISMAL SWAMP RESTORATION EFFORT: Norfolk Southern Foundation is continuing its support of The Nature Conservancy and its restoration effort in the Dismal Swamp with a new $25,000 grant. The funds will help The Conservancy and partners install two water control systems and identify the most effective way to manage water flow in the swamp to reduce the threat of intense peat fires such as the ones that threatened the region in 2011 and 2008. [Norfolk Southern, 11-26-12]

UPTICK IN DEMAND SEEN FOR COLD TRAIN SERVICE: The launch of BNSF and Rail Logistics' Cold Train service in 2010 is proving successful as more shippers at the Port of Quincy, Washington, use it to transport farm products. The service benefits the region's agricultural business and helps keep full-time jobs, even in other states, said Pat Boss, a public affairs consultant to the port and Cold Train. [Produce News website report, 11-26-12]

BNSF BRINGS UNIT TRAIN OF CRUDE TO TACOMA: The recent arrival of petroleum shipments in Tacoma, Washington, via a BNSF unit train, and a new $8-million rail yard in the city, signal the beginning of crude-by-rail shipping in the area. Railroads are substituting for pipelines to ship crude oil from energy fields in states such as Montana, North Dakota and Texas. [Tacoma News Tribune website report, 11-25-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN LEASES LINE IN S.C. TO AIKEN RAIL: Norfolk Southern is helping Aiken Rail Company maintain rail service in South Carolina through a rail lease agreement. "The basis for us founding our company was to preserve rail service in areas where it was facing reduction or elimination," said Steven Hawkins, president of Western Carolina Railway Service, which owns ARC. [Aiken Standard website report, 11-25-12]

CP CONSIDERS HQ RELOCATION TO CUT COSTS: Canadian Pacific is thinking of moving some of its staff from CP's downtown Calgary, Alberta, headquarters to offices in a rail yard it owns in the city to save on operational costs. "We're streamlining a lot of the headquarters' processes," said CP CEO Hunter Harrison. [Toronto Globe and Mail website report, 11-23-12]

CN TO INVEST $3.1-M IN ILLINOIS DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS: The DuPage County, Illinois, Forest Preserve District has agreed to temporarily provide five acres of land to Canadian National railroad at Pratt’s Wayne Woods Forest Preserve, so the company can make railroad track improvements. In exchange, CN will provide the district $3.1-million in preserve facilities and land enhancements. [Arlington Heights Daily Herald website report, 11-23-12]

AMTRAK ADDS FASTER CHICAGO-ST.LOUIS SERVICE IN TIME FOR THANKSGIVING: Amtrak had a Thanksgiving present for its riders between Chicago and St. Louis - faster train schedules. The new timetables are the first to include 110 mile-an-hour travel between Dwight and Pontiac. [CBS Chicago website report, 11-22-12]

UNION PACIFIC HAD NOT BEEN INFORMED OF VETERANS’ PARADE: Union Pacific says no one informed the company in advance of the ‘Hunt for Heroes’ veteran’s parade in Midland, Texas, that its freight crashed into Nov. 15, according to company spokesperson Raquel Espinoza. Four military veterans died in the accident. [OA Online website report, 11-21-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending November 17, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 288,717 carloads, down 4.3 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 249,115 trailers and containers, up 2.4 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-21-12]

PRODUCTION VOLUMES TO INCREASE ON RUSSIAN NEW-GENERATION LOCOMOTIVES: Russian Railways, the Sinara Group and Siemens have agreed to increase production volumes of new-generation locomotives manufactured by Ural Locomotives L.L.C., a joint venture of Sinara and Siemens. Siemens also signed a cooperation agreement with the Federal Grid Co. for the joint development of modern facilities for mass producing high-voltage equipment. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-21-12]

NEW YORK’S 'A' TRAIN TO BE OUT OF SERVICE FOR SEVERAL MONTHS: Superstorm Sandy’s devastation means that the portion of New York City Transit’s A-Train subway line that connects Long Island’s Rockaway Peninsula with the mainland of Queens will remain out of service for the next several months. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-21-12]

STB APPROVES ‘ADVERSE ABANDONMENT’ OF STEWARTSTOWN R.R.: The Surface Transportation Board in Washington DC has just ruled in favor of an ‘adverse abandonment’ of the Stewartstown Railroad. This means that unless we raise $352,000 within the next month, the railroad will lose its common carrier status, be declared abandoned, and is subject to foreclosure and dismantling. A number of people are getting together to loan money to the railroad at little or no interest for several years to avoid this dire consequence. As of November 20, 2012, we are confirming commitments for $155,000. [Friends of the Stewartstown R.R., 11-20-12]

N.J. TRANSIT RESUMES SERVICE ON NORTH JERSEY COAST LINE: Service has resumed on the NJ Transit rail line that sustained the worst damage during Hurricane Sandy. Trains are rolling again on the North Jersey Coast line between Bay Head and New York City and Hoboken. [Newark Star-Ledger website report, 11-20-12]

SUMITOMO LANDS $352-M CONTRACT FOR 130 HIGHER-SPEED RAIL CARS: Sumitomo Corp. of America has been awarded a $352-million joint-procurement contract for 130 railcars destined for higher-speed rail (HrSR) use in the U.S. Midwest and in California. [Railway Age website report, 11-20-12]

VIA OPENS NEW STATION IN WINDSOR, ONTARIO: VIA Rail Canada Inc. has officially opened a new in Windsor, Ontario. The new station can accommodate up to 300 riders, is fully accessible to people with reduced mobility, and has improved lighting and Braille signage. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-20-12]

CP’S EXIT FROM MILWAUKEE LEADS TO BUSINESS GROWTH FOR CN: Canadian Pacific's decision not to pursue further business in Milwaukee and on its route from Detroit to Vancouver, B.C., is providing a boost for Canadian National's growth, said Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN chief marketing officer. "The thing that they've decided to do less of, we still do very well. So we've picked up some business that seems to be no longer attractive to them," he said. [Reuters website report, 11-20-12]

AMTRAK APPOINTS NEW CHIEF OF POLICE: Polly Hanson, a former Metro Transit Police chief, will take over Amtrak’s police force in December. Hanson will replace John O’Connor, who retired in June. [Washington Post website report, 11-19-12]

AMTRAK HARRISBURG-PITTSBURGH SERVICE COULD BE LOST, SUPPORTERS SAY: Members of the National Association of Railroad Passengers attended a rally in Altoona, Pa., Nov. 18. They say central Pennsylvania could lose Amtrak service west of Harrisburg if funding is not allocated in the state's transportation budget. [Altoona Mirror website report, 11-19-12]

CHICAGO TRANSIT AWARDS CONTRACT FOR RED LINE SOUTH PROJECT: The Chicago Transit Authority has awarded a $43.8-million contract for station improvement work related to the Red Line South reconstruction project. Scheduled to begin in spring 2013, the station work calls for renewing and improving eight stations along the project's footprint. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-19-12]

EXPANDED CONTAINER FACILITY IN SAVANNAH OPENED: The Georgia Ports Authority held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 16 to mark the opening of an expanded Mason Intermodal Container Transfer Facility at the Port of Savannah. Through a $6.5-million project, the authority extended a rail yard by 6,000 feet to expand capacity. The expansion will enable Norfolk Southern to cut round-trip turn times to Atlanta by six hours. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-19-12]

RAIL EMPLOYMENT RISES IN OCTOBER: Total Class I railroad employment reached 162,443 in October, 1.37 pct higher than in October 2011 and a gain of 0.74 pct over September 2012. The biggest numerical increase was in the number of train and engine crew employees. [Railway Age website report, 11-19-12]

SAN ANTONIO GETS $92-M FOR STREETCAR PROJECT: A funding plan tapping Texas state dollars in a fiscal swap will free $92-million for San Antonio's proposed streetcar, being advanced by VIA Metropolitan Transit. [Railway Age website report, 11-19-12]

CSX NATIONAL GATEWAY LAUDED FOR BENEFITS: The scheduled completion of CSX's $850 million National Gateway project in 2013 will bring benefits, including less road congestion and a quicker and less expensive transportation alternative, said John Spychalski, a professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and a faculty affiliate at the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute. [Youngstown Vindicator website report, 11-18-12]

RAILROADS OFFER CRUDE SHIPPERS FLEXIBILITY: Railroads are expected to play a larger role in the oil-transportation business in the wake of an expected surge in production due to a frenzy of drilling projects. "Railroads offer the shippers of crude flexibility you just can't get with a pipeline because you have the ability to divert to the exact destination you wish, where the market's the best," said Keith Schoonmaker, a Morningstar analyst. [Reuters website report, 11-18-12]

IOWA INTERSTATE R.R. WILLING TO HOST AMTRAK SERVICE: The Iowa Interstate Railroad remains willing to host new passenger rail service across Iowa if the state and Amtrak can reach an agreement to develop and fund it, Henry Posner III, the company chairman, said. [The Gazette website report, 11-18-12]

PARADE FLOAT ENTERED CROSSING AFTER WARNINGS, NTSB SAYS: A parade float that was hit by a train Nov. 15 in Texa killing fours did not obey the crossing warnings, according to an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. Instead, it entered the tracks after warning signals went off. [Los Angeles Times website report, 11-17-12]

TRAIN HITS SCHOOL BUS IN EGYPT KILLING 51: A train that crashed into a bus carrying children to their kindergarten on Nov. 17 killed 51, mostly children. The accident left behind a mangled shell of a bus twisted underneath the train outside the city of Assiut, some 200 miles south of Cairo. [Detroit Free Press website report, 11-17-12]

N.J. TRANSIT SAID TO PUT TRAIN EQUIPMENT IN HARM’S WAY IN ADVANCE OF STORM SANDY: New Jersey Transit's struggle to recover from Superstorm Sandy is being compounded by a pre-storm decision to park much of its equipment in two rail yards that forecasters predicted would flood, a move that resulted in damage to one-third of its locomotives and a quarter of its passenger cars. That damage is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars and take many months to repair, a Reuters examination has found. [Yahoo News website report, 11-17-12]

COURT DENIES INJUNCTION TO HALT WORK ON CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: Site surveys, geological testing and design work can continue for California's $68-billion high-speed rail project after a judge denied a request by a group of farmers for an injunction to halt work. The California High-Speed Rail Authority "acted reasonably and in good faith" in observing the state's environmental rules, said Timothy Frawley, Sacramento County superior court judge. The case will be heard in the spring, and construction is expected to start in July. [Google website report, 11-17-12]

RAIL PROJECTS A BOON TO CHIPPEWA FALLS, WISCONSIN: Progressive Rail invested $5-million to install two passing tracks north of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. "Progressive has put that investment in for improvements ... and it's a huge win for Chippewa businesses," said Charlie Walker, head of the Chippewa County Economic Development Corp. Canadian National also developed an intermodal facility in the area, and Walker said he believes the addition of the tracks and CN's facility will help bring more businesses. [Chippewa Herald website report, 11-17-12]

GEORGIA PORT EXPANSION ALLOWS N.S. TO CUT TRAVEL TIME: A $6.5-million rail yard expansion at the Georgia Ports Authority's Mason Intermodal Container Transfer Facility is expected to save Norfolk Southern six hours on its round trip to Atlanta. "These improvements allow Norfolk Southern to offer an efficient, competitive route to the large inland port just up the road - Atlanta," said Norfolk Southern. Savannah Morning News website report, 11-17-12]

FOUR DIE IN R.R. CROSSING ACCIDENT IN TEXAS: Four military veterans were killed and 16 were injured in Midland, Texas, the afternoon of Nov. 15, when a freight train struck a parade float at an event honoring them. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. [New York Times website report, 11-16-12]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT COMPLETION DEADLINE EXTENDED: A one-year extension has been added to the construction schedule for a $6-billion high-speed rail project in California's Central Valley. Completion of the project is now expected to occur by December 2017. [Los Angeles Times website report, 11-16-12]

MICHIGAN BEGINS TESTING OF NEWLY-REFURBISHED RAIL COMMUTER CARS: The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) initiated testing for six newly refurbished commuter rail cars in southeast Michigan on November 12.  The cars will eventually be used by the proposed Detroit-to-Ann Arbor and WALLY (between Washtenaw and Livingston counties) commuter rail services when operating funds are made available. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-16-12]

FEC BUYING PROPERTY IN W. PALM BEACH FOR TRAIN STATION: Florida East Coast Industries has negotiated a $2.5-million purchase in downtown West Palm Beach, establishing the future home of a train station for the Orlando to Miami passenger rail line. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-16-12]

AMTRAK ADDING FOUR CARS TO INITIAL RUN OF NORFOLK SERVICE DEC. 12: The opening day for Norfolk’s new Amtrak service has already proven such a success that the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and Amtrak announced they will add an additional four cars to the first revenue train Dec. 12, adding 280 more seats on the sold out train’s first day of service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-16-12]

BASEBALL TEAM CHANGES NAME TO RAILRIDERS: The name of the AAA baseball team in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa., has been changed from Yankees to RailRiders. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-16-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN DEDICATES RAIL WELDING FACILITY TO LATE ENGINEERING EXECUTIVE: Norfolk Southern named its rail welding facility in Atlanta after the late Hubert L. Rose, who retired from Norfolk Southern as senior assistant vice president maintenance of way and structures and planning in 1991, after a 43-year career with the company. Rose, who died in January 2012, headed the railroad’s maintenance of way group for 15 years. [Norfolk Southern, 11-16-12]

ILLINOIS HIGH-SPEED RAIL GETS ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVAL: Illinois and the federal government have approved an environmental impact statement for the high-speed rail line under construction between Chicago and St. Louis. [Bloomberg Businessweek website report, 11-16-12]

UNION PACIFIC HIKES DIVIDEND 15 PCT: Union Pacific Corporation’s Board of Directors has voted to increase the quarterly dividend on the company's common shares by 15 pct to 69 cents per share. [Union Pacific, 11-15-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending November 10, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 283,414 carloads, down 5.4 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 249,531 trailers and containers, up 1.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-15-12]

CP REACHES ACCORD WITH ELECTRICAL WORKERS: The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council 11 and Canadian Pacific said the parties have reached a tentative five-year labor agreement covering approximately 450 employees who maintain and install railway signals and communications systems across Canada. [Railway Age website report, 11-15-12]

FIRST FOUR METRA ‘HIGHLINER’ CARS ARRIVE: Chicago-based Metra on Nov. 14 touted the arrival of the first four double-deck ‘Highliner’ cars on the property, built by Nagoya, Japan-based Nippon Sharyo, in conjunction with Sumitomo Corp. of America. [Railway Age website report, 11-15-12]

CSX UNVEILS NEW TRANSFLO FACILITY IN MASSACHUSETTS: CSX recently marked the opening of a new $24-million TRANSFLO facility in Westborough, Massachusetts. The project is part of a deal between the railroad and state for freight rail development. [Westborough Voice website report, 11-14-12]

RAIL INDUSTRY REINFORCES COMMITMENT TO PTC: Following the National Transportation Safety Board’s inclusion of positive train control (PTC) as one of its ‘most wanted’ safety initiatives, the Association of American Railroads has reinforced the railroad industry’s commitment to implementing PTC, but recognized significant challenges remain to doing so. Implementation of PTC on the scale required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 has not been done anywhere in the world. So far railroads have spent more than $1.5-billion in private capital to try to implement the technology by the 2015 deadline. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-14-12]

CHARLOTTE AWARDS STREETCAR CONTRACT: The Charlotte, N.C., City Council has awarded a $26.3-million contract to Atlanta-based Balfour Beatty Rail Inc. and Charlotte-based Blythe Development Co. for the city's first streetcar line of 1.5 miles. The route will link the city's Presbyterian Hospital with the Time Warner Cable Arena and the Charlotte Transportation Center, the latter two served by the LYNX light rail transit (Blue Line). Construction is slated to begin next year, with revenue operation expected sometime in 2015. [Railway Age website report, 11-13-12]

CP’S IMPROVED SERVICE SEEN AS BOOSTING CN’S OPERATIONS: Canadian Pacific's improved service is partly due to Hunter Harrison's appointment as CEO, and the railroad's redevelopment is having a favorable impact on Canadian National's business, said Keith Creel, CN chief operating officer. "A strong competitor makes for strong competition; makes for two stronger railways," said Creel. [Financial Post website report, 11-13-12]

OHIO APPROVES TWO GRADE CROSSING PROJECTS: The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has  approved construction authorization at two grade crossings in Lucas and Mercer counties. Norfolk Southern will install a cantilever at the Holland-Sylvania road grade crossing in Toledo, and RJ Corman Railroad-Western will install mast-mounted flashing, cantilevered lights and gates at the Market Street grade in crossing Celina. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-13-12]

SHIPMENTS VIA ‘COLD TRAIN’ SERVICE ON THE INCREASE: Shipments of refrigerated products through the Cold Train service showed a significant rise in 2011. For instance, Washington state apple shippers are increasingly using Cold Train due to its quick, economical and cost-efficient service, said Charles Pomianek, Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association manager. [Capital Express Agriculture website report, 11-13-12]

U.P. COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN KANSAS: Cleanup is under way after a Union Pacific train derailed Nov. 12 in Grantville, Kansas, a few miles northeast of Topeka, sending a piece of flying debris through the window of a child’s bedroom. Twenty-nine coal-filled cars derailed from the train, which was headed from Wyoming to Illinois. About 160 feet of track will need to be replaced. [Topeka Capital-Journal website report, 11-12-12]

NEBRASKA CENTRAL OPENS NEW SIX-SPAN BRIDGE: Nebraska Central Railroad has opened a new steel beam-span, 209-foot-long rail bridge in Norfolk, Nebraska, that replaces a through-truss style, 98-foot-long bridge built in 1889. The new six-span bridge features increased capacity to accommodate 286,000-pound rail cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-12-12]

MIAMI-DADE TRANSIT TO REPLACE RAIL-CAR FLEET: Miami-Dade County commissioners authorized Miami-Dade Transit to contract with AnsaldoBreda to replace Metrorail's aging rail-car fleet. The $313.8-million contract will cover 136 new rail cars, with the first six slated for delivery in 2015 and the last six scheduled for 2017. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-12-12]

PENNSYLVANIA GRANTS $3.5-M TOWARD REPLACEMENT OF LOYALSOCK CREEK BRIDGE: The Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission has granted $3.5-million to the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority to replace a rail bridge over Loyalsock Creek that was destroyed by flooding in 2011. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-12-12]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL CALLED ‘PROJECT OF THE CENTURY’: The 141-mile Bakersfield-to-Los Angeles section of California's $68-billion, high-speed rail project presents a monumental engineering challenge, as the rail will need to pass through the Tehachapi Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains and more than six earthquake faults. Football-field-long boring machines will need to be maneuvered into the mountain canyons to create access roads, viaducts and tunnels. "It is the project of the century," said Bill Ibbs, professor of civil engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. [Los Angeles Times website report, 11-12-12]

PHOENIX CHILDREN TREATED TO BNSF TRAIN RIDE: BNSF recently hosted more than 500 children and adults from local organizations for the 13th annual Phoenix Children's Train from Glendale to Wickenburg, Arizona. Children from the Phoenix Children's Hospital, Arizona Burn Center and Rise Family Services participated. The special train consisted of two BNSF locomotives and nine passenger cars. [BNSF News, 11-12-12]

RAILROADS AMONG FIRST TO BOUNCED BACK IN AFTERMATH OF STORM: CSX and Norfolk Southern were among the first companies to rebound quickly after Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in the U.S. supply chain, according to industry experts. The freight and logistics industry's swift recovery is expected to help revive the Northeast region's economy. Railroads were credited for diverting shipments from damaged areas and finding alternative delivery options. [Reuters website report, 11-11-12]

L.A. COMMISSION APPROVES CONTRACT FOR RAIL PROJECT: A $55.7-million construction deal for the South Wilmington Grade Separation project at the Port of Los Angeles has received approval from the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners. The job is part of a $365-million project to upgrade the TraPac facility at the port, which is serviced by BNSF, Pacific Harbor Line and Union Pacific. [Logistics Management website report, 11-10-12]

DOUG VARN NAMED AMTRAK’S GENERAL MANAGER LONG DISTANCE SERVICES: Amtrak has named Doug Varn to the newly created position of General Manager of Long Distance Services. His office will be based in Chicago.  He will oversee safety, customer satisfaction, ridership, on-time performance, and financial results for the 15 long distance routes that stretch across an 18,500-mile network, serving 39 states and the District of Columbia.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-9-12]

AMTRAK ROLLS OUT ‘TRAIN OF HOPE’ TO HELP STORM RELIEF EFFORTS: Amtrak is helping victims of Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey to recover with its "Train of Hope" program, which involves the delivery of relief aid from Slidell, La. "Amtrak is looking for more ways to help the recovery and when presented with this idea we said 'yes' and found a way to make it work," said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. [Examiner website report, 11-9-12]

EISENHOWER LOCOMOTIVE RETURNS TO YORKSHIRE FOR MAKEOVER: An A4 locomotive that has been in the US for 50 years has returned to Yorkshire for a makeover. Dwight D Eisenhower was built in Doncaster in 1937 and shipped to North America in the 1960s. The locomotive is on loan for two years from the National Railroad Museum in Wisconsin.  [BBC website report, 11-8-12]

OCTOBER RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads today reports U.S. rail traffic continues to show mixed results in monthly rail data. Intermodal traffic in October saw an increase for the 35th straight month, totaling 1,233,475 containers and trailers, up 1.5 pct compared with October of 2011. Carloads originated in October totaled 1,422,654 carloads, down 6.1 pct compared with the same month last year. Carloads excluding coal were up 1.9 pct for the month. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-8-12]

CSX RAIL TERMINAL IN FLORIDA TO BOOST ECONOMY: Construction of CSX's proposed rail terminal in Winter Haven, Florida, is expected to generate 800 jobs, according to Evansville Western Railway officials. CSX is scheduled to conduct a ground-breaking ceremony for the project Nov. 8. [Lakeland Ledger website report, 11-7-12]

BOMBARDIER REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Bombardier Inc. reported that third-quarter net income rose to $212-million or 12 cents per diluted share, from $192-million or 11 cents per diluted share in the same period a year ago. Revenue slipped to $4.3-billion from $4.6-billion last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-7-12]

IOWA INTERSTATE OPENS LOCOMOTIVE MAINTENANCE SHOP: Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. (IAIS) has opened a new locomotive maintenance shop and crew change center near South Amana, Iowa. The new facility encompasses 30,000 square feet and includes overhead cranes, fall protection, and underground walkways. [Railway Age website report, 11-7-12]

U.P. TO IMPROVE RAIL LINE IN COLORADO: Union Pacific Railroad is enhancing Colorado's transportation infrastructure by investing $7.5-million in the rail line that runs between the Colorado/Kansas border and Deer Trail. The project includes replacing rail in various locations on the main line, renewing the surfaces at 22 road crossings and replacing five switches. [Union Pacific, 11-7-12]

ARLINGTON, VA., VOTERS APPROVE TRANSPORTATION BOND: Arlington, Va., voters Nov. 6 approved a $31.9-million transportation bond by a four-to-one margin, making $14.6-million available for improvements to the WMATA Metrorail. Upgrades in WMATA's Virginia stations would include larger platforms to accommodate 8-car trains. [Railway Age website report, 11-7-12]

MAN GETS JAIL TIME FOR AMTRAK BOMB THREAT: Michael Jerome Dennis, 27, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for making bomb threats that delayed more than 1,000 Amtrak passengers. He admitted that he called Amtrak’s national communications center in November 2011 and January 2012 to report that a bomb had been placed on the Amtrak bridge over New York Ave NE. [Washington Post website report, 11-7-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PAINTS LOCOMOTIVE TO HONOR MILITARY VETERANS:: Norfolk Southern is placing a one-of-a-kind ‘Veterans Locomotive’ into freight service on its system to honor people who have served in the military and reserves, especially those employed by the railroad. No. 6920 is an SD60E model that will operate primarily in general freight service. Its red, white, and blue paint scheme, and yellow ribbon with the message ‘Honoring our Veterans,’ was selected by a group of 18 NS employees representing all branches of the armed forces. [Norfolk Southern, 11-6-12]

PATH RESUMES LIMITED SERVICE:: Limited PATH train service resumed for the first time in more than a week as subways, buses and trains kept rolling a day after overcrowding and delays created a chaotic morning commute for thousands streaming into the city. [NBC New York website report, 11-6-12]

N.J. TRANSIT HAS NUMEROUS RAIL CARS, ENGINES DAMAGED BY STORM: On top of having to fix damaged tracks and an operations center ruined by floodwaters, New Jersey Transit’s biggest obstacle to restoring full service for 276,000 daily rail commuters may be finding cars and engines. The Newark-based agency had 257 rail cars and 65 engines -- 23 percent and 35 percent of its totals, respectively -- damaged or ruined by Atlantic storm Sandy. The agency hasn’t determined how many, if any, can be repaired. [Bloomberg News website report, 11-5-12]

SOME NORMALCY RETURNS AFTER HURRICANE: CSX and Norfolk Southern report that service has been restored after Hurricane Sandy. Amtrak's Acela Express and service along the Northeast Corridor resume today with reduced frequencies. However, marine terminals at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are still closed, and it could take months for commuter train service in New Jersey and New York to return to normal. [AAR SmartBrief, 11-5-12]

BNSF RECEIVES TEXAS VETERANS COMMISSION HONORS: BNSF recently received the 2012 National Employer of the Year Award from the Texas Veterans Commission for the company's support of military veterans. [BNSF News, 11-5-12]

VIRGINIA PORT HANDLING CARGO DIVERTED FROM N.Y.: On Nov. 1, the Port of Virginia began receiving cargo diverted from the Port of New York and New Jersey because of damage by Hurricane Sandy. In the short term, several thousand additional containers are expected be off-loaded at the Norfolk port's terminals per week, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-5-12]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON L.A.-AREA RAILROAD TRENCH: On Nov. 1, officials attended a ceremony to mark the start of construction on a 1.4-mile railroad trench in San Gabriel, California. To be completed in 2017, the 30-foot-deep, 65-foot-wide trench will grade separate Amtrak and Union Pacific trains from vehicles at four crossings. Street bridges will be built spanning the trench. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-5-12]

RAILAMERICA REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: RailAmerica reported third-quarter 2012 net income of $5.9-million or $0.12 per diluted share. This compares to net income of $9.1-million, or $0.17 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2011. On October 1, 2012, RailAmerica, Inc. was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and deregistered its common stock and delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. [RailAmerica, 11-5-12]

BNSF DERAILMENT IN IOWA FORCES EVACUATION:: Evacuations forced by the derailment of 22 rail cars in far northwest Iowa has ended, a county official said. Twenty-two cars on a BNSF Railway train of 100 cars derailed Nov. 4, including one that spilled liquefied petroleum gas. Fears of a resulting explosion or fire prompted evacuations within a mile of the site two miles south of Lester. No injuries were reported. [Houston Chronicle website report, 11-5-12]

RAIL TANK CAR UNLOADING TERMINAL TO BE BUILT IN ALABAMA: Arc Terminals LP said it is working with Canadian National Railway to build a rail tank-car unloading terminal in Mobile, Alabama, for Canadian oil shipments destined for Gulf Coast refineries. [Reuters Canada website report, 11-5-12]

TACOMA, WASHINGTON, SHORT LINE ENJOYS THRIVING BUSINESS: Tacoma Rail's operations in Tacoma, Washington, continue to grow and it plans to hire more people, indicating the short line's flourishing business despite the recession. "We had our best month ever in July. Then August was even better," said Tacoma Rail Superintendent Dale King. "September didn't exceed August, but it was our best September ever. October is shaping up to be another record-setter." [Tacoma News Tribune website report, 11-4-12]

RAILS EXPAND MARKET PRESENCE IN CRUDE SHIPPING: Railroads are gaining an increased market share in crude oil transportation with pipeline expansion still remaining sluggish. U.S. petroleum shipments amount to about 340,000 barrels per day this year, compared with only 11,000 barrels per day in 2007, according to the Association of American Railroads. "Over time they are not going to have a pipeline going to every segment of the Bakken. So we believe there is always going to be opportunity for rail as long as there is production in the Bakken," said BNSF. [Reuters website report, 11-4-12]

N.Y./N.J. RAIL SYSTEMS CONTINUE STATE OF EMERGENCY: New York and New Jersey rail transit remains in a state of emergency while crews work at a non-stop pace to repair damage and restore service. New Jersey Transit's River Line resumed service on Oct. 31. However, rail service on the North Jersey Coast Line, Raritan Valley Line and the Main Line remains suspended. Also out of service is the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and Newark Light Rail service, which both experienced washouts, debris damage, flooding and wire damage. [Railway Age website report, 11-2-12]

ALSTOM LANDS $220-M CONTRACTS WITH MBTA: Alstom Transport has obtained two fleet modernization contracts worth a combined $220-million from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The first covers full modernization of 86 articulated light-rail vehicles operating on MBTA's Green Line. The second involves refitting 74 bi-level commuter-rail cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-2-12]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: FreightCar America Inc. reported third-quarter net income of $4.8-million or 40 cents per diluted share, compared with a third-quarter 2011 net loss of $2.4-million or 20 cents per share. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-2-12]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION BIDS: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has delayed the deadline to submit bids for designing and building the first 28-mile section of the statewide high-speed rail line.  The original deadline was scheduled for Nov. 2, and it has now been delayed until January 18, 2013. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-2-12]

PETITION TO PUT CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT ON BALLOT FAILS: California’s Secretary of State's Office has announced that a petition drive to put the high speed rail project before voters did not gather enough signatures to get on next year’s ballot.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-2-12]

SOME N.Y. SUBWAYS RETURN TO SERVICE: New Yorkers began lining up at subway stops by 5 a.m. Nov. 1, an hour before the trains were to resume limited service. The decision to reopen undamaged parts of the transit system came as the region struggled to find its way back from a storm that killed more than 70 people and left more than 5 million without power. [CBS News website report, 11-1-12]

N.J. TRANSIT SUFFERS SEVERE DAMAGE FROM STORM:: NJ Transit engineers and officials are still inspecting about 500 miles of track. Some of the worst damage to NJ Transit tracks was on the North Jersey Coast Line, where two cargo containers and several boats were pushed onto tracks on top of a drawbridge in South Amboy. [The Republic website report, 11-1-12]

CSX LIFTS MOST EMBARGOES FOLLOWING STORM: CSX has lifted embargoes on traffic to all locations except intermodal shipments to the Elizabeth Marine Terminal, Port Newark Container Terminal and New York Container Terminal, and automobile shipments to Doremus, N.J. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-1-12]

BNSF NAMES COLUMBUS & GREENVILLE RWY SHORT LINE OF THE YEAR:: The Columbus & Greenville Railway (CAGY), was recently named Short Line of the Year at BNSF Railway’s annual Shortline Conference held in October in Irving, Texas. [BNSF, 11-1-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending October 27, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 287,104 carloads, down 7 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 253,186 trailers and containers, up 3.9 percent compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-1-12]

UNION PACIFIC UPGRADING TRACK IN ILLINOIS:: Union Pacific Railroad is enhancing Illinois' transportation infrastructure by investing $5.4-million in the rail line that runs between North Lake and Northbrook. The project includes replacing 32,600 ties, spreading 15,000 tons of ballast and renewing the surfaces at 18 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 11-1-12]

CSX LAYS OFF 33 WORKERS FROM DIESEL TERMINAL IN OHIO: CSX is cutting 33 jobs from its light diesel locomotive repair shop in Collinwood, Ohio, in response to what it calls "reduced volume of train traffic in certain lines of business." [Cleveland Plain Dealer website report, 11-1-12]

DERAILMENT INVESTIGATION CONTINUES IN KENTUCKY: Investigators are planning to continue pressing for why 13 of 57 cars derailed near West Point, Kentucky, and the circumstances that caused an acetylene torch to ignite an explosion and fire Oct. 31 that seriously injured three workers. As of Nov. 1 evening, the fire was still burning inside a tank car that carried flammable butadiene, long after officials had expected it to burn out. The fire was under control and “the scene had stabilized,” said the Louisville Emergency Management Agency. [Courier-Journal website report, 11-1-12]

STEVE BOBB PROMOTED BY BNSF:: Steve Bobb has been named executive vice president and chief marketing officer of BNSF, with responsibility for BNSF's sales, marketing, customer service, economic development, and business unit activities. He succeeds John Lanigan who retires Jan. 15, 2013. Steve Branscum has been named group vice president, Coal Business Group, succeeding Steve Bobb. [BNSF, 11-1-12]

STORM DEVASTATES N.Y./N.J. RAIL SYSTEMS: Hurricane Sandy, the worst storm of its type to hit the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area in generations, had a devastating impact upon the region’s passenger rail systems. Literally millions of people who depend upon commuter/regional, rapid transit, light rail, and intercity trains every day have been left without service following extensive damage. Service will be unavailable for at least a week on most lines. The New York City subway system sustained the worst damage ever in its 108-year history. Service remains suspended on all lines, as cleanup and water remediation efforts continue, especially in underwater tunnels linking Brooklyn and Manhattan that were flooded. [Railway Age website report, 10-31-12]

ENGINEERS EXPLORE IMPROVEMENT TO CONCRETE R.R. TIES: Kyle Riding, an assistant professor of civil engineering at Kansas State University, has won a grant of more than $1.2-million from the Federal Railroad Association. Riding, working with Canadian National and others, is looking at how to make concrete rail ties more resistant to freezing and thawing. "This is a good way to take fundamental science and apply it to a real-world application that will affect our transportation infrastructure and our communities," Riding said. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-30-12]

MINNESOTA PAYS TRIBUTE TO BNSF: Minnesota is recognizing the importance of the rail industry as it commemorates the first train that ran in the state 150 years ago. BNSF was part of the celebration in St. Paul, which is an integral part of the railroad's Great Northern Corridor. "That historic day 150 years ago changed the course of this state, and BNSF is proud to continue that heritage," said Andrew Johnsen, BNSF assistant vice president. [WDIO-TV website report, 10-30-12]

FEDS OK BNSF ACQUISITION OF NEBRASKA NORTHEASTERN RWY: BNSF has been given approval by the Surface Transportation Board to acquire the Nebraska Northeastern Railway, a 120-mile short line in Nebraska. The line serves three large ethanol facilities. [Omaha World Herald website report, 10-27-12]

NEW ORLEANS SEES REVIVAL OF HISTORIC STREETCARS: New Orleans, once crisscrossed by sprawling streetcar lines, is embracing anew the rumbling reminder of the city's storied and elegant past by restoring old lines and seeking to build new ones. In January 2013, a mile-long streetcar line connecting the tourist area of the French Quarter to the city's Amtrak terminal is scheduled to open. [Chicago Tribune website report, 10-27-12]

HIGH-END SLEEPING CAR SERVICE PROPOSED FROM N.Y. CITY TO LAKE PLACID: Iowa Pacific Holdings and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad have reached a Memorandum of Understanding that both hope will result in a high-end sleeping car train service between New York City and Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountain Preserve. The 135-mile ASRR line goes from Utica, NY (where it connects with Amtrak trains) north and east to Lake Placid (though a central section is currently out of service). Iowa Pacific has a fleet of over 70 historic sleeping, dining and observation cars from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s that are in various states of repair. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 10-26-12]

TURKISH STATE RAILWAY TO JOIN EURAIL PASS PROGRAM: The Turkish state railway TCDD has announced that it will become part of the Eurail pass program, adding it to the list of 24 European countries connected by the Eurail Global service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 10-26-12]

NEW CAR SHOP UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN MAUMEE, OHIO: The Andersons Inc. announced the start of construction on a 27,300 square-foot railcar paint and blast shop adjacent to its repair facility in Maumee, Ohio. The facility is to be completed in the spring 2013. [Railway Age website report, 10-25-12]

PACER ENTERS PACT WITH UNION PACIFIC FOR INTERMODAL SERVICES: Pacer International Inc. has entered into a multi-year agreement with Union Pacific Railroad to arrange, manage and provide intermodal freight transportation services for automotive parts and other shipments between the United States, Mexico and Canada. Pacer also will serve as UP's network logistics manager for cross-border shipments and provide rail container and chassis management services for UP in Mexico. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-25-12]

SALT LAKE CITY AIRPORT TRAX LIGHT-RAIL LINE TO OPEN IN APRIL: The Utah Transit Authority has announced the new TRAX light-rail line connecting downtown Salt Lake City to the Salt Lake International Airport will open on April 14, 2013. Construction of the the six-mile line is nearing completion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-25-12]

TWO NAMED TO KEY POSTS AT NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Norfolk Southern Corp. announced that Timothy J. Drake, vice president engineering, is retiring Oct. 31. Michael J. Wheeler, formerly vice president transportation, has been named vice president engineering to succeed Drake, and Terry N. Evans, formerly vice president process engineering, will follow Wheeler as vice president transportation. [Norfolk Southern, 10-25-12]

ALSTROM LANDS TWO ORDERS FROM CHILE’S RAILWAY: Alstom has obtained two orders from Empresa de Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE), Chile's state-owned railway company. The first, valued at $44-million, is for the supply of 12 Xtrapolis regional trains; the second, valued at $12.9-million, is a five-year maintenance contract, renewable for up to 30 years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-25-12]

FREIGHT RAIL, PORTS IN N.J. TO BENEFIT FROM STIMULUS FUNDS: A collaboration among the South Jersey Port Corporation, Conrail and New Jersey's Salem County has netted them $117-million that qualified them for $18.5-million in federal stimulus funds. The money will be used to enhance freight rail and port infrastructure in New Jersey. Work will include adding ship-side rail capacity, upgrading a 42-mile line that connects to national freight rail lines, and adding a two-mile connection to new docks under construction. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-25-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending October 20, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 288,791 carloads, down 4.4 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 253,883 trailers and containers, up 3.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-25-12]

INLAND LOGISTICS PORT RECEIVES CSX SELECT SITE DESIGNATION: CSX Corporation has announced that the INland Logistics Port in Kingsbury is Indiana's first location to receive CSX's Select Site designation. CSX's Select Sites program reviews manufacturing and distribution development sites along the CSX network that can rapidly utilize freight rail service based on their topography, rail and road layouts and other significant characteristics. [CSX, 10-24-12]

FUNDING TO PROVIDE FOR 42-MILE RAIL PROJECT IN N.J.: Funding from federal, local and private sectors will allow New Jersey to work on a $117-million project for a 42-mile freight rail line in the southern part of the state. The project is expected to generate 5,200 jobs, according to officials. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 10-24-12]

BUCKEYE-WOODHILL TRANSIT STATION OPENED IN CLEVELAND: The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Oct. 23 officially opened the redesigned Buckeye-Woodhill Station serving the Blue and Green rail lines. Construction on the $3.3-million project began in June 2011. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-24-12]

CP RAIL REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway Limited announced its third-quarter 2012 results with reported net income of $224-million, an increase of 20 pct, and diluted earnings per share of $1.30, an increase of 18 pct, when compared to third-quarter 2011.  [Canadian Pacific, 10-24-12]

ANAHEIM CITY COUNCIL OK’S STREETCAR PROPOSAL: The Anaheim City Council has advanced a 3.2-mile streetcar plan that would run mostly east-west from the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), past Angels Stadium, GardenWalk Mall, and Disneyland, with a western terminus at the Anaheim Convention Center. ARTIC is served by Amtrak and regional rail services. [Railway Age website report, 10-24-12]

REVERSED SWITCH PUT AMTRAK TRAIN ON WRONG TRACK, NTSB SAYS: An Amtrak train that derailed in Niles, Michigan, Oct. 21 was on the wrong track as a result of a reversed switch that sent the train into a rail yard, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB said the train, carrying 174 passengers and four crew members on the Wolverine from Chicago to Pontiac, had a green signal allowing it to proceed at maximum speed. Authorities said the train was traveling at 60 miles per hour at the time. [Detroit Free Press website report, 10-23-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: For the third-quarter of 2012, Norfolk Southern reported net income of $402-million, or $1.24 per diluted share, 27 percent lower compared with the third quarter of 2011. [Norfolk Southern, 10-23-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TOPS ALL RAILROADS IN 2012 NEWSWEEK ‘GREEN RANKINGS’: Norfolk Southern Corporation topped all railroads in the 2012 Newsweek Green Rankings released this week and moved up 217 spots from its 2011 ranking to 181 on Newsweek’s U.S. 500 list. Norfolk Southern ranked eighth among the U.S. transportation and logistics sector and was 300th on the Global 500 list. [Norfolk Southern, 10-23-12]

CSX MARKS MIDPOINT IN FIRST-PHASE OF NATIONAL GATEWAY PROJECT: CSX Corporation Chairman Michael Ward joined federal, state and local officials Oct. 23 in Pittsburgh to mark the midway point of progress on the first phase of projects for the National Gateway. The National Gateway is an $850-million public-private partnership launched in 2008 to create a double-stack cleared corridor for intermodal rail shipments between the Midwest and the mid-Atlantic ports. [CSX, 10-23-12]

CAPE RAIL IN MASSACHUSETTS ACQUIRED BY IOWA PACIFIC HOLDINGS: Iowa Pacific Holdings has obtained a controlling interest in Cape Rail along with its subsidiaries, Cape Cod Central Railroad and Massachusetts Coastal Railroad. The Surface Transportation Board still needs to provide regulatory approvals. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-23-12]

U.P.’S ONE-OF-A-KIND TRT-909 EXPEDITES TRACK RENEWAL: Union Pacific's modern track renewal train called the TRT-909 - the only one in North America - is replacing rail and installing concrete ties on a 34-mile stretch of railroad between Grand Island and Clarks, Nebraska. [Norfolk Southern, 10-23-12]

OHIO LACKS PASSENGER RAIL SUPPORT, AMTRAK CHAIRMAN SAYS: Ridership has ‘exploded’ on several Illinois routes after the state government agreed to pay for additional trains, the passenger-train company's chairman told a luncheon rail forum Oct. 22 at the Toledo Club. But Amtrak cannot afford similar service expansion in states like Ohio where it receives no state support.  [Toledo Blade website report, 10-23-12]

RAIL GRANTS WILL HELP NS, ASLRRA PROJECTS: A couple of grants from the Federal Railroad Administration will help support joint rail projects by the Railroad Research Foundation and its partners - one with Norfolk Southern, and one with the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. One grant deals with safe transportation of hazardous materials; the other aims to reduce distractions caused by electronic devices.  [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-23-12]

CN REPORTS Q-3 EARNINGS: CN reported its financial and operating results for the third1quarter 2012. Net income was C$664-million or C$1.52 per diluted share, compared with year-earlier net income of C$659-million or C$1.46 per diluted share. Operating income increased five per cent to C$985-million. [CN, 10-22-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO SERVE NEW $20-M COAL FACILITY IN PA.: Norfolk Southern is slated to provide rail service to a recently opened $20-million coal-cleaning facility in Clearfield County, Pa. "It's a state-of-the-art facility. It is a no-discharge facility," said Scott Kroh, president of Robindale Energy Services. "It is in full compliance with all current regulatory issues. It is a long-term-job place." [WJAC-TV website report, 10-22-12]

PLAN DEVELOPED TO ACQUIRE ONTARIO NORTHLAND’S ASSETS: The General Chairperson's Association (GCA), which represents unionized employees at the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) announced a plan aimed at revitalizing the transportation company. The proposal calls for transferring ownership of the railroad and other ONTC assets to a new port authority to be operated under the Canada Marine Act. The plan was developed in response to the Ontario government's decision in March to divest the ONTC. Northlander passenger-rail service was suspended in September. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-22-12]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS FOR ‘COMBO PROJECT’ IN B.C.: A $121.5-million project for three grade separations along the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor in Surrey, B.C., has received the go ahead from officials. The project is part of a larger one, designed to meet an expected increase in traffic along the corridor. BNSF, Canadian Pacific and B.C. Rail/CN are among the partners for the RBRC project, which is scheduled for completion in 2014. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-22-12]

RAILROAD RESEARCH FOUNDATION RECEIVES TWO FEDERAL GRANTS: The Railroad Research Foundation has received two new federal grants from the Federal Railroad Administration; one related to the transportation of hazardous materials and the other to discourage employee distractions on the job. These grants support the central goals of the RRF to promote safety in the railroad industry. [Railroad Research Foundation. 10-22-12]

CSX’S BAYSIDE COAL PIER RESUMES NORMAL OPERATION: CSX’s Bayside Coal Pier at Curtis Bay, Baltimore, which was damaged Aug. 25 in a vessel mishap, has been restored to normal service. [CSX, 10-22-12]

AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN MICHIGAN: An Amtrak train heading from Chicago to Pontiac, Michigan, with 178 people on board derailed Oct. 21 two miles east of Niles, Michigan. No life-threatening injuries were reported, according to Amtrak. [Chicago Sun-Times website report, 10-21-12]

RAIL BUSINESS THRIVING DUE TO TEXAS SHALE BOOM: The increasing activity in the Eagle Ford Shale region in Texas is creating more business for railroads and even helping to create new ones, including the Live Oak Railroad in Live Oak County. The railroad is expected to start operations by late March. Watco's track expansion project at East Kelly Railport in Port San Antonio is also an indication of a booming business for rail service in the oil and gas industry. [Houston Chronicle website report, 10-21-12]

NEW TECHNOLOGY SUGGESTS REVIVAL OF STEAM LOCOMOTIVE: A current effort using digital technology and new engineering aims to use carbon-neutral bio-coal being developed by the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) to revive steam locomotives. The Coalition for Sustainable Rail, a subsidiary of Sustainable Rail International, is raising money between $3-million and $5-million to update a steam locomotive. Dubbed ‘Project 130’ to reflect the desire to develop a locomotive that reaches 130 miles per hour, the sustainable rail effort began as a single track idea - a revival of steam locomotion. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production website report, 10-19-12]

AMTRAK’S HOOSIER STATE IN DANGER OF BEING DROPPED IN 2013: Indiana officials are warning that Amtrak’s Hoosier State is in danger of discontinuance unless the state finds a stable source of funding by 2013. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 10-19-12]

THIRD-TRACK PROJECT ON NEC BEGINS SOUTH OF WILMINGTON: Delaware state and federal representatives, the Delaware Department of Transportation, and Amtrak on Oct. 18 marked the ceremonial start of adding a 1.5-mile third track on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor just south of Wilmington. The $53-million project, to be completed by 2015, will increase passenger rail capacity between Ragan and Brandy interlockings, [Railway Age website report, 10-19-12]

SIEMENS LANDS KUALA LUMPUR ORDER FOR 58 INSPIRO TRAINS: Siemens has obtained a $326.7-million order from Mass Rapid Transit Corp. Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp.) to supply the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur with 58 driverless metro trains. The Inspiro trains will be deployed on the city's new line that will connect suburbs in the metropolitan area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-19-12]

KCS REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City reported record third-quarter 2012 revenues of $577-million, an increase of 6 pct over third-quarter 2011 on a 7 pct increase in carloads. Operating income was $181-million compared with $182-million a year ago. [Kansas City Southern, 10-19-12]

BAKERSFIELD TO FILE SUIT AGAINST CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY: The Bakersfield City Council voted on October 17 to move forward with a lawsuit against the California High Speed Rail Authority, charging that the Authority has not been responsive enough in accounting for the impacts the project will have on the community. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 10-19-12]

AMTRAK TRAIN HITS 110-MPH ALONG CHICAGO-ST. LOUIS RAIL CORRIDOR: Officials gathered Oct. 19 in Illinois to celebrate the start of 110-mph rail service along the Chicago to St. Louis rail corridor.  An Amtrak train hit 110-MPH speed over a 15 mile stretch between Dwight and Pontiac. Crews will continue to improve the corridor, with work on schedule to introduce 110 mph service on 75 percent of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor by 2015. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 10-19-12]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation reported 2012 third-quarter net income of $1-billion or $2.19 per diluted share, compared to $904-million or $1.85 per diluted share, in the third quarter 2011. Operating revenues totaled $5.3-billion, up 5 pct. [Union Pacific, 10-18-12]

METROLINK COMPLETES L.A. UNION STATION TRACK RECONSTRUCTION: California rail transportation industry officials on Oct. 17 marked the opening of three new Los Angeles Union Station tracks and a platform to serve Metrolink and Amtrak riders. The new tracks and platform will help meet growing demand for rail travel, Metrolink said. Other improvements included a new electronic information system and energy efficient lighting. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-18-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending October 13, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 285,089 carloads, down 6.1 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 250,826 trailers and containers, up 2.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-18-12]

CN TO BUILD NEW TERMINAL FOR BAKKEN CRUDE OIL PRODUCERS: CN and Tundra Energy Marketing Ltd. have signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a crude oil railroad tank car loading terminal near Cromer, Manitoba, to meet the needs of Bakken crude oil producers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. [Railway Age website report, 10-18-12]

AMTRAK LEASE OF N.Y. TRACK MAY MOVE FORWARD, STB SAYS: The Surface Transportation Board found that a plan for Amtrak to take control of about 95 miles of track in the Empire Corridor does not require its approval. Under the deal, Amtrak would lease track from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to outside Schenectady, N.Y. The decision paves the way for the deal to move forward, but appeals will be accepted through Oct. 22. [Albany Times Union website report, 10-18-12]

HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE TO CREATE $7.8-B ECONOMIC IMPACT, XPRESSWEST SAYS: Construction of the XpressWest high-speed rail line from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas is expected to provide $7.8-billion in economic growth and 80,000 construction-related jobs, according to XpressWest. A review of the $6-billion loan request to the Federal Railroad Administration for the project's funding is almost complete. [PolicyMic website report, 10-18-12]

FEDS PROVISIONALLY COMMIT $4.7-M IN DISASTER FUNDING FOR UTICA RAIL LINE PROJECT: U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has provisionally committed to award $4,718,000 in federal disaster funding for the Chenango Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to move forward with the flood-damaged Utica Main Rail Line Revitalization project. After the 2006 floods, service was suspended on more than 40 miles of track [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-18-12]

BOMBARDIER TO OPERATE MARC CAMDEN & BRUNSWICK LINE TRAINS : The Maryland Board of Public Works has approval of a third-party contract for operations and maintenance for the Maryland Transit Administration’s MARC Train Camden and Brunswick lines.  Bombardier Transportation submitted a winning bid valued at $204,686,938 over the five year, eight month contract term.  The contract also includes a five year renewal option, valued at $205,000,000. This contract is for the operation of passenger railroad service and will replace a contract currently in place with CSX Transportation. [Md. Dept. of Transportation, 10-17-12]

BNSF PLANS 83-MILE RAIL LINE IN MONTANA: BNSF is planning a $490-million, 83-mile rail line in Montana for coal shipments. The railroad and Arch Coal submitted a proposal to the Surface Transportation Board, which will decide when the project could break ground, according to BNSF. [Columbus Republic website report, 10-17-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OPENS ITS BIRMINGHAM REGIONAL INTERMODAL FACILITY: Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley joined federal, state, and local officials and business leaders Oct. 17 for the opening of the Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility in McCalla, Alabama. The $97.5-million facility, located on a 316-acre site adjacent to the Jefferson Metropolitan Park, is a critical component of Norfolk Southern’s multi-state Crescent Corridor initiative. [Norfolk Southern, 10-17-12]

SOFT UTILITY COAL DEMAND TO CONTINUE INTO 2013, CSX SAYS: CSX Corp said it expected continued soft demand for coal among utilities, a key market for the company, but shipments should begin to flatten next year as electricity providers work down their coal inventories. [Reuters website report, 10-17-12]

CALAMP LANDS METROLINK PTC COMMUNICATIONS CONTRACT: CalAmp Corp. has obtained a contract to supply wireless communications devices for an interoperable positive train control (PTC) system for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority's Metrolink commuter-rail network. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-17-12]

N.S., U.P. ‘REVENUE ADEQUATE,’ STB SAYS: The Surface Transportation Board has announced its determination that two of the five major U. S. freight railroads, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, were ‘revenue adequate’ in 2011. This means that their return on investment exceeded their cost of capital as determined under an STB formula. [Railway Age website report, 10-17-12]

AMTRAK NAMES MICHAEL DECATALDO GM NORTHEAST CORRIDOR SERVICES: Amtrak has named Michael DeCataldo Jr. to the new position of general manager, Northeast Corridor Services. He will have accountability for safety, customer satisfaction, ridership, on-time performance and financial results for the Northeast Corridor business line. He has been general superintendent, Northeast Division. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-16-12]

PROGRESSIVE RAIL ACQUIRES IOWA TRACTION R.R.: Progressive Rail Inc. (PR) has acquired the Iowa Traction Railroad, which operates about 11 miles of track between Mason City and Clear Lake, Iowa. PR renamed the short line the Iowa Traction Railway Co. and partnered with the railroad's former owners, says PR President Dave Fellon, adding that employees were retained. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-16-12]

N.J. TRANSIT TO IMPROVE WATSESSING STATION: New Jersey Transit’s board has authorized $1.7-million in improvements to Watsessing Station in Bloomfield, N.J., including restoration of the building's exterior to complement an earlier restoration of inbound and outbound canopies. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-16-12]

CANADIAN PACIFIC APPOINTS THREE TO SENIOR OPERATIONS POSITIONS: Canadian Pacific is reorganizing its senior operations division with the appointments of Doug McFarlane as senior vice president of its U.S. unit, Guido De Ciccio as senior vice president of the Canadian division, and Scott MacDonald as senior vice president of operations. [Brandon Sun website report, 10-16-12]

CSX REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corporation announced third-quarter net earnings of $455-million, down 2 percent when compared to the same period last year. The decline was driven by overall lower volume levels, a change in the mix of the company’s business and lower fuel recovery. [CSX, 10-16-12]

BOMBARDIER DELIVERS FIRST MOVIA METRO TRAIN TO SINGAPORE: Bombardier Transportation recently delivered the first MOVIA metro train to the Land Transport Authority of Singapore as part of a contract for 219 driverless MOVIA cars obtained in November 2008. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-15-12]

BNSF TO MARK COMPLETION OF MISSISSIPPI RIVER BRIDGE OCT. 18: BNSF plans to mark the completion of its new rail bridge over the Mississippi River in Burlington, Iowa, Oct. 18. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-15-12]

FEDS AWARD $942.2-M TO EXTEND S.F.’S LIGHT-RAIL SYSTEM THROUGH CHINATOWN: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has affirmed $942.2-million in Federal Transit Administration funds to extend San Francisco's Third Street light rail system through the city's Chinatown neighborhood. [Railway Age website report, 10-15-12]

RAIL EXPANSION TO BOOST OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEXAS PORT: The recent completion of Watco's rail line expansion at the Port San Antonio's East Kelly Railport is expected to pave the way for more logistics and industrial site development at the rail facility. The company's San Antonio Central Railroad will also allow improved connections with BNSF and Union Pacific. [San Antonio Express News website report, 10-15-12]

ALBANY, N.Y., PORT OPENS SECOND RAIL-TO-BARGE TERMINAL FOR SHALE OIL: The Port of Albany in New York now has a second terminal to move North Dakota shale oil from tank cars to barges in a deal that could mean more jobs at the port. "The addition of crude oil services at our Albany terminal is part of our strategy to increase and improve the utilization of our existing assets," said Clark Smith, president and CEO of Buckeye Partners, which owns the terminal. [Albany Times Union website report, 10-13-12]

BNSF REALIGNING TERRITORY IN WESTERN N.D.: BNSF is adjusting operations in western North Dakota to better leverage terminal capacity and other resources, including the transition of the Minot Terminal from the Twin Cities Division to the Montana Division. The transition comes as a result of a booming oil business in western North Dakota and eastern Montana and will be complete before the end of 2012. [Friends of BNSF, 10-12-12]

CN SEES SHARP INCREASE IN CRUDE SHIPMENTS: CN Rail, Canada's biggest railroad, has said it expects to move more than 30,000 carloads of crude oil in 2012 to various North American destinations. In 2011, CN shipped only 5,000 carloads. "We think next year [2013] there is a fair enough chance... we could do twice as much as we were able to do this year," the company said. [Reuters website report, 10-12-12]

GRAND CANYON RWY ADDS FULL-LENGTH DOME CAR TO FLEET: The Grand Canyon Railway has added a completely refurbished, full-length dome car to service, allowing passengers a unique view of one of America’s natural wonders.  The company spent almost a million dollars refurbishing the car, naming it in honor of Fred Harvey, who established the first U.S. restaurant chain. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 10-12-12]

TEXAS OUTLINES INTERCITY PASSENGER TRAIN NETWORK PROPOSAL: The Texas Department of Transportation has released a map outlining the preliminary routes to be investigated in the state’s $14-million study, a preliminary step in developing a modern, statewide intercity passenger train network. The proposed area of study spans more than 850 miles, covering cities as far north as Oklahoma City and as far south as Brownsville.  Planners envision a network of efficient, high-speed passenger trains that will connect major Texan population centers 100 to 600 miles apart. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 10-12-12]

WASHINGTON METRO UNVEILS MOCK-UP OF NEXT GENERATION CARS: The Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) has unveiled a new full-scale mock-up of its next generation of rail cars, the 7000 series. The agency has purchased more than 400 of the rail cars from Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. under an $880-million contract. The investment makes it the largest-ever in WMATA's fleet, officials said. The new fleet will feature safety enhancements and rider amenities. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-11-12]

PORT OF L.A. SUPPORTS BNSF’S SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GATEWAY PROJECT: A revised plan for the construction of BNSF's $500-million Southern California Intermodal Gateway got support from the Port of Los Angeles' environmental report. The project would bring intermodal operations closer to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and mobilize freight more efficiently by reducing the number of trucks on highways, according to BNSF. [Transport Topics website report, 10-11-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT :The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending October 6, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 283,440 carloads, down 6.3 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 251,113 trailers and containers, up 3.8 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-11-12]

BRIAN GRASSBY NAMED SVP, CFO OF CP RAIL: Canadian Pacific Railway has appointed Brian Grassby to the roles of senior vice-president and CFO, the latest change in senior management following a shareholder battle that saw a new CEO installed earlier this year. Current CFO Kathryn McQuade will retire as of Nov. 1, but will remain with the company as an advisor to Grassby until next May. [Canadian Business website report, 10-11-12]

AMTRAK SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD: Amtrak carried more than 31.2 million passengers in FY 2012 ending September 30, marking the highest annual ridership total since the company started operations in 1971 and the ninth ridership record during the last 10 years. A year-over-year comparison of FY 2012 to FY 2011 shows ridership grew 3.5 pct to a new record of 31,240,565 passengers and ticket revenue jumped 6.8 pct to a best ever $2.02-billion. In addition, Amtrak system-wide on-time performance increased to 83 pct, its highest level in 12 years. [Amtrak, 10-10-12]

NEW TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED FOR INTERMODAL DOUBLE-STACKS: Intermodal operations will be more cost-effective as a result of new double-stack flatbed technology, Raildecks said. The folding equipment strikes a great balance of meeting the safety needs of the intermodal industry while also delivering much-needed value and cost savings to our customers, said Raildecks. [Transport Topics website report, 10-10-12]

CSX SERVICE TO EASE ETHANOL OPERATIONS AT PORT OF TAMPA: The newly unveiled Tampa Gateway Rail Terminal, to be served by CSX, will give the Port of Tampa the distinction of having the first ethanol unit train-to-refined production pipeline in the U.S., according to the Tampa Power Authority. The facility will also give the state the capability for on-dock unit train intermodal container loading and unloading when it opens. [EthanolProducer website report, 10-10-12]

D.C. PONDERS PCC STREETCAR OPTION : The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is considering the purchase of vintage President's Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars as part of its efforts to restore streetcar service to the nation's capital. DDOT advanced the proposal in September in a document outlining the ways the city plans to mitigate the effect of the streetcar line on historic properties. [Railway Age website report, 10-9-12]

U.P. BUYS RAIL LINE FROM STATE OF OKLAHOMA: Union Pacific has acquired full ownership of a 351-mile, rail line that Oklahoma officials had saved decades ago by drafting a unique purchase agreement with a predecessor railroad. The state purchased 351 miles of track running through Enid, El Reno, Oklahoma City, Chickasha, Duncan and Lawton that was operated by the Oklahoma-Kansas-Texas Railroad Co. through a 30-year-lease signed in November 1982. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-9-12]

NJ TRANSIT MAY CHANGE EMPLOYEE PASS PRIVILEGES: NJ Transit officials said they will propose changing their 30-year blanket privilege allowing nonunion employees unlimited free travel on rail, light rail and bus services. The proposal could be voted on by the agency’s board of directors at their next meeting. [Asbury Park Press website report, 10-9-12]

METRO-NORTH WILL ADD TRAINS AS PART OF SERVICE IMPROVEMENT: MTA Metro-North Railroad on Oct. 14 will add 69 trains east of Hudson and 10 west of Hudson, including 15 additional weekday and 30 weekend trains on the New Haven Line, 24 additional weekend trains on the Harlem Line and 10 additional weekday trains on the Pascack Valley Line. The new trains will provide increased frequency in the most popular off-peak and weekend times, as well as faster travel times by adding cars on crowded weekend trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-12]

TWO COMPANIES EYE RAIL FOR GROWTH IN U.S. SHALE FIELDS: Global Partners and U.S. Silica Holdings recently entered into separate rail-related business agreements to take advantage of mounting activity in U.S. shale oil and natural gas fields. Service by BNSF and Canadian Pacific is a key factor in "Global's diversification strategy," said Global Partners. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-12]

RAIL ACCESS PROJECT IN WASHINGTON STATE TO BOOST PORT OF VANCOUVER: A $275-million development project that would enhance BNSF and Union Pacific's rail access at the Port of Vancouver, Washington, is expected to provide a boost to the port's status and give it a distinct identity apart from the other, far larger Vancouver, B.C., according to Curtis Shuck, the port's director of economic development and facilities. "This is a game changer for us, the region, and a large part of the U.S. rail network," Shuck said. [D.C. Velocity website report, 10-8-12]

CALIFORNIA AIMS TO MEET DEADLINE ON RAILROAD GRADE SEPARATION PROJECT: Construction of an estimated $535.6-million grade separation project in Riverside, California, is being fast-tracked to meet a state deadline. "I think we are well-positioned to meet all of the deadlines, although there will be quite a push at the end that will require cooperation between local agencies, the railroads and the state," said Riverside County Transportation Commission’s deputy director. [Riverside Press-Enterprise website report, 10-7-12]

LINCOLNWAY RAILPORT IN IOWA TO BOOST ECONOMY: The Lincolnway Railport in Clinton County, Iowa, will secure connections with Union Pacific's mainline, which would generate more business and jobs for the region. The expansion of rail will also provide more access to other transportation types, said Bruce Christensen, Clinton Regional Development chairman. [Davenport Quad-City Times website report, 10-7-12]

NEW ENGLAND CENTRAL PROJECT COMPLETED, TO BENEFIT AMTRAK: Officials gathered in Brattleboro, Vermont, Oct. 5 to celebrate the completion of a project to upgrade the rail corridor between St. Albans, Vermont, and Vernon, Massachusetts. The project upgraded and repaired roughly 190 miles of New England Central Railroad track on Amtrak’s Vermonter route, increasing the average speed, reducing delays, and improving performance. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 10-5-12]

MASSACHUSETTS FINALIZES DEAL TO BUY TRACKS FROM CSX: The state of Massachusetts has completed its $100-million purchase of the Framingham/Worcester line and other area tracks, a deal legislators say will lead to more trains, better service and fewer delays. [MetroWest Daily News website report, 10-5-12]

CSX IMPROVEMENT TO BENEFIT WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS: A CSX bridge repair project is expected to bring jobs and other economic benefits to western Massachusetts. The project will allow double-stacked shipping in the region. [WGGB-TV website report, 10-4-12]

MAJOR BRIDGE PROGRAM IN THE WORKS FOR WISCONSIN & SOUTHERN: The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad is advancing a $10-million plan to upgrade various bridges systemwide. The company plans to repair or replace 33 bridges over the next two years. The program involves bridges as long as 2,200 feet and as short as 15 feet. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-4-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO RAISE SPEED LIMIT FOR AMTRAK, NORFOLK TO PETERSBURG: In preparation for the start of Amtrak passenger rail service between Norfolk and Richmond in December, Amtrak will begin operating trains to qualify train crews at 79 mph beginning in mid-October. The speed increase will be effective on Norfolk Southern’s tracks between Chesapeake and downtown Suffolk, and between downtown Suffolk and Petersburg. Freight trains will continue to operate at the current maximum speed of 60 mph. [Norfolk Southern, 10-4-12]

SEPT. 2012 RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail carloads originated in September 2012 totaled 1,152,174 carloads, down 3.7 pct compared with September 2011. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-4-12]

VOTE ON MARC CONTRACT WITH BOMBARDIER DELAYED: The Md. Board of Public Works delayed action Oct. 3 on a contract under which a Canadian-based Bombardier Inc. would replace CSX Transportation as the operator of the MARC Camden and Brunswick rail commuter lines. Ralign Wells, head of the Md. Transportation Administration, said the delay was the result of questions about how the minority business share of the contract was determined. Wells said he plans to meet with representatives of minority contractors and to bring the contract back to the board for a vote when it meets in two weeks. [Baltimore Sun website report, 10-3-12]

TRUCKER UNABLE TO EXPLAIN CRASH INTO AMTRAK TRAIN: A trucker is unable to explain why he drove his big-rig through a flashing crossing gate and struck an Amtrak train in a California farming community. The California Highway Patrol says 32-year-old Macario Medina was driving about 55 mph when he hit the train Oct. 1 in Hanford. The truck struck between the last of four passenger cars and the engine that was pushing the train at about 80 mph. Medina and 39 people on the train were hurt. [San Jose Mercury News website report, 10-3-12]

CONSTRUCTION ADVANCES FOR UNION PACIFIC’S $400-M PROJECT IN N.M.: Union Pacific's $400 million rail project in Santa Teresa, N.M., is moving ahead. The so-called Strauss facility, located on 2,220 acres, will be linked to an industrial park that's planned for the area and will be able to fuel and service rail cars and have a layover for crew changes. [Albuquerque Journal website report, 10-3-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN PARTNERS WITH PENN STATE FOR HYBRID LOCOMOTIVE: Norfolk Southern is partnering with Pennsylvania State University to develop a hybrid, zero-emission locomotive in New Castle, Pa. The railroad will spend almost $600,000 to help with the project's funding. [New Castle, Pa., News website report, 10-3-12]

METRO-NORTH BEGINS 6-STATION REHAB PROJECT ON NEW HAVEN LINE: Rehabilitation work began Oct. 1 on a $36.8-million initiative to bring six MTA Metro-North Railroad stations into a state of good repair on the New Haven Line. Crews began working on the Mount Vernon East, Pelham and New Rochelle stations this week, and will begin working on the Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Harrison stations in summer 2013. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-3-12]

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY TO SELL RAILROADS IT DIDN’T KNOW IT OWNED: Berkshire Hathaway said in a letter last month to the Surface Transportation Board that its BNSF deal should have been subjected to the board’s scrutiny because two Berkshire subsidiaries own small railroads. The STB reviews rail mergers, purchases, construction and rate disputes. Berkshire said it was unaware that it owned the railroads and will sell them. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 10-3-12]

CP SELLS 41 MILES OF TRACK IN SASKATCHEWAN TO SHORT LINE: Canadian Pacific has sold 41 miles of track in Saskatchewan to Long Creek Railroad. "CP values our relationship with short line operations across our network in helping to drive the North American economy and we are looking forward to working with the LCRR as the grain and oil markets grow," said CP. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-3-12]

U.P. NAMES JASON HESS V.P. NATIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER: Union Pacific has named Jason Hess vice president - National Customer Service Center.  He succeeds Beth Whited, who was promoted to vice president and general manager - Chemicals. [Union Pacific, 10-3-12]

CROSSING GATE DOWN IN CALIFORNIA TRAIN CRASH, AMTRAK SAYS: The crossing gate was down, lights were flashing and bells were ringing when a big rig crashed into a passing Amtrak passenger train Oct. 1, an Amtrak official said. [Seattle Times website report, 10-2-12]

AMTRAK LAUNCHES ‘ASK JULIE’ VIRTUAL ASSISTANT: Amtrak customers have an additional resource for information with the launch of a new intelligent virtual online assistant, ‘Ask Julie,’ on Amtrak.com. Ask Julie provides answers to customer questions, all in her own voice and personality. This new tool more quickly and accurately responds to questions from a state- of-the-art, comprehensive knowledge base of travel information and policies from across the Amtrak system, and quickly directs customers to the appropriate webpage or Amtrak customer service contact. [Amtrak, 10-2-12]

KCS NAMES STEPHEN SCHOLLAERT VP SALES & MARKETING: Stephen Schollaert is joining Kansas City Southern as the company's new vice-president of sales and marketing. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-2-12]

AT LEAST 20 INJURED IN AMTRAK CRASH WITH BIG RIG IN CALIFORNIA: Repair crews worked into Oct. 2 removing two derailed cars and a locomotive, and to repair damaged railroad tracks, after an Amtrak train carrying about 169 passengers derailed in a collision with a big-rig truck in California's Central Valley. At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries, authorities said. [Huffington Post website report, 10-2-12]

DORMANT RAIL LINE IN INDIANA TO BE REOPENED: The railroads are making a comeback in Kokomo, Indiana, where 12 miles of inactive railroad track are about to be returned to service. Kokomo Grain, US Rail and Norfolk Southern railroads are partnering on a $5.5-million project to reroute much of the grain company’s freight, sending it south toward Tipton instead of east toward Marion. Portions of Kokomo, which haven’t seen train traffic since 1997, will again be seeing and hearing trains. [Kokomo Tribune website report, 10-2-12]

ALSTOM UNVEILS FIRST KZ8A ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE FOR KAZAKHSTAN: Alstom Transport on Oct. 2 unveiled the KZ8A, its first electric freight locomotive for the Kazakh Railways, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), at Alstom's plant in Belfort, France. Alstom says the KZ8A is the first of 295 locomotives. [Railway Age website report, 10-2-12]

WABTEC ACQUIRES LH GROUP: Wabtec Corp. has acquired LH Group for $48-million. A United Kingdom-based provider of maintenance and overhaul services for the passenger transit market, LH has annual sales of $65-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-2-12]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $92-M TRAIN-CONTROL ORDER IN MALAYSIA: Bombardier Technology has obtained a $92-million order to provide the Bombardier CITYFLO 650 mass transit train-control solution for the new Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line being constructed in Malaysia. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-2-12]

GENESEE & WYOMING COMPLETES ACQISITION OF RAILAMERICA: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. has completed the acquisition of RailAmerica Inc. and entered into a new five-year Senior Secured Credit Facility comprised of a $1.875-billion term loan and $425-million revolving credit facility. [Genesee & Wyoming, 10-1-12]

CSX TO RELOCATE SOME BOSTON-AREA OPERATIONS: CSX will soon move much of its operations from Allston to Westborough, Massachusetts, and its intermodal freight operations to Worcester later this year, according to a progress report. The state will buy about 92 miles of track from CSX for $100-million to enhance commuter rail service, and CSX will spend $129-million to enhance three rail yards in the central part of the state. [Worcester Business Journal website report, 10-1-12]

CP RAIL CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER STEPS DOWN: Canadian Pacific Railway says Mike Franczak, executive vice-president and chief operations officer, is stepping down after 25 years with the company. [Financial Post website report, 10-1-12]

FEDS AWARD $120-M TO INCREASE & SPEED TRAIN SERVICE IN CONNECTICUT: The state of Connecticut will receive $120-million in High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation to complete construction on the Hartford segment of the New Haven to Springfield passenger rail corridor. Once the project is complete in 2016, 11 additional round-trip trains will travel between Hartford and New Haven, for a total of 17 trains traveling the line, compared to six today. [U.S Dept. of Transportation, 10-1-12]

TEXAS SHALE PRODUCTION SPURS MORE BUSINESS FOR RAILROADS: A number of short-line railroads in South Texas, including Hondo Railway, are experiencing an increase in rail car traffic due to rising demand for sand shipments to the Eagle Ford Shale formation. Rail service is seen as a more economical option for sand transportation than truck. [San Antonio Express-News website report, 9-29-12]

EAST RIVER R.R. TUNNELS CONNECTED FROM MANHATTAN & QUEENS: In New York City, new rail tunnels under the East River from both the Manhattan and Queens sides were connected with each other Sept. 21. These will allow Long Island Rail Road trains to access Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal for the first time in LIRR’s 180-plus-year history. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 9-28-12]

DIANE DUREN NAMED EXECUTIVE V.P. AT UNION PACIFIC: Union Pacific  has named Diane Duren executive vice president effective October 1. She will be responsible for strategic planning, administration and human resources upon two senior executive retirements in February. Duren also will become corporate secretary at that time. [Union Pacific, 9-28-12]

AMTRAK HIGH-SPEED CARS TO BE BUILT BY ILLINOIS COMPANY: A joint venture by Nippon-Sharyo's U.S. unit in Rochelle, Illinois, and Sumitomo Corp. of America has been chosen to build 130 high-speed rail cars for Amtrak. The fleet is expected to be used for Amtrak routes in California, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri. An initial batch of rail cars is scheduled for delivery in 2015. [Springfield State Journal-Register website report, 9-27-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending September 22, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 292,644 carloads, down 4.1 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-27-12]

CP EXPANDS OPERATIONS IN S.E. ASIA: Canadian Pacific's operations in Southeast Asia continue to expand with the opening of a new office in Vietnam. The company appointed Pham Xuan Hang as its first delegate to the region. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-27-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO OPEN HOTEL FOR EMPLOYEES IN CHATTANOOGA: Norfolk Southern will open a 102-room hotel for the exclusive use of its employees in Chattanooga, Tennessee, just two miles from the NS rail yard on Oct. 4. [WRCB-TV website report, 9-27-12]

INTERCITY BUSES NOW SERVE WASHINGTON UNION STATION: The Washington DC hub for Greyhound and Peter Pan bus lines moved into Washington Union Sept. 26 from a stand-alone building located four long blocks to its north. This makes Union Station the city's focal point for all forms of public transportation. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 9-27-12]

AMTRAK TO RUN TEST TRAINS AT 165 MPH IN N.E.: Amtrak is going to break the speed limit in the Northeast Corridor. The rail service says it will operate test trains overnight at 165 m.p.h. in four stretches from Maryland to Massachusetts. Acela Express equipment will be used for the tests. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 9-25-12]

CSX UNIT TRAIN SERVICE OFFERS BENEFITS TO SHIPPERS: The completion of the $11-million Tampa Gateway Rail Terminal at the Port of Tampa will develop the port's unit train service, which is a more economical and efficient way of shipping products, according to CSX. "It's very beneficial for shippers and railroads to be able to transport these commodities in a train dedicated to that commodity," said CSX. [Tampa Bay Times website report, 9-25-12]

CREW VAN COMPANY PTI TO EXPAND HEADQUARTERS: Professional Transportation Inc. will invest $5.45-million to expand its Evansville, Indiana, headquarters, and add up to 100 jobs by 2015. The company, which recently acquired Coach America's crew transportation division, will add rail crew transportation services to BNSF Railway, Canadian Pacific Railroad, Utah Railway, Portland and Western Railroad, and add services for existing customers Union Pacific and Amtrak. [Indianapolis Star website report, 9-25-12]

GRENVILLE DODGE INDUCTED INTO NATIONAL R.R. HALL OF FAME: General Grenville Dodge, a key figure in the development of the American West who led the development of the transcontinental railroad as chief engineer for Union Pacific following the Civil War, has been inducted into the National Railroad Hall of Fame. [Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil website report, 9-24-12]

STATE EXPECTED TO GIVE MARC CONTRACT TO BOMBARDIER: The Maryland Dept. of Transportation is expected to seek Board of Public Works approval Oct. 3 for a nearly six-year, $204-million contract with Bombardier Transportation Services to run the Camden and Brunswick lines. The lines are now owned and operated by CSX Transportation, which has long wanted to get out of the business of running a commuter railroad. [Baltimore Sun website report, 9-21-12]

FEDS OK INITIAL CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL SEGMENT: The initial segment of California's ambitious $68-billion high speed rail project won the approval of the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration Sept. 19, clearing the way for construction to begin in 2013. Authorities approved a 65-mile section of track through the state's central agricultural heartland, from Merced to Fresno, after environmental and engineering reviews were completed. [Reuters website report, 9-20-12]

GE TRANSPORTATION UNVEILS ITS NEWEST 'POWERHAUL' LOCOMOTIVE: GE Transportation hasa unveiled its PowerHaul Series PH37Acai Locomotive. GE describes it as Europe's newest cross-border locomotive and the company's most technologically advanced, fuel-efficient and low-emissions diesel-electric unit to date. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-20-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN EXPECTS LOWER 3-Q RESULTS: Norfolk Southern Corporation announced that third quarter 2012 earnings are expected to be in the range of $1.18 to $1.25 per diluted share, primarily due to volume declines in certain markets and lower revenues from fuel surcharges. Decreased coal and merchandise shipments, offset in part by growth in intermodal volumes, are together expected to reduce revenues by approximately $120 million compared with third quarter 2011. [Norfolk Southern, 9-19-12]

BOMBARDIER, EMD TEAM UP TO ASSEMBLE LOCOMOTIVES IN INDIA: Bombardier Transportation and Electro-Motive Diesel (a subsidiary of Progress Rail Services) announced Sept. 19 that they are joining forces to assemble diesel-electric locomotives in India. [Railway Age website report, 9-19-12]

GE TRANSPORTATION TO DELIVER 110 EVOLUTION LOCOMOTIVE KITS TO KAZAKHSTAN: GE Transportation and Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) have signed an agreement to extend their partnership in Kazakhstan to produce passenger locomotives at an assembly plant in Astana, according to a GE press release. GE will deliver 110 of its Evolution Series locomotive kits, which will be assembled by Lokomotiv Kurastyru Zauyty. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-19-12]

FEDS TO PROVIDE FUNDS FOR 11 MILES OF THIRD TRACK IN NORTHERN VA.: The Federal Railroad Administration announced its intent to release $74.8-million for 11 miles of a third track for use by Virginia Rail Express (VRE), CSX, and Amtrak in northern Virginia. [Railway Age website report, 9-18-12]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY SAUDI HIGH-SPEED RAIL COMPONENTS: Bombardier Transportation Tuesday said it has signed contracts valued at approximately $367-million with Madrid-based Patentes Talgo SA to develop and supply components for 36 high speed trains for Saudi Arabia. [Railway Age website report, 9-18-12]

BNSF EARNS RECOGNITION FOR ENGINEERING EFFORTS: BNSF won the 2012 Dr. William W. Hay Award for Excellence in recognition of its engineering accomplishments. The railroad's ‘Rising Above: How BNSF Overcame the 2011 Floods’ entry during the AREMA Annual Conference in Chicago showcased the railroad's effort to bounce back in the aftermath of destructive floods. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-18-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO SERVE PLANNED BIOFUEL FACILITY IN GEORGIA: Norfolk Southern will provide rail service for General Biofuels Georgia's planned $60-million biofuel facility in Sandersville, Ga., for the transportation of wood pellets to the Port of Savannah, according to the state's Department of Economic Development. [Augusta Chronicle website report, 9-18-12]

CHRISTOPHER BEALL TO SERVE ON AMTRAK’S BOARD: Christopher Beall, a partner at infrastructure-investment firm Highstar Capital, has been nominated by President Obama to serve on Amtrak's board of directors. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-17-12]

N.J. DOT AWARDS GRANTS TO EIGHT RAIL FREIGHT PROJECTS: Grants totaling $6.6-million from the New Jersey Transportation Department's Rail Freight Assistance Program will be distributed among eight freight rail projects. "The range of these grants illustrates how diverse modes of travel give shape to New Jersey's robust transportation network," said state DOT Commissioner James Simpson. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-17-12]

CANADIAN NATIONAL COULD GROW WITH NEW CONSTRUCTION IN B.C.: Canadian National stands to benefit from new construction of fertilizer plants and expanded mining in British Columbia, says Benoit Poirier, Desjardins Capital Markets analyst. Poirier said CN could see its shipments of potash, urea and coal grow. The railroad is also part of an estimated $800-million collaboration to boost capacity at the Port of Prince Rupert. [Canadian Press website report, 9-17-12]

GIBSON ENERGY TO USE C.P. LINE FOR RAIL LOADING FACILITY: Gibson Energy is planning to use Canadian Pacific's key rail line in Calgary, Alberta, for crude oil shipments from a proposed loading facility. The possibility of building a unit train loading facility comes as new pipeline projects remain scarce. [Calgary Herald website report, 9-17-12]

MASSACHUSETTS TO PURCHASE CSX LINE BETWEEN FRAMINGHAM AND WORCESTER: The state plans to close early October on the purchase of a CSX railroad line between Framingham and Worcester, something that might lead to improved passenger rail service from Springfield to Boston. [The Republican Masslive website report, 9-17-12]

C.P. TOUTS FASTER TRANSCONTINENTAL SERVICE: Canadian Pacific has launched new, faster intermodal train services connecting Vancouver, B.C., to Toronto and Chicago. The new schedules remove a day from the 2,600-mile Toronto-to-Vancouver transcontinental trains and two days from the 2,200-mile Vancouver-to-Chicago train service. [Railway Age website report, 9-17-12]

U.P.’S PROJECT IN N.M. TO BOOST STATE’S ECONOMY: The economic impact of Union Pacific's $400 million intermodal rail project in Santa Teresa, N.M., is projected to top $500-million and create about 3,600 jobs. The railroad's project has attracted companies to set up business close to the facility, said Jerry Pacheco, vice president and founder of the Border Industrial Association. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 9-14-12]

INDIANA RECEIVES $71.3-M FUNDING TO DEVELOP RAIL NETWORK: A $71.3-million grant was awarded to the Indiana Gateway Project by the Transportation Department to target the region's congested areas. Norfolk Southern will work with state officials on eight projects, said John Swanson, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission executive director. [Chicago Tribune website report, 9-13-12]

NINE IOWA RAIL PROJECTS RECEIVE MORE THAN $4-M IN GRANTS: More than $4-million in grants will be divided among nine rail projects in Iowa, including a Canadian National and Union Pacific rail link in Iowa Falls. The funding will come from the Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant initiative. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-12-12]

ALASKA RAILROAD EXPANSION PROJECT GETS WETLANDS PERMIT: Progress on Alaska Railroad's estimated $272-million rail line expansion to Port McKenzie, Alaska, moved ahead when the project gained a wetlands permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The extension is expected to be a factor in the distribution of bulk cargo such as construction equipment and supplies. [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website report, 9-12-12]

CSX SELECTS MOUNT CLARE YARD AS TENTATIVE SITE FOR INTERMODAL FACILITY: CSX has chosen Mount Clare yard in Baltimore as a tentative location for an estimated $90-million intermodal rail project. The project is expected to give Maryland a head start in reaping the benefits of the Panama Canal expansion and CSX's National Gateway program, according to state Governor Martin O’Malley. [Baltimore Sun website report, 9-11-12]

WASHINGTON METRO OBTAINS TRACK GEOMETRY VEHICLE: ENSCO Inc. recently delivered to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) its first track geometry vehicle (TGV), a specialized rail car equipped with advanced technology to analyze the condition of rail and track infrastructure, and issue alerts on potential defects. The TGV enables WMATA to test track during operating hours as well as non-revenue hours, providing in-house capability to perform inspections with greater speed and efficiency. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-11-12]

RAIL RESEARCH CENTER ESTABLISHED IN ALBERTA: The Association of American Railroads, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National partnered with the Canadian government and local groups for the Canadian Rail Research Laboratory project at the University of Alberta. The research center is expected to help meet the future needs of the Canadian rail sector. [The Construction Index website report, 9-11-12]

AECOM LANDS DENVER LIGHT-RAIL DESIGN CONTRACT: AECOM Technology Corp. has obtained a contract to provide final design services for the Regional Transportation District of Denver's Interstate 225 light-rail line. AECOM will provide final design for tracks, seven full stations and part of an eighth station, multiple traffic signals and grade crossings, landscaping, permitting, drainage, utilities, park and ride areas, eight bridges and transit systems. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-11-12]

GRAFTON & UPTON R.R. EXPANSION PROJECT BEGINS: Officials drove a ceremonial spike into a railroad crossing in Milford, Massachusetts, Sept. 10, signifying the start of reconstruction of the Milford and Hopedale portion of the Grafton and Upton Railroad. The state regulatory office last year provided $1-million in funding, through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, to pay for overhauling nine at-grade railroad crossings in Milford and Hopedale. [Milford Daily News website report, 9-11-12]

MONTREAL’S MOUNT ROYAL TUNNEL TO GET $40-M UPGRADE: Montreal's Agence metropolitaine de transport (AMT) plans to commit $40-million to upgrade its Mount Royal tunnel to accommodate diesel-hauled passenger trains, which would begin using the retrofitted tunnel in late 2013. [Railway Age website report, 9-11-12]

AMTRAK REMOVES OLD NIANTIC RIVER BRIDGE FROM SERVICE: Amtrak has removed the 105-year-old Niantic River Bridge in East Lyme, Connecticut, from service as rail traffic was shifted to a new bridge. The new bridge will allow Amtrak to increase speeds on and near the structure, and minimize delays on the route. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-10-12]

RAILROADS LOOK TO OHIO’S UTICA SHALE: Much of the ‘upstream’ market of drilling and development of the Utica shale in eastern Ohio is handled by Class I railroads, such as Norfolk Southern, because trucks damage the roads and pipelines aren't plentiful enough. Both the Class I’s and short-line railroads are also looking to the midstream processes. Genesee & Wyoming sees the shale work as a ‘home run,’ particularly in shipments related to fractionation and processing plants. [Youngstown Business Journal website report, 9-10-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RECORDS 17.6 PCT EXPORT COAL GROWTH AT LAMBERTS POINT IN AUGUST: Norfolk Southern's coal export shipments from its Lamberts Point facility in Hampton Roads, Va., rose 17.6 pct in August versus July levels. [SNL Financial website report, 9-10-12]

FEDS GRANT $16.5-M GRANT TOWARD NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y., TRANSPORTATION CENTER: Amtrak's passenger railroad terminal in Niagara Falls, N.Y., is on track for a major new look when the city's Intermodal Transportation Center opens to the public - possibly in 2014. The Federal Railroad Administration has unlocked a $16.5-million grant to finish the last phase of construction of the center near the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge that will serve trains, buses, tour vehicles, taxis and pedestrians. [Buffalo News website report, 9-9-12]

AMTRAK SPEED TESTS IN ILLINOIS TO BEGIN: The first test runs of 110-mph passenger trains in Illinois are scheduled to begin by the end of this month. Transportation regulators and Amtrak also will monitor an automated system of crossing gates and lights intended to accommodate trains, motorists and pedestrians. If the system works as expected on the Amtrak line between Dwight and Pontiac, plans are to extend the upgrades to the remainder of the route downstate. The target is to begin faster service between Chicago and St. Louis in 2015. [Springfield State Register website report, 9-7-12]

METRO-NORTH SEEKING INPUT FOR ADDING NEW HAVEN LINE SERVICE TO N.Y. PENN STATION: Metro-North Railroad is holding information sessions in the Bronx to solicit input for running some of its New Haven Line trains on Amtrak’s Hell Gate route into New York-Penn Station. [Railway Age website report, 9-6-12]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, STUDY SAYS: California's bullet train might be a good investment, particularly when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases and fighting climate change. A study, published recently in the journal Environmental Research Letters, analyzed the environmental sustainability of a high-speed-rail network compared to flying and driving. The authors concluded that the high-speed rail system will consume less energy and emit fewer greenhouse gases and less pollution than autos or planes, even after accounting for future improvements in auto and airplane fuel efficiency and cleaner, greener technology. [Sacramento News & Review website report, 9-6-12]

CN TO EXPAND LOCOMOTIVE SHOP IN PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.: CN plans to spend $12-million to expand its Locomotive Reliability Centre in Prince George, B.C. The project calls for increasing the shop’s floor space 50 pct to about 50,000 square feet to add four repair bays with pits. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-6-12]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON METRA’S RAVENSWOOD STATION: Metra has marked the start of construction for a new Ravenswood Station on the Union Pacific North Line. The $18.3-million facility will replace the existing station, which serves more than 2,000 riders per day and is the busiest outlying station on the UP North Line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-6-12]

CRUDE-BY-RAIL GAINS POPULARITY IN N.D.: Crude-by-rail shipping of oil products from the Bakken region in North Dakota is gaining volume as Delta Air Lines announced plans to use rail to transport crude oil to its refinery in Philadelphia. Railroads such as BNSF saw a 41 pct growth in petroleum shipments in the first six months of 2012 versus the same period in 2011, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 9-6-12]

AUGUST 2012 RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail carloads originated in August 2012 totaled 1,461,680, down 1.4 pct compared with August 2011. Intermodal traffic totaled 1,230,992 containers and trailers, up 51,145 units or 4.3 pct compared with August 2011. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-6-12]

BNSF EXPANDS BAKKEN TRANSPORT CAPACITY: BNSF Railway said it has expanded its capacity to transport one million barrels-per-day of shale oil from the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana in 2012, a 25 percent increase from a year earlier. [Reuters website report, 9-5-12]

CSX TO HELP DEVELOP INDUSTRIAL PARK SITE IN INDIANA: CSX will contribute $3-million for the development of the Kingsbury Industrial Park in LaPorte County, Indiana. Construction of an intermodal facility has started at the site, which has been named one of CSX's Select Sites. [South Bend Tribune website report, 9-5-12]

SEPTA TRAINS TRY REGENERATIVE BRAKING: A massive battery parked at a substation on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford line is now storing energy captured from braking trains. By recapturing and reusing that energy, SEPTA estimates it could save up to $190,000 a year, and the electricity can be sent across Philadelphia’s power grid in times of high demand. [Wired website report, 9-5-12]

THALES WINS $41-M NORWEGIAN RAIL SIGNALING SYSTEM CONTRACT: Thales has obtained a $41-million contract from Norwegian rail administration Jernbaneverket to provide a new interlocking system. The first three projects for new signaling systems include the Sandnes-Stavanger line, the Ganddal cargo terminal and Hovik Station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-5-12]

RAILROADS EXPECT GROWTH IN COAL SHIPMENTS: Canadian National, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific are optimistic about their export-coal business due to increased foreign demand. Domestically, a hot summer has depleted utilities' coal stockpiles, adding to the increased demand. [Platts website report, 9-5-12]

U.P. SPENDING NEARLY $14-M TO IMPROVE RAIL PORTION IN IOWA: Union Pacific Railroad is enhancing Iowa's transportation infrastructure by investing nearly $14-million in the rail line that runs between Grand Mound and Boone. The project includes replacing nearly 80,000 ties, spreading 44,800 tons of ballast, renewing the surfaces at 84 road crossings and replacing a total of two and one-half miles of rail in various curves. [Union Pacific, 9-5-12]

U.P. HELPS WITH SALMON HABITAT IN PORTLAND, OREGON: Union Pacific will remove some of its tracks temporarily in Portland, Ore., to help make a better salmon habitat at Crystal Springs Creek. Once the track is removed, new culverts will be installed. [Portland Tribune website report, 9-5-12]

U.P. TO UPGRADE RAIL YARD IN PORTLAND, OREGON: Union Pacific plans to invest $23.3-million for upgrades at its Brooklyn Yard in Portland, Ore., to accommodate the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Line near the yard. [American City Business Journals website report, 9-5-12]

BNSF PLANS IMPROVEMENTS IN S.D.: BNSF Railway plans to spend roughly $30-million on rail capacity and maintenance in South Dakota this year. The funding will go toward signal upgrades and rail siding expansion, as well as replacing 28 miles of rail and 676 miles of track resurfacing and undercutting work. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader website report, 9-4-12]

BNSF EXPANDS BAKKEN OIL TRANSPORT CAPACITY: BNSF has increased capacity to enable the railroad to haul one million barrels per day out of the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Montana. This increased capacity will allow the energy industry to continue the record expansion of oil production in the Williston Basin and to ship the new production throughout the U.S. It will also benefit shippers of other commodities, including agricultural products. [BNSF, 9-4-12]

FEDS PROVIDE $900,000 TOWARD FREIGHT RAIL TRAFFIC RELOCATION IN INDIANAPOLIS: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has awarded nearly $900,000 to the city of Indianapolis to relocate freight-rail traffic from a CSX mainline that goes through the heart of downtown to a nearby Indianapolis Belt Railroad line. The project will separate passenger- and freight-rail operations, remove 10 to 12 grade crossings, and improve safety while decreasing congestion and emissions, USDOT officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-4-12]

CN EXPANDING FREIGHT CAR, CONTAINER FLEET: CN announced that it is acquiring more than 2,200 new freight cars and 1,300 new containers in 2012 to support traffic growth and improve customer service. [CN, 9-4-12]

CSX CONSIDERING FOUR SITES IN BALTIMORE FOR NEW TERMINAL: The Maryland Department of Transportation is working with CSX Transportation to review four sites in Baltimore that the railroad could use as a new multi-million-dollar cargo transfer facility. Leif A. Dormsjo, MDOT's acting deputy secretary, said his department and CSX officials are considering four parcels of land currently owned by CSX in South Baltimore. The possible sites are in the areas of Locust Point, Curtis Bay, Mount Clair and Mount Winans, he said. [Baltimore Sun website report, 8-31-12]

MASSACHUSETTS PURCHASES CONNECTICUT RIVER RAIL LINE:  Massachusetts officials announced the purchase of the Connecticut River Rail Line on August 27. Federal and local leaders are using $73-million in federal stimulus funds from 2009 to restore service to the old Boston & Maine (now Pan Am Southern) line.  Once the work is complete, Amtrak’s Vermonter service will shift from its current route on the New England Central Railroad. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-31-12]

THREE STATES LACK FUNDING FOR AMTRAK ROUTE: Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico officials say the states don't have funding to save Amtrak's Southwest Chief route through the three states. The funding problems could cause western Kansas to lose easy access to Amtrak passenger service. Amtrak wants the three states spend a total of $100-million in the next decade to improve tracks between Hutchinson and Garden City that are in poor condition. [Sacramento Bee website report, 8-31-12]

ANAHEIM TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION ON TRANSIT HUB: The city of Anaheim announced that construction will begin in September on a $127-million transit hub that will connect downtown Anaheim with buses, taxis, conventional rail, and (eventually) high-speed rail. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-31-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT:  The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending August 25, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 297,042 carloads, down 0.8 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-30-12]

VIA RAIL POSTS 2-Q REVENUE DROP: VIA Rail Canada has posted second-quarter ridership and revenue figures that were lower than the same period a year ago. However, as a result of ‘stringent cost management measures,’ the railroad’s bottom line was within approved funding levels for the quarter, VIA said. Total revenue dipped to $68.1-million from $69.1-million a year ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-30-12]

AMTRAK ROLLS OUT TICKET PRICES FOR NEW SERVICE OUT OF NORFOLK: Seats on the first Amtrak trains out of Norfolk in December went on sale Aug. 30, with non-holiday prices ranging from $38 for a one-way trip to Washington to $73 to Boston. [Virginian Pilot website report, 8-30-12]

STATOIL TO USE RAIL FOR NORTH AMERICAN CRUDE SHIPMENTS: Statoil plans to use rail shipping for crude oil products as the company targets expansion plans across North America. Crude-by-rail shipments rose to 241,000 carloads in the first half of 2012 versus 174,000 carloads in the same period last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. [United Press International website report, 8-30-12]

HONOLULU TEMPORARILY HALTS TRANSIT-RAIL CONSTRUCTION: The city of Honolulu temporarily halted construction on a $5-billion transit-rail project after the Hawaiian State Supreme Court ruled that the city must conduct a complete archeological study for the 20-mile line before it can be built, according to Honolulu news reports. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-30-12]

UNION PACIFIC TO REPLACE COLLAPSED BRIDGE NEAR CHICAGO: The Glenview and Northbrook, Illinois, village boards met to review a memorandum of understanding with Union Pacific Railroad and the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding the replacement of a bridge over Shermer Road that collapsed during a derailment July 4. UP agrees to fund and build a 149-foot-long bridge with a 57-foot clear span featuring three 12-foot-wide traffic lanes, two bike paths, and four feet of curbing. The project is estimated to cost $10-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-30-12]

IMPROVEMENT TO TOLEDO INTERMODAL TERMINAL COMPLETED: Norfolk Southern and local officials in Toledo, Ohio, recently celebrated the completion of a $12.4-million improvement project for the Toledo Intermodal Terminal. The railroad contributed $2.7-million for the project's expenses. [Toledo Blade website report, 8-29-12]

CALIFORNIA ALLOCATES $60-M FOR METROLINK UPGRADES: The California Transportation Commission has allocated $60-million in bond funds to help pay for upgrades to Metrolink equipment. The program will enable Metrolink to upgrade 21 to 30 locomotives and 44 to 55 passenger-rail cars either by buying new equipment or rehabilitating existing equipment, Metrolink said [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-29-12]

CALGARY OPENS TWO NEW LIGHT-RAIL STATIONS: Calgary, Alberta, residents in the city's northeast section gained direct access to the two new light rail transit stops on the C-Train 202 line Aug. 27 with station openings at Saddletowne and Martindale. Between 8,000 and 10,000 people per day are expected to use the two stations. [Railway Age website report, 8-28-12]

FRA SAYS PTC DEADLINE WILL NOT BE MET: The Federal Railroad Administration says substantial progress has been made in establishing Positive Train Control (PTC) in the U.S., but acknowledges that the congressionally mandated deadline to do so by Dec. 15, 2015, will not be met. [Railway Age website report, 8-28-12]

REPUBLICAN PLATFORM CALLS FOR NO AMTRAK FUNDING: The Republican Party Platform was approved Aug. 28. It calls for no funding of Amtrak and spending more transportation funds on highways and roads. [The Hill website report, 8-28-12]

PATH UNVEILS NEW CONTROL CENTER: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has unveiled a new $66-million control center intended to boost system-wide capacity by 20 pct. [Star-Ledger website report, 8-28-12]

MIAMI PORT’S $2-B DEVELOPMENT INCLUDES RAIL LINK UPGRADES: A proposed rail link improvement is one of the key projects in the Port of Miami's $2-billion overhaul. The port's investment in rail is intended to aid the development of the state's new sources of economic growth. [American City Business Journals website report, 8-27-12]

FOURTEEN W&LE GRADE CROSSINGS TO BE UPGRADED IN OHIO: CTC Inc. has been given the green light to begin upgrading 14 grade crossings on the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co. in Canton, Ohio. The project represents the “most complex design we have worked on to date” for the W&LE, said John Sharkey, CTC vice president of signal engineering. Construction will start in the fall. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-27-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN EYES YARD IN N.E. PENNSYLVANIA AS INTERMODAL SITE: The 130-acre Hazleton and Northeast Rail Commerce Center facility in Sugarloaf Township, Pa., has the potential to become an intermodal rail facility, according to Norfolk Southern's Charles Barker. The facility has direct access to NS, and the site's two 3,000-foot rail tracks are a major asset. [Scranton Times-Tribune website report, 8-26-12]

GULF & OHIO TESTS ENERGY-EFFICIENT LOCOMOTIVE: Gulf & Ohio Railways is developing a sustainable and eco-friendly locomotive that meets Tier I or Tier III emission standards from the Environmental Protection Agency and is exploring the idea of selling or leasing the locomotives, said Gulf & Ohio Chairman and CEO Pete Claussen. [Knoxville News-Sentinel website report, 8-26-12]

CP INVESTS IN MINNESPOLIS WITH NEW HEADQUARTERS: Canadian Pacific recently transferred 400 employees to its new U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis, demonstrating the railroad's "commitment to Minneapolis and Minnesota," said Doug McFarlane, chief of U.S. operations for CP. The company has 1,600 employees based in Minnesota and plans to hire more. [Star Tribune website report, 8-25-12]

GE TRANSPORTATION INVESTING $600-M IN NEW EVOLUTION LOCOMOTIVE: General Electric's $600-million investment in a new line of Evolution locomotives focuses on meeting an Environmental Protection Agency emissions rule scheduled to take effect in 2015. "We've spent a lot of time with the EPA as we've gone through this," said GE Transportation. [Reuters website report, 8-24-12]

OIL COMPANY TO SHIP BY CANADIAN NATIONAL: Southern Pacific Resources Corp. has signed an agreement with Canadian National to ship 12,000 barrels a day from CN's terminal in Lynton, Alberta, to Natchez, Mississippi. Financial Post Canada website report, 8-24-12]

CHINESE TRAIN COLLISION INJURES 24: China’s Xinhua news agency is reporting that a low-speed collision between two passenger trains injured at least 24 people Aug. 23 in northeastern China. The  crash took place as passengers were embarking from a fully stopped train in Jiamusi in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. Initial reports indicate none of the injuries are serious.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-24-12]

CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR DELAYED AFTER STRIKING CATTLE: Amtrak’s eastbound California Zephyr was delayed in McCook, Nebraska, on the morning of August 19 after striking a herd of about 40 to 50 cattle that had strayed upon the tracks. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-24-12]

PBF ENERGY TO DOUBLE CRUDE-BY-RAIL SHIPMENTS TO DELAWARE REFINERY: PBF Energy says it plans to expand its crude shipments by rail to its 180,000 barrel-per-day Delaware City refinery to take advantage of cheaper North American crudes at the expense of more expensive foreign crudes. PBF plans to double its shipments to 40,000 barrels per day by September, with total crude by rail capacity exceeding 110,000 bpd by January 2013. [Reuters website report, 8-24-12]

CSX RESUMES OPERATIONS THROUGH ELLICOTT CITY, MD., FOLLOWING DERAILMENT CLEANUP: CSX resumed train operations over its line in Ellicott City, Maryland, at 4 pm Aug. 23. CSX apologizes for the disruption and thanks the residents and merchants of Ellicott City for their understanding. The company is extremely grateful to all the first responders who are working with it in response to this tragedy.  [CSX, 8-23-12]

UNION PACIFIC’S ‘EXPERIMENTAL LOCOMOTIVE’ 9900 IN SERVICE: Union Pacific's experimental locomotive, the UP 9900, uses three different onboard filters to reduce emissions. Over the next year and a half, the railroad will test the locomotive in California. The new locomotive is a ‘critical step’ in meeting the Environmental Protection Agency's Tier 4 emission standard, which will be required after 2015. UP is investing $20-million in more than two dozen experimental locomotive. [Sacramento Bee website report, 8-23-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending August 18, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 293,916 carloads, down 2.1 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-23-12]

NEW MICHIGAN SHORT LINE AUTHORIZED: In a decision announced Aug. 23, the Surface Transportation Board said it was provisionally authorizing Mineral Range Inc. to acquire from Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad Co. and to operate over 12 miles of rail line plus 1.9 miles of railbanked right-of-way in Marquette County, Michigan. [Railway Age website report, 8-23-12]

FREIGHT POLICY COUNCIL FORMED: The creation of a national freight policy will be the key objective of the Freight Policy Council, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The council, which will find ways to improve the U.S. freight system, is being formed as part of a major provision in the $104-billion surface transportation bill.  [Journal of Commerce website report, 8-23-12]

INLAND PORT BEING DEVELOPED IN S.C.: Norfolk Southern plans to invest $7.5-million in an inland port development project near Greer, S.C. The railroad is working with the South Carolina Ports Authority on the project, which would handle containers from the port's customers such as BMW. The facility is expected to open by September next year. [Journal of Commerce website report, 8-22-12]

CSX COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN ELLICOTT CITY, MD.; TWO KILLED: Two 19-year-old women died Aug. 21 in the derailment of a CSX coal train in Ellicott City, Maryland, an accident that left the historic town at a standstill. According to the Howard County police department, 21 cars of an 80-car coal train derailed or overturned. Rescue workers found two females dead in the wreckage at the scene, and some of the derailed train cars had crushed vehicles parked nearby. According to county police, the two train crew members were unhurt. The cause of the derailment is being investigated [Baltimore Sun website report, 8-21-12]

CSX RAIL INCIDENT IN MD. PROMPTS NTSB INVESTIGATION: The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of an accident in Ellicott City, Md., which involved the derailment of a CSX coal train. The incident claimed the lives of two women college students who were sitting on a railroad bridge above a road. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 8-21-12]

NEW HIGH-SPEED TRAIN MOCK-UP UNVEILED IN ITALY: Bombardier Transportation said Italian rail operator Trenitalia has unveiled a full scale mock-up of the of the Frecciarossa 1000 high speed train currently being built by Bombardier and consortium partner AnsaldoBreda. Bombardier says the new train offers an unusually high acceleration that ensures excellent traveling times even on winding routes. [Railway Age website report, 8-20-12]

CSX RANKS AMONG TOP ‘SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE’ STOCKS: CSX Corporation is included on the Dividend Channel’s list of the top 25 ‘Socially Responsible Dividend Stocks,’ ranked No. 17. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-20-12]

PROJECT TO RAISE BNSF TRACKS IN N.D. GETS FAST-TRACKED: Construction will soon begin on raising 15 miles of BNSF track in the Devils Lake region of North Dakota, used by both BNSF and Amtrak, to avoid rising water levels. The $100-million project is one of four that President Barack Obama put on the fast track. [Fargo Forum website report, 8-20-12]

PORT OF N.D. SET TO GROW: The Port of North Dakota is four years into operations and has more employees than predicted. It's also in expansion mode, and 4,000 feet of new track is being installed that will double both its intermodal capacity and loading capacity for oil. Additional track work is planned to help shippers load and unload their products. [Jamestown Sun website report, 8-20-12]

COMPANY PLANS TO BUILD HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE IN TEXAS: A Texas company is planning to build a bullet train that would move passengers from Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston in 90 minutes. The company, backed by a group led by Central Japan Railway Co., aims to have bullet trains moving at 205 mph between Houston and the metroplex by 2020 without government funding. [Longview News-Journal website report, 8-17-12]

INVESTMENT PLAN FOR NORTHEAST CORRIDOR BEING STUDIED: The Federal Railroad Administration has completed its first five of eight scheduled public Scoping Meetings for NEC Future: A Rail Investment Plan for the Northeast Corridor, which it is developing in cooperation with Amtrak, which owns most of the Corridor. It calls for investing $151-billion to modernize the nation’s busiest passenger railroad. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-17-12]

U.P. MAKES PROGRESS ON DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT BETWEEN L.A. & TEXAS: Construction of Union Pacific's double main line project between Los Angeles and El Paso, Texas, is moving ahead as track-laying operations are soon to begin in Pima County, Arizona, according to the company. The project was postponed due to the recession, but work resumed last year and the project is about 65 pct done. [Inside Tucson Business website report, 8-17-12]

NEW RAIL-SERVED CRUDE OIL TERMINAL IN SERVICE IN FLORIDA: The Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway, a RailAmerica Inc. property, is now serving a new crude oil-unloading terminal developed by Genesis Energy, L.P. The Walnut Hill, Florida, terminal, which started service on August 13, is designed to receive approximately 100-car unit trains of crude oil via the AGR from various shale regions in the U.S. and Canada. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-17-12]

N.J. TRANSIT TO OFFER ONLINE TICKETING: New Jersey Transit will become the nation’s first commuter railroad to offer online ticketing. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-17-12]

ONTARIO NORTHLANDER TO MAKE LAST RUN SEPT. 28: The Ontario Northland Railway’s Toronto-Cochrane, ON Northlander passenger train - part of one of only three intercity train services in Canada not operated by VIA Rail Canada - will make its last run September 28. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-17-12]

KANSAS TO STUDY PASSENGER RAIL ISSUES: The Kansas state legislature has voted to create an interim study committee to investigate passenger rail issues in the state. These include extending Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer north into Kansas to connect with the Southwest Chief (the goal around which NFA was organized) and what the state needs to do to preserve the Chief’s current route. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-17-12]

SHORT LINE PENNSYLVANIA & SOUTHERN COMPLETES TRACK REHABILITATION PROJECT: To accommodate new traffic and longer and heavier trains, as well as to improve service, the Pennsylvania & Southern Railway recently completed a nearly $500,000 tie and rail rejuvenation project between its Letterkenny yard and the CSX line in Chambersburg, Pa. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-17-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending August 11, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 289,172 carloads, down 1.2 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-16-12]

TSI OPENS NEW RAILCAR REPAIR SHOP IN NEBRASKA: Transportation Services, Inc. (TSI) says it has opened its new railcar repair shop in Chadron, Nebraska, situated on the Nebraska Northwestern Railroad's lines, and with interchange access to both BNSF and Canadian Pacific. [Railway Age website report, 8-16-12]

FEDS GRANT $100,000 TOWARD STUDY TO RESTORE RAIL SERVICE IN ALABAMA: The Federal Railroad Administration today announced it has obligated $100,000 in response to an application from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to study the restoration of Amtrak passenger rail service between Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile. [Federal Railroad Administration, 8-16-12]

CSX, NS ENHANCING NETWORKS TO ACCOMMODATE MORE INTERMODAL: CSX and Norfolk Southern are at work making yards bigger and enhancing bridges and tunnels to have room for more cars that haul intermodal containers. Railroads say intermodal shipping is quicker and more efficient. In addition, it can save 15 pct to 20 pct off shipping by truck alone [Bloomberg Businessweek, 8-16-12]

ROMNEY VOWS TO END AMTRAK FUNDING: Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said in an interview that he would eliminate federal funding for Amtrak if he is elected in November. In an interview with CNN's Fortune Magazine, the presumptive GOP nominee identified the national passenger rail service as a program that would be on the chopping block in a Romney administration. [The Hill website report, 8-15-12]

UNION PACIFIC TO TEST EMISSIONS TECHNOLOGY IN 25 LOCOMOTIVES: Union Pacific will partner with EMD to develop 25 experimental locomotives that are based in two rail yards in California and using $20-million test of new technology designed to reduce diesel emissions from freight locomotives. [Railway Age website report, 8-14-12]

SAN DIEGO REVAMPING TROLLEY ROUTES: San Diego's Metropolitan Transit System in September will alter its operations pattern for the San Diego Trolley, aiming to eliminate some transfers and improve travel times. [Railway Age website report, 8-14-12]

METROLINX AWARDS CONTRACT FOR REPOWERING OF 11 LOCOMOTIVES: Wabtec Corp. subsidiary MotivePower has obtained a $45-million contract from Metrolinx to repower 11 locomotives with new engines and propulsion systems that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 emission standards. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-14-12]

CN LANDS DEAL TO MOVE FRAC SAND FROM WISCONSIN PLANT: CN has reached a multi-year pact with Superior Silica Sands to move frac sand from a new 85-acre processing plant under construction in northern Wisconsin. Superior Silica Sands its plant and rail storage facility near Poskin that’s designed to produce up to 2.4 million tons of frac sand products annually. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-14-12]

U.P. INVESTING $7.4-M FOR MISSOURI TRACK IMPROVEMENT: Union Pacific Railroad is enhancing Missouri's transportation infrastructure by investing $7.4-million in the rail line that runs between just west of Jefferson City and Pleasant Hill. The project is in progress and is scheduled to be completed by the end of October. [Union Pacific, 8-14-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN HIGHLIGHTS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN TV SPOTS: Norfolk Southern has launched a new television commercial that showcases the railroad’s role as a creator of economic possibilities. ‘City of Possibilities’ is in 30- and 60-second versions and  is a whimsical portrayal of a boy and his dog, and the steady growth of a railroad-served community that springs up while they sleep. Norfolk Southern, 8-12-12]

RISE IN COAL DEMAND COULD MEAN BETTER MARKET FOR RAILROADS: Demand for coal is on the increase in U.S. markets, most visibly along western freight rail tracks where coal loadings have risen in the third quarter - a clear contrast with 2011 levels. Analyst Brandon Oglenski attributes the upward swing to hotter summer temperatures and "higher natural gas prices," and predicts better market prospects for railroads if the coal trends remain positive. [Street Insider website report, 8-13-12]

FEDS GRANT $10-M TO STUDY HUMAN FACTOR RAIL SAFETY: The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded up to $10-million to Alion Science and Technology to study human activity during rail operations and maintenance. The goal is to determine how to reduce human factors as a cause of incidents. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-13-12]

CANADIAN PACIFIC TO DISCONTINUE CONTAINER SERVICE AT MILWAUKEE: The Canadian Pacific Railway will discontinue its container service at the Port of Milwaukee. The company said the decision to close the intermodal operation at the port as of Sept. 1 is part of an ongoing effort by the railroad to enhance service, reliability and efficiency systemwide. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website report, 8-13-12]

CSX INTERMODAL TERMINALS WINS DESIGN AWARD: CSX Intermodal Terminals Inc. and EMH&T have won the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio ‘2012 Engineering Excellence Outstanding Achievement Award’ for the design of CSX Intermodal Terminal's Northwest Ohio intermodal terminal. [CSX, 8-13-12]

NEW RAIL SPUR IN MARTISBURG, W.VA., WIDENS ACCESS TO CSX, NS: A newly opened $10-million, 1.25-mile Winchester & Western rail spur in Martinsburg, W.Va., is expected to give shippers more access to CSX and Norfolk Southern service, according to Brian Costenbader, Essroc Cement senior director of logistics. It will help make Essroc's facility more efficient because the company would save on transport costs, Costenbader said. [Martinsburg Journal website report, 8-11-12]

FLORIDA EAST COAST TO IMPLEMENT HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICE BY END OF 2014: Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway announced that it will be moving forward with the development of a passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando, with plans for the service to launch by the end of 2014. The railroad will need to build 40 miles of new track to connect the service to Orlando International Airport. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-10-12]

AMTRAK CONSIDERS REROUTE OF TEXAS EAGLE BETWEEN DALLAS & FORT WORTH: An Aug. 31 deadline for Amtrak to decide if it wants to move forward on rerouting the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle over the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) tracks between Dallas and Fort Worth is approaching. The proposal to make improvements to the TRE line and reroute the Eagle was awarded a $7.2-million federal High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail grant, and the deadline was imposed in the terms of the grant agreement between the transit agencies that jointly operate TRE and the Federal Railroad Administration. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-10-12]

FORT WAYNE-CHICAGO RAIL SERVICE TO BE STUDIED: The Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association has secured funds to conduct a feasibility study for the restoration of service between Fort Wayne and Chicago.  The $80,000 study will build the business case for the service, with an eye toward an eventual extension of service to Columbus, Ohio. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 8-10-12]

REGIONAL RAIL ACQUIRES DIAMONDBACK SIGNAL: Kennett Square, Pa.-based Regional Rail LLC has acquired a majority ownership interest in Diamondback Signal LLC. The latter specializes in the design, construction, and maintenance of signal installations for railroad/highway crossings, and was formed in January of this year. [Railway Age website report, 8-10-12]

CN GETS SUPPORT FOR QUEBEC-LABRADOR RAIL LINE STUDY: CN reports that a customer group of mining companies – Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd., New Millennium Iron Corp., Cap-Ex Ventures Ltd., and Alderon Iron Ore Corp. – has committed to work with CN on a feasibility study into the construction of a proposed rail line and terminal handling facility to serve the Quebec/Labrador iron ore range. [CN, 8-10-12]

TWIN CITIES TO HOST KEY RAIL CONFERENCE IN 2014: The Minneapolis-St. Paul region will host the 2014 Rail-Volution Conference, which is expected to attract hundreds of attendees from across the country. The annual conference will bring together citizen advocates, developers, business leaders, planners, local elected officials, transit operators and government officials from more than 300 communities to discuss ways to build livable communities with transit. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-10-12]

RAIL MARKETS ‘REMAIN RESILIENT,’ BOMBARDIER SAYS: Bombardier Inc. reported Aug. 9 that its Transportation unit had a strong second-quarter, though earnings were off slightly due to the timing of large deliveries. "The rail industry markets remain resilient in spite of the challenges of the global economy," [Railway Age website report, 8-9-12]

PORTLAND, OREGON, PORT COMPLETES RAIL YARD EXPANSION: The port of Portland, Oregon, recently completed a major rail yard expansion in the city’s largest industrial park. Now fully operational, the $11-million South Rivergate yard expansion was the last in a series of four recent rail and road improvement projects located in the Rivergate Industrial District. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-9-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported gains in weekly rail traffic for the week ending August 4, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 288,229 carloads, up 0.4 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-9-12]

CHICAGO METRA BREAKS GROUND ON CICERO STATION PROJECT: Illinois, local and Metra officials gathered Aug. 7 to mark the beginning of a $4.5-million project to rehabilitate Metra’s Cicero Station on the BNSF line. When the rehabilitation work is completed in about 18 months, Cicero riders will have a safe, modern and appealing rail station and a new, paved parking lot with 136 spaces and room for the possible addition of 100 more. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-9-12]

K.C. STREETCAR PLAN MOVES FORWARD: Following years of political indecision, as well as confusion surrounding the modes of light rail transit and streetcar and their differing applications, Kansas City, Missouri, has approved a special tax district in its downtown to fund a $100-million, two-mile streetcar line. [Railway Age website report, 8-8-12]

KCS PROMOTES DAVID EBBRECHT TO EXECUTIVE V.P. & CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: Kansas City Southern announced the promotion of David R. Ebbrecht from executive vice president operations to executive vice president and chief operating officer for KCS and its U.S. subsidiary, The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR).  In this position, Mr. Ebbrecht will continue to coordinate closely with the leadership of Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (KCSM). [Kansas City Southern, 8-8-12]

RAILROADS HAULING MORE LUMBER FOR HOUSING: New-home construction climbed to the highest level in about four years in June. CSX, Union Pacific and Canadian National are now hauling more lumber, so much so that UP needed to pull rail cars from storage, something it hadn't done in almost four years. [Bloomberg website report, 8-8-12]

LAS VEGAS EXPRESS SELECTS CONTRACTOR FOR TRAIN STATION: Las Vegas Railway Express Inc. has announced the selection of R&O Construction as the general contractor for the X Train’s Las Vegas Station. The company plans to establish a luxury passenger train service between southern California and Las Vegas. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-8-12]

U.P.’S PROJECT BOOSTS N.M. BORDER TOWN’S ECONOMY: Union Pacific's $400-million rail project in Santa Teresa, N.M., will help the area become a prime location for development. The company’s rail hub will span 2,200 acres and create 600 permanent jobs, according to Jerry Pacheco, an economic development adviser. [Washington Post website report, 8-8-12]

CAPITOL CORRIDOR TO TRIM SERVICE TO ADDRESS FUEL COSTS: Beginning Aug. 13, the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority will reduce the number of weekday trains it operates between Oakland and Sacramento. The savings will be used to help address steep increases in diesel fuel prices. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-8-12]

AMTRAK COMPLETES FIRST TWO PHASES OF SEATTLE MAINTENANCE FACILITY: Amtrak has marked the completion of the first and second of four phases of a major upgrade to a Seattle maintenance facility, which will support Amtrak operations and maintenance agreements in the Pacific Northwest for Empire Builder, Coast Starlight, Cascades and Sounder trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-7-12]

WATCO TO BEGIN OPERATING TEXAS SHORT LINE IN SEPTEMBER: Watco will begin operating the Pecos Valley Southern Railroad (PVSR) in west Texas September 1 under a long-term lease agreement. The 19-mile short line operates between Saragosa and Pecos, Texas. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-7-12]

NJ TRANSIT TRAIN EVACUATED OVER DIESEL FUMES: About 70 passengers were evacuated from a train at the Wood-Ridge rail station Aug. 6 and three NJ Transit workers were taken to a nearby hospital because of strong diesel fumes on a Pascack Valley line train, officials said. [North Jersey website report, 8-6-12]

BNSF TRAIN DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE IN MONTANA: A BNSF train west of Plevna, Montana, has derailed and eight cars carrying alcohol are on fire. The railroad says that 15 rail cars went off track around 2:45 p.m. Aug. 5. Fourteen of the cars were carrying denatured alcohol, which is used as a fuel additive. The fifteenth car was carrying cardboard. [Billings Gazette website report, 8-6-12]

BNSF, CSX TO SERVE PLANNED ALL AMERICAN PIPELINE FACILITIES: BNSF and CSX will provide freight rail service for Plains All American Pipeline's $125-million plan to build crude-oil facilities in Tampa, Colo., and Yorktown, Va. BNSF is slated to serve the Colorado facility, while CSX will serve the one in Virginia, according to Plains All American Pipeline. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-6-12]

CP BEGINS WORK ON 3,000-SQ FT RAIL STORAGE FACILITY IN N.Y. STATE: Canadian Pacific has started to clear dirt and conduct other preparatory operations for its 3,000-square-foot rail storage structure in Colonie, N.Y. The facility is expected to provide parking for trains bound for New York's Port of Albany transportation facilities. Construction is scheduled for completion by October. [Albany Times Union website report, 8-6-12]

BOMBARDIER LANDS 10-YEAR CONTRACT FOR AIRTRAIN SYSTEM: Bombardier Transportation obtained a $243-million contract from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to provide operations and maintenance services for another 10 years and maintain a capital asset upgrade program for the AirTrain system at Newark Liberty International Airport. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-6-12]

WABTEC ACQUIRES COMPANY IN BRAZIL: Wabtec Corp. has completed the acquisition of Winco Equipamentos Ferroviarios Ltda. Based in Sao Paolo, Brazil, with annual sales of $15-million, Winco is a marketing and sales company that provides engineering and assembly, service, technical support and logistics services. The firm has a network of customer relationships in the freight-rail and passenger-transit markets throughout Brazil. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-6-12]

ALSTOM GETS SWISS ORDER FOR EIGHT HIGH-SPEED TRAIN SETS: Alstom won a $247.5-million order from the SBB to supply eight more New Pendolino high-speed trains that will be added to the Swiss federal railway operator’s existing fleet of seven trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-6-12]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: FreightCar America Inc. reported second-quarter revenue of $181.2-million and net income of $5.6-million, or 46 cents per diluted share, compared with revenue of $97.6-million and net income of $200,000, or two cents per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2011. [Railway Age website report, 8-6-12]

PETROLEUM IS A GROWING BUSINESS FOR CLASS I RAILROADS: BNSF saw a 75 pct increase from year-ago levels in its petroleum carloads in the second quarter. Union Pacific saw a 12 pct gain in its fracking-related freight. "It’s a new growth source that helps to mitigate what’s probably a temporary dislocation of an old energy source [coal]," said Jeffrey Kauffman, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach. [Bloomberg Businessweek website report, 8-2-12]

UNION PACIFIC HISTORICAL CONVENTION ATTRACTS DIVERSE SET OF RAIL FANS: The 28th Annual Union Pacific Historical Society event drew a crowd of rail fans from across the country and the world. "When you think about trains in America, you think Union Pacific Railroad," said Rene Camplair from Germany. UP's Joe Santamaria and Bob Morrison served as keynote speakers for the event. [North Platty Telegraph website report, 8-2-12]

MEXICO EYES RAIL TO LEVERAGE CROSS-BORDER TRADE: Mexico's expansion of the Lazaro Cardenas Pacific port is seen as a competitive move to secure more business from cross-border trading. Kansas City Southern will play a role in this, according to Jaime Roberts, Mexican Association of Industrial Parks president. "We're getting our Panama Canal through rail," Roberts said. "That's the way we are going to compete." [San Antonio Express-News website report, 8-2-12]

JULY 2012 RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail carloads originated in July 2012 totaled 1,103,733, down 7,787 carloads or 0.7 pct, compared with July 2011. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-2-12]

GENESEE & WYOMING PLANS RAIL LINE IN LABRADOR TROUGH: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and a new subsidiary, KeRail Inc., have entered into an agreement with Tata Steel Minerals Canada Ltd. (TSMC) for KeRail to provide transportation for the 4.2 million tons of iron ore TSMC expects to ship annually from a mine it is developing near Schefferville, Quebec, in the Labrador Trough. KeRail will construct an approximately 13.6-mile rail line that will connect TSMC's mine to the Tshiuetin Rail Transportation interchange point in Schefferville. [Railway Age website report, 8-2-12]

BNSF TO STRENGTHEN RAIL CAPACITY IN WASHINGTON STATE: BNSF plans a $106-million infrastructure investment to enhance its rail network in Washington state. A majority of the upgrades will focus on the route between Vancouver and the Columbia River Gorge. "This is one of the busiest rail routes in the Pacific Northwest, and we handle all types of commodities on this route," said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas. [Vancouver Columbian website report, 8-2-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN BOOSTS QUARTERLY DIVIDEND 6.4 PCT: Norfolk Southern Corporation’s Board of Directors has voted to increase the regular quarterly dividend on the company's common stock by 6.4 pct, or 3 cents per share, from 47 to 50 cents. [Norfolk Southern, 8-1-12]

UNION PACIFIC STEAM LOCOMOTIVE 844 TO VISIT IOWA STATE FAIR AUG. 9-12: Union Pacific 844 will pull a traveling exhibit 13,000 miles through 15 states as part of Union Pacific's 150th anniversary celebration. The tour makes its next stop in Des Moines to be part of the Iowa State Fair activities and will be on display August 9 through 12. [Union Pacific, 8-1-12]

METRO-NORTH TO REFURBISH TWO BRIDGES IN MOUNT VERNON, N.Y.: MTA Metro-North Railroad plans this month to refurbish two bridges in Mount Vernon, N.Y. The three-track Oak Street Bridge that carries Harlem Line trains over the road on the city’s west side is being painted, while the two-lane Fourteenth Avenue Bridge that carries automobiles over the New Haven Line on the city’s east side will undergo $350,000 in priority structural repairs. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-1-12]

GENESEE & WYOMING’S AUSTRALIAN SUBSIDIARY PURCHASES INTERMODAL TERMINAL: Genesee & Wyoming’s Australian subsidiary has completed the purchase of an intermodal and freight terminal in Alice Springs, Australia, from Asciano Services Pty Ltd. for $9.2-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, [8-1-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SHUFFLES EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT GROUP: Norfolk Southern's John Rathbone and James Squires are switching roles in the executive department. Rathbone has been named the new chief financial officer and executive vice president of finance, while Squires becomes executive vice president of administration. [R&D Magazine website report, 8-1-12]

AMTRAK EXPANDS ELECTRONIC TICKETING TO NATIONAL NETWORK: Amtrak has launched its eTicket program to all trains within its national network. The new service will enable riders to print their tickets anytime or anywhere, or by using a smart phone to present their tickets to the conductor, Amtrak said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-31-12]

PORT OF N.Y. & N.J. INVESTS $600-M IN EXPRESSRAIL SERVICE: A $600-million investment in the ExpressRail intermodal rail service has been made by the Port of New York and New Jersey in an effort to curb congestion and pollution. The effort has posted positive results as the cargo volume for the first six months of 2012 reached nearly 230,000 containers, according to the port authority. [Journal of Commerce website report, 7-31-12]

SIEMENS LANDS TRACK ELECTRIFICATION CONTRACT FOR HONOLULU’S TRANSIT SYSTEM: Siemens has obtained a multimillion-dollar order from Ansaldo Honolulu JV to electrify the track for Honolulu’s new transit-rail system. Siemens will supply 14 traction power DC rectifier substations and two tie breaker gap substations along the 20-mile system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-31-12]

CIT RAIL ORDERS 3,000 TANK CARS: CIT Group Inc. has announced that railcar lessor CIT Rail has ordered an additional 3,000 tank cars from multiple manufacturers. Deliveries are to begin in 2014. [Railway Age website report, 7-31-12]

MIAMI METRORAIL ORANGE LINE OPENS TO AIRPORT: Miami-Dade County and Florida state officials marked the grand opening of Metrorail’s Orange Line to Miami International Airport July 28. The new Orange Line is an elevated 2.4-mile spur built by a joint venture of Odebrecht and OHL at a cost of $360-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-30-12]

NEW YORK ACQUIRES FINAL STRETCH OF ‘HIGH LINE’: New York City has acquired the third and final section of the High Line from CSX. The transfer of ownership clears the way for design and construction on the final stretch of the elevated rail viaduct to extend the High Line park to West 34th Street. The High Line is a section of a former elevated New York Central Railroad spur running along the lower west side of Manhattan. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-30-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COMPLETES $20.5-M LINE IMPROVEMENT IN PITTSBURGH: Norfolk Southern completed a $20.5-million Mon Valley line improvement project in Pittsburgh to enhance service to its coal customers. The project was done in just seven days instead of a normal three-month period, according to NS. [American Cities Business Journals website report, 7-30-12]

TAMPA PORT WILL CONNECT WITH CSX FOR FASTER UNLOADING: The Tampa Port Authority's $8.9-million purchase of property will help the Florida port gain access to CSX's line to speed up cargo unloading operations and should attract more businesses to the area. The additional property will help the port's expansion plans "for cargo terminals and distribution, as well as cargo generating industrial manufacturing activities," according to the port authority. [Tampa Bay Times website report, 7-28-12]

SEPTA NAMED BEST LARGE TRANSIT SYSTEM IN NORTH AMERICA: SEPTA has been named the best large transit system in North America by the American Public Transportation Association. SEPTA was selected as best among transit agencies providing more than 20 million trips a year. There are 64 transit agencies of that size in North America, although not all applied for the APTA recognition. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 7-27-12]

GO TRANSIT SERVICE COMING TO ACTON, ONTARIO: This month, Metrolinx will start building a GO Transit station in Acton, Ontario. The station, which will be served by two morning and two evening trains on the Kitchener line, will provide a connection between Acton and downtown Toronto. It will also serve commuters traveling between Acton and the Georgetown and Brampton areas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-27-12]

WABTEC LANDS EUROPEAN BRAKE EQUIPMENT CONTRACT: Wabtec Corp. has signed a contract to provide brake equipment for freight cars that lessor GATX Rail Europe plans to purchase from various European-based suppliers. Under the contract, which is valued at about $18 million, Wabtec will produce various models of brake systems in Europe. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-27-12]

FORT WORTH TEX RAIL GETS FEDERAL GRANT: Fort Worth Transportation Authority ("the T") has been granted $4-million by the Federal Transit Administration to continue advancing TEX Rail, a 37-mile regional passenger rail service linking southwestern portions of Fort Worth, and the city's downtown area, with Grapevine and with Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. [Railway Age website report, 7-27-12]

U.P. SAYS $400-M PROJECT WILL SPUR BUSINESS GROWTH IN N.M.: Union Pacific's $400-million intermodal and refueling project in Santa Teresa, N.M., will attract businesses to the area, according to UP spokeswoman Zoe Richmond. "Within a couple of years, Home Depot relocated next to us and has one of its largest regional distribution facilities in the area," said Richmond. "We will be focused on courting new customers, working with other business trying to get business to grow either in the area or to relocate to this area." [Las Cruces Sun-News website report, 7-27-12]

U.S. OIL SHIPMENTS BY RAIL ROSE 38 PCT FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR: U.S. rail shipments of oil and petroleum products rose 38 pct in the first half of 2012 compared with the same period last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. The Energy Information Administration attributed the increase to rising production levels from the Bakken Region in North Dakota. An estimated 241,000 rail cars were loaded during the six-month period, AAR said. [Oil & Gas Journal website report, 7-27-12]

JACK KORALESKI ELECTED TO U.P. BOARD: John J. (Jack) Koraleski, 61, has been elected to the company's board of directors, effective immediately. Koraleski serves as president and chief executive officer of Union Pacific Corporation, as well as president and CEO of Union Pacific Railroad Company, Union Pacific Corporation's principle operating subsidiary.[Union Pacific, 7-26-12]

AMTRAK WANTS REVAMP OF WASHINGTON UNION STATION: Amtrak wants to invest $6.5-billion to $7.5-billion to overhaul Union Station in Washington, D.C. The plan includes the addition of a train shed and construction of new concourses and street entrances with commercial, retail and residential spaces. "This plan will transform the station into a world-class transportation hub to serve the region and the mobility needs of generations of passengers yet to come," Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said. Nothing was said about how the plan would be paid for. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-26-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 21, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 286,254 carloads, down 1.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-26-12]

U.P. AWARDS GRAND PRIZE IN VIDEO CONTEST: Celebrity judges from the fields of filmmaking, comedy, and television today helped Union Pacific award the $15,000 Grand Prize to Brock and Nellie Boyts of Los Angeles for their Great Big Rollin' Railroad remake video. The contest was part of Union Pacific's year-long 150th anniversary celebration. Contestants were invited to re-create Union Pacific's classic 1970s television commercial, ‘We Can Handle It,’ and add a contemporary spin using music genres such as blues, pop, and rock among several others. The contest brought in 180 entries. [Union Pacific, 7-25-12]

CN SEEKS MORE MINING FIRMS TO MOVE AHEAD WITH $4.9-B PROJECT: Canadian National needs more deals with mining companies for iron ore shipments if it is to move ahead with the construction of an estimated $4.9-billion, 500-mile rail line project in Canada. "If they do, we would move forward, file an application, do the feasibility study and continue to update you. If they don't, we wish them good luck and move on to other opportunities," said CN CEO Claude Mongeau. [Reuters website report, 7-25-12]

CN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Net income for CN for the second-quarter 2012 was $631-million or $1.44 per diluted share, compared with net income of $538-million or $1.18 per diluted share for the comparable period of 2011. Revenues increased 13 pct [CN, 7-25-12]

CPR ADJUSTS GROWTH FORECAST FOR CRUDE SHIPMENTS: A surging demand for crude-by-rail shipments in energy fields, including the Bakken Region in North Dakota, will propel Canadian Pacific to handle 70,000 crude-oil carloads per year by 2013 instead of 2014, according to Jane O'Hagan, CP chief marketing officer. The railroad is also bolstering its resources for better handling of energy-related shipments for hydraulic fracturing and shale projects, said O'Hagan. [Reuters website report, 7-25-12]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: For the second-quarter of 2012, Norfolk Southern reported net income of $524-million, 6 pct lower than the second-quarter 2011. Diluted earnings per share were an all-time record $1.60, up 3 pct compared with the same period last year. Second-quarter 2011 net income included favorable, non-recurring income tax-related benefits totaling $63-million or $0.18 per diluted share. [Norfolk Southern, 7-24-12]

CALIFORNIA TRENCH PROJECT TO REDUCE RAIL CONGESTION: A $172.6-million, 1.4-mile trench project in San Gabriel, California, is expected to improve train traffic for Union Pacific and Amtrak. "In addition to reducing congestion and improving air quality, this vital project is an important link in our regional strategy of moving cargo containers by train rather than in diesel trucks on our freeways," said Michael Antonovich, Los Angeles County supervisor and Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority board member. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-24-12]

UNION PACIFIC PROPOSES TO BUILD $200-M CLASSIFICATION YARD IN TEXAS: Union Pacific officials are reportedly talking with local landowners and government leaders about building one of the state’s largest railroad classification yards between Hearne and Mumford, Texas. The proposed $200-million yard would be built on the west side of two sets of north/south tracks that run through Mumford. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-24-12]

WABTEC SETS RECORD 2-Q EARNINGS: Wabtec Corp. said it notched record earnings and sales in its second quarter 2012. Income from operations was a record $101-million. [Railway Age website report, 7-24-12]

GENESEE & WYOMING WANTS TO ACQUIRE RAILAMERICA: Genesee & Wyoming plans to acquire RailAmerica for $1.39-billion in cash. The purchase would blend the two largest short-line and regional railroad operators in North America and give the company 108 railroads. The purchase must be approved by the Surface Transportation Board. [MarketWatch website report, 7-23-12]

FEDS GRANT $6.3-M TOWARD REDEVELOPMENT OF TRAIN STATION NEAR MICHICAN STATE UNIVERSITY: The Capital Area Transportation Authority in East Lansing, Michigan, has been granted $6.3-million by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to redevelop a former Amtrak station near Michigan State University into the Capital Area Multi-Modal Gateway Project, which will improve bicycle and pedestrian access and connections to local bus and rail service. [U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 7-23-12]

GE HIRING FOR TEXAS LOCOMOTIVE, MINING-EQUIPMENT OPERATIONS: General Electric is hiring and training workers for its locomotive and mining-equipment operations in Fort Worth. Within the next 12 months, 275 people will either have gotten a new job or an upgrade due to the initiative, said Chancellor Erma Hadley of Tarrant County College, which is training workers. GE plans to invest almost $100-million to expand its locomotive facility in the area. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 7-23-12]

PBF ENERGY TO INVEST $60-M FOR RAIL EXPANSION IN DELAWARE: PBF Energy plans an estimated $60-million investment to expand rail infrastructure for its refinery in Delaware City, Delaware. The project is intended to help meet the growing demand for crude oil as production in North America is on an upswing. [Reuters website report, 7-23-12]

N.E. CORRIDOR COMMISSION HOLDS FIRST PUBLIC MEETING: The Northeast Corridor Commission held its first public meeting July 19 gathering together government and stakeholder representatives to discuss the opportunities and challenges involved in developing the corridor.Amtrak debriefed the commission on its 2012 update for its vision for the Northeast Corridor. The next step will center on reviewing how upgrades to the corridor will impact communities and the environment, and will involve soliciting public input. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 7-20-12]

RAIL CAR MANUFACTURER NIPPON SHARYO OPENS PLANT IN ILLINOIS: Japanese rail car manufacturer Nippon Sharyo Manufacturing opened its first U.S. plant July 19 in Rochelle, Illinois, another step in the ongoing passenger rail industry renaissance taking place in America that will create 250 manufacturing jobs. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 7-20-12]

CANADA NAMES ARBITRATOR IN CP RAIL DISPUTE: Canadian Labor Minister Lisa Raitt has named William Kaplan as the arbitrator in the dispute between the Canadian Pacific Railway and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. [Reuters website report, 7-20-12]

GE TRANSPORTATION DELIVERS 5000TH EVOLUTION SERIES LOCOMOTIVE: GE Transportation marked a milestone July 19 when they rolled out the 5,000th Evolution Series locomotive. They delivered the locomotive to Union Pacific Railroad under the road number 7964, which will be featured in the Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days event in honor of the railroad’s 150th anniversary celebration. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-20-12]

CANADIAN PACIFIC BREAKS GROUND ON INTERMODAL PROJECT IN ALBERTA: Work on Canadian Pacific's proposed intermodal rail facility in Edmonton, Alberta, has begun after being stalled for five years. The project began after the city approved construction of a $205-million interchange plan that improves access to a CP yard. [Edmondton Journal website report, 7-20-12]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT GETS $5.8-B TO START CONSTRUCTION: California's high-speed rail project will receive $5.8-billion after Governor Brown approved legislation funding construction of the first leg of the system. Part of the money comes from federal funds and the rest from bonds the state will issue. [CNN website report, 7-19-12]

CHICAGO’S METRA TO REHABILITATE 176 RAIL CARS: Metra plans to rehabilitate 176 rail cars built between 1995 and 1998 by Amerail (originally Morrison Knudson). All work is being completed at Metra’s 49th Street Car shop. By rehabbing the cars and adding certain amenities in house, agency officials anticipate saving millions of dollars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-19-12]

FTA SAYS TUCSON NEEDS TO ADD ANOTHER STREETCAR TO ITS ORDER: Tucson's order of seven streetcars from United Streetcar LLC is not adequate to serve the city's four-mile line, now under construction, the Federal Transit Administration says. FTA recommends an eighth car be purchased. [Railway Age website report, 7-18-12]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation reported 2012 second quarter net income of $1-billion or $2.10 per diluted share, compared to $785-million or $1.59 per diluted share in the second quarter 2011. [Union Pacific, 7-19-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported gains in weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 14, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 286,156 carloads, up 1.7 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-19-12]

OSHA FINES TWO RAILROADS IN VIOLATION OF WHISTLEBLOWER LAW: The U.S. Dept. of Labor has ordered two railroad companies to pay three workers a total of $650,729.14 in back wages and damages for retaliating against them for reporting workplace injuries and safety concerns. OSHA determined that Illinois Central Railroad violated the FRSA by retaliating against two employees in separate incidents for reporting workplace injuries at the Markham Railroad Yard in Markham, Illinois, and that Chicago Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad violated the FRSA by terminating a conductor in retaliation for raising concerns about workplace safety while serving in his role as local chairman of the union and for reporting that a trainmaster had instructed him to operate a train in violation of certain rules near Fort Wayne, Indiana. [OSHA, 7-19-12]

POST OFFICE CONSIDERS BOOSTING MAIL BY RAIL: The U.S. Postal Service is once more eyeing freight railroads as a way to lower costs and improve efficiency. In a recent report prepared by the USPS Office of Inspector General, a recommendation is made to pursue intermodal mail movement to "save transportation costs, gain long-term strategic advantages, and still continue to meet existing service standards." [Railway Age website report, 7-18-12]

INTERMODAL FACILITY PROPOSED FOR MARTINSBURG, W.VA.: A feasibility report for a proposed intermodal facility in Martinsburg, W.Va., will reportedly be positive, according to the Eastern Panhandle Inland Port Coalition. If the facility is built, it's expected that Norfolk Southern would service it. [Martinsburg Journal website report, 7-18-12]

SAND LOADING FACILITY TO BE BUILT IN N.D.: Canadian Pacific and Smart Sand have joined forces and will build a loading facility in Makoti, North Dakota. CP will then carry fracking sand to the Bakken formation and Marcellus Shale. [Reuters website report, 7-18-12]

UNION PACIFIC TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO KINDER MORGAN FACILITY IN HOUSTON: Peabody Energy has arranged a shipping deal with Union Pacific for rail access to Houston facilities. Peabody's partnership with Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is expected to expand the former's capacity for Gulf Coast export coal volume. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 7-18-12]

PANAMA CANAL PROJECT TAKING SHAPE: Construction work continues on the $3.1-billion third set of locks, part of the expansion of the Panama Canal. Crews have excavated about 31 million cubic yards of earth. About 13 million cubic yards remain, and then concrete work will follow for another year, followed by electro-mechanical work. The final major dredging project on the Pacific side of the canal is also nearing completion. [Engineering News-Record website report, 7-18-12]

AERIAL GUIDEWAY FOR DULLES METRORAIL PROJECT COMPLETED: A Bechtel-led team that’s building the first phase of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project has completed construction of the aerial guideway that will carry trains and riders over major highways and through Tysons Corner, Va. The guideway makes up three miles of the 11.7-mile alignment in the project’s first phase. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-18-12]

GENESEE & WYOMING’S AUSTRALIAN SUBSIDIARY EXPANDS IRON ORE HAULAGE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Genesee & Wyoming’s subsidiary in Australia has expanded two existing rail haulage contracts with Arrium Ltd. to transport an additional 2.7 million tons of export iron ore annually in South Australia. The company also plans to purchase new narrow gauge locomotives and rail cars, and construct a standard gauge rolling-stock maintenance facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-18-12]

CSX REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corporation announced second-quarter net earnings of $512-million or $0.49 per share, versus $506-million or $0.46 per share in the same period last year. This represents a 7 pct year-over-year improvement in earnings per share. Total revenue and volume were essentially flat when compared to the same period last year [CSX, 7-17-12]

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported second-quarter 2012 revenues of $545 million, an increase of 2 pct over second-quarter 2011 on a 4 pct increase in carloads. Second quarter revenue growth compared to 2011 was led by a 23 pct increase in Intermodal and a 15 pct increase in Automotive  revenues. [Kansas City Southern, 7-17-12]

CHICAGO TRANSIT REOPENS GRANVILLE RED LINE STATION FOLLOWING REHAB: The Chicago Transit Authority has reopened the Granville Red Line Station following a six-week rehabilitation project that was part of the $86-million Red Line North Interim Improvement initiative. Stations along the Red Line are some of the oldest on the CTA’s system. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-17-12]

TRAINS COLLIDE IN EGYPT, FOUR INJURED: Egyptian passengers fed up with waiting for their train to move put logs and rocks on the rails of a nearby track, causing two other trains to collide July 17, an Egyptian security official said. At least four people were injured. The official said some of the passengers in Giza were enraged that they had to wait for more than 30 minutes on their train to allow another train to pass, and they placed logs and rocks on the rails of the track of the other train that was holding theirs up. When the speeding train approached, the debris caused it to sideswipe another train. Three cars of the fast-moving train overturned. [Washington Post website report, 7-17-12]

WABTEC COMPLETES TEC TRAN ACQUISITION: Wabtec Corp. has completed the acquisition of Tec Tran Corp., which manufactures hydraulic braking systems and related components. Tec Tran, with annual sales of about $10-million, is the only U.S.-owned producer of hydraulic braking systems for transit cars. [Railway Age website report, 7-16-12]

RAILROADS SEE INCREASE IN LUMBER SHIPMENTS: CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific are seeing increasing shipments of lumber commodities, which hints at a recovery of the construction industry and rising demand for consumer products. U.S. rail carloads of lumber and wood products rose 11.8 pct in the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2011, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Reuters website report, 7-16-12]

AMTRAK UPDATES ITS VISION FOR NORTHEAST CORRIDOR: Amtrak has released its Vision for the Northeast Corridor: 2012 Update Report providing insight into the current state of planning and development on the corridor. The plan paints a picture of being able to catch a train in a beautifully renovated Moynihan Station in New York City, and disembarking at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station within 37 minutes,Washington within 94 minutes and Boston within 94 minutes. Amtrak estimates the improvements would cost $151-billion over the next 30 years. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 7-13-12]

DOWNEASTER SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD: Amtrak's Downeaster carried 528,292 passengers within the past year, setting a new ridership record for the service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers. 7-13-12]

NEW NORFOLK SOUTHERN INTERMODAL FACILITY IN PENNSYLVANIA GETTING READIED: Norfolk Southern’s $95-million Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility in Pennsylvania is expected to open in late 2012 or early 2013 and should initially employ 126 people. Four double-stacked trains will pass through the facility each day. The 200-acre site will have 670 paved trailer parking spaces and will initially handle 85,000 truck trailers annually. [Waynesboro Record Herald website report, 7-13-12]

MBTA ORDERS SEVEN LOCOMOTIVES FROM MOTIVEPOWER: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has committed $38-million to acquire seven new locomotives from MotivePower Inc. [Railway Age website report, 7-13-12]

MIAMI AIRPORTLINK NEARS COMPLETION: Miami-Dade Transit’s 2.4-mile AirportLink Metrorail extension is nearing completion in time for its scheduled July 28 opening. The extension is the first new rail line to open since Metrorail was established in 1984 [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-13-12]

CSX DEDICATES UPGRADED BRIDGE IN NILES, OHIO: CSX hosted a dedication ceremony for the new Fifth Street Bridge in Niles, Ohio, July 13. The upgraded bridge's higher vertical clearance helps clear the way for CSX's double-stack freight rail corridor linking East Coast sea ports with the CSX Northwest Ohio Terminal and other Midwest distribution and manufacturing hubs. [CSX, 7-13-12]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 7, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 243,156 carloads, down 1 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 203,362 trailers and containers, up 5.6 percent compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-12-12]

BOMBARDIER OPENS NEW MARKETS IN RUSSIA: Bombardier Transportation and Russian rail manufacturer UVZ have signed agreements to jointly develop and sell metros and trams in Russia. [Railway Age website report, 7-12-12]

CSX COMPLETES TRACK MAINTENANCE ‘JAMBOREE’: On July 4, CSX crews capped off this year’s ‘Jamboree,’ a track maintenance blitz designed to compress about a year's worth of rail, tie, signal and bridge work into one week. In general, the $34-million project focused on maintenance and repair tasks in Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-12-12]

GCT’S ‘WHISPERING GALLERY’ TO GET MAKOVER: MTA Metro-North has begun repairing the ceiling tiles of the ‘whispering gallery’ in the lower level of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Located outside the Oyster Bar, the gallery got its name from its acoustical qualities that result in visitors being able to stand in diagonal corners and whisper to one another as the sound carries across the arc of the ceiling. The $450,000 project will not harm the acoustical experience, Metro-North said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-12-12]

OHIO FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT CAUSES EXPLOSIONS: The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a team to investigate the derailment on Norfolk Southern tracks July 11 in Columbus, Ohio, which led to explosions and the burning of three tank cars each carrying 30,000 gallons of ethanol. Nobody aboard the train was injured but two people were hurt while investigating when a second explosion occurred. [Kansas City Star website report, 7-11-12]

HIAWATHA FARES INCREASE 3 PCT: The Hiawatha Service ticket fares increased by 3 pct on July 10, 2012. One-way fare between Chicago and Milwaukee is now $24. [Amtrak]

CALIFORNIA SENATE APPROVES $8-B FUNDING FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL: The California Senate voted July 6 in favor of an estimated $8-billion funding plan for the first stage of construction on a high-speed rail plan that will link San Francisco, Los Angeles and other major cities. "Not only will California be the first state in the nation to build a high-speed rail system to connect our urban centers, we will also modernize and improve rail systems at the local and regional level," said Dan Richard, the state's High Speed Rail Authority chairman. [Assn. of American Railroads Smartbrief, 7-9-12]

TONY INGRAM RESIGNS FROM CP RAIL BOARD: Canadian Pacific Railway board member Tony Ingram has resigned, seven weeks after a proxy battle led to the resignations of the top executives at Canada's second-largest railroad company. [Reuters website report, 7-6-12]

GRANT ADDS FUNDS TO RESTORE STEAM LOCOMOTIVE IN ALASKA: The Rasmuson Foundation will provide a $350,000 matching grant to support the mission of Engine 557 Restoration Co., a newly formed nonprofit organization charged with rehabilitating a historic steam locomotive for eventual return to service at Alaska Railroad (ARRC). In January, Steam Engine No. 557 was returned to Alaska, where it last operated along ARRC track 50 years ago, railroad officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-5-12]

JUNE 2012 RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail carloads originated in June 2012 totaled 1,140,271, down 1.3 pct compared with June 2011. Intermodal volume in June 2012 totaled 996,022, up 49,168 units or 5.2 pct compared with June 2011. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-5-12]

CN TO BUILD FIVE EXTENDED SIDINGS ON ITS B.C. NORTH LINE: CN plans to construct five extended sidings on its B.C. North Line in 2012 as part of a multi-year capital program to expand freight train capacity to handle growing freight volumes along its Edmonton-Prince Rupert corridor. [Canadian National, 7-5-12]

RAIL SERVICE RESTORATION IN N.Y. STATE REFLECTS REBIRTH OF SHORT LINES: Iowa Pacific Holdings is conducting track improvements in North Creek, N.Y., in preparation for the return of Saratoga and North Creek Railway service. The planned restoration reflects how rail transportation is more energy efficient than shipping by truck, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. [Miami Herald website report, 7-5-12]

U.P. RECEIVES MINORITY BUSINESS EXCHANGE AWARD: The Wisconsin Iowa and Central Illinois Minority Supplier Development Council presented Union Pacific Railroad with the Award of Excellence at the 2012 Iowa Minority Business Exchange in Des Moines, Iowa. Union Pacific was recognized for its ongoing efforts to purchase from minority- and women-owned businesses. [Union Pacific, 7-5-12]

MASTER PLAN FOR L.A. UNION STATION APPROVED: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has approved a contract to create a master plan for the city’s historic Union Station and its surrounding 40 acres. The plan process will encompass passenger and circulation improvements, rail and joint development opportunities, high-speed rail station alternatives, better access for pedestrians and bicyclists, and clearer linkages among transit modes on site. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-3-12]

CHICAGO INTRODUCES 5000-SERIES RAIL CARS TO GREEN LINE: The Chicago Transit Authority has begun using its newest rail cars on the Green Line. The new, 5000-series cars will replace the 35-year-old 2400-series cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-3-12]

SEVENTY ADDITIONAL M109 TRAIN SETS ORDERED FOR PARIS: An Alstom-Bombardier consortium has obtained a $1.3-billion order for 70 additional duplex trainsets, M109s, for Paris-based public transport operator RATP.  Bombardier will supply 201 rail cars under the order, for which RATP exercised an option included in an April 2009 contract for an initial order of 60 M109 trainsets. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-3-12]

UNION PACIFIC SEEKS TO BUY LAND IN ARIZONA FOR CLASSIFICATION YARD: Union Pacific continues to seek approvals to build a $250-million Red Rock Classification Yard project in Pinal County, Arizona. The proposed project is expected to provide almost 6,300 direct and indirect jobs, as well as $26-billion in economic gains in the next two decades. [Arizona Republic website report, 7-2-12]

R.R. MUSEUM MOVES TO FRISCO, TEXAS: The Museum of the American Railroad's depot is moving from Fair Park in Dallas to a 12-arce site in Frisco, Texas. The Houston & Texas Central railroad building, which was in Dallas since the 1960s, is filled with railroad memorabilia. The museum is slated to open at its new location late this year. [KXAS-TV website report, 7-2-12]

UNION PACIFIC CELEBRATES ‘150 YEARS OF BUILDING AMERICA’: What President Abraham Lincoln started 150 years ago, Union Pacific carries on today. Founded July 1, 1862, when Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act, Union Pacific celebrates 150 years of building America. Starting by helping construct the first transcontinental railroad, surviving the country's multiple economic crises, supporting America's military men and women through conflicts and forging forward to overcome hurricanes, floods and droughts, Union Pacific remains a trusted mainstay on America's landscape and is one of just a handful of companies to achieve the 150-year milestone. [Union Pacific, 7-1-12]