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Bull Sheet Newswire

ISRAEL OPENS RAILWAY EXTENSION: Israel opened an extension of the Tel Aviv-Ashkelon line south to Shderot on Dec. 25. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-31-13]

CHINA OPENS 933 MILES OF NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINES: China marked the final days of 2013 by opening a number of high-speed rail lines totaling 933 miles in various parts of the country, allowing maximum speeds of between 124 and 217 miles per hour. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-31-13]

TRAINS COLLIDE IN N.D., TOWN EVACUATED: The town of Casselton, N.D., was evacuated Dec. 30 following the collision of two BNSF freight trains setting off a large fire and explosions. According to the railroad, one of the trains was carrying grain and the other was carrying crude oil. Due to the heat of the blaze, the fire will be allowed to burn itself out, officials said. [Los Angeles Times website report, 12-30-13]

MASS BAY TO BUILD $65-M TRAIN MAINTENANCE FACILITY: The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad, contract operator for MBTA trains, says it will build a $65-million train maintenance facility on the south side of South Station to allow for more efficient equipment repairs and to serve as a job training center. [Railway Age website report, 12-30-13]

FEC CHRISTMAS TRAIN SURPASSES GOAL: Florida East Coast Railway's 2013 Toys for Tots Christmas Train surpassed last year's fundraising by more than 139 pct. [Railway Age website report, 12-30-13]

SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 16 IN RUSSIAN TRAIN STATION: An explosion at a train station in the Russian city of Volgograd dilled at least 16 people Dec. 29, officials said. The suspected female suicide bomber set off the device before she could pass through a metal detector, investigators said. An unexploded grenade was also found. [CNN website report, 12-29-13]

TRAIN FIRE IN INDIA KILLS DOZENS: More than two dozen passengers were killed early Dec. 28 when an express train traveling through the center of India caught fire. Most of the passengers in the car where the fire broke out were sleeping at the time, and an electrical shortcircuit was suspected as the cause. [New York Times website report, 12-28-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported 289,528 total U.S. carloads for the week ending Dec. 21, 2013, down 0.3 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-26-13]

AMTRAK OPENS METROPOLITAN LOUNGE IN LOS ANGELES: Amtrak has opened its new Metropolitan Lounge at Los Angeles Union Station. The lounge is available to sleeping-car passengers, Pacific Surfliner business class passengers and Amtrak Guest Awards members. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-26-13]

FINLAND TO ORDER 80 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES: Finnish Railways VR Group intends to order 80 electric Vectron locomotives from Siemens worth about $410-million. The order will include an option for an additional 97 locomotives, and maintenance for 10 years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-26-13]

GERMANY APPROVES TWO NEW ICE TRAINSETS: The German Federal Railway Authority has approved two new ICE trainsets - delivered in November for testing - for deployment on Deutsche Bahn's network. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-26-13]

FEDS GRANT $18.5-M FOR SYRACUSE TRAIN STATION UPGRADE: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is giving $18.5-million to the state of New York toward configuration of tracks and to upgrade the signal system at Amtrak's Syracuse station. The state will invest $4.6-million to the project, set to begin in 2015. [SeattlePI website report, 12-25-13]

CSX SELLS 16 ACRES FOR SHORT LINE PROJECT: James Sandoro, developer of the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum, wants to bring to Buffalo, N.Y., a one-mile rail line as a tribute to the city's transportation history. He has acquired 16 acres of land from CSX that will serve as the backdrop for the attraction. His vision is to create a Pierce Arrow-designed locomotive with rail cars that will take passengers from downtown east to the Larkin district of Buffalo. [Buffalo Business First website report, 12-24-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILS IN OHIO: Eleven cars of a Norfolk Southern freight train left the tracks late Dec. 23 in Chillicothe, Ohio. The train, traveling southbound, was not carrying any hazardous materials, and all of the cars remained upright, officials said. No injuries were reported. [News & Observer website report, 12-24-13]

LONG ISLAND R.R. AWARDS SIGNALING CONTRACT: The Long Island Rail Road has awarded a contract to Ansaldo STS to upgrade a 45-mile section of track between Speonk and Montauk from 'dark territory' to signaled territory. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-24-13]

HONOLULU CHOOSES FOUR-CAR TRAINS FOR TRANSIT SYSTEM: The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will operate four-car trains for its new transit system. Originally, officials planned to open the system with two-car trainsets, eventually increasing to four cars. Stations and platforms are already designed for four-car trains. The first half of the planned 20-mile system is scheduled to open in 2017; the full system is slated to open in 2019. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-23-13]

FEDS APPROVE ST. LOUIS LOOP TROLLEY: Plans for heritage trolley service in St. Louis' Delmar loop have been given preliminary approval by the Federal Transit Administration. The recent purchase of two vintage trolleys from Portland's TriMet gives the project equipment to begin such service. Construction on the project is tentatively set to begin next year. [Railway Age website report, 12-23-13]

BOMBARDIER GETS TRANSLINK CONTRACT: Bombardier Transportation has signed a contract to provide train operations for TransLink's West Coast Express regional rail system in the lower mainland region of British Columbia. The contract includes train operations for five years and options for three additional five-year periods may also be exercised. [Railway Age website report, 12-23-13]

SEPTA ANNOUNCES AMBITIOUS CAPITAL-IMPROVEMENT PLAN: SEPTA hopes to double its annualspending for equipment purchases and construction projects to $600-million within five years. The agency plans to replace the Crum Creek viaduct and the Jenkintown substation, and will also move to replace the 43-year-old Silverliner-IV railcars that make up two-thirds of its fleet. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 12-21-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported rail freight traffic with 278,664 total carloads for the week ending Dec. 14, 2013, down 4.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-19-13]

NEW CASTLE, PA., VIADUCT TO GET REHAB: The Pennsylvania DOT has awarded a contract to Parsons Brinckerhoff for preliminary engineering, final design and construction-phase services for the rehabilitation of the Mahoning avenue viaduct in New Cast, Pa., The 1,195-foot-long structure carries two lanes of road traffic and several sets of railroad tracks. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-19-13]

SIEMENS LANDS PASSENGER LOCOMOTIVE ORDER: The Illinois DOT, which is leading a multi-state locomotive procurement, has issued a notice of intent to award an order to Siemsns Rail Systems USA for approximately 35 high-performance diesel-electric passenger locomotives on behalf of the states of Illlinois, California, Michigan, Washington and Missouri. The locomotives will be designed for a maximum speed of 125 MPH. [Railway Age website report, 12-19-13]

CINCINNATI TO RESUME STREETCAR PROJECT: Construction on Cincinnati's streetcar project will resume following weeks of political maneuvering in a decision to allow the project to continue. [Railway Age website report, 12-19-13]

PORT OF KALAMA, WASHINGTON, TO DOUBLE CAPACITY WITH RAIL PROJECT: A more than $10-million expansion project at the port of Kalama, Washington, is expected to increase rail and product throughput capacities for Temco's export grain facility. It is served by both BNSF and Union Pacific. [Assn. of American Railroads SpartBrief, 12-19-13]

BNSF IS HIRING WORKERS IN GREAT PLAINS: BNSF is hiring more than 200 laborers, truck drivers and welders across North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota. [BNSF, 12-19-13]

SEPTA TAKES DELIVERY OF FINAL SILVERLINER-V: SEPTA on Dec. 17 received the final Silverliner-V electric multiple-unit car it ordered fro United Transit Systems, completing a $274-million order. In the meantime, SEPTA is in the process of retiring its Silverliner-II and III models. [Railway Age website report, 12-17-13]

WABTEC LANDS $34-M PTC CONTRACT WITH SOUND TRANSIT: Wabtec Corp. has obtained a $34-million contract from Sound Transit to design, install, test and commission a positive train-control system for the railroad. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-17-13]

GEOTECHNICAL TESTING BEGINS ON CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: Crews have begun geotechnical testing on the first leg of California's $68.4-billion high-speed rail project in Fresno. Samples of subsurface soil will be tested to help determine which type of foundations are needed for overpasses and other structures. Meanwhile, the high-speed rail authority has started work on acquiring right-of-way. [Fresno Bee website report, 12-17-13]

FIRST 2ES10 LOCOMOTIVES ARRIVE IN UKRAINE: Ukranian Railways on Dec. 16 received the first three type-2ES10 twin-section electric locomotives, and another four are due in early January, for use in heavy freight train service on the Nyzhniodniprovsk-Yasinovataya line. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-16-13]

READING & NORTHERN SUES OVER OPERATING CONTRACT: The Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad has filed suit seeking to stop the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority from proceeding with a no-bid contract for a rail service provider. The suit claims the authority refused to even consider the railroad's request to submit a bid to become the operator. The authority last sought bids for an operator in 1993. Since then, it has continually renewed the contract with the current operator without notice and without consideration of other operators, the suit alleges. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-16-13]

CSX ASSISTS OYSTER-REVITALIZATION IN MARYLAND: CSX's partnership with the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation involves transportation of fossilized oyster shells from Florida as part of a revitalization plan for the Chesapeake Bay's oyster population. The railroad is expected to haul over 112,000 tons of shells for the initiative, the largest oyster restoration project on the east coast ever done, according to the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources. [WTOP-FM website report, 12-16-13]

ATHENS METRO OPENS AGHIA MARINA EXTENSION: The .9-mile western extension of Athens metro line 3 from Egaleo to Aghia Marina was officially opened on Dec. 13. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-16-13]

FEDS FIND ILLINOIS CENTRAL IN VIOLATION OF WHISTLEBLOWER LAW: An investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Labor determned that Illinois Central Railroad was in violation of the whistleblower protection provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety act by conducting a disciplinary hearing and retailiating against a conductor for reporting a work-related injury. The railroad was ordered to pay punitive damages and to take corrective action and compensate the railroad for attorney fees. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 12-16-13]

AMTRAK 'TRUNCATES' FIVE SECTIONS OF EMPIRE BUILDER DUE TO DELAYS: Faced with mounting delays on BNSF trackage on the Empire Builder due to heavy freight traffic, through-train west coast departures have been canceled Dec. 11, Dec. 13 and Dec. 15. Chicago departures have been canceled Dec. 12 and Dec. 13. Amtrak is running 'stub' trains to protect Chicago-St. Paul and Spokane-Seattle service. This is being done to 'reset' the service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 12-13-13]

FEDS SHUT DOWN 52 BUS COMPANIES IN SAFETY CRACKDOWN: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has shut down 52 bus companies and removed 340 vehicles from service for violating safety regulations. Dubbed 'Operation Quick Strike,' the action was part of a larger DOT effort to create a safe, well-regulated motorcoach industry. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 12-13-13]

STRASBURG R.R. GETS STATE GRANT TOWARD INCREASING FREIGHT CAPACITY: Pennsylvania has granted the Strasburg Rail Road $1.1-million to make track and grade-crossing improvements to increase capacity in the East Strasburg yard to support increased freight movement. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-13-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail traffic with 279,213 total carloads for the week ending Dec. 7, 2013, down 4.4 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-12-13]

PHOENIX SELECTS SOUTHERN LIGHT-RAIL ROUTE: The Phoenix city council has approved plans for a five-mile Valley Metro light-rail transit route extending south of downtown, choosing light-rail over bus and streetcar options. [Railway Age website report, 12-12-13]

BNSF MAKING MANAGEMENT CHANGES: BNSF is promoting its president Carl Ice to president and chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2014. Matthew Rose, chairman and chief executive officer, will assume the role of executive chairman. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-12-13]

BOMBARDIER GETS ORDER FOR 91 TRAINS FOR PARIS AREA TRANSILIEN NETWORK: The board of Ile-de-France transport authority Stif has voted to fund the acquisition of 91 new Bombardier trains for the Paris area Transilien suburban network as part of its 2014 budget. [International Railway Journal, 12-12-13]

TRIMET SENDING TWO VINTAGE TROLLEYS TO ST. LOUIS: The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon board has voted to transfer two vintage trolley cars to the St. Lous Loop Trolley Transportation Development District. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-12-13]

DEPUTY TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY TO STEP DOWN: U.S. Transportation Deputy-Secretary John Porcari has announced he will step down at the end of the month. He will join Parsons Brinckerhoff as senior vice-president and national director of strategic consulting. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-12-13]

FEDS ISSUE NATIONWIDE RAILROAD SAFETY ADVISORY: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued an industry-wide safety advisory to help ensure railroads adhere to regulations regarding maximum authorized train speed limits. The advisory contains recommendations to ensure carriers comply with speed restrictions through appropriate operating policies, procedures and effective implementation. Included in the recommendations is a review of the circumstances of the Dec. 1 Metro-North derailment at Spuyten Duyvil, N.Y. [U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 12-11-13]

MARC TRAIN STRIKES VEHICLE IN BALTIMORE, TWO KILLED: Two people were killed Tuesday morning [Dec. 10] after the SUV they were riding in was struck by a MARC commuter train on Hollins Ferry road crossing in Baltimore. Initial reports said the vehicle went around a gate at the crossing and was struck by the Washington-bound train. [Washington Post website report, 12-10-13]

CSX TRAIN CARRYING CRUDE OIL DERAILS IN N.Y. STATE: Several cars carring crude oil derailed on a train in Cheektowaga, N.Y., Dec. 10. There were no leaks or injuries. The CSX train was traveling from Chicago to Philadelphia, according to the railroad. [Buffalo News website report, 12-10-13]

METROLINK'S PERRIS VALLEY LINE GROUNDBREAKING LOOMS: Construction of Metrolink's 24-mile Perris Valley line extension in soouthern California is expected to begin next month. The line runs roughly southeast from Riverside to Perris and is considered an extension of the 91 Line. [Railway Age website report, 12-10-13]

CHINA ORDERS 258 HIGH-SPEED TRAINS: China Railway Investment Corp. has placed orders for a total of 258 high-speed trains. Seventy-eight of the trains will be designed for 155 MPH; the balance will be designed for 217 MPH. Total value of the orders is about $7.3-billion. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-10-13]

NEW RAIL SIGNALING SYSTEMS ORDERED FOR SOUTH AFRICA: The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has commissioned Siemens Mobility to provide new signaling and overall train protection systems for the Johannesburg and Pretoria regions. The order is valued at an estimated $247.8-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-10-13]

RAILROADS TO PARTICIPATE IN VETS WITH DISABILITIES CAREER FAIR DEC. 17: Union Pacific and BNSF will be among a number of companies participating in an online career fair for veterans with disabilities Dec. 17 to be hosted on the Veteran Recruiting website. [Huffington Post website report, 12-9-13]

HOUSTON SET TO OPEN LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: Houston's Red Line extension is scheduled to begin operations Dec. 21. It will run from the University of Houston-Downtown to the Northline Transit Center. Two more lines - East End and Southeast lnes - are schedule to debut in 2014. [Railway Age website report, 12-9-13]

CN ADDS FRAC SAND PRODUCER IN WISCONSIN: CN will start serving a new frac sand producer on its Wisconsin rail network this month. Source Energy Services in Weyerhauser is located on CN's recently rehabilitated Barron subdivision and will have an annual production capacity of 1.2 million tons of sands, rising to 2 million tons the the third-quarter 2014. [Railway Age website report, 12-9-13]

RAILWAY AGE NAMES AMTRAK CHIEF JOE BOARDMAN RAILROADER OF THE YEAR: Joseph H. Boardman, president and chief executive officer of Amtrak, has been named Railroader of the Year by trade journal Railway Age. [Railway Age website report, 12-9-13]

RAIL INTERMODAL PROJECT IN N.C. TO GENERATE $7-B IN ECONOMIC EFFECT: Norfolk Southern's Airport Intermodal facility project in Charlotte, N.C., is expected to generate $7-billion in economic effect over the next 20 years and create thousands of jobs. The railroad is partnering with local officials on the project. [WSOC-TV website report, 12-9-13]

AMTRAK'S EMPIRE BUILDER STRIKES SEMI IN MINNESOTA, DRIVER KILLED: Amtrak's eastbound Empire Builder struck a semi-trailer truck that failed to stop at a crossing in Fawn Lake, Minnesota, Dec. 7, leaving the rig's driver dead and several on the train injured, authorities said. The locomotive engineer and two passengers were taken to a hospital near Staples; several other passengers and four train workers were slightly hurt and treated at the scene. [Star Tribune website report, 12-8-13]

FRA ISSUES EMERGENCY ORDER TO METRO-NORTH RAILROAD: The Federal Railroad Administration issued an emergency order to Metro-North Commuter Railroad to take immediate steps to ensure its trains do not exceed speed limitations, the cause of the deadly crash on the Hudson line Dec. 1. The railroad is directed to modify its signal system to ensure speed limits are obeyed. Until that system is in place, the railroad will be required to have two qualified railroad employees to operate trains over lines where major speed restrictions are present. [National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 12-6-13]

NEW GRAIN TRAIN LOOP OPENS IN WASHINGTON STATE: A new grain train loop facility has opened for business at McCoy, Washington. Located on the Washington & Idaho Railway 35 miles south of Spokane, the McCoy Grain Terminal brings improved rail service to the heart of a productive wheat-growing area, receiving 40,000 bushels per hour. [Railway Age website report, 12-6-13]

CHICAGO TO OVERHAUL ITS BLUE LINE O'HARE BRANCH: The Chicago Transit Authority will overhaul its Blue Line O'Hare branch to provide faster travel times and updated stations. The $492-million plan includes a number of proejects along the 12.5-mile stretch between Grand and Cumberland stations, as well as upgrades to the signal system between the Jefferson Park and O'Hare stations. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 12-6-13]

CINCINNATI HALTS STREETCAR CONSTRUCTION: Cincinnati's city council has suspended spending on the city's $133-million streetcar project, which is already under construction, pending an audit. The council vote Dec. 4 was taken after the city's newly elected mayor and council members, who campaigned on an anti-streetcar agenda, were sworn into office Dec. 1. Also, in recent days, the Federal Transit Administration informed city officials that it is freezing its payments for the project until the city determines whether the project with be canceled. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-5-13]

MONTHLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail freight traffic for the month of November 2013, up 1.3 pct over November 2012. Intermodal traffic for the month was up 7.8 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-5-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported decreased rail traffic for the week ending Nov. 30, 2013, with 255,628 carloads, down 16.3 pct compared with the same week last year. The focus week this year included Thanksgiving day, but last year it did not. [Assn. of American Railroads, 12-5-13]

UTAH'S SUGAR HOUSE STREETCAR SET TO BEGIN SERVICE: Utah Transit Authority's Sugar House streetcar in Salt Lake City is set to begin carrying passengers Saturday, Dec. 7. The 1.9-mile, seven stop S-Line, using Siemens S70 cars, connects to the TRAX LRT system at Central Pointe Station. [Railway Age website report, 12-4-13]

CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN PROJECT GETS ANOTHER SETBACK: Federal regulators have rejected California's request to exempt a Central Valley segment of proposed track for high-speed rail from a lengthy planning review. The action affects part of a 29-mile portion to be built near Fresno, where the state has already awaded a construction contract. The decision is likely to complicate, delay and inflate costs of that initial $1-billion package of work. [Los Angeles Times website report, 12-4-13]

UNION PACIFIC RENEWING RAIL LINE IN COLORADO: Union Pacific Railroad will invest $6.5-million in the rail line between Boyero and Limon, Colorado. The railroad will install 31 miles of rail, replace six switches and renew the surfaces at 21 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 12-4-13]

METRO-NORTH TRAIN TRAVELING 82 MPH AROUND A 30 MPH CURVE, OFFICIALS SAY: The locomotive brakes were not fully engaged until five seconds before it finally came to a complete rest after rolling and skidding, the National Transportation Safety Board said. It was determined that the Metro-North train was going 82 MPH on the 30-MPH-curve before the train derailed Dec. 1 killing four and injuring dozens. [New York Daily news website report, 12-3-13]

SIEMENS, CUMMINS PARTNER FOR TIER-4 PASSENGER LOCOMOTIVES: Siemens Rail Systems and Cummins jointly announced Dec. 3 that Cummins QSK95 diesel engines will be used in Siemens' locomotives in the United States. The lighter weight for the new locomotives, to be built in Sacramento, ensures the ability to safely operate at speeds of up to 125 MPH more efficiently, requiring less maintenance, the companies said. [Railway Age website report, 12-3-13]

DAKOTA PLAINS' EXPANDED CRUDE TERMINAL SET TO OPEN: Dakota Plains Holding's CP-served Pioneer Terminal expansion in New Town, N.D., will be commissioned Dec. 18. The $50-million project includes a double-loop track to accommodate two 120-car unit trains and transfer stations to receive crude oil from pipelines and trucks. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-3-13]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA WINS $67-MILLION SAUDI ORDER: Saudi Railways Organization has awarded a contract worth$67-million to FreightCar America to supply 500 freight cars including cement, cereal, limestone and ballast hoppers. [International Railway Journal website report, 12-3-13]

ILLINOIS CENTRAL CITED FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS: Illinois Central Railroad Co. has been cited by the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for one willful and six serious safety violations that carry proposed penalties of over $110,000. In an inspection May 29, 2013, workers were observed without the necessary safety protection while conducting demolition on a bridge that was coated with lead-based paint. The one willful violation was cited for failing to conduct initial monitoring of employees for lead exposure. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 11-3-13]

THREE DIE AS TRAIN DERAILS INTO A RAVINE IN NEW MEXICO:A freight train derailed and its locomotive plunged into a ravine in southwestern New Mexico Nov. 30, killing all three people aboard. The accident occurred near the community of Bayard. At least two of the dead worked for Southwestern Railroad, which operated the train, officials said. [Columbus Dispatch website report, 12-2-13]

NTSB INVESTIGATING METRO-NORTH ACCIDENT: The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the Dec. 1 derailmenton on the Metro-North Hudson line near Spuyten Duvil, N.Y., which resulted in four deaths and dozens of injuries. The accident occurred when a southbound train carrying about 120 passengers derailed on a curve. Investigators are determining whether speed was a factor in the accident. The railroad is operating limited service on the Hudson line Dec. 2. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-2-13]

GE LANDS UK ORDER FOR 10 POWERHAUL LOCOMOTIVES: GE Transportation has obtained an order to supply ten Class-70 PowerHaul locomotives to freight operator Colas Rail in the United Kingdom. The units will be assembled at GE's plant in Erie, Pa., for entry into service in 2014. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-2-13]

VOSSLOH TO SUPPLY FASTENING SYSTEMS FOR SAUDI HIGH-SPEED LINE: Vossloh Fastening Systems has been awarded a $40.6-million contract to supply fastening systems for Saudi Arabia's high-speed line extending from Mecca to Medina. Traffic on the line is slated to start in 2015. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-2-13]

POLISH HIGH-SPEED RAIL RECORD OF 182 MPH ACHIEVED IN TEST: Alstom has reached a high-speed record in Poland at 182 MPH while conducting tests on its Pendolino train on the Gora Wiodowska-Psary line northwest of Krakow. [Progressive Railroading website report, 12-2-13]

METRO-NORTH TRAIN DERAILS IN THE BRONX, FOUR KILLED: Four people were killed after a Metro-North Railroad train derailed Sunday morning [Dec. 1] in The Bronx. A total of 67 were injured, including 11 critically, officials said. The derailment occurred when several cars left the tracks just north of Spuyten Duyvil station, near where thetracks pass under the Henry Hudson bridge. There were about 100 people aboard the train at the time. [New York Times website report, 12-1-13]

PLANS ADVANCE FOR $400-M DETROIT RIVER RAIL TUNNEL: The proposed $400-million Continental Rail Gateway project calls for the construction of a bigger train tunnel beneath the Detroit River that could accommodate double-stack container trains and other multilevel rail cars. The project is expected to take three years to complete. [Crain's Detroit Business website report, 12-1-13]

WILLARD RESIDENTS RETURNING HOME FOLLOWING DERAILMENT: The evacuation order has been lifted and most residents returned to their homes Nov. 28 following a derailment late Nov. 26. The all-clear followed progress in clearing the derailment, which spilled about 13,000 gallons of styrene monomer, a flammable product. [CSX]

CN UPDATING RAIL & WHEEL FLAW DETECTION: Canadian National is launching a $10-million program to enhance the early detection of defects in rails and wheelsets. This includes 30 new Wayside Equipment System to detect defects and a new track geometry test car. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-29-13]

JAPAN UNVEILS SHINKANSEN TRAIN: The first Shinkansen train to be developed jointly by East Japan and West Japan railway companies was unveiled Nov. 28 near Sendai. The 12-car trains are capable of 161 MPH operation. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-29-13]

KENYA BEGINS WORK ON FIRST STANDARD-GAUGE RAIL LINE: Ground was broken Nov. 28 for a 310-mile standard-gauge railway linking the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi. The $5.2-billion line with be constructed by China Road & Building Corporation and is estimated to take five years to complete. Passenger trains will be able to run at a maximum speed of 75 MPH. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-29-13]

ABOUT 400 HOMES EVACUATED FOLLOWING SPILL AT CSX YARD IN OHIO: Residents from 400 households in Willard, Ohio, who were evacuated overnight Nov. 26 after a train derailment and ensuing hazardous spill could be out of their homes for another day, a police official said. The spill happened after four rail cars derailed during night switching, CSX said. The evacuation area affected those living in a half-mile radius of the spill. No injuries were reported. [Toledo Blade website report, 11-27-13]

DENVER APPROVES ELECTRIC RAIL LINE CONTRACT: Denver's Regional Transportation District has awarded a $343-million contract for construction of the region's first electrified regional commuter passenger rail line, dubbed the North Metro line., which will serve the city's Union Station. [Railway Age website report, 11-27-13]

AUSTRALIAN R.R. WORKERS EXPOSED TO ASBESTOS IN CHINESE-MADE LOCOMOTIVES: Australian railway workers have been exposed to potentially hazardous asbestos after the dust was found in locomotives brought in from China. Unions are now demanding tougher policing of Chinese imports, describing the current asbestos-free certificates as a farce. Last year, freight carrier SCT imported 10 locomotives made by China Southern Rail to power trains of iron ore bound to ships for China. [Australian Broadcasting Corp. website report, 11-27-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Nov. 23, 2013, with 296,581 total carloads, up 17.4 pct compared with the same week last year (which was Thanksgiving week in 2012). [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-27-13]

AUBREY LAYNE TO BE VIRGINIA'S NEXT TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's governor-elect, has named Aubrey Layne secretary of transportation for the incoming administration. For the past four years, she has served as a Hampton Roads representative on the state's transportation board, and she also chairs the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-27-13]

AMTRAK CRESCENT DERAILS IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Several cars of the New York City-bound Amtrak Crescent with 218 people aboard went off the tracks in South Carolina early Nov. 25 as bags flew and jolted passengers clung to each other, authorities and passengers said. MORE.. [Courier Post website report, 11-26-13]

ISRAEL COMPLETES MAIN LINE UPGRADE: Israel Railways has completed a $186-million project to upgrade and double-track the 12-mile Kiryat-Motzkin-Nahariya line, thereby creating a continuous double-track line from Beer-Sheva to Nahariya via Tel Aviv and Haifa. [International Railway Journal, 11-26-13]

PHILLIPS 66 TO BUILD SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY CRUDE-BY-RAIL TERMINAL: Phillips 66, which operates refineries across California, is moving forward with a plan to build a rail terminal in San Luis Obispo County that would send trains with up to 80 tank cars of crude oil through Southern California and the Bay Area. [Los Angeles Times website report, 11-26-13]

UNION PACIFIC ADDS INTERMODAL SERVICE BETWEEN MEXICO AND CHICAGO: Union Pacific Railroad recently introduced a new intermodal service offering between Chicago and Monterrey, Mexico, giving companies another reliable transportation option to move goods across the border, six days a week. [Union Pacific, 11-26-13]

JUDGE BLOCKS SALE OF CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL BONDS: A judge on Nov. 25 tore up California's funding plans for what would be the nation's first bullet train, issuing separate orders that could force the state to spend months or years redrawing its plans for the $68-billion rail line and could choke off some of its funding. MORE.. [Nanaimo Daily Press website report, 11-25-13]

STUDY SAYS TEXAS HIGHWAYS COULD ACCOMMODATE HIGH-SPEED RAIL: A University of Texas Arlington feasibility study of high-speed rail in the state shows that trips between most city pairs using existing Texas DOT rights of way can be made in less than two hours. MORE.. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-25-13]

PENNSYLVANIA PASSES RAIL FUNDING PACKAGE: Pennsylvania has passed a $2.3-billion transportation package that raises the state gas tax and provides funding for rail operations in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and on Amtrak's Keystone Corridor linking Philadelphia and Harrisburg. [Railway Age website report, 11-25-13]

MONTREAL'S NEW METRO CARS UNVEILED: The consortium composed of Bombardier Transportation and Alstom Transport, together with the Societe de transport de Montreal, unveiled Montreal's new metro cars on Nov. 25. [Railway Age website report, 11-25-13]

POTOMAC YARD LINEAR PARK TO OPEN DEC. 14: Potomac Yard Park, a 21-acre linear space on the eastern edge of the new Potomac Yard development in northern Virginia, will officially open December 14. The railroad accents are prominent throughout the park, with walkways laid out in similar alingment to the old rail tracks. [Del Ray Patch article by Drew Hansen, 11-25-13]

RAILWAY LINE PROPOSES MONTREAL TO PORTLAND SERVICE: The possibility of passenger rail from Montreal to Portland, Maine, is gaining momentum in the North Country. Two plans to use the rails are awaiting a nod from St. Lawrence and Atlantic. MORE.. [New Hampshire Union Leader website report, 11-24-13]

CSX SANTA TRAIN SPEADS CHEER IN APPALACHIA: Santa Claus rolled through Elkhorn City, Kentucky, Nov. 23. He was on his way to the Volunteer State. The annual Santa Train, operated by CSX, is a family tradition for many in the region. MORE.. [WKYT website report, 11-23-13]

PERE MARQUETTE STEAM LOCOMOTIVE BACK ON TRACK: A World War II-era steam engine is back on track in Michigan. A crowd cheered Nov. 20 as Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive's whistle sounded to announce its arrival at the Steam Railroading Institute yard in Owosso following a $900,000 rehab. The locomotive was built in 1941 and retired 16 years later. It was donated in 1957 to Michigan State University and moved in 1983 to the former Ann Arbor Railroad locomotive shop in Owosso. [Detroit Free Press website report, 11-22-13]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA SELECTS SITE FOR FORT LAUDERDALE STATION: All Aboard Florida announced plans to develop a station in the northern portion of downtown Fort Lauderdale on land located next to the rail corridor owned by Florida East Coast Railway. It will provide easy connections to the Sun Trolley, Broward County Transit and the future Wave Streetcar. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-22-13]

SCOTLAND OPENS BIDS TO IMPROVE PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE: The government of Scotland has opened bids on a ten-year contract, starting in 2015, to provide improved passenger train service on Scotland's many scenic rail lines. The agency committed to making these services 'emblematic of the best of Scotland.' [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-22-13]

MINNEAPOLIS GIVES GO-AHEAD FOR TWO STREETCAR PROJECTS: The Minneapolis city council's committee on transportation has given approval for work to begin on an environmental assessment and pre-project development activities for a 3.4-mile line along Nicollet avenue, and a second line along West Broadway. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-22-13]

CSX LOCOMOTIVE CATCHES FIRE IN ALABAMA: A CSX locomotive caught fire near Welka road just outside Flomaton, Alabama, Nov. 22. Flames were shooting several feet into the air over the engine, which was still attached to freight cars. None of the cars were on fire or immediately threatened by the fire. The cars did not contain any hazardous materials, and the fire was not posing any threat to the public. [North Escambia website report, 11-22-13]

PACIFIC SURFLINER, SAN JOAQUIN TRAINS SET RIDERSHIP RECORDS: The Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin trains combined carried almost 3.93 million passengers in FY-2013, more than 110,000 riders over the previous year, according to the state of California. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-22-13]

BART TAPS BOMBARDIER FOR 365 MORE CARS: Bay Area Rapid Transit has exercised an option worth $638.9-million for an additional 365 cars from Bombardier Transportation as part of BART's 'fleet of the future' program. [Railway Age website report, 11-22-13]

COST TO CANCEL CINCINNATI STREETCAR PROJECT COULD BE AS HIGH AS $125-M, OFFICIAL SAYS: The total cost to cancel the Cincinnati Streetcar could run as high as $125.3-million, about $8-million less than the cost to complete the project, the streetcar's executive director informed Cincinnati budget officials Nov. 21. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-22-13]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN HITS HERD OF SHEEP: At least 62 sheep are dead after a Union Pacific freight train collided with herd of livestock in Honeyville, Utah, earlier this week. [Magic Valley website report, 11-22-13]

SMART PREPS FOR MARIN COUNTY RIGHT-OF-WAY WORK: Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit has approved a $68.7-million construction contract for design and construction of right-of-way in Marin County, California, to commence next year. [Railway Age website report, 11-21-13]

ALABAMA LOCATION DESIGNATED AS CSX 'SELECT SITE': CSX has designated the 415-acre Wasden road/I-65 industrial site in Montgomery, Alabama, a CSX Select Site. To receive the designation, the location met a regorous list of criteria, including infrastructure and utility availability, environmental reviews, approrpiate zoning, rail servicability and other attributes. [CSX, 11-21-13]

FAYETTEVILLE TRANSIT CENTER CONSTRUCTION TO START APRIL 2014: Construction on the $10-million transit center in Fayetteville, N.C., is expected to start in April 2014. The facility is expected to allow for multiple modes of transportation, including bus, taxi and train. [Fayetteville Observer website report, 11-21-13]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR NORFOLK SOUTHERN RUTHERFORD INTERMODAL FACILITY EXPANSION: Michael Baker Jr. Inc. has been awarded a two-year, multimillion-dollar contract to provide construction management and inspection services for the expansion of Norfolk Southern's Rutherford intermodal facility near Harrisburg, Pa., which will double the capacity of the current facility. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-21-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail traffic of 295,563 carloads for the week ending Nov. 16, 2013, up 2.4 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume was up 7.0 pct, an increase for the twentieth straight week in a row. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-21-13]

KNOXVILLE LOCOMOTIVE WORKS TO BUILD ASSEMBLY AND FABRICATION PLANT: Officials with the Knoxville, Tennessee, Locomotive Works announced Nov. 21 that the company will build a $6.1-million assembly and fabrication plant in Knoxville over the next three years, creating over 200 jobs in the area. [WATE website report, 11-21-13]

UNION PACIFIC ANNOUNCES NEW SHARE REPURCHASE AUTHORIZATION: Union Pacific Corporation's board of directors has approved the early renewal of its share repurchase program, authorizing the repurchase of up to 60 million common shares by Dec. 31, 2017. [Union Pacific, 11-21-13]

TRAIN BOUND FOR NEW YORK CITY TAKES WRONG TURN IN PHILADELPHIA SUBURB: A train en route to New York City from Harrisburg made a 'wrong turn' last week and got lost in the Philadelphia sububs, officials say. According to a CBS affiliate, the train left Philadelphia's 30th street station, apparently missed a signal, and accidentally wound up on tracks used by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The train, with 130 passengers on board, stopped at Bala Cynwyd, where local crews 'helped the crew return to Philadelphia.' Passengers were put on a different train and arrived in New York several hours later. [Yahoo News website report, 11-20-13]

NEW RAIL BRIDGE IN MISSOURI TO ELIMINATE MAJOR BOTTLENECK: A ceremony is set for Nov. 25 to officially open a newUnion Pacific rail bridge spanning the Osage River in Missouri, which officials say eliinates the last major bottleneck between St. Louis and Jefferson City. [Railway Age website report, 11-20-13]

KCS HOLIDAY EXPRESS TO SPREAD CHEER IN SIX STATES: The 13th annual Kansas City Southern Holiday Express, a six-car Christmas-light adorned train with Santa Claus, reindeer and elves, will be open to the public in 20 communities in six states on 24 dates, according to the railroad. Access to the train is free. This year the program will give away over $174,000 in gift cards along the way. [Victoria Advocate website report, 11-20-13]

CANADA ORDERS MORE DISCLOSURE ON HAZARDOUS RAIL CARGOES: Canada will require railroads to start telling municipalities what goods they have been transporting through their jurisdictions, but the government acknowledged that such data would not have prevented the July 2013 derailment that demolished the heart of a Quebec town, killing 47 people. [Reuters website report, 11-20-13]

SILVER METEOR DERAILS IN BALTIMORE TUNNEL: The locomotive of Amtrak's Silver Meteor derailed Monday night (Nov. 18) in B&P tunnel south of Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station. No injuries were reported. The lead wheels of the locomotive left the tracks, but all passenger cars remained upright and on the rails. The incident resulted in excessive delays to Amtrak and MARC services. The cause of the derailment is under investigation. [Washington Post website report, 11-19-13]

FIFTY LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES BEING BOUGHT BY HANNOVER, GERMANY: Vossloh Electical Systems has landed a $121-6-million contract from Ustra, public transport operator in Hannover, Germany, for another 50 bi-directional light-rail vehicles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-19-13]

VP BIDEN ENDORSES CSX'S BALTIMORE INTERMODAL PROJECT: CSX's proposed $90-million intermodal facility in Baltimore is crucial in boosting infrastructure capacity and spurring employment growth, Vice-President Joe Biden said. "The port of Baltimore is particularly well-suited. You already have over 100,000 jobs there. That could double," he said. [Baltimore Sun webwsite report, 11-19-13]

RAILS PLAY KEY ROLE IN SHIPMENTS FROM THE BAKKEN: Sep. 2013 was an all-time high for the production of barrels per day of oil in North Dakota. Pipelines are full, but the state says that delivery of the products will still be adequate, primarily because railroads have increased their capacity. [UPI website report, 11-18-13]

PARIS INAUGURATES T-7 LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Paris opened its latest addition to its ligh-rail network Nov. 16 when line T-7was officially inaugurated. [International Railway Journal, 11-18-13]

AMTRAK TO MOVE TO ST. PAUL UNION DEPOT IN EARLY 2014: Ramsey County, Minnesota, has approved a 20-year lease of St. Paul Union Depot with Amtrak. The carrier has the option to extend the lease for one additional 20-year period. Amtrak currently uses Midway Station, located halfway between the two Twin Cities, which will close but keep its tracks for private cars and coach switching. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-15-13]

REHAB IN STORE FOR FALL RIVER, NEW BEDFORD RAIL LINES: Massachusetts has announced it will begin rehabilitation of the Fall River and New Bedford railroad lines, a step in bringing passenger trains to the South Coast rail corridor. The project will deliver commuter rail to Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford, the only cities within 50 iles of Boston not currently served by commuter rail. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-15-13]

NEW METRO LINE OPENS IN INDIA: Services commenced Nov. 14 on a new 6.1KM, six-station metro line in Gurgaon, India, linking Gurgaon Cyber City with Delhi metro line 2 at Sikandepur. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-15-13]

UNION PACIFIC BIG BOY LOCOMOTIVE BEGINS JOURNEY FROM CALIFORNIA TO WYOMING: Union Pacific's Big Boy 4014 has commenced the second phase of its journey to Cheyenne, Wyoming. The 1,260-mile trek began moving across a temporary track at the Los Angeles County fairgrounds, Pomona, California. [Union Pacific, 11-14-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported rail traffic for the week ending Nov. 9, 2013, with 297,581 carloads, up 4.9 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-14-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S PROJECTS MOVE AHEAD IN THREE STATES: Norfolk Southern recently launched daily freight service between the Port of Charleston and Greer, S.C.; is partnering with North Carolina Railroad for a bridge project in Burlington, N.C.; and has received approval from Chicago to engage in a $285-million expansion of its Englewood rail yard. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 11-14-13]

SIEMENS, BOMBARDIER AWARDED CONTRACT FOR PTC WORK ON LIRR, METRO-NORTH: Siemans Rail Automation, in a consortium with Bombardier Transportation, has been awarded a contract, not to exceed $428-million, by the New York MTA to upgrade train-control systems for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-14-13]

CONSTRUCTION OF TWO METRO LINES APPROVED IN MECCA: The governor of Mecca has approved the construction of two new metro lines. The first line will be 6.8 miles long with seven stations; the second line - partially underground - will be 20.5 miles long with 15 stations. [International Railway Journal, 11-14-13]

FREIGHT VOLUME REACHES RECORD GROWTH IN SEPTEMBER 2013: Freight volume hauled by for-hire U.S. carriers, including railroads, increased 4.3 pct in September year-on-year, an all-time record high, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' latest freight transportation services index. [Transport Topics website report, 11-14-13]

CSX TO TEST LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS LOCOMOTIVES: CSX and GE Transportation have agreed to explore emissions-cutting and efficiency breakthroughs in liquefied natural gas technology for locomotives beginning with a pilot field-testing program expected to begin in 2014. Natural gas-fueled locomotives can travel longer distances without refueling, as well as provide environmental and economic benefits, according to CSX. [CSX, 11-13-13]

D.C. STREETCAR WIRE WORK BEGINS: Overhead (head-span) wire placement was set to begin Nov. 13 on the 2.2-mile H street/Benning road streetcar line in Washington, D.C. The installation will clear the way for additional support of contact wire, slated to occur in the next phase of work. Streetcar test runs are scheduled to begin in December, according to the District Dept. of Transportation. [Railway Age website report, 11-13-13]

BOMBARDIER WINS AWARD FOR NATURAL ROLL OF RAIL CAR COMPENSATION: Bombardier Transportation received the Excellence in Technology prize at the Eurpoean Rail Congress award ceremony in London Nov. 12. The prize recognized the company's FLEXX Tronic WAKO system, a mechanical solution designed to compensate the natural roll of a rail car. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-13-13]

R.R. RETIREE EARNINGS LIMITS TO RISE IN 2014: Railroad retirement annuitants subject to earnings restrictions may earn more in 2014 without having their benefits reduced. For those under full retirement age, the earnings deduction is $1 for every $2 of earnings over the $15,480 exempt amount. For those attaining full retirment age, the deduction is $1 for every $4 of earnings over the $41,400 exempt amount. [Railroad Retirement Board, 11-13-13]

N.J. TRANSIT DOUBLE-DECKER CARS GETTING REPAIRS, UPGRADES: NJ Transit is spending up to $23-million to repair and upgrade 429 of its popular, more spacious 'double-decker' cars. Along with maintenance of the suspension system, modfications include additional seats, upgrades to computer systems, updates to digital signage, and forward-facing cameras. [Star-Ledger website report, 11-13-13]

UNION PACIFIC RENEWING RAIL LINE IN NEBRASKA: Union Pacific is investing $2.4-million in its rail line between South Morrill and Joyce, Nebraska, by installing 11,000 concrete rail ties on each of two main tracks. The project began Nov. 7 and is slated to be completed by mid-December. [Union Pacific, 11-13-13]

AMTRAK'S GREAT DOME CAR TO OPERATE FROM CHICAGO: Amtrak's Great Dome car will operate Nov. 25-28 on Hiawatha trains 329, 332, 333, 336, 337, 340 and 341; Dec. 1 on trains 331, 334, 335, 338, 339 and 342; and Nov. 29-30 on Lincoln Service trains 303 and 306. [Chicago Tribune website report, 11-12-13]

CP'S HOLIDAY TRAIN READY TO ROLL: Canadian Pacific's annual Holiday Train is one of the longest-running fundraising programs in North America. Each 1,000-foot train, one each in Canada and U.S., consists of 14 brightly-decorated rail cars, including a modified boxcar that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers. [Railway Age website report, 11-12-13]

SAUDI ARABIA CONSIDERS SECOND HIGH-SPEED LINE: Saudi Railways has invited bids from consultants to study options for a high-speed rail line between Riyadh and the gulf port of Damman. The new line would be designed to enable trains to operate at a maximum speed of 199 MPH. [International Railway Journal, 11-12-13]

BNSF PICKS MICROSOFT TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATIONS, ACCESS: BNSF Railway has chosen Microsoft Office 365 as part of its Railroad 2020 vision to improve communications and provide access to data for desk-less workers nationwide, according to Microsoft. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-11-13]

'RAILROAD ALASKA' TO PREMIER ON DISCOVERY CHANNEL NOV. 16: The television series Destination America, which airs on the Discovery Channel, will be premiering a new series 'Railroad Alaska' on Saturday, Nov. 16. [Railway Age website report, 11-11-13]

QUEENSLAND RAIL PROJECT WITHDRAWN: BFP Billiton has abandoned plans for a 155-mile single-user standard-gauge railway linking its Bowen Basin coalfields in northern Queensland with expanded port facilities at Abbott Point. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-11-13]

FUNDING APPROVED FOR DANISH RAIL ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT: Denmark has secured funding from the European Union's TEN-T program to help fund a project to electrify the 35-mile Lunderskov-Esbjerg line and improve rail links to the port of Esbjerg. The project will be completed in 2015 and will allow Copenhagen-Esbjerg passenger services to switch to electric traction. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-11-13]

WOMAN STRUCK BY METRO TRAIN AT SILVER SPRING, MD., STATION DIES: A woman died Nov. 10 after she was struck by a Washington Metro train at the Silver Spring, Md., station, authorities said. The circumstances are still unclear, but it appears to be intentional, Metro said. [Washington Post website report, 11-10-13]

TRAIN CARRYING CRUDE OIL DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE IN ALABAMA: Afreight train derailed and exploded in rural Alabama early Nov. 8, spilling its crude oil cargo into the surrounding wetlands and igniting an intense fire. No one was injured. The train was crossing a timber trestle near Alliceville when two locomotives and 20 railcars derailed. [Los Angeles Times website report, 11-8-13]

JOE FORGIONE NAMED PRESIDENT, CEO OF RAILCOMM: Joe Forgione has been named president and chief executive officer of RailComm L.L.C., succeeding the company's founder Joe Denny who will remain board chairman. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-8-13]

BNSF SEES CRUDE SHIPMENTS NEAR 700,000 BARRELS PER DAY BY YEAR'S END: BNSF CEO Matt Rose says he expects the railroad's crude oil shipments to approach 700,000 barrels per day by the end of the year. [Reuters website report, 11-8-13]

GREAT SALT LAKE CAUSEWAY CULVERT IN DANGER OF COLLAPSE: The one remaining culvert on the Union Pacific causeway across the Great Salt Lake is in 'imminent' peril of collapse unless it is filled immediately, according to the railroad. The company is seeking emergency permission to retire the culvert and replace it with a 180-foot bridge that has yet to be designed. The culvert spans the only spot on the causeway that allows water to move between the north arm and the rest of the lake. After years of sinking into the soft lake bed, the culvert is beyond repair, the railroad said. [Salt Lake Tribune website report, 11-7-13]

VICE-PRESIDENT BIDEN VISITS CSX N.W. OHIO INTERMODAL TERMINAL: CSX's Northwest Ohio intermodal terminal in North Baltimore was praised by Vice President Biden who cited it as an example of a worthwhile investment in cost-efficienct and important transportation resources. Such investment also promotes good jobs coming home, and brings private-sector investment off the sidelines, he said. [Toledo Blade website report, 11-7-13]

D.C. TO N.Y. MAGLEV WOULD FACE BIG CHALLENGES: A proposed maglev project that would whisk passengers from Washington to New York in only an hour raises many questions about financing, route siting, rights of way and other local concerns. Moreover, that doesn't include the political issues around a line that could present a direct challenge to Amtrak's Northeast corridor service. [Politico website report, 11-7-13]

AMTRAK NAMES CFO: Amtrak has named Gerald Sokol Jr. as its new chief financial officer, reporting directly to Amtrak president Joe Boardman, effective Dec. 3. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-7-13]

MARYLAND APPROVES PLAN FOR PURPLE LINE: Members of the Maryland Board of Public Works have approved the Maryland Transit Administration's plan to deliver the Purple Line through a public-private partnership. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-7-13]

TALGO SEEKS $65.9-M FROM WISCONSIN FOR ABANDONED HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: Train-maker Talgo filed a $65.9-million claim against the state of Wisconsin Nov. 7 setting up a likely lawsuit and reviving debate over the state's rejection of $810-million in stimulus money for high-speed rail service. Talgo in 2010 began using a Milwaukee building to build two train sets for the state to use on Amtrak's Hiawatha service. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website report, 11-7-13]

NEW TIE PLATE PRODUCTION LINE OPENS: Arkansas Steel Associates held its grand opening of the Robotic Vicor Tie Plate Production Line in Newport, Arkansas, Nov. 7. [Railway Age website report, 11-7-13]

CLASS I RAILROAD EMPLOYMENT RISES 1.23 PCT IN SEPTEMBER: Employment at U.S. Class I railroads rose 1.23 pct to a total of 163,237 workers in September 2013 year-on-year, according to the Surface Transportation Board. Train and engine employees increase 3.08 pct, the largest gain among four of six employment divisions that posted gains, STB said. [Railway Age website report, 11-7-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail traffic rose 5.1 pct in the week ending Nov. 2, year-on-year, and intermodal surged 17.7 pct. Of the 10 carload categories, eight posted gains. [Assn. of American Railroads, 11-7-13]

ALSTOM TO SELL STAKE IN BULLET TRAIN UNIT: French bullet-train maker Alstom says it plan to sell a stake in its rail unit and other non-strategic assets to raise between $1.35-billion and $2.7-billion, and to lay off workers across Europe as it seeks to cope with falling demand. [Wall Street Journal website report, 11-6-13]

DENVER FASTRACKS NORTH METRO CONTRACT AWARDED: Denver's Regional Transportation District has awarded a $343-million contract to a consortium led by Graham Contracting Ltd for design and construction of the FasTracks North Metro project. [Railway Age website report, 11-6-13]

AMTRAK PASSENGER DIES IN JUMP FROM MOVING TRAIN IN IOWA: A French tourist was crossing Iowa aboard Amtrak's California Zephyr Nov. 4. For some reason, she became agitated, hurrying from seat to seat. After the train's conductor asked her to calm down, she bolted. The conductor tried to stop her, but she opened a door and jumped from the train as it sped through the town of Stanton and was killed. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 11-6-13]

INTERMODAL INVESTMENT STRATEGY DRIVES GROWTH FOR CSX: Intermodal, a key driver of growth, now represents 40 pct of overall volume and is expected to increase further. CSX employs a dual intermodal strategy that includes both high-density corridors and a hub-and-spoke philosophy that also cretes service density to open new small and medium-sized markets, according to Fredrik Eliasson, executive vice-president and chief financial officer. [CSX, 11-6-13]

VIRGINIA TECH STUDENTS CREATING DESIGNS FOR NEW ROANOKE TRAIN STATION: With Amtrak expected to begin service to Roanoke within the next three years, students from Virginia Tech have been tasked with creating designs. But they're not just making plans for a station - they are creating a multimodal space that would tie trains, buses, taxis and the Greenway all together in one central location. [WSLS website report, 11-6-13]

UTILITY COMPANY SUES BNSF TO ACQUIRE PROPERTY IN TULSA: Public Service Company of Oklahoma has filed an eminent domain lawsuit against BNSF Railroad in an effort to force the railroad to sell property in Tulsa to the utility for an electric substation. The utility says BNSF has refused to sell; the railroad says it is evaluating the safety and operational aspects of having such a substation near its operations. [NewsOn6 website report, 11-6-13]

NTSB FINDS TEXAS PARADE FLOAT ACCIDENT DUE TO LACK OF ADVANCE SAFETY PLANNING: A fatal accident in which a Union Pacific freight train struck a parade float in Texas last November, killing four people, was caused by the failure of both the city and the parade organizer to address the risks associated with routing the parade through an active grade crossing, the NTSB said. [National Transportation Safety Board, 11-5-13]

SEABOARD RAILCAR REPAIR ACQUIRED BY TRINITY: Trinity Industries Inc. subsidiary Trinity Railcar Repair Inc. has acquired Seaboard Railcar Repair. The transaction includes the acquisition of maintenance facilities in Oklahoma and North Carolina. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-5-13]

TURKEY OPENS EIGHT-MILE MARMARAY TUNNEL: Turkish State Railways has opened its eight-mile Marmaray Tunnel in Istanbul, linking the rapid transit lines on the European side with those on the Asian side. Trains operate at two-minute intervals transporting up to 75,000 riders per hour. The project's second phase will expand the tunnel to accommodate long-distance passenger trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-5-13]

RUSSIAN DOUBLE-DECK COACHES ENTER SERVICE: Russian Railways introduced its first long-distance double-deck coaches at Moscow's Kazan station Nov. 1, with the launch of the new cars on overnight service from Moscow to Adler. [International Railway Journal, 11-5-13]

SEPTA'S BRIDGEPORT VIADUCT TO REOPEN AFTER 4-MONTH REPAIR PROJECT: Full train service between 69th Street and Norristown, Pa., will resume Nov. 11 following a four-month repair project that closed SEPTA's Bridgeport Viaduct spanning the Schuylkill River. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-4-13]

CANADIAN GRAIN CAR SHORTAGE SLOWS EXPORTS ON RECORD CROPS: Record crops in Canada are overwhelming the country's rail system, creating a shortage of grain cars and slowing shipments to foreign buyers. Canadian National and Canadian Pacific are each providing about 5,000 to 5,500 cars a week to move grain at a time when customers need more than twice that many. [Bloombuerg News website report, 11-4-13]

BART LABOR CONTRACTS APPROVED BY TWO LARGEST UNIONS: Bay Area Rapid Transit's four-year labor contracts have been approved by its two largest unions. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 11-4-13]

HOURLY TRAIN SERVICE TO ATLANTIC CITY RECOMMENDED, STUDY SAYS: Train service on the Atlantic City line should be increased to one train an hour, and a station near the city's airport would boost ridership, a study for NJ Transit says. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 11-4-13]

SECOND NEW TALGO TRAIN DELIVERED TO OREGON: The Oregon Dept. of Transportation has taken delivery of the second of two new Talgo 13-car trainsets the state ordered in 2009. The first new trainset entered service July 26. [Railway Age website report, 11-4-13]

FIRST AVENIO LRV DELIVERED TO MUNICH: Siemens has delivered the first of eight Avenio low-floor 220-passenger light-rail vehicles ordered by Munich Transport. Six of the vehicles have been ordered to increase frequencies on the existing network, while the remaining two will expand fleet capacity in readiness for the opening of tram extension from Max Weber Platz to Berg-am-Laim S-Bahn station in 2015. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-4-13]

CRUDE-BY-RAIL ADVANCES IN N.J., WYOMING: Crude-by-rail activity continues to advance as Phillips 66 intends to construct a crude terminal at Bayway Refinery in Linden, N.J., in the Conrail Shared Assets area. Meanwhile, BNSF and Union Pacific will provide rail services for Genesis Energy's scheduled start of operations at its Pronghorn rail facility near Douglas, Wyoming, next month. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-4-13]

CN TRAIN DERAILS IN ALBERTA: A CN train derailed about 111 miles west of Edmonton, Alberta, Nov. 3. Thirteen cars derailed around 1 a.m., including 12 loaded with lumber and one carrying sulfur dioxide. The sulfur dioxide is a hazardous commodity, but the car was upright and not leaking, CN said. [Bloomberg News website report, 11-3-13]

COLORADO PROPOSES THREE ALIGNMENTS FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: The Colorado Dept. of Transportation has proposed three different alignments for the 175-mile high-speed passenger rail line linking Fort Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The trains could reach speeds of up to 150 mph, with an annual capacity of 13.8 million riders by the year 2035. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-1-13]

MIAMI’S NEW AMTRAK STATION TO ACCOMMODATE LONGER TRAINS: The Florida DOT said it will build two new streets around the new Miami Central Amtrak station to accommodate longer trains. The platforms (which are on tracks with bumpers at the south end) would not be long enough to accommodate a typical 10-car consist, much less the longer trains that sometimes run, without blocking the grade crossing at the north end of the platforms. FDOT is proceeding with construction of a run-around road which will allow motorists to detour when Amtrak trains are fouling the crossing. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 11-1-13]

BOMBARDIER REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Bombardier Transportation reported revenue of $2.1-billion for the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, up from $1.2-billion for the same period last year. The value of new orders reached $1.7-billion for the quarter, compared with $2.2-billion a year ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-1-13]

AMERICAN RAILCAR REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: American Railcar Industries Inc. (ARI) reported third-quarter net earnings increased to $21-million or 98 cents per share, from $14-million or 66 cents per share a year ago. As of Sept. 30, ARI had a backlog of 6,300 rail cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 11-1-13]

RAIL LINE IN NORTHERN UGANDA REOPENED: A ceremony in Gulu, Uganda, Oct. 26 marked the reopening of the Rift Valley Railways line from Tororo, near the Kenyan border, 18 years after services ceased. As well as bringing northern Uganda back onto the rail network, the line is expected to carry freight from neighboring countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan to Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya. [International Railway Journal website report, 11-1-13]

TEAMSTERS, CN REACH TENTATIVE SETTLEMENT: CN has reached tentative collective agreements with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference–Conductors, Trainpersons and Yardpersons (TCRC-CTY). The TCRC-CTY represents approximately 3,000 employees on CN’s network in Canada. Details of the three-year contracts are being withheld pending ratification by the union’s membership. [CN, 10-31-13]

SECOND TRAIN BEING CONSIDERED FOR TWIN CITIES-CHICAGO ROUTE: The Minnesota Dept. of Transportation Passenger Rail Office says there is now a demand for a second train between the Twin Cities and Chicago. Amtrak and the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin are looking into adding a second passenger train to make travel more convenient for passengers. [Wisconsin Public Radio website report, 10-31-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased rail traffic for the week ending October 26, 2013, with total U.S. carloads of 297,455 carloads, up 3.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-31-13]

TRINITY INDUSTRIES REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Trinity Industries Inc. reported third-quarter net income of $99.6-million or $1.26 per common diluted share, compared with $63.2-million or 80 cents per common diluted share a year ago. The Rail Group received orders for 5,610 new rail cars during the quarter, which resulted in a backlog of 40,050 units with a value of $5.1-billion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-31-13]

INDIA ESTABLISHES HIGH-SPEED RAIL CORPORATION: The Indian Railways Ministry has announced that the country has established a High Speed Rail Corporation to prepare financial and implementation models, including the preparation of studies and development of technical standards for high-speed rail in India. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-31-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN RENAMES RAIL YARD IN LANCASTER, PA.: Norfolk Southern paid tribute to H. Craig Lewis, former NS vice-president of corporate affairs, by dedicating the Dillerville Yard in Lancaster, Pa., in his honor. Prior to joining NS, Lewis served as a state senator. [Railway Age website report, 10-31-13]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 3-Q LOSS: FreightCar America Inc. reported a third-quarter loss of about $900,000 or 8 cents per diluted share, measured against earnings of $4.8 million or 40 cents per diluted share in the comparable 2012 quarter. Third-quarter revenue of $75.9-million was down 53 pct from a year ago. [Railway Age website report, 10-31-13]

CSX, UNIONS REACH ‘LANDMARK’ AGREEMENT AT HUNTINGTON SHOP: CSX has signed a landmark agreement with four labor unions that sets new standards of quality and productivity at the company's Huntington, W.Va., locomotive shop. The agreement covers a variety of work, including locomotive rebuilds. Under the agreement, members of all four unions may perform all assigned work without regard to craft or union affiliation. The current ratio of members of each union currently working at the shop will be preserved. [CSX, 10-31-13]

TRAIN CRASHES INTO BUS IN KENYA, AT LEAST 11 DIE: A train crashed into a passenger bus as it passed through a rail crossing in Nairobi, killing at least 11 people, emergency officials said. Kenya's National Disaster Operation Center said the crash also injured several people. [CTV News website report, 10-30-13]

D.C. ENVISIONS K STREET STREETCAR LINE: Washington D.C.'s District Dept. of Transportation has released its recommended preference for a streetcar line linking Union Station with the Georgetown neighborhood, primarily along K street. [Railway Age website report, 10-30-13]

OMAN TO LAUNCH $15-B RAIL PROJECT NEXT YEAR: Oman plans to launch construction of the first part of a $15-billion rail network in the fourth-quarter of 2014. The state-funded, 1,395-mile rail network - the country's first - would link the desert town of Buraimi, bordering the United Arab Emirates, to six major settlements in Oman including the industrial city of Sohar. [Reuters website report, 10-30-13]

BNSF SEEKS PROJECT IN DEVILS LAKE WETLANDS: BNSF railroad is seeking approval for a project that involves the discharge of construction material into roughly 13 acres of wetlands near Devils Lake, N.D. The material would come from work on a double track in an area between Minot and Williston. [Grand Forks Herald website report, 10-30-13]

THAILAND’S NORTHERN RAIL LINE UNDER URGENT REPAIR: Following a spate of derailments, State Railway of Thailand has suspended all services on the Bangkok–Chiang Mai line north of Uttaradit for urgent repairs. Services are expected to resume Dec. 1. The 186-mile line normally carries around 2,000 passengers per day. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-30-13]

CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR WANTS CON ED SUED OVER METRO-NORTH BLACKOUT: Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to pursue legal action against Con Edison to recover losses from last month’s power failure on Metro-North’s New Haven Line. [New York Daily News website report, 10-29-13]

PIONEER RAILCORP ANNOUNCES TRACK REHAB PROJECT COMPLETION: The Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railway has completed a major track rehabilitation project that will enable shippers on the Indiana and Ohio line to route traffic via CSX and Norfolk Southern, NDW's owner Pioneer Railcorp has announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-29-13]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $21-M CHILEAN CONTRACT: Bombardier Transportation has obtained a $21-million contract to deliver its INTERFLO 250 European Rail Traffic Management System Level 1 solution to improve passenger services and safety on a regional and commuter-rail corridor in Santiago, Chile.  [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-29-13]

OIL TRAINS INCREASE THROUGH MONTANA: With pipeline infrastructure unable to keep up with the increasing oil production, oil transport is increasingly reliant on rail. BNSF has seen a staggering 7,000 pct increase in Bakken crude oil transportation out of the Williston Basin from 2008 to 2012, from 1.3 million barrels to 88.9 million. [Sidney, Montana, Herald website report, 10-29-13]

ELYRIA, OHIO, AMTRAK STATION BURNS: A fire at the Elyria, Ohio, Amtrak station Oct. 26 almost completely engulfed the two-story building. Amtrak could not speculate on when the fire-damaged station would be repaired or replaced, but service will continue with trains stopping at the platform. The fire is under investigation. [Chronicle-Telegram website report, 10-28-13]

THREE RAIL WORKERS INJURED BY AUTO AT CROSSING IN OHIO: Three railroad workers were injured, one critically, Oct. 28 by a car that went around construction barricades just south of Bradner, Ohio. Deputes said the car went around two sets of barricades and drove into the construction area, where it struck a utility pole and the workers. His car then crashed into a CSX maintenance truck before driving off the tracks at the east side of the crossing. [Toledo Blade website report, 10-28-13]

CON ED SAYS IT WON’T COMPENSATE FOR METRO-NORTH POWER CRISIS: Despite admitting that its equipment failure apparently caused 12 days of chaos for Metro-North commuters last month, Con Edison has told a congressional hearing that it won't compensate the railroad or its riders. Metro-North estimated it lost $8-million to $12-million, and analysts have suggested Connecticut's economy lost $62-million. [Hartford Courant website report, 10-28-13]

STORM DISRUPTS BRITISH RAIL TRAVEL: Train services have been disrupted by a severe storm with winds gusting at up to 98 MPH which swept across southern England in the early hours of Oct. 28 before heading to the Netherlands en route to Denmark. Several train operators in southern Britain were prepared for the storm and announced that train services would not start until tracks had been inspected for damage. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-28-13]

MBTA TO REPLACE METRO TRAIN FLEETS: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has issued requests for proposals to replace the 44-year old trains on its Red Line and the 32-year old cars on its Orange Line at a cost of around $1.3-billion. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-28-13]

CRUDE-BY-RAIL SHIPMENTS CONTINUE UPWARD TREND: Railroads are experiencing an increasing amount of traffic from crude-oil shipments as refiners and producers look for a transport alternative amid tight pipeline capacity. Crude-by-rail shipments continue to grow at a rapid pace, from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 234,000 carloads in 2012, according to the Association of American Railroads. [National Public Radio website report, 10-28-13]

RAIL SERVED CRUDE OIL TERMINAL PROPOSED FOR PORT OF VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON: The Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council is reviewing a proposal by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. for a terminal at the Port of Vancouver to handle up to 380,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Oil arriving by train would be unloaded, stored temporarily and then loaded onto marine vessels to be shipped to refineries on the West Coast. [Olympian website report, 10-27-13]

FEDS TO PROBE METRO-NORTH POWER FAILURE: Federal regulators will meet Oct. 28 to review Consolidated Edison's plan to avert power failures such as the one that disrupted Metro-North's New Haven Line for nearly two weeks this fall. Stamford Advocate website report, 10-27-13]

UNION PACIFIC RAILPORT OPENED IN TEXAS: Union Pacific Distribution Services has opened a new ‘railport’ in Odessa, Texas, designed to combine pipe and build transloading operations with direct UP service to deliver freight transportation solutions in the Permian Basin. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-25-13]

CAPE FLYER PROMISED TO OPERATE AGAIN NEXT SUMMER: Following a breakout summer, transportation officials in Massachusetts are promising a second summer of the successful Cape Flyer service, connecting Boston and Cape Cod with weekend train service. The train averaged 1,000 riders per weekend in July and August, with a high of 2,300 passengers over the July 4 travel weekend. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 10-25-13]

WILLIAM O’LEARY TAKING OVER AS ALASKA R.R. PRESIDENT, CEO: William O’Leary will take over as president and CEO of Alaska Railroad, Nov. 1, succeeding Chris Aadnesen, according to the ARRC board. "There are a number of great opportunities for the Alaska Railroad as we look ahead," O'Leary said. "I look forward to working with our employees, our customers and the state to foster that potential and continue to provide safe, reliable, year-round transportation that supports Alaskan commerce." [Alaska Journal of Commerce website report, 10-25-13]

NEBRASKA TRAIN DEPOT MOVED TO NEW HOME: The last Union Pacific Railroad depot in southern Nebraska's Thayer County has been moved about eight miles from Alexandria to Belvidere to a location close to a train-watching park. Plans are to convert the building for use of those interested in watching trains, complete with restrooms. [San Francisco Chronicle website report, 10-25-13]

BART REMOVES BAN ON BICYCLES: Bicycles will be allowed aboard Bay Area Rapid Transit trains at all times, including rush hours, following a unanimous vote Oct. 24 by the BART Board of Directors. [Railway Age website report, 10-24-13]

DOME CAR TO BE ADDED TO ILLINOIS ZEPHYR NOV. 5-22: Passengers riding Amtrak’s Illinois Zephyr trains between Chicago and Quincy will have an opportunity to view the change of seasons when the historic ‘Great Dome’ railcar is part of Trains 380 and 383 from Nov. 5 to Nov. 22. [Railway Age website report, 10-24-13]

HOUSTON’S NORTH RAIL LINE TO OPEN DEC. 21: Houston's North Rail Line will open for service on Dec. 21, 2013, according to Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County officials. [Railway Age website report, 10-24-13]

WABTEC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Wabtec Corp. reported third-quarter 2013 earnings of $73.9-million or 76 cents per share, up about 17 pct from the same period a year ago. [Railway Age website report, 10-24-13]

GATX REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: GATX Corp. reported third-quarter 2013 net income of $53.8-million or $1.15 per diluted share, compared with net income of $53.8-million or $1.13 per diluted share in the third-quarter of 2012. [Railway Age website report, 10-24-13]

BNSF WORKER KILLED IN N.M. ACCIDENT: A 57-year-old Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway employee was killed in Socorro, N.M., Oct. 17 when a train traveling southbound from Belen to El Paso collided with a backhoe working on the tracks. [Albuquerque Journal website report, 10-24-13]

FERROMEX, UNION PACIFIC LAUNCH NEW INTERMODAL SERVICE: Ferromex and Union Pacific have initiated a new intermodal service between Monterrey, Mexico, and Chicago. The ‘Eagle Premium’ trains will run Monday through Saturday to and from Monterrey and Chicago, with transit times estimated at four days for southbound traffic and five days for northbound loads. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-24-13]

NEW AMTRAK LONG-DISTANCE CARS NEARING COMPLETION: Production Amtrak's new single-level long-distance passenger rail cars is nearing completion, and they are expected to begin field testing this winter. The cars are being built by CAF USA at its facility in Elmira, N.Y. The $298-million order includes 25 sleepers, 25 diners, 25 baggage/dormitory and 55 baggage cars. The cars will replace and supplement the existing fleet and allow older cars to be retired. The sleeper, diner and baggage/dormitory cars will likely operate on eastern routes, with the baggage cars used nationwide. [Amtrak, 10-24-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased weekly rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 19, with total U.S. carloads of 289,256 carloads, up 0.2 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 264,687 units, up 4.3 pct,, 16th straight weekly increase in a row. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-24-13]

BNSF OPENS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICE IN MONTANA: BNSF held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 22 to open a new economic development office in Billings, Montana, which is the headquarters for the railroad's Montana Division. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-23-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern reported third-quarter net income of $482-million, 20 pct higher than for the same period of 2012. Diluted earnings per share were $1.53, up 23 pct compared with the third-quarter last year. Railway operating revenues were $2.8-billion  [Norfolk Southern, 10-23-13]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway announced record quarterly earnings and its lowest operating ratio in company history. Adjusted EPS of $1.88 grew 45 pct over third-quarter 2012, while third-quarter operating ratio was 65.9 pct, an 820 basis point improvement over third-quarter 2012. Total revenues were $1.5 billion.  [Canadian Pacific, 10-23-13]

OSWEGO, N.Y., PORT AUTHORITY GETS GRANT FOR RAIL SPUR, ADDITIONAL STORAGE: The Port of Oswego, N.Y., Authority has received a $192,000 grant, awarded through the Northern Border Regional Commission, which will be used to construct a rail spur and additional rail car storage to help accommodate the demands of increased rail traffic. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-23-13]

BNSF DEVELOPING LOGISTICS CENTER IN TEXAS: BNSF Railway Company has announced the development of a new BNSF Logistics Center and improvements to an existing rail yard and mainline infrastructure at a groundbreaking ceremony in Sweetwater, Texas. The comprehensive expansion will result in 40,000 feet of new tracks, upgrading of the Sweetwater Yard track and improving the branch line that serves Central Texas. [BNSF, 10-22-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN, UNION PACIFIC MADE ‘REVENUE ADEQUATE’ GRADE IN 2012, STB SAYS: The Surface Transportation Board has calculated that Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific were the only two ‘revenue adequate’ Class I railroads in 2012. The designation means that they achieved a rate of return equal to or greater than the board's calculation of the rail industry's average cost of capital last year. The STB determined that the industry's cost of capital in 2012 was 11.12 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-22-13]

MF01 METRO TRAIN INAUGURATED IN PARIS: The MF01 metro train built by a consortium of Alstom Transport, Bombardier Transport and Areva TA was inaugurated Oct. 21 on Line 9 in Paris. The first trainset was unveiled at Porte de Saint-Cloud station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-22-13]

CN REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: CN reported hird-quarter 2013 net income was $705-million or C$1.67 per diluted share, compared with net income of $664-million or C$1.52 per diluted share for third-quarter 2012.  The third-quarter 2013 results included a $19 million expense resulting from a one-time deferred income tax adjustment. [CN-10-22-13]

BART STRIKE ENDS: The Bay Area Rapid Transit system and its unions reached a tentative agreement on a new contract Monday night, Oct. 21, ending a four-day strike. BART said limited service would begin Tuesday at 4 a.m. on all lines, and hoped trains would be running at full strength in time for the afternoon commute. [KCBS website report, 10-21-13]

NATIVE AMERICAN NATIONS MAY DELAY ANTENNA TOWERS FOR PTC RAIL PLAN:Railroads need to build 22,000 antenna towers across the country to implement positive train control and must apply to the Federal Communications Commission for each one. However, the FCC has asked the railroads to stop submitting applications because they have so many. Another kink is that 565 Native American tribes can review each and every application to ensure that no work is done on sacred ground - something that will likely delay the installation process. [Bloomberg Businessweek website report, 10-21-13]

LIONEL GOES DIGITAL: To merge the old and the new worlds, Lionel Trains has launched an iPad app that interfaces with its model trains, allowing users to control the trains, tracks and other components digitally. [CNN website report, 10-21-13]

TWO BART EMPLOYEES KILLED BY TRAIN: A Bay Area Rapid Transit train struck and killed two employees on the tracks near the Walnut Creek station, California, Oct. 19. BART employees were on strike, but some trains had been moving between stations for maintenance and security reasons, BART said. [NBC Bay Area website report, 10-20-13]

BART ON STRIKE: Extra buses and ferries were pressed into service early Friday, Oct. 18, to try to cope with 400,000 dislocated commuters after transit workers walked off the job at midnight on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, the nation's fifth largest. Transit workers struck at midnight for the second time this year after a deadline to resolve contract negotiations passed without a deal. [USA Today website report, 10-18-13]

ODOR FROM TRASH TRAINS CAN BE ELIMINATED WITH NEW PRODUCT: Stage 8 has announced the debut of a new product for train trash cars. ‘Train Fresh,’ developed in conjunction with chemists and microbiologists, is described as a highly concentrated, bioactive cleaner, degreaser, and deodorizer that quickly and effectively eliminates solid waste odor. A simple spray, using a hose-end foam device or automated wash system, will eliminate the odor source, not just cover it up. [Railway Age website report, 10-18-13]

SIGNAL TRAINING SCHOOL OPENING IN CALIFORNIA: Herzog Technologies Inc. and Signal Training Solutions Inc. have partnered to establish a Signal Training School in Oceanside, California, which is scheduled to open Nov. 1. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-18-13]

CANADA ISSUES ORDER REQUIRING CRUDE CLASSIFICATION TESTS: The Canadian government has issued a protective order that requires anyone who imports or transports crude oil to conduct classification tests on the crude, the ministry of transport announced. The order was developed in response to the July 6 derailment in Quebec. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-18-13]

KCS REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported third-quarter net income of $119-million or $1.07 per diluted share, up from $91-million or 82 cents per diluted share in the third quarter of 2012. [Kansas City Southern, 10-18-13]

GROUND BROKEN FOR NEW STATEN ISLAND RWY STATION: New York City Transit's new Staten Island Railway station, which will be Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant and replace the existing Atlantic and Nassau stations in the Tottenville section of the borough, broke ground Oct. 18. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-18-13]

SHANGHAI METRO LINE 11 OPENS TO KUNSHAN: The first extension of the Shanghai metro network into a neighboring province was officially opened Oct. 18 when commercial services began on the 3.7-mile western section of Line 11 between Antig and Huaqiao station in Kunshan, Jiangsu province. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-18-13]

BNSF OPENS LOGISTICS PARK IN KANSAS: BNSF Railway introduced its new Logistics Park Kansas City Intermodal Facility in Edgerton, Kansas, to customers, business and elected officials during the facility's grand opening ceremony Oct. 17. The facility has six 8,000-foot tracks for loading and unloading intermodal trains [BNSF, 10-17-13]

CSX TO BUILD INTERMODAL FACILITY NEAR PITTSBURGH: CSX Corporation plans to design and build a new intermodal facility in McKees Rocks and Stowe Township, Pa., near Pittsburgh. The proposed site in McKees Rocks would redevelop the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad yard, which operated for over 100 years. [CSX, 10-17-13]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation reported 2013 third-quarter net income of $1.15-billion or $2.48 per diluted share, compared to $1-billion or $2.19 per diluted share the third-quarter 2012.  [Union Pacific, 10-17-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 12, 2013, with 285,372 carloads, up 0.1 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-17-13]

NINETEEN STATES REACH AGREEMENTS TO PRESERVE AMTRAK RAIL ROUTES: Amtrak has negotiated contracts with 19 state transportation departments and other entities to increase state control and funding of 28 current passenger-rail routes. States with state-supported Amtrak service have been renegotiating their contracts as required under a 2008 federal law that called for supporting routes of less than 750 miles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-17-13]

SCOTT CASSIDY NAMED GENERAL MGR OF SWAN RANCH R.R.: Watco Transportation Services has named Scott Cassidy general manager of the Swan Ranch Railroad in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He joined Watco last year as assistant GM of Black Thunder Switching in Wyoming. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-17-13]

FREIGHT RAILROADS PLANNING TO HIRE 11,000 THIS YEAR: With freight railroads planning to hire more than 11,000 people this year, rail was cited among the top 10 transportation or travel-related industries with jobs available now. [Business News Daily website report, 10-17-13]

FUNDING AGREEMENT RESCUES AMTRAK’S HOOSIER STATE TRAIN: Amtrak service between Indianapolis and Chicago will continue - at least for a year. Gov. Mike Pence announced Oct. 15 that the state and local communities have reached an agreement with Amtrak to keep the Hoosier State passenger rail service operating. [Indianapolis Star website report, 10-16-13]

BIDS INVITED FOR SECOND SECTION OF CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE: After signing the construction contract for the initial 29-mile Fresno-Madera section of the state's high-speed line, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has invited contractors to qualify to bid for the second construction phase of the Initial Operating Section, Stage 1. Construction package 2-3 is a design-build contract covering civil works on the 60-mile stretch from Fresno south to the boundary between Tulare and Kern counties, near Bakersfield. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-16-13]

CSX REPORTS 3-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corporation announced third-quarter net earnings of $463-million or $0.46 per share, up from $455-million or $0.44 per share in the same period last year. This performance was supported by strong operating results and higher revenues that included benefits from customer contract settlements. CSX now expects full-year 2013 earnings per share to be slightly up from 2012 levels. [CSX, 10-15-13]

POLITICAL OPPOSITION RISES AGAINST CSX RAIL FACILITY IN BALTIMORE: Driven by a surge of opposition from people who live in southwest Baltimore, several city leaders have withdrawn support for an intermodal CSX rail facility proposed for the area. To be located on an existing rail yard, the terminal would be an around-the-clock operation served by over 300 trucks a day. [Baltimore Sun website report, 10-15-13]

L.A.’S ANGELS FLIGHT NEEDS SAFETY UPGRADES, NTSB SAYS: The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended ‘urgent’ safety upgrades for Los Angeles' Angels Flight funicular, saying the incline lacks suitable evacuation options. The NTSB report follows a derailment Sept. 5, 2013. No one was injured, but passengers were forced to wait for fire department assistance, since the system lacked emergency evacuation infrastructure such as walkways. [Railway Age website report, 10-15-13]

SOUTH AFRICA GETTING 600 PASSENGER TRAINS OVER A 10-YEAR PERIOD: Gibela, a joint venture led by Alstom, has obtained a contract from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa to supply 600 passenger trains for delivery between 2015 and 2025. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-15-13]

TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION BEGINS FOR OTTAWA’S CONFEDERATION LINE: Tunnel construction has begun for the Confederation Line light-rail transit system in Ottawa. The 7.8-mile electric system will replace buses to provide rapid transit between Blair Station in the east and Tunney's Pasture in the west. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-15-13]

AMTRAK SETS ONE-YEAR RIDERSHIP RECORD: Amtrak carried a record 31.6 million passengers in F.Y. 2013. It is the tenth ridership record in 11 years. In addition, all long-distance routes combined had the best ridership in 20 years with 4.8 million passengers. [Amtrak, 10-14-13]

INLAND PORT OPENING IN S.C.: The S.C. Ports Authority’s newest terminal opens Oct. 14 in Spartanburg County. The hope is that the so-called inland port will boost commerce in the state’s industrial Upstate region while also increasing the maritime agency’s market share in the Southeast. [Charleston Post Courier website report, 10-14-13]

PRAGUE APPROVES METRO LINE D PLANS: The Prague City Council has approved plans for the construction of the initial phase of metro Line D, which will link the city center with the southern suburbs. However, the council has yet to finalize its preferred route, and two options are still under review. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-14-13]

EXPORT SHIPMENTS OF FORD VEHICLES TO START AT RAIL-SERVED OREGON PORT: Oregon's Port of Portland, served by BNSF and Union Pacific, will soon start exporting Ford motor vehicles to China. Auto Warehousing Corp. is about to complete a $2.8-million expansion of its processing building and annual vehicle capacity to support the anticipated traffic growth, according to port officials. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-14-13]

ONE DEAD, 23 HURT AS TRUCK COLLIDES WITH TOURIST TRAIN IN W.VA.: One person was killed and 23 were injured when a logging truck collided with a tourist train in rural W.Va. Investigators believe the driver of the logging truck failed to brake at a railroad crossing while driving north Oct. 11 on Route 250 in Cheat Bridge, about 160 miles east of Charleston. The truck hit two of the passenger cars that are part of the Cheat Mountain Salamander, a train that offers tourists fall foliage excursions. [Los Angeles Times website report, 10-12-13]

ILLINOIS AGREES TO SPEND ADDITIONAL $9-M ON AMTRAK: Illinois has agreed to spend an additional $9-million to support Amtrak service in the state, joining other state governments in bringing a measure of stability to the passenger rail service’s most heavily-traveled routes. [Register-Mail website report, 10-12-13]

INITIAL WORK ON CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT MAY USE FEDERAL FUNDS, AUTHORITY SAYS: Federal funds may be used for preliminary work on California's $68-billion high-speed rail project, without violating voter-imposed limits on the use of state bonds, according to the California High Speed Rail Authority. This is in response to a court ruling that CHSRA failed to identify each funding source required to build the project's first phase. [Los Angeles Times website report, 10-12-13]

CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR RESUMING NORMAL ROUTING IN COLORADO: Amtrak’s California Zephyr will resume normal routing between Denver and Salt Lake City starting this Oct. 12. Flooding in late September had forced the train to operate via the Overland Route.   [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 10-11-13]

AMTRAK TO CONDUCT TRIAL RUN FOR TRANSPORTATION OF BICYCLES: Amtrak will conduct a trial run next week for the carriage of unboxed bicycles in the lower-level baggage area of Superliner coaches. The trial will allow a selected group of cyclists to travel with their bikes on the eastbound Capitol Limited from Harpers Ferry and Rockville to Washington, DC.   [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 10-11-13]

NEW INDIANAPOLIS INTERMODAL TERMINAL OPENS: The Senate Avenue Intermodal Terminal in Indianapolis opened Oct. 10. Both Indiana Railroad and CN will serve the facility. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-11-13]

JEFFREY HOLLISTER NAMED PRESIDENT, INTERIM CEO OF AMERICAN RAILCAR INDUSTRIES: The board of American Railcar Industries has appointed Jeffrey Hollister president and interim CEO. He replaces James Cowan, who has resigned. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-11-13]

VOSSLOH GROUP TO SUPPLY 70 EURODUAL LOCOMOTIVES FOR SOUTH AFRICAN PASSENGER SERVICE: The Vossloh Group has obtained a $338-million contract from Swifambo Rail Leasing in South Africa for the supply of 70 EURODual locomotives for passenger-rail service. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-11-13]

LONDON’S CROSSRAIL COMPLETES FIRST TUNNEL: Construction of the first railway tunnel for London's Crossrail project is complete after a tunnel-boring machine completed a 4.2-mile journey from Royal Oak to Farringdon. Eight machines are currently constructing 10 separate tunnels for Crossrail. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-11-13]

GROUND BROKEN FOR JAKARTA’S FIRST METRO PROJECT: There was a ground-breaking ceremony Oct. 10 to mark the start of construction of the first metro line in Jakarta, Indonesia. The 9.4-mile line will link the Hotel Indosnesia traffic circle with Lebak Bulus, which will include a 5.7-mile underground section. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-11-13]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS SEPT 2013 TRAFFIC: Genesee & Wyoming’s traffic in September 2013 was 155,650 carloads, an increase of 76,411 carloads, or 96.4 pct, compared to the company’s traffic in September 2012. [Genesee & Wyoming, 10-11-13]

R.R. MUSEUM IS SAN LUIS OBISPO’S NEWEST LANDMARK: San Luis Obispo, California, is marking the grand opening Oct. 12 of a new railroad museum that's housed in a Southern Pacific freight house built around 1894. The museum tells the story of the city's important 19th century link in the coastal rail line that joined San Francisco and Los Angeles. [Los Angeles Times website report, 10-10-13]

WASHINGTON STATE REVOKES PERMITS FOR TWO PLANNED OIL-TRAIN TERMINALS: Washington State officials are revoking permits for two planned oil-train terminals in Southwest Washington at the Port of Grays Harbor after deciding the projects need more environmental scrutiny. The terminals would that store up to 1.5 million barrels of crude, primarily from North Dakota. [Seattle Times website report, 10-10-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed rail traffic for the week ending October 5, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 279,128 carloads, down 1.6 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-10-13]

CHICAGO TRANSIT AWARDS CONTRACT FOR 95TH STREET TERMINAL PROJECT: The Chicago Transit Authority has hired Walsh/II in One JV as its construction manager & general contractor to oversee the $240-million Red Line 95th street terminal project. The project will expand and improve the terminal and bring improvements to a bus and rail station that serves about 20,000 customers each weekday. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-10-13]

AMTRAK NAMES MARK MURPHY GM OF LONG-DISTANCE SERVICES: Amtrak has named Mark Murphy general manager of long distance services. He will be based in Chicago and oversee safety, customer satisfaction, ridership, on-time performance and financial results for the long-distance business line. Most recently, he served as deputy chief mechanical officer of terminal operations in Wilmington, Delaware. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-10-13]

SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC RAILWAYS BECOMES PALMETTO RAILWAYS: South Carolina Public Railways has changed its name to Palmetto Railways. Under the new name, the company will operate and market its three short lines: the Port Utilities Commission of Charleston, Port Terminal Railroad and East Cooper & Berkeley Railroad. A state-owned company, Palmetto Railways is a division of the South Carolina Department of Commerce. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-10-13]

K.C. UNVEILS NEW CAF STREETCAR: Kansas City, Mo., officials have unveiled the design of the city's modern downtown streetcar, which is scheduled to be operational by fall 2015. It is a URBOS 3 platform vehicle that will be built by CAF at a plant in Elmira, N.Y. Each car will have the capacity to accommodate 148 passengers. The streetcar's color will be determined by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-10-13]

FLORIDA EAST COAST TO RESTORE SERVICE TO MIAMI PORT: Florida East Coast Railway expects to restore freight-rail service to PortMiami later this month. Service was suspended in 2005 after Hurricane Wilma damaged a rail bridge leading into and out of the port. When the on-dock rail service resumes, shippers will be able to reach more than 70 pct of the U.S. population within four days, FEC officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-10-13]

METROLINX ORDERS 10 LOW-EMISSION LOCOMOTIVES: Wabtec Corp.'s MotivePower subsidiary has obtained a $63-million contract from Metrolinx to build 10 low-emission locomotives featuring engines that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Tier 4 emission standards. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-9-13]

CALIFORNIA APPROVES DEAL TO KEEP AMTRAK SHORT-HAUL TRAINS ROLLING: California officials have approved a deal to provide an extra $19-million in annual funding under a cost-sharing requirement for Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor, ensuring the passenger rail provider's service continues uninterrupted. Long-distance routes operating in California are not affected, as the cost-sharing requirement only applies to routes shorter than 750 miles. [Governing website report, 10-9-13]

U.P. TRAIN STRIKES TRUCK IN MIDLAND, TEXAS: A flatbed truck hauling pipes became stuck on railroad tracks in Midland, Texas, and was struck by a train on Oct. 9. There were no reported injuries. Midland has been the site of some high-profile crashes in the past year, including a crash in June that killed a truck driver, and a crash in November 2012 that left four dead when a truck was struck during a parade for wounded veterans. [Land Line Magazine website report, 10-9-13]

TORONTO TO CONVERT SCARBOROUGH LINE TO HEAVY METRO: The Toronto City Council has voted to endorse reconstructing the Scarborough light metro line as an extension of the city's heavy metro. The Council also endorsed a 1.6 pct tax increase to help finance the plan. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-9-13]

AMTRAK MAKING PLANS FOR 30TH STREET STATION: Amtrak is seeking redevelopment plans for Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and the surrounding area, including the air rights above the rail yards adjacent to the station. After several years of preparation, Amtrak announced it wants proposals for a master development plan delivered by Nov. 18. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 10-8-13]

AMTRAK, N.Y. STATE REACH COST-SHARING AGREEMENT: Amtrak and the state of New York have reached an agreement on cost sharing for most Amtrak routes in the state as required by federal law. The agreement calls for the state to pay $22-million in fiscal-year 2014 to cover costs associated with the Empire, Adirondack, Maple Leaf and Ethan Allen lines, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-13]

TUCSON BEGINS TESTING NEW STREETCAR SYSTEM: The Sun Link Streetcar, which will be the first modern streetcar system in Tucson, Arizona, has begun test runs on a portion of its 3.9-mile track. The system's eight streetcars were manufactured by Oregon Iron Works/United Streetcar, and are among the first streetcar vehicles to be produced in the United States in 60 years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-8-13]

NEW TRAINS ENTER SERVICE ON WARSAW METRO: The first two of 35 six-car Siemens Inspiro metro trains entered passenger service in Warsaw on October 6. Inspiro is a new generation of metro train designed for Siemens by BMW's US subsidiary Designworks. Each train has four motored cars and two trailers with two-thirds of axles driven. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-8-13]

VIENNA OPENS NORTHERN EXTENSION TO METRO: Wiener Linien, which operates urban rail services in the Austrian capital, inaugurated a 2.6-mile extension to Line U2 of the Vienna U-Bahn on Oct. 5. The extension runs from the existing terminus at Aspernstrasse and includes three new stations at Hausfeldstrasse, Aspern, and Seestadt. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-8-13]

NEW HAVEN LINE BACK TO NORMAL FOLLOWING ELECTRICAL REPAIRS: The Metro-North New Haven line with service to and from New York City was fully restored Oct. 7. Amtrak also announced that its Acela train service between Boston and New York City returned to its full schedule on Oct. 6. Metro-North and Amtrak Acela service have been hobbled since Sept. 25, when power from the Mount Vernon substation that fed electricity to the New Haven Line failed. [Hartford Courant website report, 10-7-13]

ONE KILLED, TWO INJURED IN WASHINGTON METRO CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is investigating the cause of a fatal construction accident that occurred on the Red Line Oct. 6. The incident resulted in the death of a contractor and injuries to two WMATA employees after they were struck by a piece of rail. The accident occurred in a work zone on the outbound track between Union Station and Judiciary Square. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-7-13]

ANTIQUE LOCOMOTIVE FINDS HOME AT MUSEUM: More than a year after construction crews unearthed a locomotive dating to the 1880s near Mulberry, Florida, the antique relic has found a permanent home. Crews hoisted the rusted, dirt-laden steam engine into place outside the Mulberry Phosphate Museum Oct. 9. The city will now build a roof to protect the locomotive and install a fence around the outdoor display. [Lakeland Ledger website report, 10-7-13]

CANADIAN PACIFIC TO SERVE CRUDE-LOADING TERMINAL IN N.D.: Canadian Pacific is slated to serve Dakota Plains Holdings' $50-million crude-loading facility at its Pioneer Terminal in New Town, N.D. The project is slated to be finished by late December. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-7-13]

BNSF PLANS CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS IN CALIFORNIA: BNSF Railway Company plans to invest an estimated $100-million on maintenance and rail capacity expansion projects in California this year. Projects include preliminary design work for the Southern California International Gateway, expansion of its automotive facility in San Bernardino, track maintenance to include 2,300 miles of surfacing and undercutting work, replacement of more than 100 miles of rail and more than 300,000 railroad ties, and signal upgrades for positive train control. [BNSF, 10-7-13]

GUY BRENKMAN DIES, FOUNDER OF PIONEER RAILCORP: Guy Brenkman, 66, who founded short-line holding company Pioneer Railcorp, died Sept. 25. Brenkman formed Pioneer Railroad Co. in January 1986. The company began operating the West Jersey Railroad, its first short line, in 1988. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-7-13]

INDIANAPOLIS INTERMODAL FACILTY SET TO OPEN: A new intermodal facility is scheduled to open Oct. 10 in Indianapolis. Canadian National and the Indiana Rail Road Co. will serve the facility that was built to help lessen the time to ship between Indiana and Asia. [WISH-TV website report, 10-7-13]

WATCO NAMES GENERAL MGR TO TWO SHORTLINE RAILROADS: Watco Transportation Services has appointed Jeffrey Buck to general manager for the Mississippi Southern and Vicksburg Southern railroads. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-7-13]

GRAIN CROP LOOKS GOOD, CN SAYS: CN President and CEO Claude Mongeau said current forecasts call for western Canada crop production to be one of the largest harvests in history, and he stressed that supply chain collaboration and information sharing will be essential to moving the crop efficiently. [Railway Age website report, 10-7-13]

WYOMING TO GET NEW CRUDE-TO-RAIL FACILITY: The Casper Crude to Rail terminal, near the Natrona County International Airport in Wyoming, is set to break ground Oct. 6. It will be part of the BNSF-served Casper Logistics Hub. The other part, CTRAN, is the transloading facility where goods are transferred to and from BNSF and trucks. [Billings Gazette website report, 10-6-13]

SABOTAGE VIRTUALLY RULED OUT IN CHICAGO ‘GHOST TRAIN’ INCIDENT: Accident investigators have virtually ruled out sabotage in their investigation into the cause of the Sept. 30 CTA Blue Line collision involving a runaway train that was supposed to be parked for repairs. Now they believe the runaway train actually stopped and started several times before the crash because of some kind of control problem. [CBS Chicago website report, 10-4-13]

U.P. FORECASTS 3-Q PROFIT BELOW ESTIMATES: Union Pacific Corp, the No.1 U.S. railroad, forecast third-quarter profit below analysts' expectations as mild summer weather and flooding in Colorado hurt coal shipments. [Reuters website report, 10-4-13]

LNG-POWERED LOCOMOTIVES COULD ARRIVE AS EARLY AS 2016: LNG-powered locomotives could be in widespread use on North American railroads as early as 2016 or 2017, according to Railway Age, one of the industry's leading technical publications - which is far sooner than most energy analysts expect. Switching to LNG could generate savings of up to $200,000 per year per locomotive, but each LNG fuel tender could cost around $1-million, so the railroads would have to trade off lower operating costs against higher capital charges. [Reuters website report, 10-4-13]

AMTRAK PLANS TO ELIMINATE FOOD-SERVICE LOSSES IN FIVE YEARS: Amtrak says it is moving forward with a plan to eliminate its food and beverage losses over five years. The plan builds on successful initiatives implemented since FY-2006 that have increased the cost recovery rate from 49 pct percent to 65 pct. [Railway Age website report, 10-4-13]

AMTRAK TO TEST ‘CASHLESS’ FOOD & BEVERAGE SALES: Amtrak plans to test ‘cashless’ sales for food and beverage on certain routes. The elimination of cash reduces transaction time and significantly reduces accounting expenses and the risk of fraud or abuse.  This model is very popular in the airline industry and has been seen as a favorable change by travelers.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 10-4-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 28, 2013. U.S. railroads originated 296,809 carloads, up 0.5 pct compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 269,853 units, up 2.9 pct, the highest intermodal total for any week in history.  Total U.S. rail traffic for the week ending September 28 was 566,662 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.6 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 10-3-13]

SAN FRANCISCO CENTRAL SUBWAY CONSTRUCTION BEGINS: Construction of the San Francisco Central Subway stations, tracks and operating systems has begun, extending the Muni Metro T Third Line underground. Once in operation, the Central Subway will cut travel times in half along congested Stockton street and Fourth street while enhancing connections to Bay Area Rapid Transit, Muni Metro and Caltrain. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 10-3-13]

DETROIT AWARDS DESIGN, QUALITY ASSURANCE CONTRACT FOR STREETCAR LINE: City of Detroit officials have awarded a contract to Parsons Brinckerhoff for design review and construction quality assurance services for the Woodward Avenue streetcar project. The firm will assist the city with reviews of the project's design plans, criteria manual and specifications. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-3-13]

CSX-SERVED CRUDE UNLOADING FACILITY OPENS IN PHILADELPHIA: Philadelphia Energy Solutions has opened a new CSX-served rail unloading facility at a Philadelphia refinery. PES received a $10-million grant Pennsylvania to connect 26,850 feet of new track to a CSX mainline, enabling the refinery to unload two unit trains per day carrying 140,000 barrels of crude. [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-3-13]

NEW PTC SYSTEMS UNVEILED: Lilee Systems United States showed two new Positive Train Control (PTC) solutions developed in separate partnerships with Alstom and Cisco at the Railway Interchange exhibition in Indianapolis, Indiana. The system consists of an onboard Mobile Communications Manager, wayside Base Radio Communications Manager and Base Communications Manager equipment, and an Office Communications Manager for network control centers or remote offices. [International Railway Journal website report, 10-3-13]

BALTIMORE PENN STATION RESTROOM RENOVATION COMPLETE: A $1-million project to renovate restrooms at Penn Station in Baltimore, in part to make them accessible to individuals with disabilities, has been completed ahead of schedule, local transportation officials said. The joint project between Amtrak and the Maryland Transit Administration began in July 2013. [Baltimore Sun website report, 10-2-13]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY CORADIA LINERS TO SNCF: SNCF has ordered 34 Coradia Liner trainsets, the latest generation of long-haul trains from Alstom, as part of a project initiated by the French prime minister to renew Corail intercity trains. The order is worth $474-million. [Railway Age website report, 10-2-13]

FEC TO BEGIN RAIL SERVICE AT PORTMIAMI IN NOVEMBER: PortMiami will again have on-dock rail service as of November. Florida East Coast Railway will provide direct service to the port, the first time in eight years that service will be available. Once service begins, it will take only four or fewer days for shippers to reach nearly 70 pct of the country. [South Florida American City Business Journal website report, 10-2-13]

INTRODUCES NEW ON-LINE TRAIN LOCATION SYSTEM: A new train location tracking system, available at Amtrak.com, provides near-real-time train status of more than 300 daily trains, estimates of arrival times and station information, all in the context of the Amtrak national system map. [Railway Age website report, 10-1-13]

GE EXHIBITS ITS NEW EVOLUTION SERIES ADVANCE POWER 4 LOCOMOTIVE: GE Transportation exhibited its new Evolution Series Advance Power 4 locomotive engine at the Railway Interchange 2013 conference in Indianapolis. The locomotive meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Tier 4 emission standards without the use of any type of after-treatment, according to GE. The engine is designed to decrease emissions by more than 70 pct [Progressive Railroading website report, 10-1-13]

NEW LOGISTICS FACILITY IN INDIANAPOLIS TO RELY ON RAIL SERVICES: Canadian National and CSX will play key roles for the operations of ContainerPort Group's new logistics facility in Indianapolis. A CSX rail ramp and CN's direct service to the city mean the new Indianapolis facility will provide CPG customers with the services they require to position themselves to capitalize on the growth in this market, said CPG. [Journal of Commerce website report, 10-1-13]

DOZENS INJURED IN CHICAGO TRAIN CRASH: A four-car Chicago Transit Authority commuter train that was parked in a service yard somehow moved onto a rail line and smashed into an oncoming train early Sept. 30. How it happened is a mystery. At least 48 people were injured; 33 of them were transported to hospitals. [CNN website report, 9-30-13]

GOV’T SHUTDOWN WON’T HALT AMTRAK: Amtrak issued a brief statement indicating that the national passenger railroad will continue its normal operation of national intercity and high-speed passenger trains in the event of a short-term federal government shutdown. [USA Today website report, 9-30-13]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA ADVANCES PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE PLANS: All Aboard Florida officials are putting the finishing touches on a lease agreement with Orlando International Airport for a future terminal, as well as modifying an initial lease agreement with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority. In July, the company finalized an agreement with Florida to lease a portion of right of way along state road 528 corridor. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-30-13]

LONDON-AMSTERDAM HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICE TO BEGIN IN 2016: Eurostar has reached agreement with Netherlands Railways to launch a service between London and Amsterdam starting in December 2016 as part of a package of measures announced by the Dutch cabinet.  [International Railway Journal website report, 9-30-13]

FEC PAINTS TWO LOCOMOTIVES FOR AWARENESS OF BREAST CANCER: Florida East Coast recently painted two overhauled locomotives pink in an effort to build awareness of breast cancer. "These locomotives were painted in honor of our employees, customers, suppliers and the communities we serve," said FEC CEO Jim Hertwig. [Jacksonville American City Business Journal website report, 9-30-13]

BNSF PLANS $90-M INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT IN N.M.: BNSF will put $90-million into infrastructure projects in New Mexico to strengthen the state's transportation network. Work will include surface renewal, track replacement and installation of 170,000 new ties. Expansion projects include signal upgrades for five major lines through the Belen terminal plus an additional locomotive facility, according to BNSF. [Albuquerque American City Business Journal website report, 9-30-13]

CUMMINS UNVEILS QSK95 TIER 4 ENGINE: Cummins Inc. has introduced its 4,200-hp QSK95 Power Module that meets U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 regulations for line-haul locomotives taking effect Jan. 1, 2015. The first freight locomotive to be re-powered with the QSK95 Power Module will enter service with the Indiana Rail Road by mid-2014, and will be designated as CECX 1919. [Railway Age website report, 9-30-13]

U.S. CLASS I RAILROADS BECOME MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT: U.S. Class I railroads have become more fuel-efficient. Since 1980, the amount of fuel needed to move a ton of freight has dropped more than 50 pct, according to an Energy Information Administration report that also noted fuel consumption dropped 12.5 pct in just six years from 2006 to 2012. [Charleston W.Va. State Journal website report, 9-30-13]

AGREEMENT WITH N.C. REACHED TO RETAIN PIEDMONT, CAROLINIAN TRAINS: Amtrak’s Piedmont and Carolinian passenger trains will keep rolling thanks to a new agreement between Amtrak and the N.C. Department of Transportation, state and federal officials announced Sept. 28. [News & Record website report, 9-28-13]

POWER PROBLEMS IN N.E. CAUSE HAVOC TO RAIL TRAVEL: Power issues in the New York area have caused disruptions to Metro-North Railroad operations, affecting both Metro-North and Amtrak service. Officials say that the problem stems from the loss of a Consolidated Edison 138,000-volt feeder cable that supplies traction power to the line's electric fleet. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-27-13]

AMTRAK TO BEGIN MICHIGAN TRACK UPGRADES: Track upgrades designed to improve Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water service will begin next week between Jackson and Battle Creek, Michigan. The work, the second of three track improvement projects for the 2013 season, is part of the Accelerated Rail Program being implemented for the Michigan Dept. of Transportation. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-27-13]

AMTRAK TRAINS IN FOUR STATES IN JEOPARDY OVER STATE FUNDING SHORTFALLS: Amtrak indicates that it has agreements in hand with most of the states that have trains affected by PRIIA Section 209, the provision that requires most states to pay more, or start paying for, short-distance Amtrak services. The four states where agreements have not been reached are New York, Illinois, Indiana, and California (San Joaquin and Pacific Surfliners). Agreement has been reached with the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority for their service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-27-13]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON CONCRETE CASING IN MANHATTAN’S HUDSON YARDS: Construction has begun on an 800-foot concrete casing at the Hudson Yards in the center of Manhattan, an essential component to preserving the right-of-way for new intercity passenger rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River. The casing will preserve the footprint of new, flood-proof rail tunnels, a vital component for the development of intercity and commuter train development across New York City, including Amtrak's planned 220 mph NextGen, high-speed Boston-Washington line.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-27-13]

BNSF TO EXPAND FORT WORTH HEADQUARTERS: BNSF Railway plans to start construction next month on a $30-million expansion that would accommodate another 570 employees at its north Fort Worth headquarters. The three-story, 164,000-square-foot building will be on the north portion of the sprawling 386-acre BNSF campus. The railroad moved into a then seven-building complex in north Fort Worth in 1997. [Star-Telegram website report, 9-27-13]

WABTEC ACQUIRES LONGWOOD INDUSTRIES: Wabtec Corp. has acquired Longwood Industries Inc., a manufacturer of specialty rubber products for the transportation, oil, gas and industrial markets, with annual sales of $70-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-26-13]

CN TO OPERATE ON 97 MILES OF BANKRUPT KELOWNA PACIFIC RWY: CN plans to start freight service on approximately 97 miles, or 75 pct of the rail network operated by bankrupt short-line Kelowna Pacific Railway in southern British Columbia after reaching agreements that support resumption of operations. KPR, which leased its network from CN in 1999, entered receivership on July 5, 2013, and halted operations. [CN, 9-27-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed rail traffic for the week ending September 21, 2013, with 288,160 total carloads, down 1.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-26-13]

UNION PACIFIC PERFORMANING MAINTENANCE ON RAIL PORTION IN IOWA: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Iowa's transportation infrastructure by investing $8-million in the rail line between Lowden and near Blairstown. The railroad will install nearly 52,000 ties, replace a total of one mile of rail in various curves and renew the surfaces at 71 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 9-26-13]

FOUR INJURED AS THREE FREIGHT TRAINS COLLIDE IN TEXAS: Three BNSF freight trains collided just east of Amarillo, Texas, Sept. 25, derailing up to 30 cars and leaving four crewmembers hurt, two critically. Police say an eastbound train rear-ended a stopped train, and that a westbound train then collided with the two-train wreck. [KSWO website report, 9-25-13]

OKLAHOMA CITY COUNCIL APPROVES STREETCAR PROJECT: The Oklahoma city council has approved advancing a 4.5-mile, $130-million plan as part of the city's MAPS 3 project. The current planned route, local media suggest, resembles the letter ‘Z.’ Current estimates call for the line to begin revenue service in 2017. [Railway Age website report, 9-25-13]

CSX NAMES BOB FRULLA V.P. TRANSPORTATION NORTHERN REGION: CSX has announced that Bob Frulla is the new vice-president of transportation for the Northern Region, overseeing operations in Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, New York and Ohio. He previously served as division manager in Huntington, W.Va. He succeeds Gary Bethel, who is retiring. [CSX, 9-25-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN SUED OVER DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern Railway Company for allegedly discriminating against an employee because of his disability. According to the suit, Norfolk Southern violated federal law by not allowing an employee to return to work after receiving treatment for degenerative disc disorder and being cleared by his physician to return to work. The company subsequently fired the employee. [WRBL website report, 9-24-13]

BNSF OUTLINES ILLINOIS CAPITAL PROGRAM: BNSF will replace two bridges in Princeton and Wyanet, Illinois, and construct a new siding 7,600 feet long between Barstow and Hillsdale, Illinois. Three departure tracks at the Galesburg Yard will be extended to a length of 10,000 feet each and track and parking will be added to BNSF's Logistics Park Chicago and Corwith Intermodal facilities in the Chicago area. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-24-13]

RAIL LINK BETWEEN NORTH KOREA & RUSSIA REOPENS: A ceremony was held in North Korea Sept. 22 to mark the reopening of the cross-border line from Hasan, Russia. According to Russian Railways, the $283-million project involved relaying 34 miles of dual-gauge track and the refurbishment or replacement of 18 bridges, 12 culverts, and three tunnels. A new intermodal terminal has also been constructed in North Korea's Rason Special Economic Zone.  [International Railway Journal website report, 9-23-13]

DETOUR OF CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR CONTINUES: Due to extensive flooding in Colorado, Amtrak will be rerouting the California Zephyr between Denver and Salt Lake City via the Overland Route through southern Wyoming until at least the beginning of October. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-20-13]

TWO INJURED IN VIRGINIA TRAIN DERAILMENT: Two railroad employees were injured Sept. 19 when a CSX train derailed and caught fire in Southampton County, Va. Crews worked throughout the morning to clean up a large fuel spill. CSX said the two locomotives were pulling 35 cars with mixed freight when both locomotives and nine cars went off the tracks. [Richmond Times-Dispatch website report, 9-20-13]

CHARLESTON, S.C., TO REPLACE ITS AMTRAK DEPOT WITH MODERN FACILITY: The Charleston, S.C., Area Regional Transportation Authority will purchase the North Charleston Amtrak station to facilitate construction there of a new intermodal transportation facility. The city is looking to replace the existing, aging Amtrak station, and a shabby intercity bus station with a new 32,000 square foot facility that will house intercity passenger trains, intercity buses, local transit buses, and taxis. The board has yet to decide whether the current Amtrak station will be torn down or incorporated into the new design. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-20-13]

AMTRAK’S FALL EXCURSIONS ARE SOLD OUT: It wasn’t publicized widely. And yet, Amtrak’s first special excursion train - a rare-mileage trip along the Susquehanna River - sold out in five days, even with capacity expanded from about 600 seats to 800.  So Amtrak offered a second train, also 800 seats, and it sold out in less than 10 minutes. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-20-13]

SHIPPING OIL THROUGH HUDSON BAY BY RAIL TOO RISKY, MANITOBA GOVERNMENT SAYS: The Manitoba government says a rail company’s plans to start transporting oil over a remote rail line built on permafrost is too risky to the environment and the safety of those who live in the north. Omnitrax Canada, the company that operates the only rail line up to Churchill, on Hudson Bay, had been planning a trial shipment of crude oil next month. [Global News website report, 9-20-13]

COURT ORDERS STRIKERS BACK TO WORK ON WHEELING & LAKE ERIE: A U.S. district court has issued a temporary restraining order ending a strike that began Sept. 20 by workers represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen against the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. The court ordered the strikers to return to work, and to refrain from any form of economic self-help or job action against the railroad. However, the judge conditioned the order on WLE’s agreement not to use supervisors or other management employees in place of engineers or conductors in the operation of its trains. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 9-20-13]

N.Y. STATE TO CONTRIBUTE $2-M TOWARD DOUBLE-TRACK PROJECT ON CSX RIVER LINE: The state of New York has announced $2-million in funding toward the cost of a second track for CSX Transportation on its river line between Ravena and Coxsackie. CSX will spend more than $21.3 million to construct the 3.6-miles of double track, which will increase capacity on the route. [Albany Times Union website report, 9-20-13]

MARTA STEWART NAMED EVP, CFO AT NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Norfolk Southern has named Marta R. Stewart executive vice-president and chief financial officer effective Nov. 1, 2013. She succeeds John P. Rathbone, who is retiring. [Railway Age website report, 9-20-13]

BNSF PLANS $95-M CAPITAL PROGRAM IN MINNESOTA: BNSF plans to invest an estimated $95-million on maintenance and rail capacity improvement and expansion projects in Minnesota this year. Projects include terminal improvements at Northtown Yard in Minneapolis, expanding parking capacity at BNSF's automotive facility in St. Paul and signal upgrades for positive train control. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-20-13]

CP TO CLOSE LOCOMOTIVE CENTER IN CALGARY: Canadian Pacific Railway has given notice that it will close its locomotive reliability center at Alyth yard in Calgary, Alberta, in the coming months. The move, announced Sept. 19, will result in the elimination of 130 jobs. The company said the decision is the result of a Canadian Transportation Agency order on telling the railway to immediately cease and desist 'load testing' and idling operations near the center between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.[Calgary Herald website report, 9-19-13]

GOLD COAST UNVEILS FIRST FLEXITY LRV: Bombardier has presented its first Flexity 2 LRV for the new light-rail line in Gold Coast, Australia,an 8-mile, 16-station link between Gold Coast University Hospital and Broadbeach.  [International Railway Journal website report, 9-20-13]

FEDS RELEASE $236-M FOR HONOLULU RAIL PROJECT: The U.S. Department of Transportation has released $236,277,358 for the Honolulu rail transit project. The funding will be used to continue building Hawaii's first rail transit system. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-20-13]

INVESTIGATION OF OTTAWA BUS, TRAIN CRASH CONTINUES: The Ottawa city bus involved in a horrific crash with a VIA Rail passenger train Sept. 18 that left six people dead has been towed away from the scene. The investigators will be looking at data obtained from recorders on both vehicles for clues as to what caused the crash. They'll also be analyzing other physical evidence gathered at the scene, as well as going over witness accounts. [CBC website report, 9-20-13]

KENOSHA TO EXPAND PCC STREETCAR SYSTEM: A plan to expand Kenosha, Wis.'s, current PCC streetcar operation got the go-ahead after the Transit Commission approved plans to add a north-south route, also approving design and engineering work. [Railway Age website report, 9-19-13]

THREE SD70ACE LOCOMOTIVES DELIVERED TO ARKANSAS & MISSOURI R.R.: Electro-Motive Diesel has delivered three SD70ACe demonstrator locomotives to the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad - the first AC traction locomotives for the independent Class III carrier. The locomotives, EMD road numbers 1201-1203, were delivered to A&M from EMD parent company Progress Rail. [Railway Age website report, 9-19-13]

R.J. CORMAN SIGNALING SELECTS ORANGE PARK FOR REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS: R.J. Corman Signaling L.L.C., a new subsidiary of R.J. Corman Railroad Group, plans to locate its regional headquarters in Orange Park, Fla. The headquarters will be used to accelerate early stage growth in the company's engineering of railroad signal system design, wiring, construction, maintenance, packaging, material warehousing and logistics. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-19-13]

CALTRAIN INSTALLING ADVANCED SIGNALING SYSTEM: Caltrain has begun the first element of its ‘modernization program’ with the installation of a communications-based overlay signal system (CBOSS) as part of the railroad's positive train control (PTC) project. The system is designed to significantly improve Caltrain's performance and enhance safety, as well as prepare the system for future high-speed rail operations, Caltrain said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-19-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased weekly rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 14, 2013, with total U.S. carloads of 296,221, up 1.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-19-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO CUT DIESEL POLLUTION FROM CHICAGO RAIL YARD: Chicago and Norfolk Southern officials have agreed to cut diesel pollution from a rail yard on the city's South Side to address residents' concerns that a massive expansion project would add to existing air pollution and cause health problems. [Seattle Post Intelligencer website report, 9-19-13]

SIX DEAD AS BUS COLLIDES WITH PASSENGER TRAIN IN OTTAWA: A double-decker bus and a VIA Rail passenger train collided in Ottawa, Wednesday morning, Sept. 18, 2013, killing at least six people, including the bus driver. At least 30 other people have been injured, authorities said. [Railway Age website report, 9-18-13]

CALGARY ORDERS 60 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES FROM SIEMENS: The city of Calgary has awarded Siemens an order to supply sixty S200 light-rail vehicles valued at $180-million. The vehicles will be built at Siemens factory in Sacramento. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-17-13]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS, RAIL STATION: Officials held a ground-breaking ceremony Sept. 16 for a new, $44.5-million Salem, Massachusetts, commuter-rail station. The station is designed to support higher-frequency commuter-rail service, MBTA officials said. Currently, the Salem station is the second busiest on the commuter-rail system, averaging 2,400 boardings daily. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-17-13]

LIRR GETTING 92 EMU PAIRS: Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc. has been awarded a $1.8-billion contract by New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to supply an initial order of ninety-two M-9 married-pair electric multiple-unit (EMU) cars to the Long Island Rail Road. [Railway Age website report, 9-17-13]

INTERMODAL BUSINESS REPRESENTS CSX’S GREATEST GROWTH: Amid declining coal volumes, CSX's greatest growth has been its intermodal business. Intermodal has grown 32 pct since 2009, and the company’s merchandise and intermodal business now accounts for 82 pct of the company’s overall volume. Its domestic coal is now 14 pct. In 2006, domestic coal was 24 pct. The company expects the coal market to continue to drop this year, so that diversity becomes even more important. [Jacksonville Business Journal website report, 9-17-13]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT FACES EVEN MORE DELAYS: California high-speed rail have acknowledged it will be another "few months" before construction begins. It has already been delayed a year. The state still needs to buy more land and equipment, finish designs and hire workers, while a pair of lawsuits set to be decided in the coming months could force even more delays. [San Jose Mercury News website report, 9-17-13]

CERTAIN AMTRAK TRAINS IN JEOPARDY OVER STATE FUNDING SHORTFALLS: Notices may soon start appearing at train stations around the U.S. warning of possible service disruptions as states struggle to finalize funding agreements with Amtrak. All ‘state-supported’ Amtrak routes - those shorter than 750 miles - are up against an Oct. 16 deadline to come up with state funds to support passenger rail operations under a 2008 law. So far, only seven out of 19 agreements in 15 states with state-supported lines have hammered out final agreements. [DC Streetsblog website report, 9-16-13]

TRESPASSING DETECTION SYSTEM IN PLACE ON RAIL LINE IN MAINE: A section of railroad in Maine is getting a high-tech system to detect trespassers thanks to a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration. "It’s called a large-scale trespassing detection and deterrence system," explained Ted Talbot, a spokesman for the state's Department of Transportation. "One aspect is cameras, another is remote presence detection sensors." If the system detects someone on the track, the local police will be notified. [Brunswick Times Record website report, 9-16-13]

WASHINGTON METRO BUYING 220 CARS FROM KAWASAKI: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority plans to exercise an option in its 2010 contract to buy an additional 220 cars from Kawasaki by the end of 2016. The agency has already purchased 528 cars from Kawasaki. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-16-13]

CSX NAMED TO DOW JONES SUSTAINABILITY INDEX: CSX has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for North America for the third consecutive year. CSX is among three transportation companies recognized by the index for leadership in sustainable business practices. [CSX, 9-16-13]

RALEIGH GETS ADDITIONAL $5.5-M GRANT FOR UNION STATION: The city of Raleigh, N.C., has secured another $5.5-million in federal funds to help pay for Union Station, a new Amtrak depot to be built in the downtown warehouse district. [News & Observer website report, 9-16-13]

BNSF PLANS $125-M UPGRADE INVESTMENT IN OKLAHOMA: BNSF plans to invest $125-million in infrastructure upgrades in Oklahoma this year. Several projects include new track, siding and bridge improvements. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 9-16-13]

STATE COST-SHARING DEADLINE FOR SHORT-DISTANCE AMTRAK ROUTES LOOMS: With the deadline for a Federal law requiring states to pay most of the operating costs of Amtrak routes under 750 miles in length looming, only seven of 19 states have signed contracts with Amtrak to continue service past the September 31 cutoff date. Amtrak has reached final agreements with Virginia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-13-13]

SEPTA DRAFTS ‘DOOMSDAY’ PLAN IF FUNDING IS NOT SECURED: Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) alerted Pennsylvania’s State Senate that it has drafted a ‘doomsday’ plan to eliminate nine of its 13 commuter rail lines, condense service to two commuter rail lines, shut down a subway line, and convert all streetcar routes to buses.  SEPTA is warning that it will have to enact this extreme plan if more funding is not secured for the transit system. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-13-13]

PACIFIC SURFLINER TRAINS TO MAKE MORE LOCAL STOPS: Southern California’s North County Transit District (NCTD) announced that six of Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner trains will stop daily at all of the eight San Diego County Coaster stations starting October 7. This will allow passengers to connect between four cities previously only served by Coaster trains and points north of Oceanside, including Los Angeles, without having to change trains in Oceanside. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-13-13]

BRITISH OPERATOR ORDERS 10 ELECTRO-DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES: British open-access operator Direct Rail Services has placed an order through Beacon Rail Leasing for 10 EuroDual 25kV AC electro-diesel locomotives from Vossloh. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-12-13]

HONOLULU RAIL CONSTRUCTION TO RESUME SEPT. 16: With permit approvals and agreements in place, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will resume construction in the West Oahu section of its rail project on September 16. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-12-13]

MID-ATLANTIC INDUSTRIAL RAIL PARK IN N.C. DESIGNATED CSX SELECT SITE: CSX announced that the Mid-Atlantic Industrial Rail Park in Brunswick County, N.C., has been designated a CSX ‘Select Site.’ Select Sites are locations for manufacturing projects along the CSX network that can progress rapidly because standard land use issues have been addressed, and the site is ready for development following a comprehensive due diligence process. [CSX, 9-12-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased weekly rail traffic for the week ending September 7, 2013, with total U.S. carloads of 278,594 carloads, up 2.2 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-12-13]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $62-M DELHI METRO DRIVERLESS TRAIN-CONTROL ORDER: Bombardier Transportation has obtained a $62-million order from Delhi Metro Rail Corp. to provide the first driverless, unattended mass transit solution in India. The CITYFLO 650 communications-based train control system will be delivered to Line 7, part of Delhi's expansion of transportation options. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-12-13]

AMTRAK RESTORES NEC SERVICE DISRUPTED BY WIRE DAMAGE: Amtrak crews have completed necessary repairs to restore Amtrak operations for passengers traveling on the Northeast Corridor, including the operation of scheduled service on Thursday, Sept. 12. Service was temporarily suspended Sept. 11 due to overhead wire damage south of Elkton, Md. [Amtrak, 9-11-13]

TENESSEE FUEL TAX UNFAIR, RAILROADS SAY: CSX and BNSF have filed suit against the state of Tennessee in federal court claiming they are being forced to pay millions of dollars in taxes on diesel fuel that their highway- and water-based cargo-hauling competitors don’t have to pay. The two carriers claim that the taxes that are levied on railroads but not on over-the-road trucks or water carriers to move cargo are discriminatory, and they seek to have the federal court enjoin the state from collecting the taxes. CSX has won a favorable ruling against the state of Alabama in a similar case. [Tennessean website report, 9-11-13]

CINCINNATI STREETCAR TRACKWORK TO START IN OCTOBER: Tracks for Cincinnati's initial streetcar line will begin being laid in mid-October, a month ahead of schedule, beginning on Elm Street near Memorial Hall, city officials and streetcar advocates say. [Railway Age website report, 9-11-13]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $203-M AZERBAIJANI SIGNALING ORDER: Bombardier Transportation, as the lead member of a consortium with Azerbaijani railway construction and installation company Trans-Signal-Rabita Ltd., has obtained its first signaling order from Azerbaijan Railways CJSC on the international Kars-Baku transport corridor connecting Asia and Europe. Bombardier's share of the contract is valued at $203-million.  [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-11-13]

BNSF PLANS $110-M RAIL INVESTMENT IN NEBRASKA: NSF will invest about $110-million this year to upgrade its rail infrastructure in Nebraska. Among the projects are an expansion of rail capacity via a new bridge over the Missouri River, a track extension, signal upgrades and improvements to car and locomotive shops. [Lincoln Journal Star website report, 9-11-13]

CP MOVING ITS CALGARY HEADQUARTERS: Canadian Pacific Railway has started its exodus from downtown Calgary, moving an initial group of employees into a new $38-million building at the company-owned Ogden rail yard. CP announced in December 2012 that it would move its headquarters to Ogden, something that is expected to save the company $15-million a year. [Calgary Herald website report, 9-10-13]

INDIANA R.R. TO OPEN NEW LOCOMOTIVE MAINTENANCE FACILITY: The Indiana Rail Road will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 13 at its new $7.6-million Locomotive Maintenance Facility near Jasonville, Indiana. It replaces a cramped, 100-year-old engine house. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-9-13]

PORT SAN ANTONIO’S RAILPORT TO NEARLY DOUBLE CARGO VOLUME THIS F.Y.: An almost 100 pct increase in rail cargo volume is expected for Port San Antonio's 350-acre East Kelly Railport by the end of fiscal 2013, according to port officials. About two-thirds of the volume is specialized sand. [San Antonio Business Journal website report, 9-9-13]

DATA PROVES SAFETY RECORD OF RAILROADS: Data from the Association of American Railroads shows that railroads achieved a good safety record last year, with 99.9977 pct of hazardous-materials shipments reaching their destination safely. "As technology and oversight have improved, the railroads have amassed a good safety record, even as rail traffic has increased," a report noted. "To enhance safety, railroads have invested heavily in technologies that provide advance notice of potential problems." [Renton Reporter website report, 9-9-13]

COLD TRAIN SERVICE EXPANDS: Cold Train is now delivering refrigerated cargo from Washington and Oregon to 19 states east of the Mississippi River. Additionally, there is now regular express service from Washington and Oregon to Ontario. Door-to-door service takes approximately four to five days to the Midwest and about six to seven days to the East Coast. The company has expanded its refrigerated container fleet to more than 400 Hyundai 53-foot containers. [Railway Age website report, 9-9-13]

BNSF LOGISTICS TO RELOCATE ITS TEXAS HEADQUARTERS: BNSF Logistics has rented 38,000 square feet in the Lakeside Commerce Center in Flower Mound, Texas, and plans to relocate its global headquarters there from its current location in Grapevine. [Dallas Morning News website report, 9-9-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO UPGRADE TRACKAGE IN MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Minnesota's and Wisconsin's transportation infrastructures by investing $10-million in the rail line at various locations between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Humbird, Wisconsin. The railroad will install nearly 42 miles of rail, replace seven switches and renew the surfaces at 47 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 9-9-13]

CSX MARKS OPENING OF NEW TRANSFLO FACILITY IN W.VA.: CSX recently unveiled a new TRANSFLO facility in Fairmont, W.Va., and it will help spur growth in the area, said TRANSFLO President Jon Haselwood. "It's part of the energy revolution we're seeing in the United States, which will help the economy," said Haselwood. [WBOY-TV website report, 9-7-13]

VIA RAIL REPORTS 2-Q RIDERSHIP STATS, REVENUE: VIA Rail Canada Inc. reported a 4 pct increase in passenger miles and a 0.7 pct increase in ridership during the second-quarter 2013. The train occupancy rate rose to 54 pct, up from 51 pct a year ago. However, total revenue fell to $66.2-million, down from $68.1-million a year ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 9-6-13]

COMPANY SEEKS BOSTON-MONTREAL TRAIN: A team of three entrepreneurs trading as the Golden Eagle Railway is seeking to start a passenger train service connecting Boston to Montreal via Portland and western Maine. They say the project will be “ready to go” as soon as a lease agreement is signed with track owner St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad, and that service could start as soon as the end of next year. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 9-6-13]

UNION PACIFIC STAGING $30-M RAIL LINE UPGRADE IN ILLINOIS: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Illinois'  transportation infrastructure by investing $30-million in the rail line at various locations between Dolton and Ellis. The railroad will install 50 miles of rail, replace 26 switches and renew the surfaces at 65 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 9-6-13]

VERMONT GETS FEDERAL GRANT FOR RAIL UPGRADES: Vermont’s long-term goal of improving railroad service on the western side of the state got a boost Sept. 5 when officials announced an $8.9-million federal grant to improve rail infrastructure between Rutland and Leicester. [Rutland Herald website report, 9-6-13]

FIRST PHASE OF CSX’S NATIONAL GATEWAY IS COMPLETE: The National Gateway coalition has announced the completion of its first phase, which clears the way for double-stack intermodal rail service between CSX's existing terminal in Chambersburg, Pa., and its hub facility in northwest Ohio. The National Gateway, an $850-million partnership to create a double-stack cleared rail corridor between the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, is made possible through a combination of federal and state funds and CSX investment. The National Gateway is currently focused on the project's Phase Two, which will double-stack clear the CSX corridor between Chambersburg, Pa., and mid-Atlantic ports. [CSX, 9-5-13]

RAIL INTERMODAL VOLUME SETS RECORD IN AUGUST: The Association of American Railroads reported increased total U.S. rail traffic for the month of August 2013, with intermodal setting a new record and carload volume increasing overall compared with August 2012. Intermodal traffic in August 2013 totaled 1,031,179 containers and trailers, up 4.4 pct compared with August 2012. The weekly average of 257,795 units in August 2013 was the highest weekly average for any month in history. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-5-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased rail traffic for the week ending August 31, 2013. U.S. railroads originated 302,026 carloads, up 3.1 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 9-5-13]

MARYLAND TO INVEST $689-M IN BALTIMORE RED LINE: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announcedthat the state will allocate $689-million to Baltimore's planned light rail Red Line, as part of a $1.5-billion investment in transport projects in the Baltimore metropolitan area. [Railway Age website report, 9-5-13]

R.R. PROJECT TO STOP LANDSIDES IN PACIFIC N.W. BEGINS: Workers have begun a $16-million, multiyear project to scour and strengthen six of the region’s slipperiest bluffs, after last winter’s rains caused the cancellation of 206 passenger trains between Seattle and Everett. Starting next week, an old wooden retaining wall between Mukilteo and Everett will be removed, then replaced by a reinforced concrete wall 10 feet high and 700 feet long. Two work sites this year represent only a fraction of the slide-prone zone. [Seattle Times website report, 9-5-13]

ONE DEAD, ONE HURT IN TEXAS R.R. BRIDGE ACCIDENT: One Union Pacific railroad worker has been killed and another critically hurt after falling about 30 feet during maintenance on a Union Pacific bridge in South Texas Sept. 4. Union Pacific said a lift apparently fell during routine bridge work. Both men hit the ground in the accident northwest of Mathis. [KGWN-TV website report, 9-5-13]

RAIL RELOCATION PROJECT IN LACKAWANNA, N.Y., REVITALIZES FORMER BETH STEEL SITE: A rail relocation project at a former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna, N.Y., is now complete. The project entailed the installation of approximately two miles of track in the north-south direction, in the process removing tracks that had hindered access to the site and opening up approximately 300 acres of land ready for development and new investment. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 9-5-13]

TWO-THIRDS OF STORM-DAMAGED NJ TRANSIT FLEET IS BACK IN SERVICE: Ten months after super-storm Sandy hit, NJ Transit is storing trains in one of its ‘safe harbor’ yards, and 66 percent of the carrier’s rail cars and locomotives damaged by storm-driven floodwaters are repaired and back in service. [Daily Record website report, 9-5-13]

MARC PENN LINE TO ADD WEEKEND SERVICE: Maryland Transit Administration's MARC rail operations will add weekend service on its Penn Line, part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, beginning Dec. 7, 2013. MARC reportedly plans to add at least eight Baltimore-Washington round trips Saturday and six round trips on Sunday. [Railway Age website report, 9-4-13]

SEPTA TO ADD TRACK ON PORTION OF WEST TRENTON LINE: SEPTA has received a $10-million grant that will go toward building an additional track from the Woodbourne station in Middletown to Trenton, officials confirmed. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation awarded the grant to separate SEPTA’s passenger service from CSX freight service on a 6-mile stretch of the West Trenton Line, according to SEPTA. [PhillyBurbs website report, 9-4-13]

BNSF PLANS $240-M INVESTMENT IN TEXAS: BNSF is planning to invest $240-million in rail infrastructure development projects in Texas. The railroad will expand capacity at its facilities in San Antonio, Fort Worth and Houston as part of its $4.3-billion spending plan this year. "BNSF's capital investments in Texas will help ensure our network is prepared for growing demand for freight rail," said BNSF Chairman and CEO Matthew Rose. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 9-4-13]

FEDS GRANT $8.9-M IN VERMONT RWY REHAB PROJECT: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has awarded Vermont Agency of Transportation an $8.9-million grant toward rehabilitating 20 miles of the state-owned Vermont Railway from Rutland to Leicester, to permit operations of up to 40 MPH. The project also supports the state’s efforts to improve the line to allow for the future extension of Amtrak’s Ethan Allen service from Rutland to Burlington. [U.S. DOT, 9-4-13]

BALTIMORE LIGHT-RAIL CARS TO GET OVERHAUL: The Maryland Transit Administration has selected Alstom in a $150-million contract to overhaul Baltimore's fleet of 53 light-rail vehicles in the city's network. The renovation is expected to add up to 15 years to the lifespan of the 25-year-old vehicles. Five vehicles will go through the renovation process at any one time. [International Railway Journal website report, 9-3-13]

UNION PACIFIC INTRODUCES NEW TAPERED RAIL CAR: Introduced this month on the Joliet-Long Beach route by Union Pacific, the ‘Arrowedge’ will sit on top of a freight container, and with its tapered body allow air to more easily flow around a double-stack intermodal train. [Omaha World Herald website report, 9-3-13]

PAN AM RWY FOUND TO HAVE VIOLATED EMPLOYEE’S RIGHTS: The U.S.Dept. of Labor has ordered Pan Am Railways Inc. to pay $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages and take corrective action on behalf of an injured worker. OSHA found that the employee engaged in protected activity when filing a complaint, and the railroad took retaliatory action by charging him with lying and by holding a second disciplinary hearing. Such adverse action can intimidate employees from exercising their FRSA rights, even if the charge is later dropped, as it was in this case. [U.S. Dept. of Labor, 9-5-13]

BICYCLES TO BE ALLOWED ON AMTRAK’S BLUE WATER: Starting Sept. 6, passengers will be able to bring their bicycles aboard Amtrak’s Blue Water train between Chicago, Kalamazoo, East Lansing and Port Huron, Michigan. There is a 4-bike limit per train, and a $10 fee. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 8-30-13]

‘TRANSCOLD EXPRESS’ TO BEGIN SERVICE FROM CALIFORNIA TO ILLINOIS IN 2014: Third-party logistics service provider McKay TransCold plans to launch a ‘TransCold Express’ refrigerated rail service next year running between Selma, California, and Wilmington, Illinois. BNSF is helping to create the inaugural service, which is scheduled to start in first-quarter 2014 with a dedicated 50-car unit train to transport refrigerated and frozen consumer goods and produce. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-29-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported decreased weekly rail traffic for the week ending August 24, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 291,889 carloads, down 1.7 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 257,080 units, up 3.5 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-29-13]

GERMAN RAIL TO PURCHASE 18 DOUBLE-DECK EMU SETS: German Rail has exercised an from a 2008 contract with Bombardier for 18 double-deck electric multiple units for regional operations in Germany. Bombardier will supply three four-car and 15 six-car Twindexx Vario double-deck sets which each comprise two power cars and can be operated at a maximum speed of 99 MPH.  [International Railway Journal website report, 8-29-13]

AUSTRALIAN INLAND-RAIL PROJECT GETS BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT: Both major Australian political parties have given their backing to the eventual construction of a $5-billion inland rail project, which will provide a new standard-gauge link between Melbourne and Brisbane. The 1,050-mile line would avoid the poor alignments of the current East Coast route and congestion through the Sydney metropolitan area.  [International Railway Journal website report, 8-28-13]

ALSTOM LANDS CONTRACT TO EXTEND RAPID TRANSIT LINE IN THAILAND: Alstom has obtained a $18.7-million contract from Ch. Karnchang Public Co. Ltd., one of Thailand's largest general contractors and infrastructure designers, to extend the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand's Green Line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-28-13]

GENESIS ENERGY TO OPEN LOUISIANA CRUDE-BY-RAIL FACILITY IN 2014: BNSF and Union Pacific are slated to provide rail service for Genesis Energy's estimated $75 million crude-by-rail unloading facility in Raceland, La. The facility is expected to open by the second-quarter of next year, and will have a storage capacity of more than 400,000 barrels. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 8-27-13]

COLTON CROSSING PROJECT COMPLETED EARLY, UNDER BUDGET: The grade separation project in Colton, California, where Union Pacific and BNSF cross, has been completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Estimated to cost $202-million, the project wrapped up eight months ahead of schedule and cost $93-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-27-13]

CSX PARTICIPATES IN EDF CLIMATE CORPS: For the fourth consecutive year, CSX participated in the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps, an innovative program that pairs MBA student ‘fellows’ with leading companies to design and support programs that drive energy efficiency. This year's CSX fellow, Hanyan Wu from the College of William & Mary, focused on solar energy opportunities and high-efficiency lighting projects across the company's network. Hanyan also helped spearhead a project that is on track to bring the city of Jacksonville some of its first electric vehicle charging stations. [CSX, 8-27-13]

NEW HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICE BEGINS BETWEEN FRANCE & GERMANY: French National Railways stepped up the operation of high-speed rail services between France and Germany on Aug. 26 with the launch of a daily TGV between Paris and Freiburg-im-Breisgau. Operating over the Rhine-Rhone high-speed line, the service runs via Dijon, Besancon and Belfort, linking the French capital with the Black Forest in 3h 40min.  [International Railway Journal website report, 8-27-13]

PANAMA CANAL WIDENING PROJECT OVER 60 PCT COMPLETE: The Panama Canal Authority says the $5.2-billion widening of the Panama Canal is more than 60 pct complete. The first four of 16 gates for the canal's third set of locks marked a construction milestone. Locks are nearly 50 pct finished; concrete work is two-thirds done; and water-saving basins are about 40 pct complete. [Engineering News Record website report, 8-27-13]

RAILWAY BRIDGE INSPECTOR KILLED IN UPSTATE N.Y.: Authorities say a Canadian Pacific Railway employee from Pennsylvania was killed Aug. 26 while inspecting a railway bridge over an upstate New York road. State police say 39-year-old Thomas Tarchak of Simpson, Pa., was conducting elevated train bridge measurements when he came into contact with a power line and was electrocuted. [Nanaimo Daily News website report, 8-27-13]

R.J. CORMAN DIES: Richard J. Corman, founder of R. J. Corman Railroad Group, died August 23, 2013, following a 12-year battle with multiple myeloma. He was 58. [Railway Age website report, 8-26-13]

FREIGHT TRAIN RIDDEN BY MIGRANTS DERAILS IN MEXICO, AT LEAST SIX KILLED: A freight train ridden by Central American migrants on the roof of cars heading to the U.S. derailed in a remote region of southern Mexico Aug. 25, killing at least six and injuring dozens, authorities said. The toll was expected to rise. The Red Cross said an undetermined number of people were trapped. [Huffington Post website report, 8-26-13]

RAIL CAR STORAGE & REPAIR FACILITY TO BE BUILT IN INDIANA: Appalachian Railcar Services Inc. plans to establish a new facility in Earl Park, Indiana. To be operational by December, the new plant will provide the company with additional resources for rail-car storage and repair. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-26-13]

VIA RAIL TO SUSPEND SERVICE IN EASTERN QUEBEC UNTIL SHORT LINE COMPLETES REPAIRS: VIA Rail Canada will suspend service beginning in Sept. between Matapedia, New Carlisle and Gaspe in eastern Quebec because of infrastructure problems on the SCFG short line, VIA Rail said. The service suspension follows SCFG's decision to suspend traffic along the line because of rail corrosion and malfunctioning crossing signals. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-26-13]

GE DIESEL LOCOMOTIVE CUTS EMISSIONS BY 70 PCT: GE Transportation's new Evolution Series diesel locomotive is the first of its kind to meet the Environmental Protection Agency's Tier 4 emission standards. The company says the Evolution cuts particulate emissions by 70 pct and nitrogen oxide by 75 pct when compared with technology as recent as 2005. [ZD Net website report, 8-24-13]

TANK CAR DERAILS IN COLUMBUS, OHIO - DOZENS EVACUATED: A railroad tank car carrying 23,000 gallons of methyl acetate derailed in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 22, causing the evacuation of about a dozen homes and six businesses, and the closure of a street while the car was righted. [Columbus Dispatch website report, 8-23-13]

WISCONSIN PROPOSES ADDING THREE EXPRESS TRAINS TO HIAWATHA CORRIDOR: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) wants to add three daily express trains to the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha corridor, operating at a top speed of 90 mph. These would bypass Glenview and Sturtevant, making Milwaukee General Mitchell Airport their only intermediate stop. This, combined with the higher top speed, would shave end-to-end travel time by 11 minutes. One possible wrinkle in the plan is the lack of available cars and locomotives for the new frequencies. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 8-23-13]

VEHICLES DEVELOPED TO WIRELESSLY TRANSFER ELECTRIC ENERGY: South Korean engineers have created the first vehicles to receive their power from electric cables buried just below the road’s surface, which wirelessly transfer energy to the vehicles via magnetic resonance. This technology has the potential to be applied to railroads as well, which would eliminate the expense and visual impacts of overhead wire for powering trains, streetcars and light-rail vehicles - though it’s unclear whether or not such a system would be less expensive than overhead wires. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 8-23-13]

GERMAN RAIL SERVICE HAMPERED BY FLOOD DAMAGE: The Hannover-Berlin high-speed line has been severed near Stendal for around two months due to flood damage and is expected to remain so until December. About 25 pct of all German Rail’s long-distance passenger services are affected. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-23-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased weekly rail traffic for the week ending August 17, 2013, with total U.S. carloads of 295,901, up 0.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-22-13]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY 14 FLEXITY LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES TO WATERLOO, ONTARIO: Bombardier Transportation has signed a $66-million agreement with the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario, to supply 14 FLEXITY Freedom light rail vehicles, to serve the planned LRT system, initially serving the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. [Railway Age website report, 8-22-13]

CP ORDERED TO INTERCHANGE TRAFFIC WITH MONTREAL MAINE & ATLANTIC: Canadian Pacific has been ordered by the Canadian Transportation Agency to interchange traffic with the Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway company. CP had issued an embargo regulating the interchange of all traffic to and from the MM&A in response to a decision by the CTA to withdraw MM&A's certificate of fitness. The CTA modified its decision on August 16 to permit MM&A to continue to operate until October 1 conditional upon MM&A proving adequate insurance. [Canadian Pacific,, 8-22-13]

RAILCAR COMPANY PLANS $1.4-M FACILITY IN INDIANA: Access to Class I railroads played a role in Appalachian Railcar Services' planned $1.4-million facility in Earl Park, Indiana, which will create an estimated 22 jobs by 2015. "Our current customer base is very interested in this location because of the access we have to the multiple Class I railroads. We anticipate a robust business that will sustain us and benefit the local community for many years to come," said the company. [Area Development website report, 8-22-13]

FUNDING IN PLACE FOR AMTRAK’S PENNSYLVANIAN FOR ONE MORE YEAR: Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian, connecting Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh with numerous stops in between, will continue through the end of September 2014. Details have been worked out, and Pennsylvania DOT is committed to $3.8-million in funding for the service. [Tribune-Democrat website report, 8-21-13]

CONTRACT SIGNED FOR DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION OF MADERA-FRESNO SEGMENT OF CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL: A Tutor Perini Corp.  led by Tutor Perine Corp. has executed a $985-million contract with the California High-Speed Rail Authority for the design and construction of the initial Madera-to-Fresno segment. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-21-13]

PARKING GARAGE TO OPEN AT WASHINGTON METRO’S DUNN LORING STATION: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority plans to open a new 1,400-space parking garage at the Dunn Loring Station on Aug. 26 as part of a surface parking project at the site. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-21-13]

GREENBRIAR EQUITY ACQUIRES NORDCO: Nordco Inc. has been acquired by Greenbriar Equity Group L.L.C. The Nordco family of companies provide products and services that enable rail-related industries to build, improve, maintain and inspect their track infrastructure and reposition rolling stock. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-21-13]

CSX TO MOVE REFRIGERATED TRAINS TAMPA TO CHICAGO: CSX will provide two dedicated express trains per week to move refrigerated and dry products from Tampa to the Chicago/Kingsbury, Ind., area in 56 hours. Iowa Pacific Holdings will provide refrigerated box cars for the Green Express train. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-20-13]

PROJECT UNDERWAY TO STABILIZE SLOPES ON BNSF LINE IN PACIFIC N.W.: Work is underway to help stabilize slopes and stop landslides along the Pacific Northwest's only north-south passenger rail corridor. Construction on a $16.1-million federally funded project began in early August. The project, which helps stabilize slopes above the BNSF rail line near Everett, Washington, represents the first step to help eliminate landslides and keep passenger rail service moving. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-20-13]

CONTRACTS SIGNED FOR INDIAN RAIL FREIGHT CORRIDOR: The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India has signed contracts worth $1.15-billion with a consortium for Packages 1 and 2 of the Rewari–Iqbalgarh stretch of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor. The contracts cover all civil works and trackwork on the 389-mile section of the route, including 112 major bridges and 1118 minor bridges. All work must be completed within 48 months.  [International Railway Journal website report, 8-20-13]

AMTRAK SAID TO HAVE MADE A ‘SMART CALL’ TO LET TUNNELS FLOOD DURING SANDY: Amtrak might have been able to avoid the flooding in at least one of its Hudson River tunnels during Sandy, but it is probably best that it didn't. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan described a meeting he had with transit executives where they discussed putting floodgates on transit tunnels. "The executive from Amtrak said, we had a barrier that could have closed off our Hudson River tunnel, but if we closed it, Penn Station would have flooded instead." Donovan said. A former employee said the barriers were designed in the middle of the century to protect Penn Station from flooding in the event of something like an explosion in the tunnel or sabotage. [Transportation Nation website report, 8-20-13]

PATH FOCUSES ON NEW HARRISON STATION: Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) officials highlighted the agency's commitment to a new PATH station in Harrison, N.J., on Aug. 16, emphasizing the station's growing transit role within the PATH system. [Railway Age website report, 8-20-13]

TRAIN KILLS 37 AT STATION IN INDIA: A train ran over a group of Hindu pilgrims at a crowded station in Dhamara Ghat, India, early Aug. 19, killing at least 37 people. A mob infuriated by the deaths beat the driver severely and set fire to coaches, officials said. The railway said the train was not supposed to halt at Dhamara Ghat and had been given clearance to pass through the station. However, some pilgrims waited on the tracks thinking they could stop the train, [Huffington Post website report, 8-19-13]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT TO MOVE AHEAD, GOVERNOR SAYS: Construction of the proposed $68-billion high-speed rail project in California will still move ahead despite a recent court ruling, said Gov. Jerry Brown. The ruling from a Sacramento County judge said the California High Speed Rail Authority "failed to comply with the financial and environmental promises made to voters." However, the ruling "did not stop anything" and "there's a lot of room for interpretation, and I think the outcome will be positive," Brown said. [Association of American Railroads Smartbrief, 8-19-13]

GO TRANSIT OPENING 6-LEVEL PARKING STRUCTURE AT AJAX, ONTARIO: A new, six-level parking structure opens Aug. 19 at the GO Transit station in Ajax, Ontario. The structure will add more than 1,000 new parking spaces for a total of more than 1,300 spots. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-19-13]

RAIL SERVICE WILL DRAW TENANTS TO PLANNED NEBRASKA RAIL HUB: BNSF and Union Pacific service is expected to play a crucial role in attracting firms to a proposed 300-acre rail park in Nebraska, which would be the largest of its kind in the state. "We know, as we work to recruit and grow businesses, that one of the interests those businesses have is finding a site where they do have rail access," said Catherine Lang, Nebraska's economic development director. [Lincoln Journal Star website report, 8-19-13]

BIG BOY LOCOMOTIVE MOVED FROM DALLAS TO FRISCO: The Big Boy steam locomotive left Dallas Aug. 18 for its new home in Frisco, about 30 miles to the north. [KWTX website report, 8-18-13]

CANADA EXTENDS MONTREAL, MAINE & ATLANTIC OPERATIONS THROUGH SEPTEMBER: A Canadian government agency has determined that the rail company whose runaway train crashed into a small Quebec town, killing 47 people last month, has adequate insurance to keep operating for the next month and a half. The Canadian Transportation Agency said the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway provided evidence it had adequate third-party liability insurance coverage to operate from until Oct. 1, 2013. The agency's decision reversed an Aug. 13 order that would have halted the railroad's operations from early next week. [Idaho Statesman website report, 8-17-13]

BNSF EXPANDING TRACK CAPACITY IN NORTH DAKOTA & MONTANA: Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad will invest roughly $335-million to expand and improve capacity in North Dakota and Montana this year - upgrades that will benefit the operation of Amtrak’s Empire Builder. BNSF is replacing and upgrading track and signals, addressing flooding problem by raising track, adding more than a half-dozen extended sidings across North Dakota, along with a number of other improvements. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 8-16-13]

RENOVATIONS CONTINUE AT 30TH STREET STATION, PHILADELPHIA: Passengers traveling through Philadelphia 30th Street Station should expect to see construction projects in and around the station in the coming months, as Amtrak continues work on several upgrades at to restore and upgrade the nearly 100 year-old building. Amtrak has identified $35-million worth of investments for 30th Street Station, the third busiest station in the Amtrak system. The investments will provide better pedestrian access in and around the historic landmark. Train service will remain unaffected. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 8-16-13]

TOM CARPER REAPPOINTED TO AMTRAK’S BOARD: Following a confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Tom Carper was successfully reappointed to Amtrak’s board of directors for a five year term.  Carper, who has been on the board since 2008, served as chairman from 2009 to March 2013. He was reappointed by President Obama earlier this year. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 8-16-13]

METRO-NORTH TO OPEN WEST HAVEN STATION: Metro-North Railroad will open its new West Haven Station on the New Haven Line Aug. 18. Located between the New Haven and Milford stations, the new contemporary-style station was designed, built and funded by the state of Connecticut. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-16-13]

SHENYANG, CHINA, OPENS LIGHT-RAIL NETWORK: Trial operation began on the light-rail network in the Chinese city of Shenyang on Aug. 15, when the first passengers traveled on the 37-mile system.  [International Railway Journal website report, 8-16-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending August 10, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 288,803 carloads, down 0.2 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 257,969 units, up 6.1 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-15-13]

AMTRAK SETS MONTHLY RIDERSHIP RECORD IN JULY: Amtrak had its best month ever in July 2013, carrying more than 2.9 million passengers nationwide. Amtrak said its ridership systemwide is up 1.1 percent so far this fiscal year, which runs from October to September, and that it expects to meet or exceed last year's record ridership of 31.2 million. [Albany Times Union website report, 8-14-13]

SASKATCHEWAN OIL RAIL TERMINAL PLANNED: Proposals to ratchet up capacity to move oil to market on rails – the latest being a $100-million terminal planned for Saskatchewan – are coming as major pipeline projects, including TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL conduit to Texas refineries from Alberta, stagnate in regulatory limbo. Tight export pipeline capacity was cited as the main reason why Canadian heavy crude was hit with deep discounts compared with U.S. and international oil until early this year. [Calgary Globe & Mail website report, 8-14-13]

DOC CLAUSSEN NAMED PRESIDENT OF GULF & OHIO RWYS: Gulf & Ohio Railways named Peter Doc Claussen president, moving up from senior vice-president operations. He will oversee the operations of all the company's railroads and subsidiaries, including the Knoxville & Holston River Railroad, Lancaster & Chester Railroad, Laurinburg & Southern Railroad, Yadkin Valley Railroad, and a locomotive repair shop. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-14-13]

INVESTMENT, JOBS DEPEND ON WORKING RAIL LINE IN CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO: An operational rail line with service from companies such as CSX and Canadian Pacific is crucial to attract a $1.2-billion investment and lead to 400 new jobs in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, according to Michael Burton, Chatham-Kent director of economic development. There are six agricultural firms that need rail service, and "without the rail line being operational it will have an effect not only on the six companies on the line but on hundreds of local farmers that use their services due to competition," said Stuart McFadden, Burton's deputy director. [Chatham Daily News website report, 8-14-13]

UNION PACIFIC RAIL YARD IN N.M. COULD PLAY ROLE IN MOVING GOODS ACROSS BORDER: Trade between Mexico and the U.S. is growing, which has some states and companies looking at how best to keep the flow of goods moving in the face of tightened security at border crossings. One plan could involve Union Pacific's $400-million rail yard under construction in Santa Teresa, N.M., which will create 3,000 contruction jobs and 600 jobs once complete. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Chihuahua, Mexico, Gov. Cesar Duarte want to create a rail line crossing the border in Santa Teresa. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 8-14-13]

ISRAEL APPROVES RAIL ELECTRIFICATION PLAN: The Israeli transport Ministry announced on August 13 that the National Infrastructure Committee has approved the initial $3.1-billion, 261-route-mile phase of Israel Railways' national electrification program. The first lines to be electrified will be the new direct line to Jerusalem and the Acre–Carmiel line. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-14-13]

MARC HALETHORPE STATION OPENS: The MARC Halethorpe Station in Maryland is open after a two-year, $32.7-million reconstruction project. The Halethorpe station is one of the five busiest stops on the Penn Line, used by 1,300 MARC passengers every day. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-13-13]

CONGRESS APPROVES $189-M FOR HOUSTON LIGHT-RAIL: Congress has given the green light to Houston METRO for rail expansion, with approval of $94.5-million for the North/Red Line extension and another $94.5-million for the Southeast/Purple Line. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-13-13]

ABERDEEN CAROLINA & WESTERN FORMS RAILCAR & LOCOMOTIVE REPAIR SUBSIDIARY: The Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway has formed ACWR Shops L.L.C., a new subsidiary that will repair and retrofit locomotives, freight cars and passenger cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-13-13]

GROUND BROKEN ON WACHUSETT COMMUTER RAIL STATION IN MASSACHUSETTS: Officials Aug. 12 broke ground on the Wachusett Commuter-Rail Station in West Fitchburg as part of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authoritys Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line extension. The project will extend the line 4.5 miles west to the new station. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-13-13]

SPAIN ANNOUNCES RESPONSE TO JULY 26 FATAL DERAILMENT: The Spanish Development Ministry has announced a range of measures aimed at improving safety across the whole rail network after the accident at Santiago de Compostela on July 26, which left 79 dead and dozens injured. Although the technical investigation now being carried out will take several weeks, the government has recognized that the main factors behind the crash were driver error, and the lack of working ETCS equipment. A thorough inspection of the high-speed network is underway to identify points where conditions similar to those behind the Santiago crash may occur. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-13-13]

RAIL LINK OPENS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR CLEVELAND PORT: A $4.5-million rail link that expands CSX and Norfolk Southern access has provided the Port of Cleveland with new business opportunities and increased competitiveness, said David Gutheil, Port of Cleveland vice president of maritime and logistics. The rail addition has allowed the port to secure a 40-rail-car shipment bound for Kentucky. "We would never have gotten a shipment like that before," Gutheil said. [Cleveland Plain Dealer website report, 8-13-13]

OFFICIALS TOUT JOB-CREATING VALUE OF CSX PROJECT IN HAMLET, N.C.: The estimated $8-million investment in an expansion of CSX facilities in Hamlet, N.C., drew praise from Richmond County officials. The project is expected to generate 15 jobs. "It is good news that they have decided to locate this additional facility here. CSX is a great corporate partner with Richmond County and very integral part of our community," said Kenneth Robinette, Richmond County board of commissioners chairman. [Richmond County Daily Journal website report, 8-13-13]

AMERICA’S OLDEST TRAIN DISPATCHER, 85, TO RETIRE: After 64 years of working on the railroad, Bookie Bookstaver, 85, America’s oldest train dispatcher, is retiring and taking his stories with him. A legend among NJ Transit employees, Bookstaver had planned to work at least another year and a half. After all, his dad, also a railroader, worked until 91. But treatment for prostate cancer has left his right leg numb, making it increasingly difficult to get around the rail operations center in Kearny. [N.J. Star-Ledger website report, 8-12-13]

PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE TO RETURN TO ROANOKE, VA.: Virginia, Norfolk Southern, Amtrak and the city of Roanoke, Va., have agreed to return passenger-rail service to Roanoke for the first time in 34 years. The new service between Lynchburg and Roanoke is the result of Virginia's passage of its first new major transportation funding plan in three decades, railroad and Virginia officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-12-13]

JUDGE GRANTS 60-DAY COOLING OFF PERIOD IN BART CONTRACT DISPUTE: A San Francisco Superior Court judge has granted California Governor Jerry Brown's request for a 60-day cooling off period in the Bay Area Rapid Transit contract dispute with its two largest labor unions. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-12-13]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT MAY GET DELAYED: Serious construction on California's $68-billion high-speed rail project is facing a likely postponement into 2014 for a number of reasons, including a delay in awarding of a formal contract and incomplete federal permits. The supposed delay is expected to inflate future project costs and indicates the inability of state officials to review the project's challenges carefully, according to experts. [Los Angeles Times website report, 8-11-13]

FIRED UNION PACIFIC WORKER WINS COURT RULING: In a long battle to get his job back, former Union Pacific Bailey Yard, Nebraska, worker Brian Petersen has been awarded damages of $325,000, when a federal judge ruled that he was wrongfully fired. Petersen, 29, was dismissed in 2009 after he stepped up on some potentially slippery Timken bearings to read the serial numbers on some stacked traction motors - a safety violation according to Union Pacific rules. [North Platte Bulletin website report, 8-10-13]

VIRGINIA TO TAKE GREATER RESPOSIBILITY FOR STATE’S AMTRAK ROUTES: Virginia has reached an agreement with Amtrak to take greater responsibility of Amtrak Virginia routes, the first state to finalize the new cost sharing structure stipulated by a 2008 federal law. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 8-9-13]

MASSACHUSETTS FINALIZES ACQUISITION OF CSX WORCESTER-FRAMINGHAM LINE: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. (MBCR) have finalized acquisition of CSX 's line between Worcester and Framingham, allowing for more reliable commuter service and development of additional service along the corridor. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 8-9-13]

N.C. AWARDS CONTRACT FOR RAILBED CONSTRUCTION: The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation has awarded a $24.9-million contract to Crowder Construction Co. to construct railroad roadbed along a 12-mile segment of the North Carolina Railroad/Norfolk Southern corridor. The work will span from north of Rocky River road in Concord to Orr road in Charlotte. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-9-13]

CHINA TO INVEST $97.88-B IN RAILWAY INFRASTRUCTURE IN 2013: China Railway Corporation has announced a plan to raise fixed-asset investment to $97.88-billion this year to boost railway construction. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-9-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN ANNOUNCES INITIATIVES TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS: Norfolk Southern has disclosed the railroad’s business strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its environmental footprint. The company describes initiatives to purchase new, more fuel-efficient locomotives; expand use of idle-reduction and train-handling technologies; make infrastructure improvements to increase capacity and fluidity of the company’s major rail corridors; continue research and development of alternative power, including renewable biofuels and battery-powered locomotives; upgrade facilities with more energy-efficient lighting and heating and air-conditioning systems; and recycle older locomotives by equipping them with more fuel-efficient, cleaner-burning engines. [Norfolk Southern, 8-9-13]

THREE CONVICTED OF RAILROAD RETIREMENT FRAUD: Three people have been convicted of disability fraud, enabling hundreds of Long Island Rail Road retirees to garner additional funds through the federal Railroad Retirement Board illegally over several years. Dr. Peter Lesniewski, Joseph Rutigliano and Marie Baran were found guilty of conspiracy, fraud, and false statements Aug. 6, and face 15 years in prison under sentencing guidelines, prosecutors said.  [Railway Age website report, 8-8-13]

CHICAGO TRANSIT RETIRING ITS 2200-SERIES RAIL CARS: August 8 is the last day of service for the Chicago Transit Authority’s 2200-series rail cars, which are being retired as part of a rail-fleet modernization program. Described as the Blue Line's ‘workhorses,’ the 2200-series cars were built in 1969 and 1970, CTA officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-8-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed rail traffic for the week ending August 3, 2013. U.S. railroads originated 287,372 carloads, down 0.4 pct compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 255,024 units, up 4.8 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 8-8-13]

FEDS GUARANTEE $15-M FOR NEW ROCHESTER AMTRAK STATION: Federal officials announced Aug. 8 that $15-million promised to help pay for Rochester’s new Amtrak rail station is guaranteed. [Democrat & Chronicle website report, 8-8-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO IMPROVE RAIL LINE IN IOWA: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Iowa's transportation infrastructure by investing nearly $8-million in the rail line between Mason City and near Iowa Falls. The railroad will replace 50,500 railroad ties. install 18,000 tons of rock ballast, and renew the surfaces at 73 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 8-8-13]

CSX ACQUIRES EASTERN ASSOCIATED TERMINAL IN TAMPA: CSX Corporation has announced the purchase of the Eastern Associated Terminal in Tampa, Fla., from the Ingram Barge Company. The phosphate export facility is adjacent to CSX Transportation Inc.'s Rockport terminal on Tampa Bay, and the combined entity will be called Rockport Terminals. Rockport Terminals are deep-water port facilities on Tampa Bay used for exporting phosphate from Central Florida's Bone Valley mining region.  These facilities are located on more than 300 acres with over 25 miles of track, warehousing and state of the art loading systems. [CSX, 8-7-13]

MONTREAL, MAINE & ATLANTIC RWY FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION: In precarious shape financially even before the Lac-Megantic crisis, the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic railway has filed for creditor protection in both Canada and the U.S., just over a month after the rail disaster that left 47 dead. [Montreal Gazette, 8-7-13]

MILE RAIL BEING BOUGHT BY THE ANDERSONS: The Andersons Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Mile Rail L.L.C., a rail-car repair and cleaning services provider based in Kansas City, Mo. Subject to customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to be finalized in the third quarter. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-6-13]

AADNESEN TO STEP DOWN AS ALASKA R.R. PRESIDENT, CEO: Christopher Aadnesen plans to step down as president and chief executive officer of the Alaska Railroad when his three-year contract expires in September. He assumed the post in mid-September 2010. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-6-13]

PLANNED CSX INTERMODAL FACILITY IN BALTIMORE COULD HAVE NEGATIVE IMPACT, STUDY SHOWS: A study by the nonprofit National Center for Healthy Housing warns that a Baltimore-Washington Rail Intermodal Facility planned by CSX Transportation at its Mount Clare yard could prompt residents to flee while exacerbating problems with unemployment and blight and potentially driving down housing prices. The study also warned the project could have health and environmental effects. The $90-million intermodal project has been championed by state and city officials. [Baltimore Sun website report, 8-5-13]

MARYLAND TO PROVIDE FUNDING TOWARD PURPLE LINE: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced nearly $650-million in transportation investments for Montgomery County. The state will deliver the Purple Line through a public-private partnership (P3) - the State’s first transit P3 project. The Governor also announced an additional $400-million investment for construction of the $2.2-billion Purple Line project with the remainder to be paid for with a combination of federal grants, state and local financial contributions, and private investment. [Md. DOT, 8-5-13]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 2-Q LOSS: FreightCar America Inc. reported a net loss of $3.4-million in the second-quarter 2013, compared with net income of $5.6-million in the second-quarter of 2012. Second-quarter revenue of $47.1-million was down sharply from the $181.2-million in the second-quarter of 2012.  [Railway Age website report, 8-5-13]

FRA ISSUES NEW TRAIN RULES FOR HAZARDOUS SHIPMENTS: A new set of regulations for shipping hazardous materials has been issued by the Federal Railroad Administration in response to the rail accident in Quebec last month. The industry will comply with the new rules "and examine what additional steps might be appropriate to ensure rail continues to be one of the safest ways to move hazardous materials," said Association of American Railroads CEO Edward Hamberger. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 8-5-13]

RIDERSHIP INCREASES FOR AMTRAK TRAINS BETWEEN KANSAS CITY & ST. LOUIS: The Missouri Dept. of Transportation says nearly 197,000 passengers rode the St. Louis-Kansas City train service in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That’s an increase of roughly 5,000 from the previous year, and marks the sixth consecutive year that ridership has increased. Ticket revenue was $5.4-million, compared with $5-million the previous year. Officials say better reliability likely accounts for the increased ridership. Trains were on-time 90 pct of the time. [Kansas City Star website report, 8-5-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO UPGRADE RAIL LINE IN KANSAS: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Kansas' transportation infrastructure by investing $20-million in the rail line between near Paola and Coffeyville. The railroad will replace nearly136,500 railroad ties, install 68,700 tons of ballast, and renew the surfaces at 219 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 8-5-13]

UNION PACIFIC TRAIN DERAILS IN LOUISIANA, 100 HOMES EVACUATED: A train carrying hazardous materials derailed in Louisiana, and two railcars were leaking chemicals, forcing the evacuation of about 100 homes, officials said. One man went to the hospital complaining of eye irritation. More than 20 cars of the Union Pacific train went off the tracks about 3:30 p.m. Aug. 4 near Lawtell, about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge. [NBC News website report, 8-4-13]

FREIGHT TRAIN FROM CHINA REACHES GERMANY IN 15 DAYS: The first freight train from Zhengzhou in eastern China to the Billwerder intermodal terminal in Hamburg arrived at its destination August 2, just 15 days after setting off on its 6,347-mile journey. The 51 containers were transferred to 1520mm-gauge wagons at Alashankou on the China-Kazakhstan border, continuing through Russia before being transhipped back to standard-gauge wagons at the Belarusian-Polish frontier. A return service is due to depart from Billwerder August 14. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-2-13]

RAIL-SERVED STEEL COIL FACILITY PLANNED FOR PORT OF MOBILE: A $36-million facility to handle steel coil is planned at the Port of Mobile, Alabama, which is served by BNSF, Canadian National, CSX, Kansas City Southern, and Norfolk Southern. Construction of the 372,600-square-foot project will occur in two stages. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-2-13]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $274-M BRITISH ORDER: Bombardier Transportation obtained a contract for new rolling stock from Southern Railway, which provides services in London and southeast England. Bombardier also obtained a spares supply agreement to support the new trains when they enter service. The contracts are valued at $274-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-1-13]

UNION PACIFIC AWARDS CONTRACT FOR TOWER-55 PROJECT IN TEXAS: United Kingdom-based Atkins obtained a contract from Union Pacific Railroad for construction management of a crossing upgrade project in Fort Worth, Texas, as part of the Tower 55 multi-modal improvement project. Atkins also won a contract to provide government compliance and federal reporting services for BNSF Railway Co. as part of the project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-1-13]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 2-Q REVENUE: Genesee & Wyoming reported that its total second-quarter operating revenue leaped 84.3 pct to $400.7-million compared with second-quarter 2012. But in a more comparative context for revenue consolidated with former RailAmerica Inc. holdings, the ‘combined company, same-railroad adjusted’ operating revenue increased 10 pct in the quarter. [Progressive Railroading website report, 8-1-13]

DETROIT STREETCAR CONTRACT AWARDED: M-1 Rail has selected Stacy and Witbeck Inc. to serve as construction manager & general contractor for the construction of the 3.3-mile Woodward avenue streetcar in Detroit. M-1 Rail is slated to break ground by early fall between Larned Street and Adams Street in downtown Detroit. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 8-1-13]

BOMBARDIER REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Bombardier Inc. reported that adjusted net income for the company's second-quarter was $158-million or 9 cents per share, in line with Wall Street consensus estimates, but down about 5 pct from earnings in the second-quarter of 2012.  [Railway Age website report, 8-1-13]

PERU PLANS YURIMAGUAS-IQUITOS LINK: The government of Loreto, the northernmost region of Peru, is developing plans for a 358-mile railway to link the city of Yurimaguas with the regional capital Iquitos, located on the Amazon. [International Railway Journal website report, 8-1-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 27, 2013, with total U.S. carloads of 295,532, up 2.5 pct compared with the same week last year. Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 23.2 pct.[Assn. of American Railroads, 8-1-13]

UNION PACIFIC INCREASES DIVIDEND 14.5 PCT: Union Pacific Corporation’s Board of Directors has voted to increase the quarterly dividend on the company's common shares by 14.5 pct, or 10 cents, to 79 cents per share. The increased dividend is payable October 1, 2013, to shareholders of record August 30, 2013. [Union Pacific, 8-1-13]

TUSCOLA, ILLINOIS, INDUSTRIAL RAIL PARK DESIGNATED AS CSX ‘SELECT SITE’: CSX Corporation announced July 31 that the Tuscola Industrial Rail Park in Illinois has been designated a CSX Select Site. Select Sites are locations for manufacturing projects along the CSX network that can progress rapidly because standard land use issues have been addressed, and the site is ready for development following a comprehensive due diligence process. [CSX, 7-31-13]

BOMBARDIER GETTING NEW PRODUCTION-LINE SYSTEM FOR PLATTSBURGH PLANT: Align Production Systems has obtained a $1.8-million contract to provide Bombardier Transportation a new metro and commuter rail-car production-line moving system for Bombardier's Plattsburgh, N.Y., plant. The system will be designed to move rail cars weighing up to 125,000 pounds through a multi-station production line, and raise and lower the cars to facilitate under-car assembly. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-31-13]

TRAINS COLLIDE IN SWITZERLAND, ONE KILLED, 35 INJURED: A man was killed and 35 people were injured in a head-on train collision in Switzerland July 29, police told Swiss media. Five of those hurt were seriously injured when two Swiss Federal Railways trains collided at Granges-pres-Marnand in the Vaud region, police said. The driver of one of the trains was dead after rescuers recovered his body from the wreckage, according to 20 Minuten, a Swiss newspaper. The crash happened as one of the trains was returning to the station in West Switzerland and another was departing. [NBC News website report, 7-30-13]

GO TRANSIT INTRODUCES NEW PAINT SCHEME: GO Transit has unveiled a new paint scheme for its regional rail and bus fleet. The colors are still green and white, and the familiar GO logo is unchanged, but the green is a much brighter color, and it’s applied in a different pattern than the dark green & white scheme.  [Railway Age website report, 7-30-13]

UNION PACIFIC INVESTING TO SUPPORT CRUDE OPERATION IN CALIFORNIA: Union Pacific is investing between $10-million and $12-million to upgrade tracks in Benicia, California, to support a proposed crude-by-rail operation. The project is part of the railroad's $3.6-billion capital spending plan this year. [Vallejo Times-Herald website report, 7-30-13]

NEW TALGO TRAIN UNVEILED IN OREGON: A Talgo-made passenger train made its official debut late last week in Oregon where it will operate as part of Amtrak Cascades service. Talgo representatives joined Oregon state officials at a ceremony in Eugene to offer the public a first look at one of the new Series 8 trains. Oregon purchased two of the 13-car trains sets, which were manufactured and assembled at Talgo's plant in Milwaukee. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-30-13]

CSX RELOCATES SWITCHING OPERATIONS IN GREENVILLE, N.C.: CSX Transportation has relocated its switching operations from downtown Greenville, N.C., to a new yard situated six-and-a-half miles north to reduce the facility's impact on local traffic and make travel more efficient for both trains and vehicles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-30-13]

AMTRAK’S NEW ACS-64 ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES BEGIN TESTING: New Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) electric locomotives have entered a rigorous testing phase at the Transportation Technology Cebnter in Colorado in preparation for entering service in the Northeast Corridor. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-30-13]

KCS MAY INSTALL INWARD-FACING CAMERAS IN LOCOMOTIVES, COURT SAYS: In an opinion released on July 25, the U.S. District Court in Shreveport, La., ruled that the decision by Kansas City Southern Railway to install two inward-facing cameras in the cabs of its locomotives presents a ‘minor’ dispute under the Railway Labor Act, paving the way for the railroad to install the cameras immediately. The 'minor' dispute ruling is significant because the Railway Labor Act prevents unions from exercising self-help over such disputes. [Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 7-29-13]

RAIL ASSETS TO SPUR GROWTH AT FLORIDA INLAND PORT: A $23-million inland port at Port Canaveral, Florida, is being planned to improve the region's business activity and reduce road congestion. Norfolk Southern's terminal and Florida East Coast's rail lines are among the area's transportation assets. "An inland port will create a commerce hub and expand opportunities for business creation, retention and attraction in North Brevard," said Jerry Allender, the port authority commission's vice chairman. [Melbourne Florida Today website report, 7-29-13]

POLICE ACCUSE SPAIN TRAIN CRASH DRIVER OF ‘RECKLESS HOMICIDE’: Police in Spain have accused the driver of a train that derailed in northwestern Spain, killing at least 78 people, of ‘reckless homicide,’ the country's interior minister said. The judge has until Sunday evening to decide whether to press formal charges against the man. The driver, who spent the past two days under detention in hospital, guarded by police, is now at the police headquarters. Questions have focused on the speed at which the train was traveling as it entered a curve in the track near Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday evening. [CNN website report, 7-27-13]

BNSF OPENS ECONONIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICE IN N.D.: Economic and job growth in North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota will receive a boost from BNSF's newly-opened economic development office in Bismarck, N.D. BNSF played a key role in locating more than 100 new or developed facilities in the three states, resulting in investment of more than $700-million and creation of more than 900 jobs since 2010. "In these states combined, we plan to invest more than $350 million on infrastructure this year," said BNSF. [Grand Forks Prairie Business website report, 7-26-13]

PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILS IN SPAIN, SCORES DIE: A train carrying 218 passengers on the Madrid-Ferrol route derailed July 24 as it entered a bend on the outskirts of the city of Santiago de Compostela, state-owned rail company Renfe said. Security-camera footage of the accident showed the rear of the locomotive sliding off the rails as it took the curve and then disintegrating as it collided with a concrete wall alongside the track. Images from the scene showed one car shredded by the impact and another thrown up a 16-foot embankment. The train was traveling at 118 miles per hour as it entered the section of track, which has a speed limit of about 50 miles per hour, El Pais newspaper reported. The death toll reached 78 people [earlier reported as 80], making it the country’s worst such accident in more than 40 years. Among those killed in the accident, 53 people have been identified. Ninety-five remain hospitalized, with 36 of them in critical condition, a spokesperson said. Among Americans,one was dead and five were injured, the U.S. said. [Bloomberg News website report, 7-26-13]

ALSTOM TO BUILD 40 MORE EURODUPLEX TRAINS: French railway SNCF will exercise an option for 40 Alstom Euroduplex trains. SNCF entered into an agreement in 2007 for 55 double-decker, very-high-speed trains, with an option for another 40. The option units are expected to be delivered between 2015 and 2019. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-26-13]

WABTEC REPORTS 2-Q SALES: For the quarter ended June 30, 2013, Wabtec reported record sales of $638-million, a 5 percent increase compared with sales for the same period last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-26-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 20, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 277,933 carloads, down 3 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-25-13]

AMERICAN RAILCAR INDUSTRIES REPORTS 2-Q REVENUES: For the second-quarter ended June 30, American Railcar Industries Inc. reported consolidated revenues of $159.4-million, up 3 pct compared with the same period last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-25-13]

CANADA BANS ONE-PERSON TRAIN CREWS: Transport Canada announced July 23 that it will ban one-person train crews in response to the derailment and explosion of a freight train at Lac-Megantic, Quebec, July 6, which killed at least 47 people. The agency also said trains with dangerous goods would not be allowed to be left unattended on any main line track, and that hand brakes must be applied to trains left for one hour or more. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-24-13]

NEW RAIL RIDERSHIP RECORD FOR SEPTA: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority set a new regional rail ridership record in fiscal-year 2013, which ended June 30. For the year, 36,023,000 trips were registered on SEPTA's 13 rail lines, a 2.2 pct increase compared with FY2012. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-24-13]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS RECORD 2-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific reported net income in the second-quarter of $252-million or $1.43 per diluted share, versus $103-million or $0.60 per share in the second-quarter 2012.  This represents a 138 pct year-over-year improvement in earnings per share. Operating ratio was 71.9 pct. [Canadian Pacific, 7-24-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO REACQUIRE BIG BOY LOCOMOTIVE 4014: Union Pacific Railroad has reached an agreement with the Southern California Chapter Railway & Locomotive Historical Society to transfer ownership of one of the world's largest steam locomotives, Big Boy No. 4014, back to Union Pacific. The railroad plans to relocate the locomotive to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where its Heritage Fleet Operations team will work to restore it to operating condition. Details regarding those efforts will be made public at a later date. Union Pacific donated No. 4014 to the historical society December 7, 1961. Its current display location is the Rail Giants Train Museum in Pomona, California. [Union Pacific, 7-23-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: For the second quarter of 2013, Norfolk Southern reported net income of $465-million, 11 pct lower than for the second-quarter 2012. Diluted earnings per share were $1.46, down 9 pct compared with $1.60 per diluted share in the same period last year. Income from railway operations was $836-million. [Norfolk Southern, 7-23-13]

BNSF MOVES FIRST COAL SHIPMENT ON NEW MONTANA WYE TRACK CONNECTION: Westmoreland Coal Co. reports that BNSF delivered the first shipment of coal via a new wye track built at Westmoreland Resources Inc.'s Absaloka Mine in Hardin, Montana. The new connectionenables coal to be transported via rail to the west, and will enable the company to better capitalize on its geographical advantage in the north Powder River Basin. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-23-13]

CRUDE-BY-RAIL TERMINAL OK’D FOR PORT OF VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON: There will be a new 120,000-barrel-a-day crude-by-rail facility at the BNSF-served Port of Vancouver in Washington state. Tesoro Corp.'s proposal to build the facility to handle petroleum products from North Dakota that will be shipped to West Coast areas was approved by the port’s board of commissioners July 23. [Seattle Times website report, 7-23-13]

CN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: CN reported second-quarter 2013 net income was $717-million or $1.69 per diluted share, compared with net income of $631-million or $1.44 per diluted share, for second-quarter 2012. Operating income increased six pct. [CN, 7-22-13]

XPRESS WEST TO CONTINUE DEVELOPING ITS HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT: Xpress West, formerly known as DesertXpress, will continue with plans to develop a high-speed rail system between Las Vegas and southern California despite the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s suspension of the company's federal loan application, XpressWest officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-22-13]

CANADIAN TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD ISSUES ‘URGENT SAFETY ADVISORIES’ IN WAKE OF JULY 6 DERAILMENT: The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has issued two ‘urgent safety advisories’ to Transport Canada associated with its ongoing investigation into the derailment that occurred July 6 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The first advisory pertains to the securement of equipment and trains left unattended, and the second advisory concerns the securement of trains carrying hazardous materials. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-22-13]

BELARUS ORDERS 18 ADDITIONAL LOCOMOTIVES FROM CHINA: Belarus Railways has signed a contract with China National Electric Import and Export Corporation for 18 additional double-unit electric locomotives from CNR Datong Locomotive Works. The customer has already received 12 of the 9.6MW 75-MPH freight locomotives, which are based on the Chinese HXD2 designed by CNR and Alstom. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-22-13]

UNION PACIFIC’S $400-M PROJECT IN N.M. BRINGING INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT TO REGION: The new Union Pacific $400-million rail yard in Santa Teresa, N.M., is bringing a wave of industrial development to the region. The 2,200-acre facility is one of the factors that led two new industrial facilities to locate in the area. About 3,600 jobs are expected to result from the UP yard, and this has prompted the local housing industry to plan for an increase in housing demand.  [El Paso Inc. website report, 7-21-13]

FEDS SUSPEND LOAN FOR LAS VEGAS HIGH-SPEED TRAIN: Development on the proposed Las Vegas-California high speed train suffered a setback with the release of a letter from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation announcing they would suspend consideration of a federal loan for the project, citing concerns over plans to manufacture the rail equipment outside of the U.S. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 7-19-13]

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported record-second quarter 2013 revenues of $579 -million. Overall, carload volumes were 3 pct higher than in second quarter 2012. Operating income of $179-million was 12 pct higher than adjusted operating income in second-quarter 2012.  [Kansas City Southern, 7-19-13]

GATX REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: GATX Corp.'s second-quarter net income rose to $35.1-million or 74 cents per diluted share, from 2012's second-quarter net income of $23.5-million or 49 cents per share. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-19-13]

CHARLOTTE BEGINS CONSTRUCTION ON LYNX BLUE LINE EXTENSION: The Charlotte Area Transit System on July 18 kicked off construction of the LYNX Blue Line extension, which will add light rail service from downtown Charlotte, N.C., to the city's University of North Carolina campus. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-19-13]

KCS PLANS NEW CRUDE OIL TERMINAL IN PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS: Kansas City Southern's crude oil shipments to Texas are expected to increase, according to KCS officials. This is due in part to new storage tanks being built that will support rail unloading facilities at the Port of Beaumont. Construction of a new crude-oil terminal at Port Arthur will also start as soon as approvals are granted, said KCS CEO David Starling.  [Reuters website report, 7-19-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 13, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 277,132 carloads, down 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-18-13]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation reported 2013 second-quarter net income of $1.1-billion or $2.37 per diluted share, compared to $1-billion or $2.10 per diluted share in the second-quarter 2012. [Union Pacific, 7-18-13]

BRITAIN ORDERS MORE HITACHI TRAINS FOR EAST COAST: Britain's Dept. for Transport has exercised an option with Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi Rail Europe and John Laing Investments on a contract for an additional 30 nine-car Super Express Trains for the East Coast Main Line. The 140 MPH, 25kV ac electric trains, designated class 801, will be introduced on services from London to Leeds, Newcastle, and Edinburgh in 2019. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-18-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN COMPLETES MON LINE UPGRADE: Norfolk Southern has completed $22.6-million in track, bridge, and signal improvements along its 85-mile Mon Line, a major coal route through Pennsylvania’s Monongahela Valley. A portion of the former Monongahela Railroad, the Mon Line extends south from Pittsburgh to serve five coal mines in Pennsylvania’s Washington, Greene, Marion, and Monongalia counties.  [Railway Age website report, 7-17-13]

CINCINNATI SIGNS STREETCAR CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT: Cincinnati officials have signed a $71.4-million contract for construction of the city’s streetcar system. The system’s first phase will feature a 3.6-mile loop from Second street at The Banks on the city's riverfront to Henry street, just north of Findlay Market in the Over the Rhine neighborhood. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-17-13]

BUENOS AIRES-LA PLATA COMMUTER LINE ELECTRIFICATION TO START NEXT YEAR: The government of Argentina has announced electrification and re-signaling work will begin next year on the 37-mile commuter line from Buenos Aires Plaza Constitucion to La Plata, the state capital of Buenos Aires province. Detailed planning work for the project is now underway, funded by the Argentine transport ministry. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-17-13]

FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR CHICAGO-COLUMBUS HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE RELEASED: The Northeast Indiana Rail Association has released a business plan laying the groundwork for a regional, 11-city passenger rail corridor between Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago, through Fort Wayne and Warsaw, Indiana. The proposed system would operate 12 trains each way per day, including at least six express schedules, with modern diesel equipment running at speeds of up to 110 mph to start. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-17-13]

NEW IOWA PACIFIC VENTURE TO OFFER SERVICE IN COLOMBIA: Iowa Pacific has partnered with Holdtrade UK for creation of a new firm, the Holdtrade Atlantico, to provide new and cost-efficient freight rail service in Colombia. "With the rapid growth of the Colombian economy and new government support for reopening now idle rail lines, we see significant potential for rail freight transportation as a means of reducing transport costs for export products such as coal and petroleum," said Iowa Pacific President Ed Ellis.  [Railway Age website report, 7-17-13]

CSX REORTS 2-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corporation announced second-quarter net earnings of $535-million or $0.52 per share, versus $512-million or $0.49 per share in the same period last year.  Second-quarter revenue was nearly $3.1-billion, a slight increase from the same quarter last year. [CSX, 7-16-13]

RAIL CAPACITY EXPANSION PLANNED FOR BITUMEN FACILITY IN ALBERTA: Statoil will expand the rail capacity of its bitumen facility in Edmonton, Alberta, in partnership with Gibson Energy to handle higher output at Statoil's Leismer demonstration project. The agreement includes a new rail-car loading rack that will be linked to Canadian National rail lines. Calgary Herald website report, 7-16-13]

RAILROADS TO PROVIDE FLEXIBLE SHIPPING OPTIONS FOR INDIANA FACILITY: CSX and Norfolk Southern' lines in Milford, Indiana, will provide Trupointe Cooperative "with multiple modes of transportation and access to water ports for international trade" for its $30-million fertilizer and grain-handling facility, says Gary Snell, Trupointe Cooperative vice president of supply operations. The project is expected to generate more than 35 jobs. [South Bend Tribune website report, 7-16-13]

FUNDING AGREED FOR KENYAN STANDARD-GAUGE LINE: Kenya's Ministry of Finance has announced it will release an initial $252.8-million towards the construction of a double-track, standard-gauge line from the port of Mombasa to the Kenya/Uganda border town of Malaba, with a branch to Kisumu on Lake Victoria. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-16-13]

TONY MARQUIS NAMED VP OPERATIONS EASTERN REGION, CANADIAN PACIFIC: Canadian Pacific has announced veteran railroader Tony Marquis has joined the railroad as its new Vice-President Operations Eastern Region with accountability for its Eastern Canada and the Northeast U.S. operations. [Canadian Pacific, 7-16-13]

TRIP OPTIMIZER ACHIEVES 100 MILLION MILES OF REVENUE SERVICE: GE Transportation announced that its Trip Optimizer Energy Management System recently achieved 100 million miles of revenue service. The ‘cruise-control’ system generated 25 million gallons of fuel savings to railroads in North America, Australia and Brazil, according to a GE press release. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-15-13]

RAIL JOINT SUSPECTED AS CAUSE OF FRENCH TRAIN ACCIDENT: A rail joint that worked loose from a track switching point appears to have caused France’s worst train accident in years, an official with the national rail company said. The crowded intercity train jumped the tracks at Bretigny-sur-Orge station July 12. The seven-car train split into two, with some cars riding up the station platform and flipping over. Six people died, two were in critical condition and seven more were in serious condition. Officials said the death toll might increase as the wreckage is removed. [New York Times website report, 7-13-13]

BODIES SLOWLY RECOVERED IN QUEBEC TRAIN DERAILMENT: The bodies of less than half of the 50 people believed dead in a runaway oil train's explosive derailment have been recovered, nearly a week after the accident which demolished a large part of a Quebec town. The devastated downtown remained dangerous for days as responders put out fires and struggled to keep the remaining tank cars cool so they wouldn't explode. [Seattle Times website report, 7-12-13]

AMTRAK TO CHARGE COACH PASSENGERS EXTRA FOR PILLOWS: Effective August 1, Amtrak will no longer provide free pillows to overnight coach passengers on any long-distance train. Instead, a ‘Passenger Comfort Kit’ (pictured will be available for purchase. The kit will include an inflatable pillow, earplugs, eye mask and blanket, and will be marketed as a keepsake. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 7-12-13]

HIGH SPEED TRAIN SETS ORDERED FOR TURKEY: Turkish State Railways has awarded a contract to Siemens for seven 186-MPH trains for operation on its growing high-speed network. The contract, including maintenance and delivery, is due to start in 2016. The eight-car trains will accommodate more than 500 passengers, and are based on the Velaro-D trains which Siemens is currently building for German Rail. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-12-13]

UNION PACIFIC PROJECT IN ARIZONA CRUCIAL FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH OF REGION: Union Pacific's proposed classification yard in Arizona's Pinal County is important for the economic growth and creation of jobs in the region, says Pete Rios, the county supervisor of District 1. The benefits of the yard would extend to "ancillary and supporting companies in the area" and "would create thousands of additional full-time jobs, million of dollars in wages and taxes," Rios asserts. [Maricopa Monitor website report, 7-12-13]

TOTAL OF 50 FEARED DEAD IN QUEBEC TRAIN DERAILMENT: Police say 24 bodies have now been found after the fiery weekend derailment of an oil train in a Quebec town. Authorities have said everyone missing in early Saturday's disaster is presumed dead, meaning 50 were killed in Canada's worst railway disaster in nearly 150 years. [Straits Times website report, 7-11-13]

INLAND PORT TO BE ESTABLISHED IN CORDELE, GEORGIA: The Georgia Ports Authority and Cordele Intermodal Services have signed an agreement to establish an inland port near CIS' privately owned and operated rail ramp in Cordele, Ga. Designed to create or expand international markets for regional businesses, the Cordele Inland Port ensures a direct 200-mile rail route to and from GPA's Garden City Terminal in Savannah. The facility also will provide direct container rail service to and from the Port of Brunswick. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-11-13]

ARIZONA NARROWS LIST OF PHOENIX-TUCSON PASSENGER-RAIL ALTERNATIVES: The Arizona Dept. of Transportation has narrowed to three the alternative routes for a proposed passenger-rail line between Phoenix and Tucson. A Green alternative would run along Interstate 10 between the cities; an Orange alternative would serve East Valley communities and share part of its alignment with the planned North-South Freeway corridor; and a Yellow alternative would serve the East Valley communities and share right of way with Union Pacific Railroad north of Elroy. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-11-13]

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, TO PURCHASE 14 LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLES: The Waterloo, Ontario, Regional Council has approved an agreement in coordination with Greater Toronto Area's Metrolinx to purchase 14 light rail transit vehicles from Bombardier Transportation for roughly $92.4-million.  [Railway Age website report, 7-11-13]

PACIFIC NATIONAL, AUSTRALIA, ORDERS SEVEN GENSET LOCOMOTIVES: National Railway Equipment Company, United States, has won a contract to supply seven multi-engine 4-axle N-ViroMotive locomotives to Pacific National, Australia, for shunting operations operation at the BlueScope steelworks at Port Kembla, NSW. The locomotives share the same gensets, control system and other critical key components with NREC's 1200 class units, which were delivered to Australia in May. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-11-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported increased weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 6, 2013, with total U.S. carloads of 247,896, up 2 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-11-13]

HAND BRAKES NOT PROPERLY SET ON TRAIN THAT RAN AWAY, RAIL OFFICIAL SAYS: The engineer on the runaway train that leveled much of a Quebec town with a deadly blast apparently didn’t properly set the hand brakes. “It’s very questionable whether the hand brakes were properly applied on this train,” Edward Burkhardt, CEO of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, said. “As a matter of fact, I’ll say they weren’t; otherwise, we wouldn’t have had this incident.” [New York Daily News website report, 7-10-13]

FLOODING STRANDS TRAIN PASSENGERS IN TORONTO: Sudden violent rains July 8 caused flooding on GO Transit tracks adjacent to the Don River in the Greater Toronto Area, stranding more than 1,000 riders for several hours. All of the riders had been removed from the train sometime after 1:00 a.m. the following day through rescue efforts.  [Railway Age website report, 7-9-13]

MARYLAND ALLOCATES FUNDS FOR PURPLE LINE PROJECT: Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has allocated nearly $650-million in transportation investments for Prince George's County, including $280-million for design work and land acquisition for the proposed Purple Line light rail transit project. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-9-13]

ALSTOM INAUGURATES PLANT IN QUEBEC: Alstom Transport has inaugurated its new 55,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, where it will assemble more than 900 bogies, part of a $1.2-billion contract awarded to a Bombardier Transportation-Alstom consortium to supply Montreal with 468 new metro cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-9-13]

FINANCING ANNOUNCED FOR 53 GE LOCOMOTIVES FOR SOUTH AFRICA: The Export-Import Bank of the United States announced Transnet SOC Ltd., South Africa, will receive financing to support the purchase of 53 locomotives manufactured by GE Transportation. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-9-13]

DEATH TOLL RISES TO 13 IN QUEBEC RAIL CRASH: The death toll in the devastating oil train derailment in Quebec reached 13 on Monday, while about 40 people remained missing, officials said. Quebec provincial police said eight more bodies had been found in the wreckage after conditions improved enough for inspectors to get better access to the charred site two days after the disaster. [Huffington Post website report, 7-8-13]

SCORES STILL MISSING IN DEADLY QUEBEC RAIL CRASH: A day after a runaway oil train derailed in Quebec, up to 40 people are still missing after explosions and fires destroyed part of a city, killing five people. The heart of Lac-Megantic, a city of about 6,000, was leveled in the explosion. All but one of the train's 73 tanker cars were carrying oil when they somehow came loose early Saturday morning, sped downhill nearly seven miles into the town near the Maine border, and derailed, with at least five of the cars exploding. [MSN News website report, 7-8-13]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR BOX TUNNEL UNDER HUDSON YARDS SITE: Amtrak has awarded a $133-million contract to construct an 800-foot-long underground concrete casing, or box tunnel, beneath the Eastern Rail Yard of the Hudson Yards site in New York City. The project is designed to preserve an underground right-of-way for possible future expansion of rail service via two new tunnels under the Hudson River between New Jersey and Penn Station in New York. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-8-13]

KAZAKHSTAN RAILWAYS ORDERS 603 LONG-DISTANCE COACHES: KAZAKHSTAN Railways (KTZ) subsidiary Passazhirskie Perevozki has awarded Talgo and its local joint venture Tuplar-Talgo a contract to supply 603 coaches for long-distance services. The vehicles, designed for 124 MPH operation, will be formed into 21 sets and will be maintained by the supplier for 15 years. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-8-13]

BART SERVICE RESUMES WITH 30-DAY CONTRACT EXTENSION: Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rail service in and around San Francisco resumed July 5 after a four and a half-day labor strike. BART and its unions agreed to a 30-day extension of the previous contract, but the two sides remain far apart and negotiations for a new contract will continue. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 7-5-13]

BALTIMORE’S PENN STATION GETTING RESTROOM RENOVATIONS: Amtrak is undertaking a $1-million renovation to Baltimore’s Penn Station that will last through the end of the year. The work involves replacing fixtures in the restrooms as well as the water fountains, and making the restrooms more accessible to passengers with disabilities. A temporary restroom facility on the station’s west side will be available during the renovations. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers,  7-5-13]

COURT RULES IN AMTRAK TRAIN PERFORMANCE CASE: Reversing a 2012 district court decision, a U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that a section of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 is unconstitutional.  The effort to “enhance enforcement of the statutory priority Amtrak’s passenger rail service has over other trains” cannot be based on metrics and standards jointly developed by Amtrak and Federal Railroad Administration.  The court noted that the law inappropriately gives Amtrak veto power over standards in the event FRA and Amtrak could not agree. The underlying requirement that host railroads give dispatching priority to passenger trains is still intact. The Association of American Railroads said, “Freight railroads recognize Amtrak wants to run trains on-time, and they work closely with Amtrak to make this happen.  However, freight railroads believe setting and measuring schedules and on-time performance metrics should not be done through a one-size-fits-all approach at the federal level, but addressed jointly through private bilateral contracts that take into account the facts and circumstances of particular routes.” [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers,  7-5-13]

DENVER’S PLANNED MONTVIEW STATION TO BE RELOCATED: In Denver, the Regional Transportation District has approved a request to move the planned Montview station on the I-225 rail line to a new location on Fitzsimons parkway. Administrators at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus asked that the station be moved due to concerns for adequate mitigation of electromagnetic interference and vibration near sensitive research equipment at current and future medical buildings. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 7-3-13]

CN TO SERVE NEW FRAC SAND TRANSLOADING TERMINAL IN ALBERTA: CN will start serving a new state-of-the art frac sand terminal north of Grande Prairie, Alberta, starting in November.
The new 20-acre facility being built by Di-Corp of Edmonton will have an annual throughput capacity of 550,000 tons of frac sand and have three tracks capable of holding 44 railcars for unloading. [Railway Age website report, 7-3-13]

ITALY’S ‘RED ARROW’ HIGH SPEED TRAIN UNVEILED: A consortium of Bombardier and AnsaldoBredo has unveiled the ‘Red Arrow 1000,’ capable of reaching commercial speeds of up to 225 MPH. Regular passenger service is expected in early 2015.  [Railway Age website report, 7-3-13]

CONTRACTS SIGNED FOR ECUADORIAN LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Contracts worth $214.7-million have been signed for a new 6.5-mile light rail line in Cuenca, Ecuador. Construction on the line, which will include 27 stations and is expected to carry 120,000 passengers per day when it opens in 2016, is set to begin in about 40 days. [International Railway Journal website report, 7-3-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending June 29, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 281,367 carloads, up 1 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 7-3-13]

OCCUPATIONAL DISABILITY BENEFITS TERMINATED FOR 600 LIRR RETIREES WHO WERE TREATED BY DOCTOR CONVICTED OF FRAUD: On June 27, 2013, the Railroad Retirement Board issued a Special Order terminating the occupational disability annuities of approximately 600 former Long Island Rail Road retirees. The Board's action followed a guilty plea by Dr. Peter Ajemian to charges that he provided false evidence for hundreds of Long Island Rail Road retirees who were not actually disabled, to support their applications for Railroad Occupational Disability. Dr. Ajemian was sentenced in May by a U.S. District Court to eight years for conspiracy and health care fraud, and to pay restitution of $116.5-million. [Transportation-Communications Union, 7-3-13]

N.C. BEGINS KEY RAIL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS: The North Carolina DOT has begun construction on rail improvement projects along the North Carolina Railroad’s Piedmont corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte. The agency recently broke ground at Klumac road near Salisbury for a double-track railroad bridge that will eliminate a grade crossing. Later this month, the department also will begin construction on a new roadway bridge that will eliminate four crossings south of Salisbury. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-2-13]

UNION PACIFIC INSTALLING 15 MILES OF NEW RAIL IN EASTERN OREGON: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Oregon's transportation infrastructure by investing $8.9-million to install 15 miles of new rail on Union Pacific track between North Powder and La Grande. The project is under way now and is scheduled to be completed this month. [Union Pacific, 7-2-13]

CSX BEGINS 8-DAY MAINTENANCE MARATHON: CSX employees kicked off an eight-day maintenance marathon July 1, designed to complete work that would normally take 18 weeks. This accelerated timeline will be accomplished by temporarily rerouting traffic on the CSX main line on key routes between Shelby, Ky., and Spartanburg, S.C.; and from Bostic to Monroe, N.C. Crews will replace or install more than 64,000 cross ties and 150,000 linear feet of rail, while smoothing and shaping the track roadbed and ballast over 40 track miles. [CSX, 7-1-13]

CTA TO LAUNCH NEW FARE PAYMENT SYSTEM: Some Chicago Transit Authority customers will begin using the new Ventra fare payment system - a single fare card for transit throughout the Chicago region - in August 2013, with a full public in September. [Railway Age website report, 7-1-13]

FIRM PURCHASES SIX BUILDINGS IN HOUSTON NEAR UNION PACIFIC FACILITIES: CenterPoint Properties has completed a $42.6 million purchase of six rail-served buildings in Houston near Union Pacific's intermodal facilities. "This was an opportunity for CenterPoint to acquire intermodal proximate, rail-served buildings, directly adjacent to substantial rail infrastructure," said Chad Vande Zande, CenterPoint senior vice president of investments. [Journal of Commerce website report, 7-1-13]

COURT RULES ALABAMA’S TAX ON RAILROADS DISCRIMINATORY: A federal appeals court July 1 ruled that Alabama discriminated against railroads by forcing them to pay a sales tax on fuel when it exempts its competitors - trucking and barge companies. The U.S. 11th Court of Criminal Appeals issued its opinion in CSX Transportation Inc.’s appeal in its 2008 lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Revenue. [Birmingham News website report, 7-1-13]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $427-M GERMAN COMMUTER TRAIN CONTRACT: Bombardier Transportation has obtained a $427-million contract from the S-Bahn GmbH, a subsidiary of DB Regio AG, to deliver 60 new single and dual voltage commuter trains in Germany. The contract includes an option to provide up to 86 additional trains until the end of 2018. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-1-13]

RAILROADS ATTRACT FIRM TO BUILD RESINS PLANT AT TEXAS PORT: BNSF, Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific's service to Port Corpus Christi, Texas, played a key role in M&G Resins USA's decision to build a plant at the port, according to port officials. The company will be a primary user of rail service, and its proposed facility is expected to offer a "unique opportunity" for the Nueces River Rail Yard's expansion, officials said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-1-13]

BART EMPLOYEES ON STRIKE: Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officials announced late June 30 that service would be suspended July 1 because its two largest unions went on strike as of midnight. [Progressive Railroading website report, 7-1-13]

BNSF’S INVESTMENT WILL SUPPORT GROWTH IN N.D., MONTANA: Exact specifics about where BNSF is investing $4.1-billion this year are scarce, but many in North Dakota and Montana see what's going on. The railroad’s projects are slated to help streamline the transportation of shipments such as coal, grain, and oil products. "We're investing in growth as we always have," said Steve Forsberg of BNSF. "The good news for states like Montana and North Dakota is that those investments will benefit all the traffic that moves in those corridors." [Billings Gazette website report, 6-30-13]

L.A. APPROVES CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT  FOR CRENSHAW LIGHT-RAIL LINE: The Los Angeles County MTA has approved a $1.272-billion contract to Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors to build the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project, an 8.5-mile light-rail line that will run between the Expo Line on Exposition Boulevard and the Green Line. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-28-13]

CSX FREIGHT TRAINS DERAIL IN UPSTATE N.Y.: Two CSX freight trains derailed June 27 in upstate New York, disrupting the operations of Amtrak’s Empire Service.  The two trains, traveling in the opposite direction, were involved in an incident outside of Fonda.  Two CSX employees were treated for minor injuries. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-28-13]

STB PETITIONED TO INTERVENE IN PRINCETON’S DINKY LINE REDUCTION: The New Jersey Association of Railroad and the National Association of Railroad Passengers jointly filed a petition June 24 with the Surface Transportation Board in any effort to prevent New Jersey Transit and Princeton University from cutting back the Princeton Branch from its current in-town terminal. The petition asks the STB to declare its jurisdiction over the Princeton Branch, known locally as the Dinky, and to require that any reduction in its length be undertaken only with its express approval. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-28-13]

FOOD & BEVERAGE SERVICE ENDS ON HIAWATHA TRAINS: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has ended food and beverage service on Amtrak’s Hiawatha service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-28-13]

DEAL REACHED FOR ORLANDO-MIAMI TRAIN: All Aboard Florida has reached a deal with the state of Florida to build a new, high performance rail corridor along the BeachLine Expressway.  This agreement clears hurdle for the Orlando-Miami train. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-28-13]

N.C. UNVEILS DESIGN FOR NEW RALEIGH TRAIN DEPOT: Transportation planners for the N.C. Dept. of Transportation have unveiled a new design proposal for Raleigh’s planned downtown train hub. The new station would replace the current Amtrak Station, will quadruple the space for the waiting area, host restaurants and retail on the second floor, and feature an 800-foot long passenger platform. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-28-13]

CSX TO SERVE PROPOSED INDUSTRIAL FACILITY IN PENNSYLVANIA: CSX is slated to provide rail service for a proposed 29.8-acre industrial facility in Harborcreek Township outside Erie, Pa. "With continued growth in manufacturing and shale-related industries, counties with the established infrastructure are positioned to attract job creation to the region," Gov. Tom Corbett said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-28-13]

REFINERIES GEAR UP FOR CRUDE OIL BY RAIL: BP Cherry Point refinery is building a huge rail loop south of Grandview road in Bellingham, Washington, to handle crude oil shipments from North Dakota, and the Phillips 66 Ferndale refinery hopes to start building its own crude oil rail terminal later this year. In regulatory filings with Whatcom County, the oil companies say the projects will help them diversify their sources of supply. [Bellingham Herald website report, 6-28-13]

ANTHONY FOXX CONFIRMED AS TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed former Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx as the new Secretary of Transportation, succeeding Ray LaHood. [Railway Age website report, 6-27-13]

SUSPENDED GRAND TRUNK WESTERN CARMAN AWARDED BACK WAGES: Grand Trunk Western Railway Co. violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act when a carman was suspended following a workplace injury, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced. The employee was injured by a 20-foot section of crane chain while changing defective railcar wheels. OSHA has ordered the company to pay $137,618 in back pay, along with interest, punitive and compensatory damages and attorney's fees. The railroad has also been ordered to remove disciplinary information from the employee's personnel record and to provide whistleblower rights information to its employees. [OSHA, 6-27-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending June 22, 2013, with carloads essentially flat at 288,224, and intermodal traffic totaling 252,807 units, up 2.7 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-27-13]

MBTA ORDERS 13 ADDITIONAL HSP46 LOCOMOTIVES: MotivePower, a unit of Wabtec Corp., has signed a contract with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to supply 13 additional, next-generation HSP46 passenger locomotives to be delivered in 2014. The new contract follows previous orders for 27 locomotives and is valued at over $70-million. [Railway Age website report, 6-26-13]

RAIL LOADING TERMINAL REACTIVATED IN OHIO: Crosstex Energy L.P. and Crosstex Energy Inc. has reactivated the Black Run rail loading terminal in Frazeysburg, Ohio, that's served by Ohio Central Railroad to support the export of oil condensate from the Utica Shale. The facility, which includes a 20-car rail rack, is designed to load light oil condensate and various grades of crude oil at a rate of 24,000 barrels per day. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-26-13]

X TRAIN PROPOSES STATION IN NORTH LAS VEGAS: Las Vegas Railway Express is negotiating with the city of North Las Vegas, Nevada, to establish a station for the proposed X Train that will run between southern California and Las Vegas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-26-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OPENS BULK TRANSFER TERMINAL IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Norfolk Southern has opened a new Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer terminal in Columbia, S.C. It can handle dry and liquid bulk commodities such as flour, sugar, and plastic pellets, as well as aggregates, steel, and lumber. [Norfolk Southern, 6-26-13]

FIRST TRAINS RUN OVER BRITAIN’S HITCHIN FLYOVER: Passenger services have begun using the new Hitchin flyover, which will carry London–Cambridge services across the busy East Coast Main Line and eliminate conflicting movements through the flat junction, which had become a major bottleneck. The connection is expected to have a significant impact on punctuality, reducing delays by nearly 30,000 minutes per year. It will also provide capacity for additional services when new timetables are developed. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-26-13]

UNION PACIFIC NAMED A BEST DIVERSITY COMPANY: Union Pacific Railroad has been named a 2013 Best Diversity Company by the readers of Diversity Careers in Engineering and Information Technology for the fifth consecutive year. [Union Pacific, 6-26-13]

AMTRAK COMPLETES NIANTIC RIVER BRIDGE REPLACEMENT: Amtrak has completed its three-year Niantic River Bridge Replacement Project, "which provides improved operational reliability for rail passengers along the Northeast Corridor with increased train speeds, less disruption to the boating community, and expanded beach access to area residents," the railroad said. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-25-13]

MICHAEL LOGUE TO BECOME NEW CHIEF SAFETY OFFICER AT AMTRAK: Amtrak has named Michael Logue to the post of chief safety officer effective July 29. He will handle planning, guidance, oversight and training for safety operations. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-25-13]

MORE THAN 70,000 PASSENGERS HAVE PATRONIZED AMTRAK’S NEW NORFOLK SERVICE: Amtrak has seen more than 70,000 passengers on its Northeast Regional route between Washington, D.C., and Norfolk. Service to Norfolk started on Dec. 12, 2012, and provides a same-seat trip from the city to Petersburg, Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and cities as far north as Boston. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-25-13]

GROUND BROKEN FOR NEW SOUND TRANSIT DEPOT IN TUKWILA, WASHINGTON: Ground has been broken for a new $46-million Sound Transit station in Tukwila, Washington. It will be a multi-modal transportation hub for Amtrak Cascades, Sound Transit commuter rail, and Sound Transit Express and King County Metro Transit bus services. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-25-13]

CP RESTORING FLOOD-DAMAGED MAIN LINE IN ALBERTA: Canadian Pacific has restored a large part of its main line in Alberta after crews performed repairs on rail segments damaged by severe flooding. Canadian National provided train-rerouting assistance to CP during the restoration efforts over last weekend. Full restoration is expected to be achieved on June 27. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 6-25-13]

CSX BRIDGE PROJECT TO PROVIDE DIRECT-ROUTE ACCESS IN INDIANA: A $70-million CSX project to replace a 100-year-old rail bridge in Columbus, Indiana, is expected to provide the railroad with direct north-south access in the state. The project is a partnership with Louisville & Indiana Railroad. Using the short line's tracks after repairs are made will ease traffic congestion on other CSX lines and lead to faster rail shipping in the Midwest, according to CSX. [Columbus Republic website report, 6-25-13]

AMTRAK SAYS IT CAN WORK WITH SENATE’S PROPOSED FUNDING: The Senate's proposed $1.45-billion budget for Amtrak in fiscal year 2014 is feasible and "workable," and a continuous flow of federal funding is important for the railroad "to reach its full potential," says Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman. The Senate "recognizes the need for federal investment to operate and maintain the Amtrak national network, and to keep the Northeast Corridor the safe and reliable economic engine that it is today," Boardman notes. [The Hill website report, 6-25-13]

KANSAS FIRM’S PROJECT INVOLVES MASSIVE BNSF INTERMODAL PLAN: North Point Development's partnership with BNSF on a 500,000-square-foot warehouse is considered the largest project yet handled by the developer. The distribution hub will be located at BNSF's Logistics Park Kansas City in Edgerton, Kansas, and will have roughly 1,000 acres of space for an intermodal facility. [Kansas City Star website report, 6-24-13]

FEC TO SERVE INLAND PORT IN FLORIDA: Florida East Coast Railway is expected to provide rail service for the planned inland port in Florida's Brevard County. The plan includes the restoration of a rail spur in Port St. John. "An inland port will create a commerce hub and expand opportunities for business creation, retention and attraction in North Brevard," said Jerry Allender, vice chairman of Canaveral Port Authority’s commission. [Journal of Commerce website report, 6-24-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO IMPROVE RAIL LINE IN WYOMING: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Wyoming's transportation infrastructure by investing $15-million in the rail line between Rawlins and near Rock Springs. The railroad will replace 127,200 railroad ties, install more than 61,200 tons of ballast and renew the surfaces at 18 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 6-24-13]

LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION IN BERGEN, NORWAY, OPENS: The second phase of the light rail network in the Norwegian city of Bergen was inaugurated on June 21. Public services began the following day on the the 2.2-mile, five-station extension, which was completed $49.5-million under budget. Construction will begin in August on the third phase. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-24-13]

CZECH'S LEO EXPRESS HAS SEEN MORE THAN 400,000 PASSENGERS IN FIRST SIX MONTHS: Czech open-access long-distance passenger operator Leo Express has carried more than 400,000 passengers in the six months since the launch of its full timetable on January 18. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-24-13]

COLTON, CALIFORNIA, GRADE-SEPARATION PROJECT COMPLETE: A newly completed $202-million grade-separation project in Colton, California, will improve area operations of BNSF and Union Pacific, and will help support anticipated growth in the state. The project will also contribute to improved air quality by reducing traffic delays along the Colton Crossing, which handles more than 100 trains each day. [Riverside Press-Enterprise website report, 6-21-13]

ORLANDO AMTRAK STATION AREA TO GET UPGRADE: The City of Orlando will invest $4-million to improve the Amtrak station area near the Orlando Regional Medical center as part of upgrades to accommodate SunRail commuter operations. The funding will improve parking and pedestrian access. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-21-13]

EIGHT ADDITIONAL X’TRAPOLIS TRAINS ORDERED FOR MELBOURNE: Public Transport Victoria has awarded Alstom a contract worth about $111.8-million to supply eight additional six-car X'Trapolis EMU trains for the Melbourne suburban network.  [International Railway Journal website report, 6-21-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO BUILD SIDING IN PORTLAND, OREGON: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Oregon's transportation infrastructure by investing nearly $8.6-million to construct a new siding track on the main Union Pacific rail line in Portland. The siding will be built with 5,000 railroad ties and more than 500 tons of ballast. [Union Pacific, 6-21-13]

AAR URGES EXTENSION TO POSITIVE TRAIN-CONTROL DEADLINE: A Dec. 31, 2015, deadline on positive train-control implementation "should be extended by at least three years" to complement the rail industry's $2.8-billion investments in PTC since 2008, said Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward Hamberger at a Senate Commerce Committee panel hearing. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 6-20-13]

AAR SAYS RAILROADS ARE SAFER THAN EVER BEFORE: Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger told a Senate Commerce Committee panel that massive private investments in safety enhancing infrastructure, track maintenance, new equipment, employee training and cutting edge technologies have helped make our nation's railroads safer than ever in their history. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 6-20-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported an increase in weekly rail traffic for the week ending June 15, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 288,879 carloads, up 0.5 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-20-13]

SEPTA’S BRIDGEPORT VIADUCT TO BE CLOSED FOR REPAIRS: SEPTA will close its Bridgeport Viaduct spanning the Schuylkill River used by the Norristown High Speed Line, beginning July 8 and continuing through November. The closure will allow crews to complete a track and timber replacement project and perform minor structural repairs. [Railway Age website report, 6-20-13]

GROUND BROKEN FOR BNSF GRAIN LOADING FACILITY IN NEBRASKA: Agricultural trading company and feed grain exporter Agrex Inc. has broken ground for a BNSF shuttle loading facility in Laurel, Nebraska. To be completed in August 2014, the 2.6 million-bushel facility is designed to load 110 to 120 rail cars of corn and soybeans. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-20-13]

CP SPEEDS UP TORONTO-CALGARY INTERMODAL SERVICE: Canadian Pacific has launched a faster intermodal rail service between Toronto and Calgary offering cuts of 20 hours from previous schedules. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-19-13]

CUMBERLAND, MD, INDUSTRIAL PARK HAS POTENTIAL FOR ‘SELECT SITE’ STATUS: The Barton Industrial Park in Cumberland, Md., has the potential to be designated as a CSX "Select Site" that attracts businesses seeking to use rail service, says Jennifer Tanner, CSX industrial development manager. [Cumberland Times-News website report, 6-19-13]

CALTRANS BUYS 14 COMET RAIL COACHES FROM NJ TRANSIT: The California Dept. of Transportation will be taking delivery of 14 renovated Comet 1B rail cars purchased for about $75,000 apiece from New Jersey Transit. The cars will initially replace bilevel coaches on one of the four daily round trips of San Joaquin trains between Bakersfield and Oakland, while the bilevel coaches will be added to other trains on the route to accommodate increased demand. [Fresno Bee website report, 6-19-13]

BNSF TO SERVE GRAIN-LOADING FACILITY IN NEBRASKA: BNSF is slated to serve a $20-million grain-loading facility in Laurel, Nebraska, which should be finished in August 2014. The project is expected to provide a new option for farmers to market their products and spur competition in the area, said the city’s economic development coordinator. [Omaha World Herald website report, 6-18-13]

HIGH WINDS DERAIL 47 RAIL CARS IN TEXAS: A storm packing winds strong enough to form a tornado has derailed more than 40 BNSF Railway cars in the Texas Panhandle. No one was injured. [Houston Chronicle website report, 6-18-13]

KEOLIS RATIFIES AGREEMENT WITH UNION AT VRE: Members of the United Transportation Union Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union employed by Keolis Rail Services ratified a new three-year agreement June 7 to continue service on the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) trains operating between Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 6-17-13]

STRIKE AVERTED AT VIA RAIL: VIA Rail and the union representing some of its workers reached a tentative deal ahead of a midnight strike deadline June 13, the Canadian Auto Workers said. The union did not release details of the tentative settlement and said ratification votes were being scheduled. [CBC News  website report, 6-14-13]

FEDS OK CONSTRUCTION OF MERCED-FRESNO HIGH-SPEED RAIL SEGMENT: The Surface Transportation Board has issued a decision authorizing the California High-Speed Rail Authority to begin construction of the first section of the state's high-speed rail line - a 65-mile stretch between Merced and Fresno. The board's approval is subject to environmental conditions and that the authority build the route designated by the Federal Railroad Administration as environmentally preferable. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-14-13]

COMMUTER TRAIN CRASHES IN BUENOS AIRES, KILLING THREE: A commuter train crash in Buenos Aires killed three and injured hundreds during the morning commute June 13. The train, traveling 39 mph, crashed into a train stopped at a suburban station. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-14-13]

PROVIDENCE, R.I., SEEKS MONEY FOR STREETCAR LINE: Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is requesting $39-million in federal money to build a new streetcar line that would connect College Hill to South Providence, a distance of about one mile. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-14-13]

NJ TRANSIT TO ADD WI-FI: New Jersey Transit will be introducing wireless internet to select stations in its system by the end of this year, with the eventual goal of Wi-Fi onboard its trains. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-14-13]

PLANNING GROUP IDENTIFIES FIVE HIGH-SPEED RAIL ROUTES IN COLORADO: A planning group convened by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration has identified five potential passenger high speed rail routes to deal with Colorado’s explosive growth. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-14-13]

BULGARIA, ROMANIA OPEN NEW RAIL LINK SPANNING THE DANUBE: Bulgaria and Romania celebrated the completion of a new international rail link across the Danube June 14 with the opening of a 1.2-mile bridge between Calafat and Vidin. The new cable-stayed bridge carries a road and a single-track railway. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-14-13]

GERMAN RAIL CERTIFIED TO RUN PASSENGER TRAINS THROUGH CHANNEL TUNNEL: After three years of studies, the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission has granted German Rail a 'Certificate B' operating license to run passenger trains between France and Britain. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-14-13]

NEW DETAILS ON CSX DERAILMENT NEAR BALTIMORE: The National Transportation Safety Board has released new details on its investigation into last month's train derailment and explosion in Rosedale, Md., finding that more chemicals were released in the crash than originally reported. NTSB investigators also found that stop signs at the grade crossing where a truck and train collided were faded and had been taken off their original mountings. The report is preliminary, and the board has said its full investigation into the derailment could take a year or more. [Baltimore Sun website report, 6-13-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed traffic for the week ending June 8, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 278,249 carloads, down 2.8 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-13-13]

METRO-NORTH TO LAUNCH TRACK WORK PROJECT IN THE BRONX JULY 1: Metro-North will accelerate track work in the Bronx for nine weeks starting July 1. The work will include drainage improvements, tie replacements, fencing repairs and general wayside cleanup. During the nine-week period, one morning-peak Harlem Line and one morning-peak New Haven Line train will be cancelled, and two morning-peak New Haven Line trains will be combined. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-13-13]

RAIL TRAFFIC INCREASES AT PORT OF VIRGINIA: The volume of 20-foot-equivalent units at the Port of Virginia climbed 7.2 pct in May 2013 year-on-year, while container cargo transported by rail rose 35.3 pct in the same period. [Journal of Commerce website report, 6-13-13]

CHENGDU, CHINA, OPENS METRO LINE 2 EXTENSION: The latest addition to the metro network in the Chinese city of Chengdu was inaugurated on June 8 with the launch of commercial services on the 5.4-mile western extension of Line 2 from Chandianzi Bus Station to Xipu. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-13-13]

BNSF CONNECTION WILL GIVE SHIPPERS DIRECT ACCESS TO CUSTOMERS: An $88.5-million commodity-logistics center is being built in Saskatchewan by Ceres Global Ag Corp. When it's done, the facility will connect to a BNSF line, giving shippers direct access to customers in 28 states, several Pacific and Gulf ports and Mexico, and more than 45 crude-by-rail destinations. [World Construction Network website report, 6-12-13]

AUTOMATED BRAKING CONTROLS TO BE RECOMMENDED FOR CANADIAN RAIL CARRIERS: The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is expected to recommend that Canadian rail carriers adopt a new system of automated signaling and braking to help prevent runaway trains and fatal derailments. The TSB report will focus on what has been learned about the Febr. 26, 2012, derailment of Via Rail train No. 92 in Burlington, Ontario. [CBC News website report, 6-11-13]

N.S. DEDICATES NEW INTERMODAL FACILITY IN PENNSYLVANIA: Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman joined federal, state, and local officials on June 11 to officially dedicate the Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility. The $97-million terminal is located on 200 acres south of Greencastle and less than a mile from Interstate 81. The facility, a public-private partnership involving $52-million in NS funds and supported by a $45-million investment by Pennsylvania, is part of NS’ Crescent Corridor series of projects. [Norfolk Southern, 6-11-13]

ROBERT SMITH NAMED MARYLAND MTA ADMINISTRATOR: Robert Smith as the new administrator of the Maryland Transit Administration, effective June 10. He succeeds Ralign Wells, who will become director of the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on July 1. Smith has more than 30 years of transit experience. Most recently, he served as vice-president of operations at National Express Corp. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-10-13]

DUTCH GOVERNMENT CANCELS ORDER FOR 16 HIGH-SPEED TRAINS : The Dutch government announced June 7 that it has decided to cancel its contract with AnsaldoBreda for 16 V250 high-speed trains, in accordance with the wishes of Netherlands Railways. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-10-13]

AMTRAK NEEDS $782-M PER YEAR FOR MAINTENANCE, IMPROVEMENTS TO NEC: Amtrak president Joe Boardman has told a congressional committee that there is insufficient infrastructure investment in the Northeast Corridor (NEC) to cover the long list of improvements needed to keep services running on time. Boardman said that $782-million is needed a year to cover ongoing maintenance costs and planned long-term improvements. [Global Rail News website report, 6-10-13]

FLORIDA PORT EYES RAIL TO GENERATE MORE CARGO TRAFFIC: Officials at Port Canaveral in Florida are depending on a $23.5-million rail-spur project as a way to increase cargo movement. Florida East Coast is expected to provide service and help pay for the costs of the project, which will spur employment growth, says Tom Weinberg, the port authority's chairman. [Florida Today website report, 6-9-13]

RAILS HELP STIMULATE OIL BOOM IN BAKKEN REGION: BNSF's and Canadian Pacific's operations in the Bakken region are helping facilitate the smooth transportation of crude oil, and without the railroads, the oil boom "would not be as big." More crude shipments are being put on trains due to a weak pipeline capacity. "One of the advantages of rail is the flexibility it offers in getting to markets," said John Miller, a vice president at BNSF. [Dallas Morning News website report, 6-8-13]

COLD EXPRESS TO ADD 100 NEW CARS TO AID EXPANSION: Cold Express expects to add 100 new cars by the end of July to aid its expansion in East Coast markets. The success of Cold Train's refrigerated service mainly depends on how competent it is and its partnership with BNSF and the Port of Quincy, Wash., according to Cold Train President Steve Lawson. "The key to this success is consistent service - we're ready to go when the growers have products - and competitive shipping times and prices," Lawson said. [Wenatchee World website report, 6-8-13]

BNSF FINED FOR DEFECTS AT WASHINGTON STATE GRADE CROSSINGS: BNSF Railway has agreed to pay $55,000 to settle claims by Washington state regulators that the company failed to fix defects at seven railroad crossings in northwest Washington. [Seattle Times website report, 6-8-13]

PLANS APPROVED TO CONSOLIDATE TRAIN TRAFFIC THROUGH SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS: Illinois state transportation officials reached a deal with the city of Springfield and Sangamon County on a plan to consolidate train traffic through the city, part of the ongoing development of a high-speed rail corridor between Chicago and St. Louis. The agreement identifies $8.7-million in funding for design work on a plan to consolidate north-south rail and freight traffic along the eastern side of the city, away from Springfield’s downtown. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-7-13]

SAME-DAY CONNECTIONS ONCE AGAIN ALLOWED FROM EASTBOUND CAPITOL LTD TO SOUTHBOUND SILVER STAR: Amtrak is once again allowing passengers to book reservations involving a same-day connection at Washington from the eastbound Capitol Limited (train 29) to the southbound Silver Star (train 91).  However, same-day Washington connections in the opposite direction, from northbound train 92 to westbound train 29, are still not available.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-7-13]

MONTAGUE RAIL TUNNEL IN N.Y. TO BE CLOSED 14 MONTHS: New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced plans to close the Montague rail tunnel linking Manhattan and Brooklyn for a full 14 months to allow for repairs to damage stemming from Hurricane Sandy.  The MTA will also close the Greenpoint tube - linking Brooklyn and Queens - for repairs for 12 weekends this year. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-7-13]

CHARTERED TRAINS TO USE ST. LOUIS UNION STATION: Hotel operator Lodging Hospitality Management has announced plans to bring chartered train service to St. Louis’ Union Station this week. The company also plans to upgrade the station’s sidings to house other luxury rail cars operating in the U.S.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 6-7-13]

CONTRACT AWARDED TO BEGIN CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has voted to award a $985-million contract to Sylmar-based Tutor Perini to begin construction of the state's bullet train system. [Los Angeles Times website report, 6-7-13]

TRIMET, COUNTY REACH PROPERTY TRANSFER PACT: Clackamas County, Oregon, commissioners have approved a property transfer that will allow TriMet to build the Trolley Trail through Milwaukie and Oak Grove concurrent with Portland-Milwaukie light rail transit construction, extending TriMet's reach into Portland's southeastern suburbs. [Railway Age website report, 6-7-13]

BOMBARDIER LANDS CONTRACT FOR STOCKHOLM METRO VEHICLES: Bombardier Transportation has obtained a $771-million contract from the Stockholm Public Transport Authority to deliver the new generation C30 metro fleet for Stockholm. The contract calls for Bombardier to provide 96 MOVIA metro vehicles and includes an option for up to 80 additional vehicles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-7-13]

NEW SPANISH HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICE SET TO BEGIN: The Spanish government has confirmed that Renfe will start commercial services on the 102-mile high-speed rail line from Albacete to Alicante on June 18. [International Railway Journal website report, 6-7-13]

JIM PRENTICE JOINS CP’S BOARD: Former cabinet minister Jim Prentice has joined Canadian Pacific Railway’s board of directors. He’s currently senior executive vice-president and vice chairman at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and serves on the boards of Bell Canada and Coril Holdings Ltd. [Canadian Press website report, 6-7-13]

NS REROUTING TRAFFIC FROM ROUTE THROUGH HANNIBAL, MISSOURI: Due to rising Mississippi River levels at Hannibal, Missouri, impacting bridge and main line operations, Norfolk Southern is now rerouting shipments normally moving over this route via alternate routes. Consequently, customers may see delays of up to 24 hours. [Norfolk Southern]

GEORGIA PORT SEEKS IMPROVED SERVICE WITH FOUR NEW CRANES: The arrival of four large cranes at the CSX- and Norfolk Southern-served Port of Savannah in Georgia is expected to enhance the customer experience, said Curtis Foltz, Georgia Ports Authority executive director. "Savannah leads the Southeast in containerized cargo [and] these improvements will complement the planned harbor deepening to ensure Savannah's premier status in moving U.S. exports to the global marketplace," said GPA Chairman Robert Jepson. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-7-13]

CN ORDERS FOUR NATURAL GAS TENDERS FOR DUAL-FUEL LOCOMOTIVES: Canadian National recently ordered four liquefied natural gas tenders from Westport Innovations to expand the company's environmental initiatives. "These tenders will be used immediately with our dual-fuel locomotives in mainline service, allowing CN to continue to explore this technology as a means to advance the company's sustainability agenda and improve environmental emissions," said CN. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 6-6-13]

CSX WANTS TO LEASE LAND UNDER I-95 IN BALTIMORE FOR TRAIN & TRUCK DEPOT: The Maryland Transportation Authority is reviewing a request from CSX Transportation to lease about five acres under Interstate 95 for construction of a train and truck depot that will serve the port of Baltimore. [Baltimore Sun website report, 6-6-13]

IOWA NORTHERN DEVELOPING INTERMODAL LOGISTICS HUB: Iowa Northern Railway announced that more than 350 acres are being developed in Manly, Iowa, including the site of a new intermodal logistics hub. Located near three interstates and 16 miles from the Minnesota border, the facility will be known as Upper Midwest Transportation Hub. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-6-13]

ACF REOPENS RAIL CAR MANUFACTURING PLANT IN PENNSYLVANIA: ACF Industries’ rail-car manufacturing plant in Milton, Pa., has reopened. ACF closed the facility in 2009 because of declining sales, but growth in the U.S. energy sector created a shortage of tank cars and components, prompting the company to reopen the plant. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-6-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported an increase in rail traffic for the week ending June 1, 2013. U.S. railroads originated 269,276 carloads, up 1.6 pct compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume totaled 221,806 units, up 3.7 pct.  Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 491,082 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.5 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 6-6-13]

NICARAGUA WANTS TO BUILD ALTERNATIVE CANAL: Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal. Nicaragua's president Daniel Ortega said recently that the new channel would be built through the waters of Lake Nicaragua. The new route will be a higher-capacity alternative to the 99-year-old Panama Canal, which is currently being widened. [Guardian website report, 6-6-13]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY 35 TALENT 2 EMU’S TO NATIONAL EXPRESS RAIL: Bombardier Transportation has won an order worth $221-million from National Express Rail GmbH, a German subsidiary of the British National Express Group, to supply 35 Talent 2 EMUs for regional service. Bombardier will supply three- and five-car Talent 2 trains designed to set a high standard in ecological sustainability. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-5-13]

TOM CARPER RENOMINATED TO AMTRAK BOARD: President Obama has renominated former Macomb, Illinois, mayor Tom Carper to the Amtrak Board of Directors. [Quincy Herald-Whig website report, 6-5-13]

SIERRA CLUB SUES BNSF: BNSF Railway and five other coal shippers have been sued by the Sierra Club over claims they discharge coal into Puget Sound and other waterways in violation of the U.S. Clean Water Act. [Bloomberg News website report, 6-5-13]

KEVIN SHUBA NAMED CEO OF OMNITRAX: OmniTRAX Inc. of Denver Colorado has announced the appointment of Kevin Shuba as its CEO. He comes from Brambles Limited where he served as group senior vice-president and business development officer [OmniTRAX, 6-5-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO RENEW RAIL LINE IN MISSOURI: Union Pacific Railroad be investing more than $20-million in the rail line between Chester and near Scott City, Mo. The railroad will replace 39,400 railroad ties, install 11,100 tons of ballast, replace a half mile of rail in various curves install nearly 23 miles of new rail, and renew the surfaces at 62 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 6-5-13]

ALSTOM UNVEILS NEW CITADIS SPIRIT LIGHT-RAIL VEHICLE: Alstom has unveiled its new Citadis Spirit light-rail vehicle for the North American market. Its features include a 100 percent low-floor design and the ability to operate at speeds of up to 65 mph. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-4-13]

CSX BREAKS GROUND ON INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN QUEBEC: Officials from CSX Corporation (CSX) and its transportation and intermodal terminals subsidiaries on June 4 joined officials from the City of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and the Province of Quebec at a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the new intermodal terminal in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.  Construction began in March and the terminal is expected to open in 2015. [CSX, 6-4-13]

SEATTLE SEEKS TO MERGE TWO STREETCAR LINES: Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has announced plans to connect two separate streetcar lines with a link through the city’s downtown, dubbed the Center City Connector. An analysis indicated that a streetcar was the best mode of transit for the need, and would connect South Lake Union Streetcar and First Hill Streetcar. [Railway Age website report, 6-4-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO SERVE FACILITY TO BE BUILT IN KANSAS: Union Pacific's rail lines near Canton, Kansas, led the Mid-Kansas Cooperative to choose a site nearby for a multimillion-dollar project that includes construction of a high-speed rail-loading facility and grain elevator. [Salina Journal website report, 6-4-13]

BOSTON SECTION OF LAKE SHORE LTD TO BE IMPACTED: Train 448 will not operate between Albany and Boston June 22-27. Passengers will be provided bus service between Albany, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester, Framingham, and South Station. Train 449 will not operate between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer June 23-27. Passengers will be provided bus service between South Station, Framingham, Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield, and Albany. [Amtrak]

EMD TO SUPPLY UP TO 20 LOCOMOTIVES FOR METROLINK: Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. (EMD) has signed an agreement with the Southern California Regional Rail Authority to supply up to 20 EMD F125 low-emission Spirit-series passenger-rail locomotives for operation on Metrolink. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-3-13]

VIA RAIL RIDERSHIP STEADY IN FIRST QUARTER: VIA Rail’s ridership remained steady during the first quarter, reaching 936,000 riders compared with 934,000 during 2012's same period. [Progressive Railroading website report, 6-3-13]

CP CLEANING UP FROM DERAILMENT IN ONTARIO: A northbound CP freight train derailed east of Sudbury near Wanup, Ontario, June 2. There were no injuries. The train was traveling over a rail trestle bridge spanning the Wanapitei River at the time of the incident. A preliminary investigation identified that one of the rail cars experienced a sudden wheel bearing failure which caused the rail car to derail just prior to the bridge.  The derailed car then struck the bridge causing a larger derailment and further infrastructure damage. Twenty-four intermodal containers were involved, some entering the river as a result of the derailment. [Canadian Pacific, 6-3-13]

AMTRAK LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER INJURED WHEN TURKEY CRASHES INTO TRAIN: The engineer of a northbound Amtrak train was injured when a wild turkey crashed through the window of his locomotive, stopping service on all tracks in Mansfield, Massachusetts. The engineer was transported to the hospital for injuries. [Sun Chronicle website report, 6-2-13]

SHORE LINE EAST BEGINS NEW HAVEN-NEW LONDON WEEKEND SERVICE: Connecticut’s Shore Line East railroad will begin running weekend train service from New Haven to New London starting Saturday, June 1, 2013. Previously, weekend service extended only as far as Old Saybrook. The extra service is targeted at tourists looking to travel to Connecticut’s parks and beaches. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-31-13]

FUNDING SOUGHT TOWARD TWO NEW HUDSON RIVER RAIL TUNNELS: The U.S. Department of Transportation has initiated the process to secure $185-million in Hurricane Sandy Relief funding for Amtrak.  The money will help serve as a down payment for two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, providing much-needed capacity expansion and redundancy to the existing 100-year old tunnels. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-31-13]

GROUNDBREAKING SCHEDULED FOR CSX INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN QUEBEC: CSX has scheduled a groundbreaking June 3 for a new intermodal facility in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec. The $100-million, 89-acre terminal, scheduled to open in 2015, is designed to handle up to 100,000 containers annually. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-31-13]

DUAL-VOLTAGE LOCOMOTIVE TO BE DEVELOPED FOR RUSSIA: Alstom, its Russian partner Transmashholding  and the Russian Railways have entered into an agreement to develop the first Russian dual-voltage freight locomotive, the 2ES20. The double-section mainline electric locomotive with asynchronous traction drive will be designed to operate on both 3kV and 25kV current. This will eliminate a locomotive swap at a station where the current is changed. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-31-13]

SOUTH AFRICA TO STUDY HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Tenders will be invited later this year by South Africa's Department of Transport to conduct a study into the likely cost and feasibility of building high-speed lines between the country's main cities. Trains could run at speeds of up to 248 MPH on standard-gauge tracks to achieve journey times, which would be competitive with air. Johannesburg is 449 miles from Durban by rail, which makes it a likely priority for high-speed rail, [International Railway Journal website report, 5-31-13]

CONNECTICUT GRANTS $8-M TO FOUR RAILROADS: Connecticut will invest more than $8-million to improve and modernize its freight rail system through grants to four rail companies. The rail lines that will receive the funding are New England Central Railroad, Providence and Worcester Railroad, Naugatuck Railroad and Central New England Railroad. [The Day website report, 5-31-13]

CSX WANTS TO EXPAND N.W. OHIO TERMINAL: At CSX Transportation’s North Baltimore, Ohio, Terminal, freight traffic already exceeds expectations and further growth once route improvements are completed between Ohio and the Atlantic coast. Their proposal is to extend the terminal’s container-handling area by 2,300 feet and add two wide-span gantry cranes to the five operating there. But without a U.S. Department of Transportation grant to cover half the project’s $42-million estimated cost, it won’t be built, said Rusty Orben, CSX’s director of public affairs. [Toledo Blade website report, 5-30-13]

MARC RIDERSHIP SETS RECORD IN APRIL: Ridership on MARC service reached 38,112 last month. The previous record high for the commuter train service was 37,034 set in November 2012. Ridership on the system was up 4.3 percent overall, compared to the same month last year, with the MARC Penn Line leading the surge. The Penn Line carries approximately 25,512 daily passengers, the Brunswick Line has approximately 8,149 daily passengers and the Camden Line carries approximately 4,451 passengers on a daily basis. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-30-13]

MBTA AWARDS CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS FOR WACHUSETT COMMUTER RAIL PROJECTS: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has awarded a $22.9-million contract to S&R Construction Enterprises to build a Wachusett commuter-rail station in west Fitchburg and a $12.1-million Wachusett layover facility in Westminster, WCVB Channel 5 in Boston reported. The report attributed the information to MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-30-13]

RAIL INDUSTRY TAKING PROACTIVE STEPS TOWARD SAFETY, AAR SAYS: The railroad industry continues to adopt precautionary steps to improve safety performance, according to the Association of American Railroads. "We're trying to be proactive rather than reactive," said Bob VanderClute, AAR vice president of safety. Railroads also invest constantly in infrastructure, technology and employee training for safety development, with an estimated $25.5 billion to be spent this year. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 5-30-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported that U.S. Class I railroads originated a record 97,135 carloads of crude oil in the first quarter, up 20 pct from the fourth quarter of 2012, and 166 percent higher than the 36,544 carloads originated in the first quarter of 2012. [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-30-13]

THALES LANDS RAIL SIGNALING CONTRACTS IN SOUTH AFRICA, EGYPT: Thales has obtained a $176-million contract from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa to supply a rail signaling solution for the country's Western Cape region. The project will include modernization of the signaling, communications and train management systems, covering 46 stations. Also, Thales obtained a $141-million contract from the Egyptian National Railways to modernize the signaling systems on the Cairo-Alexandra corridor. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-29-13]

CN ACCELERATES WHITEHALL SUB UPGRADES: CN is accelerating work on the $33-million upgrading of its Whitehall Subdivision in Wisconsin to increase car-loading capacity and train velocity for the growing frac sand supply chains. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-29-13]

ALASKA R.R. EXTENSION TO EXPEDITITE MINERAL SHIPMENTS: An $88-million track extension of Alaska Railroad's line between Houston and Port MacKenzie, Alaska, is expected to streamline the transportation of minerals in the region. Ports need to invest in infrastructure such as rail to function properly, said Patty Sullivan, Matanuska-Susitna Borough public affairs director. Work recently began on the 32-mile project and completion is expected by 2016. [KTUU-TV website report, 5-29-13]

CSX TRAIN DERAILS, CATCHES FIRE NEAR BALTIMORE: There was a derailment of a CSX train in Rosedale, Maryland, northeast of Baltimore, May 28, following a collision of the train with a truck. Fifteen cars were derailed, two of which burned, including a thunderous explosion. The driver of the truck was injured. [Contributed report, 5-28-13]

SIX CLASS I RAIL CONNECTIONS GIVE COMPETITVE EDGE TO NEW PORT IN LOUISIANA: The Port of New Orleans rail connections with six Class I railroads are expected to provide a competitive advantage to the new $30-million Gulf Gateway Terminal, according to Robert Wright, president of Murex, the project's co-developer. "No one, to my knowledge, has access to six Class I railroads that feed the area, so we were lucky enough to work with the port and develop this project," Wright said. The new terminal will begin operations next week. [Times-Picayune website report, 5-28-13]

FEDS GRANT $7-M TOWARD CENTRAL OREGON & PACIFIC R.R. REHAB PROJECT: The U.S. Department of Transportation, through the Federal Railroad Administration, has awarded a $7 million grant to the State of Oregon to support a $9.4-million project that will rehabilitate and reopen a 296-mile stretch of the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad. [Railway Age website report, 5-28-13]

METRO-NORTH EMPLOYEE KILLED BY TRAIN: A Metro-North Railroad employee died May 28 when a train hit him as he worked at the site of the new station at West Haven, Connecticut. MTA identified the victim as Robert Luden, 52, who was pronounced dead at the scene after he was hit by a train out of New Haven bound for Grand Central Terminal in New York City. [Connecticut Post website report, 5-28-13]

CRUDE-BY-RAIL CAPACITY POISED FOR EXPANSION, REPORT SAYS: An expansion of crude-by-rail capacity for the distribution of Canadian oil to Gulf Coast markets is anticipated in the near future due to a delay in pipeline approvals, according to a Canadian Energy Research Institute report. "If the Keystone XL's northern leg does not get approved, most likely we will be seeing higher volumes by rail," said Dinara Millington, CERI senior research director. [Financial Post website report, 5-28-13]

AMTRAK NEC SCHEDULE CHANGES JUNE 3-AUGUST 2: Train 178 will stop at New Brunswick. Trains 137 and 652 will not stop at Metropark. Many northbound evening trains operating into Newark NJ and New York are scheduled later than printed in Amtrak timetables. Many southbound evening trains operating to Philadelphia and points south are scheduled later than printed in Amtrak timetables. Train 643 will depart 5 minutes earlier from New York into Philadelphia. [Amtrak]

SEVEN INJURED IN MISSOURI HIGHWAY BRIDGE COLLAPSE AFTER RAIL CARS HIT PILLARS: A Missouri highway overpass partially collapsed when rail cars smashed into one of its support pillars after a freight train collision. Seven people in two cars on the bridge overpass were injured, none seriously, when two 40-foot sections of the overpass crumpled before dawn May 25. [Washington Post website report, 5-26-13]

CAPE FLYER BEGINS OPERATIONS: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Cape Flyer rail service officially began operations May 24, providing passengers with a transportation link between Boston and Cape Cod. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-24-13]

FEDS GRANT ADDITIONAL $3.7-B TO N.Y. AREA TRANSIT AGENCIES FOR DISASTER RELIEF: The. U.S. Dept. of Transportation announced an additional $3.7-billion in Hurricane Sandy disaster relief for the four New York area transit agencies that sustained the most damage. Of the allocation, $2.4-billion will go toward recovery and rebuilding, and $1.3-billion will be dedicated to increasing the transit systems’ resilience to future disasters. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-24-13]

NS TRAIN DERAILS IN ALABAMA, SCHOOL EVACUATED: Twenty-one cars on a Norfolk Southern train derailed the afternoon of May 23 outside of Bear Creek in Marion County, Alabama, leading to the evacuation of parts of the city, including Phillips Elementary School. Early reports from the area said at least one tank car was derailed and might be leaking crude oil. [Birmingham News website report, 5-23-13]

WASHINGTON METRO ORDERS 100 ADDITIONAL CARS: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has placed a $184-million order with Kawasaki Heavy Industries for 100 additional 7000-series metro cars which will replace Breda 4000-series cars supplied in the 1990s. The order follows an initial contract signed in 2010 for 428 series 7000 cars. Around 300 of these vehicles will replace the oldest series 1000 trains, while the remainder will provide the capacity required for the opening of the Silver Line to Washington Dulles International Airport and Ashburn. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-23-13]

STEAM RETURNS TO NORTHERN CENTRAL IN JUNE: Steam trains are slated to begin scheduled operation on the Northern Central Railway between New Freedom and Hanover Junction, Pa., June 2. For further information call 717-942-2370, or 717-600-6535.

NJT TO EXPAND JERSEY SHORE RAIL SERVICE THIS SUMMER: New Jersey Transit will add express rail service this summer to New Jersey beaches. To be launched June 2, the service will consist of four new weekend express trains between New York Penn Station and Long Branch. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-23-13]

NS OPENS BULK TRANSFER TERMINAL IN KNOXVILLE: Norfolk Southern opened its new $5.9-million Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer terminal May 23 in Knoxville. The terminal is located adjacent to I-275 and fewer than two miles from I-40 and I-75, adjacent to Norfolk Southern’s rail yard. The facility can handle dry and liquid bulk commodities as well as aggregates such as sand and cement. [Norfolk Southern, 5-23-13]

NEW BILL WOULD ALLOW PETS ON AMTRAK TRAINS: If a bill that was introduced in Congress this week is passed, Amtrak will be required to allow pets on board some of its trains. The bill will designate one car of each train where passengers may transport a domesticated cat or dog in the same manner as carry-on baggage if the animal can be contained in a pet kennel and the kennel can be stowed in accordance with Amtrak requirements for carry-on baggage. [ABC News website report, 5-23-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported an increase in traffic for the week ending May 18, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 285,679 carloads, up 1.9 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 250,156 units, up 3.5 pct compared with the same week last year.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-23-13]

SEPTA ENGINEER SHORTAGE LEADS TO CANCELED TRIPS: SEPTA doesn’t have enough engineers to run all of its trains all of the time. On Saturday, eight Regional Rail trains were canceled because of crew shortages, and engineers say the problem is chronic and may get worse. In 2011, federal work rules were toughened, reducing the number of hours passenger-train crews can work in a week or month and exacerbating SEPTA's long-standing staffing woes. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 5-23-13]

UNION PACIFIC SEES GAINS IN CRUDE SHIPMENTS: Union Pacific may carry as much as 40 pct more crude oil in 2013, and is seeing evidence that the slump in coal shipments is over, Chief Executive Officer Jack Koraleski said. [Bloomberg Business Week website report, 5-23-13]

CONTRACT OF AMTRAK PRESIDENT EXTENDED: Amtrak’s board of directors has extended the contract of the company’s president Joseph H. Boardman, who has led the government-owned railroad corporation to record growth in ridership and revenue. [New York Times website report, 5-23-13]

OMNITRAX SIGNAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS BEGIN: CTC Inc. has begun signal construction projects for OmniTRAX Inc. Under a master services agreement, CTC will complete grade crossing work along the route structure of OmniTRAX-managed railroads, beginning with projects for Chicago Rail Link and Illinois Railway. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-22-13]

‘METRO BLUE LINE’ IS NEW NAME FOR TWIN CITIES’ HIAWATHA LIGHT-RAIL LINE: The Twin Cities' Hiawatha light-rail line now is officially called the ‘Metro Blue Line,’ Metro Transit officials have announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-22-13]

UKRAINIAN RAILWAYS ORDERS 300 TWIN-UNIT ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES: Ukrainian Railways has signed a letter of intent with Luganskteplovoz for the purchase of 300 twin-unit electric freight locomotives. The $1.5-billion order will comprise 230 class 2EL4 3kV dc and 70 class 2EL5 25kV ac units, which will be similar to the class 2ES4 and 2ES5 locomotives currently being built by Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant (NVEZ) for Russian Railways. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-22-13]

RAIL CONNECTIONS EXPANDED IN TENNESSEE: Norfolk Southern's new $5.9-million Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer Terminal in Knoxville will expand local companies' access to Class I connections. CSX runs a similar facility in the area. "Basically, this will enhance the logistics infrastructure of our region," said Doug Lawyer, Knoxville Chamber vice president of economic development. [Knoxville News Sentinel website report, 5-22-13]

MARYLAND TO INVEST $4.4-B IN TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE: Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has signed a $4.4-billion transportation infrastructure bill. The first-round allocations will include $100-million for MARC enhancements; $170-million for final design of the Red Line; $280-million for the Purple Line; and $100-million for the Corridor Cities Transitway. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-21-13]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR WASHINGTON METRO SILVER LINE, PHASE 2: Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has awarded the first of three-design-build contracts for the second phase of Washington Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) Silver Line, which will extend the line from Wiehle Avenue in Reston, Va., to Washington Dulles International Airport, terminating in Ashburn, Va. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-21-13]

FEC TO BEGIN RAIL LINE PROJECT AT MIAMI PORT: Florida East Coast is expected to begin work on a rail-line project at PortMiami by late July, said Robert Ledoux, FEC senior vice president. The project is part of a $46.9-million plan to develop FEC's rail network in Miami, which is expected to enhance the port's efficiency in handling freight from larger ships passing through an expanded Panama Canal. [Miami Herald website report, 5-21-13]

KCS JOINING S&P 500: Standard & Poor's (S&P) has announced that Kansas City Southern will replace Dean Foods Co. in the S&P 500 index. KCS, currently a S&P MidCap 400 constituent, will also be added to the S&P 500 GICS (Global Industry Classification Standard) Railroads Sub-Industry index. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-20-13]

SEPTA’S PRIMOS STATION RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT COMPLETED: The $8.3-million Primos Station reconstruction project has been completed. Upgrades included a new station building, installation of a new drop-off area, improvements to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, construction of high-level platforms on the inbound and outbound sides, and increased parking areas. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-20-13]

LIRR BEGINS MASSAPEQUA STATION MODERNIZATION PROJECT: Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has begun a $40-million project to modernize the LIRR's Massapequa Station. During the next two years, the LIRR will replace the station platform, canopy, staircases, elevator and escalator, as well as the platform waiting room, lighting, public address system and signage. The railroad is also starting work on the installation of a pocket track just east of the station that will improve train service and frequency, as well as on-board seat availability. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-20-13]

COMMUTER TRAINS COLLIDE IN CONNECTICUT, MANY HURT: Sixty people were injured May 17 when a Metro-North Railroad train derailed on the New Haven Line in Fairfield, Connecticut, and collided with another train, officials said. Five victims were critically injured, including one described as very critical. Service on the New Haven Line was suspended between South Norwalk and New Haven. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, service would not return to normal on the line until “a full investigation is complete and repairs are made.” [Journal News website report, 5-17-13]

CHARLES LITTLE DIES, FORMER UTU PRESIDENT: Former United Transportation Union International President Charles L. Little, 77, died May 15 following a brief illness. Little was the fifth president of the UTU, serving from 1996 until his retirement in 2001. [United Transportation Union, 5-17-13]

MARC TO ADD WEEKEND SERVICE ON PENN LINE: Maryland Area Rail Commuter (MARC) announced this week that they plan to begin Saturday and Sunday Baltimore-Washington service on the Penn Line (Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor) within a matter of months. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-17-13]

AMTRAK ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE UNVEILED: Amtrak and federal officials were on hand at the unveiling of the first new electric locomotive for the Northeast Corridor on May 13 at Siemens’ manufacturing plant in Sacramento. The first of 70 new electric locomotives rolled off the assembly line this week, kicking off a testing and quality control process that could see the locomotives in service by as early as this fall.  The units will be capable of operating at speeds up to 125 mph and will be more energy efficient, and easier to maintain. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-17-13]

AMTRAK TO UPGRADE WI-FI SERVICE ACROSS THE COUNTRY: Amtrak will be upgrading its AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi service across the country, improving performance and enhancing on-board connectivity. The new system will allow passengers to take advantage of 4G technologies. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-17-13]

OREGON NAMES ITS TWO NEW CASCADES TRAINS: Oregon’s rail passengers voted to name the two new Amtrak Cascades trains ‘Mt. Jefferson’ and ‘Mt. Bachelor.’ The new 13-car train sets will each include seating for 275 passengers, a bistro car, a dining car, bicycle storage, and business class seating. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-17-13]

SCHEDULE OF CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR TO BE IMPACTED BY TRACK WORK: Amtrak’s California Zephyr will not operate west of Reno from June 16 to June 26 due to Union Pacific work adding a second track to a currently single-track segment of the route over Donner Pass. Chartered motorcoaches will serve all Amtrak stations between Emeryville and Reno in both directions, on the same schedule as the train. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-17-13]

BNSF TO SERVE PLANNED WYOMING OIL TERMINAL: BNSF will provide rail service for the Wyoming crude-oil terminal planned by Meritage Midstream Services and Arch Coal. The facility is expected to deliver crude oil at 10,000 barrels daily and could be expanded to handle up to 120,000 barrels per day. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 5-17-13]

ROCKAWAY LINE A-TRAIN TO RESUME SERVICE MAY 30: New York City Transit’s A-Train service on the Rockaway line will resume May 30. The line has been shut down since Hurricane Sandy struck the region in October 2012. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-17-13]

INVENSYS RAIL ACQUIRED BY SIEMENS: Siemens Rail Automation has closed its acquisition of Invensys Rail, which will be integrated into the Mobility and Logistics Division. Former Invensys Rail President and Chief Executive Officer John Paljug will become head of Siemens U.S. Rail Automation business. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-16-13]

CANDO TO PROVIDE RAILCAR LOADING, SWITCHING TO MANITOBA CRUDE TERMINAL: Cando has signed a long-term contract to provide rail-car loading and switching services to Tundra Energy Marketing Ltd.'s new crude petroleum terminal near Cromer, Manitoba. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-16-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT The Association of American Railroads reported an increase in traffic for the week ending May 11, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 280,986 carloads, up 0.6 pct compared with the same week last year.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-16-13]

AAR NAMES CSX EMPLOYEE TOP ENVIRONMENTALIST: The Association of American Railroads has named CSX employee Rick McNey, manager of maintenance at the Curtis Bay Pier in Baltimore, the winner of its annual John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award for outstanding environmental awareness and responsibility. [CSX, 5-16-13]

CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN ON DUBLIN CROSS CITY LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Ireland’s transport ministry has signed the first construction contracts for a project to connect the Luas light rail Red and Green Lines in Dublin City Centre. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-16-13]

WABTEC NAMES TOP MANAGEMENT: Wabtec Corp. has named Albert Neupaver chairman and chief executive officer, and Raymond Betler president and chief operating officer. Neupaver succeeds William Kassling as chairman, who will remain on the board as lead director. Betler was promoted to COO in 2010. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-15-13]

TRAINS RETURN TO NORTHERN SRI LANKA: After a 23-year hiatus, trains returned to Sri Lanka's northern railway on May 14 with the inauguration of the initial 43km Madawachchi-Madhu Road section of the 106km Madawachchi-Talaimannar line. Services had ceased in June 1990 due to a civil war. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-15-13]

U.P. LAUNCHES RAIL SAFETY BILLBOARD CAMPAIGN: Union Pacific Railroad has launched a billboard campaign aimed at encouraging drivers and pedestrians to cross tracks only at approved railroad crossings. At the center of the campaign are billboards that include important safety tips such as "Always expect a train." The campaign also features Spanish-language billboards. [Union Pacific, 5-15-13]

BNSF, UNION PACIFIC PROVIDE COMPETITIVE EDGE FOR SAN ANTONIO PROJECT: BNSF and Union Pacific's interchange services will make the Alamo Junction Rail Park in San Antonio more competitive. "We've been exploring opportunities to acquire rail-served land tracts around San Antonio for over a year now, and I'm excited about the distinct advantages our rail park will offer users," said Michael Plank, president of National Property Holdings, which owns the project. [American City Business Journal website report, 5-15-13]

KNORR-BREMSE OPENS MARYLAND PLANT: Knorr-Bremse has opened a new Rail Vehicle Systems plant in Westminster, Md., in order to cope with ongoing growth of the U.S. mass transit market. The new plant triples the capacity of its older facility, also in Westminster, and soon will employ almost 300 employees. This location will develop, manufacture, and sell product lines for rail vehicles. [Railway Age website report, 5-14-13]

VIA RAIL RELEASES 2012 ANNUAL REPORT: VIA Rail Canada reported that 2012 ridership dropped 5 pct to 3.9 million passengers and total revenue fell 2 percent to $277.6-million compared with 2011. However, average revenue per passenger increased 2.2 pct. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-14-13]

EXPANSION PLAN INCLUDES RAIL-SERVED COAL TERMINALS: The BNSF- and Union Pacific-served Deepwater and Houston Bulk terminals in Houston, and the CSX-served International Marine Terminal near Myrtle Grove, La., are undergoing expansion as part of Kinder Morgan's $400-million plan. The developments aim to add capacity for coal export facilities "on the Gulf and East coasts because those producers are still making coal and they want to get it out," said Steve Kean, Kinder Morgan president and chief operating officer. [Platts website report, 5-14-13]

CSX TO COMPLETE PLANS FOR BALTIMORE INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN JUNE: Building plans for a $90-million CSX rail and truck terminal in Baltimore are expected to be finished by next month, said CSX spokesman Robert Sullivan. The project is meant to reduce traffic congestion of shipments to and from the Port of Baltimore, and. The is slated to be operational by 2015. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 5-13-13]

RAIL FACILITIES TO BENEFIT MISSOURI, KANSAS: BNSF and Kansas City Southern's intermodal projects in Missouri and Kansas will boost the industrial real-estate market of the Kansas City region of Missouri and Kansas, according to Patrick Robinson, a vice president at NorthPoint Development. BNSF's 500,000-square-foot intermodal facility in Edgerton, Kan., and the CenterPoint-Kansas City Southern Intermodal Center in Grandview, Mo., are expected to be "an absolute game changer," Robinson said. [Kansas City American City Business Journal website report, 5-13-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN & UNION PACIFIC TO INTRODUCE CONTAINER SERVICE BETWEEN COLUMBUS & LOS ANGELES: Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific will introduce new interline service May 13 for domestic containers between Columbus, Ohio, and Los Angeles. [Journal of Commerce website report, 5-13-13]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR KRAKOW AIRPORT LINK UPGRADE: Polish infrastructure manager PKP PLK has awarded Alstaldi a $57.3-million contract to upgrade the 11km Balice Express rail link between Krakow Central station and the John Paul II International Airport at Balice. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-13-13]

BALTIMORE PORT PREPPED FOR LARGER SHIPS: Maryland and Baltimore port officials have marked the completion of a new 50-foot-deep berth and installation of four super-sized container cranes at the port’s Seagirt Marine Terminal. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-13-13]

BOMBARDIER TO SUPPLY 57 ELECTROSTAR RAIL CARS FOR LONDON OVERGROUND: Bombardier Transportation has obtained a contract from Transport for London to provide 57 additional Bombardier Electrostar rail cars for the London Overground network. Valued at $137-million, the new rail cars will be used to turn existing four-car trains into five-car trains. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-13-13]

NATIONAL TRAIN DAY A BIG SUCCESS: This year's National Train Day was likely the best-attended and most widespread celebration of the occasion in its six-year history. Amtrak endorsed events in over 90 cities and towns, while dozens more independently-organized celebrations took place, many in places that don't currently enjoy passenger train service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-13-13]

JAMES SQUIRES NAMED PRESIDENT OF NORFOLK SOUTHERN: James A. Squires has been named president of Norfolk Southern Corporation effective June 1. Squires is currently executive vice president administration. In his new role, he will be responsible for the corporation’s administration, finance, law and corporate relations, and planning and information technology divisions. [Norfolk Southern, 5-10-13]

L.A. METRO GRANTED $390-M FOR RAIL, TRANSIT PROJECTS: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) received more than $390-million from the California Transportation Commission and the California Department of Transportation for a slate of new rail and transit projects. The money will go towards new rail service, upgrading existing transit service, buying rail cars, and various other improvements. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-10-13]

NEW RAIL CAR PAINT FACILITY COMPLETED IN MAUMEE, OHIO: The Andersons Inc. has completed construction on a new 27,300-square-foot rail-car paint plant in Maumee, Ohio. The new full-service facility will provide a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to clean and paint rail cars. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-10-13]

NJT RECOMMENDS LIGHT-RAIL FOR BERGEN COUNTY: Three decades after state planners envisioned it, N.J. Transit's Board of Directors has recommended the ‘Bergen’ (for Bergen County) be added to Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit, choosing LRT over other options and ending a political struggle over modes. [Railway Age website report, 5-9-13]

METRO-NORTH TO REPLACE BRIDGE OVER HUDSON LINE: Replacement of the Bridge Street bridge in New Hamburg, N.Y., will begin May 13, MTA Metro-North announced. Built in 1930, the bridge carries two traffic lanes over two Hudson Line tracks and the New Hamburg Station parking lot in Poughkeepsie. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-9-13]

ALTUS CAPITAL PARTNERS ACQURES CONCRETE TIE FIRM: Investment firm Altus Capital Partners has acquired Rocla Concrete Tie Inc., which manufactures concrete ties Financial terms were not disclosed. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-9-13]

RAIL CAR LEASING FIRM ESTABLISHED: Trinity Industries Inc. has partnered with the Napier Park Rail Car Lease Fund L.L.C. and an additional co-investor to create RIV 2013 Rail Holdings L.L.C., a joint venture that will provide rail-car leasing services in North America. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-9-13]

ALSTOM TO SUPPLY 14 CORADIA LINT TRAINS FOR GERMANY: Alstom has obtained a $78.9 million contract from AKN Eisenbahn AG to supply 14 Coradia Lint regional trains to operate in northern Germany, connecting the cities of Hamburg, Elmshorn, Neumunster and Norderstedt. The new, diesel multiple-unit trains will operate on an 81-mile network and serve 48 stations. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-9-13]

BULGARIA OPENS REBUILT RAIL LINK WITH TURKEY: Bulgaria has inaugurated the country's reconstructed rail link with Turkey, traveling over the 10.5-mile line from Svilengrad to the border near the village of Kapitan Andreevo. The electrified single-track line is designed for 99 MPH operation. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-9-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported an increase in traffic for the week ending May 4, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 283,916 carloads, up 2.8 pct compared with the same week last year.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-9-13]

CP INCREASES 2013 CAPITAL SPENDING: Canadian Pacific plans to increase 2013 capital spending by an additional $75-million to $100-million. The projects include track upgrades on the North Main Line between Winnipeg and Edmonton; upgrades to signaling systems on a mainline between Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and Chicago; and acquisitions of core assets that otherwise would be leased. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-8-13]

COLD TRAIN EXPANDS: An expansion of Cold Train's refrigerated intermodal service is underway from Portland, Oregon, to supplement existing service from Quincy, Washington. "We are excited about our continued expansion into Portland and being able to provide increased capacity for fresh and frozen products moving between the Pacific Northwest, Chicago and East Coast," said Steve Lawson, Rail Logistics Cold Train president and CEO. [Journal of Commerce website report, 5-8-13]

NEW TECH UPGRADES COMPLETED AT N.Y. PENN STATION: New technology upgrades have been completed at Penn Station's 7th Avenue Concourse in New York City. The upgrades include improved sound systems, larger monitors and a multi-color destination display that will enable riders to more quickly view the next train destined for their particular station, N.J. Transit announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-7-13]

BLET CELEBRATING 150TH ANNIVERSARY: The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen will celebrate its 150th anniversary on May 8. The union was founded in 1863. [Railway Age website report, 5-7-13]

BEIJING OPENS INITIAL PHASE OF METRO LINE 14: The first phase of Beijing Metro Line 14 opened on May 5 with the start of commercial services on the 12.4km section from an interchange with Line 10 at Xiju to Zhanggouzhuang in the southwestern district of Fengtai. When it is completed in 2016, Line 14 will stretch for 47.3km along the southern edge of Beijing with 37 stations. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-7-13]

FEDS GRANT $30-2-M TO AMTRAK FOR HURRICANE SANDY REPAIRS: The Federal Railroad Administration will provide $30.2-million to Amtrak to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy along the Northeast Corridor. The grant will reimburse Amtrak for $20.1-million spent to pump water from tunnels and remove debris, as well as to complete ongoing infrastructure repairs to continue operating trains along the NEC each day. The balance of the grant will cover repairs to the East Tunnel that connects Manhattan and Queens, the North River Tunnel that connects New Jersey and New York City, and other facilities. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-6-13]

RAIL EXPANSION NEEDED FOR AGRICULTURAL GOODS, STUDY SAYS: The U.S. rail infrastructure must expand to meet the need for shipping food and other goods from farm to market as agricultural production moves north and west, according to a study in ‘Nature Climate Change.’ Agricultural commodities moved by rail will have to increase from 8 pct to 14 pct due to the more northward shifts in crop mix and a reduction in proximity to the river system, the study noted. [Scientific American Climate Wire website report, 5-6-13]

STB DENIES U.P.’S PETITION ON HAZMAT TARIFF PROVISIONS: The Surface Transportaton Board has denied Union Pacific Railroad’s petition pertaining to certain hazardous materials tariff provisions. UP requested that the board find reasonable UP's provisions requiring shippers of toxic-by-inhalation commodities to indemnify the railroad against all liabilities not caused through the its own negligence or fault. STB members agreed with shippers who had argued the language of the UP provisions is overly broad and that UP had not provided adequate support for the tariff requirements. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-3-13]

FRA ISSUES FLAT-SWITCHING SAFETY ADVISORY: The Federal Railroad Administration has issued an industry-wide safety advisory to warn about safety hazards associated with flat-switching operations on railroads. Since 2009, six railroad employees sustained fatal injuries placing themselves between unsecured rolling equipment during switching operations, including one employee who was killed last year. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 5-3-13]

PASSENGER RAIL CARS BEING ASSEMBLED IN ILLINOIS: In Rochelle, Illinois, Nippon Sharyo has 250 employees at its railcar assembly plant. On May 2, the manufacturer took the first step toward adding 80 more jobs for with the groundbreaking of a new metal fabrication and machining shop. This is for its program to build 130 new bi-level passenger rail cars for California and the Midwest. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 5-3-13]

AMTRAK REACHES 42 YEAR MARK: Amtrak marked 42 years of service as the nation's intercity passenger railroad May 1. "With record ridership and strong financial performance, Amtrak is successfully fulfilling its national mission and daily demonstrating its value to the country," said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-2-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed rail traffic for the week ending April 27, 2013.  U.S. railroads originated 275,638 carloads, down 2.6 pct compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 247,569 units, up 2.1 pct.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 5-2-13]

GERMAN RAIL ORDERS UP TO 450 TRAXX ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES: German Rail (DB) announced on May 2 that it has agreed a framework contract with Bombardier for up to 450 Traxx electric locomotives over the next 10 years. The deal includes immediate orders for 110 freight locomotives for DB Schenker and an additional 20 class 146 (P160AC2) units for DB Regio. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-2-13]

LIGHT-RAIL ARRIVES IN ORAN: The Algerian transport ministry officially inaugurated the first light rail line in the city of Oran on May 1. The 18.7km line is expected to carry around 90,000 passengers per day, operated by a fleet of 30 Alstom Citadis 302 low-floor LRVs. [International Railway Journal website report, 5-2-13]

GATX CLASSROOM RAIL CAR BEING INTRODUCED: GATX Corp. announced that a new classroom railcar will be put into service along with its TankTrainer, a tank car developed to provide hands-on training in maintenance and operation. [Railway Age website report, 5-2-13]

COOS BAY LINE ROUTE REOPENED: On April 29, a Coos Bay Rail Link train moved a shipment of plywood out of the Roseburg Forest Products mill in Coquille, Ore., marking the full restoration of the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay’s 134-mile Coos Bay line since the route was closed more than five years ago. [Progressive Railroading website report, 5-1-13]

L.A. UNION STATION MASTER PLAN RELEASED: The Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan team has released its draft alternatives for improving the station as a transit center. Among some of the proposals are replacing the parking lots in front of the station with open space, building a new bus terminal to handle most of the considerable bus traffic at the station and possibly replacing the current transit plaza at the rear of the station with other structures and/or green space. While all the alternatives will work without high-speed rail, they each offer a variety of ways that high-speed rail could access the station. [Los Angeles County MTA, 5-1-13]

RAILROADS GAIN ON COAL SHIPPING REBOUND: Railroads in the U.S. may be rolling past the record slump in coal volume as costlier natural gas and summer weather rekindle demand from the nation’s power plants. The seven largest railroads hauled 106,728 carloads of coal in the week ended April 20, up 22 pct from a record low at the end of 2012, Association of American Railroads data show. With coal accounting for 21 pct of all carloads, the gain helps mend a weak patch for an industry challenged by a decline in coal volumes that began in 2008. [Bloomberg News website report, 5-1-13]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. reported net income in the first quarter of 2013 of $82.7-million compared with $22.2-million in the first quarter of 2012. Excluding the impact of certain significant items, G&W's adjusted net income in the first quarter of 2013 was $48.9-million compared with adjusted net income of $25.0-million in the first quarter of 2012. Total operating revenues increased 80.9 pct to $375.2-million. [Genesee & Wyoming, 5-1-13]

GENESEE & WYOMING HAS NEW CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: Genesee & Wyoming Inc. has relocated its corporate headquarters from 66 Field Point Road, Greenwich, Connecticut, to Darien, Connecticut. The company’s Jacksonville, Florida, operations headquarters and Rochester, New York, administrative headquarters remain the same. [Genesee & Wyoming, 5-1-13]

DENVER’S WEST RAIL LINE OPENS: The Regional Transportation District of Denver has officially opened the West Rail Line, the first FasTrack light-rail corridor to be fully implemented into the existing light-rail system. The 12.1-mile, 12-station line runs from Denver Union Station through Lakewood and the Federal Center, to the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-30-13]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON SEATTLE SOUTH 200TH LINK: A groundbreaking ceremony was held April 29 to mark the start of construction on Sound Transit's South 200th Link light rail extension. The line will extend south beyond the existing terminus at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on an elevated alignment along 28th Avenue South to Angle Lake station on South 200th Street in SeaTac. The new terminus will be a park-and-ride station with up to 1100 parking spaces. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-30-13]

FRA CONSIDERS SECOND N.E. CORRIDOR: Constructing a second ‘spine’ along the Northeast Corridor is one option the Federal Railroad Administration is considering to boost service and reduce congestion. This would allow high-speed trains to move at up to 220 mph. Officials with FRA hope to gain regional consensus on a long-term rail investment plan and are looking for opportunities to identify new markets, develop and test new types of regional and inter-city service and evaluate options for high-speed rail service. [Newark Star-Ledger website report, 4-30-13]

RAIL TECHNICIAN COURSES TO BE OFFERED AT ILLINOIS COLLEGES: Classes for a one-year certification program for aspiring rail technicians are scheduled to begin this fall at Spoon River College in Canton, Illinois, and Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Students who complete the course will have the opportunity to be part of BNSF's workforce as engine technicians. [Canton Daily Ledger website report, 4-30-13]

CHARLES MAHAN DIES, RAIL PHOTOGRAPHER: Charles T. Mahan Jr., noted railroad photographer, died April 26, 2013. According to the Maryland and Pennsylvania Preservation Society, of which he was a member, he dedicated three-quarters of a century chronicling the railroad for which the society is named. “But static roster shots were only a small part of his photographic output. He traveled all along the railroad capturing the trains at work in a wide variety of settings,” said the society in its publication, The York Mail. A vast array of his work is included in books. He also maintained a large collection of annual reports, timetables and bulletins. He was 88.

ANTHONY FOXX TO BE NOMINATED U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: President Obama plans to nominate Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx to be his next transportation secretary, a White House official said. If confirmed by the Senate, Foxx would replace Ray LaHood, who has served as transportation secretary since January 2009. [Yahoo News website report, 4-29-13]

METRO-NORTH BEGINS HUDSON LINE EMBANKMENT STABILIZATION: Metro-North Railroad has kicked off an $8.6-million project to stabilize an embankment along the Hudson Line where tracks sit on a thin, rocky ledge in the Hudson Highlands. The section of track, just north of Peekskill, is prone to rock slides and washouts. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-29-13]

MBTA LAUNCHES EXPRESS TRAIN SERVICE ON WORCESTER-FRAMINGHAM LINE: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is beginning two express trains along the Worcester/Framingham Line between Worcester's Union Station and Boston's South Station. The express service will include one trip from Worcester to Boston in the morning and a return trip from Boston in the evening. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-29-13]

FEDS GRANT $2.2-M TOWARD FLORIDA CENTRAL R.R. UPGRADES: The Federal Railroad Administration has obligated a $2.2-million grant for the city of Tavares, Florida, to help with upgrades along a 57-mile stretch of Florida Central Railroad track between Orlando and Umatilla. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-29-13]

SIEMENS COMPLETES FIRST C2 TRAIN FOR MUNICH: Siemens has dispatched the first completed type C2 train for the Munich U-Bahn to its Wegberg-Wildenrath test center, where it will undergo trials prior to entering service. Following the completion of dynamic testing, the first train will undergo further trials in Munich with the aim of introducing the first four C2’s into service in December. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-29-13]

NEW RAIL SERVICE TO BENEFIT INDIANA BUSINESSES: A joint intermodal rail service of Canadian National and Indiana Rail Road, which will bypass the Chicago area, is expected to allow businesses in Indiana to save time and money, according to economic development officials. The service, which will begin on July 1, involves the transportation of imports and exports between Indianapolis and the Vancouver and Prince Rupert ports in Canada. [Indianapolis Business Journal website report, 4-28-13]

GRAFTON & UPTON R.R. HONORED WITH CSX MARKETING AWARD: CSX honored Grafton & Upton Railroad with the Short Line Marketing Award due to its status as one of the rapidly expanding U.S. short-line railroads. Five years ago, G&U had two customers and operated in only one community. "We have over 10 customers now," said Jon Delli Priscoli, G&U owner and CEO. [Milford Daily News website report, 4-27-13]

TOWER 55 PROJECT BEGINS IN FORT WORTH: Construction has started on the $104-million Tower 55 project in Fort Worth, Texas, which aims to solve the area's rail congestion issues. An additional 9,000 feet of track will be installed at the Tower 55 junction that will serve as a third north-south rail line. BNSF and Union Pacific contributed funds for the project. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 4-27-13]

MINOT, N.D., DEPOT REOPENED: The train station in Minot, N.D., is serving passengers for the first time since the 2011 Souris River flood. Passengers of Amtrak’s Empire Builder had been forced to use a temporary waiting room and ticket office since the main depot was flooded. Amtrak, working with the local community, has spent around $500,000 to restore the station. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 4-26-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed traffic for the week ending April 20, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 276,662 carloads, down 2 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-25-13]

CANADIAN PACIFIC REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Canadian Pacific Railway Limited reported net income in the first-quarter was $217-million or $1.24 per diluted share, versus $142-million or $0.82 per share, in the first quarter of 2012.  This represents a 51 per cent year-over-year improvement in earnings per share. Operating ratio was 75.8 pct. [Canadian Pacific, 4-24-13]

CSX AWARDED FOR DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP, TOP COMPANY FOR VETERANS: CSX Corporation has been named to DiversityInc's 25 Noteworthy Companies list, and ranked number one on the list of Top 10 Companies for Veterans. DiversityInc recognizes companies with demonstrated commitments to diverse hiring and business practices. The publication has recognized CSX several times in the past. [CSX, 4-24-13]

TWO ARRESTED IN PLOT TO DERAIL VIA RAIL TRAIN: Two people were arrested April 22 and charged with conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack on a VIA Rail Canada passenger train in Toronto. Officials said the accused live in the Montreal and Toronto area. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-23-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: For the first-quarter of 2013, Norfolk Southern Corporation reported net income of $450-million or $1.41 per diluted share, 10 pct higher than the first quarter of 2012. First-quarter results included a gain from the sale of land to the Michigan Department of Transportation, which increased net income by $60-million or $0.19 per diluted share. [Norfolk Southern, 4-23-13]

CN BOOSTS CAPITAL SPENDING TO $1.94-B: Canadian National is planning an estimated $97-million project to enhance its rail route between the Canadian cities of Winnipeg and Edmonton, increasing the company's capital spending to $1.94-billion this year, according to CN. The added investment will be made to improve service during the winter. [Edmonton Journal website report, 4-23-13]

ROBERT PACE APPOINTED VICE-CHAIRMAN OF CN: Robert Pace has been appointed vice-chairman of Canadian National's Board of Directors. He will become chairman of the board when its current chair, David McLean, reaches age 75 next year and retires. [Halifax Chronicle Herald website report, 4-23-13]

FEDS GIVE ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVAL FOR DETROIT STREETCAR PROJECT: The Federal Transit Administration has given its environmental approval for Detroit to construct an initial 3.3-mile streetcar line along Woodward Avenue from downtown Detroit to the New Center area. [Railway Age website report, 4-23-13]

RAIL ACCESS ATTRACTS OIL FACILITY IN PACIFIC N.W.: The Port of Vancouver, Washington, has access to rail facilities, which is one of the reasons a joint venture between Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. has chosen it as the site to build an oil facility. The project is expected to cost between $75-million and $100-million, and will initially handle up to 120,000 barrels per day, according to the companies. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 4-23-13]

NATION’S FREIGHT RAILROADS AVERAGE 476 TON-MILES-PER-GALLON: The Association of American Railroads said that the nation’s freight railroads moved a ton of freight an average of 476 miles on one gallon of fuel in 2012. Ton-miles-per-gallon is a standard measure of fuel efficiency for hauling freight much like miles-per-gallon is a standard measure of fuel efficiency for motor vehicles. Overall, freight rail fuel efficiency is up more than 100% since 1980. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 4-23-13]

CN REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: CN reported its financial and operating results for the first-quarter ended March 31, 2013.  Net income was C$555-million or C$1.30 per diluted share, compared with net income of C$775-million or C$1.75 per diluted share for first-quarter 2012. [CN. 4-22-13]

RAILS ENJOY CARLOAD GAINS DUE TO CANADIAN CRUDE: Crude-by-rail traffic in Canada on Canadian National and Canadian Pacific rose 31 pct in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year, according to an analyst's report. This trend is expected to continue even if the Keystone XL pipeline is approved, analysts say. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 4-22-13]

TRAIN FREQUENCY TO INCREASE ON GO TRANSIT LINE: Effective June 29, the frequency of most off-peak Lakeshore GO Transit service in the Toronto area will be increased to every 30 minutes to address an increase in ridership, Metrolinx officials announced. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-22-13]

UNION PACIFIC WINS GM SUPPLIER AWARD: Union Pacific has received the 2012 General Motors Supplier of the Year Award, the eighth time the automaker has bestowed the honor to the company. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-22-13]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON CONFEDERATION LINE MAINTENANCE FACILITY: In Ottawa, pre-construction work has begun on the Confederation Line light-rail project with the city officially handing over a 40-acre site of the future maintenance and storage facility to the Rideau Transit Group. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-22-13]

QUEBEC WANTS LIGHT-RAIL OPTION FOR CHAMPLAIN BRIDGE: The government of Quebec wants a light-rail option to be included in plans for the new Champlain Bridge in Montreal. The bridge will cross the St. Lawrence River and link the Island of Montreal to the South Shore. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-22-13]

KCS REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Kansas City Southern reported first quarter 2013 revenues of $553 million, one pct increase over the corresponding quarter 2012. Overall, carload volumes were 2 pct higher than in first quarter 2012. Operating ratio was 70.5 pct. [Kansas City Southern, 4-19-13]

AMTRAK WORKERS RATIFY FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT: Amtrak employees represented by the SMART Transportation Division have ratified a five-year agreement with the railroad that covers 2,300 conductors, assistant conductors, yardmasters and dining car stewards, according to the United Transportation Union. The agreement is retroactive to 2010. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-19-13]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation reported 2013 first-quarter net income of $957-million or $2.03 per diluted share, compared to $863-million or $1.79 per diluted share in the first quarter 2012. Operating ratio of 69.1 pct improved 1.4 points. [Union Pacific, 4-18-13]

CSX EXPECTS COAL BUSINESS TO STABILIZE: CSX expects the big drops it has seen in its coal-shipping business to slow over the coming year as utilities burn through the inventories they built up during the mild winter. By year’s end, the coal business should stabilize, the company said. [Florida Times-Union website report, 4-18-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed traffic for the week ending April 13, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 275,675 carloads, down 0.6 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 241,987 units, up 3.3 pct. Total U.S. traffic for the week was 517,662 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.2 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-18-13]

AMTRAK’S PROVIDENCE STATION TO UNDERGO $6-M IN UPGRADES: Officials have unveiled the exterior site design of $6-million in improvements planned for Providence, R.I., train station, which serves more than one million riders annually. The Rhode Island DOT plans to improve the station's appearance and upgrade and reconstruct access for pedestrians and vehicles. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-18-13]

CN OPENS LOGISTICS PARK IN CALGARY: CN has opened its $200-million, 680-acre Calgary Logistics Park which features an intermodal terminal. The terminal, which was relocated from a yard in southeast Calgary, features 30 percent more capacity. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-18-13]

BRIDGE OVER N.S. IN DERRY, PA., TO BE REPLACED: Michael Baker Jr. Inc. has obtained a $2.2-million contract to design the replacement of the 12-span Derry Borough Bridge in Westmoreland County, Pa. Baker will provide preliminary and final design for the project, which includes replacement of the structure over a Norfolk Southern Railway line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-17-13]

RAIL RESTORATION PROJECT BEGINS IN MAINE: Work has started on the restoration and expansion of an abandoned rail line in Auburn, Maine. The project will add a rail spur and siding and restore 6,600 feet of track. The improvements will make it easier for new businesses to move in and make use of the railroad, said Bob Thompson, executive director of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments. [Bangor Daily News website report, 4-17-13]

CSX REPORTS 1-Q EARNINGS, INCREASES DIVIDEND: CSX Corp. reported revenue in the first-quarter 2013 nearly $3.0-billion, essentially flat from the year before, as gains in merchandise, intermodal and other revenue offset declines in the company’s coal business. These revenues, combined with strength in operations, drove operating income of $875-million, and an operating ratio of 70.4 pct. In addition, CSX announced that its Board of Directors has approved a 7 percent increase in the quarterly dividend on the company’s common stock, and a new $1.0 billion share buyback program. [CSX, 4-16-13]

BOMBARDIER WINS 10-YEAR CONTRACT WITH SUNRAIL: Florida has awarded a 10-year, $195-million contract to Bombardier Technology to provide operation and maintenance services for SunRail. Bombardier's work will include operations, dispatching, fleet and track maintenance, customer service, station platform and facility maintenance, and material supply. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-16-13]

BNSF TO SERVE DISTRIBUTION HUB IN KANSAS: BNSF's under-construction intermodal facility in Kansas has prompted the building of a 500,000-square-foot speculative distribution facility at Logistics Park Kansas City in Edgerton. The facility will "be suited for cross-dock distribution with a minimum 32-foot clear height (and) 50 dock-high loading doors," according to NorthPoint Development and NAI Capital Realty, the project's developers. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 4-16-13]

UTAH OPENS AIRPORT TRAX LINE: The Utah Transit Authority opened the Airport TRAX line April 14. The six-mile light-rail line extends the existing Green Line from the Arena Station at 400 West South Temple to North Temple and the Salt Lake City International Airport. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 4-16-13]

VIRGINIA PORT RECORDS INTERMODAL VOLUME GROWTH IN MARCH: The volume of 20-foot-equivalent units at the Port of Virginia rose 7.7 pct in March year-on-year, and rail containers increased 14.3 pct, according to the Virginia Port Authority. "We've seen growth in January, February and March, and our year-to-date TEU volume is up 6.2 pct,” said Rodney W. Oliver, VPA interim executive director. [Journal of Commerce website report, 4-15-13]

FIRST BID ON CALIFORNIA’S HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT COMES IN UNDER BUDGET: A $985-million bid by a joint venture is considered the ‘apparent best value’ to build the first of five San Joaquin Valley sections of California's high-speed rail project, according to the California High Speed Rail Authority. Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons' JV emerged as the lowest bidder, beating out four competitors and coming in considerably under rail authority estimates of $1.2-billion to $1.8-billion. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 4-15-13]

ADMINISTRATION REQUESTS $40-B IN PASSENGER RAIL INVESTMENT OVER FIVE YEARS: The Obama Administration has released its budget request for FY- 2014 asking Congress for $40-billion in passenger rail investment over the next five years. The Administration’s budget includes $6.7-billion in FY-2014 rail funding and allocates $2.7-billion to upgrade existing service. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 4-12-13]

UNION PACIFIC BEGINS INTERMODAL SERVICE AT TEXAS PORT: Union Pacific has introduced its ‘Texas Shuttle’ dedicated intermodal rail service between the Port of Houston Authority's Barbours Cut Container Terminal and UP's Dallas Intermodal Terminal facility, located 12 miles from downtown in the city limits of Wilmer. The initial service offering will be two days per week in each direction. [Railway Age website report, 4-12-13]

FEDS GRANT $10-M TO IMPROVE RAILROAD IN DEVILS LAKE REGION: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation awarded North Dakota a $10-million grant for improvements to the rail infrastructure in the Devils Lake region, part of an effort to address the rising level of Devils Lake and ensure the long-term viability of Amtrak’s Empire Builder and freight rail operations. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 4-12-13]

RENOVATIONS BEGIN TO ELIZABETHTOWN, N.J., TRAIN STATION: Renovations to the Elizabethtown, New Jersey, Amtrak station have begun.  The $2.5-million project will create a new 80-space parking lot, improved lighting outside, a shelter where commuters can store bicycles, security cameras, improved pedestrian and bicycle pathways, and a storm water management system. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 4-12-13]

SEVEN-MILE RAIL CORRIDOR IN IOWA CONVERTED TO TRAIL USE: Union Pacific has made donations to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation that made it possible to convert seven miles of former rail corridor into a multi-purpose trail between Bondurant and Berwick, Iowa. That section will link the Chichaqua Valley Trail to the Central Iowa trail system serving the Des Moines metro region. [Union Pacific, 4-12-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT The Association of American Railroads reported an increase in traffic for the week ending April 6, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 280,748 carloads, up 3.7 pct compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-11-13]

RAILROADS EYE FUTURE PANAMA CANAL TRAFFIC: Association of American Railroads President Edward R. Hamberger told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that freight railroads are positioning themselves to meet future transportation demands in this country, including those related directly and indirectly to the expansion of the Panama Canal. The expansion project is designed to double shipping capacity via the Canal by 2015, and facilitate larger ‘post-Panamax’ container ships to pass, overcoming current size constraints. [Railway Age website report, 4-11-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO IMPROVE RAIL LINE IN WYOMING: Union Pacific Railroad is investing $12-million in the rail line between Granite and Rawlins, Wyoming. The railroad will replace nearly 69,000 railroad ties, install more than 27,000 tons of ballast, replace more than five miles of rail in various curves and renew the surfaces at 26 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 4-11-13]

RAIL-INTERMODAL SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAM SET: Michigan Technological University and the University of Wisconsin-Superior have announced the 4th annual Rail and Intermodal Transportation Summer Youth Program, set for July 7-13, 2013. The full scholarship, weeklong exploration is designed for high school students grades 9 through 11 to create an awareness and interest in rail and intermodal transportation. [Railway Age website report, 4-10-13]

ETIHAD RAIL TAKES DELIVERY OF FIRST EMD LOCOMOTIVES: The first two of seven locomotives ordered by Etihad Rail from EMD arrived today at Mussafah Port in the United Arab Emirates. The SD70ACS locomotives are designed to withstand the harsh desert climate and keep carbon emissions to a minimum. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-10-13]

GE TO CUT 950 JOBS AT LOCOMOTIVE PLANT IN ERIE, PA.: General Electric plans to cut 950 jobs at a locomotive plant in Erie, Pa., wiping out most of the site’s recent employment growth, as it shifts some production to a lower-cost Texas factory. [Buffalo News website report, 4-9-13]

AMTRAK RIDERSHIP HITS RECORD LEVELS: Amtrak ridership increased in the first six months of fiscal year 2013, with ridership in March setting a record as the single best month ever in Amtrak's history. Ridership grew 0.9 pct from October 2012 to March compared to the prior year despite disruptions from weather including Superstorm Sandy. Amtrak said 26 of 45 routes had rider increases. The railroad said October, December and January also set individual monthly records. [ABC News website report, 4-9-13]

LEGISLATION TO RESTORE RAIL LINE IN N.C. ADVANCES: A bill that would revive service on a rail line between Castle Hayne and Wallace, N.C., received preliminary approval from the state's House Transportation Committee. The proposal calls for spending $65-million a year for two years to pay the cost of restoring the line, which would spur growth of the the state's agriculture industry, said state Rep. Susi Hamilton. [Wilmington Star-News website report, 4-9-13]

AMERICAN RAILCAR TO OPEN FACILITY IN BROOKHAVEN, MISSISSIPPI: American Railcar industries (ARI) plans to open a rail-car maintenance facility in Brookhaven, Mississippi, ARI officials announced. The $7-million facility will complement the activities of the company's plant in Bude, Mississippi, and will perform light maintenance activities, such as cleaning and simple repairs for up to 100 cars at a time. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-8-13]

MUDSLIDE BLAMED FOR AMTRAK DERAILMENT IN WASHINGTON STATE: A mudslide is being blamed for the derailment of the last three cars on a southbound Amtrak train a mile south of Everett, Washington, April 7. No one was hurt. Mud, rocks and trees slid 100 feet down a 200-foot cliff, striking the train and causing the last three cars to lean to one side, said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas. [Seattle Times website report, 4-7-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported declines in rail traffic for the week ending March 30, 2013.  U.S. railroads originated 281,367 carloads last week, down 1.9 pct compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 233,587 units, down 3.8 pct. Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum products, up 55.6 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 4-5-13]

TRANSPORT SCOTLAND STARTS NEW SLEEPER FRANCHISE BID PROCESS: Expressions of interest from between three and five bidders are being sought by Transport Scotland for a new 15-year franchise to operate overnight sleeping car services between Scottish cities and London. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-5-13]

ENGINEER, CONDUCTOR COURSE BEING OFFERED BY PENNSYLVANIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE: For the sixth-straight year, Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Pa., is offering a locomotive engineer and conductor basic training program. Classes begin May 4. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-5-13]

ROCHESTER, N.Y., INTERMODAL TRANSIT CENTER TO BE BUILT: Construction of a Rochester, N.Y., intermodal transit center will begin by the end of this summer, creating a modern gateway to the city and invigorating downtown Rochester. Work is scheduled to be substantially completed in 2015, and fully completed in 2016. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 4-5-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO PERFORM MAJOR TRACK WORK IN NEBRASKA: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen its transportation infrastructure by investing nearly $7-million in the rail line between North Bend and Grand Island, Nebraska. The railroad will replace 33,500 concrete ties and replace a switch. [Union Pacific, 4-4-13]

DECOMMISSIONED NYC SOUTH FERRY SUBWAY STATION REACTIVATED: MTA New York City Transit's old South Ferry Station has reopened for business at, re-establishing a subway-ferry transfer point severed since Hurricane Sandy flooded large portions of lower Manhattan late last October. The old station, decommissioned in 2009, will serve as an interim measure while MTA wrestles with restoring its replacement station, also inundated by Sandy. Restoring the newer station could take at least three years. [Railway Age website report, 4-4-13]

UNION PACIFIC PLANNING TO BUILD NEW BRIDGE TO SPAN MISSISSIPPI RIVER: Union Pacific seeks to purchase land in Clinton, Iowa, so that it can build a $400-million bridge over the Mississippi River to reduce freight congestion. [Clinton Herald website report, 4-4-13]

N.M. OFFERS BNSF FUEL TAX BREAK: New Mexico Governor Martinez has signed legislation to extend a fuel tax incentive to BNSF if it spends at least $50-million to upgrade tracks, signals, or other rail-related infrastructure with the state's boundaries. The law offers BNSF a tax break similar to that provided in 2011 to Union Pacific. [Railway Age website report, 4-3-13]

FRA RELEASES PRELIMINARY ALTERNATIVES TO UPGRADE NEC: The Federal Railroad Administration has released its Northeast Corridor (NEC) Future Preliminary Alternatives Report. The report presents the process used to develop 15 Preliminary Alternatives that represent a wide range of possible futures for the NEC. All 15 Preliminary Alternatives include improvements to the existing NEC spine. Several of the alternatives include concepts for new routes with off-corridor segments. These are representative routes intended for further study and refinement. [Railway Age website report, 4-3-13]

RAIL PROJECTS HELP KANSAS CITY AREA GROW AS LOGISTICS HUB: Projects by BNSF and Kansas City Southern are among the developments helping attract national companies to the Kansas City area of Missouri and Kansas as a distribution center. BNSF is at work on a $250-million intermodal facility that includes a logistics park. And KCS is at work on its CenterPoint-Kansas City Southern Intermodal Center at the former Richards-Gebaur Airport. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 4-2-13]

CN, CP BOLSER CAPACITIES FOR CANADIAN CRUDE OIL SHIPMENTS: Canadian National and Canadian Pacific are among railroads that are enhancing their capacity for crude-oil shipments as oil producers ramp up deliveries by rail to take advantage of cheap crudes. "Where there aren't pipelines, where [crude] isn't fully served, rail can get crude to markets that have the better return for the producer or the marketer," said CN. [Toronto Globe & Mail website report, 4-2-13]

BNSF WINS PRAISE FOR CALIFORNIA GREAT PARK INITIATIVE: BNSF's planned conversion of its Hobart Yard rail facility in California's Los Angeles County was lauded by the American Institute of Architects' City of Commerce Chapter. "The City of Commerce will see a bright future as the Hobart Yard is re-imagined as a regional-scale park, complimented by community amenities and new job center," according to the City of Commerce AIA. [Los Angeles StreetsBlog website report, 4-2-13]

BOMBARDIER LANDS GERMAN ORDER FOR 12 TWINDEXX VARIO TRAINS: Bombardier obtained a $145-million contract to deliver 12 Twindexx Vario trains for commuter services to Deutsche Bahn AG in Germany. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-2-13]

SANTO DOMINGO OPENS SECOND METRO LINE: A ceremony was held April 1 in Santo Domingo to mark the opening of the city's second metro line. The first phase of the underground east-west Line 2 is 13.7km long and has 14 stations. It runs from Eduardo Brito via Juan Pablo Duarte, where it connects with Line 1, to María Montez and is expected to carry 400,000 passengers a day. [International Railway Journal website report, 4-2-13]

POSSIBLE SERVICE DISRUPTIONS FOR EASTBOUND CAPITOL LIMITED: Through and including July 4, 2013, if Capitol Limited train 30 departs Cleveland after 3:30 am (where it is scheduled to depart 1:08 am), passengers on board the train who are traveling to Martinsburg, Harpers Ferry, Rockville and Washington will detrain at Pittsburgh, where bus service will be provided to their destination. The buses will only stop at these stations to discharge passengers. [Amtrak]

PHOENIX SKY TRAIN TO OPEN APRIL 8: The Phoenix Sky Train, featuring Bombardier monorail equipment, will open for revenue service April 8, linking Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4 to parking lots and Valley Metro light rail transit at 44th Street and Washington. [Railway Age website report, 4-1-13]

WHITE CITY TERMINAL IN OREGON CHANGES ITS NAME: The White City Terminal and Utility Railway recently changed its name to Rogue Valley Terminal Railroad Corp. In addition, the short line's holding company has been renamed CCT Rail System Corp. Rogue Valley Terminal Railroad operates a 13-mile line from White City to a Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad junction near Medford, Oregon. [Progressive Railroading website report, 4-1-13]

KINDER MORGAN’S PLANNED LOUISIANA EXPANSION WILL EASE ACCESS TO RAIL: An estimated $58 million expansion project is being planned for Kinder Morgan Energy's chemical storage capacity in Geismar, La. The investment aims to ease access to freight transportation services, including rail, for Methanex's $550-million methanol plant in the city as part of a long-term agreement between the two companies. [Baton Rouge Advocate website report, 4-1-13]

PROPOSED COAL EXPORT TERMINALS IN PACIFIC N.W. CLEAR REGULATORY HURDLES: A pair of proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest moved closer to reality after the projects passed regulatory obstacles, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology. BNSF and Union Pacific will provide service for the planned Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, Washington, while BNSF will exclusively serve the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal near Bellingham. [Platts website report, 4-1-13]

RAILCAR FLEET IN NORTH AMERICA INCREASED 1.1 PCT IN 2012: The revenue-earning freight railcar fleet in North America increased 1.1 pct last year to 1.5 million units, but it is still not at the level it was before the recession, according to Railinc’s 2013 North American Freight Railcar Review. Tank, gondola and covered hopper cars saw the largest increases. [Journal of Commerce website report, 4-1-13]

RAILROADS A MAJOR FORCE IN HIRING VETS: Nearly 10 pct of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are looking for work, and the rail industry is hiring. "Today, roughly 23 pct of the railroad workforce is eligible to retire by 2015," said Ed Hamberger, president of the Association of American Railroads. To address this, America's railroads sought to hire 5,000 veterans in 2012. "It’s a great mesh of their characteristics and leadership learned in the armed forces," Hamberger said. [VFW Magazine, 4-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO REHIRE AT LEAST 90 ROANOKE WORKERS: A significant number of Norfolk Southern personnel who lost railroad jobs in the closure of Roanoke’s hump yard could get new jobs at the company. Norfolk Southern has given jobs to, or expects to have jobs available, for at least 90 of the 140 affected employees, the company said. [Roanoke Times website report, 3-30-13]

SCHEDULE CHANGED FOR WESTBOUND BLUE WATER: Michigan’s Blue Water Train 365 now leaves Port Huron 20 minutes later at 6:20 AM.  The train still arrives in Chicago at 11:45 AM, taking 20 minutes out of the schedule. Eastbound schedules for the Blue Water are unchanged. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-29-13]

CP RAIL ORDERED TO REINSTATE LOCAL AGREEMENTS: A labor dispute between Canadian Pacific Rail and its running trades employees' union Teamsters Canada over the cancellation of local agreements has been settled in favor of the union. The Canada Industrial Relations Board filed a cease and desist order against CP Rail with the federal court of Canada, ordering the company to reinstate local agreements. Running trades employees include locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen and yardmen. [Revelstoke Times Review website report, 3-29-13]

FEDS ISSUE REVIEW OF CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT ESTIMATES: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the California High Speed Rail Authority’s cost, ridership and revenue estimates for its high-speed rail project to begin construction. The review was largely positive, but did suggest some room for improvement. GAO found the authority’s ridership and revenue forecasts to be “reasonable” and said they adhered to generally accepted practices. The agency noted that the Authority revised several assumptions to reflect current and anticipate future conditions affecting the travel market, and lauded the Authority’s “comprehensive job” in identifying HSR’s potential economic impacts. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-29-13]

SOUTHBOUND COAST STARLIGHT TO DETOUR CERTAIN DATES: Southbound Coast Starlight Train 11 will detour between Oakland and Los Angeles and will not serve intermediate stations April 8-10. [Amtrak]

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA, PLANS 12-MILE STREETCAR LINE: Riverside, California, Mayor Rusty Bailey is proceeding with plans for a 12-mile streetcar line linking University of California-Riverside with the city's western boundary. Riverside lies roughly 55 miles east of Los Angeles, which is aggressively pursuing a streetcar network. [Railway Age website report, 3-28-13]

UNION PACIFIC TO HIRE IN SOUTH TEXAS: Union Pacific plans to hire between 200 and 300 workers in South Texas this year, saying that the job growth is attributed to production in the Eagle Ford and Mexican auto exports. The company also hired around 300 workers last year in the San Antonio area. [FuelFix website report, 3-28-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported an increase in traffic for the week ending March 23, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 278,738 carloads, up 0.2 percent compared with the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-28-13]

MELBOURNE REVEALS PLAN TO DOUBLE ITS RAIL CAPACITY: Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has unveiled a 30-year blueprint for the development of the Melbourne suburban rail network, which could increase peak capacity 50 pct by 2023 and 100 pct within 20 years. The plan anticipates weekday ridership on the network will double to around 1.7 million by 2031. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-28-13]

R J CORMAN ENTERING SIGNAL SYSTEM BUSINESS: R. J. Corman Railroad Group LLC is entering into signal system design, wiring, construction, maintenance, packaging and material warehousing/ logistics through its new company R. J. Corman Signaling LLC. The company’s short term plans include hiring over 100 new employees to support engineering and the signal shop, although construction and maintenance demands will drive that much higher. [R J Corman Railroad Group, 3-28-13]

SIX ARRESTED FOR HOPPING CSX TRAIN IN GEORGIA: CSX police arrested six modern-day hobos who had hopped a train that was on its way to Savannah, Ga., from Atlanta. The trespassers are in jail awaiting their April 23 court date. While some say the arrests were an over-reaction, this editorial points out the fact that we are a litigious society and that 442 pedestrians were killed on train property last year alone. [Columbia County News-Times website report, 3-27-13]

AMTRAK REDUCES U.S. SUBSIDY REQUEST: Amtrak will ask Congress for 16 pct less in operating subsidies for next year after recording its smallest annual loss in 38 years. Amtrak will seek $373-million in operating support, compared with the $443-million it’s getting this year. [Bloomberg website report, 3-27-13]

CP DERAILMENT SPILLS CRUDE OIL IN MINNESOTA: A Canadian Pacific train carrying crude oil derailed in west-central Minnesota March 27, spilling between 20,000 and 30,000 gallons, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said. The train derailed at 7 a.m., and oil leaked from one of 14 cars carrying crude that went off the tracks, according to a Minneapolis-based spokesman for Canadian Pacific. [Bloomberg website report, 3-27-13]

WORK UNDER WAY ON PORT MACKENZIE RAIL EXTENSION: Work has begun on three segments of the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension project in Alaska. Contracts totaling $88-million have been awarded to three construction firms. Slated for completion by 2016, the 32-mile extension will connect Alaska Railroad’s mainline near Houston to the port's deep draft dock. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-27-13]

SWEDEN’S HECTOR RAIL ACQUIRES 42 HIGH-SPEED COACHES: Swedish operator Hector Rail has acquired 42 type ICK coaches from Netherlands Railways leasing subsidiary NS Financial Services. The coaches will need extensive refurbishment before they can enter service with their new owner, including work to prepare them for 200km/h operation. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-27-13]

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON LONG BEACH RAIL EXPANSION PROJECT: Construction has begun on the Green Port Gateway, a major port-to-rail infrastructure expansion project in California that will help reduce congestion near the Port of Long Beach by shifting more cargo from trucks to trains. The project was funded in part by a $17-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-27-13]

CHICAGO AREA TO BENEFIT FROM INTERMODAL YARD, NORFOLK SOUTHERN SAYS: Norfolk Southern's proposed $285-million intermodal rail yard in Chicago's Englewood section will be beneficial to the community, said NS spokesman Herbert Smith. "There's substantial benefit to the city of Chicago for this project in logistics savings to area shippers as well as redevelopment of an area that, over the years, has been blighted with a lot of vacant land as well as derelict property," said Smith. A City Council committee approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal that would let NS buy 105 city lots for the project. [Chicago Sun-Times website report, 3-26-13]

RAILROADS PLAN RECORD INVESTMENT THIS YEAR: U.S. railroads are set to invest a record $14-billion this year to improve speed and efficiency as customers demand more capacity to haul freight. Rail is becoming the most important part of the commercial transportation system and is a key factor in economic recovery. Rail service has become more cost efficient compared to 30 years ago, according to the Association of American Railroads. [Wall Street Journal website report, 3-26-13]

R.J. CORMAN WOULD SERVE PROPOSED TENNESSEE INTERMODAL PORT: An intermodal barge port has been proposed for Tennessee's Montgomery County. RJ Corman would provide rail service. The public-private partnership's objectives include reducing truck traffic and improving air quality. "For a port here, rail is essential," said County Mayor Carolyn Bowers. "We need to get these tractor-trailers off the road." [Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle website report, 3-26-13]

NICE, FRANCE, TO BUILD SECOND LIGHT-RAIL LINE: Nice, France, has confirmed that the city plans to complete the first phase of its second light-rail line by 2017. The 11.3km Line T2 will link Airport Terminal 2 and Nikaia Administrative Centre in the west with Jean Medicin in the city centre. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-26-13]

UNION PACIFIC WINS GREEN LEADERSHIP AWARD FROM SACRAMENTO BUSINESS JOURNAL: Union Pacific's Green Leadership Award from the Sacramento Business Journal stems from the company's $20-million investment to launch a series of 25 experimental locomotives based in California as part of a rigorous test of emissions-reducing technologies. This initiative is Union Pacific's latest effort to further reduce emissions and move closer to the U.S. EPA's Tier 4 locomotive emissions standards for new locomotives starting in 2015. [Union Pacific, 3-26-13]

DOWNEASTER GETTING LAYOVER STRUCTURE IN MAINE : The operator of Amtrak’s Downeaster passenger trains will develop an indoor train layover facility in Brunswick, Maine. The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority board has authorized the award of a $12.2-million design-build contract for the facility to Consigli Construction Co. of Portland. [Bangor Daily News website report, 3-26-13]

RAILROAD FAN FILES SUIT OVER ARREST FOR TAKING PHOTOS OF TRAINS : A train enthusiast who was arrested while taking pictures of Metro-North trains in Greenburgh, N.Y., in June 2011 says that he was illegally harassed and detained. Gregory Grice was 16 at the time, and held for nearly three hours after, he says, he was stopped while harmlessly snapping photos just north of the North White Plains station. The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in White Plains, names the towns of Greenburgh and North Castle, as well as Westchester County, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and several unnamed police officers. [Poughkeepsie Journal website report, 3-25-13]

THREE NEW MBTA COMMUTER COACHES TO BEGIN SERVICE IN APRIL: A South Korea-based company under fire for failing to deliver any of its 75 double-decker coaches to the commuter rail on time is making progress on its $190-million contract with the state, and three of the cars will be in service in April, with 15 expected to be running by September, the head of the MBTA said Monday. [Boston Globe website report, 3-25-13]

PLANS MOVE FORWARD FOR DETROIT RIVER R.R. TUNNEL: Supporters of a second rail tunnel under the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor say the project could break ground as early as next year. The Detroit News reports the project has some hurdles, including securing half the amount needed for the $400-million project from the U.S. and Canadian governments. Construction could take two years. [Bloomberg website report, 3-25-13]

CN COMPLETES SALE OF RAIL LINE SEGMENT TO METROLINX: CN has closed the sale of a rail line segment in the Oakville-Burlington, Ontario, area to Metrolinx for $52.5-million. The line is used primarily by GO Transit commuter trains. Metrolinx acquired the segment of CN's Oakville Subdivision from a point near Fourth Line in Oakville west to a point just east of where CN's mainline joins the Oakville Subdivision at Brant Street in Burlington. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-25-13]

PARIS OPENS METRO LINE 4 EXTENSION: Paris Transport Authority opened the 303rd metro station on March 23 with the inauguration of the southern extension of Line 4 to Mairie de Montrouge. The 1.5km extension from Porte de Orleans is the first addition to Line 4 in more than 100 years and is expected to boost ridership on the line by around 37,900 passengers per day. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-25-13]

FLORIDA EAST COAST REVIVES CHAMPION LOCOMOTIVE PAINT SCHEME: Florida East Coast is reviving the Champion’s livery by applying it to four freight units. FEC 714, completed in 2011, was the first locomotive to highlight the Heritage paint scheme. Recently delivered FEC 703 is the first of three locomotives to be refurbished in 2013 by Progress Rail’s (a division of Caterpillar, Inc.) rebuild facility in Patterson, Ga., with a matching Heritage paint scheme. [Railway Age website report, 3-25-13]

PLAQUE IN BALTIMORE REMEMBERS GREAT R.R. STRIKE OF 1877: A new marker outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore pays tribute to railroad workers whose names we’ll never know. Unveiled March 23, the sign on the Howard Street side of old Camden Station recalls the tens of thousands of people who joined in the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, a protest against pay cuts and poor working conditions that started in Baltimore and Martinsburg, W.Va., then spread across the country, halting rail traffic and factory production and helping to launch the modern labor movement. [Baltimore Brew website report, 3-24-13]

AMTRAK’S TEXAS EAGLE ADDING STOP AT HOPE, ARKANSAS: Amtrak announced that the Texas Eagle will make its inaugural stop at the Hope, Arkansas, train station on the morning of April 4. Westbound train 21 is scheduled to depart Hope at 5:09 A.M., and eastbound train 22, is scheduled to depart Hope at 9:18 P.M. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-22-13]

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA SEEKS $1.5-B LOAN FOR MIAMI-ORLANDO SERVICE: The Federal Railroad Administration has confirmed that All Aboard Florida has submitted an application to secure a federal loan to help finance development of the $1.5-billion passenger rail link between Miami and Orlando. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-22-13]

GARDENDALE RAILROAD, MONTANA RAIL LINK HONORED BY RAILWAY AGE: Railway Age magazine has named Gardendale Railroad Inc. the 2013 Short Line Railroad of the Year, and Montana Rail Link its 2013 Regional Railroad of the Year. [Railway Age website report, 3-22-13]

BELARUS BEGINS RAILWAY ELECTRIFICATION TESTING BETWEEN OSIPOVICI & BOBRUYSK: Belarus Railways (BC) carried out the first test runs with an electric locomotive on the Osipovichi–Bobruysk section of the Minsk–Kiev line March 20, marking the completion of another phase of the country’s electrification program. Electric services are due to start on the 42km stretch next month. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-22-13]

TOKYO COMMUTER LINK COMPLETED: Commercial services began March 16 on the 1.5km link between Daikanyama and Shibuya in Tokyo, completing the connection between Fukutoshin metro line and suburban lines to the southwest of the city. The new line replaces an existing viaduct and runs completely underground. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-22-13]

CN TO PROVIDE SERVICE FOR COAL PRODUCER IN B.C.: Canadian National will provide rail service for coal shipments from the proposed Carbon Creek mine in British Columbia, where a coal transloading facility also is being planned, according to Cardero Resource, the project developer. When the facility is at full production, it would be able to handle about 5.5 million tons a year. [SNL Financial website report, 3-22-13]

SUBSIDY DEAL WILL SAVE AMTRAK’S PENNSYLVANIAN: A subsidy deal Pennsylvania announced March 21 ensures passenger trains will continue to roll between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Gov. Tom Corbett said the state will pay $3.8-million a year to subsidize Amtrak's Pennsylvanian route, a daily round-trip between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, plus small towns between. Amtrak had earlier sought at least $5.7-million annually. He said the money hinges on the Legislature passing a transportation-funding plan. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review website report, 3-21-13]

SILVERLINER-V DELIVERIES TO SEPTA COMPLETE: SEPTA received its last Silverliner-V railcar on March 20, completing the long-delayed delivery of 120 new cars purchased in 2006 for $274-million. The total cost, including spare parts and associated training and management, is $330-million. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 3-21-13]

ILLINOIS TO TAKE 5-STATE LEAD IN BUYING HIGH-SPEED LOCOMOTIVES: Locomotives capable of exceeding the 110-mph speed limit on the passenger rail corridor between Chicago and St. Louis will be bought for Illinois and four other states under a process Illinois will lead, officials said. The Federal Railroad Administration selected Illinois to manage the multistate procurement of at least 35 next-generation locomotives for rail corridors in Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state. [Chicago Tribune website report, 3-21-13]

VRE PROPOSES 4 PCT FARE HIKE IN FY-2014: Virginia Railway Express (VRE) officials are holding public hearings this month to solicit opinions on a proposed 4 pct fare increase for fiscal-year 2014. The increase is necessary, they say, primarily because of contractual cost increases with host carriers based on fixed escalation rates or indexed rates. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-21-13]

CN MOVES FOREST TRANSLOAD OPERATIONS TO PORT OF CHICAGO: Canadian National has moved its transloading operations for forest commodities to the Port of Chicago to enhance logistics services for customers. "With the integration of the major portion of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway into CN, we have a unique opportunity to avoid Chicago rail congestion by relocating our forest products reload facility to a site near Kirk Yard," CN said. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-21-13]

WORK TO BEGIN ON MBTA GREEN LINE LIGHT-RAIL EXTENSION: After years of delays and political maneuvering among elected officials, community activists, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, MBTA will finally begin work this month on right-of-way to extend its Green Line light rail transit (T) service. The $1.3-billion project would extend the multi-branched Green Line's current common northern terminus at Lechmere Station (Cambridge) north to Somerville and Medford, roughly parallel to Interstate 93. [Railway Age website report, 3-21-13]

UNION PACIFIC ADDING NINE MILES OF SECOND TRACK IN MISSOURI: Union Pacific Railroad is investing $21-million to construct a more-than-nine-mile second main line track in the Bell City area, in southeast Missouri.  The project, funded entirely by Union Pacific, began earlier this month and is scheduled to be completed the end of October. The project will support long-range projected rail traffic growth, improve operating efficiency, increase capacity and enhance safety. [Union Pacific, 3-21-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported an increase in traffic for the week ending March 16, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 280,624 carloads, up 0.5 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 228,806 units, up 0.7 pct.  Total U.S. traffic for the week was 509,430 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.6 pct. Carload shipments of petroleum products increased 58.3 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-21-13]

GERMAN RAIL NOTES RECORD RIDERSHIP: German Rail carried a record number of passengers on its domestic services last year, with ridership reaching 49 million and the total distance traveled increasing by 4 pct. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-21-13]

STB’S DECISION ON COAL RATES TROUBLING TO AAR: The Surface Transportation Board earlier this week denied a request from the Association of American Railroads asking the board to consider reintroducing indirect competition as a factor in determining the reasonableness of rail rates for coal transportation. Edward Hamberger, CEO and president of AAR, said, "We simply do not understand how the STB can refuse to acknowledge that the way Americans are getting their electricity is changing. The electric generating marketplace is undergoing a powerful transformation that the STB decision doesn’t take into account." [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 3-21-13]

RAIL IS KEY TO LOWER GAS PRICES IN CALIFORNIA: Railroads will be the key as more cheaply produced North American crude oil finds its way to California, which has traditionally had to depend on imported oil due to a lack of pipelines to the West Coast. The new oil bonanzas in North Dakota and Canada are the source for the increased rail traffic. BNSF, for instance, last year moved 100 million barrels to the coast, up from just 1.3 million barrels four years earlier. [Los Angeles Times website report, 3-21-13]

TRUCKING SEES NEW ALLY IN RAIL WITH INTERMODAL SERVICE: Intermodal is increasingly seen by the trucking industry as a way of working with rail service to expand market territory and better serve customers, not as a threat to trucking. And railroads are reaching out to meet the developing demand. "The intermodal conversion is here to stay. If we put our head in the sand and attempt to ignore it or defend freight that could go intermodal and keep it on a truck, that story probably doesn’t end well," said Derek Leathers, president of Werner Enterprises. [CCJ Digital website report, 3-21-13]

WOMAN ANNOYED BY TRAIN HORNS ARRESTED FOR PARKING CAR ON R.R. TRACKS: Police say the sound of a train whistle apparently became too much for a Monongahela, Pa., woman who allegedly parked her car on the tracks March 15 so it would get hit by a train. She was arraigned on charges of risking a catastrophe, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. [Observer-Reporter website report, 3-20-13]

AMTRAK REACHES NEW AGREEMENT WITH UTU: After more than two years of negotiations, the United Transportation Union Sheet Metal, Air, Rail & Transportation (UTU-SMART) general committees representing some 2,300 Amtrak members have reached a deal on a new contract. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-20-13]

‘THE FUTURE LOOKS GOOD,’ NORFOLK SOUTHERN SAYS IN ANNUAL REPORT: Coming off its second-best year ever for revenue, operating income, net income, and earnings per share, Norfolk Southern Corporation is positioned well for growth, and “the future looks good,” CEO Wick Moorman tells stockholders in the 2012 annual report. Norfolk Southern paid tribute to its heritage in 2012 - the company’s 30th anniversary - by painting 20 new locomotives in the color schemes of some of its predecessor companies. [Norfolk Southern, 3-20-13]

MORE BUSINESS AWAITS RAILROADS WITH GROWING CRUDE-BY-RAIL TRAFFIC: Canadian National, CSX and Norfolk Southern are among the railroads that will gain more business from an increasing trend toward crude-by-rail shipments, according to Barclays analysts. Shipments of crude and crude products have soared: more than 64,000 carloads were shipped in the third quarter of last year compared to 2,860 carloads in the first quarter of 2009, according to the Association of American Railroads. [MarketWatch website report, 3-20-13]

MAN SENTENCED FOR AMTRAK RESTROOM ARSON IN OREGON: Nathan Russell Tillis, convicted of starting a fire in the restroom of an Amtrak train stopped in Eugene, Oregon, Febr. 13, has been sentenced to three years' probation, ordered to get drug and mental health treatment, and to pay $2,500 to cover damages. [San Francisco Chronicle website report, 3-19-13]

RUSSIA CONSIDERS CUTTING LONG-DISTANCE PASSENGER TRAIN SUBSIDIES: Russia's Finance Ministry has announced proposals to cut subsidies for long-distance train services and divert the funding to aviation. Russian Railways (RZD) estimates that, if implemented, the cutbacks would lead to the loss of around $170-million from its annual subsidy and could trigger a 40 pct decline in long-distance ridership over 3-4 years. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-19-13]

ANTHONY COSCIA ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF AMTRAK: Anthony Coscia, a former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has been elected chairman of Amtrak. Coscia, 53, of North Caldwell, N.J., vowed to increase the nation's rail capacity with initiatives that include the Gateway tunnel project, intended to enhance the pinched rail access to Manhattan along the busy Northeast Corridor. [Star-Ledger website report, 3-18-13]

CALIFORNIA APPROVES $8.6-B IN DEBT FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL: California officials approved on March 18 the sale of up to $8.6 billion in state bonds to help build a planned high-speed rail system projected to cost $68-billion. [Reuters website report, 3-18-13]

AMTRAK HOSTING NATIONAL TRAIN DAY MAY 11: Amtrak has announced details for the sixth annual National Train Day held May 11 in more than 200 communities across America. The theme this year is ‘Trains Matter,’ and events will be organized to let passengers show how trains matter to them, their town, and their community.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-15-13]

HIGHER SPEEDS FOR VERMONTER: The Vermont Agency of Transportation, in conjunction with Amtrak and the New England Central Railroad, announced that increased speeds on the Vermonter service will go into effect March 18. The 28-minute reduction in travel time is a result of a two-year, federally funded program of upgrades, which improved a 190-mile stretch of track, signal and other key infrastructure equipment owned and maintained by New England Central Railroad.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-15-13]

OKLAHOMA-TEXAS HIGH-SPEED RAIL TO BE STUDIED: The Federal Railroad Administration, the Texas Department of Transportation, and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will be soliciting public input as they study a potential new high-speed intercity passenger rail service between Oklahoma City and south Texas. The 850-mile corridor would stretch from Oklahoma City to the south Texas cities of Brownsville and Laredo, by way of Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio and other cities in south Texas.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-15-13]

NTSB WORKING ON RELEASE OF MIDLAND, TEXAS, CROSSING ACCIDENT VIDEO: The National Transportation Safety Board is working toward fulfilling the victims’ lawyers’ request for videos and other materials that Union Pacific Railroad Company possesses of the Nov. 15, 2012, fatal crossing accident in Midland, Texas. NTSB had earlier instructed Union Pacific not to release the videos and other materials, but is currently in the process of lifting that restriction. The videos and materials will only be for the parties involved in the suit and will not be accessible by the public. MyWestTexas website report, 3-15-13]

NEW POPE IS SON OF A RAILROADER: Born in Buenos Aires in 1936, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, now Pope Francis, was raised in a middle-class home of a railroad worker and homemaker. [Philadelphia Inquirer website report, 3-14-13]

R.R. DAY ON CAPITOL HILL: Railroad industry representatives from freight railroads, labor unions, rail suppliers and manufacturers visited Washington for the annual Railroad Day on Capitol Hill event. The event covered several topics of discussion, including the need for balanced economic regulatory policies for the rail industry, as well as a call to renew the short line railroad tax credit. "Freight rail is the backbone of our nation's economy, and we need to maintain policies that keep that possible," said AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 3-14-13]

CALIFORNIA PORTS REPORT CARGO VOLUME INCREASES IN FEBR.: Container traffic at the Port of Long Beach, Calif., rose 36.6 pct in February year-on-year, with imports surging almost 46 pct and exports rising 17.2pct, according to port officials. Meanwhile, overall container volume at the Port of Los Angeles climbed around 17 pct in the same month compared to year-ago levels. [Assn. of American Railroads SmartBrief, 3-14-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed rail traffic for the week ending March 9, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 276,698 carloads, down 0.9 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 235,174 units, up 4 pct.  Total U.S. traffic for the week was up 1.3 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-14-13]

CN’S $5-B RAIL LINE IN QUEBEC SEEN TIED TO IRON-ORE REBOUND: Canadian National Railway Co. will revive a proposed $5-billion rail line in northern Quebec, a region rich in iron ore, once commodity markets recover, its partner in the project said. Last month’s suspension of a feasibility study for the work is only temporary. [Bloomberg website report, 3-14-13]

FORT LAUDERDALE STREETCAR GETS COUNTY OK: Broward County, Florida, has given its approval for a streetcar loop, dubbed ‘The Wave,’ to serve Fort Lauderdale. Plans call for streetcar propulsion using overhead wire and an alternate power source. The Wave will tap batteries to cross the Third Avenue Bridge over the New River. [Railway Age website report, 3-13-13]

LUTZ BERTLING NAMED PRESIDENT OF BOMBARDIER EFFECTIVE JUNE 3: Lutz Bertling has been appointed president and chief operating officer of Bombardier Transportation, effective June 3. He will succeed Andre Navarri, who will remain a strategic adviser until he retires from the organization on June 1, 2014. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-13-13]

PORT OF VIRGINIA AG EXPORT VALUE SETS RECORD IN 2012: Served by CSX and Norfolk Southern, the Port of Virginia saw its volume of agricultural exports rise nearly 12 pct to a record-high value of $2.61-billion in 2012 year-on-year, said Governor Bob McDonnell. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-13-13]

CHILE PLANS COMMUTER RAIL EXPANSION: Soaring traffic has encouraged Chilean State Railways (EFE) to dust off plans for a new suburban service in Santiago, and extensions to the commuter rail lines in Concepcion and Valparaiso. In Santiago, EFE plans to upgrade a 61km freight line to the southwestern dormitory towns of Penaflor, Talagante and Melipilla for electrified commuter rail operation. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-13-13]

ELECTRIC-POWERED TRAIN SERVICE TO RESUME AT HOBOKEN: Marking the end of post-Sandy interim rail schedules and reflecting improvements made possible by the restoration of a key power substation, NJ Transit’s electric-powered trains will resume service to Hoboken Terminal starting Sunday, March 24. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-13-13]

CN WANTS TO FILL 24 ACRES OF DULUTH HARBOR FOR EXPANSION: CN wants to fill 24 acres of the Twin Ports harbor in Duluth, Minnesota, to create a larger storage and loading area at the railroad’s ore docks. The project also would add fill and sheet piling to shore up CN’s Dock 6. The plans have been submitted to the city for environmental review and public comment. [Duluth News Tribune website report, 3-13-13]

METRO-NORTH TO INCREASE SERVICE 5.6 PCT.: Starting April 7, Metro-North will add 187 weekend and off-peak trains each week - a 5.6 pct service increase when combined with the 56 trains added last October. Key improvements will include 85 additional weekday and 22 additional weekend trains on the Hudson Line; 65 additional weekday and six additional weekend trains on the Harlem Line; and nine additional weekend trains on the New Haven Line. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-12-13]

FEDS GRANT $67.5-M FOR HONOLULU RAIL TRANSIT PROJECT: The Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation has received $67.5-million in federal funding for the Honolulu Rail Transit project as part of a $1.55-billion grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration. The funding is part of $255-million in federal dollars available for the project this fiscal year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-12-13]

PUBLIC TRANSIT HAD 10.5-B RIDERS LAST YEAR: The American Public Transportation Association said people took 10.5 billion trips on public transit in 2012. That's 150 million more than in 2011, and the second-highest number ever recorded. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-12-13]

CN MAKES THREE MANAGEMENT APPOINTMENTS: CN has made the following executive appointments: John Orr, 49, currently vice-president, chief safety and sustainability officer, will become vice-president, Eastern Region, effective March 15. Michael Farkouh, 46, currently assistant vice-president, B.C. South, will assume the position of vice-president, safety and sustainability on April 1. Gerry Weber, 46, currently chief mechanical officer, will become vice-president, supply, fleet and fuel management on April 1. [CN, 3-12-13]

AMERICA'S RAILROADS HAD SAFEST YEAR EVER IN 2012: The Association of American Railroads has announced that 2012 was the safest year in the rail industry’s history, according to statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration. Overall, 2012 set a new record for railroad safety, breaking the previous record set in 2011, which in turn broke the record set in 2010. In 2012, compared to 2011, the train accident rate per million train miles was down 19 pct, the employee casualty rate was down 9 pct and the grade crossing collision rate was down 8 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-11-13]

CHINA TO DISSOLVE ITS MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS: China is pushing ahead with plans to dissolve its Ministry of Railways following a report submitted to the national legislator on March 10. The ministry's administrative functions will be transferred to the Ministry of Transport, while a new China Railway Corporation will be set up to operate the national railway. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-11-13]

SOUTH FERRY SUBWAY SERVICE TO REOPEN IN APRIL: New York Governor Cuomo has announced that train service will return to one loop platform of the South Ferry Subway Station in the first week of April, following months of work to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-11-13]

BROOKVILLE EQUIPMENT LANDS ORDER FOR TWO DALLAS STREETCARS: Brookville Equipment Corp. obtained a $9.4-million contract from Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to supply two off-wire-capable Liberty Modern Streetcars for the Union Station-to-Oak Cliff extension project. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-11-13]

NEW INTERMODAL SERVICE IN MAINE TO IMPROVE SUPPLY CHAIN NETWORK: Pan Am Railways' partnership with an ocean shipping line for a new intermodal service in Maine is expected to provide a better supply chain for the state's manufacturing firms. The new service is expected to transform the Port of Portland into an international freight hub, and the planned removal of a small bridge in Portland would improve double-stacked shipping as railroads find it to be a more efficient way of freight shipping. [Portland Press Herald website report, 3-11-13]

RAILROADS SLATED TO EXPAND SHARE OF CANADIAN OIL MARKET: Rail shipments of crude oil from Canada are expected to double this year as pipeline capacity remains constrained. The price of Canadian crude has fallen and Gulf Coast refiners are anxious to get it to their refineries. "We want it on the Gulf Coast as soon as possible," said Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero Energy. [Wall Street Journal website report, 3-11-13]

RAILROADS SEE MORE BUSINESS GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES IN MEXICO: Freight rail investments in Mexico keep pouring in as rail companies recognize the business boom in the country, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Several Class I railroads, as well as Ferromex, are beefing up multimillion-dollar investments in U.S.-Mexico route upgrades. "The silk route is now for Mexico into the U.S.," said Finley Foster, AlixPartners' managing director. [Omaha World-Herald website report, 3-10-13]

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR SEEKS $12-M INCREASE FOR AMTRAK: One area of state government that's not facing cuts under Illinois's worst-ever budget is its support for passenger rail service. Governor Pat Quinn is seeking to increase spending on Amtrak service in the state by $12-million for the fiscal year beginning July 1, a 46 pct increase over 2012. [Bloomington Pantagraph website report, 3-9-13]

PENNDOT SECRETARY OPPOSES SPENDING $5.7-M ON AMTRAK’S PENNSYLVANIAN: Pennsylvania's Dept. of Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch opposes investing $5.7-million in state money on the lone Amtrak route that runs between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, saying trains run too slowly and too infrequently to warrant the investment. “That is pretty high when you consider it's a 5-1⁄2-hour train ride between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh,” he said, adding he is trying to negotiate a lower rate. A trip along the Pennsylvania Turnpike takes about 3-1⁄2 hours, he said. Amtrak is requesting the subsidy as part of a change in federal law. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review website report, 3-9-13]

FEDS ALLOCATE $390-M IN TRANSPORTATION DISASTER RELIEF TO N.Y.-AREA: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation announced on March 6 that they would release an allocation of nearly $390-million in FY 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act funds to reimburse the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH), for work done in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-8-13]

PRIORITY BOARDING NOW AVAILABLE FOR FREQUENT HIAWATHA RIDERS IN CHICAGO: A group of regular passengers of the Hiawatha Service has teamed up with Amtrak and state officials to implement a new policy that allows passengers holding current monthly and ten-ride tickets to have Priority Boarding at Chicago Union Station.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-8-13]

AMTRAK INTRODUCES ‘FAMILY ADVENTURES’ TRIPS FOR POPULAR DESTINATIONS: Amtrak has introduced ‘Family Adventures’ for passengers, a group of trips designed with family time in mind featuring some of the most popular destinations throughout the United States and Canada.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 3-8-13]

TURKEY LAUNCHES RAIL-REFORM PROCESS: A bill has been presented to the Turkish parliament to split up the country’s State Railways (TCDD) to form a separate infrastructure manager and a train operating company, while at the same time paving the way for open-access operators. TCDD will remain state-owned and funded, and will become the infrastructure manager, while a new company called Turktren will be formed to operate freight and passenger services. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-8-13]

FEDS ISSUE RECORD OF DECISION FOR BALTIMORE RED LINE: The Federal Transit Administration has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Baltimore, Md., Red Line project, which will expand the region's transit network for the first time since the early 1990s. The Red Line will be a 14.1-mile, east-west transit line connecting the areas of Woodlawn, Edmondson Village, West Baltimore, downtown Baltimore, Harbor East, Fell's Point, Canton and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Campus. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-7-13]

L.A. APPROVES BNSF DEVELOPMENT PROJECT: BNSF's $500-million rail project in California received approval from Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners. An estimated 1,500 jobs are expected from the project, which will develop a 185-acre site and make it easier to get cargo to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Construction could start later this year. [San Jose Mercury News website report, 3-7-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported gains in rail traffic for the week ending March 2, 2013.  U.S. railroads originated 283,819 carloads last week, up 0.2 pct compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 249,238 units, up 9.7 pct.  Total U.S. traffic for the week ending March 2 was 533,057 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.4 pct over the same week last year. [Assn. of American Railroads, 3-7-13]

ALASKA R.R. ANNOUNCES LAYOFFS: The Alaska Railroad announced today that 29 people will be laid off as part of a corporate restructuring effort following a $45-million change in finances since 2011. A news release from the railroad said that 54 positions total are being eliminated but that 25 are vacant. [Daily News-Miner website report, 3-7-13]

VALERO ENERGY TO BUY OVER 5,300 RAIL CARS: Valero Energy plans to buy 5,320 new rail cars for $750-million to carry petroleum products bound for Louisiana and California, said Joe Gorder, chief operating officer at Valero. The rail cars are expected to boost the company's feedstock flexibility and give it better access to best-price crude products. This brings the company's rail car fleet to more than 12,000. [Platts website report, 3-7-13]

GRAIN LOADING FACILITY IN KANSAS TO BE SERVED BY U.P.: Union Pacific has been chosen by CHS Inc. and Mid-Kansas Cooperative to provide rail service for a planned grain-loading facility in Canton, Kansas. The location is close to the UP's line, which will help the groups reach export terminals on the Gulf, the Pacific Northwest and Mexico. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-7-13]

BNSF TO TEST LIQUEFIELD NATURAL GAS IN ROAD LOCOMOTIVES: BNSF will begin testing a small number of locomotives using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel later this year. The use of natural gas as a transportation fuel results in the emission of fewer greenhouse gases and particulates than diesel fuel. The idea of using natural gas as fuel in locomotives is not new. The former Burlington Northern used natural gas locomotives in the 1980s and 1990s. BNSF also tested LNG switch locomotives in Los Angeles until they reached the end of their useful life a few years ago. Improved economics and technology make the use of natural gas in long-haul service more operationally feasible today. [BNSF, 3-6-13]

RAILS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT NATURAL GAS FOR LOCOMOTIVES: BNSF's plan to test the feasibility of natural gas as a fuel alternative for locomotives was driven by cost factors, said BNSF Chairman and CEO Matt Rose. Canadian National announced similar plans earlier, and other Class I carriers are showing interest. Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific are partnering with locomotive manufacturers on the idea, while CSX is reviewing the viability of natural gas-fueled trains. [Bloomberg website report, 3-6-13]

CP AHEAD OF SCHEDULE ON PLAN TO CUT JOBS, CEO SAYS: Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) is ahead of its plan to eliminate more than one-fifth of its workforce, Chief Executive Officer Hunter Harrison said. The company already has cut more than 3,000 jobs, Harrison said at a JPMorgan Chase & Co. transportation conference in New York. He told investors in December that Calgary-based Canadian Pacific planned to trim 4,500 of about 19,000 jobs by 2016, including 2,300 in this year’s first quarter. [Bloomberg website report, 3-6-13]

NEW ORLEANS MULLS NEXT STREETCAR EXTENSION: New Orleans' Regional Transit Authority has begun holding public meetings to seek input for its next streetcar project, the N. Rampart St./St. Claude Ave. expansion. The extension roughly parallels the Mississippi River. [Railway Age website report, 3-6-13]

DIRECT PARIS-BARCELONA TGV SERVICE TO BEGIN IN APRIL: French National Railways (SNCF) and Spanish passenger operator Renfe have reached an agreement to start direct TGV services between Paris and Barcelona next month. At present SNCF offers a twice-daily TGV Dasye service from Paris to Figueres, while Renfe serves its side of the border with two Madrid - Barcelona - Figueres AVE trains which are timed to connect with the TGV service. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-6-13]

NJT APPROVES $19-M IN REPAIRS FOR STORM-DAMAGED TRAINS: New Jersey Transit has approved up to $19-million in parts and emergency repairs for trains waterlogged during Hurricane Sandy, plus up to another $1-million for repairs to Hoboken Terminal. [Star-Ledger website report, 3-5-13]

AMTRAK SAYS IT COVERS 88 PCT OF OPERATING COSTS: Federal subsidies are covering less of Amtrak's operation costs, the company's CEO Joseph Boardman told lawmakers March 5. Republicans have railed against federal funding for Amtrak in recent years, but Boardman said that record ridership numbers in 2012 resulted in the government covering just 12 percent of the company's operations. [The Hill website report, 3-5-13]

VANCOUVER, B.C., SKYTRAIN STATIONS BEING UPGRADED: Construction has begun on safety and accessibility improvements at Metro Vancouver’s Main Street-Science World Station in Vancouver, B.C. The facility is the first of seven SkyTrain stations that will undergo safety and accessibility upgrades during the next three years. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-5-13]

N.S. BRIDGE SPANNING OHIO RIVER IS A CENTURY OLD: March 4 marked the 100-year anniversary of the completion of the modern version of Norfolk Southern's bridge over the Ohio River between South Point, Ohio, and Kenova, W.Va. The bridge, on NS' Pocahontas Division main line, carries essential freight rail traffic and supports economic development in the Tri-State region and Ohio River Valley. [Norfolk Southern, 3-4-13]

DENMARK TO PUMP OIL MONEY INTO RAIL UPGRADES: The Danish government plans to use North Sea oil revenues to finance the country's railway infrastructure over the next decade, which will reduce journey times between Denmark's five largest cities. The ‘one hour plan’ will reduce Copenhagen-Odense, Odense-Esbjerg, Odense-Aarhus, and Aarhus-Aalborg journey times to one hour or less by 2025 through electrification and track upgrades, which in some areas will include the construction of new lines. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-4-13]

AMTRAK’S VERMONTER TO BENEFIT FROM INCREASED TRAIN SPEEDS: The Vermont Agency of Transportation says speed limits will be raised on New England Central trackage from 59 mph to 79 mph beginning March 11, improving conditions for both freight rail movement and Amtrak's Vermonter. [Railway Age website report, 3-4-13]

S.C. INLAND PORT CONSTRCTION BEGINS: Construction started March 1 on the South Carolina Inland Port project in Greer, S.C., which will be linked to the port of Charleston by Norfolk Southern mainline that provides overnight service between Charleston and upstate. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-4-13]

KCSM LAUNCHES BROKEN RAIL DETECTION SYSTEM: Kansas City Southern de Mexico has launched a Broken Rail Detection system to enhance safety through the prevention of incidents due to broken rail equipment. "The primary objective of this system is to avoid derailments caused by ruptured rails. We are very proud to have completed the first phase of installation of this system," said Rafael Moreno, KCSM's subdirector of signals. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 3-4-13]

CONTRACT AWARDED IN CSX BRIDGE REMOVAL PROJECTS IN N.Y. STATE: CSX has awarded a contract to construction company C.P. Ward Inc. to remove three abandoned and graffiti-ridden rail bridges in Ogden and Spencerport, N.Y. [Progressive Railroading website report, 3-4-13]

AMTRAK TO GET FASTER ROUTE FOR CASCADES TRAINS: Amtrak Cascades riders can look forward to shorter trip times between Seattle and Portland following federal approval of a proposal to reroute the passenger train service to a less congested route through south Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont. The bypass route would allow Amtrak Cascades to expand the service and add two more daily trains between Seattle and Portland. Construction should begin in 2015 and opened to service in 2017. [Washington State DOT, 3-4-13]

UP’S INTERMODAL HUB ATTRACTS LOGISTICS DEVELOPMENT IN TEXAS: Union Pacific's Dallas Intermodal Terminal in Texas is one factor behind Xebec Realty Partners and CT Realty Investors' 9-million-square-foot distribution and logistics development project. "Investing in buildings that are strategically located near ports and intermodal facilities and that meet the demands of today's most progressive logistics users is at the heart of our strategy…," said Randy Kendrick, Xebec Realty Partners CEO. [Dallas American City Business Journal website report, 3-4-13]

CSX DESIGNATES ‘SELECT SITE’ IN MACON COUNTY, ALABAMA: CSX has designated a site in Macon County, Alabama, a ‘Select Site.’ The certification for the 296-acre property is expected to spur added industrial activity and job growth, said Joe Turnham, Macon County Economic Development Authority's strategic consultant. [Opelika-Auburn News website report, 3-3-13]

U.S. RAILWAYS NOT LIKELY TO MEET 2015 PTC DEADLINE: Representatives from leading U.S. freight railways told the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) during a conference in Washington, DC,that a full implementation of Positive Train Control on around 96,500km of track will not be possible by the federally-mandated deadline of 2015. Major commuter railways and the Federal Railroad Administration have told Congress technological challenges and a scarcity of funds make meeting the deadline extremely unlikely. [International Railway Journal website report, 3-1-13]

RAILROADS TOP FORTUNE’S ‘MOST ADMIRED’ TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES: Railroads made a strong showing in Fortune Magazine's annual list of ‘Most Admired’ companies. Union Pacific and CSX topped the list of Trucking, Transportation and Logistics companies, taking the top two spots. BNSF parent company Berkshire Hathaway was ranked eighth out of the overall top 50 companies most admired by Fortune readers and also topped the Insurance, Property and Casualty category. [Fortune website report, 3-1-13]

CSX EARNS EPA CLIMATE LEADERSHIP AWARD: CSX Corporation has won a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2013 Climate Leadership Award in the Goal Achievement category. The award recognizes CSX's 8 pct voluntary reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity since 2007. [CSX, 2-28-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed rail traffic for the week ending Febr.23, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 278,059 carloads, down 1.2 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 238,083 units, up 11 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-28-13]

HUNGARY TO BUILD NEW FREIGHT LINE: The Hungarian government has given the go-ahead for a long-discussed project to build a 113km double-track electrified freight line between Tatabanya and Cegled, bypassing Budapest. This would be the largest new railway construction in the country since 1912. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-28-13]

TBG HOLDINGS LAUNCHES NEW SHORT LINE HOLDING COMPANY: TBG Holdings Corp. has acquired Monkey Rock (MKRO) and will work to transform MKRO short line and regional railroad holding company. As part of the transition, the company will be renamed Continental Rail Corp. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-28-13]

BNSF UNVEILS ACTION PLAN FOR SEATTLE AREA LANDSLIDES: Sixteen million dollars in proposed improvements are targeted to prevent mudslides along northern routes forAmtrak and Sound Transit trains between Everett and Seattle. Out of the 200 reported landslides since Thanksgiving 2012, BNSF engineers have pinpointed six of the most risky and problematic locations, which are along an eight-mile area between Mukilteo and Everett. The upgrades are still in the planning stages. [KING-5 website report, 2-28-13]

HARSCO WINS CHINESE METRO ORDERS: Harsco Corp. will supply 20-stone rail grinders to metro operators in four Chinese cities, all of which are in the process of expanding their networks. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-27-13]

SUDAN LOOKS TO REBUILD RAILWAY: Sudanese Railway Corporation (SRC) is reportedly in negotiations with Ukraine, Korea and China as it prepares to issue a tender in the next few months for 10 locomotives as well as track materials to rehabilitate about 1000km of railway. The project could be worth up to $500-m in its initial stages. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-27-13]

CONTRACT AWARDED IN POLISH RAIL SIGNALING PROJECT: A Bombardier Transportation-led consortium that includes Thales and Nokia Siemens Networks has won a $146.5-million contract to modernize signaling of the E65 rail line linking Warsaw and Gdynia, Poland. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-27-13]

FEDS FIND NORFOLK SOUTHERN VIOLATED R.R. SAFETY ACT: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued two more significant findings against the Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) for violating the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA). These cases are the latest in a series of cases in which OSHA concluded that NS fired Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) members merely for seeking medical attention for on-the-job injuries. [Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, 2-27-13]

TRAIN HITS TRUCK HAULING JET FUEL IN OREGON: A truck hauling 10,000 gallons of jet fuel overturned onto Union Pacific railroad tracks near Umatilla, Oregon, Febr. 25, where the truck cab and a cargo tanker were hit by a train. The truck driver escaped with minor injuries and no environmental damage was reported. [Oregonian website report, 2-26-13]

NTSB SAYS TRAIN MISSED SIGNALS BEFORE JUNE 2012 OKLAHOMA CRASH: The National Transportation Safety Board says an eastbound Union Pacific train did not slow or stop for signals before colliding with another train in Goodwell, Oklahoma, June 24, 2012, killing three people. The NTSB said a hearing is being held for fact-finding and not to assess blame. [Oklahoma’s Own website report, 2-26-13]

RAIL PARK BEING BUILT NEAR SAN ANTONIO: Frac Resources and Frontier Logistics L.P. have broken ground for the Mission Rail Park near San Antonio, Texas. To open by mid-summer, the 1,000-acre facility will serve oil companies in the Eagle Ford Shale that need to move or store frac sand, crude oil or natural gas. Also, the park will be marketed to companies that need to move lumber, ethanol, corn syrup, sand or other commodities that require rail transportation. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-26-13]

EUROPEAN UNION TO HELP FUND LATVIAN RAILWAY ELECTRIFICATION: The European Union will allocate $752-million towards a program to electrify Latvia's railway network, according to the Latvian Ministry of Transport. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-26-13]

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN THIS SUMMER: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has nearly doubled the size of its staff in the past six months and expects the first phase of construction to be "under contract and under way this summer," the agency's CEO told lawmakers Febr. 25. [Huffington Post website report, 2-26-13]

CRUDE-BY-RAIL IS A MAJOR GROWTH MARKET, STUDY SAYS: Petroleum and petroleum products are proving to be a major growth market for North American railroads as tight pipeline capacity has led to an increasing demand for rail service, according to a study by PIRA Energy Group. The report was created to provide a better understanding of the many specific logistical challenges that are raising key questions around the movement of crude from field to refinery, said PIRA consultants. [Oil & Gas Journal website report, 2-26-13]

NS TO REDUCE ROANOKE RAIL YARD OPERATIONS: Norfolk Southern said Febr. 25 it will cease regional railcar classification operations at its hump yard in Roanoke, Va., effective immediately. The move will eliminate 140 positions. NS said the terminal will continue to provide local service. [Railway Age website report, 2-25-13]

KCS TO CREATE OPERATING EMPLOYEE TRAINING CENTER IN SHREVEPORT: Kansas City Southern’s operating team is establishing a new Transportation Engineering and Mechanical training center in Shreveport, La., to enhance training programs for operating employees. Initially, the center will focus on operating rules, procedures and compliance training. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-25-13]

FREIGHTCAR AMERICA REPORTS 4-Q LOSS: FreightCar America also recently reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $1-million or 8 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $8.5-million or 71 cents per diluted share in fourth-quarter 2011. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-25-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO ELIMINATE 140 JOBS IN ROANOKE: Norfolk Southern's Roanoke Terminal will no longer serve as a regional railcar classification yard. The railroad operator says it's ending regional classification operations at the terminal's hump yard. About 140 jobs, mostly carmen and train crews, will be eliminated. [Ventura County Star website report, 2-25-13]

SPAIN PLANS TO PARTIALLY OPEN PASSENGER RAIL ROUTES TO COMPETITION: The Spanish Government has issued a decree outlining its final plans to partially open profitable passenger rail routes to competition, particularly those which operate on the extensive high-speed rail network. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-25-13]

NORTH ETOWAH, TENNESSEE, GIVEN CSX SELECT SITE DESIGNATION: The North Etowah Industrial Park Tennessee is a recipient to receive CSX Select Site designation.  CSX's Select Site program reviews the most capable manufacturing and distribution development properties 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, 2-25-13]

BNSF FINED OVER CROSSINGS IN WASHINGTON STATE: Washington state says it's fining BNSF Railway Co. $105,000 for not repairing seven railroad crossing defects in Whatcom and Skagit counties. A railway spokesman says BNSF has already submitted a plan to fix those crossings by the end of March. [Seattle Times website report, 2-25-13]

AMTRAK LAUNCHING NEW AD CAMPAIGN FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL IN N.E.: Amtrak is launching a new advertising campaign called ‘Take Off’ to promote its premium business class that is available for travel between Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. [Boston Globe website report, 2-25-13]

FEDS ADD $87.3-M TOWARD FLORIDA SUNRAIL PROJECT: The Federal Transit Administration has released an additional $87.3-million for the Central Florida SunRail project. This brings FTA's investment so far to $148.5-million in FY-2012 and prior-year New Starts funds. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-25-13]

TRANSPORT CANADA REJECTS SAFETY RECOMMENDATION AFTER FATAL TRAIN ACCIDENT: One year after a Via train derailed in Burlington, Ontario, killing three crew members and injuring more than 40, the final report into the investigation has yet to be released. But the Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it made a safety recommendation while its investigation was in progress that was rejected by Transport Canada. “There are very few high-speed passenger trains that travel through this type of crossover,” said the board. “We suggested to Transport Canada that they issue orders to forbid trains to cross over at any of those locations… they said no.” [Global News website report, 2-25-13]

AMTRAK RUNS SMOOTHLY IN MIDWEST DESPITE BLIZZARD: A blizzard hit the Midwest this week, dumping as much as two feet of snow in certain states, grounding hundreds of flights and shutting down highways across the region. Amtrak, however, maintained operations across the Midwest, with service on the Texas Eagle, the Southwest Chief, and the Missouri River Runner continuing through the blizzard - in most cases, on time.  The River Runner’s performance is particularly impressive, given that Interstate 70 was shut down across Missouri. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 2-22-13]

INCREASED RAIL CRUDE SHIPMENTS CAUSE TANK CAR SHORTAGE: In 2009, Canadian Pacific moved 500 tank cars of petroleum products. In 2012, it moved 13,000 and could soon be moving as many as 70,000 tank cars. That's one reason the tank car backlog has reached about 48,000. "There has been a shortage of cars ever since crude on rail picked up," said Jean-Jacques Ruest, chief marketing officer at Canadian National. "There will be a shortage of cars in 2013; there will probably be a shortage of cars in 2014. After that we will see." [Financial Post website report, 2-22-13]

N.M. HOUSE APPROVES FUEL TAX INCENTIVE FOR BNSF: The BNSF Railway Co. could receive a tax break on locomotive fuel in New Mexico under a proposal approved by the House. Supporters say the measure offers the company similar tax treatment as provided to Union Pacific. To qualify for incentive in the legislation, BNSF would need to invest at least $50-million to improve railroad infrastructure in the state, including tracks and other facilities. [Columbus Republic website report, 2-22-13]

U.P. NAMES MARTY COALSON PRESIDENT OF SHIPCARSNOW: Union Pacific named Marty Coalson president of ShipCarsNow Inc. effective March 4. ShipCarsNow is a wholly owned subsidiary of Union Pacific Railroad.  Coalson succeeds Roland Fortner, who will be taking a new position within U.P.'s Marketing and Sales group.  [Union Pacific, 2-22-13]

SAND POINT, IDAHO, TRAIN DEPOT BEING REMODELED: Amtrak and the Idaho Department of Transportation have announced that the train depot in Sand Point, Idaho, is undergoing remodeling, and will be open to passengers by the end of the year. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 2-22-13]

STB REPORTS RAIL EMPLOYMENT FIGURES: Figures released by the Surface Transportation Board show Class I railroads employed 162,043 people in mid-January 2013, up 1.2 pct from December 2012, though down 0.37 pct from December 2012. [Railway Age website report, 2-22-13]

CPR MOVING CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway will move all of its employees from its downtown headquarters at Gulf Canada Square to a new building at the company’s Ogden Yard in southeast Calgary by the end of this year. [Calgary Herald website report, 2-22-13]

VANCOUVER, B.C., BEGINS SOUTH SHORE CORRIDOR PROJECT: In Vancouver, BC, construction of the South Shore Corridor project at Port Metro Vancouver began Febr. 21. The project will separate road and rail traffic at 10 current conflict points along Stewart Street, adjacent to Port Metro Vancouver's terminals and the South Shore Trade Area's railway corridor. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-22-13]

CSX FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILS IN N.E. MARYLAND: A train operated by CSX derailed late Febr. 20 in Cecil County, Md., and initial reports said two cars contained sulfuric acid. Emergency crews from three states responded to the incident. No injuries were reported. [Baltimore Sun website report, 2-21-13]

RAIL CRUDE SHIPMENTS UP 256 PCT IN 2012: The Association of American Railroads reported that U.S. Class I railroads originated a record 233,811 carloads of crude oil in 2012, up 256 pct from the 65,751 carloads of crude oil originated in 2011. Crude oil in 2012 represented 0.8 pct of all U.S. Class I rail carloads, up from 0.2 pct in 2011.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-21-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed rail traffic for the week ending Febr.16, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 278,596 carloads, down 1.2 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 251,078 units, up 13.6 pct.  Total U.S. traffic for the week was 529,674 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.3.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-21-13]

CN MAY ADD SECOND TRACK IN DULUTH: Canadian National is considering adding a second track out of Duluth, Minnesota, to alleviate congestion as it increases its shipments from the port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia to the Chicago area. CN says there are no concrete plans, but it has hired ProSource Technologies to work with landowners along the corridor, including the city of Duluth and the Duluth Economic Development Authority.  [Duluth News Tribune website report, 2-21-13]

N.Y. STATE RAIL LINE REOPENS AFTER 25 YEARS: Iowa Pacific announced its Saratoga & North Creek Railway (SNC) subsidiary has moved the first outbound freight shipment in 25 years from North Creek, N.Y., on a long-discontinued rail line. SNC operates 56.5 miles of track between North Creek and a connection with Canadian Pacific in Saratoga Springs. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-20-13]

UTILITY TO PAY CSX $950,000 FOR COAL PENALTY: Lakeland Electric will pay a $950,000 penalty to CSX because the amount of coal the utility had transported to the McIntosh Power Plant in 2012 fell short of its contractual obligation to the railroad company. In the end, the utility and its customers were better off paying the fine than burning the required amount of coal because it was less costly to use generators powered by natural gas, utility officials said. [Lakeland Ledger website report, 2-20-13]

PROTOTYPE 2ES5 LOCOMOTIVE BEING TESTED IN RUSSIA: Alstom and Transmashholding (TMH) are testing their jointly-developed 2ES5 freight locomotive prototype at the Novocherkassk electric locomotive plant in Russia. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-20-13]

CSX COAL TRAIN DERAILS IN WESTERN MARYLAND: CSX says no one was hurt in a derailment of 73 cars of a coal train in Bloomington, Md., Febr. 18. The train was traveling from Grafton, W.Va., to Mount Storm, W.Va.. The cause of the accident is under investigation. [ABC2 News website report, 2-19-13]

MAN ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTED THEFT OF FUEL FROM KCS LOCOMOTIVE: Sheriff's deputies have arrested a 33-year-old New Orleans man for allegedly tried to steal 250 gallons of diesel fuel from a Kansas City Southern locomotive in Metairie, Louisiana. [Houston Chronicle website report, 2-19-13]

CN NAMES JIM VENA EXECUTIVE V.P., CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: CN has announced the promotion of Jim Vena, 54, to the position of executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Replacing him as senior vice-president Southern Region in Homewood, Ill., will be Jeff Liepelt, 53, who is currently senior vice-president, Eastern Region. [CN, 2-19-13]

VRE RIDERS OFFERED BIGGER DISCOUNTS TO STEP-UP TO AMTRAK: Virginia is fulfilling its promise to make it cheaper to take Amtrak into D.C. every day. The price of a step-up ticket for Virginia Railway Express riders to switch to Amtrak will drop from $5 to $3 starting March 1, thanks to a state subsidy. [Washington Examiner website report, 2-19-13]

SINGAPORE-MALAYSA HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINK PLANNED: Singapore and Malaysia have moved to strengthen growing economic ties with plans to build a high-speed rail link by 2020 that will cut travel time to 90 minutes. [Reuters website report, 2-19-13]

ISRAEL SELECTS ROUTE FOR EILAT LINE: Israel's transport ministry has announced that the final 60km section of alignment for a new electrified line from Be'er Sheva to the Gulf of Aqaba port of Eilat has been approved. The railway will have five new passenger stations, eight locations with additional tracks to handle freight trains, and four freight terminals. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-19-13]

WORK BEGINS ON BENSENVILLE, ILLINOIS, RAILROAD BRIDGE: The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program has broken ground on the $67-million Bensenville crossing project. Construction includes building a bridge for Canadian Pacific's rail lines to reduce congestion. [Chicago Tribune website report, 2-19-13]

WABTEC REPORTS RECORD 4-Q EARNINGS: Wabtec Corp. reported record fourth-quarter earnings $1.34 per diluted share, 40 pct above EPS in the fourth quarter of 2011. Sales also notched a record, at $610-million [Railway Age website report, 2-19-13]

BNSF CREATING PLAN FOR MONTANA RAIL YARD CLEANUP: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway officials are drafting a plan to clean up contaminated soil at a rail yard in Whitefish, Montana. Officials say the cleanup involves a patch of ground up to 75 feet in diameter that contains a trichloroethylene plume near the railroad's roundhouse, visible from downtown Whitefish. [Great Falls Tribune website report, 2-18-13]

CN MAKING PROGRESS ON NATURAL GAS LOCOMOTIVE FUEL RESEARCH PROJECT: Canadian National's research experiment on two locomotives fueled by liquefied natural gas is "progressing well," said CN. The project is one of several in Canada that aim to explore the viability of using LNG as a substitute for diesel fuel. However, the idea faces several challenges such as the adoption of industry standards because locomotives from one railway often run on another carrier’s network. [Toronto Globe & Mail website report, 2-18-13]

BNSF DONATES RAIL CAR TO TEXAS COLLEGE FOR HAZMAT TRAINING: BNSF has donated a tank car to Tarrant County College's Northwest Campus in Texas. The school has a Fire Service Training Center where, initially, 150 to 200 railroad personnel will undergo hazardous materials training. [Fort Worth Business Press website report, 2-18-13]

AMTRAK NAMES TWO TO OPERATIONS POSTS: Amtrak has named Thomas Hall chief of customer services and Jay Commer general manager of state-supported services. Both will report directly to Vice President of Operations DJ Stadtler, effective immediately. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-15-13]

CSX TAPS AVTEC FOR DISPATCHING CONSOLE CONTRACT: Avtec Inc. said it and CSX Transportation have entered into a multiyear, multimillion dollar contract to migrate all of CSX's mainline dispatching centers to Avtec's Scout pure-IP radio console with Enterprise Management capabilities. [Railway Age website report, 2-15-13]

TWO ELECTED TO NORFOLK SOUTHERN BOARD: Martin H. Nesbitt, 50, and John R. Thompson, 61, have been elected directors of Norfolk Southern Corporation effective Febr. 18, 2013, the company announced.. [Norfolk Southern, 2-15-13]

CSX RENEWS ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP COMMITMENT: CSX Corporation has announced the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to up to 21 million pounds of CO2, part of the LEED certification process for CSX's headquarters building. The RECs will offset emissions from the company's Jacksonville headquarters for two years by supporting carbon reduction projects. [CSX, 2-15-13]

MOSCOW PLANS MAJOR METRO EXPANSION: Moscow has revealed plans to build 250km of metro lines during the next few years, and for the first time most of them will be constructed above ground. This will almost double the size of the Moscow metro to 553km. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-15-13]

OPPONENTS OF CSX RAIL LINE EXPANSION IN BIRMINGHAM SEEK TO BLOCK BUILDING OF OVERPASS: Opponents of an expanded CSX railroad line through southwest Birmingham are suing the city and asking a Jefferson County judge to block a vote that gave the company permission to build an overpass. [Birmingham News website report, 2-15-13]

BNSF MAY FUEL LOCOMOTIVES WITH NATURAL GAS: BNSF Railway, which hauls grains and now record volumes of Bakken oil out of North Dakota, may fuel its locomotives with liquid natural gas and is being encouraged to build a gas processing plant and refueling station in the state. [Bismarck Tribune website report, 2-15-13]

TSA TOOK 12 ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS AGAINST CSX IN FY-2012-: The Transportation Security Administration has two penalties pending against CSX for alleged ‘rail car chain of custody’ violations: one for $6,000 and another for $2,999. In addition, TSA has issued four ‘letters of correction’ to the railroad related to problems with ‘rail car location and shipping information’ and other chain of custody issues; and six separate warning notices to the same railroad for additional chain of custody problems. [Government Security News website report, 2-15-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO UPGRADE 550 CROSSINGS IN INDIANA: Norfolk Southern will work with the Indiana Department of Transportation on a statewide initiative to upgrade 550 rail crossings to enhance safety. The partnership follows a similar one done by CSX and IDOT. [Valparaiso Times website report, 2-15-13]

ALLEN BROUGHAM, BULL SHEET CREATOR, RETIRES FROM PTI: Allen Brougham, editor and webmaster of The Bull Sheet, retired January 27 after nearly 12 years as a part-time crew-van driver for Professional Transportation Inc. in Brunswick, Md. He joined the B&O Railroad in 1970 as an interlocking tower operator, and he retired from CSX in 2000. In 1986, he began publishing the monthly newsletter 'The Bull Sheet,' which continued in print until 2005. He still maintains its website, BullSheet.com.  Brougham, 72, now lives in a retirement community in Sykesville, Md.

WINTER PARK BREAKS GROUND ON TRAIN STATION: The city of Winter Park, Florida, broke ground Febr. 13 on the planned $1.2-million expansion and renovation of the train station in its central business district that will serve as a stop for both Amtrak and the soon-to-come SunRail commuter rail. It is expected to open by early December. [Orlando Business Journal website report, 2-14-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed rail traffic for the week ending Febr.9, 2013.  Last week U.S. railroads originated 273,369 carloads, down 2.3 pct compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 244,679 units, up 7.7 pct.  Total U.S. traffic for the week was 518,048 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.2 pct over the same week last year.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-14-13]

NJ TRANSIT ESTIMATES STORM DAMAGE UP TO $450-M: NJ Transit said that more rail cars and locomotives were damaged by superstorm Sandy than originally thought, and that the cost of the storm to the agency has risen to $450-million. [North Jersey website report, 2-14-13]

SEPTA PICKS DARBY ROAD SITE FOR PAOLI INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has designated the Darby Road Extension alternative as the preferred site for the proposed Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-14-13]

OTTAWA’S CONFEDERATION LINE LIGHT-RAIL PROJECT AGREEMENT FINALIZED: The city of Ottawa, Ontario, has finalized the project agreement with Rideau Transit Group (RTG) to design, build, finance and maintain its new 7.7-mile Confederation Line Light Rail project. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-14-13]

PAKISTAN RAILWAYS ORDERS 50 LOCOMOTIVES FROM CHINA: CSR Ziyang, China, has won a $110.5-m contract from Pakistan Railways (PR) for 50 diesel-electric locomotives. The first 10 locomotives are due to be delivered by the end of this year while the rest will be shipped to Pakistan by the end of May 2014. PR has suffered a chronic shortage of locomotives in recent years, which has led to a decline in freight and passenger traffic. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-14-13]

GENESEE & WYOMING REORGANIZES LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE: Genesee & Wyoming's acquisition of RailAmerica prompted ‘important new additions’ to the organization, and these are expected to provide long-term value for the company, said GWI President and CEO Jack Hellmann. Changes include a reorganization of the leadership structure. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-14-13]

GRADE SEPARATION PROJECT IN N.C. MOVES AHEAD: CSX and Norfolk Southern are partnering with the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the Piedmont Improvement Program, which aims to create grade separations between Charlotte and Raleigh. A $24-million rail bridge project in Durham, N.C., marked the start of the first project under the program. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-14-13]

FEDS ESTABLISH NATIONAL FREIGHT ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has established an Advisory Committee to provide recommendations aimed at improving the national freight transportation system. [U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 2-14-13]

RAILROADS HELP FUND RAIL UPGRADES AT TEXAS PORT: BNSF, Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific will contribute funds to expand rail capacity expansion projects at the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas. A $48-million project at the port recently finalized funding, and construction is expected to start within two years. The projects will ease freight congestion and allow the port to handle more shipments due to drilling activity in the Eagle Ford Shale region, according to the port authority. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-13-13]

GENESEE & WYOMING REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Genesee & Wyoming Inc reported diluted fourth-quarter earnings per share of 18 cents compared with 77 cents in fourth-quarter 2011. Reported net income totaled $13.4-million versus $33.3-million in the year-ago period. The primary reason for the significant declines: GWI's $2-billion acquisition of RailAmerica Inc. late last year. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-13-13]

CHARLOTTE READIES STREETCAR CONSTRUCTION: Charlotte, N.C., city officials say work on the proposed 1.5-mile starter streetcar line would commence before the end of the month. Construction crews will start road and curbside work along Trade Street nearest to Kings Drive, then move toward the Time Warner Cable Arena, where starter line will interface with the city's existing light rail line, [Railway Age website report, 2-13-13]

UNION PACIFIC PROMOTING DONNA KUSH TO VP PUBLIC AFFAIRS NORTHERN REGION: Union Pacific is promoting Donna Kush to vice president Public Affairs-Northern Region effective April 1, succeeding Joe Bateman. Kush currently serves as assistant vice president-Corporate Communications. [Union Pacific, 2-13-13]

NTSB ISSUES REPORT ON 2010 CN FREIGHT COLLISION IN MINNESOTA: The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the collision of two Canadian National Railway freight trains Sep. 30, 2010, was caused by an error made by the crew of the southbound train. The crew departed a railroad siding without permission and before the northbound train had passed. The trains were operating in non-signaled track territory. Contributing to the accident was CN's use of after-arrival track authorities in non-signaled territory, a procedure that is vulnerable to human error and lacks safety redundancies. The NTSB noted crew fatigue and inadequate crew resource management also contributed to the accident. Five crewmembers were injured. [NTSB, 2-12-13]

FREIGHT CARRIERS TO BENEFIT FROM IOWA PASSENGER RAIL PROJECT: More than $100-million in state and federal funding for a passenger rail upgrade in Iowa will pay dividends for freight rail as well, advocates say. The state will invest $20-million in state funds and a federal grant of $87-million in the effort to upgrade track between Iowa City and the Quad Cities on the Mississippi River for passenger rail service.  [Des Moines Register website report, 2-12-13]

UNION PACIFIC MAKES MANAGEMENT APPOINTMENTS: Union Pacific Railroad has named Kate Betsworth vice president Intermodal Operations, David Giandinoto assistant vice president and general manager Union Pacific Distribution Services, Neil Scott general superintendent transportation services Chicago Service Unit, and John Turner general superintendent transportation services Utah Service Unit.  [Union Pacific, 2-12-13]

VIA RAIL POSTS 4-Q RIDERSHIP GAINS ON MOST POPULAR ROUTES: In the fourth quarter, VIA Rail Canada posted ridership gains on its most popular routes: Quebec City-Montreal up 10.7 pct, and Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto up 10.4 pct. On an annualized basis, ridership on the routes increased 2.4 pct and fell 0.8 pct, respectively, compared with 2011, VIA Rail officials said in a prepared statement. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-12-13]

UZBEKISTAN PLANS NEW RAIL LINE TO BYPASS TAJIKISTAN: The government of Uzbekistan plans to build a new rail link through the Kamchik pass, which will allow east-west freight traffic to bypass northern Tajikistan. The project would involve constructing a 129-km electrified line. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-12-13]

XPRESSWEST RAIL PROJECT AWAITS LOAN APPROVAL: The $6.9-billion XpressWest high-speed rail project between Victorville, California, and Las Vegas is awaiting approval of a $5.5-billion federal loan request before construction begins. The group applied for a loan in December 2010 and there's an average 19-month completion time for Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan applications. If approved, construction could start within a year and take five years to complete. [VegasInc website report, 2-12-13]

AMTRAK SEEKS NEW CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: Amtrak is seeking a new chief financial officer as it looks for financing for a $7-billion redevelopment of Union Station in Washington, D.C. The post will be under the direct management of Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman and the CFO is expected to be responsible for the leadership of all aspects of Amtrak's businesses and corporate activities. [Washington DC American City Business Journal website report, 2-12-13]

AMTRAK N.E. SERVICE UPDATE: On Tuesday, Febr. 12, Amtrak will resume normal operations on the Northeast Corridor between New York and Boston, including the resumption of full Acela Express, Northeast Regional and Springfield Shuttle service following this weekend’s severe winter storm.  [Amtrak, 2-11-13]

BNSF WILL ADD RAIL CARS AS BOEING BOOSTS 737 PRODUCTION: BNSF Railway plans to deploy an additional 14 special cars for transporting Boeing 737 fuselages, for a total of 99. "There will be times we will run a special train, just with the fuselage," said David Garin, BNSF group vice president of industrial products. "It will get priority across the system." [Seattle American City Business Journal website report, 2-11-13]

N700A SHINKANSEN TRAINS ENTER JAPANESE SERVICE: Central Japan Railway Company held simultaneous ceremonies in Tokyo and Osaka on Febr. 8 to mark the entry into commercial service of its latest-generation Shinkansen train, the N700A. Officially designated series N700-1000, the trains are outwardly similar to the series N700, but feature a number of technical improvements over their predecessors, [International Railway Journal website report, 2-11-13]

TEXAS & NORTHERN EMPLOYEES SELECT UTU DIVISION: Employees, including maintenance-of-way workers, machinists and mechanics, of the Texas & Northern Railway Company have voted to be represented by United Transportation Union's SMART Transportation Division. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-11-13]

CSX PREPARING FOR POTENTIAL NEW ENVIRONMENTAL RULES: CSX is among several U.S. companies that are planning to cope with the implementation of potential new regulations on climate change. While restrictions on greenhouse gases may affect coal shipments, the railroad said the rules could also move freight away from long-haul trucks and onto more fuel-efficient rail transportation. [Wall Street Journal Journal website report, 2-11-13]

‘PUFFING BILLY’S’ 200TH ANNIVERSARY TO BE CELEBRATED: The 200th anniversary of a steam locomotive that became the ‘beating heart’ of a Northumberland village is to be celebrated. Puffing Billy was one of the first steam locomotives to transport coal from Wylam Colliery to Lemington Staithes on the River Tyne. Developed by Newborn-born engineer William Hedley in 1813, it paved the way for the development of the rail industry. [BBC News website report, 2-10-13]

ROCKSLIDE CAUSES TRAIN DERAILMENT IN VIRGINIA: A locomotive and about five freight cars derailed Febr. 9 in Gore, Va., because of a rock slide, according to multiple sources.  [Exponent Telegram website report, 2-9-13]

MAN ACCUSED OF DISABLING A TRAIN IN IOWA: A 27-year-old Missouri man was arrested after a train was damaged in Fremont County, Iowa. He is accused of entering a BNSF train engine, opening several engine compartments and disabling the train, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office said.  [Omaha World-Herald website report, 2-9-13]

N.H. TO STUDY RESTORATION OF PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE BETWEEN NASHUA AND CONCORD: New Hampshire took a step towards bringing the Capitol Corridor passenger rail project to reality on February 6, as the state’s Executive Council voted to approve a $3.6-million study to restore train service between Nashua and Concord. The feasibility study will determine capital costs, operating expense, and potential ridership for the line. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 2-8-13]

AUTO TRAIN TO BECOME COMPLETELY NON-SMOKING IN JULY: The Auto Train is to become completely non-smoking effective July 1. The lower-level smoking lounge in the cafe car will be removed. Smokers will only be allowed to detrain at Florence,SC (crew change stop).. After July 1, no on-board smoking will be allowed throughout the Amtrak system. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 2-8-13]

BRIDGE TO LINK FUTURE PARKING LOT IN MARTINEZ, CALIFORNIA: Martinez, California, will build a 150-foot bridge across Alhambra creek from Berrellesa street to a future parking lot on the 6.8-acre property where two indoor sports complexes sit. The city is developing plans to put in about 300 parking spaces to be shared by the sports complexes and the Amtrak station.  [San Jose Mercury News website report, 2-8-13]

MILAN OPENS FIRST DRIVERLESS METRO LINE: A ceremony was held in Milan on Febr 5 to mark the inauguration of the initial phase of the city's first driverless metro line. Commercial services will start on Febr 10 on Line M5, which runs for 4.1km from Bignami to Zara with seven stations. The 1.9km second phase will extend the line south from Zara to Isolo and Garibaldi by the end of the year, and a further 7km extension to San Siro Stadium will open in 2015. The journey time between Bignami and San Siro will be 26 minutes. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-8-13]

CN HALTS WORK ON RAIL LINE IN NORTHERN QUEBEC: Canadian National Railway Co. suspended preliminary work on a $5-billion rail line in northern Quebec amid delays in mining projects.  [Bloomberg website report, 2-8-13]

OREGON, WASHINGTON SIGN PASSENGER RAIL PACT: The Oregon and Washington departments of transportation have signed an agreement that will improve the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor. The Corridor Work Plan provides a five-year strategy for improvements, with an immediate focus on developing agreements needed for Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 implementation. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-7-13]

EISENHOWER LOCOMOTIVE MEETS ITS SISTER MALLARD IN U.K.: The newly-restored sister of the world’s fastest steam locomotive, Mallard, has joined the record breaker to take pride of place in York, U.K. The Dwight D Eisenhower has been unveiled to the public at the National Railway Museum (NRM) following its return to the UK in October last year. The Doncaster-built locomotive was given to the US when it was renamed for President Eisenhower.  [The Press website report, 2-7-13]

LONDON TO INTRODUCE FIVE-CAR TRAINS TO OVERGROUND NETWORK: Transport for London has announced plans to lengthen trains on the London Overground network from four to five cars with the aim of accommodating rapidly-increasing ridership. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-7-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed rail traffic for the week ending Febr.2, 2013.  Last week U.S. railroads originated 274,700 carloads, down 3.4 pct compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 249,231 trailers and containers, up 7.2 pct compared with the same week last year. Carloads originated in January totaled 1,339,604 carloads, down 6.3 pct from January 2012.   [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-7-13]

KCS NETWORK IN MEXICO MAY BOOST POWDER RIVER COAL EXPORTS: Kansas City Southern's rail network and a terminal project at the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, could bolster coal export shipments from the Powder River Basin. "We do transport PRB coal to nine coal utilities on our line," said Doniele Carlson, KCS spokeswoman. "We interchange with Union Pacific and BNSF Railway over Kansas City, Mo., for most of that business."  [Casper Star-Tribune website report, 2-7-13]

BILL INTRODUCED TO ELECTRIFY CONNECTICUT’S DANBURY BRANCH: Connecticut State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton) and State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) are urging fellow lawmakers to finance the electrification of the Danbury branch of Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Metro-North Railroad.A bill introduced by the two lawmakers would allow the State Bond Commission to issue bonds to fund the project. [Railway Age website report, 2-6-13]

FREIGHTS RAIL TO INVEST $24.5-B IN CAPITAL EXPENDITURES THIS YEAR: The Association of American Railroads says the nation’s major freight railroads plan to invest an estimated $24.5-billion in 2013 to build, maintain and upgrade America’s rail network. This investment includes $13-billion in projected capital expenditures which go toward upgrading or enhancing rail network capacity in the year ahead. [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-6-13]

LOCOMOTIVE COMPANY TO EXPAND OPERATIONS IN KENTUCKY: NRE Acquisition Co. L.L.C., doing business as VMV Paducahbilt, plans to expand operations in Paducah, Kentucky. The company provides new and remanufactured locomotives, locomotive products and wheel services.  [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-6-13]

COAL WAS 41 PCT OF RAIL FREIGHT CARLOADS IN 2012: Coal accounted for 41 pct of total freight rail carloads last year. Meanwhile, petroleum products and crude oil shipments accounted for nearly 4 pct, according to the Energy Information Administration. AAR reports that 170,000 carloads of petroleum products were shipped in 2012, a 46 pct increase from 2011.  [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website report, 1-6-13]

FREIGHT RAILROADS TO INVEST OVER $24-B IN RAIL NETWORKS, HIRE 11,000 IN 2013: The nation’s major freight railroads plan to invest an estimated $24.5-billion in 2013 to build, maintain and upgrade America’s rail network to ensure freight railroads can continue to deliver for the nation’s economy. This investment includes $13-billion in projected capital expenditures, or CapEx, which go toward upgrading or enhancing rail network capacity in the year ahead. The freight railroads also estimate they will hire more than 11,000 employees this year, primarily in response to retirements and attrition  [Assn. of American Railroads, 2-6-13]

CHICAGO SEEKS BIDS FOR NEXT-GENERATION METRO CARS: Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has invited bids for a contract to supply the city's next-generation metro trains, which will supplement the 5000-series sets currently being delivered by Bombardier. If all options are exercised, the fleet could eventually number 846 of the 7000-series cars [International Railway Journal website report, 2-6-13]

CN TARGETS $1.9-B IN CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS: CN plans to invest approximately $1.9-billion this year to maintain and upgrade its railway network, grow the business efficiently, and continue to improve customer service. More than $1-billion will be spent on track infrastructure, the company said. Included in the budget are double-tracking portions of its mainline in Saskatchewan, new signals on CN's Alberta mainline, and extending its siding program in northern British Columbia, Alberta, and northern Ontario. [CN. 2-5-13]

HIAWATHA SERVICE SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD: Amtrak’s Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee reached all-time high ridership in 2012, the ninth time the service set a ridership record in the past 10 years. Ridership grew to 832,500 in 2012, up from 823,163 in 2011. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-5-13]

METROLINK GETS FUNDS FOR FOUR LOCOMOTIVES: Southern California's Metrolink will receive funds from the Carl Moyer Program to procure up to 20 new low-emission Tier 4 locomotives. The South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board committed to support Metrolink by approving the funds. [Railway Age website report, 2-5-13]

N.C. RAIL LINE REVIVAL BILL GAINS SUPPORT: A proposal to revive a rail line in North Carolina between Castle Hayne and Wallace is expected to move ahead with the support of bipartisan legislation sponsored by two state representatives. The bill seeks $130-million over a two-year period for reconstruction expenses.  [Wilmington Star-News website report, 2-5-13]

FINAL DESIGN PRESENTED FOR NEW FRANCE-ITALY RAIL LINK: Lyon Turin Railway has presented the final draft of plans for the cross-border section of the new Lyon–Turin line. The project comprises a 57-km twin-bore base tunnel between St Jean de Maurienne and Susa with cross-passages positioned at 333-m intervals. The cross-border section extends for 18.1-km on the Italian side, 12.5km of which will be in the base tunnel. Beyond the Italian portal, there will be a 3-km link to the existing line at Bussoleno, including a 2.1-km tunnel and a new station at Susa. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-5-13]

SOLUTIONS SOUGHT TO REDUCE MUDSLIDES IN PACIFIC N.W.: Rail partners involved in service and safety in the corridor between Seattle and Everett, Washington, are putting a new focus on understanding the root causes and potential solutions to mudslides that resulted in a record number of Amtrak, Cascades and Sounder passenger-service disruptions this winter.The state and BNSF are focusing on long-term engineering and design work and determining appropriate slide-prevention solutions. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 2-5-13]

KEITH CREEL NAMED PRESIDENT OF CANADIAN PACIFIC: Keith Creel has been appointed president and chief operating officer of Canadian Pacific. Creel had been executive vice president and chief operating officer at Canadian National.  [Toronto Globe & Mail website report, 2-4-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN STEAM EXCURSIONS PLANNED: The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (FWRHS), in partnership with Norfolk Southern Corporation, will host 21st Century Steam excursion trips in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in the Spring of 2013. Schedules, prices, and ticketing information are available at www.tvrail.com for TVRM-hosted trips and fortwaynerailroad.org for FWRHS-sponsored trips. [Norfolk Southern, 2-4-13]

PORT STRIKE AVERTED WITH TENTATIVE DEAL: An imminent strike at East and Gulf Coast ports has been averted, thanks to a tentative new contract between the International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance.  [South Florida American City Journal, 2-4-13]

AMTRAK’S PENNSYLVANIAN TRAIN IN DANGER OF BEING ELIMINATED: Pennsylvania’s Amtrak route serving Pittsburgh, Altoona, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York, and points in between, may be on the chopping block in October. That's the deadline for Pennsylvania to decide whether to foot the estimated $5.7-million bill for subsidizing the service.  [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website report, 2-4-13]

U.P. BUYS TRACT OF LAND IN TEXAS INDUSTRIAL PARK: Union Pacific Corp. has bought a nearly 14-acre tract of land and six buildings In Grand Prairie Industrial Park to expand its rail-served property in Arlington, Texas. The site sits next to Union Pacific's major customer, General Motors Arlington Assembly Plant, and gives the railroad an opportunity for future expansion.  [Dallas Business Journal website report, 2-4-13]

FRA NOTES RAIL SAFETY IMPROVEMENT: The Federal Railroad Administration's preliminary accident/incident report for the first 11 months of 2012 shows continued safety improvement in nearly every category. Total accidents/incidents in January-November 2012 declined 7.3 pct to 9,741 compared with the prior-year period. [Railway Age website report, 2-4-13]

CONTRACT AWARDED FOR INDIAN FREIGHT CORRIDOR: Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India has awarded a contract worth around $619-million to design and build the 343-km Khurja-Kanpur section of the 1839-km Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-4-13]

RAIL SEEN AS CRUCIAL TO TENNESSEE PORT: Freight rail access is important for the Cates Landing port in Tennessee's Lake County, and a proposed expansion would boost the port's competitiveness in the global market, said the port's legal counsel. The estimated $12-million to $15-million expansion includes a 5.5-mile connection to Canadian National's rail line in the area.  [NWTN Today website report, 2-4-13]

RAIL FACILITY AMONG COMPONENTS OF LOUISIANA CRUDE OIL PROJECT: Construction of a unit-train facility in Baton Rouge, La., is one component of an estimated $125-million infrastructure project by Genesis Energy, according to the company. Construction is scheduled to begin early this year.  [Platts website report, 2-4-13]

SACRAMENTO MAN ACCUSED TO LIGHTING FIRE ON AMTRAK TRAIN IN OREGON: Eugene, Oregon, police on Febr. 1 arrested a Sacramento man accused of causing a disturbance on an Amtrak train and lighting a fire in the restroom of a sleeper car. The corridor outside the restroom filled with smoke, but the authorities were able pry open the door, extinguish the fire and arrest the individual.  [Oregonian website report, 2-2-13]

GRADE SEPARATION PROJECT BEGINS IN EL MONTE, CALIFORNIA: The Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority will build a four-lane road underpass beneath a Union Pacific double-track railroad bridge in El Monte, California. The $76.9-million project is part of grade separation undertakings for the development of the 19-mile Alameda Corridor.  [San Jose Mercury News website report, 2-1-13]

COMMEMORATIVE STAMP HONORS GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL: The U.S. Postal Service has issued a stamp to commemorate New York City's Grand Central Terminal, which marked its 100th anniversary Febr. 1. The stamp illustrates the terminal's main concourse under the constellation ceiling. [Progressive Railroading website report, 2-1-13]

WORLD BANK ISSUES PAPER SUPPORTING BENEFITS OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL: The World Bank has released a paper stating that traditional methods of evaluating infrastructure fail to capture the significant economic benefits of high-speed rail service, and that a more comprehensive form of analysis should be given serious consideration. The paper defines traditional economic evaluation of transportation projects as focused on direct costs and benefits related to travel, including user time savings, operator cost savings, and a limited set of externalities, such as accidents, noise, and air pollution. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 2-1-13]

PARIS RER LINE E EXTENSION APPROVED: French authorities have granted final approval for the extension of RER Line E from Haussmann-St Lazare 47km west to Mantes-la-Jolie. The project, due to open in 2020, entails constructing an 8km tunnel from St Lazare to La Defense and upgrading an existing line between there, Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie. The extension will cut journey times between western suburbs and La Défense by up to 17 minutes. [International Railway Journal website report, 2-1-13]

VERMONT SEEKS MORE AMTRAK SERVICE: Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has advanced his FY- 2014 state budget with funding for restored passenger rail service between Rutland and Burlington, running north-south on the state’s western flank. [Railway Age website report, 1-31-13]

AUSTRIA TO ORDER 100 DESIRO TRAINSETS FROM SIEMENS: The Austrian State Railways is set to order the first 100 regional Desiro ML-type trainsets from a master agreement with Siemens, which was awarded the contract in 2010. The order is worth $677.7-million. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-31-13]

RESTORATION BEGINS ON OHIO SHORT LINE: Carload Express has driven the first spike to mark the start of restoration work on a former Omal Railway line in Ohio. In December, Carload Express reached an agreement with Hannibal Real Estate to operate the 12.2-mile line between Hannibal and Powhatan Point. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-31-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending January 26, 2013, with U.S. railroads originating 265,839 carloads, down 6.3 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 238,789 trailers and containers, up 1.6 pct.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-31-13]

COAL COMPANIES LOOK TO RAIL AND PORTS AS THEY FOCUS ON EXPORTS: Coal will become the world's primary fuel for electricity generation within the next few years, according to projections by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Coal companies are adapting themselves to fill the need for coal exports from the U.S. as new rail terminals are being built or proposed to help ship the product to ports. [Platts website report, 1-31-13]

ANN ARBOR R.R. PURCHASED BY WATCO: Watco Railroad Company Holdings Inc. has purchased Ann Arbor Railroad, which serves southeastern Michigan and the Toledo, Ohio, markets. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-30-13]

PATH RESUMES SERVICE FROM HOBOKEN TO DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN: With little advance notice and a minimum of fanfare, PATH Wednesday morning Jan. 30 resumed rail service between Hoboken, N.J., and its World Trade Center station in downtown Manhattan. [Railway Age website report, 1-30-13]

AGREEMENT SIGNED ON MEXICAN PASSENGER TRAIN PROJECT: Mexican transport minister Geraldo Ruiz has signed a cooperation agreement with the governor of the state of Queretaro, Jose Calzada, to advance plans for a new passenger railway between Mexico City and Queretaro. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-30-13]

RAY LAHOOD TO STEP DOWN AS TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Ray LaHood, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has announced that he will leave President Barack Obama's administration. However, he will stay in his position until a successor makes it through the confirmation process. [AAR SmartBrief, 1-29-13]

CANADIAN PACIFIC ANNOUNCES 4-Q PERFORMANCE: Canadian Pacific Railway Limited announced its fourth-quarter 2012 results. CP’s diluted earnings per share, excluding significant items comprised of labor restructuring and asset impairment charges, was $1.28. This compares favorably with fourth quarter of 2011 diluted earnings per share, exclusive of significant items of $1.11, an improvement of 15 pct. [CP Rail, 1-29-13]

NEW ORLEANS OPENS LOYOLA AVENUE STREETCAR LINE: New Orleans marked the opening Jan. 28 of the Loyola Avenue-Union Passenger Terminal streetcar line, which extends transit service to the city's French Quarter, the Superdome and downtown job centers. The line features four new stations, travels through the city's business district, and connects with streetcar service on Canal Street. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-29-13]

CONSTRUCTION OF CSX BALTIMORE INTERMODAL FACILITY MAY BEGIN IN FALL: Construction of CSX's estimated $90-million intermodal facility in Baltimore could start this fall as soon as permits and funding plans are secured, the company said. The project is expected to be finished by 2015. [American City Business Journals website report, 1-29-13]

FLORIDA TO ASSUME SOUTH FLORIDA RAIL CORRIDOR FROM CSXT: The South Florida Transportation Authority (SFRTA) has approved the terms of the South Florida Operations and Management Agreement that transfers responsibility for the South Florida Rail Corridor from CSXT to the state. The board also approved an operating agreement which confirms that SFRTA will provide dispatching and maintain the corridor in place of CSXT. The implementation date is set for June 30, 2014, with a contingency for delays until Dec. 31, 2014. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-29-13]

BOMBARDIER WINS LATVIAN SIGNALING CONTRACT: Latvian Railways has selected a consortium of Bombardier and Belam Riga to deliver Bombardier's Interflo 200 mainline signaling system on a section of the Bolderaja-Zasulauks line which connects the capital Riga with the Bolderaja and Riga harbor area. The contract is worth $17.9-million. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-29-13]

CSX TO OUTLINE LAND NEEDS FOR BIRMINGHAM RAIL LINE EXTENSION: Officials with CSX railroad in coming weeks will present details of a land assessment and make a formal request to the Birmingham Housing Authority and residents regarding an expanded rail line in southwest Birmingham. The housing authority board had granted the railroad permission to study land near Cooper Green Homes for the planned project. [Birmingham News website report, 1-29-13]

BNSF TO SERVE PROPOSED RAIL-LOADING STATION IN WYOMING: Eighty-Eight Oil proposes to build a unit train-loading station in Guernsey, Wyoming. The facility, which would include three loop tracks, would be on BNSF’s mainline and would connect directly to Eight-Eight's crude terminal. [Oil & Gas Journal website report, 1-29-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN TO SPEND $2-B FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS IN 2013: Norfolk Southern Corporation plans to spend $2-billion in 2013 for capital improvements to its rail transportation network. The expenditures include $831-million for roadway improvements; $420-million to acquire new or rebuild locomotives, re-body coal cars, buy multi-level and intermodal containers and chassis; and $229-million for the continued implementation of positive train control. [Norfolk Southern, 1-28-13]

FUNDING APPROVED FOR SONOMA MARIN RAIL EXTENSION TO AIRPORT: California’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has finalized $12.5-million for the first phase of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) airport extension project. Designated for a four-mile extension from North Santa Rosa to the Santa Rosa Airport area, the funds were approved by MTC last week. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-28-13]

TEXAS-NEW MEXICO R.R. BEGINS UNIT-TRAIN RUNS OF CRUDE: The Texas-New Mexico Railroad (TNMR) recently began moving unit trains of crude oil along its route, which serves as a key rail line in the Permian Basin oilfield. TNMR operates about 100 miles of track between a connection with Union Pacific Railroad in Monahans, Texas, and Lovington, N.M. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-28-13]

KCS BOOSTS DIVIDEND 10 PCT: Kansas City Southern’s (KCS) Board of Directors on January 28, 2013, declared a regular dividend of $0.215 per share on the outstanding KCS common stock, which is a 10 pct increase from the previous quarterly dividend of $0.195 per share. [KCS, 1-28-13]

UNION PACIFIC EMPLOYEES ACHIEVE RECORD SAFETY RECORD: Union Pacific Railroad's 2012 employee safety performance was the best in the company's 150-year history. Employees achieved a 1.01 reportable injury rate, surpassing the previous best of 1.15 established in 2011. From 2002-2012, Union Pacific employees improved their reportable injury rate by 58 pct. [Union Pacific, 1-28-13]

DELAY IN LAND PURCHASES COULD BOOST COST OF CALIFORNIA BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: California is late to begin purchasing land for its $68-billion high-speed rail project, and the delay could push up costs. About 400 parcels of land are needed for the initial segment, a 29-mile stretch between Fresno and Madera. The state hopes that formal offers, which will start an ‘eminent domain action,’ can be made in the next several weeks. Construction of the initial segment is set to begin in July. [Los Angeles Times website report, 1-27-13]

CSX TO BUILD INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN QUEBEC: CSX and its subsidiaries have announced an expansion of the company's intermodal presence in the greater Montreal region and Quebec.  CSX's intermodal terminals subsidiary will build a new 89-acre rail terminal in the city of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, connecting the region with CSX Transportation's rail network in the U.S. The new $100-million project will enable shippers in the region to expand on the north-south trade opportunities offered by NAFTA, and connect to new markets. Construction is expected to be completed in 2015. [CSX, 1-25-13]

N.Y. STATE TO KEEP EMPIRE CORRIDOR SERVICE: The Cuomo administration says it plans to maintain Amtrak service across New York state at current levels when a new federal regulation takes effect Oct. 1. The regulation requires states to cover operating losses on short-haul trains. Most states already provide some operating support on intrastate routes, but the Empire Corridor connecting New York City and the Capital Region with Buffalo was part of the original Amtrak system, and New York hadn't been required to pay operating support. The budget proposal includes $44.3-million to keep service at current levels. [Albany Times Union website report, 1-25-13]

MOBILE INTERMODAL RAIL FACILITY PROJECT ADVANCES: The Alabama State Port Authority's Board of Directors approved two measures that will bring the port's new intermodal rail facility closer to reality. The board authorized expenditures for the construction, inspection and testing for a rail access bridge that will connect five Class 1 railroads and the authority's terminal railway to an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF), a rail intermodal facility and the second leg of the authority's Choctaw Point intermodal program. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-25-13]

CANADA FUNDING $19.9-M TOWARD DELAPORT TERMINAL PROJECT IN B.C.: The Canadian government is contributing up to $19.9-million through its Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative for a $45-million overpass on the Deltaport Causeway, part of Port Metro Vancouver's Deltaport Terminal, Road and Rail Improvement Project. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-25-13]

DENVER CLEBRATES COMPLETION OF WEST LIGHT-RAIL LINE: The Regional Transportation District of Denver held a ceremony Jan. 24 to celebrate the completion of the light-rail West Rail Line, the first significant expansion of Denver’s light-rail network in a decade. Revenue operation is slated to begin on April 26.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-25-13]

CSX OPENS DOUBLE-STACK ROUTE IN NEW ENGLAND: CSX Transportation has opened New England's first double-stack cleared intermodal route on its rail line between the New York state line and the newly-expanded intermodal terminal in Worcester, Massachusetts. The project involved increasing vertical clearances at 31 locations between Worcester and New York State to 21 feet, enabling intermodal trains to operate with containers stacked two-high. The project was part of an agreement with Massachusetts that enabled the state to acquire CSXT's rail lines in the Boston area to increase commuter rail service. [CSX, 1-24-13]

U.P. TO IMPROVE RAIL LINE IN OREGON: Union Pacific Railroad will strengthen Oregon's transportation infrastructure by investing approximately $13.2-million in the rail line between Troutdale and The Dalles. The railroad will replace nearly 91,000 railroad ties, install more than 30,000 tons of rock ballast, replace five switches and renew the surfaces at 32 road crossings. [Union Pacific, 1-24-13]

UNION PACIFIC REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Union Pacific Corporation reported 2012 fourth-quarter net income of $1-billion or $2.19 per diluted share, compared to $964-million or $1.99 per diluted share in the same quarter 2011. Operating revenues totaled $5.25-billion, up 3 pct. [Union Pacific, 1-24-13]

GE CLASS 70 LOCOMOTIVE MORE FUEL EFFICIENT THAN CLASS 66 LOCOMOTIVE: GE Transportation contracted consulting firm Ricardo to oversee and validate back-to-back locomotive tests to demonstrate the fuel efficiency of GE's Class 70 locomotive versus a Class 66 locomotive. The tests demonstrated fuel savings of 18 percent for the Class 70 locomotive, which is equipped with GE's four-stroke PowerHaul engine. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-24-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending January 19, 2013, with U.S. railroads originating 277,490 carloads, down 3.5 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 249,397 trailers and containers, up 13.5 pct.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-24-13]

AGREEMENT SIGNED ON ARMENIA-IRAN RAIL LINK: A tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed in Yerevan on January 24 concerning the construction of the Southern Armenia Railway, which will form part of a new north-south corridor linking the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-24-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN NAMES JERRY HALL VP INTERMODAL OPERATIONS: Jerry W. Hall has been named Norfolk Southern vice president intermodal operations to succeed Robert E. Huffman, who is retiring Febr. 1. [Norfolk Southern, 1-23-13]

CSX SEES DROP IN COAL SHIPMENTS IN 2013: CSX Corp. expects 2013 to be another challenging year for the railroad, with continued weak coal demand but growth in other areas likely to offset lower coal volume. CSX officials predict domestic coal shipments will decline by 5 to 10 percent in 2013 from last year’s weak levels. And coal exports will likely drop to 40 million tons from last year’s 48 million tons. [Boston Globe website report, 1-23-13]

PORT OF L.A. BEGINS CONSTRUCTION ON WEST BASIN RAIL YARD: Construction has begun on a staging and storage rail yard that will serve as a critical link between the Port of Los Angeles and the Alameda Corridor. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-23-13]

CRAIG KING JOINS R.J. CORMAN AS PRESIDENT: R.J. Corman Railroad Group has named Craig King as its new president. He succeeds Tammie Taylor who has been appointed vice chairman. King joins the company after a 35-year career at CSX where he most recently served as regional vice president transportation-North. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-23-13]

CSX REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: CSX Corporation reported fourth-quarter 2012 net earnings of $443-million or $0.43 cents per share, compared to $457-million or $0.43 cents per share in the prior same period. For the full year 2012, net earnings were $1.9-billion or $1.79 per share, up from $1.8-billion or $1.67 per share in 2011. For the quarter, total revenue of $2.9-billion declined 2 pct. The company saw an increase in merchandise and intermodal shipments, but these gains were more than offset by declines in coal. [CSX, 1-22-13]

CSX TO INVEST $2.3-B IN ITS BUSINESS THIS YEAR: CSX Corporation plans to invest approximately $2.3-billion in its business in 2013.  The investments will support initiatives to help meet the nation's long-term demand for freight rail. The investments include the company's National Gateway initiative creating double-stack intermodal train access between the Mid-Atlantic ports and the Midwest, as well as $325-million associated with the implementation of the industry's Positive Train Control program. [CSX, 1-23-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS: Norfolk Southern Corporation reported fourth-quarter 2012 net income of $413-million or $1.30 per diluted share, compared with $480-million or $1.42 per diluted share earned in the fourth quarter of 2011. Net income for 2012 was $1.7-billion or $5.37 per diluted share, compared with $1.9-billion or $5.45 per diluted share, earned in 2011. Fourth-quarter railway operating revenues were $2.7-billion, down 4 pct compared with the same period of 2011. [Norfolk Southern, 1-22-13]

KCS REPORTS 4-Q REVENUES: Kansas City Southern (KCS) reported record fourth-quarter 2012 revenues of $568-million. Fourth-quarter carloads of 532 thousand, also a record, increased 2 pct over the same quarter 2011. [Kansas City Southern, 1-22-13]

RAIL INDUSTRY POSTS BEST-EVER SAFETY RECORD IN FY-2012: The rail industry achieved a new milestone as 2012 proved to be the safest based on the Federal Railroad Administration's performance indicators. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-22-13]

AMTRAK’S MICHIGAN RIDERSHIP HIT RECORD HIGH IN 2012: Michigan's three passenger rail lines hit an all-time high of nearly 800,000 riders in 1012, up more than 12,000 from the previous year, the Michigan Department of Transportation said. [Detroit News website report, 1-22-13]

GE TRANSPORTATION MARKS ‘GOOD YEAR’: GE Transportation's fourth-quarter results included $252-million in earnings, or "segment profits," in the fourth-quarter, up 11.5 pct from the comparable 2011 quarter. [Railway Age website report, 1-22-13]

CN REPORTS 4-Q EARNINGS, HIKES DIVIDEND: Fourth-quarter 2012 net income was $610-million or $1.41 per diluted share, compared with net income of $592-million or $1.32 per diluted share for the year-earlier quarter. Meanwhile, the company’s board of directors has approved a 15 pct increase in the quarterly cash dividend. [CN, 1-22-13]

ROCK SLIDE CLOSES PAW PAW TUNNEL ON C&O CANAL TOWPATH: A rock slide occurred sometime on January 20, 2013, and has blocked a 100-foot section the towpath near to the east of the Paw Paw Tunnel. The Paw Paw Tunnel and this section of towpath are currently closed and will remain so until a full assessment of the area can be made to safely conduct repairs. A detour route has been established on the Paw Paw Tunnel Hill trail. For additional information, call the Cumberland Visitor Center at (301) 722-8226.  [C&O Canal Assn., 1-22-13]

CSX TO INCREASE CAPACITY ON ITS HUDSON RIVER LINE: CSX has announced a major track capacity expansion on its premier River Line between northern New Jersey and the Albany, N.Y., region. The $26-million project includes a total of 18 miles of second track to be constructed over the next two to three years on the Hudson River's west shore. Preliminary work to prepare the sites in New York State at Ravena-Coxsackie, Catskill and Haverstraw is already complete with construction to begin early this year. [CSX, 1-21-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN OPENS INTERMODAL TERMINAL IN GREENCASTLE, PA.: Norfolk Southern on Jan. 21 opened its third Crescent Corridor intermodal facility, a new $97-million terminal in South Central Pennsylvania that advances the company’s multi-state rail infrastructure initiative connecting the Southeast and the Northeast. The Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility, located on 200 acres south of Greencastle, is less than a mile from I-81. [Norfolk Southern, 1-21-13]

CSX BOOSTING TRAIN SPEEDS THROUGH KINGSTON, N.Y.: CSX Transportation said it is doubling the maximum speed on its tracks through Kingston, N.Y., to 30 mph, beginning Febr. 5. [Times Herald-Record website report, 1-21-13]

BNSF PLANS $4.1-B CAPITAL SPENDING THIS YEAR: BNSF's investment program this year is expected to reach an estimated $4.1-billion to deal with burgeoning oil carloads and intermodal expansion plans. "This record capital plan continues our long-term focus on ensuring our network is prepared for the growing U.S. demand for freight rail," said the company. [Bloomberg News report, 1-19-13]

SHIPPING CRUDE BY RAIL IS FLOURISHING: Shipping crude oil by rail flourished in World War II, and it has made a big comeback. There are now 20 crude-to-rail terminals along BNSF and Canadian Pacific tracks in North Dakota alone. More terminals are expected to be built in the East. [Star Tribune website report, 1-19-13]

ENGINEERS EXAMINE INSPECTION PROCESS OF CALIFORNIA’S BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: Professional Engineers in California Government, a union representing state engineers, is questioning the inspection process for the first phase of the state’s $68 billion high-speed rail project. Under bid guidelines, the contractor selected to design and build the initial segment would hire inspectors responsible for checking the work. The union contends that this could lead to conflicts of interest. [San Francisco Chronicle website report, 1-19-13]

PORT EVERGLADES TO GET NEW INTERMODAL FACILITY: A new intermodal container transfer facility is being built at Florida's Port Everglades. The $53 million project, which is being built and operated by Florida East Coast Railway, will create an on-port international and domestic cargo rail facility. [South Florida American City Business Journal website report, 1-18-13]

INDIANA COMMUNITY LAUNCHES HOOSIER STATE TRAIN PRESERVATION EFFORT: Members of a newly-formed advisory group in Lafayette, Indiana, are working to maintain Amtrak's Hoosier State Line service in the area. The group is expected to provide feedback to the state transportation department as it conducts a funding analysis. [WLFI-TV website report, 1-18-13]

AMTRAK TO UPGRADE LANCASTER, PA., STATION: Amtrak announced plans to move ahead with more upgrades to Lancaster Station in Pennsylvania, including major work to rehabilitate the main waiting room. Other station improvements planned for this year include repairing and repainting the foyer and hallway near restrooms, and refinishing all remaining doors and doorways. Lancaster is the third-busiest Amtrak station in Pennsylvania. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-17-13]

MASSACHUSETTS PLANS TO IMPROVE BOSTON-SPRINGFIELD RAIL LINE: The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced a plan to spend $362-million toward improving passenger rail service directly connecting Boston with Springfield via the Inland Route. Funding will cover rehabilitation along the route, creating a second track, widening bridges, upgrading signals, purchasing train equipment and constructing or rehabilitating stations. This will also support future high-speed rail connection to New York City via Springfield. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-17-13]

REBUILT TRAIN STATION OPENED IN ITALY: Italy officially inaugurated Turin Porta Susa station on January 14 marking completion of a project to rebuild and expand the station to provide the city with a high-speed rail hub. The station, which will be served by both Trenitalia and NTV high-speed services and conventional trains, is covered by a spectacular 386m-long and 30m-wide glass and steel roof. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-17-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending January 12, 2013, with U.S. railroads originating 279,893 carloads, down 6.4 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 252,896 trailers and containers, up 10.4 pct compared with the same week last year.  [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-17-13]

CSX NAMES ANDREW GLASSMAN VP OPERATIONS FINANCE: CSX Corporation has appointed Andrew Glassman as vice president of operations finance. Glassman served as assistant vice president of intermodal marketing since 2010, and has been with CSX since 2004 [CSX, 1-17-13]

RAIL INTERMODAL TERMINAL TO BE BUILT IN INDIANA: CN and the Indiana Rail Road have agreed on the construction of an intermodal terminal in Indianapolis, and a plan to offer Indiana importers and exporters an all-rail option for containerized products moving to or from Asia. The first import train will arrive in late June. CN estimates containerized import goods will flow in as little as 18-20 days from port loading in Shanghai and Qingdao, China, and Busan, Korea, to the INRD Senate Avenue Terminal, when using first port of call service. [CN, 1-16-13]

FIRST LOCOMOTIVE BEING BUILT IN GE’S FORT WORTH PLANT: Production is under way on the first railroad locomotive to be assembled at the new General Electric facility in far north Fort Worth, its plant manager said. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 1-16-13]

VALERO ENERGY BUYING 2,000 TANK CARS: Valero Energy Corp., billed as the world's largest independent refiner, plans to purchase 2,000 tank cars to increase shipment of crude oil to inland U.S. locations. [Railway Age website report, 1-16-13]

CIVIL WAR-ERA TRAIN TO RUN IN PENNSYLVANIA THIS YEAR: 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]

BNSF AGREES TO CHANGE INJURY-REPORTING POLICY: BNSF Railway has agreed to change policies that federal officials say discouraged workers from reporting injuries and safety violations. As part of the deal announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, BNSF will make settlement offers in 36 cases involving employees who filed whistleblower complaints alleging they were harmed by company policies. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram website report, 1-15-13]

CALIFORNIA TO BEGIN LAND ACQUISITIONS FOR BULLET TRAIN PROJECT: California's high-speed project has taken a step forward after the state Public Works Board gave California High-Speed Rail Authority approval to begin negotiations for land acquisition for the Initial Operating Section, Stage 1. The approval concerns 356 separate parcels of land between Fresno and Madera in the Central Valley. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-15-13]

CP OPENS NEW INTERMODAL FACILITY IN REGINA: Canadian Pacific has opened its Intermodal Facility at Saskatchewan's Global Transportation Hub in Regina. The facility is designed to process up to 250,000 container handlings per year. [Railway Age website report, 1-15-13]

STOLEN TRAIN DERAILS INTO BUILDING IN SWEDEN: A woman stole an empty commuter train from a depot Jan. 15 and drove it to a suburb of Stockholm where it derailed and slammed into an apartment building, officials said. [ABC News website report, 1-15-13]

RUSSIA TO INVEST $46.1-M TO COMPLETE IMPROVEMENTS TO TATARSTAN RAILWAY INFRASTRUCTURE: Russia's Gorkovskay Railway announced on January 11 that it will invest an additional $46.1-million in 2013 to complete improvements to railway infrastructure in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan ahead of the World Student Games that is being held in the region in July. [International Railway Journal website report]

SINGAPORE PLANS TO DOUBLE ITS CITY RAIL NETWORK BY 2030: Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) has unveiled plans to double the length of the city's rail network by 2030 with the construction of two completely new lines and three additional extensions. [International Railway Journal website report]

AMTRAK’S USE OF ST. PAUL UNION DEPOT TO BEGIN IN 4-Q 2013: St. Paul Union Station’s meticulously restored rail concourse sat empty for decades. But passenger rail service will not roll into the transit hub for at least another nine months. Amtrak needs to wait for construction of a spur connection from the depot's passenger loading platform to the mainline freight track before service can begin, likely in the fourth quarter of 2013. [Pioneer Press website report, 1-14-13]

CSX, NS PREPARE DOUBLE-STACKING PLANS AHEAD OF PANAMA CANAL WIDENING: CSX and Norfolk Southern have been at work in anticipation of a wider Panama Canal and more shipments to East Coast ports. CSX expects to build a $90-million transfer facility a few miles from Maryland’s Port of Baltimore, and NS is readying tunnels to handle double-stacked trains. "The expanded canal will change global shipping, and is already beginning to do so," said Jorge Luis Quijano, Panama Canal administrator. [Washington Post website report, 1-12-13]

FEDS GRANT $135-M TO SACRAMENTO BLUE LINE LIGHT-RAIL EXPANSION: The U.S. Department of Transportation has committed $135-million to the Sacramento Light Rail Blue Line expansion, clearing the way for a project that will create an efficient and reliable connection between downtown Sacramento and the South Sacramento County corridor. The 4.3-mile extension will link downtown to Cosumnes River College.  [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-11-13]

SAN DIEGO LAUNCHES LOW-FLOOR TROLLEY SERVICE ON ORANGE LINE: The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has launched new low-floor trolley service on the Orange Line, marking the completion of a $17-million renovation of the line's stations. The Orange Line project included renovation of nine stations, as well as signaling and grade crossing improvements. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-11-13]

AMTRAK TO RECEIVE FIRST FOUR TEST PILOT SINGLE-LEVEL PASSENGER CARS THIS YEAR: This year, Amtrak will receive the first four test pilot cars of its $298.1-million order for 130 new, American-made single-level long-distance cars.  That includes 25 sleepers, 25 diners, 55 baggage cars, and 25 baggage/dormitory cars.  The railcars will go into service late spring 2014, replacing and supplementing the existing fleet, allowing Amtrak to retire cars that have been in service since the 1940s. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-11-13]

AMTRAK ON SCHEDULE WITH PTC INSTALLATION ALONG ITS OWN LINES: Amtrak is on schedule to complete installation of positive train control equipment along all Amtrak-owned rights-of-way.  These advanced signaling systems should increase passenger safety by preventing train collisions and over-speed accidents, and will lay the groundwork for high-performance operations in the future. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-11-13]

ALABAMA TO STUDY RESTORATION OF BIRMINGHAM-MONTGOMERY PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE: The Alabama State Legislature has given a green light to conduct a study on restoring passenger train service between Birmingham and Montgomery.  The study will examine potential revenue, cost and ridership. [National Assn. of R.R. Passengers, 1-11-13]

NJT COAST LINE SERVICE LEVEL TO INCREASE: More service lost because of Superstorm Sandy is returning to NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast Line. Service levels will increase when nine trains are added to the line starting Jan. 14. Two of the trains will be electric and operate between Long Branch and New York's Penn Station. [The Republic website report, 1-11-13]

CN OPENS NEW INTERMODAL TERMINAL NEAR CALGARY: CN opened an intermodal terminal Jan. 10 at its new 680-acre Calgary Logistics Park in Conrich, Alberta. The new terminal, which was relocated from CN's Sarcee Yard in southeast Calgary, features 30 pct more capacity than the Calgary facility and space for future expansion. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-11-13]

ARGENTINA ORDERS 55 TRAIN SETS FOR BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s government has placed an order with China Southern Rolling Stock (CSR) for 409 1676mm-gauge EMU cars to replace life-expired trains on the Mitre and Sarmiento suburban lines in Buenos Aires. A total of 55 sets will be delivered, comprising 225 vehicles for the Sarmiento Line and 184 cars for the Mitre Line. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-11-13]

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]

AMTRAK’S 2012 OPERATING LOSS LOWEST SINCE 1975: Amtrak’s fiscal 2012 operating loss was the lowest in nearly 38 years, which is a sign of progress, Joseph Boardman, the railroad’s president and CEO, said. The $361-million loss for the year ending Sept. 30, 2012, was down 19 pct from the previous year. The last time Amtrak losses were less was 1975. [Washington Post website report, 1-10-13]

WEEKLY RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported declines in weekly rail traffic for the week ending January 5, 2013, with U.S. railroads originating 241,682 carloads, down 12.1 pct compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 178,317 trailers and containers, down 8 pct. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-10-13]

AUSTRALIA AWARDS GRANT TO UPGRADE ADELAIDE-PERTH RAIL LINE: The Australian government has allocated $95-M ($US 90m) to Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to support investment in reliability and capacity upgrades on the Adelaide-Perth rail corridor. [International Railway Journal website report, 1-10-13]

AMTRAK UPGRADING WI-FI SERVICE ON MANY ROUTES: Amtrak, which operates 21,000 route miles, is upgrading its Wi-Fi service to 4G on many routes across the country. Amtrak says the aim is to offer increased wireless speeds and greater reliability. [Los Angeles Times website report, 1-10-13]

AMTRAK TO INVEST $181-M TO IMPROVE HUDSON LINE: Amtrak said $181-million in capital improvements along the Hudson line between New York and Schenectady are among the major projects it will undertake this year. [Albany Times Union website report, 1-10-13]

RESEARCHERS STUDY LONGER BATTERY LIFE FOR ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES: Norfolk Southern Railway No. 999 is the first all-electric, battery-powered locomotive in the United States. But when one of the thousand lead-acid batteries that power it dies, the locomotive shuts down. To combat this problem, a team of Penn State researchers is developing more cost-effective ways to prolong battery life. Penn State and Norfolk Southern began developing locomotive 999 in 2008 to evaluate the application of battery technologies for railroad motive power. The U.S. Department of Energy funded this most recent study. [Energy Harvesting Journal website report, 1-9-13]

UPSTATE N.Y. SHORT LINE GETS IMPROVEMENT GRANT FOR ORE TRAFFIC: The Massena Terminal Railroad Company in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., has received a $1.6-million grant from the New York State Department of Transportation toward rehabilitation project. It will include rail improvements along the railroad’s main line and yard tracks to accommodate unit ore trains for the ALCOA West Plant. The project will include bridge repair, track improvements, and a new switch. [Journal of Commerce website report, 1-9-13]

BNSF LOGISTICS ACQUIRES ALBACOR SHIPPING: BNSF Logistics LLC has acquired Albacor Shipping Inc., an international global project and general cargo provider based in Toronto. Albacor established operations in Canada and the United States in 1998, expanded to Europe in 2003 and most recently acquired eight operating locations in Russia. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-9-13]

AMTRAK ADDING TWO LATE-NIGHT ACELA TRAINS BETWEEN N.Y. AND D.C.: Amtrak will be adding more options for riders to get between Washington and New York City later this month. The railroad plans to offer late service starting on Jan. 28 on two new Acela trains between the cities, with stops in between at Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia and Newark.  [Washington Examiner website report, 1-8-13]

BNSF SEES 40 PCT BOOST IN CRUDE SHIPMENTS THIS YEAR: Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC will boost crude-oil shipments by 40 pct this year, helping blunt a decline in coal cargo, Chief Executive Officer Matt Rose said.  [BNSF, 1-8-13]

NJT HAS PLANS FOR NEW STATION ALONG NEC: NJ Transit has plans for a ‘flyover’ track and a new train station in North Brunswick, N.J., to improve on-time performance and commuting choices on the Northeast Corridor. The station, with a 1,000-foot long platform to handle the 12-car train sets, could be built in 2018  [Star-Ledger website report, 1-8-13]

NYS&W GETS N.Y. STATE GRANT FOR RAIL TERMINAL.: The New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad Corporation (NYS&W) has received contract approval for more than $900,000 in funding for design and construction of a multimodal rail terminal in Cortland, N.Y. The project will allow short-haul trucks to load and unload directly onto rail cars, which will enhance the movement of goods between rail and trucks and enhance overall operational efficiency in the Cortland area. [Railway Track & Structures website report, 1-8-13]

MARC TO IMPLEMENT LIMITED-STOP TRAIN TO FREDERICK, MD.: To provide a limited-stop rush hour train to Monocacy and Frederick, Maryland, effective Jan. 14, Train 893 will drop four stops and will arrive at Monocacy and Frederick before 7:00pm. [MARC, 1-7-13]

CUSTOMER SITE INVESTMENTS ON CSX TOTAL $3.2-B IN 2012: CSX worked with its customers in 2012 to locate 105 new or expanded facilities on its eastern rail network or on connecting short lines. These projects represent an investment by those customers of more than $3.2-billion and will ultimately create over 4,200 jobs among shippers in more than a dozen states.  [CSX, 1-7-13]

ANTIQUE ROLLS ROYCE LIMO VICTIM OF TRAIN COLLISION IN TEXAS: A Kansas City Southern freight train slammed into a big rig that was stuck on railroad tracks in Sugar Land, Texas, late Jan. 7. The truck had a cargo of two cars, one of them an antique Rolls Royce limousine.  [Houston Chronicle website report, 1-7-13]

NORFOLK SOUTHERN FACILITATES $2.1-B IN INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT IN 2012: Norfolk Southern Corporation participated in the location of 64 new industries and the expansion of 30 existing industries along its rail lines in 2012. New plants and expansions announced in 2012 represented an investment of $2.1-billion by Norfolk Southern customers and are expected to create more than 6,100 jobs in the railroad's territory, in future years potentially generating more than 141,000 carloads of new rail traffic annually. [Norfolk Southern, 1-4-13]

ANNUAL RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC REPORT: The Association of American Railroads reported mixed 2012 rail traffic compared with 2011. U.S. rail intermodal volume totaled 12.3 million containers and trailers in 2012, up 3.2 pct over 2011. Carloads totaled 14.7 million in 2012, down 3.1 pct from 2011.  Intermodal volume in 2012 was the second highest on record, down 0.1 pct from the record high totals of 2006. [Assn. of American Railroads, 1-3-13]

MAUMEE & WESTERN R.R. BOUGHT BY MICHIGAN SOUTHERN: Pioneer Railcorp's subsidiary Michigan Southern Railroad has purchased the rail line formerly known as the Maumee & Western. The 51-mile line, to be known as Napolean, Defiance & Western Railway, will operate from Woodburn, Indiana, to Liberty Center, Ohio. [Pioneer Railcorp, 1-3-13]

WATCO TO ACQUIRE ANN ARBOR R.R.: Watco Railroad Co. Holdings Inc. recently reached an agreement to purchase the stock of Ann Arbor Railroad Inc. The transaction will close into a voting trust, the trustee of which will control the railroad until the Surface Transportation Board approves the transaction. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-2-13]

RAILROADS GAINING BUSINESS ALONG MISSISSIPPI RIVER: Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific are expected to see additional business as shippers along the Mississippi River transfer more cargo from barges to rail. Falling water levels on the river, tight barge capacity and rising freight volume are expected to propel more demand for rail service this month, according to a Jefferies research report. [Journal of Commerce website report, 1-2-13]

BOMBARDIER LANDS $226-M GERMAN ORDER: Bombardier Transportation obtained a $226-million contract to supply 35 TALENT 2 electric multiple units and a strategic spare part package to Abellio Rail NRW GmbH in Germany. The trains will operate on the Saale-Thuringia-South Harz network. [Progressive Railroading website report, 1-2-13]

BIRMINGHAM COUNCIL APPROVES CSX ELEVATED LINE PROJECT: The Birmingham City Council has narrowly approved a plan allowing CSX to proceed with a project for a new line in southwestern Birmingham. The approval comes after neighborhood meetings and public hearings where dozens of residents protested the plans. The new line would parallel existing tracks to 12th Street Southwest, then veer south toward Montevallo Road where it would be elevated. [Birmingham News website report, 1-2-13]

AMTRAK PROPOSES NEW SAFETY STANDARDS FOR HIGH-SPEED TRAINS: Amtrak is considering a revision to U.S. rail-safety standards that would allow it to replace its Acela fleet with lighter and faster cars in the Northeast, said Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman. The proposed new regulations "would allow for less use of fuel, quicker acceleration, a different performance profile," Boardman said. [Bloomberg website report, 1-1-13]

AMTRAK’S SAN JOAQUIN LINE SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD: Amtrak's San Joaquin line posted record ridership in 2012, attracting more than 1.1 million passengers in 2012. The service saw revenue from ticket sales rise in the 2012 fiscal year to about $38.7-million, an increase of  8.3 pct over 2011. [Fresno Bee website report, 1-1-13]